Letter from Echi
Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter on the fourteenth day of the ninth month in 1271, immediately following the Tatsunokuchi Persecution. It was addressed to Toki Jonin, a follower who was the central figure and the chief supporter of a group of believers in Shimosa Province during the persecution.
When this letter was written, the Daishonin was staying at the residence of Homma Rokuro Zaemon-no-jo in Echi, Sagami Province. On the twelfth day, the Daishonin had been sentenced to exile on Sado Island. Nevertheless, an attempt was made to behead him at Tatsunokuchi in the early hours of the thirteenth day. The attempt failed, however, and the Daishonin was placed under Lord Homma's supervision. Although the Daishonin estimates in this letter that he would be kept at Echi for four or five more days, he was to remain there until the tenth day of the following month.
In the opening paragraph of this letter, the Daishonin suggests that the persecution inflicted by the government makes it clear that he is the votary of the Lotus Sutra. Having just met with the Tatsunokuchi Persecution and now waiting to be sent into exile on Sado, he rejoices that the persecution he is undergoing for the sake of the Lotus Sutra will enable him to attain Buddhahood.
For the first time in his writings, the Daishonin cites the passage from the Lotus Sutra that reads, "again and again we will be bamished." The implication here is that, through his previous banishment to Izu (1261-1263) and the upcoming exile to Sado, the Daishonin is able to read and experience the words "again and again" with his entire being. Although at the end of this letter the Daishonin declares the certainty of his attaining enlightenment in the future, this can be read as a statement arising from his conviction that his true identity is the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law.
Designed by Will Kallander