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The Teaching in Accordance with the Buddha's Own Mind


This letter, written by Nichiren Daishonin at Minobu on the second day of the fifth month of 1279, was a message of thanks for the rice that a follower named Mike Saemon-no-ja had sent the Daishonin as an offering for the repose of his deceased son.

The details of Niike's life are not well known, though it is generally assumed that he lived in the village of Niike in Iwata District of TWrm Province and was a samurai who served the Kamakura shogunate. It also appears that he and his wife, Niike-ama, took faith in the Daishonin's teachings at the urging of Nikk6 Shonin and that Nikka Shonin stayed at his residence for a short time during the Atsuhara Persecution.

At the beginning of his letter, the Daishonin uses the examples of King Ashoka and Aniruddha to illustrate the great benefits that accrue to one who makes offerings to the Lotus Sutra. Next he traces the transmission of Buddhism from India through China and Korea to Japan, noting that Japan has become a slanderous country because all its people take Amida Buddha as their object of worship and persecute the Daishonin when he attempts to correct their mistaken views.

The Daishonin then introduces the concepts of zuitai and zuiiii as a way of explaining the superiority of the Lotus Sutra to the other sutras. Zuitai indicates the teachings wherein the Buddha speaks according to the varying capacities of the people. Zuyii, on the other hand, indicates the teachings wherein, irrespective of the capacities of the people, the Buddha reveals his enlightenment directly. In conclusion, he praises Niike for making the difficult and dangerous journey to visit him, even though he is hated throughout the country for his persistent attacks on slanderous priests, and assures his disciple that their connection must accordingly be truly profound.

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