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Reply to Jibu-bo


This letter was written at Minobu on the twenty-second day of the eighth month of 1281, when the Daishonin was sixty years old. It was sent to a disciple named jibu-bo Nichii, originally a Tendai priest at Shijfiku-in temple in Suruga Province, who took faith in the Daishonin's teachings and studied under Nichiji, one of the Daishonin's senior disciples. jibu-bo was responsible for the conversion of the Tendai temple Kaijaji to the Daishonin's teachings. And according to the Shuso gosenge kiroku (Record of the Passing of the Founder), he was present at the Daishonin's funeral and was one of the eighteen priests assigned to attend the Daishonin's tomb on a rotational basis. However, as Nikko Shonin later noted in his Deshibun honzon mokuroku (List of Disciples upon Whom NikkE) Bestowed the Gohonzon), Jibu-bo ultimately turned against the Daishonin's teachings.

Although the Atsuhara Persecution had ended almost two years before this letter was written, it is conceivable that the believers who were connected with this persecution were still being harassed by the authorities. Accordingly, there must have been many followers who still doubted the Daishonin's teachings or whose families opposed their faith.

For this reason, the Daishonin here encourages Jibu-bo to strengthen his faith. He explains that when a person approaches enlightenment, the Devil of the Sixth Heaven will enter the bodies of one's sovereign and of one's parents to oppose one's practice. Thus the Daishonin teaches that true filial piety is to be found in continuing in one's faith, without Yielding to opposition from one's family or sovereign.

From the fifth to the seventh month of 1281, Japan was invaded by the Mongol forces, precipitating a deep crisis in the country. The Daishonin explains that persecution of the votary of the Lotus Sutra is the root cause of this type of disaster. in conclusion, the Daishonin stresses the great power of the Lotus Sutra, explaining that even an enemy of all the Buddhas will not be abandoned by them as long as he believes in so much as a single phrase of the sutra.

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