Strange occurrences in the heavens frighten all people,
and calamities on earth disturb everyone. When the Buddha
was about to expound the Lotus Sutra, he caused the five
omens and the six omens to appear. Of these, the omen of
the earth shaking indicates that the earth trembled in six
different ways. Interpreting these in the third volume of
his Hokke Mongu, the Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai states:
"[One of the six is that] the east rises and the west
falls. The eastern quarter corresponds to the color green
and governs the liver, which in turn governs the eyes. The
western quarter corresponds to the color white and governs
the lungs, which in turn govern the nose. Hence, the east
rising and the west falling indicates that the benefit of
the eyes appear, and in response, the earthly desires of
the nose disappear. Similarly, when the benefits of the
nose appear, in response, the earthly desires of the eyes
disappear. In like manner, the rise and fall of the other
directions signify the appearance of benefit and the disappearance
of earthly desires with respect to the other sensory organs."
Concerning this, the Great Teacher Miao-lo says: "The
directions signify the six sense organs. It is already established
that the eyes and the nose represent, respectively, east
and west. It follows, then, that the ears and the tongue
correspond, respectively, to north and south. The center
corresponds to the mind, while the four directions indicate
the body. The body is endowed with the four sense organs,
and the mind is connected to all four. Hence the mind induces
rise or fall with respect to [the sensory functions of]
The ten directions are "environment" (eho),
and sentient beings are "life" (shoho).
Environment is like the shadow, and life, the body. Without
the body there can be no shadow. Similarly, without life,
environment cannot exist, even though life is supported
by its environment. The eyes correspond to the eastern quarter.
From this we also know that the tongue corresponds to the
southern quarter, the nose to the western quarter, the ears
to the northern quarter, the body to all four quarters,
and the mind to the center. Therefore, when the people's
five sense organs are disordered, the four quarters as well
as the center will be startled and shaken, and as signs
of the consequent destruction of the land, mountains will
collapse, grasses and trees wither and rivers run dry. When
the people's eyes, ears and other sense organs are confused
and disturbed, extraordinary changes occur in the heavens,
and when their minds are agitated, the earth quakes.
What sutra was ever preached without the earth trembling
in six different ways? This phenomenon invariably occurred
each time the Buddha expounded a sutra. However, when the
Buddha, about to expound the Lotus Sutra, caused the earth
to quake in six different ways, the people were especially
astounded. Bodhisattva Miroku asked a question about this
phenomenon and Bodhisattva Monjushiri answered. This was
because the omen was greater in both magnitude and duration
than when the other sutras were preached, and the people's
questions were therefore much more difficult to resolve.
Thus Miao-lo states: "No Mahayana sutra was ever preached
without multitudes of people gathering, without the Buddha
emitting a ray of light from his forehead, without flowers
raining down from heaven or without the earth quaking. However,
never before had the people been as greatly mystified as
they were now." This means that omens had heralded
the preaching of all the other sutras as well, but none
had ever been as awesome [as those which occurred when the
Lotus Sutra was expounded]. For this reason the Great Teacher
T'ien-t'ai states, "People say that when a spider weaves
its web, it means that some happy event is near, and that
if a magpie chatters, it foretells the coming of a guest.
Even such trifles are presaged by some sign. How then could
great affairs be without omens? By means of the near, the
distant is revealed." Thus the Buddha manifested great
portents never before seen during his more than forty years
of preaching when he expounded the theoretical teaching
of the Lotus Sutra.
However, the omens that heralded the essential teaching
far exceeded the signs preceding the theoretical teaching,
even more so than these had in turn surpassed the omens
presaging the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings. A magnificent treasure
tower sprang up from the ground, and then multitudes of
bodhisattvas emerged from beneath the earth. The great quakes
on these occasions were like gales blowing over the ocean,
creating waves the size of mountains which toss a small
ship about like a reed leaf, engulfing even its sails. Therefore,
while Miroku had inquired of Monju about the omens that
appeared in the Jo chapter, concerning those great
portents that occurred in the Yujutsu chapter he
directly questioned the Buddha himself. Miao-lo explains
this by saying, "Since the theoretical teaching concerns
matters which are shallow and comparatively recent, Monju
could be relied upon to answer him. On the other hand, the
Buddha's original enlightenment in the remote past was so
difficult to comprehend that none but the Buddha himself
could be depended on for an explanation." The Buddha
did not trouble to explain the omens of the theoretical
teaching, but Monju knew generally what they signified.
The omens of the essential teaching, however, he could not
even begin to fathom. And these omens concerned only events
occurring in Shakyamuni's lifetime.
Then, when the Buddha came to preach the Jinriki
chapter, he displayed ten mystic powers. They were incomparably
more wondrous than either the omens of the Jo chapter
or those of the Hoto and Yujutsu chapters.
The beam of light which the Buddha had emitted [from his
forehead] at the time of the Jo chapter illuminated
only eighteen thousand worlds to the east, but that which
he emitted [from his entire body] at the time of the Jinriki
chapter encompassed all the worlds of the ten directions.
