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Major Writings II - Nichiren Daishounin

Reply to Nii-ama
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]

Reply to Nii-ama

 

I have received a bag of dried laver from you. I would also like to express my appreciation for the offering of dried laver from O-ama Gozen.

 

This area is called Mount Minobu. Suruga Province lies to the south, and it is more than a hundred ri from the seaside of Ukishimagahara in that province to this mountain at Hakiri Village in Kai Province. The way is more difficult than ten times the distance on an ordinary path. The Fuji River, the swiftest in all Japan, runs from north to south. High mountains rise to the east and west of this river, forming deep valleys where huge rocks stand about everywhere like tall folding-screens. The waters of the river rush through the valley like an arrow shot through a tube by a powerful archer. The river is so swift and rocky that sometimes a boat will be smashed against the rapids as it travels along the riverbanks or attempts to cross the stream. Coming through this dangerous pass, one arrives at a large mountain called the peak of Minobu.

 

To the east stands the peak of Tenshi, to the south, Takatori, to the west, Shichimen, and to the north, Minobu, and they all tower as though four giant folding-screens had been set up. Climbing these peaks, you will see a vast stretch of forest below, while going down to the valleys, you will find huge rocks lined up side by side. The howls of wolves fill the mountains, the chatter of monkeys echoes through the valleys, stags call plaintively to their does, and the voices of cicadas sound shrilly. Here spring flowers bloom in summer, while trees bear autumn fruit in winter. Occasionally one sees a woodcutter gathering firewood, and my rare visitors are only friends of old. Mount Shang in China where the four white-haired recluses retired from the world and the deep recesses in the mountains where the Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove secluded themselves must have been like this place.

 

As you climb the peak, it looks as if kelp were growing there, but instead you find only an expanse of bracken. Going down to the valleys, you think surely it must be laver growing there, but it is only a dense growth of parsley.

 

Though I had long since ceased to think about my home, this laver brings back trivial nostalgic memories, making me feel sad. It is the same kind of laver I saw long ago on the shore at Kataumi, Ichikawa and Kominato. I feel an unwarranted resentment that the color, shape and taste of this laver should remain unchanged while my parents have passed away, and I cannot restrain my tears.

 

Enough of this. O-ama has asked me to inscribe the Gohonzon for her, but I am troubled by her request. The reason is as follows. This Gohonzon was never mentioned in the writings of the many Buddhist scholars who traveled from India to China or in those of the priests who journeyed from China to India. All the objects of worship ever enshrined in the temples throughout India are described without exception in the Daito Saiiki Ki, the Jion Den, and the Dento Roku, [and this Gohonzon is not among them]. Nor have I found it mentioned among the objects) of worship of the various temples which were described by those sages who traveled from China to Japan or by those wise men who went from Japan to China. Since all the records of the first temples in Japan such as Gango-ji, Shitenno-ji and other temples as well as many histories, beginning with the Nihon Shoki name them without omission, the objects of worship in these temples are clearly known, but this Gohonzon has never been listed among them.

 

People may say in doubt: "It was probably not expounded in the sutras or treatises. That is why the many wise men have neither painted nor carved images of it." I say that, because the sutras lie before their eyes, those who so doubt should examine whether or not it is revealed in the sutras. It is wrong to denounce this object of worship merely because it was never painted or carved in previous ages.

 

For example, Shakyamuni Buddha once ascended to the Trayastrimsha Heaven to fulfill his obligations to his [deceased] mother. But no one in the entire world, except for the Venerable Maudgalyayana, was aware of it, because of the Buddha’s supernatural powers. Thus even though Buddhism may exist before their eyes, people will not realize it if they lack the proper capacity, nor will it spread unless the time is right. This is in accordance with the natural law, just as the tides of the ocean ebb and flow and the moon in the sky wanes and waxes according to the time.

 

Lord Shakyamuni treasured this Gohonzon in mind since the remote past of gohyaku-jintengo, but even after he appeared in this world, he did not expound it for more than forty years following his first preaching. Even in the Lotus Sutra he did not allude to it in the earlier chapters of the theoretical teaching. Only in the Hoto chapter did he begin to suggest it. He revealed it in the Juryo chapter, and concluded his explanation in the Jinriki and Zokurui chapters.

 

Bodhisattvas such as Monjushiri living in the Golden World, Miroku in the palace of the Tushita Heaven, Kannon on Mount Potalaka and Yakuo, who had served the Buddha Nichigatsu Jomyotoku, all vied with one another in asking [the Buddha’s permission to propagate faith in the Gohonzon in the Latter Day of the Law], but the Buddha refused. Those bodhisattvas were well known as men of excellent wisdom and profound learning, but since they had only recently begun to hear the Lotus Sutra, their understanding was still limited. Thus they would not be able to endure great difficulties in the Latter Day.

