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Major Writings - Nichiren Daishounin

Rissho Ankoku Ron
Home
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

Rissho Ankoku Ron  

Once there was a traveler who spoke these words in sorrow
to his host:

In recent years, there are unusual disturbances in the
heavens, strange occurrences on earth, famine and pestilence, all
affecting every corner of the empire and spreading throughout the
land.  Oxen and horses lie dead in the streets, the bones of the
stricken crowd the highways.  Over half the population has
already been carried off by death, and in every family someone
grieves.

All the while some put their whole faith in the "sharp
sword" of the Buddha Amida and intone this name of the lord of
the Western Paradise; others believe that the Buddha Yakushi will
"heal all ills," and recite the sutra that describes him as
the Tathagata of the Eastern Region.  Some, putting their trust
in the passage in the Lotus Sutra that says, "Illness will vanish
immediately, and he will find perpetual youth and eternal
life," pay homage to the wonderful words of that Sutra;
others, citing the passage in the Ninno Sutra that reads: "The
seven difficulties vanish, the seven blessings at once
appear," conduct ceremonies at which a hundred preachers
expound the sutra at a hundred places.  There are those who
follow the secret teachings of the Shingon sect and conduct
rituals by filling five jars with water; and others who devote
themselves entirely to Zen-type meditation and perceive the
emptiness of all phenomena as clearly as the moon.  Some write
out the names of the seven guardian spirits and paste them on
a thousand gates, others paint pictures of the five mighty
bodhisattvas and hang them over ten thousand thresholds, and
still others pray to the gods of heaven and the deities of earth
in ceremonies conducted at the four corners of the capital and
on the four boundaries of the nation; certain that government on
the national and local levels is carried out in a benevolent
manner.

But despite all these efforts,they merely exhaust
themselves in vain.  Famine and disease rage more fiercely than
ever, beggars are everywhere in sight, and scenes of death fill
our eyes.  Cadavers pile up in mounds like observation platforms,
dead bodies lie side by side like planks on a bridge.

If we look about, we find that the sun and moon continue
to move in their accustomed orbits, and the five planets
follow the proper course.  The three treasures of Buddhism
continue to exist, and the period of a hundred reigns [during
which the Bodhisattva Hachiman vowed to protect the nation]
has not yet expired.  Then why is it that the world has already
fallen into decline and that the laws of the state have come to
an end?  What is wrong?  What error has been committed?

The host then spoke: I have been brooding alone upon this
matter, indignant in my heart, but now that you have come, we can
lament together.  Let us discuss the question at length.

When a man leaves family life and enters the Buddhist
way, it is because he hopes to attain Buddhahood through the
teachings of the Dharma.  But attempts now to move the gods fail
to have any effect, and appeals to the power of the Buddhas
produce no results.  When I observe carefully the state of the
world today, I see ignorant people who give way to doubts because
of their naivete.  Therefore they look up at the heavens and
mouth their resentment, or gaze down at the earth and sink deep
into anxiety.

I have pondered the matter carefully with what limited
resources I possess, and have searched rather widely in the
scriptures for an answer.  The people of today all turn their
backs upon what is right; to a man, they give their allegiance to
evil.  That is the reason why the benevolent deities have
abandoned the nation, why sages leave and do not return, and in
their stead come devils and demons, disasters and calamities that
arise one after another.  I cannot keep silent on this matter.  I
cannot suppress my fears.

The guest said: These disasters that befall the empire,
these calamities of the nation -- I am not the only one pained by
them; the whole populace is weighed down with sorrow.  Now I have
been privileged to enter your home and to listen to these
enlightening words of yours.  You speak of the gods and sages
taking leave and of disasters and calamities arising side by side
-- upon what sutras do you base your views?  Could you describe
for me the passages of proof?

The host said: There are numerous passages that could be
cited and a wide variety of proofs.  For example, in the Konkomyo
Sutra we read: "[The Four Heavenly Kings said to the Buddha,]
'Though this sutra exists in the nation, the rulers have never
allowed it to be propagated.  In their hearts they turn away from
it, and they take no pleasure in hearing its teachings.  They do
not serve it, respect it, or sing its praises.  Nor are they
willing to respect ... or give material support to the four kinds
of Buddhist who embrace the sutra.  In the end, they have
made it impossible for us and the countless other heavenly beings
who are our followers to hear the teachings of this profound and
wonderful Dharma.  They have deprived us of the sweet dew of its
words and cut us off from the flow of the True Law, so that our
majesty and strength are drained away.  Thus the number of beings
who occupy the four evil paths increases and the number who enjoy
the human and heavenly states decreases.  People fall into the
river of birth and death and turn their backs on the road to
nirvana.

"'World-Honored One, we, the Four Heavenly Kings, as well
as our various followers and the yakshas and other beings,
observing this state of affairs, have decided to abandon this
nation, for we have no more heart to protect it.  And it is not
we alone who cast aside these rulers.  All the great benevolent
deities who guard and watch over the countless different regions
of the country will also invariably reject them.  And once we and
the others have abandoned and deserted this country and the
rulers will fall from power.  Not a single person in the entire
population will possess a heart of goodness; there will be
nothing but binding and enslaving, killing and injuring, anger
and contention.  Men will slander each other or fawn upon one
another, and the laws will be twisted until even the innocent are
made to suffer.  Pestilence will become rampant, comets will
appear again and again, two suns will come forth side by side and
eclipses will occur with unaccustomed frequency. Black arcs and
white arcs will span the sky as harbingers of
ill fortune, stars will fall, the earth will shake, and noises
will issue from the wells.  Torrential rains and violent winds
will come out of season, there will be constant famine, and
grains and fruits will not ripen.  Marauders from many other
regions will invade and plunder the nation, the people will
suffer all manner of pain and affliction, and there will be no
place where one may live in safety.'"

The Daijuku Sutra says: "When the principles of Buddhism
truly become obscured and lost, then people will all let their
beards, hair and fingernails grow long, and the laws of the world
will be forgotten and ignored.  At this time, loud noises will
sound in the air and the earth will shake; everything in the
world will begin to move as though it were a waterwheel. City
walls will split and tumble, and all houses and dwellings will
collapse.  Roots, branches, leaves, petals and fruits will lose
their medicinal properties.  With the exception of the five
highest heavens in the world of form, all the regions of the
worlds of form and desire will become deprived of the seven
flavors and the three essences that nourish life and
human society, until nothing remains alive any more.  All the
good discourses that lead men to emancipation will at this time
disappear.  The flowers and fruits that grow in the earth will
become few and will lose their flavor and sweetness.  The wells,
springs and ponds will all go dry, the land everywhere will turn
brackish and will crack open and warp into hillocks and gullies.
All the mountains will be swept by fire and the heavenly dragons
will no longer send down rain.  The crops will all wither and
die, all living creatures will perish, and even the grass will
cease to grow any more.  Dust will rain down until all is
darkness and the sun and the moon no longer shed their light.

"All the four directions will be afflicted by drought,
and evil omens will appear again and again.  The ten kinds of
evil behavior will increase greatly, particularly greed,
anger and stupidity, and people will think no more of their
fathers and mothers than does the roe deer.  Living beings will
decline in numbers, in longevity, physical power and enjoyment.
They will become estranged from the pleasures of human and
heavenly existence and all will fall into the evil states of
existence.  The wicked rulers and monks who perform these ten
kinds of evil behavior will destroy the True Law of the Buddha
and make it impossible for sentient beings to be born in the
human and heavenly states of existence.  At that time the various
benevolent deities and heavenly rulers, who would ordinarily take
pity on living beings, will abandon this nation of confusion and
evil and all will make their way to other regions." 