While the quaking of the earth in the Jo chapter
was limited to the worlds of the major world systems, in
the Jinriki chapter the worlds of the Buddhas of
the ten directions all trembled in six different ways. And
the signs which have appeared in our own time are equally
astounding. The great omens of the Jinriki chapter
foretold that the essence of the Lotus Sutra would spread
after the Buddha's death when the two thousand years of
the Former and Middle Days of the Law had passed and the
Latter Day of the Law had begun. A passage from the sutra
states, "Because [there will be those who] faithfully
uphold this sutra after the Buddha's passing, all the Buddhas
rejoice and display their limitless mystic powers."
It also speaks of "[one who is able to uphold this
sutra] in the evil age of the Latter Day of the Law,..."
Question: All omens, whether good or bad, foretell something
that will occur in an hour or two, a day or two, a year
or two, or in seven or twelve years at the most. How could
there be any omens that foretell what will take place more
than two thousand years later?
Answer: The event presaged by omens which appeared during
the reign of King Chao of the Chou dynasty became a reality
after a thousand and fifteen long years. King Kiriki's dream
came true no less than twenty-two thousand years later.
How, then, can you doubt that there are omens which portend
something more than two thousand years before it actually
Question: Why were the omens presaging the time after Shakyamuni
Buddha's passing greater than those which concerned his
Answer: The earth trembles in response to the agitation
of the people's six sense organs. Depending on the extent
of this agitation, the six different ways in which the earth
quakes will vary in intensity. The pre-Lotus Sutra teachings
seem to extinguish people's earthly desires [associated
with their six sense organs], but in reality they do not.
In contrast, the Lotus Sutra conquers the fundamental darkness
[from which all earthly desires originate]. Hence the earth
trembles violently. Moreover, there are many more evil persons
in this latter age than during the Buddha's lifetime. It
was for these reasons that, for the Latter Day, the Buddha
caused far greater omens to appear than those concerning
his own time.
Question: What proof can you offer [that the number of
evil persons is greater in the Latter Day]?
Answer: The sutra states, "Since hatred and jealousy
toward this sutra abound even during the Buddha's lifetime,
how much worse will it be in the world after his passing?"
Setting aside the seven reigns of heavenly gods and the
five reigns of earthly gods, in the more than two thousand
years of the ninety reigns of human rulers, the great earthquake
of the Shoka era and the extraordinary phenomena which appeared
in the heavens during the Bun'ei era were prodigies unprecedented
in Japan. If the people are filled with joy, auspicious
omens will appear in the heavens, and quakes caused by the
god Taishaku will shake the earth. On the other hand, if
their minds are obsessed with evil, there will be ominous
changes in the heavens and terrible calamities on earth.
The magnitude of sinister occurrences in the heavens varies
according to the degree of the people's anger; the same
holds true of disasters on earth. Japan today is filled
with people, from the ruler on down to the common citizens,
whose minds are possessed by great evil. This evil is born
of their hatred for me, Nichiren.
There is a sutra entitled Shugo Kokkai, a scripture
which came after the Lotus Sutra. It relates how King Ajatashatru
went to the Buddha and asked, "Every year, my country
has been beset by great droughts, violent gales, floods,
famine and pestilence. Moreover, we have been attacked by
another nation. Why should all these disasters occur, when
this is the very country in which the Buddha made his advent?"
The Buddha replied, "Splendid, splendid! It is admirable
of you, O great king, to have asked this question. But you
have committed many wrongs and evils. Among them, you killed
your own father and, taking Devadatta as your teacher, you
did me injury. Because these two offenses are so serious,
your country is beset by innumerable disasters." The
sutra goes on to quote the Buddha as saying, "After
my death, in the Latter Day of the Law, when monks like
Devadatta fill the land, a single monk will appear who embraces
the True Law. Those evil monks will exile and put to death
this man of the True Law. They will violate not only the
kings's consort but the daughters of the common people as
well, thereby filling the country with the seed of slanderers.
For this reason, the nation will suffer various calamities
and will later be invaded by a foreign country."
The followers of Nembutsu in the world today are exactly
like the evil monks mentioned in the above sutra. Moreover,
the conceit of the Shingon teachers exceeds that of Devadatta
ten billion times. Let me briefly describe the bizarre conduct
of the Shingon sect. Its priests paint a picture of the
nine honored ones seated on a eight-petaled lotus in the
center of the Womb World. Then they climb onto this picture
and, stepping on the faces of the Buddhas, conduct their
ceremony of anointment. It is as if they were trampling
on the faces of their own parents or treading on the emperor's
head. Such priests as these fill the entire country, becoming
the teachers of both high an low. No wonder the nation faces
What I have stated earlier is the most important of my
teachings. I will explain it again on another occasion.
I have written to you a little about this matter before,
but do not tell it to others indiscriminately. You have
sent me expression of your sincerity not only once or twice
but whenever the opportunity presented itself. I can find
no words [to express my appreciation].
Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol. 4, page