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Major Writings II - Nichiren Daishounin

Persecution by Sword and Staff
A Comparison of the Lotus Sutra and Other Sutras
A Ship to Cross the Sea of Suffering
Earthly Desires Are Enlightenment
Clear Sake Gosho
Letter to Niike
Letter to Domyo Zemmon
Letter to Akimoto
Letter from Sado
Reply to Nichigon-ama
Roots of Good Fortune
Reply to Jibu-bo
No Safety in the Threefold World - Nichiren Daishounin
Letter to Horen - Nichiren Daishounin
King Rinda - Nichiren Daishounin
Jozo and Jogen - Nichiren Daishounin
Bodhisattva Hachiman - Nichiren Daishounin
On Prayer - Nichiren Daishounin
The Opening of the Eyes Part I
The Opening of the Eyes Part II
Conversation between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man
Conversation between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man Part II
Establishment of the Legitimate Teaching for the Protection of the Country
How Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood Through the Lotus Sutra
The Learned Doctor Shan-wu-wei
The Entity of the Mystic Law
The Pure and Far-reaching Voice
Reply to Takahashi Nyudo
The Teaching, Capacity, Time, and Country
The Doctrine of Attaining Buddhahood in One's Present Form
Encouragement to a Sick Person
The Essence of the Yakuo Chapter
The Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra
The Supreme Leader of the World
The Treasure of a Filial Child
The Supremacy of the Law
Reply to Nii-ama
The Workings of Bonten and Taishaku
The Story of Ohashi no Taro
The Teaching in Accordance with the Buddha's Own Mind
The Treatment of Illness and the Points of Difference between Mahayana and Hinayana and Provisional
Repaying Debts of Gratitude
On Practicing the Buddha's Teachings
On the Urabon
Letter to the Priests of Seicho-ji
Letter to Nichimyo Shonin
Letter to Shomitsu-bo
Questions and Answers on Embracing the Lotus Sutra
Reply to Sairen-bo
Rationale for Submitting the Rissho Ankoku Ron
Persecution by Sword and Staff
Rebuking Slander of the Law and Eradicating Sins
Recitation of the Hoben and Juryo Chapters
Reply to Lord Hakiri Saburo
Reply to Yasaburo
Letter to Ichinosawa Nyudo
Letter to Myomitsu Shonin
Reply to Hoshina Goro Taro
Wu-lung and I-lung
White Horses and White Swans
The Sutra of True Requital
The Kalpa of Decrease
The Farther the Source, the Longer the Stream
The Third Doctrine
The One-eyed Turtle and the Floating Sandalwood Log
Letter to Nakaoki Nyudo
General Stone Tiger
The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life
Lessening the Karmic Retribution
Letter to the Brothers
Hell is the Land of Tranquil Delight
On Prolonging Life
On the Buddha's Behavior
On the Buddha's Prophecy
On the Treasure Tower
Propagation by the Wise
The Embankments of Faith
The Dragon Gate
Strategy of the Lotus Sutra
Reply to Kyo-o
The Person and the Law
The One Essential Phrase
The Gift of Rice
The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon
Letter of Petition from Yorimoto
Introduction and Preface to the Ongi Kuden: Namu Myoho Renge Kyo [Devotion to the Lotus Sutra]
Muryogi Sutra [Sutra of Innumerable Meanings]
Chapter 3: Simile and Parable [Hiyu]
Chapter 4: Faith and Understanding [Shinge]
Chapter 6: Prediction [Juki]
Chapter 7: Phantom City [Kejoyu]
Chapter 8: Prophecy of Enlightenment for Five Hundred Disciples [Gohyaku Deshi Juki]

Persecution by Sword and Staff


The greatest of all the persecutions which I have suffered were the attempted decapitation at Tatsunokuchi and the attack at Tojo. None of the others were direct attempts on my life. I have been reviled, denounced, ousted, falsely accused, and struck across the face, but these were all comparatively minor incidents. I, Nichiren, am the only person in Japan to be abused in both body and mind [for the sake of the Lotus Sutra]. If anyone else has been slandered as I have, it was not because of the Lotus Sutra. One incident in particular I can never forget is how Shobo seized the fifth scroll of the Lotus Sutra and struck me across the face with it. His attack on me stemmed from the three poisons.


