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Letter to Nakaoki Nyudo


On the thirtieth day of the eleventh month, 1279, the month after he had inscribed the Dai-Gohonzon, Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter to Nakaoki Nyudo and his wife, believers who lived at Nakaoki on the island of Sado. Though the Gosho is titled "Letter to Nakaoki Nyudo," its postscript specifically names Nakaoki's wife. It would seem that the Daishonin wrote it for both of them when Nakaoki came to visit him at Mount Minobu.

Nakaoki Nyudo's father, Nakaoki Jiro Nyudo, had already passed away when this letter was written. He had for many years enjoyed the confidence of the local people on Sado, yet despite his status in the community and his own long-standing faith in the Nembutsu, he apparently embraced the Daishonin's teachings when they met during the latter's exile. Later Nakaoki Nyudo also became the Daishonin's follower, together with his wife. After Nichiren Daishonin was pardoned and went to live at Minobu, Nakaoki Nyudo repeatedly made the journey from Sado to see him and bring him offerings.

In the beginning of this letter, Nichiren Daishonin describes how Buddhism was first introduced to Japan, and how erroneous teachings such as those of the Nembutsu and Shingon have spread throughout the country. Because the Daishonin pointed out the errors of the various sects, he met with repeated persecutions, culminating in an abortive attempt to behead him at Tatsunokuchi and his subsequent exile to Sado Island. However, he continues, he alone has made clear the underlying cause of recent disasters affecting the nation, urging people to abandon mistaken teachings and instead chant the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra. Therefore he is "the most loyal subject in all of Japan." Though the people may despise him and the authorities persecute him, because he embraces the Lotus Sutra, which all Buddhas cherish, he is certain to be protected by the Buddhist gods. In conclusion, the Daishonin praises the faith of the Nakaokis in supporting the votary of the Lotus Sutra, and assures them of great blessings in this life and the life to come.

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