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Major Writings - Nichiren Daishounin

The Drum at the Gate of Thunder
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

The Drum at the Gate of Thunder

I have received one kan of blue-duck coins, one to of dried rice, and other articles. Tokusho Doji, who offered a mudpie to the Buddha, was reborn as King Ashoka, and an old woman who made the Buddha an offering of rice gruel was reborn as a pratyekabuddha.

The Lotus Sutra is the teacher of all the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three existences. The Buddhas of the ten directions are the Buddha Zentoku in the east, the Buddha Muutoku in the southeast, the Buddha Sendantoku in the south, the Buddha Hose in the southwest, the Buddha Muryomyo in the west, the Buddha Ketoku in the northwest, the Buddha Sotoku in the north, the Buddha Sanjogyo in the northeast, the Buddha Koshutoku of the zenith, and the Buddha Myotoku of the nadir.

The Buddhas of the three existences are the thousand Buddhas of the past Glorious Kalpa, the thousand Buddhas of the present Wise Kalpa, and the thousand Buddhas of the future Constellation Kalpa, as well as all the other Buddhas depicted in the Mahayana and Hinayana, provisional and true, and exoteric and esoteric sutras, including the Kegon, Lotus and Nirvana sutras. These Buddhas, as well as the bodhisattvas in the worlds of the ten directions who are as numerous as particles of dust, all originate from the single character myo of the Lotus Sutra.

Therefore, the Fugen Sutra, the epilogue to the Lotus Sutra, says, "The three enlightened properties of the Buddha's life arise from the Hodo." The term Hodo derives from an Indian word and was translated in China as "great vehicle." Great vehicle, or Mahayana, is another name for the Lotus Sutra. The Agon sutras, when compared with non-Buddhist scriptures, are regarded as Mahayana sutras, or the sutras of the great vehicle. Similarly, the Kegon, Hannya, Dainichi and other sutras, when compared with the Agon sutras, are defined as Mahayana sutras; but they in turn fall within the category of Hinayana sutras, or the sutras of the lesser vehicle, when compared with the Lotus Sutra. As no sutra surpasses the Lotus Sutra, it is the one and only Mahayana sutra.

To illustrate, each ruler of the eighty-four thousand countries in Jambudvipa is called a great king within his country. But when compared with a wheel-turning king, he is called a minor king. In like manner, each of the kings of the six heavens of the world of desire and of the four meditation heavens may be called either a great king or a minor king, [depending on whom he is compared to;] but King Daibonten, who resides at the top of the world of form, is the one great ruler who can never be called a minor king.

A Buddha is a child, and the Lotus Sutra, its parents. If the parents of a thousand children are praised, those thousand children will rejoice. If one makes offerings to the parents, he makes offerings to their thousand children as well. One who makes offerings to the Lotus Sutra will receive the same benefit as he would by making offerings to all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas in the ten directions, because all the Buddhas of the ten directions originate from the single character myo. Suppose a lion has a hundred cubs. When the lion king sees its cubs attacked by other beasts or birds of prey, he roars; the hundred cubs will then feel emboldened, and the heads of those other beasts and birds of prey will be split into seven pieces. The Lotus Sutra is like the lion king, who rules over all other animals.

A woman who embraces the lion king of the Lotus Sutra need not fear the beasts of Hell, Hunger, and Animality. All the offenses committed by a woman in her lifetime are like dry grass, and the single character myo of the Lotus Sutra is like a small spark. When a small spark is set to a large expanse of grass, not only the grass but also big trees and large stones will all be consumed. Such is the power of the fire of wisdom in the single character myo. Not only will all offenses vanish, but they will become sources of benefit. This is what changing poison into amrita means. For example, black lacquer will turn white when white powder is added. A woman's offenses are like the lacquer, and the words Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, like the white powder.

When one dies, if he is destined to fall into hell, his appearance will darken and his body will become as heavy as a stone that requires the strength of a thousand men to move. But in the case of a devotee of true faith, even if she should be a woman seven or eight feet tall and of dark complexion, at the hour of death, her countenance will become pure and bright, and her body will be as light as a goose feather and as soft and pliable as cotton.

It is a thousand ri across the sea and mountains from Sado to this province. You, as a woman, have held fast to your faith in the Lotus Sutra; and over the years you have repeatedly sent your husband here to visit me in your place. Surely the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni, Taho and all other Buddhas of the ten directions know of your devotion. For example, though the moon is forty thousand yojana high in the heavens, its reflection appears instantly in a pond on the earth; and the sound of the drum at the Gate of Thunder is immediately heard ten million ri in the distance. Though you remain in Sado, your heart has come to this province.

The way of attaining Buddhahood is just like this. Although we live in the impure land, our minds reside at Eagle Peak. Merely seeing each other's face would in itself be insignificant. What matters is one's heart. Someday let us meet at Eagle Peak, where Shakyamuni Buddha dwells. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

With my deep respect,
Nichiren

The nineteenth day of the intercalary tenth month in the first year of Koan (1278)
 

  

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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