Once in India there was a jealous woman5 who hated her husband so much that she smashed everything in the house. Her excessive rage completely altered her appearance; her eyes blazed like the sun and moon, and her mouth seemed to belch fire. She looked exactly like a blue or red demon. She seized the fifth scroll of the Lotus Sutra which her husband had been reciting for some years and trampled it savagely with both feet. Later she died and fell into hell, all of her except her feet. Though the wardens of hell tried to force them down by beating them with iron staves her feet remained outside of hell as a result of the relationship, albeit a reverse one, which they had formed with the Lotus Sutra by trampling on it. Shobo struck me in the face with the fifth scroll of the Lotus Sutra because he hated me. Thus he too has formed a reverse relationship8 with this sutra.


One incident occurred in India, the other in Japan; one was perpetrated by a woman, and the other by a man; in one, a pair of feet committed the violence, and in the other, a pair of hands; one happened because of jealousy, the other because of the Lotus Sutra. However, the same fifth scroll of the sutra was involved in both instances. The woman’s feet did not enter hell, so why should Shobo’s hands fall into the hell of incessant suffering? The woman, however, hated only her husband and not the Lotus Sutra itself, whereas Shobo hated both the Lotus Sutra and me, Nichiren. Therefore his entire body will enter the hell of incessant suffering. As the sutra states, "When his life comes to an end, he will enter the Avichi hell." There is no mention of his hands being spared. How pitiful, how truly pitiful! Eventually, however, he will meet me again and be able to gain the fruit of Buddhahood, just as the four kinds of believers who arrogantly persecuted Bodhisattva Fukyo were ultimately saved by him.


The fifth scroll contains the heart of the Lotus Sutra, for it reveals that the dragon king’s daughter attained Buddhahood in her present form. Devadatta represents the spiritual aspect of enlightenment, and the dragon king’s daughter, the physical aspect. The principle of attaining Buddhahood in one’s present form can be found nowhere else in the Buddha’s entire lifetime of teachings. The Great Teacher Dengyo enumerated ten outstanding points in which the Lotus Sutra surpasses all others. One of them is the sutra’s "superiority in leading people to attain Buddhahood in their present form." This is the most important doctrine of the Tendai sect, and a section of the Hokke mongu is devoted to this teaching of attaining Buddhahood in one’s present form. It is also a point of controversy between the Shingon and Tendai sects. The dragon king’s daughter attained Buddhahood through the power of the Lotus Sutra. Bodhisattva Monjushiri stated, "I constantly expounded the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law alone." The words "alone" and "constantly" are the core of this statement. However, the Bodaishin ron reads, "Only in the Shingon teachings [can one attain Buddhahood in one’s present form]." Which is one to accept, "only" or "alone"? The Muryogi Sutra states, "In these more than forty years, I have not yet revealed the truth." The Lotus Sutra reads, "The World-Honored One has long expounded his doctrines and now must reveal the truth." Taho Buddha affirmed that only the Lotus Sutra enables one to attain Buddhahood in one’s present form when he said, "All that you have expounded [in the Lotus Sutra] is the truth." No matter how firmly the sutras preached before the Lotus Sutra guarantee the attainment of Buddhahood, and no matter how much the believers in these provisional doctrines may wildly insist that this is so, it is as easy to refute these assertions as it is to smash a thousand earthen cooking dishes with a single hammer. This is what is meant by [T’ien-t’ai’s words:] "The Lotus Sutra is the teaching of shakubuku, the refutation of the provisional doctrines." The Lotus Sutra is indeed the most profound teaching.