The Ninno Sutra states: "When a nation becomes
disordered, it is the spirits which first show signs of
rampantcy.  Because these spirits become rampant, all the people
of the nation become disordered.  Invaders come to plunder the
country and the common people face annihilation.  The ruler, the
high ministers, the heir apparent and the other princes and
government officials all quarrel with each other over right and
wrong.  Heaven and earth manifest prodigies and strange
occurrences; the twenty-eight constellations, the stars, the
sun and the moon appear at irregular times and in irregular
positions, and numerous outlaws rise up."

The same sutra also states: "When I look at the three
ages of past, present and future with the five types of vision, I
see that all the rulers of nations were able to attain the
position of emperor or king because in past existences they
served five hundred Buddhas.  And this is the reason that all the
various sages and arhats are born in their nations and are
assisting them to gain great advantage.  But if a time should
come when the good fortune of these rulers runs out, then all the
sages will abandon them and depart.  And once the sages have
departed, then the seven disasters are certain to arise."

The Yakushi Sutra states: "If disasters and calamities
should befall members of the ruling kshatriya class and
anointed kings, such disasters will be as follows: the
calamity of disease and pestilence among the populace; the
calamity of invasion and plunder from foreign lands; the calamity
of revolt within one's own domain; the calamity of irregularities
and strange occurrences among the stars and constellations; the
calamity of eclipses of the sun and moon; the calamity of
unseasonable wind and rain; and the calamity of rain that fails
to fall even when the season for it has come and gone."

In the Ninno Sutra, the Buddha addresses [King
Prasenajit] in these words: "Great King, the region where my
teachings now hold sway consists of a hundred billion Sumeru
worlds with a hundred billion suns and moons.  Each of these
Sumeru worlds comprises four great continents.  In the empire of
the south, which is Jambudvipa, there are sixteen great nations,
five hundred medium-sized nations, and ten thousand small
nations.  In these nations, there are seven types of fearful
calamities that may occur.  All the rulers of these nations agree
that these are indeed calamities.  What, then, are these
calamities?

"When the sun and moon depart from their regular courses,
when the seasons come in the wrong order, when a red sun or a
black sun appears, when two, three, four or five suns appear at
the same time, when the sun is eclipsed and loses its light,
or when one, two, three, four or five coronas appear around the
sun, this is the first calamity.

"When the twenty-eight constellations do not move in
their regular courses, when the Metal Star, when the Broom
Star, the Wheel Star, the Demon Star, the Fire Star, the Water
Star, the Wind Star, the Ladle Star, the Southern Dipper, the
Northern Dipper, the great stars of the Five Garrisons, and all
the many stars that govern the ruler, the three high ministers
and the hundred other officials -- when each of these stars
manifests some peculiar behavior, this is the second calamity.

"When huge fires consume the nation and the people are
all burned to death, or when there are outbreaks of demon fire,
dragon fire, heavenly fire, mountain god fire, human fire, tree
fire or bandit fire -- when these prodigies appear, this is
the third calamity.

"When huge floods drown the population, when the seasons
come out of order and there is rain in winter, snow in summer,
thunder and lightning in the winter season and ice, frost and
hail in the sixth month, when red, black or green rain falls,
when mountains of dirt and stones come raining down, or when it
rains dust, sand or gravel, when the rivers and streams run
backward, when mountains are afloat and boulders are washed away
-- when freakish happenings of this kind occur, this is the
fourth calamity.

"When huge winds blow the people to their death and the
lands, the mountains and rivers and the trees and forests are all
at one time wiped out, when great winds come out of season or
when black winds, red winds, green winds, heavenly winds, earthly
winds, fire winds and water winds blow -- when prodigies of this
kind occur, this is the fifth calamity.

"When heaven and earth and the whole country are stricken
by terrible heat so that the air seems to be on fire, when the
hundred plants wither and the five grains fail to ripen, when
the earth is red and scorched and the inhabitants all perish --
when prodigies of this kind occur, this is the sixth calamity.

"When enemies rise up on all four sides and invade the
nation, when rebels appear both within the ruler's family and
without, when there are fire bandits, water bandits, wind bandits
and demon bandits and the population is subjected to
devastation and disorder, and fighting and plundering break out
everywhere -- when prodigies of this type occur, this is the
seventh calamity."

The Daijuku Sutra says: "Though the ruler of a state may
have for countless existences in the past practiced the giving of
alms, observed the precepts and abided by the principles of
wisdom, if he sees that my Law, the Dharma of the Buddha, is in
danger of perishing and stands idly by without doing anything to
protect it, then all the inestimable store of good causes that he
has accumulated through the practices just mentioned will be
entirely wiped out, and his country will become the scene of
three inauspicious occurrences.  The first is high grain prices,
the second is warfare, and the third is pestilence.  All the
benevolent deities will abandon the country, and although the
king may issue commands, the people will not obey them.  The
country will constantly be invaded and vexed by neighboring
nations.  Violent fires will rage out of control, evil winds and
rains will abound, the waters will swell and overflow, and the
inhabitants will be blown about by winds or swept away by floods.
The paternal and maternal relatives of the ruler will join in
plotting revolt.  Before long, the ruler will fall gravely ill,
and after his life has come to an end, he will be reborn in one
of the major hells .... And the same fate will befall the ruler's
consort, his heir, the high ministers of the state, the lords of
cities, the village heads and generals, the magistrates of
districts, and the government officials."

The passages I have quoted from these four sutras are
perfectly clear -- what person in ten thousand could possibly
doubt their meaning?  And yet the blind and the deluded trust to
heretical doctrines and fail to recognize the correct teachings.
Therefore, throughout the empire these days people are inclined
to turn away from the Buddhas and the sutras and no longer
endeavor to protect them.  In turn, the benevolent deities and
sages abandon the nation and leave their accustomed places. As a
result, demons and followers of heretical doctrines create
disaster and inflict calamity upon the populace.

The guest thereupon flushed with anger and said: Emperor
Ming of the Later Han dynasty, having comprehended the
significance of his dream of a golden man, welcomed the teachings
of Buddhism brought to China by missionaries leading white
horses.  Prince Shotoku, having punished Mononobe no
Moriya for his opposition to Buddhism, proceeded to construct
temples and pagodas in Japan.  Since that time, from the supreme
ruler down to the numberless masses, people have worshiped the
Buddhist statues and devoted their attention to the scriptures.
As a result, in the monasteries of Mount Hiei and of the
southern capital at Nara, at the great temples of Onjo-ji and
To-ji, throughout the land within the four seas, in the five
areas adjacent to the capital and the seven outlying regions,
Buddhist scriptures have been ranged like stars in the sky and
halls of worship have spread over the land like clouds.  Those
who belong to the lineage of Shariputra meditate on the moon
atop Eagle Peak, while those who adhere to the traditions of
Haklenayasha transmit the teachings of Mount Kukkutapada.
How, then, can anyone say that the doctrines of Shakyamuni are
despised or that the three treasures of Buddhism are neglected?
If there is evidence to support such a contention, I would like
to hear all the facts!

The host, anxious to clarify his words, replied: To be
sure, Buddha halls stand rooftop to rooftop and sutra storehouses
are ranged eave to eave.  Priests are as numerous as bamboo
plants and rushes, monks as common as rice and hemp seedlings.
The temples and priests have been honored from centuries past,
and every day respect is paid them anew.  But the monks and
priests today are fawning and devious, and they confuse the
people and lead them astray.  The ruler and his ministers lack
understanding and fail to distinguish between truth and heresy.

