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Letter to Domyo Zemmon


This letter was written at Minobu in the eighth month, 1276. Little is known about Domyo Zemmon, its recipient. (Zemmon means a lay priest and is equivalent to nyudo.) According to various conjectures, he may have been a retainer of Myoichi-ama; a retainer of Endo Saburo Zaemon Sukenobu, an elder brother of Ben Ajari Nisso; or the husband of Sajiki Nyobo; however, no reliable information is available. In any event, Domyo had evidently entrusted Myoichi-ama with a letter asking the Daishonin to pray for his father, who was ill.

In this brief reply, the Daishonin clarifies the relationship between prayer and resulting benefit. "Conspicuous prayer" means prayer offered with a clear objective or purpose. "Inconspicuous prayer" means prayer what one offers without a specific aim, simply chanting the daimoku continually with no concrete, pressing goal in mind. "Conspicuous response" indicates the immediately perceivable perceptible fulfillment of one's prayers. "Inconspicuous response" indicates benefit that may not become manifest immediately but is evident over the course of time, such as the gradual purification of one's life.

Although there are the four possible combinations of prayer and response, the Daishonin stresses that the important thing is simply to maintain a strong faith in the Gohonzon. One who does so, he declares, will definitely realize all of his wishes in both the present and future existences.

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