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Major Writings - Nichiren Daishounin

On Persecutions Befalling the Buddha
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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 Persecutions Befalling the Buddha

- Shonin Gonanji -

Now in the second year of Koan (1279), it is twenty seven years since I first proclaimed the true teaching at Seicho-ji temple. It was noon on the twenty-eighth day of the fourth month in the fifth year of Kencho (1253), on the southern side of Jibutsu-do Hall in the Shobutsu-bo of the temple, located in Tojo Village. Tojo is now a district, but was then a part of Nagasa District in Awa Province. Here is located what was the second, but is now the country's most important shrine to the Sun Goddess, built by Minamoto no Yoritomo, founder of the Kamakura shogunate. The Buddha fulfilled the purpose of his advent in a little over forty years; T'ien-t'ai took about thirty years, and Dengyo, some twenty years. I have repeatedly spoken of the indescribable persecutions they suffered during those years. For me it took twenty-seven years, and the persecutions I faced during this period are well known to you all.

The Lotus Sutra reads, "Since hatred and jealousy abound even during the lifetime of the Buddha, how much worse will it be in the world after his passing?" Shakyamuni Buddha suffered innumerable persecutions: For ninety days he was forced to eat horse fodder; a huge boulder was dropped on him, and though it missed him, his foot was injured and bled; a group of eight priests led by Sunakshatra, outwardly acting as the Buddha's disciples but in spirit siding with Brahmans, watched every moment of the day and night for a chance to kill him; King Virudhaka killed great numbers of the Shakya clan; King Ajatashatru had many of Shakyamuni's disciples trampled to death by wild elephants and subjected the Buddha to a series of severe tribulations. Such were the persecutions that took place "in the Buddha's lifetime."

In the more than two thousand years "after his passing, "no one, not even Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, T'ien-t'ai or Dengyo, encountered any of the still greater persecutions predicted to occur. No one can say they were not votaries of the Lotus Sutra, but if they were, why did none shed even a drop of blood, as did the Buddha, nor suffer even greater trials? Could the sutra's predictions be false and the Buddha's teachings nothing but great lies?

However, in these twenty-seven years, Nichiren was exiled to the province of Izu on the twelfth day of the fifth month in the first year of Kocho (1261), was wounded on the forehead and had his left hand broken on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in the first year of Bun'ei (1264). He was to be executed on the twelfth day of the ninth month of the eighth year of Bun'ei (1271), but was instead exiled to the province of Sado. In addition, many of his disciples were murdered or executed, banished or heavily fined. I do not know whether these trials equal or surpass those of the Buddha. Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, T'ien-t'ai and Dengyo came nowhere near me in what they endured. Had it not been for the advent of Nichiren in the Latter Day of the Law, the Buddha would have been a great liar and the testimony given by Taho and all the other Buddhas would have been false. In the twenty-two hundred and thirty years since the Buddha's death, Nichiren is the only person in the whole world to fulfill the Buddha's prophecy.

In the Latter Day of the Law of both Shakyamuni and the Buddhas before him, the rulers and people who despised the votaries of the Lotus Sutra seemed to be free from punishment at first, but eventually they were all doomed to fall. Among those who attacked Nichiren, there were at first no signs of punishment. During these twenty-seven years, the Buddhist gods who vowed to protect the votary of the Lotus Sutra--Bonten, Taishaku, the gods of the sun and moon, and the Four Heavenly Kings--did little to help Nichiren. But by now they have realized in terror that unless they fulfill the oath they swore before the Buddha, they will fall into the hell of incessant suffering. Consequently they are now earnestly carrying out their vow by punishing those who attacked the votary of the Lotus Sutra. The deaths of Ota Chikamasa, Nagasaki Tokitsuna and Daishin-bo, for example, who were all thrown from their horses, can be attributed to their treachery against the Lotus Sutra. There are four kinds of punishment: general and individual, conspicuous and inconspicuous. The massive epidemics, nationwide famines, insurrections and foreign invasion suffered by Japan are general punishment. Epidemics are also inconspicuous punishment. The tragic deaths of Ota and the others both conspicuous and individual.

Each of you should summon up the courage of a lion and never succumb to threats from anyone. The lion fears no other beast, nor do its cubs. Slanderers are like howling jackals, but Nichiren's followers are like roaring lions. Hojo Tokiyori and Hojo Tokimune, the past and present regents, pardoned me when they found I was innocent of the accusations against me. The regent will no longer take action on any charge without confirming its validity. You may rest assured that nothing, not even a person possessed by a powerful demon, can harm Nichiren, because Bonten, Taishaku, the gods of the sun and moon, the Four Heavenly Kings, Tensho Daijin and Hachiman are safeguarding him. Strengthen your faith day by day and month after month. Should you slacken even a bit, demons will take advantage.

We common mortals are so foolish that we do not fear the warnings in the sutras or treatises so long as they do not concern us directly. But you must be fully prepared for the havoc Hei no Saemon and Adachi Yasumori, in their outrage, will wreak upon us. People are now being sent to Tsukushi to fight the Mongols; consider yourself in the same position as those who are on their way or who are already at the battlefield. So far our believers have not experienced anything so terrible. The warriors in Tsukushi, however, now face a dreadful fate, and if they are killed in battle, they will be doomed to fall into hell. Even if we too should meet such severe trials, we will attain Buddhahood in the future. Our present tribulations are like moxa cautery, minor pain necessary to remove greater pain.

You need not frighten those peasant believers from Atsuhara, but you should encourage them in every way possible. Tell them to be prepared for the worst. Do not expect good times, but take the bad times for granted. If they complain of hunger, tell them about the hell of starvation. If they grumble that they are cold, tell them of the eight freezing hells. If they say they are frightened, explain to them that a pheasant sighted by a hawk, or a mouse stalked by a cat, is as desperate as they are. I have repeated the foregoing almost daily for the past twenty-seven years. Yet with Nagoe no Ama, Shofu-bo, Noto-bo, Sammi-bo and others, who are so cowardly, close-minded, greedy, and filled with doubt, it is like pouring water on lacquerware or slicing at thin air.

There was something very strange about Sammi-bo. However, I was afraid that any admonition would be taken by the ignorant as mere jealousy of his wisdom, and therefore, I refrained from speaking out. In time his wicked ambition led to treachery, and finally to his doom during the Atsuhara Persecution. If I had scolded him more strictly, he might have been saved. I did not mention this before because no one could understand it. Even now the ignorant will say that I am speaking ill of the deceased. Nevertheless, I mention this for the benefit of other believers. I am sure that those who persecuted the believers at Atsuhara were frightened by the fate of Sammi-bo.

Even if others are clad in armor and instigate, my disciples should never do the same. If there are some who prepare for fighting, please write to me immediately.

With my deep respect,
Nichiren

The first day of the tenth month

This letter should be kept by Shijo Kingo.
 

  

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]

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