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Letter to Gijo-bo


Although this letter is short, it contains some very important principles. It was written on May 28, 1273, to Gijo-bo, who had been the Daishonin's senior at Seicho-ji temple. Only about a month before, Nichiren Daishonin had written "The True Object of Worship," in which he had revealed the object of worship in terms of the Law and the correct practice for enlightenment in the Latter Day. The "Letter to Gijo-bo" restates the profound contents of "The True Object of Worship," though much more concisely.

In Buddhism the mind, besides the conventional implications of heart, psyche and spirit, indicates one's life itself. Buddhism teaches us the law of life, and it shows us how we can develop our inherent Buddhahood. In "The True Object of Worship," Nichiren Daishonin elaborated on "observing the mind." He expounded the object of worship as the key to understanding one's mind.

Buddhist practice is prerequisite for us to "see our minds," that is, to manifest our innate Buddha nature. First, Nichiren Daishonin explains the correct way of practice, and then he states that he appeared in this world in order to establish true Buddhism, the essence of the Buddha's teachings, for all mankind.

The Daishonin says that, of all the chapters of the Lotus Sutra, the Juryo (16th) chapter is especially important to him. He quotes a passage, ". . . single-mindedly yearning to see the Buddha, they do not begrudge their lives... " and notes: "I ' Nichiren, have called forth Buddhahood from within my life by living this sentence. This means that I actualized the Three Great Secret Laws, the embodiment of ichinen sanzen in the Juryo chapter." He concludes that the ultimate meaning of this passage is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo of the Three Great Secret Laws, to which he was enlightened but which remained only in his heart.

This is the first mention in his writings of the Three Great Secret Laws: the invocation (Nam-myoho-renge-kyo), the object of worship (the Dai-Gohonzon, for whose inscription he was preparing), and the place of worship (the sanctuary of the true object, whose construction he would entrust to his disciples). He elaborated on these three in "Requital for the Buddha's Favor" written in 1276.

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