Letter to Jakunichi-bo
I deeply appreciate your sending a letter
to this distant place. It is extremely rare to be born as a human being. Not only are you endowed with human life, but you
have had the rare fortune to encounter Buddhism. Moreover, out of the Buddha's many teachings, you have found the daimoku
of the Lotus Sutra and become its votary. Truly you have served tens of billions of Buddhas in your past existences!
Nichiren is the supreme votary of the
Lotus Sutra in Japan. In this land only he has lived the twenty-line verse of the Kanji chapter. Eight hundred billion myriad
bodhisattvas pledged with this verse to propagate the Lotus Sutra but not one of them fulfilled it. The parents who gave life
to this extraordinary person, Nichiren, are the most blessed of all people in Japan. It is destiny that they should have been
my parents, and I, their child. Since Nichiren propagates the Lotus Sutra as the envoy of Shakyamuni, then his parents must
also share this relationship. They are like King Myoshogon and Lady Jotoku who followed their sons, Jozo and Jogen, in the
practice of Buddhism. Could the two Buddhas Shakyamuni and Taho have been reborn as Nichiren's parents? Or if not, could his
parents have been among the eight hundred billion myriad bodhisattvas or the Four Bodhisattvas led by Jogyo? It is beyond
Names are important for all things.
That is why the Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai placed "designation" first among the five major principles. Giving myself the name
Nichiren signifies that I attained enlightenment by myself. This may sound boastful, but there are specific reasons for what
I say. The sutra reads, "Just as the light of the sun and moon illuminates all obscurity, this person will practice among
the people and dispel the darkness of all mankind." Consider exactly what this passage reveals. "This person will practice
among the people..." means that the first five hundred years of the Latter Day of the Law will witness the advent of Bodhisattva
Jogyo, who will illuminate the darkness of human ignorance and earthly desires with the torch of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Nichiren's
endeavors to have all the Japanese embrace the Lotus Sutra are the work of Bodhisattva Jogyo. His unremitting efforts never
slacken, even here on this mountain.
The passage continues, "After my death,
you must embrace this sutra. Those who do so shall travel the straight road to Buddhahood." Therefore, those who become Nichiren's
disciples and followers should realize the profound karmic relationship they share with him and spread the Lotus Sutra in
the same spirit. Being a votary of the Lotus Sutra is a bitter and yet unavoidable destiny.
Fan K'uai, Chang Liang, Taira no Masakado
and Fujiwara no Sumitomo never acted cowardly because they cared so deeply about their honor and abhorred disgrace. But disgrace
in this life is nothing. What counts is disgrace which appears in the next life. Advance on the Lotus Sutra's path to enlightenment,
bearing in mind the time when devils, demons and the guards of hell will strip you of your garments on the bank of the river
of three crossings. The Lotus Sutra is the robe which will keep you from disgrace after this life. The Lotus Sutra reads,
"...the naked have obtained clothing."
Believe in the Gohonzon with all your
heart, for it is the robe to protect you in the next life. No wife would ever leave her husband unclothed, nor could any parents
fail to feel compassion for their child shivering in the cold. Shakyamuni Buddha and the Lotus Sutra are like one's wife and
parents. You have helped Nichiren and saved him from disgrace in this life; in return, he will protect you from disgrace in
the next. Death came to someone yesterday, it may come to us today. Blossoms turn into fruit and brides become mothers-in-law.
Chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and deepen your faith.
I cannot thank you enough for your frequent
letters. Jakunichi-bo, please convey all these teachings in detail to the other disciples.
The sixteenth day of the ninth month