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On the Buddha's Behaviour


This Gosho is an autobiographical account that Nichiren Daishonin wrote covering the events of the most important period in his life -- from shortly before the Tatsunokuchi Persecution to his two and a half years of exile in Sado and his eventual retirement to Mount Minobu. In the nine years of struggle here, the Daishonin fulfilled the predictions in the Lotus Sutra and established himself in both word and deed as the original Buddha.

This letter was written in 1276 and addressed to Konichi-ama, a widow who lived in Awa Province. Her son had earlier converted to the Daishonin's teachings and through him she became a convert herself. Some time after her conversion, her son died. But she overcame her deep sorrow and remained a sincere believer in true Buddhism to the end of her life.

The chronicle of events starts in 1268 when the Mongol Empire sent a delegate to Japan to demand that it acknowledge itself a vassal of the Mongols. The predictions of foreign invasion made in the "Rissho Ankoku Ron" had started to come true. The Daishonin once more remonstrated with the Kamakura authorities, but they ignored his repeated warnings and instead struck out against him and his disciples. At this point we find the Daishonin urging his disciples never to yield to persecution but to devote their whole lives to propagating the Mystic Law.

His undaunted struggle incurred further wrath from the regime and from the other religious sets and finally led up to the Tatsunokuchi Persecution. This attempt on his life he pointed to as the immediate cause for being able to reveal himself as the original Buddha. In the passage that follows, the Daishonin speaks of his life on Sado Island. He expresses joy in the knowledge that he was the only one who fulfilled the prophecy in the Lotus Sutra concerning the votary who is exiled more than once.

After he returned to Kamakura, he remonstrated with the regime for yet a third time. When the government again spurned his counsel, he retired to Mount Minobu. Just five months later, the Mongol forces attacked Japan. The cause for this, he states, was the nation's slander of the Lotus Sutra. In conclusion, the Daishonin expresses appreciation to Konichi-ama for having sent a letter to him at his lonely retreat on Mount Minobu.

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