The Ninno Sutra, for example, says: "Evil monks, hoping
to gain fame and profit, in many cases appear before the ruler,
the heir apparent or the other princes and take it upon
themselves to preach doctrines that lead to the violation of the
Buddhist Law and the destruction of the nation.  The rulers,
failing to perceive the truth of the situation, listen to and put
faith in such doctrines, and proceed to create regulations that
are perverse in nature and do not accord with the rules of
Buddhism discipline.  In this way they bring about the
destruction of Buddhism and of the nation."

The Nirvana Sutra says: "Bodhisattvas, have no fear in
your hearts because of such things as wild elephants.  But evil
friends -- they are what you should fear!  If you are killed by a
wild elephant, you will not fall into any of the three evil
paths.  But if evil friends lead you to your death, you are
certain to fall into one of them!"

The Lotus Sutra says: "There will be monks in that evil
age with perverse views and hearts that are fawning and crooked
who will say they have attained what they have not attained,
being proud and boastful in heart.  Or there will be
forest-dwelling monks wearing clothing of patched rags and living
in retirement who will claim they are practicing the true Way,
despising and looking down on the rest of mankind.  Greedy for
profit and nourishment, they will preach the Dharma to
white-robed laymen and will be respected and revered by the world
as though they were arhats who possess the six super natural
powers.... Constantly they will go about among the populace,
seeking in this way to slander us.  They will address the rulers,
high ministers, Brahmans and great patrons of Buddhism as well as
the other monks, slandering and speaking evil of us, saying,
'These are men of perverted views who preach the doctrines of
heretical sects!'... In a muddied kalpa, in an evil age there
will be many different things to fear.  Demons will take
possession of others and through them curse, revile and heap
shame on us.... The evil monks of that muddied age, failing to
understand the Buddha's expedient means, how he preaches the
Dharma in accord with what is appropriate, will confront us with
foul language and angry frowns; again and again we will be
banished."

In the Nirvana Sutra, the Buddha says: "After I have
passed away and countless hundreds of years have gone by, all the
sages of the four stages will also have passed away.  After
the Former Day of the Law has ended and the Middle Day of the Law
has begun, there will be monks who will give the appearance of
abiding by the rules of monastic discipline.  But they will
scarcely ever read or recite the sutras, and instead will crave
all kinds of food and drink to nourish their bodies.  Though they
wear the robes of a monk, they will go about searching for alms
like so many huntsmen, spying sharply and stalking softly.  They
will be like a cat on the prowl for mice.  And constantly they
will reiterate these words: 'I have attained the state of arhat!'
Outwardly they will seem to be wise and good, but within they
will harbor greed and jealousy.  [And when they are asked to
preach the Dharma,] they will conceal it, like Brahmans who have
taken a vow of silence.  They are not true monks -- they merely
have the appearance of monks.  Consumed by their erroneous views,
they slander the True Law."

When we look at the world in the light of these passages
of scripture, we see that the situation is just as they describe
it.  If we do not admonish the evil monks, how can we hope to do
good?

The guest, growing more indignant than ever, said: A wise
monarch, by acting in accord with heaven and earth, perfects his
rule; a sage, by distinguishing between right and wrong, brings
order to the world.  The monks and priests of the world today
enjoy the confidence of the entire empire.  If they were in fact
evil monks, then the wise ruler would put no trust in them.  If
they were not true sages, then men of worth and understanding
would not look up to them.  But now, since worthies and sages do
in fact honor and respect them, they must be nothing less than
paragons of their kind.  Why then do you pour out these wild
accusations and dare to slander them?  To whom are you referring
when you speak of "evil monks"?  I would like an explanation!

The host said: In the reign of Emperor Gotoba there was a
priest named Honen who wrote a word entitled the Senchaku Shu
states: "The Chinese priest Tao-ch'o distinguished between
the Shodo or Sacred Way teachings and the Jodo or Pure Land
teachings and urged men to abandon the former and immediately
embrace the latter.  First of all, there are two kinds of Sacred
Way teachings [the Mahayana and the Hinayana].  Judging from
this, we may assume that the esoteric Mahayana doctrines of
Shingon and the true Mahayana teachings of the Lotus Sutra are
both included in the Sacred Way.  If that is so, then the
present-day sects of Shingon, Zen, Tendai, Kegon, Sanron, Hosso,
Jiron and Shoron -- all these eight schools are included in
the Sacred Way that is to be abandoned.
"The priest T'an-luan in his Ojo Ron Chu states: 'I
note that Nagarjuna's Jujubibasha Ron says: "There are two ways
by which the bodhisattva may reach the state in which there is no
retrogression.

One is the Difficult-to-Practice-Way, the other is the
Easy-to-Practice-Way."'

 
"The Difficult-to-Practice-Way is the same as the Sacred
Way, and the Easy-to-Practice-Way is the Pure Land Way.  Students
of the Pure Land sect should first of all understand this point.
Though they may previously have studied teachings belonging to
the Sacred Way, if they wish to become followers of the Pure Land
school, they must discard the Sacred Way and give their
allegiance to the Pure Land teachings."

Honen also says: "The Chinese priest Shan-tao
distinguished between correct and incorrect practices and urged
men to embrace the former and abandon the latter.  Concerning the
first of the incorrect practices, that of reading and reciting
sutras, he states that, with the exception of the recitation of
the Kammuryoju Sutra and the other Pure Land sutras, the
embracing and recitation of all sutras, whether Mahayana or
Hinayana, exoteric or esoteric, is to be regarded as an incorrect
practice.  Concerning the third of the incorrect practices, that
of worshiping, he states that, with the exception of worshiping
the Buddha Amida, the worshiping or honoring of any of the other
Buddhas, bodhisattvas or deities of the heavenly and human worlds
is to be regarded as an incorrect practice.  In the light of this
passage, it is clear that one should abandon such incorrect
practices and concentrate upon the practice of the Pure Land
teaching.  What reason would we have to abandon the correct
practices of the Pure Land teaching, which insure that, out of a
hundred persons, all one hundred will be reborn in the Western
Paradise, and cling instead to the various incorrect practices
and procedures, which could not save even one person in a
thousand?  Followers of the Way should ponder this carefully!"

Honen further states: "In the Jogen Nyuzo Roku we
find it recorded that, from the six hundred volumes of the
Daihannya Sutra to the Hojoju Sutra, the exoteric and
esoteric sutras of Mahayana Buddhism total 637 words in 2,883
volumes.  All of these should now be replaced by the recitation
of the single Mahayana phrase [the Nembutsu]. You should
understand that, when the Buddha was preaching according to the
capacity of his various listeners, he for a time taught the two
methods of concentrated meditation and unconcentrated
meditation. But later, when he revealed his own enlightenment,
he ceased to teach these two methods.  The only teaching that,
once revealed, shall never cease to be taught, is the single
doctrine of the Nembutsu."

Again Honen states: "The passage which says that the
practitioner of the Nembutsu must possess three kinds of mind
is found in the Kammuryoju Sutra.  In the commentary on that
sutra, we read: 'Someone asked: "If there are those who
differ in understanding and practice from the
followers of the Nembutsu, persons of heretical and mistaken
belief, how can one make certain that their perverse and
differing views will not cause trouble?"'  We also see that these
persons of evil views with their different understanding and
different practices are compared to a band of robbers who call
back the travelers who have already gone one or two steps along
their journey.  In my opinion, when these passages speak of
different understanding, different practices, varying doctrines
and varying beliefs, they are referring to the teachings of the
Sacred Way."

Finally, in a concluding passage, Honen says: "If one
wishes to escape quickly from the sufferings of life and death,
one should confront these two superior teachings and then proceed
to put aside the teachings of the Sacred Way and choose those of
the Pure Land.  And if one wishes to follow the teachings of the
Pure Land, one should confront the correct and incorrect
practices and then proceed to abandon all those that are
incorrect and devote one's entire attention to those that are
correct."

