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Reply to Tokimitsu


Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter to Nanjo Tokimitsu on the eighth day of the seventh month in 1278, while he was living at Minobu. It was written in response to an offering of wheat and ginger that his follower had sent him. From the contents of the numerous letters the Daishonin wrote to him it is evident that Tokimitsu sent offerings every month.

During the year of this letter,japan had been plagued by epidemics and famine. The Daishonin describes the situation in a number of Gosho passages. In the tenth month Of 1278, he spoke of this matter in a letter to Shijo Kingo: "I dwell in this remote mountain forest. This year was especially difficult, with widespread epidemics and famine in spring and summer, which worsened in autumn and winter" (Major Writings, Vol. 1, P. 225).

In praising Tokimitsu's gift, the Daishomin cites the examples of Aniruddha and Mahdkdshyapa, two of Shakyamuni's ten major disciples, as well as that of Mahakishyapa's wife, to illus. trate the preciousness of sincere offerings, especially those made in times of famine and rampant disease.

In previous existences, Aniruddha, Mahdkashyapa and Mahdkishyapa's wife all received great benefits as a result of small but earnest offerings. Through these examples, the Daishonin teaches that in faith it is the sincerity of the offering, not its grandeur or monetary value, that is of prime importance. He shows that the depth of one's sincerity is what determines the benefits one receives from making offerings. In conclusion, he states that Tokimitsu's offerings to him, a votary of the Lotus Sutra who has been persecuted along with his disciples in various ways by the government, will result in benefits so great that both Tokimitsu's deceased father and Tokimitsu himself will be able to attain enlightenment.

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