Letter to Ko-no-ama Gozen
Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter at Mount Minobu on June 16, 1275, to a woman named Ko-no-ama who lived in the seat of the provincial government of Sado Island. Ko means provincial office. While the Daishonin was in exile on Sado, Ko-no-ama converted to his teachings. She and her husband Ko Nyudo (nyudo meaning lay priest) made him offerings and helped protect him. After the Daishonin was pardoned and left Sado, Ko Nyudo, like Abutsu-bo, made the long journey to Minobu to visit him. The Daishonin mentions Ko Nyudo's visit to him at Minobu in a Gosho entitled "Reply to Ko Nyudo." dated April 1275. Since this present letter is dated June, one explanation holds that it may have been written in 1274, rather than 1275.
On November 1, 1271, Nichiren Daishonin was taken to Tsukahara, his initial place of exile on Sado Island. His quarters were a ruined shrine called Sammai-do in the middle of a graveyard. It was exposed to the winds, and snow fell through the gaping holes in the roof. The Daishonin stayed there for nearly half a year, during which time he wrote "The Opening of the Eyes" and other important works. Then he was transferred to the residence of Ichinosawa Nyudo at Ichinosawa.
While on Sado, he won many converts, inscribed the Gohonzon for individual believers and wrote a number of important letters and treatises. On March 8, 1274, a government official arrived at Sado Island with a pardon, and the Daishonin returned to Kamakura on March 26. After his third remonstration with the government, he retired to Minobu, where he devoted himself to ensuring the correct transmission of his teachings to posterity.
Entrusted with gifts of a summer robe from his wife and three hundred mon of coins from Sennichi-ama, Ko Nyudo traveled the great distance to visit the Daishonin at Minobu. In this letter, the Daishonin expresses his appreciation for these donations, and explains the great benefit of making offerings to the votary of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law, quoting a passage from the Hosshi (tenth) chapter of the sutra. Then he describes the hardships that he underwent, especially on Sado, for the sake of true Buddhism, and expresses his gratitude to Ko-no-ama and Ko Nyudo, who protected him even at the risk of their lives.
Designed by Will Kallander