When we examine these passages, we see that Honen quotes
the erroneous explanations of T'an-luan, Tao-ch'o and Shan-tao
and establishes the categories he calls Sacred Way and Pure Land,
Difficult-to-Practice-Way and Easy-to-Practice-Way.  He then
takes all the 637 works in 2,883 volumes that comprise the
Mahayana sutras of the Buddha's lifetime, including those
bodhisattvas, and deities of the heavenly and human worlds, and
assigns them all to the Sacred Way, the Difficult-to-Practice-Way
and the incorrect practices categories, and urges men to
"discard, close, ignore and abandon" them.  With these four
injunctions, he leads all people astray.  And on top of that he
groups together all the sage monks of the three countries of
India, China and Japan as well as the students of Buddhism of the
ten directions, and calls them a "band of robbers," causing the
people to insult them!

In doing so, he turns his back on the passages in the
three Pure Land sutras, the sutras of his own sect, which
contain Amida's vow to save everyone "except those who commit the
five cardinal sins or slander the True Law."  At the same
time, he shows that he fails to understand the warning contained
in the second volume of the Lotus Sutra, the most important sutra
expounded in the five preaching periods of the Buddha's life,
which reads: "One who refuses to take faith in this sutra and
instead slanders it.... After he dies, he will fall into the hell
of incessant suffering."

And now we have come to this later age, when men are no
longer sages.  Each enters his own dark road, and all alike
forget the direct way.  How pitiful, to see them vainly lending
encouragement to these false beliefs!  And as a result, everyone
from the ruler of the nation down to the humblest peasant
believes that there are no true sutras outside the three Pure
Land sutras, and no Buddhas other than the Buddha Amida with his
two attendants.

Once there were men like Dengyo, Gishin, Jikaku and
Chisho who journeyed ten thousand leagues across the waves to
acquire the sacred teachings, or visited all the mountains and
rivers of Japan to acquire Buddhist statues which they held in
reverence.  In some cases they built holy temples on the peaks of
high mountains in which to preserve those scriptures and statues;
in other cases they constructed sacred halls in the bottoms of
deep valleys where such objects could be worshiped and honored.
As a result, the Buddhas Shakyamuni and Yakushi shone side by
side, casting their influence upon present and future ages, while
the Bodhisattvas Kokuzo and Jizo brought benefit  to the
living and the dead.  The rulers of the nation contributed
counties or villages so that the lamps might continue to burn
bright before the images, while the stewards of the great estates
offered their fields and gardens [to provide for the upkeep of
the temples].

But because of this book by Honen, this Senchaku Shu, the
Lord Buddha Shakyamuni is forgotten and all honor is paid to
Amida, the Buddha of the Western land.  The Lord Buddha's
transmission of the Law is ignored, and Yakushi, the Buddha of
the Eastern Region, is neglected.  All attention is paid to
the three works in four volumes of the Pure Land scriptures,
and all the other wonderful teachings that Shakyamuni proclaimed
throughout the five periods of his preaching life are cast aside.
If temples are not dedicated to Amida, then people no longer have
any desire to support them or pay honor to the Buddhas enshrined
there; if monks do not chant the Nembutsu then people quickly
forget all about giving those monks alms.  As a result, the halls
of the Buddhas fall into ruin, scarcely a wisp of smoke rises
above their mossy tiles; and the monks' quarters stand empty and
dilapidated, the dew deep on the grasses in their courtyards.
And in spite of such conditions, no one gives a thought to
protecting the Law or to restoring the temples.  Hence the sage
monks who once presided over the temples leave and do not return,
and the benevolent deities who guarded the Buddhist teachings
depart and no longer appear.  This has all come about because of
this Senchaku Shu of Honen.  How pitiful to think that, in the
space of a few decades, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of
people have been deluded by these devilish teachings and in so
many cases confused as to the true teachings of Buddhism.  If
people favor perverse doctrines and forget what is correct, can
the benevolent deities be anything but angry?  If people cast
aside doctrines that are all-encompassing and take up those that
are incomplete, can the world escape the plots of demons?  Rather
than offering up ten thousand prayers for remedy, it would be
better simply to outlaw this one evil doctrine that is the source
of all the trouble!

This time the guest was truly enraged and said: In the
ages since our original teacher, the Buddha Shakyamuni, preached
the three Pure Land sutras, the priest T'an-luan had originally
studied the four treatises but abandoned them and put all his
faith in the Pure Land teachings.  Similarly, the priest Tao-ch'o
ceased to spread the multifarious doctrines of the Nirvana
Sutra and devoted all his attention to the practices of the
Western Region.  The priest Shan-tao discarded the incorrect
practices and concentrated on the single practice of the Pure
Land, and the priest Eshin collected passages from various
sutras to form his work, stressing the importance of a single
practice, the Nembutsu.  Such was the manner in which these men
honored and respected the Buddha Amida, and uncountable numbers
of people as a result were able to gain rebirth in the Pure Land.

Of particular note was the venerable Honen, who as a
child entered the monastery on Mount Hiei.  By the time he was
seventeen, he had worked his way through all sixty volumes of
Tendai literature and had investigated all the eight
sects and mastered their essentials.  In addition, he had
read through the entire body of sutras and treatises seven times,
and exhausted all the works of exegesis and biography.  His
wisdom shone like the sun and moon, and his virtue exceeded that
of the earlier teachers.
 
In spite of all this, he was in doubt as to the proper
path to salvation and could not make out the true meaning of
nirvana.  Therefore he read and examined all the texts he could,
pondered deeply and considered every possibility, and in the end
put aside all the sutras and concentrated on the single practice
of the Nembutsu.  In addition, he received confirmation of his
decision when Shan-tao miraculously appeared to him in a dream,
and he proceeded to spread his doctrines among friends and
strangers in all four corners of the land.  Thereafter, he was
hailed as a reincarnation of the Bodhisattva Seishi, or was
revered as Shan-tao reborn.  In every quarter people of eminent
and lowly birth alike bowed their heads in respect, and men and
women from all over Japan sought him.

Since that time, the springs and autumns have succeeded
each other and the years have accumulated.  And yet you insist
upon putting aside the venerable teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha
contained in the Pure Land sutras and willfully speak evil of the
writings concerning the Buddha Amida.  Why do you try to blame
the sacred age of Honen for the disasters of recent years, going
out of your way to slander the former teachers of Pure Land
doctrine and to heap abuse on a sage like Honen?  You are, as
the saying goes, deliberately blowing back the fur and hunting
for flaws in the leather, deliberately piercing the skin in hopes
of drawing blood.  From ancient times to the present, the world
has never seen such a speaker of evil!  You had better learn a
little caution and restraint.  When you pile up such grave
offenses, how can you hope to escape punishment?  I am afraid
even to sit here in your company.  I must take up my staff and be
on my way!

The host, smiling, restrained his guest and said: Insects
that live on smartweed forget how bitter it tastes; those who
stay long in privies forget how foul the smell is.  Here you
listen to my good words and think them wicked, point to a
slanderer like Honen and call him a sage, mistrust a true teacher
and take him for an evil monk.  Your confusion is great indeed,
and your offense anything but light.  Listen to my explanation of
how this confusion arose and let us discuss the matter in detail.

The doctrines that Shakyamuni Buddha preached in the
course of his lifetime can be assigned to five distinct preaching
periods. The order in which they were preached can be
established, and they can be divided into provisional and true
teachings.  But T'an-luan, Tao-ch'o and Shan-tao embraced the
provisional teachings and forgot about the true ones, went by
what had been taught in the earlier period of the Buddha's life
and discarded what was taught later.  They were not the kind of
men who delve into the deep places of Buddhist doctrine.