 

Then the Buddha declared, "There are my true disciples whom I have hidden at the bottom of the earth since gohyaku-jintengo. I will entrust it to them." So saying, the Buddha summoned those bodhisattvas led by Jogyo in the Yujutsu chapter and entrusted them with the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo, the heart of the essential teaching of the sutra, [in the Jinriki chapter].

 

Then the Buddha stated: "You must not propagate it in the first millennium of the Former Day of the Law or in the second millennium of the Middle Day following my death. In the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law, slanderous priests will fill the entire world, so that all heavenly gods will be enraged and comets will appear in the sky and the earth will shake like the movement of huge waves. Innumerable disasters and calamities such as drought, fires, floods, gales, epidemics, famine and war will all occur at once. The people throughout the world will don armor and take up bows and staves, and since none of the Buddhas, bodhisattvas or benevolent deities will be able to help them, they will all die and fall like rain into the hell of incessant suffering. At this very time, kings can save their countries and the people will escape calamities if they embrace and believe in this great mandala of the five characters, and in their next life they will not fall into the great fires of hell."

 

Now I, Nichiren, am not Bodhisattva Jogyo, but perhaps by his design I have already attained a general understanding of this teaching, and I have been expounding it for these more than twenty years. When one resolves to propagate it, he will meet difficulties, as the sutra states: "Since hatred and jealousy [toward this sutra] abound even during the lifetime of the Buddha, how much worse will it be in the world after his passing?" and, "The people will be full of hostility, and it will be extremely difficult to believe." Of the three types of powerful enemies predicted in the sutra, the first indicates the sovereign, district and village stewards and lords of manors as well as the ordinary populace. Believing the charges leveled by the second and third types of enemies, who are priests, they will vilify or slander the votary of the Lotus Sutra, or attack him with swords and staves.

 

Tojo Village in Awa Province, though it is a remote place may well be called the center of Japan because the Sun Goddess resides there. In ancient times she lived in Ise Province. Later on, the emperor came to take deep faith in Bodhisattva Hachiman and in Kamo Shrine and neglected the Sun Goddess, so that she became enraged. At that time, Minamoto no Yoritomo wrote a pledge and ordered Aoka no Kodayu to enshrine her in the outer shrine of Ise. Probably because Yoritomo27 thus satisfied the goddess’s desire, he became the shogun and ruled the whole of Japan. He then decided on Tojo District as the residence of the Sun Goddess, and so she no longer lives in Ise Province but in Tojo District in Awa Province. This is similar to Bodhisattva Hachiman who, in ancient times, resided at Dazaifu in Chikuzen Province but later dwelt at Otokoyama in Yamashiro Province and now lives at Tsurugaoka in Kamakura in Sagami Province.

 

Nichiren began to propagate this true teaching in Tojo District in Awa Province in Japan, out of all places in the entire world. Accordingly, the Tojo steward became my enemy, but his clan has now been half destroyed.

O-ama Gozen is insincere and foolish. She was also irresolute, believing at one time, while renouncing her belief at another. When Nichiren incurred the displeasure of the government authorities, she quickly discarded the Lotus Sutra. This is why, even before, I told her the Lotus Sutra is "the most difficult to believe and the most difficult to understand," whenever we met.

 

If I give her the Gohonzon because I am indebted to her, then the Ten Goddesses will certainly think I am a very partial priest. On the other hand, if I follow the sutra and do not give her a Gohonzon because of her lack of faith, I will not be partial, but she may well harbor a grudge against me because she does not realize her fault. I have explained the reasons for my refusal in detail in a letter to Suke no Ajari. Please send for the letter and show it to her.

 

You are of the same family as O-ama Gozen, but you have demonstrated the sincerity of your faith. Because you have often sent offerings to me, both to Sado and here to Minobu, and because your resolve does not seem to wane, I have inscribed a Gohonzon for you. But I still worry whether you will maintain your faith to the end and feel as if I were treading on thin ice or facing a drawn sword. I will write to you again in more detail.

 

When I incurred the displeasure of the government, even in Kamakura 999 out of 1,000 discarded their faith, but since popular feeling toward me has now softened, some of them seem to regret. I do not class O-ama Gozen with those people and I feel deeply sorry for her, but I can no more bestow the Gohonzon upon someone who goes against the Lotus Sutra than flesh can replace bone. Please explain to her thoroughly why I cannot grant her request.

 

With my deep respect,

 

Nichiren


The sixteenth day of the second month.

 

  

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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