Ever since Jikaku, scholars of the Tendai sect have interpreted the passages from T’ien-tai’s three major works of the Hokke gengi, Hokke mongu and Maka shikan in one way or another, and have given plausible explanations. Their views, however, are as useless to us now as last year’s calendar or yesterday’s meal. Even if someone should insist that, in the first five hundred years of the Latter Day of the Law, there exists a way to enlightenment apart from the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, you should take no heed of what he says, even if it is based on the Buddha’s teachings, and even less so if it is merely some teacher’s opinion. The Devadatta chapter of the Lotus Sutra teaches that Devadatta was the teacher of the Thus Come One Shakyamuni in some past existence. He who was once the teacher is now the disciple, and he who is now the disciple was formerly the teacher. On pondering this chapter, I, Nichiren, realized that it reveals the profound meaning of the Lotus Sutra through the oneness of past and present and the inseparability of the one who teaches and the one who learns. Therefore, the merciful Shakyamuni Thus Come One became the teacher of the wicked Devadatta, and the wise Monju became the teacher of the ignorant daughter of the dragon king. Certainly I, Nichiren, can in no way be inferior to Monju or to Shakyamuni Thus Come One. The men of Japan are like Devadatta and the women are like the dragon king’s daughter. Whether by following it or opposing it, they will attain Buddhahood through the Lotus Sutra. This is the message of the Devadatta chapter.


Next we come to the Kanji chapter. Only I, Nichiren, have read with my entire being the twenty-line verse from this chapter, which the eight hundred thousand million nayutas of bodhisattvas proclaimed in a single voice. Since the Buddha’s death, who else in the three countries of India, China and Japan has ever read this verse as I have? No one even claims to have done so, nor do I believe that anyone has. The verse reads, "[There will be many ignorant people who will] ... attack us with swords and staves." Perhaps others have been beaten with staves, but I have never heard of any who were injured by the sword.


We know that Bodhisattva Fukyo was attacked with staves, as is written in the sutra, "[Some ... would take] sticks of wood or tiles and stones [and beat and pelt him, ]" but he was not persecuted by the sword. T’ien-t’ai, Miao-lo and Dengyo also escaped persecution by sword and staff, as the sutra states, "Swords and staves will not touch him." I, Nichiren, however, have been attacked by both. As I mentioned before, I was attacked with a sword at Matsubara in Tojo and later at Tatsunokuchi. No one else has been thus assaulted [for the sake of the Lotus Sutra] even once, but I, Nichiren, have been so assaulted twice. As for being attacked with staves, I have already been struck in the face by Sho-bo with the fifth scroll of the Lotus Sutra. It is the very scroll used as a staff that carries the passage that [votaries of the Lotus Sutra] will be attacked with staves. What a miraculous prediction of the sutra! Sho-bo hit me before dozens of people, and, though I knew it was for the sake of the Lotus Sutra, being human, I felt miserable and ashamed. Had I had the strength, I would have wrested the weapon from his hand, trampled it to pieces, and thrown them away. However, it was in fact the fifth scroll of the Lotus Sutra


This brings to mind a story. A father, anxious about his son’s future, thrashed the boy with a bow made of a zelkova tree because he refused to study. At the time, the son resented his father’s action and hated the zelkova bow. However, he applied himself to his studies so much that eventually he [mastered Buddhism], thereby achieving emancipation himself and benefiting others. In retrospect, he saw that he owed his achievements to his father’s thrashings. It is said that he erected a stupa made of a zelkova tree for the repose of his deceased father.


It is the same with me, Nichiren. When I attain Buddhahood, how will I be able to forget my obligation to Sho-bo?


Much less can I forget the thanks I owe to the scroll of the Lotus Sutra [with which he struck me]. When I think of this, I cannot restrain my tears of gratitude.


