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Major Writings II - Nichiren Daishounin

Earthly Desires Are Enlightenment
Home
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]

Earthly Desires Are Enlightenment

I deeply appreciate your visit here and your constant concern over the numerous persecutions which have befallen me. I have met these great persecutions as the votary of the Lotus Sutra and do not regret them in the slightest. No life could be more fortunate than mine, no matter how many times one might repeat the cycle of birth and death. [Were it not for these troubles,] I might have remained in the three or four evil paths. But now, to my great joy, I am sure to sever the cycle of the sufferings of birth and death and attain the fruit of Buddhahood.

T’ien-t’ai and Dengyo were subjected to hate and jealousy merely because they propagated the doctrine of the theoretical ‘three thousand realms in a single moment of life’ of the first half of the Lotus Sutra. In Japan this doctrine was propagated and handed down successively by Dengyo, Gishin, Encho, Jikaku and others. Among the many disciples who followed the Great Teacher Jie, the eighteenth chief priest of the Tendai sect, were Danna, Eshin, Soga, and Zen’yu. At that time the sect’s teachings were divided in two: the administrator of monks Danna transmitted the doctrinal studies while the supervisor of monks Eshin devoted himself to the meditative practices. Doctrinal studies are comparable to the moon and meditative practices to the sun. Doctrinal studies are shallow, while meditative practices are deep. The teachings expounded by Danna were therefore broad but shallow, while Eshin’s teachings were deep but limited.

The teaching that I, Nichiren, am now propagating may seem limited, but it is actually exceedingly profound. This is because it goes deeper than the teachings expounded by T’ien-t’ai and Dengyo. It consists of the three important matters contained in the Juryo chapter of the essential teaching. To practice only the seven characters of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo may appear limited, yet since this Law is the master of all the Buddhas of the three existences, the teacher of all the bodhisattvas in the ten directions, and the guide that enables all living beings to attain the Buddha way, its practice is incomparably profound.

The sutra states, "The wisdom of the Buddhas is infinitely profound and immeasurable." "The Buddhas" means every Buddha throughout the ten directions in the three existences. It represents every single Buddha and bodhisattvas of any sutra or sect whatsoever, including both the Thus Come One Dainichi of the Shingon sect and Amida of the Pure Land sect, every Buddha of the past, the future or the present, including the present Thus Come One Shakyamuni himself. The sutra refers to the wisdom of all these Buddhas.

What is meant by the ‘wisdom’ of the Buddhas! It is the entity of the true aspect, or the ten factors, of all phenomena, the entity that leads all beings to Buddhahood. What then is the entity! It is nothing other than Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. A commentary states that the profound principle of the true aspect is the originally inherent Law of Myoho-renge-kyo. The true aspect of all phenomena indicates the two Buddhas Shakyamuni and Taho [seated together in the treasure tower]. Taho represents all phenomena and Shakyamuni, the true aspect. The two Buddhas also indicate the two principles of the truth as object and the wisdom to grasp it. Taho signifies the truth , as object and Shakyamuni, the wisdom. Although these are two, they are fused into one in the Buddha’s enlightenment.

These teachings are of prime importance. They mean that earthly desires are enlightenment and that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana. Even during the physical union of man and woman, when one chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, then earthly desires are enlightenment and the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana. Sufferings are nirvana only when one realizes that life throughout its cycle of birth and death is neither born nor destroyed. These principles are what is meant by the following passages. The Fugen Sutra states, ‘Without cutting off earthly desires and separating themselves from the five desires, they can purify their senses and wipe away their offenses.’ It is stated in the Maka shikan that ‘the ignorance and dust of desires are enlightenment and the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana.’ The Juryo chapter of the Lotus Sutra says, ‘At all times I think to myself: How can I cause living beings to gain entry into the unsurpassed way and quickly acquire the body of a Buddha?’ And the Hoben chapter states, ‘All the characteristics of the world are eternal.’ The entity is none other than Nam-myoho- renge-kyo.

It was this most august and precious Lotus Sutra which in past existences I put under my knees, despised, scowled upon in disgust and refused to believe in. In one way or another, I maliciously ridiculed people who studied the Lotus Sutra and who taught it to others, even if only to a single person, thereby passing on the Law for the future. In addition, I did everything I could to hinder people from embracing the sutra by asserting that they should set it aside for a while because, though it might be suitable for practice in their next lifetime, it would be too difficult for them to practice in this lifetime. Slanderous acts such as these have now brought on the many severe persecutions I have suffered in my lifetime. Because I once disparaged the Lotus Sutra, the highest of all sutras, I am now looked down upon and my words go unheeded. The Hiyu chapter states that other people will neither concern themselves with nor have sympathy for one even though one sincerely tries to be friendly with them.

As a votary of the Lotus Sutra, you suffered severe persecutions, yet still you came to my assistance. In the Hosshi chapter the Buddha states that he will send the four kinds of believers, magically conjured, monks and nuns and laymen and laywomen [for the sake of the teachers of the Law]. If you are not one of these laymen, then to whom else could the passage possibly refer? You have not only heard the Law, but have taken faith in it and since then have followed it without turning aside. How wondrous! How extraordinary! Then how can there be any doubt that I, Nichiren, am the teacher of the Lotus Sutra? In other words, I almost resemble "the envoy of the Thus Come One"; I am carrying out "the Thus Come One’s work." I have propagated the five characters of the daimoku which were entrusted to Bodhisattva Jogyo when the two Buddhas were seated together within the treasure tower. Does this not indicate that I am an envoy of Bodhisattva Jogyo? Moreover, following me, you as a votary of the Lotus Sutra also tell others of this Law. What else could this be but the transmission of the Law?

Carry through with your faith in the Lotus Sutra. You cannot strike fire from flint if you stop halfway. Bring forth the great power of faith and establish your reputation among all the people of Kamakura and the rest of Japan as ‘Shijo Kingo of the Hokke sect.’ Even a bad reputation will spread far and wide. A good reputation will spread even farther, particularly if it is a reputation for devotion to the Lotus Sutra.

Explain all this to your wife, and work together like the sun and the moon, a pair of eyes or the two wings of a bird. With the sun and the moon, how can you fall into the path of darkness? With a pair of eyes, how can you fail to behold the faces of Shakyamuni, Taho and all the Buddhas of the ten directions? With a pair of wings, you will surely be able to fly in an instant to the treasure land of Tranquil Light. I will write in more detail on another occasion.

With my deep respect,

Nichiren

The second day of the fifth month

Reply to Shijo Kingo

  

Home
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

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