On Itai Doshin
- Itai Doshin Ji -
I have received the white winter robe and the thick-quilted
one, as well as one kan of coins, through the offices
of Hoki-bo. Hoki-bo and Sado-bo and the believers at Atsuhara,
united in their courageous faith, proved the true strength
of itai doshin.
If itai doshin (many in body, one in mind) prevails
among the people, they will achieve all their goals, whereas
in dotai ishin (one in body, different in mind),
they can achieve nothing remarkable. The more than three
thousand volumes of Confucianism and Taoist literature are
filled with examples. King Chou of Yin led 700,000 soldiers
into battle against King Wu of Chou and his 800 men. Yet
King Chou's army lost because of disunity while King Wu's
men defeated him because of perfect unity. Even an individual
at cross purposes with himself is certain to end in failure.
Yet a hundred or even a thousand people can definitely attain
their goal if they are of one mind. Though numerous, the
Japanese will find it difficult to accomplish anything,
because they are divided in spirit. On the contrary, I believe
that although Nichiren and his followers are few in number,
because they act in itai doshin, they will accomplish
their great mission of propagating the Lotus Sutra. Many
raging fires are quenched by a single shower of rain, and
many evil forces are vanquished by a single great truth.
Nichiren and his followers are proving this.
You have served the Lotus Sutra with devotion for many
years, and in addition, you demonstrated remarkable faith
during the recent incident at Atsuhara. Many people including
Hoki-bo and Sado-bo have told me so. I have listened carefully
and reported everything to the god of the sun and to Tensho
I should have replied to you earlier, but there was no
one who could bring this letter to you. Nissho left here
so quickly that I had no time to finish writing before his
Some people may be wondering whether the Mongols will really
attack again, but I believe that invasion is now imminent.
An invasion would be deplorable--it would mean the ruin
of our country--but if it does not happen, the Japanese
people will slander the Lotus Sutra more than ever and all
of them will fall into the hell of incessant suffering.
The nation may be devastated by the superior strength of
the Mongols, but slander of Buddhism will cease almost entirely.
Defeat would be like moxa cautery which cures disease or
acupuncture which relieves pain. Both are painful at the
moment but bring happiness later.
I, Nichiren, am the emissary of the Lotus Sutra, while
the Japanese are like King Mihirakula who eliminated Buddhism
throughout India. The Mongol Empire may be like King Himatala
of the Snow Mountains, a messenger from heaven sent to punish
those hostile to the votary of the Lotus Sutra. If the Japanese
repent, they will be like King Ajatashatru who became a
devout follower of Buddhism, thereby curing his own leprosy
and prolonging his life by forty years. Like Ajatashatru,
they will profess faith in spite of their earlier disbelief,
and awaken to the entity of life.
With my deep respect,
The sixth day of the eighth month
Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin,
Vol. 1, page 153.