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The Dragon Gate
- Ueno-dono Gohenji -


"The Dragon Gate" was written on November 6, 1279, to young Nanjo Tokimitsu, the lord of the Ueno district. The head temple, Taiseki-ji, is located on part of his former estate. The Daishonin wrote in reply to Tokimitsu's report of the persecution. As the last line of this Gosho indicates, Nanjo Tokimitsu played a crucial role in protecting the Daishonin's followers there. His own home was their main refuge. He courageously hid other believers from the authorities, campaigned for the release of those who had been imprisoned and spared no effort to help their families.

"The Dragon Gate" begins with a Chinese tale and then continues with recent historical events to illustrate the difficulty of attaining rank and honor in society. Attaining Buddhahood is much harder, writes the Daishonin.

The last paragraph hints at the anxiety gripping Japan in the wake of epidemics and rumors of war. The reader is told that since death is inevitable, life should be devoted only to the loftiest ambition - enlightenment.

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