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Good Fortune in This Life


Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter at Mount Minobu on the nineteenth day of the first month, 1276, when he was fifty-five years old. Its recipient was Nanjo Tokimitsu, one of the Daishonin's staunch followers who lived in Ueno Village in Fuji District of Suruga Province.

Nanjo Tokimitsu had embraced the Daishonin's teachings quite early in life. The untimely death of his father and elder brother forced him to assume the hereditary duties of steward of Ueno Village while still in his teens. When he received this letter from the Daishonin he was just seventeen years old.

After Nichiren Daishonin retired to Mount Minobu in 1274, his immediate disciple, Nikko Shonin, assumed active leadership in the work of propagation, concentrating his efforts in the provinces of Suruga, Kai and Izu. Soon the faith spread to other provinces as well. Nanjo Tokimitsu, who was close to Nikko Shonin and looked up to him as his personal teacher, wholeheartedly supported him in these endeavors. When official displeasure at the growing number of converts culminated in the Atsuhara Persecution of 1279, Tokimitsu, at great risk to himself, used his influence to protect his fellow believers. He and his wife continually made offerings to the Daishonin, even during a period of extreme poverty resulting from inordinate taxes which the government levied on Tokimitsu's estate in retaliation for his support of the Daishonin's followers. In later years he prospered and donated to Nikko Shonin the land on which the head temple, Taiseki-ji, now stands.

This letter, written in response to Tokimitsu's New Year's offerings, reflects the young man's devotion to Nichiren Daishonin. In it, citing the Lotus Sutra, the Daishonin says that one who serves the votary of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law, even for a short time, will gain incalculably greater fortune than he would by serving the living Shakyamuni Buddha for an entire kalpa. Since all Buddhas have attested to the truth of the Lotus Sutra and it contains not a particle of falsehood, there can be no doubt that Tokimitsu's sincerity will not only bring him great blessings in this lifetime, as the sutra promises, but will also benefit his deceased father.

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