Well I did it again today! Damn! This a hard pony to get off of! Five hours of Daimoku on Monday, five hours Tuesday, six hours Wednesday, and I'll be damned if I didn't chant another five hours today.
Ha! And to be honest, I really have no pressing problems or concerns right now! I have just felt like chanting. I am so full of appreciation for the life I have! I am so concerned for so many friends who are struggling right now. I so want my kids to grow up safely and wholely, and that they end up being kick-ass human beings of the highest order! I am so lucky to be married to someone who shares my faith and chants hours each day as well!
I know my life is going to be challenged, but it already has been. That's why I chant so much Daimoku. I've once again left the Devil of the Sixth Heaven no place to hide and I feel really good about that.
I hope you all will try the experience of living life full of Daimoku. Its not that hard. The Daishonin says one must learn to be the Master of their Mind rather than let their Mind be their Master. I think what that is talking about is the ability to chant Daimoku--when you need to; as much as you need to.
You're all Buddhas! Never be intimidated and you can never be defeated. Kick some Devil Ass and express your True Nature!
Having glanced through your letter, I feel as relieved as if the day had finally broken after a long night, or as if I had returned home after a long journey.
Buddhism primarily concerns itself with victory or defeat, while secular authority is based on the principle of reward and punishment. For this reason, a Buddha is looked up to as the Hero of the World,(1) while a king is called the one who rules at his will. India is called the Land of the Moon,(2) and our country, the Land of the Sun. Of the eighty thousand countries in the land of Jambudvipa, India is one of the largest, and Japan, one of the smallest. When it comes to the auspiciousness of their names, however, India ranks second and Japan first. Buddhism began in the Land of the Moon; it will reside in the Land of the Sun. It is in the natural course of events that the moon appears in the west(3) and travels eastward while the sun proceeds from east to west. This truth is as inalterable as the fact that a magnet attracts iron, or that the ivory plant(4) is nourished by the sound of thunder. Who could possibly deny it?
Let us examine how Buddhism came to Japan. Our country was first under the seven reigns of the heavenly deities and then under the five reigns of the earthly deities. Their reigns were followed by the age of human sovereigns, the first being Emperor Jimmu. The thirtieth emperor was Kimmei, who reigned for thirty-two years. In those days there was a state called Paekche(5) to the west of this country. It was under the suzerainty of the Japanese emperor and was governed by a king named Syöngmyöng. When the king made his annual tribute to Japan on the thirteenth day, with the cyclical sign kanoto-tori, of the tenth month in the thirteenth year of Emperor Kimmei’s reign (552), the year with the cyclical sign mizunoe-saru, he sent along with it a gilded bronze image of Shakyamuni Buddha, a number of Buddhist scriptures, and also priests and nuns. Overjoyed, the emperor sought counsel from his ministers as to whether or not the nation should worship the Buddha of the western countries.
The Great Minister Iname(6) of the Soga clan said, “All the countries of the west worship this Buddha. Why should Japan alone deny him?” However, the Chief Minister Okoshi of the Mononobe clan, Nakatomi no Kamako,(7) and others advised the emperor, saying: “The sovereign who rules over our nation has traditionally performed rites throughout the four seasons of the year in honor of heaven and earth, the gods of the land and of grain, and numerous other deities. If we alter this custom in favor of the god of the west, our native deities will be angered.” Unable to decide, the emperor decreed that the Great Minister Soga alone should worship the Buddha by way of trial, and that no one else should do so. Soga was exceedingly glad to receive this decree. He took the image of Shakyamuni Buddha to his residence at a place called Ohada(8) and enshrined it there, to the surprise and outrage of the Chief Minister Mononobe.
