GUIDANCE
Make your own free website on Tripod.com
The Person and the Law

- Nanjo-dono Gohenji -

BACKGROUND:

Nichiren Daishonin wrote "The Person and the Law" from Mount Minobu on September 11, 1281, the year before his death. It is addressed to Nanjo Tokimitsu (1259-1332), the young steward of Ueno village in Suruga province who had been the Daishonin's follower since childhood. The Daishonin wrote this letter to thank Tokimitsu for sending him various offerings via messenger, and also to encourage him. during a bout of illness he was then undergoing. In this Gosho, the Daishonin declares the immense benefit accruing to those who make offerings to the votary of the Lotus Sutra. He also reveals himself to be the original Buddha, fully enlightened to the law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo by which all Buddhas throughout space and time attain their enlightenment, and he concludes that the place where he dwells is the Buddha land. Moreover, he explains that anyone who embraces this Law will also attain Buddhahood, triumphing over all anguish and leading a life in which all desires are fulfilled.

The Person and the Law



I have just heard from your messenger that you are suffering from a serious illness. I hope you will recover soon and come to see me.

Also, I have received your gifts of two sacks of salt, a sack of soybeans, a bag of seaweed and a bamboo container of sake. I have not seen you since you returned home from the province of Kozuke, and I have been wondering how you are. I can hardly find words to say how much I appreciate your sincerity in sending me a letter and your many gifts.

As you well know, one of the sutras tells us the story1 of Tokusho Doji, who offered a mud pie to the Buddha and was later reborn as King Ashoka who ruled over most of India. Since the Buddha is worthy of respect, the boy was able to receive this great reward even though the pie was only mud. However Shakyamuni Buddha teaches that one who makes offerings to the votary of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law for even a single day will gain incomparably greater fortune than he would by offering countless treasures to the Buddha for one hundred thousand aeons. How wonderful then is your heartfelt sincerity in supporting the votary of the Lotus Sutra over the years! According to the Buddha's own words, you are certain to be reborn in the pure land of Eagle Peak. What great good fortune you possess!

This is a mountainous place, remote from all human habitation. There is not a single village in any direction. Although I live in such a forsaken hovel, deep in this mortal flesh I preserve the ultimate secret Law inherited from Shakyamuni Buddha at Eagle Peak. My heart is where all Buddhas enter nirvana; my tongue, where they turn the wheel of doctrine; my throat, where they are born into this world; and my mouth, where they attain enlightenment. Because this mountain is where the wondrous votary of the Lotus Sutra dwells, how can it be any less sacred than the pure land of Eagle Peak? Since the Law is supreme, the Person is worthy of respect; since the Person is worthy of respect, the Land is sacred. The Jinriki chapter reads, "Whether in a grove, under a tree, or in a monastery...the Buddhas enter nirvana." Those who visit this place can instantly expiate the sins they have committed since the infinite past and transform their illusions into wisdom2, their errors into truth, and their sufferings into freedom.

A suffering traveler in central India once came to Munetchi Lake to quench the fires of anguish in his heart. He proclaimed that its waters satisfied all his desires, just as a cool, clear pond quenches thirst. Although Munetchi Lake and this place are different, the principle is exactly the same. Thus, the Eagle Peak of India is now here at Mount Minobu. It has been a long time since you were last here. You should come to see me as soon as you possibly can. I am eagerly looking forward to seeing you.

How can I describe your sincerity? In truth, it is splendid!

Nichiren

The eleventh day of the ninth month in the fourth year of Koan (1281)

Footnotes: 1.This story appears in the Zo-agon (Samyuktagama) Sutra, one of the four Agama or Agon sutras. 2.Illusions (Skt. klesa) are transformed into wisdom (prajna) errors (karma) into truth (dharmakaya), and sufferings (duhkha) into freedom (vimukti). The technical terminology of the original was expanded in the translation for the purpose of clarity.

Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol. 1, p. 263.