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Reply to Jibu-bo

I have received one to of polished rice, some myoga1 buds and one package of ginger.

People who present the Buddha with the cherry blossoms of spring, the crimson leaves of autumn, the clear water of summer and the snow of winter are all able to attain Buddhahood. How then could one who makes the Lotus Sutra an offering of rice, which sustains the life of the emperor and to the common people is more valuable than jewels, possibly fail to become a Buddha?

In society what people value are the words of the ruler and the words of their parents. One who turns one’s back on the instructions of one’s parents is guilty of a lack of filial piety and will be abandoned by heaven. One who fails to do the bidding of the ruler of the country is a person who disobeys royal edicts and will have his life taken away. Cherishing the desire for enlightenment from inconceivably distant kalpas in the past, we have done such things as abandoning our countries, our wives and children, or our own lives, for the sake of attaining enlightenment in future existences. When we thus draw near to achieving Buddhahood, and when we encounter the scripture entitled Myoho-renge-kyo, which is the single vehicle, the Devil of the Sixth Heaven, ruler of the threefold world, reasons: "If this person should become a Buddha, I will suffer loss on two counts. First of all, if he frees himself from the threefold world, he will escape my control. Second, if he becomes a Buddha, his parents and siblings will also depart from the saha world. How can I stop this from happening?"

He produces various emanations and, with these, takes possession of our parents, enters the body of the ruler of our country or becomes a respected priest, exhorting us to commit evil acts, making threats or resorting to flattery. Or else he becomes a high-ranking priest, a great priest, a wise man or someone who upholds the precepts and, with the Kegon or Agon sutras or Nembutsu or Shingon teachings in hand, attempts to turn our devotion from the Lotus Sutra and toward these other teachings, using deception to prevent us from becoming Buddhas.

The fifth volume of the Lotus Sutra states that "when the Latter Day of the Law arrives, a great demon will first enter the bodies of the sovereign, ministers and common people, and curse or strike and wound the votary of the Lotus Sutra. If this fails, he will appear as an immeasurable multitude of priests who, employing all the other sutras, attempt to win the votary over. If this does not succeed, he will become a great priest who upholds the two hundred and fifty precepts and the three thousand rules of conduct, and wheedle the sovereign and deceive his wife so that the votary is exiled or an attempt is made on his life."2

We may also refer to the detailed descriptions in the Fukyo chapter of the seventh volume, the Hosshi chapter of the fourth volume and the Hiyu chapter of the second volume, as well as in the forty-volume Nirvana Sutra and in the Shugo Sutra, which differ not in the least from the conditions of the present time. In addition, the events in the area of Kashima in Suruga Province,3 especially as they affected you personally, must have brought these things to mind. In a way that bears no comparison with other matters, disobeying the prohibitions that one’s parents or the sovereign may put forward regarding the Lotus Sutra will in fact constitute filial piety toward one’s parents and accord with the prayers of the sovereign [for peace].

Furthermore, Japan is an unusual country, a country that respects the gods and honors the Buddhas. However, because everyone, from the sovereign on down to the common people, hates Nichiren for propagating the Lotus Sutra, though they may revere all the gods and make offerings to all the Buddhas, these meritorious acts only turn into great evil. This is like moxibustion causing the outbreak of virulent boils, or medicine turning into poison. The prayers they offer to all the Buddhas and gods turn into faults, and the country itself is about to become the possession of foreign countries. Moreover, for some time I have been telling people that the time will come when those of high standing will all suffer agonies that are a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a hundred thousand times worse than those suffered by the Heike clan at the time of their destruction.4

By considering the magnitude of the punishment suffered by those who harbor enmity toward the Lotus Sutra, we can understand the magnitude of the benefits obtained by devoting oneself to it. For example, if a man murders his parents, then no matter how many causes for great good he may create, his efforts will not be acceptable to heaven. But if one kills an enemy of the Lotus Sutra, even if that enemy should be one’s father or mother, this great crime will turn into a cause for great good.5 Even if a person should be an archenemy of all the Buddhas of the three existences and the ten directions, if he believes in a single phrase of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddhas will not abandon him. With this in mind, please carefully consider the nature of this matter. Because the messenger is in a hurry, I cannot write in detail, but I will write to you again.

With my deep respect,

The twenty-second day of the eighth month

Reply to Jibu-bo


  1. Myaga:A perennial grass plant belonging to the ginger family, whose buds and flower stems are both edible and fragrant.
  2. Lotus Sutra, chap. 13.
  3. Exactly what "events" are referred to here is unclear, but it may indicate the Atsuhara Persecution, which occurred two years earlier. Kashima, like the village of Atsuhara, was located in Fuji District of Suruga Province.
  4. In 1180 Minamoto no Yoritorno led a revolt against the powerful Heike or Taira clan. in the five-year struggle that ensued, Yoritorno's forces crushed the Taira and established a military government to rule Japan. All the major Taira leaders, including Taira no Kiyomori, died or were killed during this period, and the clan never again achieved prominence.
  5. This passage should not be taken as an exhortation to murder the enemies of the Lotus Sutra, but rather as a call to battle against the fundamental darkness present in people's lives. In this case, "killing" indicates severing people's attachments to misleading teachings.

Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol. 7.

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