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Major Writings - Nichiren Daishounin

The Votary of the Lotus Sutra Will Meet Persecution
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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

The Votary of the Lotus Sutra Will Meet Persecution

To Kawanobe and his people, Priest Yamato Ajari and the others, and all of my disciples and my followers Saburo Zaemon-no-jo and Toki

Respectfully, Nichiren

Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu were both scholars of a thousand works. However, they expounded only the provisional Mahayana teachings. Though they understood [the meaning of] the Lotus Sutra in their hearts, they did not declare it in words. (An oral transmission exists concerning this.) T'ien-t'ai and Dengyo went so far as to expound it, but they left unrevealed the object of worship of the essential teaching, the four bodhisattvas, the high sanctuary and the five characters of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Their reasons were, first, because the Buddha had not transferred these teachings to any of them, and second, because the time was not ripe and the people's capacity had not yet matured. Now the time has arrived, and the four bodhisattvas will surely make their advent. I, Nichiren, was the first to understand this. It is said that the flight of a bluebird heralds the appearance of the Queen Mother of the West, and that the singing of a magpie foretells the arrival of a guest. [In the same way, there are omens announcing the advent of the four bodhisattvas.] All those who consider themselves my disciples should know that now is the time for the four bodhisattvas to appear. Therefore, even if it should cost your lives, you must never discard your faith.

Toki, Saburo Zaemon-no-jo, Kawanobe, Yamato Ajari and the rest of you, gentlemen and priests, should read this letter to one another and listen. In this defiled age, you should always talk together and never cease to pray for your next life.

The fourth volume of the Lotus Sutra states: "Since hatred and jealousy [toward this sutra] abound even during the lifetime of the Buddha, how much worse will it be in the world after his passing!" The fifth volume says: "The people will resent [the Lotus Sutra] and find it extremely difficult to believe." The thirty-eighth volume of the Nirvana Sutra states, "At that time there were countless Brahmans...Their hearts gave rise to fury." It also says, "At that time there were a countless number of Brahmans who plotted together and went in a body to King Ajatashatru of Magadha and said, 'At present there is a man of incomparable wickedness, a monk called Gautama. O King, you have never examined him, and this arouses much fear in us. All sorts of evil persons hoping to gain profit and alms, have flocked to him and become his followers. [They do not practice goodness, but instead use the power of spells and magic to win over men like] Mahakashyapa, Shariputra and Maudgalyayana.'" This well illustrates the meaning of the passage: "Since hatred and jealousy abound even during the lifetime of the Buddha..."

The Monk of Great Virtue Tokuichi reviled the Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai Chih-che, saying: "See here, Chih-i, whose disciple are you? With a tongue less than three inches long you slander the teachings that come from the Buddha's long, broad tongue!" Tokuichi also said, "Surely he [T'ien-t'ai] must be perverse and insane." More than three hundred priests, including the high-ranking prelates of the seven major temples in Nara such as the Supervisor of Monks Gomyo and the Discipline Master Keishin, hurled abuse at the Great Teacher Dengyo, saying, "Just as in the Western Hsia land of Central Asia there was an evil Brahman named Devil Eloquence who deceived people, now in this eastern realm of Japan there is a shave-pated monk who spits out crafty words. Demons like this will attract to themselves those who are of like mind and will deceive and mislead the world."

However, Dengyo states in his Hokke Shuku: "Shakyamuni taught that the shallow is easy to embrace, but the profound is difficult. To discard the shallow and seek the profound requires courage. The Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai trusted and obeyed Shakyamuni Buddha and worked to uphold the Hokke [Lotus] school, spreading its teachings throughout China. We of Mount Hiei inherited the doctrine from T'ien-t'ai and work to uphold the Hokke school and to disseminate its teachings throughout Japan."

During the entire lifetime of the Buddha as well as the two thousand years of the Former and Middle Days of the Law that followed after his death, there were only three votaries of the Lotus Sutra. They were Shakyamuni Buddha himself, T'ien-t'ai and Dengyo. By contrast, Shan-wu-wei and Pu-k'ung of the Shingon school, Tu-shun and Chih-yen of the Kegon school, and the teachers of the Sanron and Hosso schools all interpreted the sentences of the sutra of the true teaching so that they accorded with the meaning of the provisional sutras. Scholars such as Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu inwardly grasped [the meaning of] the Lotus Sutra but did not outwardly speak of it. Not even the four ranks of saints in the Former Day of the Law could compare with T'ien-t'ai and Dengyo when it came to propagating the Lotus Sutra just as it teaches.

If the Buddha's prediction is true, there must be a votary of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law, and the great difficulties that he encounters will surpass those that occurred during the Buddha's lifetime. The Buddha himself underwent nine great ordeals. He was slandered by Sundari; he was offered stinking rice gruel; he was forced to eat horse fodder; King Virudhaka massacred the greater part of the Shakya clan; he went begging but his bowl remained empty; Chinchamanavika slandered him; Devadatta dropped a boulder from atop a hill [in an attempt to kill him]; and the cold wind forced him to seek robes for protection. And in addition, he was denounced by all the Brahmans, as I mentioned earlier. If we go by the prediction in the sutra [that hatred and jealousy will be "much worse" after the Buddha's passing], then T'ien-t'ai and Dengyo did not fulfill the Buddha's prophecy. In view of all this, it must be that a votary of the Lotus Sutra will appear at the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law, just as the Buddha predicted.

In any event, on the seventh day of the twelfth month in the tenth year of Bun'ei (1273), a letter from Hojo Nobutoki, the former governor of Musashi Province, reached the province of Sado. The letter, to which he had set his seal, read:

We have heard a rumor that Nichiren, the priest exiled to Sado, is leading his disciples in plotting some evil action. His scheme is nothing short of outrageous. From now on, those who follow that priest are to be severely punished. Should there be those who nevertheless still violate this prohibition, their names are to be reported. This is an official order.

Priest Kan'e

The seventh day of the twelfth month in the tenth year of Bun'ei.

To Echi-no Rokuro Zaemon-no-jo

This letter reads that I am "plotting some evil action." Brahmans slandered the Buddha, saying that Gautama was an evil man. I, Nichiren, have personally suffered each of the nine great ordeals. Among them, Virudhaka massacring the Shakya clan, going begging but being left with an empty bowl, and being forced to seek robes for protection from the cold wind have been great trials far surpassing those that occurred during the Buddha's lifetime. These are hardships that T'ien-t'ai and Dengyo never met. Truly you should know that, adding Nichiren to the other three, there is now a fourth votary of the Lotus Sutra, who has appeared in the Latter Day of the Law. How glad I am to fulfill the words of prophecy from the sutra: "How much worse will it be in the world after his passing!" How sad I feel that all the people of this country will fall into the Avichi Hell! I will not go into detail here, or this letter will become too involved. You should think this through seriously for yourselves.

Nichiren

The fourteenth day of the first month in the eleventh year of Bun'ei (1274), cyclical sign kinoe-inu

Postscript: All my disciples and followers should read and listen to this letter. Those who are in earnest should discuss it with one another.

  

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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