Gosho IndexBack to the Index Back to the Gosho

The Property of Rice


As only a fragment of this Gosho remains, its recipient and the date of its writing are not known. It was once thought to represent the concluding portion of "The True Entity of Life," written on Sado Island in the fifth month of 1273, but in view of its style and content it is now considered to be a fragment of a letter written after the Daishonin had retired to Mount Minobu, possibly to Takahashi Rokuro Hyoe Nyudo, who lived at Kajima in Fuji District of Suruga Province. Takahashi Nyudo's wife was Nikko Shonin's aunt, and Takahashi himself, through Nikko Shonin's instruction, became a devout believer in Nichiren Daishonin's teachings. He and his family appear to have actively supported the propagation movement in the Fuji area.

The Daishonin evidently wrote this letter in response to an offering of rice. Rice has the property of sustaining life. However, when rice is offered to someone who embraces a mistaken teaching, it in effect nourishes an enemy of the True Law. Yet as the Daishonin indicates, because that person's life is thereby extended, he may eventually embrace the Lotus Sutra. This statement shows the Daishonin's compassion for all people and his unswerving conviction that even a person who slanders the Law can attain enlightenment.

On the other hand, rice offered to the votary of the Lotus Sutra functions as an expression of supreme compassion, because it sustains the life of one who benefits all people by propagating the True Law. In this sense, it may be likened to the Buddha's relics, which were revered as sacred remains thought to benefit all beings.

In closing, the Daishonin entrusts the Gosho's recipient with the responsibility for propagation in his province. This suggests that the person being addressed had strong faith and was a leading figure among the lay believers in the area where he was living.

BuddhismLotus SutraGosho IndexGohonzon IndexSite Search

Designed by Will Kallander