Gosho IndexBack to the Index Back to the Gosho

A Comparison of the Lotus Sutra and Other Sutras


This letter was sent from Minobu to Toki Jonin in Shimosa on May 26, 1280, the year after Nichiren Dai shonin had inscribed the Dai-Gohonzon. The Daishonin was then fifty-nine. Toki Jonin was one of the Daishonin's leading disciples. He and his wife together received some thirty Gosho from the Daishonin, including "The True Object of Worship" and "On Attaining Buddhahood."

In this letter, using question-and-answer form, Nichiren Daishonin explains to Toki the meaning of the passage from the Hosshi (tenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra which describe the sutra as "the most difficult to believe and the most difficult to understand." In the beginning portion of the letter, he mentions the three scholars in the history of Buddhism who correctly interpreted this phrase - Nagarjuna of India, T'ien-t'ai of China and Dengyo of Japan. Next, he distinguishes two types of teachings - the provisional teachings, which Shakya muni Buddha taught according to the people's capacity, and the Lotus Sutra, which was a direct statement of Shakyamuni's Own enlightenment. The Daishonin states that the former type of teaching is easy to believe and understand, but only the Lotus Sutra enables one to overcome the fundamental darkness inherent in life.

Finally, the Daishonin asserts that because the Japanese people have embraced the misleading doctrines of Kaba and other priests, confusion reigns in the world of Buddhism and society has consequently been thrown into chaos. In the famous passage, "Buddhism is like the body and society like the shadow. When the body is crooked, so is the shadow," he indicates that the true teaching of Buddhism provides a basis for the peace and prosperity of the country. He concludes by saying that Nichiren Daishonin's followers can attain enlightenment because they believe in the Buddha's true teaching, while those who believe in the provisional teachings will only sink into the sea of suffering.

BuddhismLotus SutraGosho IndexGohonzon IndexSite Search

Designed by Will Kallander