Letter to Ko-no-ama Gozen
I have received three hundred mon of coins from
the wife of Abutsu-bo. Since both of you are of the same
mind, have someone read this letter to you and listen to
I have also received the unlined summer robe you sent to
me here in the recesses of this mountain in Hakiri Village,
Kai Province, all the way from the province of Sado where
you live. The Hosshi chapter in the fourth volume
of the Lotus Sutra states: "If there is one who, in
his quest for the Buddha Way, shall throughout one kalpa
join his palms and in my presence praise me with countless
verses, because of this praise of the Buddha he will gain
immeasurable benefit. But one who praises the bearers of
this sutra will have blessings surpassing even that."
This means that the benefit of making offerings to a votary
of the Lotus Sutra in the evil age of the Latter Day of
the Law surpasses that of serving in all sincerity as noble
a Buddha as Shakyamuni with one's body, mouth and mind for
an entire medium kalpa. Although this may seem unbelievable,
you should not doubt it, because such are the Buddha's golden
The Great Teacher Miao-lo further clarifies this passage
from the sutra by saying, "If there is one who troubles
[a preacher of the Dharma], then his head will be split
into seven pieces; if there is one who makes offerings [to
the preacher], his good fortune will surpass that of the
ten honorable titles." In other words, the benefit
of making offerings to a votary of the Lotus Sutra in the
Latter Day of the Law exceeds that of making offerings to
a Buddha endowed with the ten honorable titles. On the other
hand, one who persecutes a votary of the Lotus Sutra in
the impure age will have his head broken into seven pieces.
I, Nichiren, am the most extraordinary person in Japan.
The reason I say so is this. The seven reigns of heavenly
gods I will set aside, and the five reigns of earthly gods
are beyond my knowledge, but throughout the ninety reigns
from the time of the first human emperor Jimmu until the
present, or during the more than seven hundred years since
the reign of Emperor Kimmei [when Buddhism was introduced
to this country], no one has ever been so universally hated
as Nichiren on account of either secular or Buddhist matters.
Mononobe no Moriya burnt down temples and pagodas, and Kiyomori
Nyudo had Todai-ji and Kofuku-ji temples destroyed, but
the people of their clans did not harbor hatred toward them.
Masakado and Sadato rebelled against the imperial court,
and the Great Teacher Dengyo incurred antagonism from the
priests of the seven major temples of Nara, but these men
were not hated by priests, nuns, laymen and laywomen throughout
the whole of Japan. In my case, however, parents, brothers,
teachers and fellow priests - every single person from the
ruler on down to the common people - treat me as if I were
their parents' enemy, and show me more hostility than if
I were a rebel or a robber.
Thus, at times I have been vilified by several hundred
people; and at other times, besieged by several thousands,
I have been attacked with swords and staves. I have been
driven from my residence and banished from my province.
Finally I twice incurred the regent's displeasure, being
exiled once to Izu Province and again to Sado Island. When
I was banished to Sado in the northern sea, I had neither
provisions to sustain me nor even clothes as coarse as those
made of wisteria vines to cover my body. The people there,
both priests and laity, hated me even more than did the
men and women of Sagami Province. Abandoned in the wilderness
and exposed to the snow, I sustained my life by eating grass.
I felt as though I were personally experiencing the sufferings
of Su Wu, who survived by eating snow while living in captivity
in the land of the northern barbarians for nineteen years,
or of Li Ling, who was imprisoned in a rocky cave on the
shore of the northern sea for six years. I underwent this
ordeal not because of any fault of my own but solely because
of my desire to save all the people of Japan.
However, while I was in exile there, you and your husband
Ko Nyudo, avoiding the eyes of others, brought me food by
night. You were ready to give your lives for my sake without
fearing punishment from the provincial officials. Therefore,
although life in Sado was harsh, I was loath to leave, feeling
as if my heart were being left behind, and I seemed to be
pulled back with each step I took.
I wonder what karmic bonds we formed in the past. Just
when I was thinking how mysterious it was, you sent your
most precious husband as your messenger to this distant
place. I thought it must be a dream or an illusion. Even
though I cannot see you, I am convinced that your heart
remains here with me. Whenever you yearn for me, Nichiren,
look toward the sun which rises in the morning and the moon
which appears in the evening. I will invariably be reflected
in the sun and the moon. In the next life, let us meet in
the pure land of Eagle Peak. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
The sixteenth day of the sixth month
Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin,
Vol. 4, page 139.