Strategy of the Lotus Sutra
I have carefully read your letter in which you described the recent skirmish with powerful enemies. So they have finally attacked you. It is a matter of rejoicing that your usual prudence and courage, as well as your firm faith in the Lotus Sutra, enabled you to survive unharmed.
When one comes to the end of his good fortune, no strategy whatsoever will avail. When one's blessings are exhausted, even his retainers will no longer follow him. You survived because you still possess good fortune. Moreover, in the Zokurui chapter, the heavenly gods pledged to protect the votary of the Lotus Sutra. Of all the guardian deities in heaven, it is the gods of the sun and moon who visibly protect us. How can we doubt their protection? Marishiten in particular serves the god of the sun. Could the vassal Marishiten abandon the votary of the Lotus Sutra when her lord, the god of the sun, protects him? In the first chapter, Taishaku appears with his twenty thousand retainer gods. The god of the moon, the god of the stars, the god of the sun and the Four Heavenly Kings were seated together with their ten thousand retainer gods. Marishiten must be among the thirty thousand heavenly gods who were present at the ceremony. Otherwise, she could only abide in hell.
You must have escaped death because of this deity's protection. She gave you skill in swordsmanship, while Nichiren has bestowed upon you the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo. Never doubt that all gods protect those who embrace the Lotus Sutra. Marishiten also embraces the Lotus Sutra and thus helps all people. Even the incantation, "Those who join the battle are all on the front line," is related to the Lotus Sutra, where it says, "...learning, government, language and daily living will accord with the True Law." Therefore you must summon up the power of faith more than ever. Do not blame the heavenly gods if you exhaust your good fortune and lose their protection.
Masakado was renowned as a brave general who had mastered the art of war, yet he was defeated by the emperor's armies. Fan K'uai and Chang Liang also failed in the end. Faith alone is what really matters. No matter how earnestly Nichiren prays for you, if you lack faith, it will be like trying to set fire to wet tinder. Spur yourself to muster the power of faith. Regard your survival as wondrous. Employ the strategy of the Lotus Sutra before any other. Then, just as the sutra says, "All enemies are crushed." These golden words will never prove false. Believe them wholeheartedly. The heart of strategy and swordsmanship derives from the Mystic Law. A coward cannot have any of his prayers answered.
With my deep respect,
The twenty-third day of the tenth month
Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol. 1, page 245.
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