Honen in particular, though he followed the practices
advocated by these earlier men, was ignorant as to the source
from whence they came.  How do we know this?  Because he lumped
together all the 637 Mahayana scriptures with the 2,883 volumes
of text, and along with them all the various Buddhas and
bodhisattvas and the deities of the heavenly and human worlds,
and urged people to "discard, close, ignore and abandon" them,
with these four injunctions corrupting the hearts of all people.
Thus he poured out perverted words of his own invention and took
absolutely no cognizance of the explanations put forth in the
Buddhist scriptures.  His is the worst kind of baseless talk, a
clear case of defamation.  There are no words to describe it, no
way to censure it that is not too mild.  And yet men all put
faith in this baseless talk of his, and without exception pay
honor to his Senchaku Shu.  As a consequence,  they revere the
three sutras of the Pure Land and cast all the other sutras
aside; they look up to one Buddha alone, Amida of the Land of
Bliss, and forget about the other Buddhas.  A man such as Honen
is in truth the archenemy of the other Buddhas and the
scriptures, and the foe of sage monks and ordinary men and women
alike.  And now his  heretical teachings have spread throughout
the eight regions of the country; they have penetrated every on
of the ten directions.

You became quite horrified when I blamed an earlier
period for the disasters that have occurred in recent years.
Perhaps I should cite a few examples from the past to show you
that you are mistaken in your feelings.

The second volume of the Maka Shikan quotes a passage
from the Shih Chi or Records of the Historian which says: "In
the closing years of the Chou dynasty, there were persons who let
their hair hang down, went about naked to the waist, and did not
observe the rites and regulations."  The Guketsu commentary on
the Maka Shikan, in the second volume, explains this passage by
quoting from the Tso Chuan as follows: "When King P'ing of
the Chou first moved his capital east to Lo-yang, he saw men by
the Yi River who let their hair hang down and performed
sacrifices in the fields.  Someone who had great understanding
said: 'In less than a hundred years the dynasty will fall, for
the rites are already neglected.'"  From this it is evident that
the portent appears first,  and later the disaster itself comes
about. 

The Maka Shikan passage goes on to say: "Juan Chi of
the Western Chin dynasty was a man of extraordinary talent, but
he let his hair grow like a mass of brambles and left his belt
undone.  Later, the sons of the aristocracy all imitated him,
until those who behaved in a churlish and insulting manner were
thought to be acting quite naturally, and those who were
restrained and proper in their behavior were ridiculed as mere
peasants.  This was a sign that the Su-ma family, the rulers of
the Chin dynasty, would meet with their downfall."

Similarly, the Nitto Junrei Ki or Record of a Pilgrimage
to China in Search of the Law by Jikaku Daishi records that in
the first year of the Hui-ch'ang era (841), Emperor Wu-tsung of
the T'ang dynasty commanded the priest Ching-shuang of
Chang-ching temple to transmit the Nembutsu teaching of the
Buddha Amida in the various temples.  Ching-shuang spent three
days in each temple, going about from one temple to another
without ever ceasing.

In the second year of the same era, soldiers from the
land of the Uighurs invaded the borders of the T'ang empire.
In the third year of the same era, the regional commander in the
area north of the Yellow River suddenly raised a revolt.  Later,
the kingdom of Tibet once refused to obey orders from China, and
the Uighurs repeatedly seized Chinese territory.  On the whole,
the conflicts and uprisings were like those that prevailed at the
time when the Ch'in dynasty and the military leader Hsiang Yu
were overthrown, and the towns and villages were devastated by
fire and other disasters.  What was even worse, Emperor Wu-tsung
carried out a vast campaign to wipe out Buddhist teachings and
destroyed a great many temples and monasteries.  He was never
able to put down the uprisings, and died in agony shortly after.
(This is the essence of Jikaku's original passage.)

In view of these events, we should consider the fact that
Honen was active during the reign of Emperor Gotoba, around the
Kennin era (1201-1203).  And, as everyone knows, in 1221 the
Retired Emperor Gotoba was thwarted in his attempt to assert the
authority of the throne, and he and two other retired emperors
were forces into exile.  Thus China provided an earlier
example of how the Pure Land teachings brought about the fall of
an emperor, and our own country offers similar proof.  You should
not be in doubt about the matter or consider it strange.  The
only thing to do now is to abandon evil ways and take up those
that are good, to cut off this affliction at the source, to cut
it off at the root!

The guest, looking somewhat mollified, said: Though I
have not yet probed deeply into the matter, I believe I
understand to some degree what you are saying.  Nevertheless,
both in Kyoto, the capital, and in Kamakura, the headquarters of
the shogun, there are numerous eminent Buddhist leaders and key
figures in the clergy.  And yet none of them has so far appealed
to the shogun concerning this affair or submitted a memorial to
the throne.  You, on the other hand, a person of humble position,
think nothing of spewing out offensive accusations.  Your
assertions are open to question and your reasoning lacks
authority.

The host said: Though I may be a person of little
ability, I have reverently given myself to the study of the
Mahayana.  A blue fly, if it clings to the tail of a thoroughbred
horse, can travel ten thousand miles, and the green ivy that
twines around the tall pine can grow to a thousand feet.  I was
born as the son of the one Buddha, Shakyamuni, and I serve the
king of the scriptures, the Lotus Sutra.  How could I observe the
decline of the Buddhist Law and not be filled with emotions of
pity and distress?

Moreover, the Nirvana Sutra states: "If even a good
priest sees someone slandering the Law and disregards him,
failing to reproach him, oust him or to punish him for his
offense, then that priest is betraying Buddhism.  But if he takes
the slanderer severely to task, drives him off or punishes him,
then he is my disciple and one who truly understands my
teachings."

Although I may not be a "good priest." I certainly do not
want to be accused of "betraying Buddhism."  Therefore, in order
to avoid such charges, I have cited a few general principles and
given a rough explanation of the matter.

Long ago in the Gennin era (1224), petitions to the
throne were submitted time and again by the two temples of
Enryaku-ji on Mount Hiei and Kofuku-ji in Nara, and as a result
an Imperial command and a letter of instruction from the
shogunate were handed down, ordering that the wood blocks used in
printing Honen's Senchaku Shu be confiscated and brought to the
Great Lecture Hall of Enryaku-ji temple.  There they were burned
in order to repay the debt owed to the Buddhas of the past,
present and future.  In addition, orders were given that the
menials who are attached to the Gion Shrine would dig up and
destroy Honen's grave in Kyoto.  Then, Honen's disciples Ryukan,
Shoko, Jokaku, Sassho and others were condemned by the
government to exile in distant regions, and were never pardoned.

In view of these facts, how can you say that no one has
submitted a complaint to the authorities concerning these
matters?

The guest, continuing to speak in a mild manner, replied:
One could hardly say that Honen is the only one who disparages
sutras and speaks ill of other priests, [since you do the same
thing yourself].  However, it is true that he takes the 637
Mahayana scriptures with their 2,883 volumes of text, along with
all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas and the deities of the heavenly
and human worlds, and urges people to "discard, close, ignore,
and abandon" them.  There is no doubt that these four injunctions
are his very words; the meaning of the passage is quite clear.
But you keep harping on this one little "flaw in the jewel" and
severely slandering him for it.  I do not know whether he spoke
out of delusion or out of true enlightenment.  Between you and
Honen, I cannot tell which is wise and which is foolish, or
determine whose assertions are right and whose are wrong. 