At that time, a terrible epidemic broke out in Japan and killed a majority of the populace. Since it seemed as though the entire nation would perish, the Chief Minister Mononobe took this opportunity to declare to the emperor that the Buddha image should be destroyed. The emperor concurred and commanded that Buddhism, a foreign religion, be discarded immediately. The Chief Minister Mononobe, acting on the emperor’s behalf, confiscated the statue, heated it in a charcoal fire, and smashed it with a hammer. He razed the Buddha image hall and flogged the priests and nuns. Then, although the sky was cloudless, a gale blew and rain fell. The imperial palace was consumed in a fire that descended from heaven.(9) All three men— the emperor, Mononobe, and Soga— fell ill in the epidemic. Each suffered excruciating agony, as though he were being mangled or burned alive. Mononobe finally died, while the emperor and Soga barely recovered. From that time, nineteen years passed without anyone taking faith in Buddhism.
The thirty-first emperor, Bidatsu, was the second son of Kimmei. He reigned for fourteen years, aided by the ministers of the left and right. One of them was a son of the Chief Minister Mononobe no Okoshi, Yuge no Moriya,(10) who had succeeded to his father’s position. The other was a son of the Great Minister Soga no Iname, Soga no Umako [who also assumed his father’s position]. It was during Emperor Bidatsu’s reign that Prince Shotoku was born. He was a son of Emperor Yomei and a nephew of Bidatsu. One day in the second month of the year when the prince was two years old, he faced the east, extended his third finger, and chanted “Hail, Buddha,” whereupon the Buddha’s ashes materialized in his palm. This was the first time that anyone in Japan had invoked the name of Shakyamuni Buddha.
When the prince was only eight years old, he proclaimed, “Those who, in the latter age, worship the image of the sage of the west, Shakyamuni Buddha, will forestall calamities and receive benefits. Those who despise it will invite disasters and have their lives shortened.” Hearing this, the Chief Minister Mononobe no Moriya and others said in anger, “The Sogas have been worshiping the god of a foreign land in violation of the imperial decree.” Epidemics still raged incessantly, nearly wiping out the entire populace. Mononobe no Moriya reported this to the emperor. The emperor issued a decree, which stated, “Soga no Umako has been upholding Buddhism. Practice of this religion must cease.”
In compliance with the imperial command, Moriya, together with Nakatomi no Katsumi,(11) marched upon the temple. There they demolished the hall and pagoda, burned and destroyed the Buddha image, and set fire to the temple. They stripped the priests and nuns of their surplices and punished them with whips. After this incident, the emperor as well as Moriya and Umako fell ill in an epidemic. All three said that they felt as though they were being burned alive or hacked to pieces. Moreover, boils called smallpox appeared all over their bodies. Umako, lamenting in anguish, said, “Still, we should worship the three treasures.” The emperor commanded that Umako alone should do so, and that no one else must follow suit. Overjoyed, Umako had a monastery built and there worshiped the three treasures.
The emperor [Bidatsu] finally died on the fifteenth day of the eighth month in the year when Prince Shotoku was fourteen. Yomei became thirty-second emperor and reigned for two years. He was a son of Kimmei and the father of Shotoku. In the fourth month of the second year of his reign (587), cyclical sign hinoto-hitsuji, he fell ill in an epidemic. Thereupon he expressed a desire to embrace the three treasures. Soga no Umako insisted that the imperial wish be honored, and finally brought a priest called Toyokuni(12) into the imperial palace. Mononobe no Moriya and others flew into a rage, and in their fury, swore to invoke a curse upon the emperor. At length the emperor passed away.
In the fifth month of that year, Moriya and his clan entrenched themselves at his residence in Shibukawa and assembled a large number of troops there. Prince Shotoku and Umako advanced on the enemy’s position and fought. The fifth, sixth, and seventh months saw a total of four encounters. The prince lost the first three. Before the fourth battle took place, he offered a prayer and vowed that he would build a stupa for the preservation of the Thus Come One Shakyamuni’s ashes and also construct Shitenno-ji, temple of the four heavenly kings. Umako similarly pledged that he would erect a temple and enshrine the image of Shakyamuni Buddha that had been sent from Paekche.
