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Wu-lung and I-lung


Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter on November 15, 1281, to Ueno-ama Gozen, the mother of Nanjo Tokimitsu, who later donated part of his estate to help Nikko Shonin establish th Head Temple, Taiseki-ji. The Daishonin was sixty years old when he sent this letter acknowledging the offerings Ueno-ama Gozen had made to commemorate the anniversary of the death of her father, Lord Matsuno Rokuro Zaemon Nyudo.

First, in an analogy with the lotus flower, the Daishonin explains the superiority of the Lotus Sutra over all other sutras in terms of its teaching of the simultaneity of cause and effect in attaining Buddhahood. Then, citing the story of the renowned calligraphers in ancient China, Wu-lung and I-lung, who were father and son, the Daishonin assures Uena-ama that when the child embraces faith in the Lotus Sutra, the parent will be able to attain enlightenment. According to the story which he relates, Wu-lung fell into the state of hell for his hatred of the Lotus Sutra, but because his son I-lung transcribed the titles of the eight volumes of the sutra, Wu-lung was saved from his suffering, This story appears in the eighth fascicle of the Hokke Denki (The Lotus Sutra and its Traditions), a work by the Tang-dynasty priest Seng-hsiang.

Ueno-ama Gozen's husband was Nanjo Hye Shichiro, the steward of Ueno Village in Suruga Province. The name Ueno derived from Ueno Village, and "Gozen" was an honorific title given to women. The couple had nine children including Tokimitsu and Ren'a-ni, the mother of Nichimoku Shonin, the third high priest of Nichiren Shoshu. Lady Ueno's husband died in 1265 while she was pregnant with their last son. She raised her children by herself, maintaining pure faith in the Daishonin's teachings. She is said to have survived Nichiren Daishonin, but the exact date of her death is unknown.

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