No Safety in the Threefold World
I have received the various articles you
sent me. Concerned about my life in the mountains, you had
your messenger plow through the snow to call on me. Your
sincerity has no doubt been recognized by the Lotus Sutra
and the ten demon daughters.
The Nirvana Sutra states, "Human life
runs its course more swiftly than a mountain stream; the
person here today will not likely be here tomorrow."
The Maya Sutra reads, "Imagine, for instance, a flock
of sheep being driven by a chandala to the slaughterhouse.
Human life is exactly the same; step by step one approaches
the place of death." The Lotus Sutra states, "There
is no safety in the threefold world; it is like a burning
house, replete with a multitude of sufferings, truly to
In these passages from the sutras, our
compassionate father, the World-Honored One of Great Enlightenment,
admonishes the ordinary persons of the latter age, warning
them, his ignorant children. Nevertheless, they do not awaken
for even one instant; nor do they conceive a desire to attain
the way for even a single moment. In order to decorate their
bodies, which, if abandoned in the fields, would be stripped
naked overnight, they spend their time striving to pile
up articles of clothing.
When their lives come to an end, within
three days their bodies will turn into water that washes
away, into dust that mixes with the earth, and into smoke
that rises up into the sky, leaving no trace behind. Nevertheless,
they seek to nurture these bodies and to amass great wealth.
This principle has been known since ancient
times, but today the situation is pitiable. The country
of Japan has been visited by continuous famine for the last
several years, and supplies of food and clothing are exhausted.
The domestic animals have all been consumed, and persons
who eat human flesh are appearing. They tear flesh from
the bodies of the dead, children and the sick, mix it with
fish or deer meat, and sell it. People purchase this mixture
and eat it. Thus, this country has unwittingly become an
abode of wicked demons.
Moreover, from the spring of last year
through the middle of the second month of this year, epidemics
have spread throughout the country. In five families out
of ten, in fifty households out of a hundred, all the members
have died from disease. Others have escaped illness but
are suffering from great spiritual distress, and thus are
in even greater agony than those who are ill. Even the people
who managed to survive have lost the children who used to
follow them as closely as shadows, or the spouses from whom
they had been as inseparable as a pair of eyes, or the parents
upon whom they had relied as they would upon heaven and
earth. For them, what meaning does life hold? How could
sensible people not abhor this world? The Buddha taught
that there is no safety in the threefold world, but the
current state of affairs seems excessively tragic.
Although I myself am only an ordinary person,
I informed the ruler that the Buddha had left behind teachings
predicting such a situation. However, he did not heed my
admonitions, but rather began to persecute me even more
harshly, so there was nothing further I could do. This country
has already become a slanderer of the Law and, by turning
into an enemy of the Lotus Sutra, it has also made itself
an enemy of the Buddhas and the gods of the three existences
and the ten directions.
Please consider deeply. No matter what
grave crimes I Nichiren, have been charged with, I am a
votary of the Lotus, Sutra. No matter what grave crimes
a person who chants Namu Amida Butsu may be guilty of, it
cannot be denied that he is a follower of the Nembutsu.
Because I chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with my own mouth, I
have been reviled, struck. exiled and had my life threatened.
However, in spite of all this, I have continued to exhort
others to do likewise. Am I not then a votary of the Lotus
In the Lotus Sutra, it is stipulated that
those who bear a grudge against its votary are destined
to fall into the Avichi hell. The fourth volume states that
the offense of harboring malice toward a votary of the Lotus
Sutra in the latter age is graver than that of reviling
the Buddha for an entire medium kalpa The seventh volume
teaches that people who disparage the votary will suffer
in the Avichi hell for a thousand kalpas. The fifth volume
states that after the Buddhas death, when the Latter
Day of the Law arrives, a votary of the Lotus Sutra will
certainly appear, and that at that time, in that country,
an immeasurably great multitude of monks who either uphold
or violate the precepts will gather and denounce the votary
to the ruler of the country, causing him to be banished
These passages from the sutra all coincide
precisely with what has happened to me. I am therefore convinced
that I will attain Buddhahood in the future. I will speak
in more detail when we meet.
The thirteenth day of the second month
in the fourth year of Kenji (1278), cyclical sign tsuchinoe-tora
Reply to Lord Matsuno
Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol. 7.