Gosho IndexBack to the Index Back to the Gosho

The Fourteen Slanders


Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter toward the end of 1276 at the age of fifty-five, two and a half years after he had retired to Mount Minobu in May of 1274. It was addressed to Matsuno Rokuro Zaemon Nyudo in answer to a question he had asked about the practice of the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren Daishonin warns against the fourteen slanders, at the same time telling Lord Matsuno that he should not begrudge his life in propagating the Lotus Sutra. The letter was dated December 9, 1276. The original has been lost, but copies exist at various temples.

Lord Matsuno lived in Suruga Province and seems to have been introduced to the Daishonin's Buddhism by his daughter, the wife of Nanjo Hyoe Shichiro and mother of Nanjo Tokimitsu. Matsuno Rokuro was thus Nanjo Tokimitsu's maternal grandfather. His second son, Nichiji, later became one of the six senior priests. Lord Matsuno had many children, but little is known of the others.

In all likelihood, he sent offerings regularly to Nichiren Daishonin and visited him at Mount Minobu from time to time. He seems to have a fairly sound knowledge of Buddhism, as he was closely connected with, and possibly related to, the priest Nichigen from the Jisso-ji temple, one of the most prestigious temples in eastern Japan.

After Lord Matsuno passed away in 1278, his wife maintained her faith and continued to make offerings to Nichiren Daishonin. This work, also known as "Reply to Lord Matsuno," consists of six sections. In the first section, Nichiren Daishonin expresses thanks for the offerings and letters sent to him in the recesses of Mount Minobo. Second, he praises the priest Nichigen who renounced fame and fortune to commit his life to true Buddhism. In the third section, Nichiren Daishonin explains that there is no difference between the benefits of a wise man's daimoku and an ordinary person's, but warns believers in the sutra against committing any of the fourteen slanders, which he enumerates. Fourth, he praises Lord Matsuno for asking a question about Buddhism, and speaks of the extreme difficulty and the profound blessings of hearing someone expound the sutra. The fifth section is devoted to the story of Sessen Doji, who exemplifies committment to Buddhist practice. Finally, the Daishonin explains how Matsuno, as a layman, should practice. Quoting relevant passages from the sutras, he stresses the importance of total dedication.

The warning against the fourteen slanders and the teachings concerning the dedication of one's life form the central themes of this writing.

BuddhismLotus SutraGosho IndexGohonzon IndexSite Search

Designed by Will Kallander