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Admonitions Against Slander


Lord Soya is a shortened form of Soya Jiro Hyoe-no-jo Kyoshin, an officer of the high court of the Kamakura shogunate who was converted to the Daishonin's Buddhism around 1260 by Ota Jomyo. Both men lived in the province of Shimosu.

In 1271, some eleven years after his conversion, Lord Soya became a nyudo (lay priest, literally "one who enters upon the way") and was given the Buddhist name Horen (the Law of the Lotus) by Nichiren Daishonin. Horen built two temples, living at one of them until his death at the age of sixty-eight in May 1291.

The Gosho's title is "Admonitions against Slander" ; it is an extremely important writing because it delineates key points in a person's practice to attain enlightenment. First, the Daishonin quotes the Hoben chapter of the Lotus Sutra and states, "The path to enlightenment lies within the two elements of reality (kyo) and wisdom (chi)," referring to the fusion of the person and the object to which he is enlightened. "Reality" or object means the Gohonzon, the objective embodiment of Buddhahood. "Wisdom" or subject indicates people, who develop their innate Buddha-wisdom by fusing their lives with the Gohonzon. The Daishonin next stresses that Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the Law which encompasses both these elements and that this supreme law will be propagated by Bodhisattva Jogyo at the beginning of the Latter Day. Furthermore, he boldly states that he is the first one to set out on this great mission. "I am neither Bodhisattva Jogyo nor his messenger . . ." Superficially this seems like a mere expression of humility; he is really indicating that he is the original Buddha. The directness or ambiguity with which such statements are made in his writings varied according to his intended reader. He was far bolder about his real purpose and identity with such close followers as Shijo Kingo. And it should be remembered that, prior to the attempt on his life at Tatsunokuchi and the final exile, he rarely made such references at all. This is why, in the letter entitled "The Opening of the Eyes," he wrote, "A person named Nichiren was beheaded in the middle of the night on the twelfth day of the ninth month last year (1271), but his soul reached Sado Island . . . " The "Admonitions against Slander" bears the date August 3, 1276.

The concept of the general and the specific is important in Buddhism, for it enables us to recognize the source from which the human potential for Buddhahood arises. In general, the essence of the Buddha's teaching was transferred to all Bodhisattvas of the Earth, but specifically, it was transferred to Bodhisattva Jogyo himself, indicating Nichiren Daishonin. The implication here is that one must seek out the original teacher who can lead him to enlightenment. Next, he makes clear that a teacher and his disciples who do not try to convert those who are committing slander against true Buddhism -- violating the Law of life -- will fall into a condition of hell. This amounts to a stern warning that people must be saved from their own ignorance.

He asserts his untiring dedication to the task of saving the people, but concludes by saying that not even he can save a person who refuses to put this Gosho's spirit of mercy into action.

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