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Major Writings II - Nichiren Daishounin

The Supremacy of the Law
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]

The Supremacy of the Law
 
In China, before Buddhism was introduced, writings by such sages as the Three Rulers and Five Emperors, the Three Kings, T’ai-kung Wang, Tan the Dukeof Chou, Lao Tzu and Confucius were called classics or canons. Through these teachings, the people learned propriety and came to understand the debt of gratitude they owed their parents, and a clear distinction was drawn between the ruler and the ruled, so that the country was governed wisely. The people obeyed the leaders who followed these teachings and Heaven answered their prayers. A child who failed to obey them was punished as unfilial, and a subject who violated them was punished as a traitor.
 
When the Buddhist scriptures were first brought to China from India, some people said that they should be accepted, while others said they should be rejected. A conflict arose, and the ruler summoned the two groups to meet and debate the issue. The adherents of non-Buddhist teachings were defeated by the supporters of Buddhism. After that, whenever the two groups engaged in polemics, the devotees of non-Buddhist scriptures were defeated by the Buddhists as easily as ice melts in the sun or as fire is extinguished by water. Eventually they ceased to offer any effective opposition to Buddhism.
 
As more Buddhist sutras were brought to China, it became apparent that some were superior in content or more profound than others. They belonged to different categories such as Hinayana and Mahayana, exoteric and esoteric, provisional and true. To illustrate, all stones are invariably inferior to gold, but gold itself is divided into several grades. No gold found in the human world can match the gold mined from the Jambu River.5 But the gold from the Jambu River is in turn far less valuable than the gold stored in the Brahma Heaven. In the same way, all the Buddhist sutras are like gold, but some are finer and more profound than others.
 
Those sutras which are called Hinayana are like small boats. They can carry two or three passengers, but not a hundred or a thousand. Even with only two or three persons aboard, they must remain close to this shore and cannot cross over to the other shore. They can be loaded with a small amount of cargo, but not with a large amount. In contrast, the Mahayana sutras are like those huge vessels which, carrying ten or twenty people and loaded with large quantities of cargo, can sail from Kamakura as far as Tsukushi Province in the south or Mutsu Province in the north.
 
But the ship of the true Mahayana sutra is incomparably greater than those ships that are the other Mahayana sutras. Loaded with a hoard of rare treasures and carrying a hundred or a thousand passengers, it can sail all the way to the land of Korea. The Lotus Sutra, the teaching of the one vehicle, is precisely this kind of sutra. Devadatta was the most evil man in the entire world, but the Lotus Sutra predicted that he would become a Buddha called the Tathagata Heavenly King. Although Ajatashatru was a wicked king who killed his own father, he was among those present when the Lotus Sutra was preached and, after hearing only a verse or a phrase, took faith in it and thereby formed a relationship with the sutra. The dragon king’s daughter, a woman with a reptile’s body, attained Buddhahood by listening to Bodhisattva Monjushiri preach the Lotus Sutra. Furthermore, the Buddha designated the evil era of the Latter Day of the Law as the very time for the Lotus Sutra to be propagated, and bequeathed it to the men and women of that impure age. The Lotus Sutra, the teaching of the one vehicle, is then a sutra as great and powerful as the ships of the China trade.
 
Thus, all the Buddhist sutras are to the non-Buddhist scriptures as gold is to stones. And all the various Mahayana sutras, such as the Kegon, Dainichi Kammuryoju, Amida and Hannya sutras, are to the Lotus Sutra as fireflies are to the sun or the moon, or anthills to Mount Hua. Moreover, there is superiority and inferiority not only among the sutras, but also among their adherents. The various teachers of Shingon, who believe in the Dainichi Sutra, are like fire being put out by water or dew being blown away by the wind when confronted in debate by the votary of the Lotus Sutra. People say that if a dog barks at a lion, its intestines will rot. The asura demon who shot an arrow at the sun had his head split into seven pieces. The Shingon teachers are like the dog or the asura, while the votary of the Lotus Sutra is like the sun or the lion.
 
