Make your own free website on

Major Writings II - Nichiren Daishounin

The Gift of Rice
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 Gift of Rice
- Hakumai Ippyo Gosho -

I have received the sack of rice, the sack of taro and the basket of river-plants which you were so good as to send me by your servants.

Man has two kinds of treasure: clothing and food. One sutra states, "All sentient beings live on food." Man depends on food and clothing to survive in this world. For fish, water is the greatest treasure and for trees, the soil in which they grow. Man's life is sustained by what he eats. That is why food is his treasure.

However, life itself is the most precious of all treasures. Even the treasures of the entire universe cannot equal the value of a single human life. Life is like a lamp, and food like oil. When the oil is gone, the flame will die out, and without food, life will cease.

People place the word "Nam" before the names of all deities and Buddhas in worshiping them. But what is the meaning of "Nam"? This word derives from Sanskrit, and means to devote one's life. Ultimately it means to offer our lives to the Buddha. Some may have wives, children, retainers, estates, gold, silver or other treasures according to their status. Others have nothing at all. Yet whether one has wealth or not, life is still the most precious treasure. This is why the saints and sages of ancient times offered their lives to the Buddha, and were themselves able to attain Buddhahood.

Sessen Doji offered his body to a demon to receive a teaching composed of eight characters. Bodhisattva Yakuo, having no oil, burned his elbow as an offering to the Lotus Sutra. In our own country, Prince Shotoku peeled off the skin of his hand on which to copy the Lotus Sutra, and Emperor Tenji burned his third finger as an offering to Shakyamuni Buddha. Such austere practices are for saints and sages, but not for ordinary people.

Yet even common mortals can attain Buddhahood if they cherish one thing: earnest faith. In the deepest sense, earnest faith is the will to understand and live up to the spirit, not the words, of the sutras. What does this mean? In one sense, it means that offering one's only robe to the Lotus Sutra is equivalent to tearing off one's own skin, and in a time of famine, offering the Buddha the single bowl of rice on which one's life depends is to dedicate one's life to the Buddha. The blessings of such dedication are as great as those Bodhisattva Yakuo received by burning his own elbow, or Sessen Doji by offering his flesh to a demon.

Therefore, saints consecrated themselves by offering their own bodies, whereas common mortals may consecrate themselves by the sincerity with which they give. The precept of donation expounded in the seventh volume of the Maka Shikan in effect teaches the spirit of offering.

The true path of life lies in the affairs of this world. The Konkomyo Sutra reads, "To have a profound knowledge of this world is itself Buddhism." The Nirvana sutra reads, "All scriptures or teachings, from whatever source, are ultimately the revelation of Buddhist truth."

In contrast, the sixth volume of the Lotus Sutra reads, "No affairs of life or work are in any way different from the ultimate reality." In discussing the underlying significance of these quotations, Miao-lo taught that the first two sutras are profound, but still shallow when compared to the Lotus Sutra. Whereas they relate secular matters in terms of Buddhism, the Lotus Sutra explains that secular matters ultimately are Buddhism.

The sutras which came before the Lotus Sutra taught that all phenomena derive from one's mind. The mind is like the earth, and phenomena are like the plants growing in the earth. But the Lotus Sutra teaches that the mind is one with the earth and the earth is one with its plants. The provisional sutras say that a tranquil mind is like the moon and a pure heart is like a flower, but the Lotus Sutra states that the flower and moon are themselves heart and mind. Therefore, it is obvious that rice is not merely rice but life itself.

Because the regent would not taste the sumptuous food [of true Buddhism], there was nothing more I could do, and so I retired to the forest. I am an ordinary man and find it hard to endure the winter's cold or the summer's heat. Nor do I have enough to eat. I could never match the feat of the man said to have walked ten thousand ri on a single meal, or that of Confucius and his grandson, who ate only nine meals in one hundred days. Without food, I could not long continue to recite the sutra or concentrate on meditation.

Thus, your offerings are more than mere gifts. Perhaps the Lord Buddha himself advised you to care for me, or it might be that your karma from the past has impelled you to do so. It is impossible to say all I want to in this letter.

With my deep respect.


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