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Major Writings - Nichiren Daishounin

On Filial and Unfilial Conduct

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

On Filial and Unfilial Conduct

I have received your gift of a sack of rice, sent in donation for a memorial service on the anniversary of Lord Ueno's passing. I will offer it in the presence of the Buddha and recite the Jigage.

As for what it means to be filial, by first knowing about unfilial behavior, we can understand the meaning of filial piety. As an example of unfilial conduct, a person called Yu-meng once struck his father, and as a result was destroyed by a bolt of lightening. A person called Pan-fu cursed his mother, and as a result was attacked and devoured by a poisonous snake. King Ajatashatru killed his father, and as a result contracted white leprosy. King Virudhaka killed one of his parents, and as a result he was trapped in a burning boat on a river and fell alive into the hell of incessant suffering. Never have there been instances of people incurring such retribution for killing unrelated persons. By considering the results of unfilial conduct, we can understand how great the benefit of filial conduct must be.

The more than three thousand volumes of outer scriptures concern no other matters; they teach nothing but filial conduct toward one's father and mother. Yet though [by following these teachings] one may fulfill his duties to his parents in the present life, he will be unable to help them in their life to come. The debt of gratitude owed to one's father and mother is as vast as the ocean. If one cares for them while they are alive but does nothing to help them in their next life, his actions, by comparison, are like a single drop of water.

The more than five thousand volumes of inner scriptures likewise concern no other matters; they simply set forth the merits of filial piety. However, though the Buddha's first forty years and more of teachings may seem to be about filial conduct, he did not reveal the true teaching on filial conduct in them. Therefore, though they appear to fall within the realm of teachings of filial conduct, they are in fact unfilial.

The Venerable Maudgalyayana rescued his mother from the suffering of the realm of hungry spirits. However, he was only able to lead her to the worlds of Humanity and Heaven, and could not enable her to enter the path of attaining Buddhahood. Shakyamuni Buddha, at the age of thirty, expounded the Dharma to his father, King Shuddhodana, enabling him to attain the highest of the four fruits. And at the age of thirty-eight, he enabled his mother, Lady Maya, to attain the stage of arhat. Yet, while such deeds may resemble filial conduct, the Buddha was in fact thereby guilty of unfilial behavior, for, though he freed his parents from the six paths, he caused them to enter a path that would never lead to Buddhahood. This is like reducing a crown prince to the status of commoner, or like marrying a princess of royal blood to a man of lowly birth.

For this reason, the Buddha declared that, [had he only expounded the provisional teachings,] "I would have fallen into miserliness and greed, and such a thing would never do." Having given his parents a meal of boiled barley while begrudging them amrita, and having offered them unrefined sake while denying them refined sake, the Buddha had become the most unfilial of persons. Like King Virudhaka, he should have fallen alive into the great citadel of the hell of incessant suffering, and like King Ajatashatru, he should have contracted white leprosy in that very body. However, forty-two years [after he attained enlightenment], he expounded the Lotus Sutra, saying, "Though these persons may arouse thoughts of extinction and enter nirvana, yet in that land, seeking the Buddha wisdom, they will be able to hear this sutra." Because Shakyamuni expounded the Lotus Sutra in order to repay the dept of gratitude he owed to his father and mother, Taho Buddha, who had come from the Land of Treasure Purity, praised him as a Buddha of true filial piety. And the Buddhas of the ten directions assembled and declared him to be the most filial among all the Buddhas.

Pondering matters in this light, we can see that the people of Japan are all unfilial. In a passage of the Nirvana Sutra, the Buddha taught that unfilial people would be more numerous than the dust particles of the earth. Thus, the sun, the moon and the eighty-four thousand stars in heaven each grow enraged and glare with furious eyes at the country of Japan. That is what today's divination masters are reporting to the ruler as "frequent disturbances in the heavens." And with strange happenings on the earth occurring day after day, the country is like a small boat tossed about on the great sea. This is the reason why the children of Japan have lost their vitality, and why the women are vomiting blood.

Your are the most filial person in all of Japan. Bonten and Taishaku will descend from heaven to serve as left and right wings to you, and the gods of the earth in the four directions will support your feet, revering you as their father and mother. There is still much that I would like to say, but I will conclude here.

With my deep respect,

The eighth day of the third month in the third year of Koan (1280)


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]