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Major Writings II - Nichiren Daishounin

On Prolonging Life
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]

On Prolonging Life


There are two types of illness: minor and serious. Early treatment by a skilled physician can cure even serious illnesses, not to mention minor ones. Karma also may be divided into two categories: mutable and immutable. Sincere repentance will eradicate even immutable karma, to say nothing of karma which is mutable. The seventh volume of the Lotus Sutra states, "This sutra is beneficial medicine for the illnesses of all mankind." These words can be found in no other sutra. All the Buddha's teachings are golden words of truth; for countless aeons, they have never contained the slightest falsehood. The Lotus Sutra is the truth of all truths taught by the Buddha, for it includes his declaration that he would now honestly discard the provisional teachings. Taho Buddha confirmed the truth of the Lotus Sutra and all other Buddhas lent their tongues in testimony. How, then, could it be false? Moreover, this sutra contains the greatest of all secrets. Many women suffer from illness, and now in the fifth five-hundred-year period or a little more than twenty-five hundred years after the Buddha's death, the Lotus Sutra is "beneficial medicine" for them also.


King Ajatashatru broke out in huge leprous sores all over his body on the fifteenth day of the second month of his fiftieth year. Not even the skills of his renowned physician Jivaka were enough to cure him. It was foretold that he would die on the seventh day of the third month and fall into the hell of incessant suffering. All the pleasures of his more than fifty years suddenly vanished, and the sufferings of an entire lifetime were gathered into three short weeks. His death was predetermined by his immutable karma. But then the Buddha taught him the Lotus Sutra once more, through the teachings that became the Nirvana Sutra. The king immediately recovered from his illness, and the heavy sins which had burdened his heart vanished like dewdrops in the sun.


More than fifteen hundred years after the Buddha passed away, there lived a man in China called Ch'en Ch'en. It was prophesied that he would die at the age of fifty, but by following the precepts of the Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai, he was able to prolong his life by fifteen years, and lived to be sixty-five. The Buddha taught that Bodhisattva Fukyo also transformed his immutable karma and prolonged his life through his practice of the Lotus Sutra. Ajatashatru, Ch'en Ch'en and Fukyo were men, not women, but they did prolong their lives by practicing the Lotus Sutra. Ch'en Ch'en lived before the fifth five-hundred-year period, so his change of karma was as extraordinary as rice ripening in winter or chrysanthemums blossoming in summer. Today it is as natural for a woman to change her immutable karma by practicing the Lotus Sutra as it is for rice to ripen in fall or chrysanthemums to bloom in winter.


When I, Nichiren, prayed for my mother, not only was her illness cured, but her life was prolonged by four years. Now you too have fallen ill, and as a woman, it is all the more timely for you to try believing in the Lotus Sutra and see what it will do for you. In addition, you can go to Shijo Kingo, who is not only an excellent physician but a votary of the Lotus Sutra.


Life is the most precious of all treasures. Even one extra day of life is worth more than ten million ryo of gold. The Lotus Sutra surpasses all other teachings because of the Juryo chapter. The greatest prince in the world would be of less consequence than a blade of grass if he died in childhood. If he died young, even a man whose wisdom shone as brilliantly as the sun would be less than a living dog. Hasten to accumulate the treasure of faith and quickly conquer your illness.


I should speak to you frankly, but while some people will accept advice, others feel they are not being correctly understood. It is extremely difficult to fathom another person's mind. I have experienced difficulties on many occasions. You do not readily accept advice, so I will not counsel you directly. Just pray to the Gohonzon frankly and sincerely, without help from anyone. When Shijo Kingo came to see me in the tenth month of last year, I told him how grieved I was about your illness. He replied that you were probably not overly concerned then because your illness was not yet serious, but that it would definitely become critical by the first or the second month of this year. His words saddened me deeply. Your husband also told me that he depends on you as a staff to lean on and a pillar for support. He is very worried about you. He is a man who never gives in to defeat and shows the greatest concern for his own kin.


If you are unwilling to take proper care of yourself, it will be very difficult to cure your illness. One day of life is more valuable than all the treasures of the universe, so first you must muster sincere faith. This is the meaning of the passage in the seventh volume of the Lotus Sutra which states that burning one's little finger as an offering to the Buddha and the Lotus Sutra is better than donating all the treasures of the universe. A single life is worth more than the universe. You still have many years ahead of you, and moreover, you have found the Lotus Sutra. If you live even one day longer, you can accumulate that much more good fortune. How precious life is!


Write down your name and age in your own handwriting and send it to me quickly, so I can pray to the gods of the sun and moon. Your son Iyo-bo is also extremely worried about you, so together we will offer the jigage to those gods.


Respectfully,

Nichiren

 

  

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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