However, you assert that all the recent disasters are to
be traced to the Senchaku Shu of Honen, speaking quite volubly on
that point and elaborating on the meaning of your assertion.  Now
surely the peace of the world and the stability of the nation are
sought by both ruler and subject and desired by all the
inhabitants of the country.  The nation achieves prosperity
through the Buddhist Law, and the validity of the Law is proven
by the people who embrace it.  If the nation is destroyed and the
people are wiped out, then who will continue to pay reverence to
the Buddha?  Who will continue to have faith in the Law?
Therefore one must first of all pray for the safety of the nation
and then work to establish the Buddhist Law.  Now if you know of
any means whereby disasters can be prevented and troubles brought
to an end, I would like to hear about it.

The host said: There is no doubt that I am the foolish
one -- I would never dare claim to be wise.  However, I would
just like to quote a few passages from the scriptures.
Concerning the means for insuring order in the nation, there are
numerous passages in both Buddhist and non-Buddhist text, and it
would be difficult to cite them all here.  Since taking up the
study of Buddhism, however, I have frequently given thought to
this matter, and it seems to me that prohibiting those who
slander the Law and paying respect to monks who follow the
Correct Way is the best way to assure stability within the nation
and peace in the world at large.

In the Nirvana Sutra we read: "The Buddha said, 'With the
exception of one type of person, you may offer alms to all kinds
of persons and everyone will praise you.'

"Chunda said, 'What do you mean when you speak of
"one type of person"?'

"The Buddha replied, 'I mean the type described in this
sutra as violators of the commandments.'

"Chunda spoke again saying, 'I am afraid I still do not
understand.  May I ask you to explain further?'

"The Buddha addressed Chunda, saying: 'By violators of
the commandments I mean the icchantika.  In the case of all other
types of persons, you may offer alms, everyone will praise you,
and you will achieve great rewards.'

"Chunda spoke once more, asking, 'What is the meaning of
the term icchantika?'

"The Buddha said, 'Chunda, suppose there should be
priests or nuns, lay men or women who speak careless and evil
words and slander the True Law, and that they should go on
committing these grave acts without ever showing any inclination
to reform or any sign of repentance in their hearts.  Persons of
this kind I would say are following the path of the icchantika.

"'Again there my be those who commit the four grave
offenses or are guilty of the five cardinal sins, and who,
though aware that they are guilty of serious faults, from the
beginning have no trace of fear or contrition in their hearts, or
if they do, give no outward sign of it.  When it comes to the
True Law, they show no inclination to establish it and help to
protect it over the ages, but rather speak of it with malice and
contempt, their words replete with error.  Persons of this kind
too I would say are following the path of the icchantika.  With
the exception of this one group of people called icchantika,
however, you may offer alms to all others and everyone will
praise you.'"

Elsewhere in the same sutra, the Buddha spoke in these
words: "When I recall the past, I remember that I was the king of
a great state in this continent of Jambudvipa.  My name was
Sen'yo, and I loved and venerated the Mahayana scriptures.  My
heart was pure and good and had no trace of evil, jealousy or
stinginess.  Men of devout faith, at that time I cherished the
Mahayana teachings in my heart.  Once, when I heard the Brahmans
slandering these teachings, I had them put to death on the spot.
Men of devout faith, as a result of that action, I never
thereafter fell into hell."

In another passage it says: "In the past, when the
Tathagata was the ruler of a nation and practiced the way of the
bodhisattva, he put to death a number of Brahmans."

Again it says: "There are three degrees of killings: the
lower, middle and upper degrees.  The lower degree constitutes
the killing of any humble creature, from an ant to any of the
various kinds of animals.  (Only the killing of a bodhisattva who
has deliberately chosen to be born in animal form is excluded.)
As a result of a killing of the lower degree, one will fall into
the realm of Hell, Hunger, or Animality, and will suffer all the
pains appropriate to killing of the lower degree.  Why should
this be?  Because even the animals and other humble creatures
possess the roots of goodness, insignificant though those roots
may be.  That is why a person who kills such a creature must
suffer full retribution for his offense.
 
"Killing any person from an ordinary mortal to an anagamin constitutes what is termed the middle degree.  As a
consequence of such an act of killing, one will fall into the
realm of Hell, Hunger, Animality, and will suffer all the pains
appropriate to a killing of the middle degree.  The upper degree
of killing refers to the killing of a parent, and arhat, a person
who has reached the state of pratyekabuddha or Realization, or a
bodhisattva who has completed his efforts and will never
retrogress.  For such a crime one will fall into the hell of
incessant suffering.  Men of devout faith, if someone were to
kill an icchantika, that killing would not fall into any of the
three categories just mentioned.  Men of devout faith, the
various Brahmans that I have said were put to death -- all of
them were in fact icchantika."

In the Ninno Sutra we read: "The Buddha announced to King
Prasenajit, 'Thus I entrust the protection of my teachings to the
ruler of the nation rather than to the monks and nuns.  Why do I
do so?  Because the monks and nuns do not possess the kind of
power and authority that the king has.'"

The Nirvana Sutra states: "Now I entrust the True Law,
which is unexcelled, to the rulers, the ministers, the high
officials, and the four kinds of believers.  If anyone should
vilify the True Law, then the high officials and four kinds of
believers should reprimand him and bring him to order."

It also states: "The Buddha said, 'Kasho, it is
because I was a defender of the True Law that I have now been
able to attain this diamond-like body.... Men of devout
faith, defenders of the True Law need not observe the five
precepts or practice the rules of proper behavior.  Rather
they should carry knives and swords, bow and arrows, prongs and
lances.'"

Again the Buddha said: "Even though there may be those
who observe the five precepts, they do not deserve to be called
practitioners of the Mahayana.  But even if one does not observe
the five precepts, if he defends the True Law, then he may be
called a practitioner of the Mahayana.  Defenders of the True Law
ought to arm themselves with knives and swords, weapons and
staves.  Even though they carry swords and staves, I would call
them men who observe the precepts."

The Buddha likewise said: "Men of devout faith, in past
ages in this very city of Kushinagara a Buddha appeared whose
name was Kangi Zoyaku Nyorai or the Buddha Joy Increasing.  After
this Buddha passed away, the True Law that he had taught remained
in the world for countless millions of years.  Finally, only
forty more years were left before the Law was due to come to an
end.

"At that time there was a monk named Kakutoku who
observed the precepts.  There were many monks at this time who
violated the precepts, and when they heard this monk preaching,
they all conceived evil designs in their hearts and arming
themselves with swords and staves, attacked this teacher of the
Law.

"At this time the ruler of the kingdom was named Utoku.
He received reports of what was happening and, in order to defend
the Law, he went at once to the place where the monk was
preaching the Law and fought with all his might against the evil
monks who did not observe the precepts.  As a result, the monk
who had been preaching the Law was able to escape grievous
injury.  But the king received so many wounds from the knives and
swords, prongs and lances, that there was not a spot on his body
the size of a mustard seed that remained unharmed.

"At this time the monk Kakutoku praised the king, saying
'Splendid, splendid! You, O King, are now a true defender of the
True Law.  In ages to come, this body of yours will surely become
a boundless vessel of the Law!'

"At that time, the king had already heard the teachings
of the Law, and he felt great joy in his heart.  Thereupon his
life came to an end, and he was reborn in the land of the Buddha
Ashuku, where he became the principal disciple of the Buddha.
Moreover, all the military leaders, citizens and associates to
the king who had fought beside him or had rejoiced in his effort
were filled with an unflagging determination to achieve
enlightenment, and when they died, all of them were reborn in the
land of the Buddha Ashuku.