Before the sun rises, ice is as hard as metal. Fire, when untouched by water. is as hot as molten iron. But even the hardest ice easily melts away in the sun of summer, and even the hottest fire is easily extinguished by water. The various Shingon teachers appear to be most dignified and wise, but they are like one who, forgetful of the sun, expects ice to remain hard forever or who, not taking water into account, thinks that fire will burn indefinitely.
 
As you know, before the Mongol attack, the arrogance of the people of our day knew no bounds. Since the tenth month of last year, however, none of them has dared to assume a haughty attitude, for, as you have heard, I, Nichiren, alone predicted this foreign invasion. If the Mongols attack our country again, none of the people will have the courage to face them. They will be like a monkey terrified by a dog or a frog cowering before a snake. This is all because the nation has allowed the priests of the Shingon, Nembutsu, Ritsu and other sects to hate Nichiren, who is the votary of the Lotus Sutra and an emissary of Shakyamuni Buddha, and thereby brought harm upon itself. Thus it incurred the wrath of Heaven, with the consequence that all its people have become cowards. In their terror of another Mongol invasion, they are like fire fearful of water, a tree dreading the axe, a pheasant frightened out of its wits at the sight of a hawk, or a mouse threatened by a cat. Not one of them will escape. What will they do then? Soldiers look upon the general as their soul. If the general loses heart, his soldiers will become cowards.
 
A woman’s soul is her husband. Without him, she has no soul. Nowadays, even married women find it difficult to get along in the world. Though you have no husband, you lead your life more courageously than those who are married. Furthermore, you maintain your faith in the Buddhist gods and continue to worship the Buddha. You are indeed a remarkable woman.
 
While I was in Kamakura, aside from the evident heresy of the adherents of the Nembutsu and other sects, I had no way of determining whether the faith of individual believers in the Lotus Sutra was deep or shallow. This I came to know only after I had incurred the displeasure of the authorities and had been exiled to Sado. Though no one else came to visit me, you, a woman, not only sent me various offerings but personally made the journey to see me. It was almost too amazing to be true. And in addition, you have now called on me here in Minobu. I know of no words with which to thank you. Certainly the Buddhist gods will protect you and the Ten Goddesses will have compassion for you. The Buddha promised in the Lotus Sutra that, for a woman, the sutra will serve as a lantern in the darkness, as a ship when she crosses the sea, and as a protector when she travels through dangerous places.
 
When the Learned Doctor Kumarajiva was carrying the Lotus Sutra to China, the Heavenly King Bishamon dispatched a vast number of troops to escort him safely over the Pamirs. When Priest Dosho read the Lotus Sutra in the field, innumerable tigers gathered to protect him. There is no reason why you should not be protected in the same way. The thirty-six deities on earth and the twenty-eight gods of the constellations in the heavens will lend you protection. Furthermore, each person has two heavenly gods who always accompany him, just as the shadow follows the body. One is named Dosho and the other Domyo. Perched respectively on one’s left and right shoulders, they report all of his deeds to Heaven. Therefore Heaven never punishes those who have not committed any error, let alone a person of your virtue.
 
That is why the Great Teacher Miao-lo stated, "The stronger one’s faith, the greater the gods’ protection."  So long as one maintains firm faith, he is certain to receive the great protection of the gods. I say this for your sake. I know your faith has always been admirable, but now you must strengthen it more than ever. Only then will the Ten Goddesses lend you greater protection. You need not seek far for an example. Everyone in Japan, from the sovereign on down to the common people, all without exception tried to do me harm, but I have survived until this day. This is because, although I am alone, I have firm faith [in the Lotus Sutra].
 
If a boat is handled by an unskilled steersman, it may capsize and drown everyone aboard. Likewise, even if someone has great physical strength, if he lacks a resolute spirit, he cannot give full play to his abilities. In this country, there are many wise persons, but they cannot utilize their wisdom because they are governed by foolish leaders.
 
