Letter to Gijo-bo
I have carefully reviewed your question about the Buddhist doctrines. The blessing of the Lotus Sutra can only be understood between Buddhas. It is the kind of enlightenment that even the wisdom of Shakyamuni Buddhas emanations throughout the ten directions can barely fathom, if at all. This is why, as you well know, the Great Teacher Tien-tai construed the character myo [of Myoho-renge-kyo] to mean that which is beyond ordinary comprehension.1 The Lotus Sutra proclaims a great diversity of practices, but only Tien-tai, Miao-lo and Dengyo were able to understand the heart of the sutra. Among these men, the Great Teacher Dengyo was the reincarnation of Tien-tai [and therefore well versed in the Tien-tai doctrine]. Nevertheless, he sent envoys to Tang China on many occasions in an effort to resolve the common doubts of others concerning the sutra. The essence of the sutra is the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds, one hundred worlds and one thousand factors, and the three thousand realms in a single moment of life. This is a doctrine of great importance which was revealed in the work entitled Maka shikan.
The teaching of the Juryo chapter bears special significance for me, Nichiren. Tien-tai and Dengyo understood it in a general way but did not reveal it in words, and the same was true of Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu. The Jigage section of the chapter states, ...single-mindedly desiring to see the Buddha, not hesitating even if it costs them their lives... I, Nichiren, have called forth Buddhahood from within my life by living this sentence. This means that I myself embodied the Three Great Secret Laws, or the reality of the three thousand realms in a single moment of life, implied in the Juryo chapter. But let us keep this to ourselves!
Dengyo, the Great Teacher of Mount Hiei, journeyed to China to receive instruction in the profound meaning of this sentence from the sutra. Single of single-mindedly means the one pure way,2 and mind indicates all phenomena and existences. The Great Teacher Tien-tai explained the Chinese character for mind by saying that it consists of four brush strokes representing the moon and three stars and implies that the mind that resides in the effect [of Buddhahood] is pure and clean.3 My interpretation of the passage is that single stands for myo (mystic), mind for ho (law), desiring for ren (lotus), see for ge (flower), and Buddha for kyo (sutra). In propagating these five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo, one should not hesitate even if it costs them their lives.
Single-mindedly desiring to see the Buddha also means to see the Buddha in ones own mind, to concentrate ones mind on seeing the Buddha, and that to see ones own mind is to see the Buddha. I have attained the fruit of Buddhahood, the eternally inherent three bodies,4 [by living this sentence]. In achieving this I am sure I surpass Tien-tai and Dengyo, Nagarjuna and Mahakashyapa. The Buddha admonishes that one should by all means become the master of ones mind rather than let ones mind master oneself.5 This is why I have emphatically urged you not to hesitate to give up your body and your life for the sake of the Lotus Sutra. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
The twenty-eighth day of the fifth month in the tenth year of Bunei (1273)
Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin; Vol 2.
Designed by Will Kallander