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On Flowers and Seeds
- Keka Joju Gosho -


Nichiren Daishonin sent this message from Minobu in April 1278 for the second memorial service for Dozen-bo. Dozen-bo had been the chief priest of Seicho-ji temple where the Daishonin studied from the age of twelve. "On Flowers and Seeds" was addressed to Joken-bo and Gijo-bo, also priests of Seicho-ji temple.

The essence of "On Flowers and Seeds" is the master-disciple relationship. The Daishonin first explains that a disciple is indebted to his master for the results he achieves. Dozen-bo could never bring himself to embrace the Daishonin's teachings, although he may well have been convinced of their truth. He felt bound by his position as a chief priest. Nevertheless, Nichiren Daishonin expresses his deep gratitude to his deceased master who initiated him into the priesthood.

By the reference to Bodhisattvas Jogyo and Anryugyo, the Daishonin indicates that while Dozen-bo was his master, he himself was in reality the original Buddha.

Because of the intimate bond between master and disciple, Buddhism holds that the disciple's actions can eventually affect the master. Nichiren Daishonin therefore confidently states that his good fortune from propagating true Buddhism will be transmitted to the life of the deceased Dozen-bo.

In quoting the passage from the sutra, "They will display the three poisons..." Nichiren Daishonin teaches the loftiest perspective from which to view problems and human frailty. If Buddhists were perfect, other people could not relate to them, let alone be tempted to try the practice themselves. There would be no way to demonstrate the process of human revolution. When people start out in practice, most of them regard problems and faults simply as the result of bad karma. But as they continue to practice and purify their lives, they begin to understand that, in another sense, they vowed to be born with these impurities so that as bodhisattvas they could prove the power of the Gohonzon.

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