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Bestowal of the Mandala of the Mystic Law


The date and recipient(s) of this Gosho are uncertain, but it is generally assumed that it was written in 1273, about two years after Nichiren Daishonin was exiled to Sado Island, to the wife of Abutsu-bo, who was known as Sennichi-ama.

Despite severe privations and continual threats to his life, the Daishonin managed to survive the first winter on Sado. In time, the situation improved somewhat when he was transferred from his dilapidated hut at Tsukahara to Ichinosawa in April 1272. The number of people on Sado professing faith in his teaching increased, and Abutsu-bo and his wife became the mainstays of this community of believers. At the house where the Daishonin lived in Ichinosawa, the landlord's wife became a believer, and the landlord himself developed a favorable attitude, though he did not convert. Abutsu-bo and his wife had become the Daishonin's followers during his stay at Tsukahara. It is said that Abutsu-bo, originally a devout Nembutsu believer, went to confront the Daishonin in debate, but was himself converted. Abutsu-bo and Sennichi-ama earnestly served the Daishonin as his providers and protectors while he was in exile on Sado, and even after the Daishonin retired to Mount Minobu, Abutsu-bo made three journeys to see him despite his advanced age. The Daishonin addressed many letters of appreciation to them.

By the time Nichiren Daishonin wrote this Gosho, he had already begun to inscribe the Gohonzon (object of worship) for individual disciples of exceptional faith.   In fact, the first of these Gohonzon dates from shortly after the Tatsunokuchi Persecution in 1271. They have come to be known as "the Gohonzon of specific receptivity and relatedness." Some of them are still extant, and their inscriptions are rather simple, compared to the Dai-Gohonzon of the high sanctuary which the Daishonin would bestow upon all humanity in 1279.  In 1272 and 1273, he completed his two most essential writings, "The Opening of the Eyes" and "The True Object of Worship," dealing with the theoretical or doctrinal aspects of the Gohonzon.

In this Gosho, the Daishonin states that the Gohonzon, although its daimoku is written in but five or seven Chinese characters, is the teacher to lead all people to enlightenment, and that it embodies the great Law never before revealed during the two thousand years of the Former and Middle Days of the Law. He encourages Sennichi-ama, explaining that the only way to save people from suffering and to cure all illnesses is to embrace the Gohonzon, the efficacious medicine of the Mystic Law. If she cherishes deep faith in it, he says, all the Buddhist gods and bodhisattvas will be certain to protect her.

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