The Proof of the Lotus Sutra
Nichiren, the votary of the Lotus Sutra
A person who, in the evil world of the
latter age, believes in the teachings of the Lotus Sutra
just as they are set forth in the sutra-how does the mirror
of the Lotus Sutra portray him? Shakyamuni Buddha has left
us words from his golden mouth revealing that such a person
has already made offerings to a hundred thousand million
Buddhas in his past existences.1
But ordinary persons in the latter age might well doubt
the words spoken by one Buddha only. With this thought in
mind, Taho Buddha expressly came all the way from his world
of Treasure Purity, many lands to the east. Facing Shakyamuni
Buddha, he gave his words of testimony to the Lotus Sutra,
saying, "All that you have expounded is the truth."
If this is so, then there can be no room for doubt about
the matter. Nevertheless, Shakyamuni Buddha may have felt
that ordinary persons in the latter age would still be skeptical.
Hence he summoned all the Buddhas throughout the ten directions
to come and join him in the magnificent act of extending
their long broad tongues,2
which had told nothing but the truth for countless kalpas,
until they projected into the sky as high as Mount Sumeru.
Since this is the case, when an ordinary
person in the latter age believes in even one or two words
of the Lotus Sutra, he is embracing the teaching to which
all the Buddhas in the ten directions have given credence.
I wonder what good karma we created in the past to have
been born as such persons, and I am filled with joy. Shakyamunis
words which I have mentioned above indicate that the blessings
that come from having made offerings to a hundred thousand
million Buddhas are so great that, even though one may have
believed in teachings other than the Lotus Sutra and as
a result of this slander been born poor and lowly, one is
still able to believe in this sutra during this lifetime.
Tien-tai states, "It is
like the case of a person who falls to the ground, but who
then pushes himself up from the ground and rises to his
Those who slander the Lotus Sutra will fall to the ground
of the three evil paths or of the human and heavenly realms,
yet through the help of the Lotus Sutra they will in the
end attain Buddhahood.
Now since you, Ueno Shichiro Jiro, are
an ordinary person in the latter age and you were born into
a warrior family, you should by rights be called an evil
man, and yet your heart is that of a good man. I say this
for a reason. Everyone, from the ruler on down to the common
people, refuses to take faith in my teachings. They inflict
harm on the few who do embrace them, heavily taxing or confiscating
their estates and fields or even in some cases putting them
to death. So it is a difficult thing to believe in my teachings,
and yet both your mother and your deceased father dared
to accept them. Now you have succeeded your father as his
heir and, without any persuasion from others, you too have
wholeheartedly embraced these teachings. Many people, both
high and low in rank, have advised or threatened you, but
you have refused to give up your faith. Now that you appear
certain to attain Buddhahood, the devils of heaven and the
demons are trying to use this illness to intimidate you.
But remember that life in this world is limited. Never allow
yourself to be intimidated!
"And as for you evil spirits -- will
you cause this disciple of mine to suffer and swallow a
sword point first, or embrace a raging fire, or become the
archenemy of all the Buddhas of the ten directions in the
three existences? How terrible this will be for you! Now,
will you cure this mans illness immediately and hereafter
give him your protection instead, in this way escaping from
the grievous sufferings that are the lot of evil spirits?
If you fail to do so, then you will have your heads broken
into seven pieces4 in
this life and after your death fall into the hell of incessant
suffering! You should absolutely free yourself from this
fate; if you ignore my words, you will regret it later.
The twenty-eighth day of the second month
in the fifth year of Koan (1282)
Handed to you by Hoki-bo.
- This is mentioned in the Hosshi (20th) chapter
of the Lotus
- Long broad tongues: One of the thirty-two distinguishing
features of a Buddha. The Buddha's tongue was said to
be soft, thin and long enough to touch his forehead. In
ancient India, people used to extend their tongues in
order to show the truth of their words. The farther a
tongue was extended, the greater the verification of the
words uttered. It was commonly accepted among Brahmans
that those who had a long and broad tongue were free from
falsehood. There are various "tongue-verified"
sutras, but the Jinriki (21st) chapter of the Lotus
Sutra mentions a tongue long enough to reach the heavens,
implying the absolute truth of the sutra's teaching.
- Hokke Mongu Ki. The sentence following this quotation
is a restatement ,of the quotation and is omitted to avoid
repetition in the translation.
- See P. 258, footnote 5.
Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin,