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Major Writings II - Nichiren Daishounin

Wu-lung and I-lung

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]

Wu-lung and I-lung


I have received one horseload of polished rice (four to) and a bale of taros and respectfully chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.


Myoho-renge-kyo is likened to the lotus. The mahamandara flower in heaven and the cherry blossom in the human world are both celebrated flowers, but the Buddha chose neither to compare to the Lotus Sutra. Of all the flowers, he selected the lotus blossom to symbolize the Lotus Sutra. There is a reason for this. Some plants first flower and then produce fruit, while in others fruit comes forth before flowers. Some bear only one flower but many fruit, others send forth many flowers but only one fruit, and still others produce fruit without flowering. Thus there are all manner of plants, but the lotus is the only one which bears flowers and fruit simultaneously. The benefit of all the other sutras is uncertain, because they teach that one must first make good causes and only then can one become a Buddha at some later time. The Lotus Sutra is completely different. A hand which takes it up immediately attains enlightenment, and a mouth which chants it instantly enters Buddhahood, just as the moon is reflected in the water the moment it appears from behind the eastern mountains, or as a sound and its echo arise simultaneously. It is for this reason that the sutra states, "Among those who hear of this Law, there is not one who shall not attain Buddhahood." This passage means that if there are a hundred or a thousand people who embrace this sutra, without a single exception all one hundred or one thousand of them will become Buddhas.


In your letter you mention the anniversary of the death of you father, Matsuno Rokuro Zaemon Nyudo. You say, "Since he left many sons behind, memorial services for him will be conducted in as many different ways. I fear, however, that such ceremonies will be slanderous unless strictly based on the Lotus Sutra." Shakyamuni Buddha's golden teaching states, "The World-Honored One has long expounded his doctrines and must now reveal the truth." Taho Buddha gave testimony, declaring that all the teachings of Myoho-renge-kyo are true. And all the Buddhas of the ten directions gave credence to the sutra's verity by extending their tongues to the Brahma Heaven.


To the southwest across the ocean from Japan, there is a country named China. In that country, some people believe in the Buddha but not in gods, while others believe exactly the opposite. Perhaps a similar situation existed in the early days of our own country. Be that as it may, in China there once lived a calligrapher named Wu-lung. In his art he was without peer in the entire country, just as was Tofu or Kozei in Japan. He hated Buddhism and vowed that he would never transcribe any Buddhist scriptures. As he approached his end, he fell seriously ill. On his deathbed he expressed his last wishes to his son, saying, "You are my son. Not only have you inherited my skill but you write with an even better hand than I. No matter what evil influence may work upon you, you must not copy the Lotus Sutra." Thereupon blood spurted like fountains from his five sense organs. His tongue split into eight pieces, and his body fell apart in ten directions. Yet his relatives, ignorant of the three evil paths, did not realize that this was an omen that he would fall into hell.


The son's name was I-lung. He, too, proved to be the best calligrapher in China. Obedient to his father's will, he pledged that he would never transcribe the Lotus Sutra. The king of the time was Ssu-ma by name. He believed in Buddhism and held the Lotus Sutra in especially high regard. He desired to have this sutra transcribed by an excellent calligrapher--none but the most skilled in all the country--so that he could have a copy of his own. So he summoned I-lung. I-lung explained that his father's will forbade him from doing so and beseeched the king to excuse him from the task. Hearing this, the king called another calligrapher and had him transcribe the entire sutra. The result, however, was far from satisfying.


The king sent again for I-lung and said to him, "Since you say your father's will forbids you, I will not compel you to copy the sutra. I do insist, however, that you at least obey my command to write the titles of its eight volumes." I-lung begged repeatedly to be excused. The king, now furious, said, "Your father was as much my subject as you are. If you refuse to write the titles for fear of being unfilial to him, I will charge you with disobedience of a royal decree." In this way the king repeated his strict order. I-lung, though unwilling to be unfilial, realized that he could no longer disobey the royal command, so he wrote the titles [of the eight volumes] of the Lotus Sutra and presented his work to the king.