When the fighting began, Moriya shouted at the prince, “It is not I but the god of my ancestors, the great deity(13) enshrined at Futsu, who shoots this arrow.” The arrow flew far and struck the prince’s armor. The prince responded by calling out, “It is not I but the four heavenly kings who shoot this arrow.” Then he had a courtier named Tomi no Ichihi let fly the arrow. It traveled a great distance and struck Moriya in the chest. Hata no Kawakatsu(14) rushed to the spot and severed Moriya’s head from his body. This incident took place during the interval between Yomei’s passing and Sushun’s ascension to the throne.
After Sushun became thirty-third emperor, Prince Shotoku built Shitennoji temple, in which he placed the Thus Come One Shakyamuni’s ashes. Umako erected a temple called Gangoji, where he worshiped the image of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, which had been sent from Paekche. Here it must be pointed out in passing that the most appalling fraud in the world today is that of the statue of the Thus Come One Amida, allegedly the original object of devotion of Zenko-ji temple.(15) It was because of their enmity toward Shakyamuni Buddha that the three emperors as well as the members of the Mononobe clan perished. Prince Shotoku had an image of Shakyamuni Buddha cast and enshrined it in Gango-ji. This is the object of devotion now enshrined in Tachibana-dera(16) temple. It was the first statue of Shakyamuni Buddha ever to be made in Japan.
In China in the seventh year of Yung-p’ing (C.E. 64), the second emperor of the Later Han dynasty, Emperor Ming, dreamed of a man of gold.(17) He thereupon dispatched eighteen emissaries, including the scholars Ts’ai Yin and Wang Tsun, to India to seek Buddhism. As a result, in the tenth year of Yung-p’ing, cyclical sign hinoto-u, two sages of central India, Kashyapa Matanga and Chu Fa-lan, were brought to China and accorded the highest esteem. Thousands of adherents of Confucianism and Taoism, schools that had up until then presided over all imperial rites, resented this and lodged a complaint with the emperor. The emperor decreed that an open debate be held on the fifteenth day of the first month in the fourteenth year of Yungp’ing. Overjoyed, the Taoists erected an altar for a hundred Chinese deities as their objects of devotion. The two sages from India had as their objects of devotion the Buddha’s ashes, a painting of Shakyamuni Buddha, and five sutras.(18)
As was customary in their rituals performed before the emperor, the Taoists brought in the scriptures of their school, as well as the Three Records, the Five Canons, and the writings of the two sages(19) and the Three Kings, piled some of them with firewood, and set them ablaze. In similar rites in the past these books had always withstood the flames, but this time they were reduced to ashes. Others, which were placed in water, had previously floated on the surface, but now sank to the bottom. The Taoists called out for demons to appear, but to no avail. Unbearably humiliated, Ch’u Shan-hsin, Fei Shuts’ai, and others died of shame. When the two Indian sages preached Buddhism, the Buddha’s ashes ascended to heaven and there radiated a light so brilliant that it eclipsed the sun. The Buddha in the painting emitted a light from between his eyebrows. More than six hundred Taoists, including Lü Huit’ung,(20) finally capitulated and entered the Buddhist priesthood. Within thirty days of this confrontation they built ten temples of Buddhism.
Thus Shakyamuni Buddha is perfectly just in administering reward and punishment. As I mentioned earlier, because the three emperors and the two subjects(21) became enemies of the Thus Come One Shakyamuni, they lost their lives and fell into the evil paths in their next existence.
Our own age is not unlike theirs. The Taoists Ch’u and Fei of China, and Moriya in Japan, by relying on the major and minor deities of their respective countries, became enemies of Shakyamuni Buddha. But since these gods themselves follow the Buddha, those practitioners were all brought to ruin. These present times are exactly like theirs. The image I mentioned earlier that came from Paekche is that of Shakyamuni Buddha. Nevertheless, priests of the other schools have deceived the Japanese people by calling it Amida Buddha. In other words, they have replaced Shakyamuni with another Buddha. There is a difference between the Taoists and Moriya on the one hand and our contemporary priests on the other in that the former preferred gods to a Buddha while the latter have replaced one Buddha with another. However, they are alike in that they all abandoned Shakyamuni Buddha. There is no doubt, therefore, that our country will be ruined. This is a teaching that has never yet been revealed. Keep it strictly to yourself.
