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Reply to Sairen-bo


This letter was written to Sairen-bo Nichijo on the thirteenth day of the fourth month in 1272, at Ichinosawa on Sado island, when Nichiren Daishonin was fifty-one years old. Sairen-bo, a former Tendai priest, was also living in exile on Sado. From the letters sent to him by the Daishonin, it appears that Sairen-bo was well versed in Buddhist teachings. The Daishonin, on receiving the government's pardon, departed from Sado and moved to Minobu. Somewhat later Sairen-bo was also par-doned, whereupon he returned to his native Kyoto. He received a number of important writings from the Daishonin, including "Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life" and "The True Entity of Life."

In this Gosho, the Daishonin expresses his heartfelt gratitude for the various articles from Kyoto that Sairen-bo had sent to him as offerings. For an exile such as Sairen-bo, these articles must have been exceedingly precious.

The Daishonin also refers to a letter that Sairen-bo had sent him. In his letter Sairen-bo explained that he had pledged near the beginning of the second month of 1272 to follow the Daishonin and he expressed his desire to be considered one of the Daishonin's disciples.

With regard to Sairen-bo's recent pledge to become the Daishonin's disciple, the Daishonin quotes from the Lotus Sutra and its commentaries to illustrate the profound relationship between teacher and disciple. He then states that one should discard evil teachers and follow good ones. He reveals that he himself is the true and correct teacher for the Latter Day of the Law and declares that Sairen-bo) was born in order to aid him in his efforts, thereby encouraging his disciple to exert himself in his Buddhist practice.

The Daishonin reveals the great benefits to be gained by observing the precept of the perfect teaching - in other words, faith in the Mystic Law. And he tells Sairen-bo that although they both may be exiles, in the future they are sure to attain Buddhahood and that, therefore, even at present, he feels great satisfaction and joy. In conclusion, the Daishonin encourages Sairen-bo by suggesting that they are both likely to be pardoned soon.

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