The Farther the Source, the Longer the Stream
This writing was addressed to Shijo Kingo on September 15, 1278, when Nichiren Daishonin was fifty-seven years old and living at Mount Minobu. Shijo Kingo had reported that Lord Ema was no longer displeased with him and had given him a larger estate. The Daishonin expressed his undisguised pleasure at this news and praised Shijo Kingo for his faith which had enabled him to endure and overcome several years of adversity.
Shijo Kingo, a staunch follower of the Daishonin, was well versed in both medicine and the martial arts. Lord Ema disapproved of Kingo's belief, and, prompted by false accusations made against Kingo by jealous colleagues, ordered him either to abandon his faith in the Daishonin's teaching or transfer to a remote province. In 1277, however, Ema fell ill, and Kingo's treatment effected a cure. Ema renewed his trust in him and, the next year, bestowed upon him a far larger fief. This Gosho was written in response to Shijo Kingo's report that his circumstances had changed for the better.
In this letter, Nichiren Daishonin first ascribes Kingo's good fortune to his sincere faith, which enabled him to disprove the false charges made against him and regain his lord's trust. Then he stresses the extreme difficulty of believing in the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law and the immeasurable good fortune to be gained from such belief. Finally, in light of the sutra, he refers to his own mission as "the Buddha's envoy" to propagate the essence of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law. He promises that those who*support him will all attain enlightenment together with him.
The Daishonin cites two reasons for saying that he is "like the Buddha's envoy." One is that he has fulfilled the Lotus Sutra's prediction that its votary, in the age after the Buddha's passing, will meet persecutions more severe than those in Shakyamuni's time; he will be attacked with staves and~words, and exiled more than once. The other reason is based on scriptural predictions that when the sage of the latter age appears, the greatest war the world has ever seen will take place. Nichiren Daishonin concludes that the Mongol conquests match the sutras' descriptions.
Designed by Will Kallander