The Yujutsu chapter also explains something about me, because it states that Bodhisattva Jogyo and his followers will appear in the Latter Day of the Law to propagate the five characters of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. I, Nichiren, have appeared earlier than anyone else. How reassuring to think that I will surely be praised by bodhisattvas equal in number to the sands of sixty thousand Ganges Rivers! Be that as it may, commit yourself to the Lotus Sutra and have faith in its teachings. You must not only believe in them yourself but also encourage others to do the same, so that you may save your parents in all your past existences.


From the time that I was born until today, I, Nichiren, have never known a moment’s ease; I have thought only of propagating the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra. I do not know how long I or anyone else may live, but without fail, I will be with you at the time of your death and guide you from this life to the next. All the Buddhas of the past, present and future attain enlightenment between the hours of the Ox and the Tiger. In all three countries of India, China and Japan, the place of Buddhist practice is located to the northeast, in the direction of the demon gate. These are profound teachings of Buddhism, which are reverently transferred from teacher to disciple. I will explain in more detail later.


With my deep respect,


As you crave food when hungry, seek water when thirsty, long to see a lover, beg for medicine when ill, or as a beautiful woman desires powder and rouge, so should you put your faith in the Lotus Sutra. If you do not, you will regret it later.



The twentieth day of the fourth month in the second year of Koan (1279), cyclical sign tsuchinoto-u

Reply to Lord Ueno



The True Entity of Life
The One Essential Phrase
The Essence of the Juryo Chapter
The True Object of Worship
The Selection of the Time
The Problem to Be Pondered Night and Day
Reply to the Mother of Lord Ueno
The Bodies and Minds of Ordinary Beings
Teaching, Practice, and Proof
On Omens
On Persecutions Befalling the Buddha
The Votary of the Lotus Sutra Will Meet Persecution
Thus I Heard
The Izu Exile
The Origin of the Urabon
The Royal Palace
The Meaning of Faith
The Third Day of the New Year
Reply to the Followers
The Causal Law of Life
The Swords of Good and Evil
The Teaching for the Latter Day
The Unmatched Fortune of the Law
Easy Delivery of a Fortune Child
Letter to Konichi-bo
Letter to Misawa
An Outline of the Zokurui and Other Chapters
Consecrating an Image of Shakyamuni Buddha Made by Shijo Kingo
Curing Karmic Disease
Admonitions Against Slander
Bestowal of the Mandala of the Mystic Law
The Receipt of New Fiefs
The Unity of Husband and Wife
Letter to Ko-no-ama Gozen
Winter Always Turns to Spring
On Filial and Unfilial Conduct
A Father Takes Faith
A Warning against Begrudging One's Fief
The Mongol Envoys
Reply to Tokimitsu
Reply to Myoho Bikuni Gozen
Beneficial Medicine for All Ills
A Sage Perceives the Three Existences of Life
The Proof of the Lotus Sutra
Letter to Jakunichi-bo
Aspiration for the Buddha Land
Reply to Lord Shijo Kingo
The Universal Salty Taste
Good Fortune in This Life
The Wealthy Man Sudatta
Letter to Gijo-bo
New Year's Gosho
Persecution at Tatsunokuchi
Easy Delivery of a Fortune Child
Reply to Lord Matsuno's Wife
The Birth of Tsukimaro
Banishment to Sado
Great Evil and Great Good
Happiness In This World
Letter from Echi
Letter to Endo Saemon-no-jo
Letter to Priest Nichiro in Prison
On Flowers and Seeds
On Itai Doshin
Postscript to the Rissho Ankoku Ron
Reply to a Believer
Reply to Ko Nyudo
Reply to Lady Onichi-nyo
Reply to Lord Matsuno
Rissho Ankoku Ron
The Difficulty of Sustaining Faith
The Offering of a Summer Robe
The Property of Rice
The Wonderful Means of Surmounting Obstacles
Unseen Virtue and Visible Reward
Upholding Faith in the Gohonzon
The Drum at the Gate of Thunder