"Later, the monk Kakutoku also died, and he too was
reborn in the land of the Buddha Ashuku, where he became second
among the disciples who received the direct teachings of the
Buddha.  Thus, if the True Law is about to come to an end, this
is the way one ought to support and defend it.

"Kasho, the king who lived at that time was I myself, and
the monk who preached the Law was the Buddha Kasho.  Kasho,
those who defend the True Law enjoy this kind of boundless
reward.  As a consequence, I have been able to obtain the
distinguishing characteristics that I possess today, to adorn
myself with them, and to put on the Dharma Body that can
never be destroyed."

Then the Buddha declared to the Bodhisattva Kasho: "For
this reason, lay believers who wish to defend the Law should arm
themselves with swords and staves and protect it in this manner.

"Men of devout faith, in the age of confusion and evil
after I have passed away, the nation will fall into neglect and
disorder, men will plunder and steal from one another, and the
common people will be reduced to starvation.  Because of hunger,
many men at that time will declare their determination to leave
their families and become monks.  Men such as these may be called
shavepates.  When this crowd of shavepates see anyone who is
attempting to protect the True Law, they will chase after him and
drive him away, or perhaps even kill him or do him injury.  That
is why I give permission for monks who observe the precepts to
associate with and keep company with laymen who bear swords and
staves.  For even though they carry swords and staves, I would
call them men who observe the precepts.  But although they may
carry swords and staves, they should never use them to take
life."

The Lotus Sutra says: "One who refuses to take faith in
this sutra and instead slanders it immediately destroys the seeds
for becoming a Buddha in this world.... After he dies, he will
fall into the hell of incessant suffering."

The meaning of these passages from the sutras is
perfectly clear.  What need is there for me to add any further
explanation?  If we accept the words of the Lotus Sutra, then we
must understand that slandering the Mahayana scriptures is more
serious than committing the five cardinal sins.  Therefore one
who does so will be confined in the great fortress of the hell of
incessant suffering and cannot hope for release for countless
aeons.  According to the Nirvana Sutra, even though you may give
alms to a person who has committed one of the five cardinal sins,
you must never give alms to a person who has slandered the Law.
He who kills so much as an ant will fall into one of the three
evil paths, but he who helps to eradicate slander of the Law will
ascend to the state from which there can be no retrogression.
Thus the passage tells us that the monk Kakutoku was reborn as
the Buddha Kasho, and that King Utoku was reborn as the Buddha
Shakyamuni.

The Lotus and the Nirvana sutras represent the very heart
of the doctrines that Shakyamuni preached during the five periods
of his teaching life.  Their warnings must be viewed with the
utmost gravity.  Who would fail to heed them?  And yet those
people who forget about the Correct Way and slander the Law put
more trust than ever in Honen's Senchaku Shu and grow blinder
than ever in their stupidity.

Thus some of them, remembering how their master looked in
life, fashion sculptures and paintings of him, while others,
putting faith in his perverse teachings, carve wood blocks with
which to print his offensive words.  These images and writings
they scatter about throughout the area within the seas,
carrying them beyond the cities and into the countryside until,
wherever honor is paid, it is to the practices of this school,
and wherever alms are given, it is to the priests of this sect.

As a result, we see people cutting off the fingers of the
images of Shakyamuni and refashioning them to form the gesture
appropriate to Amida, or renovating temples formerly dedicated to
Yakushi, the Buddha of the Eastern Region, and fitting them with
statues of Amida, the lord of the Western Land.  Or we find the
ceremony of copying the Lotus Sutra, which has been carried out
for over four hundred years on Mount Hiei, being suspended and
the copying of the three Pure Land sutras substituted in its
place, or the annual lectures on the doctrines of the Great
Teacher T'ien-t'ai being replaced by lectures on the teachings of
Shan-tao.  Indeed, the slanderous people and their associates are
too numerous to count!  Are they not destroyers of the Buddha?
Are they not destroyers of the Law?  Are they not destroyers of
the Priesthood?  And all their heretical teachings derive from
the Senchaku Shu!

Alas, how pitiful, that others should turn their backs on
the enlightened prohibitions of the Buddha!  How tragic, that
they should heed the gross and deluded words of this ignorant
monk!  If we hope to bring order and tranquillity to the world
without further delay, we must put an end to these slanders of
the Law that fill the country!

The guest said:  If we are to put an end to these people
who slander the Law and do away with those who violate the
prohibitions of the Buddha, then are we to condemn them to death
as described in the passages from the sutras you have just cited?
If we do that, then we ourselves will be guilty of inflicting
injury and death upon others, and will suffer the consequences,
will we not?

In the Daijuku Sutra, the Buddha says: "If a person
shaves his head and puts on clerical robes, then, whether that
person observes the precepts or violates them, both gods and men
would give him alms.  In doing so, they are giving alms and
support to me, for that person is my son.  But if men beat and
abuse that person, they are beating my son, and if they curse and
insult him, they are reviling me."

If we stop to consider, we must realize that, regardless
of whether one is good or bad, right or wrong, if he is a priest
or monk, then he deserves to have alms and nourishment extended
to him.  For how could one beat and insult the son and still not
cause grief and sorrow to the father?  The Brahmans who beat the
Buddha's disciple Maudgalyayana to death with their staves have
for a long time been sunk in the hell of incessant suffering.
Because Devadatta murdered the nun Utpalavarna, he has gone on
and on choking in the flames of the Avichi Hell.  Examples
from earlier ages make the matter perfectly clear, and later ages
fear this offense most of all.  You speak of punishing those who
slander the Law, but to do so would violate the Buddha's
prohibitions.  I can hardly believe that such a course would be
right.  How can you justify it?

The host said: You have clearly seen the passages from
the sutras that I have cited, and yet you can ask a question like
that!  Are they beyond the power of your mind to comprehend?  Or
do you fail to understand the reasoning behind them?  I certainly
have no intention of censuring the sons of the Buddha.  My only
hatred is for the act of slandering the Law.  According to the
teachings of the Buddha who lived prior to Shakyamuni, slanderous
priests would have incurred the death penalty.  But in the sutras
preached since the time of Shakyamuni, priests of this type have
merely been prevented from receiving alms.  Now if all the four
kinds of believers within the four seas and the ten thousand
lands would only cease giving alms to wicked priests and instead
all come over to the side of the good, then how could any more
troubles rise to plague us or disasters come to confront us?

With this the guest moved off his mat in a gesture of
respect, straightened the collar of his robe, and said: The
Buddhist teachings vary greatly and it is difficult to
investigate each doctrine in full.  I have had many doubts and
perplexities and have been unable to distinguish right from
wrong.

Nevertheless, this word by the venerable Honen, the
Senchaku Shu, does in fact exist.  And it lumps together all the
various Buddhas, sutras, bodhisattvas and deities and says that
one should "discard, close, ignore, and abandon" them.  The
meaning of the text is perfectly clear.  And as a result of this,
the sages have departed from the nation, the benevolent deities
have left their dwelling places, hunger and thirst fill the world
and disease and pestilence spread abroad.

Now, by citing passages from a wide variety of
scriptures, you have clearly demonstrated the rights and wrongs
of the matter.  Therefore I have completely forsaken my earlier
mistaken convictions, and my ears and eyes have been opened on
point after point.

There can be no doubt that all men, from the ruler down
to the common people, rejoice in and desire the stability of the
nation and the peace of the world.  If we can quickly put an end
to the alms that are given to these icchantika and insure that
continuing support is instead given to the host of true priests
and nuns, if we can still these "white waves" that trouble
the Ocean of the Buddha and cut down these "green groves" that
overgrow the Mountain of the Law, then the world may become as
peaceful as it was in the golden ages of Fu Hsi and Shen Nung,
and the nation may flourish as it did under the sage rulers Yao
and Shun.  After that, there will be time to dip into the
Waters of the Law and to decide which are shallow doctrines and
which are deep, and to pay honor to the pillars and beams that
support the House of the Buddha.

