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Major Writings II - Nichiren Daishounin

Hell is the Land of Tranquil Delight
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]

Hell is the Land of Tranquil Light

I have received your various gifts. Nothing would please me more than to know that you have communicated with the late Lord Ueno, but I know that that is impossible. Perhaps only in a dream or a vision can you see him. Your late husband must certainly be in the pure land of Eagle Peak, listening and watching over this saha world day and night. You, his wife, and your children have only mortal senses, so you cannot see or hear him, but be assured that you will eventually be reunited [on Eagle Peak].

Counting all your previous lives, you must have shared the bonds of matrimony with more men than there are grains of sand in the ocean. However, the man to whom you were wed in this life is your true husband. He is the only one who brought you to practice the teachings of the Lotus Sutra. You should revere him as a Buddha. While he was in this world, he was a living Buddha, and now, he is a Buddha in death. His Buddhahood transcends both life and death. This is the meaning of the doctrine that is of utmost importance: attaining Buddhahood in one’s present form. The fourth volume of the Lotus Sutra states: ‘If one can uphold this [sutra], he will be upholding the Buddha’s body.’

Neither the pure land nor hell exists outside ourselves; both lie within our own hearts. Awakened to this truth, one is called a Buddha; deluded about it, one is called a common mortal. The Lotus Sutra reveals this truth, and one who embraces the Lotus Sutra will realize that hell is itself the Land of Tranquil Light.

Even though one may practice the provisional teachings for immeasurable millions of years, one will only fall into hell if one turns against the Lotus Sutra. These are not my own words; they were proclaimed by Shakyamuni Buddha and confirmed by Taho Buddha and by all the Buddhas of the ten directions, who are Shakyamuni’s emanations. To practice the provisional teachings is to be like a man scorched by fire who enters deeper and deeper into the flames, or like a drowning man sinking to the bottom of the deep waters. Not to embrace the Lotus Sutra is like jumping into fire or water. Those who rely on such evil teachers as Honen, Kobo and other slanderers of the Lotus Sutra and believe in the Amida or Dainichi Sutra are falling farther and farther into the fire or sinking deeper and deeper toward the bottom of the water. How can they possibly escape from agony! They will doubtless fall into the fiery pits-into the hell of repeated rebirth for torture, the hell of the black cords, and the hell of incessant suffering- and sink to the depths of the ice-to the hell of the blood red lotus and the hell of the great blood-red lotus. The second volume of the Lotus Sutra reads, "When his life comes to an end he will enter the Avichi hell, [be confined there for a whole kalpa, and when the kalpa ends, be born there again].

He will keep repeating this cycle for a countless number of kalpas."

Your late husband has escaped such agonies, for he was a supporter of Nichiren, the votary of the Lotus Sutra. A passage from the sutra reads: "If someone . . . should enter a great fire, the fire could not burn him.... If one were washed away by a great flood and called upon his name, one would immediately find oneself in a shallow place." Another passage reads, "It cannot be burned by fire or washed away by water." How reassuring! How encouraging!

You may think of hell, the iron rods of the guards of hell or the accusing cries of the demon wardens as existing way off in some faraway place, but they are not like that. This teaching is of prime importance, and yet I will impart it to you just as Bodhisattva Monju revealed to the dragon king’s daughter the secret teaching of the attainment of Buddhahood in one’s present body. Now that you are about to receive that teaching, strive even more earnestly in your faith. One who practices still more earnestly whenever one hears the teachings of the Lotus Sutra is a true seeker of the way. T’ien-t’ai states, "From the indigo, an even deeper blue." This passage means that something dyed repeatedly with indigo becomes even bluer than the indigo plant itself. For us the Lotus Sutra is the indigo plant, and the growing intensity of our practice is "an even deeper blue."

