Gosho IndexBack to the Index Back to the Gosho

Reply to the Mother of Lord Ueno


Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter to Ueno-ama Gozen, the mother of Nanjo Tokimitsu, to acknowledge offerings that she had sent him on the occasion of the forty-ninth-day memorial service following the death of her youngest son, Shichiro Goro, and to encourage her in the face of her grief. The letter was written from Minobu on the twenty-fourth day of the tenth month in 1280, when the Daishonin was fifty-nine years old.

Ueno-ama Gozen was the daughter of Matsuno Rokuro Zaemon and the wife of Narjo Hyoe Shichiro, the steward of Ueno Village in Fuji District of Suruga Province. The couple had nine children, among them Ren`a-ni, the mother of Nichimoku. Shonin. Lady Ueno's husband passed away in 1265, while she was pregnant with their youngest son, Shichir6 Gor6.

Shichir6 Gora visited Minobu together with his elder brother Tokimitsu to see the Daishonin on the fifteenth day of the sixth month in 1280. The Daishonin had great expectations for the young man, but he died suddenly, at the age of sixteen, on the fifth day of the ninth month of that same year. No sooner had the Daishonin received the news of Shichiro Goro's death than, on the sixth day, he wrote a letter of condolence to Uenoama Gozen and NanJ6 Tokimitsu.

This present Gosho is also called the "Cliflin sho" (On Intermediate Existence). "Intermediate existence" indicates the interval of time between death and rebirth, and was widely believed to last for forty-nine days. On the basis of this belief, people conducted a memorial service on the forty-ninth day.

In this Gosho, Nichiren Daishonin first asserts that the Lotus Sutra stands supreme among all the sutras expounded by Shakyamuni Buddha during his lifetime, and that only through faith *in this sutra are all the people of the nine worlds able to attain Buddhahood. Then he discusses the significance of the statement in the Muty5gi Sutra that indicates that the truth is not revealed in any of the sutras preceding the Lotus Sutra.

To reassure Ueno-ama Gozen that her son has attained enlightenment, the Daishonin then discusses the great benefit gained from embracing the Lotus Sutra, and asserts that a votary of the sutra will be protected by Shakyarnuni, Taho and all the other Buddhas. just as King Rinda received his sustenance from the neighing of white horses, so the various Buddhas and heavenly deities derive their power and authority from the Lotus Sutra. Therefore, the Daishonin concludes, all those who uphold the Lotus Sutra will surely be protected.

BuddhismLotus SutraGosho IndexGohonzon IndexSite Search

Designed by Will Kallander