If there are any among my followers who are weak in faith and go against what I, Nichiren, say, they will meet the same fate as did the Soga family. I will tell you the reason. It was due to the efforts of father and son, Soga no Iname and Umako, that Buddhism came to be established in Japan. They could have held the same position as Brahma and Shakra at the time of the Thus Come One Shakyamuni’s appearance in this world. Because they had brought Mononobe no Okoshi and his son Moriya to ruin, they became the only influential clan in the country. They rose in rank and controlled the nation, and their family enjoyed high prosperity. But Umako grew so arrogant that he had Emperor Sushun assassinated and many princes killed. Moreover, his grandson, Iruka,(22) had his retainers put twenty-three of Prince Shotoku’s children to death. Thereupon Empress Kogyoku, following the advice of Nakatomi no Kamako, had a statue cast of Shakyamuni Buddha and prayed to it fervently. As a result, Iruka, his father, and the entire Soga family all perished at once.
Draw your own conclusions from what I said above. Those among my followers who fail to carry through their faith to the end will incur punishment even more severe. Even so, they should not harbor a grudge against me. Remember what fate Sho-bo, Notobo,(23) and others met.
Be extremely cautious, and for the time being never submit yourself to writing a pledge, whatever it may concern. No matter how furiously a fire may rage, it burns out after a while. On the other hand, water may appear to move slowly, but its flow does not easily vanish. Since you are hot tempered and behave like a blazing fire, you will certainly be deceived by others. If your lord coaxes you with soft words, I am sure you will be won over, just as a fire is extinguished by water. Untempered iron quickly melts in a blazing fire, like ice put in hot water. But a sword, even when exposed to a great fire, withstands the heat for a while, because it has been well forged. In admonishing you in this way, I am trying to forge your faith.
Buddhism is reason. Reason will win over your lord. No matter how dearly you may love your wife and wish never to part from her, when you die, it will be to no avail. No matter how dearly you may cherish your estate, when you die, it will only fall into the hands of others. You have been prosperous enough for all these years. You must not give your estate a second thought. As I have said before, be millions of times more careful than ever.
Since childhood, I, Nichiren, have never prayed for the secular things of this life but have single-mindedly sought to become a Buddha. Of late, however, I have been ceaselessly praying for your sake to the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha, and the god of the sun, for I am convinced that you are a person who can inherit the soul of the Lotus Sutra. Be extremely careful not to come into conflict with others. Do not meet anyone at any place other than your own house. None of the night watchmen(24) are sufficiently dependable, but considering that they had their residences confiscated because of their faith in the Lotus Sutra, you should, under ordinary circumstances, maintain friendly relations with them. Then they will exercise extra caution on their nightly rounds and provide you with protection. Even should the people on your side make a slight error, pretend not to see or hear it.
Even if your lord should ask to hear the teachings of Buddhism, do not heedlessly rejoice and rush off to see him. Answer mildly that you are not sure that you can comply, and that you will consult with some of my disciples. If you betray great joy in your countenance and allow yourself to be drawn in by his desire to hear the teachings, you will bring everything to ruin as surely as fire consumes whatever will burn, or as rain falls from heaven.
If the opportunity arises, submit to your lord the petition(25) I have written on your behalf. Since it contains matters of great import, it will certainly create a stir.
To Shijo Kingo
Around the third year of Kenji (1277), when this letter was written, Shijo Kingo was in great personal danger, having incurred the wrath of his lord Ema. Lord Ema’s antagonism toward Shijo Kingo dated back to the Kuwagayatsu Debate, which took place in the sixth month, 1277. Taking advantage of their discord, Kingo’s colleagues were watching for a chance to do away with him. In response to Kingo’s report on the plight in which he was placed, Nichiren Daishonin wrote a petition to Lord Ema on Kingo’s behalf, explaining what had happened at the Kuwagayatsu Debate and the relative superiority of the Buddhist teachings.
