The Causal Law of Life
you will read this letter over and over again together with
Toshiros wife. The sun dispels darkness, no matter how
deep. A womans heart may be likened to darkness, and
the Lotus Sutra to the sun. A baby may not always recognize
its mother, but a mother never forgets her own baby. Shakyamuni
Buddha may be likened to the mother, and a woman to the baby.
If two people long for each other, then they will never be
parted. But though one person yearns for the other, if the
other does not feel the same way, then they will be united
at times but separated at others. The Buddha may be likened
to the one who always longs for the other, and a woman to
the one who does not. But if we truly yearn for Shakyamuni
Buddha, how could he ever fail to reveal himself to us?
may call a rock a jewel, but that does not make it one. You
may call a jewel a rock, but it remains a jewel. In our age,
the doctrines of the Nembutsu and other sects that are based
upon the Buddhas provisional teachings are all like
rocks. People may say that the Nembutsu is equal to the Lotus
Sutra, but that does not in fact make it so. And people may
slander the Lotus Sutra, but that does not affect it any more
than calling a jewel a rock affects the jewel.
the past there was an evil ruler in China named Emperor Hui-tsung.1
Led astray by Taoist priests, he destroyed Buddhist statues
and sutras and forced all the monks and nuns to return to
secular life until not one remained in the religious calling.
Among the monks was one named the Tripitaka Master Fa-tao
who refused to be cowed by the imperial command. As a result,
he was branded on the face and exiled to the region south
of the Yangtze River. I was born in an age when the rulers
put their faith in the Zen sect, which is as erroneous as
the doctrine of Taoists, and I too, like Fa-tao, have met
with great difficulties.
two women were born as commoners and now live in Kamakura,
[the seat of the government,] yet you believe in the Lotus
Sutra without concern for the prying eyes of others or the
danger it may pose for your lives. This is nothing short of
extraordinary. I can only imagine your faith to be like the
jewel that, when placed in muddy water, miraculously cleanses
it. You are like someone who, when taught something new by
a wise man, believes his every word and thus grasps the truth.
Is this because Shakyamuni Buddha and the bodhisattvas Fugen,
Yakuo and Shukuoke2 are
dwelling in your hearts? This is what the passage of the Lotus
Sutra means when it says that if in the land of Jambudvipa
one is able to believe in this sutra, then that is due to
the power of Bodhisattva Fugen.3
is like a wisteria, a man like a pine. The wisteria cannot
stand for a moment if it is separated from the pine tree that
supports it. And yet, in this turbulent age, when you do not
even have servants you can rely on, you have sent your husband
here [to Sado Island]. This shows that your sincerity is deeper
than the earth, and the earthly gods must certainly realize
this. Your sincerity is loftier than the sky, and the heavenly
gods Bonten and Taishaku must also be aware of it. The Buddha
taught that people from the very moment of their birth are
accompanied by two messengers, Dosho (Same Birth) and Domyo
(Same Name),4 who are
sent by heaven and who follow them as closely as their own
shadows, never leaving them even for an instant. These two
take turns ascending to heaven to report the persons
offenses and merits, both major and minor, without overlooking
the slightest detail. Therefore, heaven must know about your
sincerity. How encouraging! How reassuring!
The Fourth Month, 9th
year of Mon'ei (1272)
to the wife of Shijo Kingo
(1082-1135): Eighth ruler of the Sung dynasty in China.
He ascended the throne in 1100 but took little interest
in ruling, devoting his energies instead to calligraphy
and painting. His religious policy was to eradicate China's
native Taoism and destroy Buddhism. In 1127, his dynasty
(Zoruthegn Sung) was overthrown by the Jdrched (Chin) state.
- Shukuoke: Bodhisattva
who appears in the Yakuo (23rd) chapter of the Lotus Sutra
to play the role of questioning the Buddha. In this chapter,
Shakyamuni Buddha orders Bodhisattva Shukuoke to protect
the Lotus Sutra with his occult power.
- Lotus Sutra, chap.
and Domyo: Two heavenly messengers said to dwell on one's
shoulders from the time of one's birth and to observe
his every act. They symbolize the workings of the law
of cause and effect in life.
Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin,