No Safety in the Threefold World
I have received the various articles you sent me.
Concerned about my life in the mountains, you
had your messenger plow through the snow to
call on me. Your sincerity has no doubt been
recognized by the Lotus Sutra and the ten demon
The Nirvana Sutra states, "Human life runs its
course more swiftly than a mountain stream; the
person here today will not likely be here
tomorrow." The Maya Sutra reads, "Imagine, for
instance, a flock of sheep being driven by a
chandala to the slaughterhouse. Human life is
exactly the same; step by step one approaches
the place of death." The Lotus Sutra states,
"There is no safety in the threefold world; it is like
a burning house, replete with a multitude of
sufferings, truly to be feared,..."
In these passages from the sutras, our
compassionate father, the World-Honored One
of Great Enlightenment, admonishes the ordinary
persons of the latter age, warning them, his
ignorant children. Nevertheless, they do not
awaken for even one instant; nor do they
conceive a desire to attain the way for even a
single moment. In order to decorate their bodies,
which, if abandoned in the fields, would be
stripped naked overnight, they spend their time
striving to pile up articles of clothing.
When their lives come to an end, within three
days their bodies will turn into water that washes
away, into dust that mixes with the earth, and into
smoke that rises up into the sky, leaving no trace
behind. Nevertheless, they seek to nurture these
bodies and to amass great wealth.
This principle has been known since ancient
times, but today the situation is pitiable. The
country of Japan has been visited by continuous
famine for the last several years, and supplies of
food and clothing are exhausted. The domestic
animals have all been consumed, and persons
who eat human flesh are appearing. They tear
flesh from the bodies of the dead, children and
the sick, mix it with fish or deer meat, and sell it.
People purchase this mixture and eat it. Thus,
this country has unwittingly become an abode of
Moreover, from the spring of last year through
the middle of the second month of this year,
epidemics have spread throughout the country.
In five families out of ten, in fifty households out
of a hundred, all the members have died from
disease. Others have escaped illness but are
suffering from great spiritual distress, and thus
are in even greater agony than those who are ill.
Even the people who managed to survive have
lost the children who used to follow them as
closely as shadows, or the spouses from whom
they had been as inseparable as a pair of eyes,
or the parents upon whom they had relied as
they would upon heaven and earth. For them,
what meaning does life hold? How could
sensible people not abhor this world? The
Buddha taught that there is no safety in the
threefold world, but the current state of affairs
seems excessively tragic.
Although I myself am only an ordinary person, I
informed the ruler that the Buddha had left
behind teachings predicting such a situation.
However, he did not heed my admonitions, but
rather began to persecute me even more
harshly, so there was nothing further I could do.
This country has already become a slanderer of
the Law and, by turning into an enemy of the
Lotus Sutra, it has also made itself an enemy of
the Buddhas and the gods of the three
existences and the ten directions.
Please consider deeply. No matter what grave
crimes I Nichiren, have been charged with, I am
a votary of the Lotus Sutra. No matter what grave
crimes a person who chants Namu Amida Butsu
may be guilty of, it cannot be denied that he is a
follower of the Nembutsu. Because I chant Nam
-myoho-renge-kyo with my own mouth, I have
been reviled, struck. exiled and had my life
threatened. However, in spite of all this, I have
continued to exhort others to do likewise. Am I
not then a votary of the Lotus Sutra?
In the Lotus Sutra, it is stipulated that those who
bear a grudge against its votary are destined to
fall into the Avichi hell. The fourth volume states
that the offense of harboring malice toward a
votary of the Lotus Sutra in the latter age is
graver than that of reviling the Buddha for an
entire medium kalpa The seventh volume
teaches that people who disparage the votary will
suffer in the Avichi hell for a thousand kalpas.
The fifth volume states that after the Buddha’s
death, when the Latter Day of the Law arrives, a
votary of the Lotus Sutra will certainly appear,
and that at that time, in that country, an
immeasurably great multitude of monks who
either uphold or violate the precepts will gather
and denounce the votary to the ruler of the
country, causing him to be banished and ruined.
These passages from the sutra all coincide
precisely with what has happened to me. I am
therefore convinced that I will attain Buddhahood
in the future. I will speak in more detail when we
The thirteenth day of the second month in the
fourth year of Kenji (1278), cyclical sign
Reply to Lord Matsuno