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Reply to a Believer

I have just received your letter. Considering how disasters have struck one after another in the wake of Nichiren’s exile,1 would they dare attempt to harass us any further? I feel they will do no more, but people on the brink of ruin are capable of anything. Should some persecution be about to occur, there will certainly be signs. Even if I were to be exiled again, it would bring ten billion times greater good fortune than if my teachings were to be accepted. The next exile would be my third. Should it happen, the Lotus Sutra could never accuse me of being a fainthearted votary. I might well become heir to the blessings of Shakyamuni, Taho and all the other Buddhas of the ten directions, as well as those of the countless Bodhisattvas of the Earth. How wonderful if that were to come about!

I will follow in the path of Sessen Doji and live as did Bodhisattva Fukyo. In comparison to such a life, how wretched and meaningless it would be to fall victim to an epidemic or simply die of old age! I would far rather suffer persecution from this country’s ruler for the sake of the Lotus Sutra and thereby free myself from the sufferings of birth and death. Then I could test the vows that the Sun Goddess, Hachiman, the gods of the sun and the moon, Taishaku and Bonten made in the presence of the Buddha. Above all, I will urge them to protect every one of you.

If you continue living as you are now, there can be no doubt that you are practicing the Lotus Sutra twenty-four hours each day. Regard your service to your lord as the practice of the Lotus Sutra. [The Hokke Gengi makes precisely this point when it says:] "No affairs of life or work are in any way different from the ultimate reality."2

I fully understand what you have said in your letter.

With my deep respect,

The eleventh day of the fourth month.


  1. The Kamakura government exiled Nichiren Daishonin to the Izu Pemnsula from May 1261 to February 1263 and then to Sado Island from October 1271 through March 1274. According to the sutras, slander of the True Law and persecution of its votary will result in disasters such as the earthitiakes, floods, droughts, famines, fires and other calamities troubling Japan at that time. Furthermore, foreign invasion and internal strife were then adding to the social upheaval, exactly as the Daishonin had predicted in his treatise, "Rissho Ankoku Ron."
  2. A commentary in T'ien-t'ai's Hokke Gengi, Vol. I, on a passage from the Hosshi Kudoku (19th) chapter of the Lotus Sutra which reads: "And whatever he preaches according to his understanding will never contradict the truth. All matters that he preaches pertaining to learning, government, language and daily living will accord with the True Law."

Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Vol. 3, page 269.

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