In the present letter, the Daishonin clarifies the difference between Buddhism and government. Reward and punishment are means that a government employs to pursue its goals, while there is no such conscious manipulation in the world of Buddhism. Buddhism, based on an absolute Law, means victory or defeat — in other words, happiness or unhappiness — depending on whether one supports it or opposes it. In the last part of the letter, the Daishonin strongly advises Kingo to take great care to avoid being attacked by his enemies.
1. The Hero of the World is another name for the Buddha, so called because he valiantly confronts all sufferings and leads all people to enlightenment. The “Parable of the Phantom City” chapter of the Lotus Sutra reads, “World hero without peer, you who adorn yourself with a hundred blessings, you have attained unsurpassed wisdom.”
2. Land of the Moon: (Chin Yüeh- chih) A name for India used in China and Japan. In the late third century B.C.E., there was a tribe called Yüeh-chih who ruled a part of India. Since Buddhism was brought from India to China via this territory, the Chinese seem to have regarded the land of the Yüeh-chih (moon tribe) as India itself.
3. “The moon appears in the west” refers to the fact that the new moon is first seen in the west just after sunset. Of course, the moon rises in the east and sets in the west each day just as the sun and stars do, but because its orbital motion is from west to east, it appears to move incrementally in retrograde, from west to east, each day.
4. A kind of plantain. The ivory plant is so called because its petals are large and ivory in color. In the Nirvana Sutra, it is said to grow with the sound of thunder.
5. Paekche was one of three kingdoms on the Korean Peninsula. It flourished from the mid-fourth through the mid-seventh century. Though the Daishonin indicates
that Paekche was in a subordinate relationship to Japan, scholars today, with access to a greater variety of historical documents than were available in the Daishonin’s time, believe that the relationship was actually one of cooperation and exchange. Paekche is perhaps best known for introducing Buddhism to Japan, but it was also responsible for providing much of the support that allowed Japan to successfully adopt continental civilization.
6. The Great Minister Iname is Soga no Iname (d. 570), a court official who engaged in a struggle for power with the Chief Minister Mononobe no Okoshi, leader of the conservative faction at court. Iname’s daughters became consorts of Emperor Kimmei, and one of them gave birth to Emperor Yomei, father of Prince Shotoku.
7. Nakatomi no Kamako is thought to have been a leading figure of the Nakatomi clan. Details about him are unknown. (Different from his namesake mentioned in n. 22.)
8. A place in Asuka Village, Nara.
9. The imperial palace was struck by lightning.
10. Yuge no Moriya is Mononobe no Moriya (d. 587), a court official who continued the opposition to Buddhism. He was also called Mononobe no Yuge no Moriya because his mother’s clan was Yuge.
11. Nakatomi no Katsumi (d. 587) was a military leader of the Yamato period and an opponent of Buddhism. He was killed by Tomi no Ichihi, a retainer of Prince Shotoku.
12. Toyokuni (n.d.) was a naturalized priest from the Korean kingdom of Paekche.
13. The great deity refers here to Futsu no Mitama no Okami, the deity of Isonokami Shrine at Futsu, Nara, who was revered by the Mononobe family as their clan deity.
14. Hata no Kawakatsu (n.d.) was a courtier who won the trust of Prince Shotoku. It is said that, after the prince’s death, he built Hachioka-dera (also called Koryu-ji) temple in honor of his memory.
15. Zenko-ji is a temple affiliated with the Tendai and Pure Land schools in what is now Nagano Prefecture. According to the documents of this temple, the statue originally enshrined there was the one sent by King Syöngmyöng to Emperor Kimmei. The documents claim that this statue was transported to Nagano by Honda Zenko, and enshrined in 642 at a temple which was to become Zenko-ji. However, The Chronicles of Japan says that the image sent by the king was one of Shakyamuni. It is conceivable that, with the rise of the Pure Land school, the original image was replaced by a statue of Amida Buddha.
