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Great Evil and Great Good


It is not certain whether this letter is a self-contained statement or a fragment of a longer piece. Neither its date nor its recipient is known. According to one opinion, Nichiren Daishonin wrote it in the second month of 1275. Judging from the content, it was probably sent to some of the Daishonin's believers who were facing difficulty on account of their faith.

Brief as it is, this letter clearly conveys the Daishonin's unwavering conviction and courage in the face of opposition. With the assurance, "When great evil occurs, great good will follow," he encourages his followers not to bewail the hardships they must encounter in upholding and propagating their faith. Rather, they should regard the hostility they face as an omen of great good, that is, the eventual spread of the True Law. He urges them to rejoice like Shakyamuni Buddha's disciples Mahakashyapa and Shariputra, who danced for joy when they heard the Buddha's teaching of universal enlightenment at the ceremony of the Lotus Sutra and realized that they, too, could become Buddhas. Bodhisattva Jogyo springing forth from beneath the earth and the ground trembling in six directions on Bodhisattva Fugen's arrival may also be said to represent the great joy accompanying the task of propagating the True Law.

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