On Recommending This Teaching to Your Lord
I have received two kan of coins.
The foremost treasure of sentient beings is nothing other than life itself. Those who take life are doomed to fall into the three evil paths. Wheel-turning kings observed the precept of "not to kill" as the first of the ten good precepts. The Buddha preached the five precepts at the starting point of the Hinayana sutras and made "not to kill" the first of them. The Buddha also taught "not to kill" as the first of the ten major precepts in the Bommo Sutra of Mahayana. The Juryo chapter of the Lotus Sutra contains the blessings of Shakyamuni Buddha's precept "not to kill." Consequently, those who take life will be forsaken by all the Buddhas in the three existences, and the gods of the six heavens of the world of desire will not protect them. The scholars of our time are aware of this, and I, Nichiren, also have a general understanding of it.
However, the circumstances of killing vary, and the offense of the person killed may be heavy or light. If one kills the murderer of his parents, sovereign or teacher, then although he commits the same offense of killing, his grave sin will in effect become a lighter one. This, too, is something our contemporary scholars know. But even bodhisattvas with their great compassion, if they make offerings to the enemies of the Lotus Sutra, are certain to fall into the hell of incessant suffering. On the other hand, even those who commit the five cardinal sins, if they hate those enemies, will definitely be reborn in the human or heavenly realms. King Sen'yo and King Utoku, who had respectively destroyed five hundred and innumerable enemies of the Lotus Sutra, became the Shakyamuni Buddha of this world. Shakyamuni's disciples, such as Mahakashyapa, Ananda, Shariputra, Maudgalyayana and other countless followers, were those who, at that time had been in the vanguard of the battle and had scattered the enemy, killing them, injuring them, or rejoicing in the fight. The monk Kakutoku became Kasho Buddha. He was a most compassionate votary of the Lotus Sutra who at that time urged King Utoku to attack the enemies of the sutra as he would one who has been betraying his father and mother since a previous lifetime.
Our present day corresponds to that time. If the ruler would accept Nichiren's words, he would become like the two kings. Yet he not only rejected them but actually sided with the enemies of the Lotus Sutra, so that the entire nation attacks me, Nichiren. From the ruler down to the common people, all have become slanderers whose offense exceeds even the five cardinal sins. All of you belong to the side of the ruler. Although in your heart you are of the same mind as Nichiren, your person is in service to your lord; thus it would seem extremely difficult for you to avoid the offense of complicity in slander. Nevertheless, you have communicated this teaching to your lord and urged him to take faith in it. How admirable! Even though he may not accept it now, you have been able to avoid the offense of complicity. From now on, you should be careful in what you say. The heavenly gods will protect you without fail, and I myself will tell them to do so.
Please take every possible precaution. Those who hate you will be all the more vigilant in watching for a chance to do you harm. Don't attend any further drinking parties at night. What dissatisfaction can there be in drinking in your wife's company alone? Even if you attend banquets with others in the daytime, never relax your guard. Your enemies will have no opportunity to attack you, unless they take advantage of a time when you are drinking. You cannot be too careful.
With my deep respect,
The twenty-sixth day of the ninth month
Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol. 6, page 89.
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