16. A temple in Asuka in Nara, said to have been built by Prince Shotoku. It is now affiliated with the Tendai school.
17. This refers to the tradition that Emperor Ming (28–75) dreamed of a golden man levitating above the garden. He awakened and asked his ministers about the dream. One of them said that he had once heard of the birth of a sage in the western region during the reign of King Chao of the Chou dynasty and that this sage had been called the Buddha. The emperor sent eighteen envoys to the western region in order to obtain the Buddha’s teachings. And at the request of these envoys, two Indian Buddhist monks came to China in C.E. 67 with Buddhist scriptures and images on the backs of white horses.
18. Sutras translated into Chinese by Chu Fa-lan and Kashyapa Matanga, including the Sutra of Forty-two Sections.
19. Two of the Five Emperors, T’ang Yao and Yü Shun.
20. Lü Hui-t’ung was a Taoist in the Later Han dynasty. According to The Record of the Lineage of the Buddha and the Patriarchs, he and other Taoists converted to Buddhism when they were defeated in debate in the presence of Emperor Ming in 71.
21. The three emperors are Kimmei, Bidatsu, and Yomei. The two subjects are Mononobe no Moriya and Nakatomi no Katsumi.
22. Soga no Iruka (d. 645), a court official of the Yamato period. In the age of Empress Kogyoku (r. 642–645), he seized the reins of government and perpetrated various atrocities. In 643 he forced Prince Yamashiro no Oe, a son of Prince Shotoku, to commit suicide and thereafter was able to manage affairs of state as he pleased. However, he was finally killed by Naka no Oe, who was to become Emperor Tenji, and Nakatomi no Kamako (Fujiwara no Kamatari), whereupon his father, Emishi, set fire to his own house and burned to death.
23. Sho-bo and Noto-bo were disciples of Nichiren Daishonin who later abandoned their faith. Sho-bo is said to have begun doubting the Daishonin around the time of the Izu Exile in 1261, and finally turned against him. Noto-bo is said to have lost his faith around 1271.
24. The night watchmen are thought to have been Shijo Kingo’s escorts, who lived in his residence. Their estates were confiscated because of their belief in the Daishonin’s teachings.
25. The petition refers here to The Letter of Petition from Yorimoto written by the Daishonin on the twenty-fifth day of the sixth month, 1277, to Lord Ema on behalf of Shijo Kingo, explaining the falsity of the charges that had been made against him. This petition was kept by Kingo and in the end not submitted to the lord.
Bud, daimoku coming your way for good health and happiness. Not up to the volume of PTD's last week of D's; incredible T, just incredible with all those kids and distractions you must have. Impressive to say the least.
Just as I was thinking that, even if I remained free from illness, I would
surely die of starvation, the wheat that you sent arrived. It is more wonderful
than gold and more precious than jewels. Rida's millet changed into a golden
man. How, then, could Tokimitsu's wheat fail to turn into the characters of the
Lotus Sutra? These characters of the Lotus Sutra will become Shakyamuni Buddha
and then a pair of wings for your deceased father, flying and soaring to the
pure land of Eagle Peak. On returning, they will cover your body and protect
Reply to Tokimitsu
Written to Nanjo Tokimitsu on July 8, 1278
We must make steady and persistent efforts firmly grounded in daily life. If we
travel in the orbit of "faith equals daily life," all our prayers will
definitely be answered. We can then lead lives in which all our desires will be
fulfilled. Should all our prayers be answered without our having to make any
effort, we would grow lazy. Should all our desire be achieved without our ever
having to experience suffering or hardship, we could not understand the pain and
struggles of others, and our compassion would gradually wane.
Strengthen your faith now more than ever. Anyone who teaches the principles of
Buddhism to others is bound to incur hatred from men and women, priests and
nuns. Let them say what they will. Entrust yourself to the golden teachings of
the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha, T'ien-t'ai, Miao-lo, Dengyo, and Chang-an.