The word jigoku or "hell" can be interpreted to mean digging a hole in the ground. A hole is always dug for one who dies; this is what is called "hell." The flames that reduce one’s body to ashes are the fires of the hell of incessant suffering. One’s wife, children and relatives hurrying one’s body to the grave are the guards and wardens of hell. The plaintive cries of one’s family are the voices of the guards and wardens of hell. One’s two-and-a-half-foot-long walking stick is the iron rod of torture in hell. The horses and oxen that carry one’s body are the horse-headed and ox-headed demons, and the grave itself is the great citadel of the hell of incessant suffering. The eighty-four thousand earthly desires are eighty-four thousand cauldrons in hell. One’s body as it leaves home is departing on a journey to the mountain of death, while the river beside which one’s filial children stand in grief is the river of three crossings. It is useless to look for hell anywhere else.

Those who embrace the Lotus Sutra, however, can change all this. For them, hell changes into the Land of Tranquil Light, the burning fires of agony change into the torch of wisdom of the Buddha in his reward body; the dead person becomes a Buddha in his body of the Law; and the fiery inferno becomes the "room of great pity and compassion" where the Buddha in his manifested body abides. Moreover, the walking stick is transformed into the walking stick of the true entity or the Mystic Law, the river of three crossings becomes the ocean of "the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana," and the mountain of death becomes the towering peak of "earthly desires are enlightenment." Please think of your husband in these terms. To realize all this is attain Buddhahood in one’s present form, and to awaken to it is to open the Buddha wisdom. Devadatta changed the Avichi hell into the blissful land of tranquil light, and the dragon king’s daughter also was able to attain Buddhahood without changing her form. Their achievements were none other than the results of understanding the above truth. This is because the Lotus Sutra saves both those who oppose and those who follow it. Such great benefits are contained in the single character myo.

Bodhisattva Nagarjuna states, "[The Lotus Sutra is] like a great physician who changes poison into medicine." The Great Teacher Miao-lo states, ‘How can one find the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light anywhere outside Buddhagaya! This saha world does not exist outside the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light.’ He also says, ‘The true entity is invariably revealed in all phenomena, and all phenomena invariably possess the ten factors. The ten factors invariably function within the Ten Worlds, and the Ten Worlds invariably entail both life and its environment.’ The Lotus Sutra reads, ‘The true entity of all phenomena [can only be understood and shared between Buddhas. This reality consists of the appearance, nature . . . and] their consistency from beginning to end.’ A passage from the Juryo chapter states, ‘It has been immeasurable, boundless [hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of kalpas] since I in fact attained Buddhahood.’ Here, ‘I’ means all beings in the Ten Worlds. All beings of the Ten Worlds are essentially Buddhas; so they dwell in the pure land. A passage from the Hoben chapter reads, ‘All those phenomena are aspects of an abiding Law, and all the characteristics of the world are eternal.’ It is the way of the world that birth and death are the eternally unchanging characteristics of life throughout the three existences of the past, present and future. This is nothing to grieve over or be surprised at. The single ideogram ‘characteristics’ represents the eight characteristics or phases of the Buddha’s existence. Even these eight phases are subject to the law of birth and death. The votaries of the Lotus Sutra are enlightened to all this, thereby attaining Buddhahood in their present forms. Since your deceased husband was a votary of this sutra, he doubtless attained Buddhahood as he was. You need not grieve so much over his passing. But to grieve is natural, since you are an ordinary person. Even sages are sometimes sad. Although Shakyamuni Buddha’s greatest disciples had been awakened to the truth of life, they could not help lamenting his passing. Perhaps they behaved as ordinary people do.

By all means perform as much good as you possibly can for the sake of your deceased husband. The words of a wise man of old, ‘Base your heart on the ninth consciousness and carry out your practice on the six consciousnesses,’ are indeed well said. This letter contains teachings I have so far kept secret. Keep them deep within your heart.

Respectfully,
Nichiren

The eleventh day of the seventh month

Reply to the wife of the late Lord Ueno
 
 

  

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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