The host exclaimed with delight: As the proverb says, the
dove has changed into a hawk, the sparrow into a clam! How
gratifying!  You have transformed yourself through your
association with me, and like the bramble growing in the hemp
field, you have learned to stand up straight!  If you will truly
give consideration to the troubles I have been describing and put
entire faith in these words of mine, then the winds will blow
gently, the waves will be calm, and in no time at all we will
enjoy bountiful harvests.

But a person's heart may change with the times, and the
nature of a thing may alter with its surroundings.  Just as the
moon on the water will be tossed about by the waves, or the
soldiers in the vanguard will be cowed by the swords of the
enemy, so, although at this moment you may say you believe in my
words, I fear that later you will forget them completely.

Now if we wish first of all to bring security to the
nation and to pray for our present and future lives, then we must
hasten to examine and consider the situation and take measures as
soon as possible to remedy it.

Why do I say this?  Because, of the seven types of
disasters described in the passage from the Yakushi Sutra that I
cited earlier, five have already occurred.  Only two have yet to
appear, the "calamity of invasion from foreign lands" and the
"calamity of revolt within one's own domain."  And of the three
calamities mentioned in the passage from the Daijuku Sutra, two
have already made their appearance.  Only one remains, the
"disaster of warfare."

The different types of disaster and calamity enumerated
in the Konkomyo Sutra have arisen one after the other.  Only that
described as "bandits and marauders from other regions invading
and plundering the nation" has yet to materialize.  This is the
only trouble that has not yet come.  And of the seven calamities
listed in the Ninno Sutra, six are now upon us in full force.
Only one has not yet appeared, the calamity that occurs "when
enemies rise up on all four sides and invade the nation."

Moreover, as the Ninno Sutra says, "When a nation becomes
disordered, it is the spirits which first show signs of
rampantcy.  Because these spirits become rampant, all the people
of the nation become disordered."

Now if we examine the present situation carefully in the
light of this passage, we will see that the various spirits have
for some time been rampant, and many of the people have perished.
If the first predicted misfortune in the sutra has already
occurred, as is obvious, then how can we doubt that the later
disasters will follow?  If, in punishment for the evil doctrines
that are upheld, the troubles that have yet to appear should fall
upon us one after the other, then it will be too late to act,
will it not?

Emperors and kings have their foundation in the state and
bring peace and order to the age; ministers and commoners hold
possession of their fields and gardens and supply the needs of
the world.  But if bandits come from other regions to invade the
nation, or if revolt breaks out within the domain and people's
lands are seized and plundered, how can there be anything but
terror and confusion?  If the nation is destroyed and families
are wiped out, then where can one flee for safety?  If you care
anything about your personal security, you should first of all
pray for order and tranquillity throughout the four quarters of
the land, should you not?

It seems to me that, when people are in this world, they
all fear what their lot may be in the life to come.  So it is
that some of them put their faith in heretical teachings, or pay
honor to those who slander the Law.  It distresses me that they
should be so confused about right and wrong, and at the same time
I feel pity that, having embraced Buddhism, they should have
chosen the wrong kind.  With the power of faith that is in their
hearts, why must they vainly give credence to heretical
doctrines?  If they do not shake off these delusions that they
cling to but continue to harbor false ideas, then they will
quickly leave the world of the living and fall into hell of
incessant suffering.

Thus the Daijuku Sutra says: "Though the ruler of a state
may have for countless existences in the past practiced the
giving of alms, observed the precepts and abided by the
principles of wisdom, if he sees that my Law, the Dharma of the
Buddha, is in danger of perishing and stands idly by without
doing anything to protect it, then all the inestimable store of
good causes that he has accumulated through the practices just
mentioned will be entirely wiped out.... Before long, the ruler
will fall gravely ill, and after his life has come to an end, he
will be reborn in one of the major hells.... And the same fate
will befall the ruler's consort, his heir, the high ministers of
the state, the lords of cities, the village heads and generals,
the magistrates of districts, and the government officials."

The Ninno Sutra states: "If a man destroys the teachings
of the Buddha, he will have no filial sons, no harmony with his
close relatives, and no aid from the heavenly deities.  Disease
and evil spirits will come day after day to torment him,
disasters will descend on him incessantly, and misfortunes will
dog him wherever he goes.  And when he dies, he will fall into
one of the three realms of Hell, Hunger or Animality.  Even if he
should be reborn as a human being, he will be destined to become
a slave in the army.  Retribution will follow as an echo follows
a sound or a shadow follows a form.  A person writing at night
may put out the lamp, but the words he has written will still
remain.  It is the same with the destiny we create for ourselves
in the threefold world."

The second volume of the Lotus Sutra says: "One who
refuses to take faith in this sutra and instead slanders it....
After he dies, he will fall into the hell of incessant
suffering."  And in the Fukyo chapter in the seventh volume, it
says: "For a thousand aeons they dwelt in the hell of incessant
suffering and underwent great pain and torment."

In the Nirvana Sutra we read:  "If a man separates
himself from good friends, refuses to listen to the True Law and
instead embraces evil teachings, then as a result he will sink
down into the hell of incessant suffering, where he will
experience indescribable torment."

When we examine this wide variety of sutras, we find that
they all stress how grave a matter it is to slander the Law.  How
pitiful, that all men should go out of the gate of the True Law
and enter so deep into the prison of these perverse dogmas!  How
stupid, that they should fall one after another into the snares
of these evil doctrines, and remain for so long entangled in this
net of slanderous teachings!  They lose their way in these mist
and miasmas, and sink down amid the raging flames of hell.  How
they must grieve!  How they must suffer!

Therefore you must quickly reform the tenets that you
hold in your heart and embrace the one true vehicle, the single
good doctrine of the Lotus Sutra.  If you do so, then the
threefold world will all become the Buddha land, and how could a
Buddha land ever decline?  The regions in the ten directions will
all become treasure realms, and how could a treasure realm ever
suffer harm?  If you live in a country that knows no decline or
diminution, in a land that suffers no harm or disruption, then
your body will find peace and security and your mind will be calm
and untroubled.  You must believe my words, heed what I say!

The guest said: Since it concerns both this life and the
lives to come, who could fail to agree with you?  Now when I
examine the passages you have cited from the sutras and see
exactly what the Buddha has said, I realize that slandering is a
very grave offense indeed, that violating the Law is in truth a
terrible sin.  I have put all my faith in one Buddha alone,
Amida, and rejected all the other Buddhas.  I have honored the
three Pure Land sutras and set aside the other sutras.  But this
was not due to any distorted ideas of my own conception.  I was
simply obeying the words of the eminent men of the past.  And
the same is true of all the other persons in the ten directions
who follow the Pure Land teachings.

But now I realize that to do so means to exhaust oneself
in futile efforts in this life, and to fall into the hell of
incessant suffering in the life to come.  The texts you have
cited are perfectly clear on this point and their arguments are
detailed -- they leave no room for doubt.  With your kind
instruction to guide me, I have been able bit by bit to dispel
the ignorance from my mind.

Now I hope we may set about as quickly as possible taking
measures to deal with these slanders against the Law and to bring
peace to the world without delay, thus insuring that I may live
in safety in this life and enjoy good fortune in the life to
come.  But it is not enough that I alone should accept and have
faith in your words -- we must see to it that others as well are
warned of their errors!

  

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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