This is what is signified by the expression, "practicing according to the
The Embankments of Faith
Written to the lay nun Sennichi on September 3, 1275
Even in times of hardship, the important thing is for each of us to determine
that we are the star, protagonist and hero of our lives and keep moving forward.
Putting ourselves down and shrinking back from the obstacles looming before us
spell certain defeat. Through making ourselves strong and developing our state
of life, we can definitely find a way through. As long as we uphold the Mystic
Law throughout our lives, we can break through any impasse and surmount any
obstacle. We will also be able to lead all those who are suffering to happiness.
W HEN I asked him about what you told me the other day, I found it to be exactly as you said. You should therefore strive in faith more than ever to receive the blessings of the Lotus Sutra. Listen with the ears of Shih K’uang and observe with the eyes of Li Lou.1
In the Latter Day of the Law, the votary of the Lotus Sutra will appear without fail. The greater the hardships befalling him, the greater the delight he feels, because of his strong faith. Doesn’t a fire burn more briskly when logs are added? All rivers flow into the sea, but does the sea turn back their waters? The currents of hardship pour into the sea of the Lotus Sutra and rush against its votary. The river is not rejected by the ocean; nor does the votary reject suffering. Were it not for the flowing rivers, there would be no sea. Likewise, without tribulation there would be no votary of the Lotus Sutra. As T’ien-t’ai stated, “The various rivers flow into the sea, and logs make a fire burn more briskly.”2
You should realize that it is because of a profound karmic relationship from the past that you can teach others even a sentence or phrase of the Lotus Sutra. The sutra reads, “Nor will they hear the correct Law—such people are difficult to save.”3 The “correct Law” means the Lotus Sutra; it is difficult to save those who are deaf to the teachings of this sutra.
A passage from the “Teacher of the Law” chapter reads: “If one of these good men or good women [in the time after I have passed into extinction is able to secretly expound the Lotus Sutra to one person, even one phrase of it, then you should know that] he or she is the envoy of the Thus Come One.” This means that anyone who teaches others even a single phrase of the Lotus Sutra is the envoy of the Thus Come One, whether that person be priest or layman, nun or laywoman. You are already a lay practitioner and therefore one of the “good men” described in the sutra. One who listens to even a sentence or phrase of the sutra and cherishes it deep in one’s heart may be likened to a ship that crosses the sea of the sufferings of birth and death. The Great Teacher Miao-lo stated, “Even a single phrase cherished deep in one’s heart will without fail help one reach the opposite shore. To ponder one phrase and practice it is to exercise navigation.”4 Only the ship of Myoho-renge-kyo enables one to cross the sea of the sufferings of birth and death.
The Lotus Sutra speaks of “someone finding a ship in which to cross the water.”5 This “ship” might be described as follows: As a shipbuilder of infinitely profound wisdom, the World- Honored One of Great Enlightenment, the lord of teachings, gathered the lumber of the four flavors and eight teachings, planed it by honestly discarding the provisional teachings, cut and assembled the planks, forming a perfect unity of both right and wrong,6 and completed the craft by driving home the spikes of the one true teaching that is comparable to the flavor of ghee. Thus he launched the ship upon the sea of thue sufferings of birth and death. Unfurling its sails of the three thousand realms on the mast of the one true teaching of the Middle Way, driven by the fair wind of “the true aspect of all phenomena,”7 the vessel surges ahead, carrying aboard all people who can “gain entrance through faith alone.”8 The Thus Come One
Shakyamuni is at the helm, the Thus Come One Many Treasures takes up the mooring rope, and the four bodhisattvas led by Superior Practices row qickly, matching one another as perfectly as a box and its lid. This is the ship in “a ship in which to cross the water.” Those who are able to board it are the disciples and lay supporters of Nichiren. Believe this wholeheartedly. When you visit Shijo Kingo, please have an earnest talk with him. I will write you again in more detail.
With my deep respect,
The twenty-eighth day of the fourth month
To Shiiji Shiro
The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin - Page 33
Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter at Kamakura in the first year of Kocho (1261), about two weeks before he was exiled to Ito in Izu. Virtually nothing is known about the recipient, Shiiji Shiro, other than that he lived in the province of Suruga and was acquainted with two of the Daishonin’s leading disciples, Shijo Kingo and Toki Jonin.