Returning home, I-lung faced his father's grave and, shedding tears of blood, reported, "The ruler commanded me so strictly that, against your will, I wrote the titles of the Lotus Sutra." In his grief that he could not escape the offense of being unfilial, he remained by the graveside for three days on end, fasting until he was on the verge of death. At the Hour of the Tiger on the third day, he was almost dead and felt as if he were dreaming. He looked up at the sky and saw a heavenly being, who looked like Taishaku in a painting and whose multitude of followers filled both heaven and earth. I-lung asked him who he was. The heavenly being replied, "Do you not recognize me? I am your father, Wu-lung. While I was in the human world, I adhered to non-Buddhist scriptures and harbored enmity toward Buddhism, particularly toward the Lotus Sutra. For this reason, I fell into the hell of incessant suffering.


"Each day I had my tongue wrenched out several hundred times. Now I was dead, now I was alive again. I kept crying in agony, alternately looking up to heaven and flinging myself to the ground, but there was no one to heed my screams. I wanted to tell the human world of my anguish, but there was no means of communication. Whenever you insisted upon adhering to my will, your words would either turn into flames and torment me or be transformed into swords which rained down from heaven upon me. Your behavior was unfilial in the extreme. However, since you were acting thus in order to abide by my will. I knew I could not entertain a grudge against you, for I was only receiving the retribution for my own deeds.


"While I was thinking thus, a golden Buddha suddenly appeared in the hell of incessant suffering and declared, 'Even those who have destroyed enough good causes to fill the universe, if they hear the Lotus Sutra even once, they will never fail to attain enlightenment.' When this Buddha entered the hell of incessant suffering, it was as if a deluge of water had been poured over a great fire. As my agony subsided a little, I joined my palms together in prayer and asked him what kind of Buddha he was. The Buddha replied, "I am the character myo, one of the sixty-four characters which compose the titles [of the eight volumes] of the Lotus Sutra, which your son, I-lung, is now writing." As eight characters form the title of each of the eight volumes, a total of sixty-four Buddhas appeared and shone like sixty-four full moons, and the utter darkness of the hell of incessant suffering was instantly transformed into a dazzling brilliance. Moreover, in accordance with the principle that any place is, without changing its characteristics, in and of itself a Buddha land, the hell of incessant suffering immediately became the capital of Eternally Tranquil Light. I as well as all the other inmates became Buddhas seated on lotus blossoms, and we are now ascending to the inner court of the Tushita Heaven. This I am reporting to you before anyone else."


I-lung said, "It was my hand that wrote the titles. How could you have been saved? Moreover, I did not write them with sincerity. How could it possibly have helped you?" His father replied, "How ignorant you are! Your hand is my hand, and your body is my body. Your act of writing characters equals my doing so. Although you had no faith in your heart, you nevertheless wrote the titles with your hand. Therefore, I have already been saved. Think of a child who sets fire to something and, without the least intention of doing so, causes it to be burned. The same holds true with the Lotus Sutra. If one professes faith in it, he will surely become a Buddha, even though he may not expect it in the least. Now that you understand this principle, never slander the Lotus Sutra. However, since you are among the laity, you are in a better position to repent of my past slanderous words, no matter how grave they may have been."


I-lung reported all this to the king. The king said, "My wish has been answered with splendid results." From then on, I-lung basked increasingly in the royal favor, and the entire populace of the country came to revere the Lotus Sutra.


The late Goro and Lord Matsuno were, respectively your son and father. You are the lord's daughter. I believe, therefore, that he must at this very moment be in the inner court of the Tushita Heaven. Hoki-bo will explain this to you. Since I wrote in haste, it was impossible to furnish details.


With my deep respect,


The fifteenth day of the eleventh month



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