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On Itai Doshin
- Itai Doshin Ji -


"On Itai Doshin" was given to Takahashi Nyudo, the uncle of Nikko Shonin. Nikko Shonin was Nichiren Daishonin's closest disciple and immediate successor, and it was through him that Takahashi became the Daishonin's follower. Since he was close to Nanjo Tokimitsu, a retainer of the Hojo clan, and the believers of Atsuhara, his residence was used as a headquarters when the persecutions occurred at Atsuhara in the late 1270's.

The manuscript is dated August 6 but the year is not indicated. It is thought, however, to have been written sometime between 1275 and 1280. The passage, "you demonstrated remarkable faith during the recent incident at Atsuhara," hints at the date. The persecution started in 1275, some time after the first Mongol invasion, and lasted until 1280. The second Mongol invasion occurred in May 1281.

"On Itai Doshin" stresses the importance of unity. The Daishonin's believers were few, a seemingly easy prey to rival religious sects attempting to impede their growth. The Daishonin encouraged his followers to intensify their faith and to develop a unity which no outside force could disrupt. He cited a famous example from Chinese history, where a numerically inferior but staunchly united force emerged victorious over a huge army weakened by disunity.

In July 1260 the Daishonin finished the "Rissho Ankoku Ron," predicting foreign invasion if the nation continued to slander true Buddhism, and all of the Japanese leaders of the time knew about that document and its warning. When the Daishonin wrote "On Itai Doshin," he was certain that a second Mongol invasion was imminent and knew that the ruling class would be painfully aware that his prediction of fourteen years earlier was coming true.

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