The title of this letter is drawn from a passage in the “Medicine King” chapter of the Lotus Sutra that speaks of “a ship in which to cross the water.” In this letter, the Daishonin teaches that the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra is the “ship” that can unfailingly transport one across the sea of life’s inevitable sufferings to the distant shore of enlightenment.
1. Shih K’uang, in Chinese legend, was a court musician whose sense of hearing was so keen that he could judge the quality of a newly cast bell, where ordinary musicians could not. Li Lou’s sight was so acute that he could see the tip of a hair at a hundred paces.
2. Great Concentration and Insight.
3. Lotus Sutra, chap. 2.
4. The Annotations on “The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra.” “The opposite shore” represents nirvana, or enlightenment, while this shore where we live represents
5. Lotus Sutra, chap. 23.
6. “Forming a perfect unity of both right and wrong” means that both good and evil are eternally inherent in life. Provisional sutras hold that wicked people cannot attain enlightenment, but the Lotus Sutra reveals that even such people possess the Buddha nature, giving the example of Devadatta attaining Buddhahood.
7. Lotus Sutra, chap. 2.
8. Ibid., chap. 3.
donte, I suggest you delete your introductory post here at the Chanting Growers Group. you have no idea what you are talking about and the arrogance you have shown to come here and say the things you have said is "HOGWASH"
You have no idea what myself and the many other millions of persons following the teachings of Nichiren experience thru chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. Your ignorance truly shows what type of person you truly are. Talking about fasting, meditation and about being good at being good---how can you come here and judge on such a narrow understanding of what our life philosophy is all about. You can't deny the law of Cause and Effect and we as Nichiren buddhists are manifesting the most positive results of this in our lives; daily!
This site is to engage in dialogue and discussion on Nichiren's Buddhism and the Lotus Sutra. Please don't come here again unless you have something of value to add.
Ive deleted Dontae1000's post. You guys had some great responses. Figure we leave them
If it seems out of context and you guys want me to bring back the post or get rid of any others please let me know. Thats what im here for
Nam myoho renge kyo
I guess I better go check my email to see what the hell he said. Please leave those replies though!!! Forest! You go dude! Ha! SoCal! Rebuke that slander and eradicate your own! Bud! You are so merciful to have eliminated what I am sure will make my pulse quicken and nostrils flare! Now I'll be prepared. SoCal thanks for being here at the right time. We must all be on the right track. Thank you! Thank you all!
Ha! I knew as soon as I posted up my Daimoku total for the week that I would fuck up today and I did. Shit! I woke up just late enough to have someone else take the kids to school and so my morning three hours never happened as the wife didn't wake me up until noon to do morning gongyo! Then one of my fellow district leaders came over and we dialoged for three and a half hours and then I got buried with kids after school. See? It's simple to do if you don't relax, but the moment you do, the cause of that decision creates obstacles that weren't there before. I am very happy to not see the offensive post, but not suprised it was posted today!!!
Much love and deep respect,
WHERE THE HELL ARE DESI AND BONZ????????????????????????????????????
When an obstacle confronts you,
you should take it as a time to
rejoice and feel at ease.
(Gosho Zenshu, p. 750)
As long as you avoid adversity, you cannot hope to live a first-class existence;
you may be bound helplessly to a second-class life. This is true for an
individual or an organization.
Buddhism is reason. In your forties, fifties, or sixties, whether you develop
into a great individual who stands like a majestic tree, or rot away like a weak
and brittle tree, will be determined by the way you handle difficulties in life.
It may behoove you to remember this point.
Thanks you dontae1000 for that post it just makes me feel "Stronger and United" with all my chanting growers today...I will be chanting for you and all the problems you might confront in the furture...I feel that you really need a place to release something that is troubling you today dontae1000...Like the mighty lion's roar Nam myoho renge kyo