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On the Treasure Tower


An inquiry by Abutsu-bo concerning the Treasure Tower was responsible for one of the most poignant letters written by Nichiren Daishonin. The Treasure Tower is a metaphorical device employed in the Lotus Sutra, and it puzzled Abutsu-bo. The Daishonin used the opportunity to give his aged disciple a concise and striking glimpse into the reality of life.

This Gosho, dated March 13, 1272, explains the meaning of the Treasure Tower in terms of the Lotus Sutra's most important teachings. Nichiren Daishonin says that the Treasure Tower affirms the theoretical teaching of shakumon, yet at the same time declares the eternal reality of the essential teaching of hommon. He says that the important thing to realize is that the Treasure Tower must be discovered in the heart of each human being. The ceremony of the Lotus Sutra was not a historical event during which a colossal jewel-encrusted stupa physically emerged from the ground. The Treasure Tower symbolizes a ceremony of life, an emergence from deep within the heart, the highest state of life.

The Daishonin writes that the Treasure Tower is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. He also advises that the entity of the Treasure Tower will never be found outside the lives of the men and women who embrace this sutra and who chant daimoku. Abutsu-bo is, of course, among the men and women who embrace this sutra, and he too is the same as the Treasure Tower. Abutsu-bo is a part of the universe, and so his physical body is composed of the same matter as all other things. Nichiren Daishonin declares that Abutsu-bo is the microcosm and the entity of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

The sutra describes seven kinds of jewels decorating the Treasure Tower, but, as the Daishonin shows, these jewels are not the symbols of vast material wealth but of seven noble human aspects. Because the Treasure Tower signifies the people who embrace this sutra, the seven jewels of faith also exist in those people's lives.

Nichiren Daishonin says that Abutsu-bo himself is a true Buddha. It would be a mistake to consider this as mere praise. It is a philosophy, for it identifies the nature and identity which human beings possess at the core of their being. By calling the Gohonzon the Treasure Tower he reveals that the physical form of the Gohonzon is a precise representation of the ceremony in the air during which the Buddha who has existed since the eternal past reveals his supreme truth to all mankind. In closing, the Daishonin asks Abutsu-bo to respond to the trust placed in him as the leader of believers on Sado.

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