In the last Mongol invasion, tens of thousands of soldiers as well as civilians, both male and female, in Iki, Tsushima and the nine provinces [Kyushu] were killed, captured, drowned in the sea, or fell from cliffs to their death. If the Mongols attack again, this time they will wreak incomparably greater havoc. Kyoto and Kamakura will meet the same fate as Iki and Tsushima in the past. Prepare in advance and flee to some other place. At that time, those who declared they would not see or listen to me will join their palms together and take faith in the Lotus Sutra. Even the adherents of the Nembutsu and Zen sects will chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
 
The Lotus Sutra states that if there are men and women who have firm faith in this sutra, the Buddha will support them on his shoulders and carry them on his back. When the Learned Doctor Kumarayana traveled [to Kucha], a wooden statue of Shakyamuni carried him on its back by night. When I was about to be beheaded, the Lord Buddha Shakyamuni took my place. It is the same in the present as it was in the past. All of you are my followers, so how could you fail to attain Buddhahood?
 
No matter whom you may marry, you must not follow him if he is an enemy of the Lotus Sutra. Strengthen your faith more than ever. Ice is made of water, but it is colder than water. Blue dye is produced from indigo, but if something is dyed in it repeatedly, it becomes bluer than the indigo plant itself. The Lotus Sutra itself does not change, but as you continue to strengthen your faith in it, you will be filled with more vitality and receive more blessings than other people do.
 
Wood is vulnerable to fire, but sandalwood cannot be burned. Fire is extinguished by water, but the fire that cremated the Buddha’s remains could not be quenched. Although flowers are scattered by the wind, those that bloom in the five heavens of purity do not wither. Water evaporates in a time of great drought, but not if it enters the Yellow River. The wicked king named Dammira did not incur punishment even when he cut off the head of an Indian monk. But when he beheaded the Venerable Aryasimha, his sword fell to the ground, and his arm with it. When King Pushyamitra burned the Kukkutarama Monastery to ashes, his head was split by the staves of the twelve gods.
 
Likewise the people of Japan, by becoming enemies of the Lotus Sutra, bring ruin on themselves and their country. And because I proclaim this, I am called arrogant by those of little understanding. But I do not speak out of arrogance. It is simply that if I did not speak out, I would not be the votary of the Lotus Sutra. Moreover, when my words prove later to be true, people will be able to believe all the more readily. And because I write this down now, the people of the future will recognize my wisdom.
 
[A commentary on the Nirvana Sutra states that] the body is insignificant while the Law is supreme, and [that] one should give his life in order to propagate the Law. Because my body is insignificant, I am struck and hated, but because the Law is supreme, it will spread without fail. If the Lotus Sutra spreads, my mortal remains will be respected, and if my remains are respected, they will benefit the people. Then I will come to be revered as highly as the Great Bodhisattva Hachiman is now. You should understand that at that time, the men and women who aided me will be honored as greatly as Takeshiuchi and Wakamiya.
 
The benefits which come from opening the eyes of even one blind person are beyond description. How then is it possible to describe the benefits that derive from opening the blind eyes of all the Japanese people, and from giving the gift of sight to all human beings throughout Jambudvipa and the other three continents of the earth? In the fourth volume of the Lotus Sutra we read, "After the Buddha’s death, those who can comprehend its [the sutra’s] meaning serve as the eyes of all heavenly beings and of the people of the world." Those who maintain their faith in the sutra act as the eyes of all gods and people. Therefore, those Japanese who are hostile to me are in effect gouging out the eyes of all heavenly and human beings. As a result, heaven is enraged and day after day rains down disasters, while earth is infuriated and month after month one calamity after another occurs.
 
Taishaku was a heavenly lord, yet he greatly respected the fox who taught him the Law. As a result, he was reborn as the Lord Shakyamuni Buddha. Sessen Doji honored a demon as his teacher and became the lord of the threefold world. Saints and sages of old did not reject the Law, no matter what the appearance of its teachers. I, Nichiren, may be a stupid man, but I am surely not inferior to a fox or a demon. The noblest people in the present age are in no way superior to Taishaku or Sessen Doji, yet because of my low social position, they have rejected my wise words. That is why the country is now on the brink of ruin. How lamentable! And what I find even sadder is that I will be unable to save my disciples who have pitied my sufferings.
 
Should any calamity befall us, you should immediately come to visit me here, where you will be welcomed wholeheartedly. Should the worst happen, then let us starve together among these mountains. I would imagine your daughter, Oto, has become a fine and intelligent young girl. I will write you again.
 

Nichiren
The fourth day of the eighth 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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