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Reply to Soya Nyudo

I have written out the prose section of the Hoben chapter for you. You should recite it together with the Jigage, which I sent you earlier.

Each character of this [Lotus] sutra is without exception a living Buddha of supreme enlightenment, but we ordinary people, viewing the sutra with the eyes of common mortals, see it as a mere succession of characters. Hungry spirits perceive the Ganges River as fire, human beings perceive it as water, and heavenly beings perceive it as amrita. The water itself is the same, but it appears differently according to the karmic capacity of individuals.

The blind cannot see the characters of this sutra. To the eyes of common mortals, they are but written words. People of the two vehicles perceive them as the emptiness of space. Bodhisattvas look on them as innumerable teachings. However, the Buddha recognizes each character as a golden Lord Shakyamuni. This is the meaning of the statement that "[one who is able to hold this sutra] thereby holds the Buddha's body." Those who practice Buddhism but adhere to distorted views destroy this loftiest of sutras. Be careful not to be swayed by various thoughts; with single-minded resolve, you should aspire to the pure land of Eagle Peak. The Rokuharamitsu Sutra states that one should become the master of his mind rather than let his mind master him. I will explain in more detail when I see you.

With my deep respect,


The third month in the twelfth year of Bun'ei (1275)

Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol. 5, page 163.

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