Roots of Good
received the various gifts that you were kind enough to send.
roots of good fortune are not determined by whether ones
offerings are large or small. Depending upon the country,
the person and the time, the merit gained will differ in various
ways. For example, even if one dries dung, breaks it up, passes
it through a sieve and forms it into the likeness of a sandalwood
tree, or of a woman, a heavenly goddess or a Buddha, when
it is burned, it will give off no other fragrance but the
stink of dung. Similarly, if one kills or robs others and
takes from them the first fruits of the harvest, then even
if one should offer ones gains with the intent of acquiring
merit and good fortune, that offering will instead become
an evil deed.
wealthy man Sudatta was the richest person in all of India.
He built the Jetavana monastery as an offering and invited
the Buddha there. Yet his monastery burned down and not a
trace of it remained. This rich man originally gained his
wealth by catching and selling fish, thus depriving them of
life, and therefore in the end this monastery disappeared.
the same way, the donations made by people today may seem
impressive, but they are offerings of fiefs won in battle
or of wealth gained by heedlessly oppressing the people. Though
these gifts appear to be great acts of devotion to the Buddha,
not only will the people who offer them fail to attain Buddhahood,
but their contributions will vanish without a trace.
even if one does no harm to others and honestly strives to
make offerings, there will be cases in which one does not
attain Buddhahood. To illustrate, if one plants good seed
in a bad field, the seed itself will be ruined, and one will
in turn suffer loss. Even if one is sincere, if the person
to whom one makes offerings is evil those offerings will fail
to produce benefit; rather, they will cause one to fall into
the evil paths.
own offerings were not made to me, Nichiren, but to the Lotus
Sutra. Therefore we must leave it to Shakyamuni Buddha, Taho
Buddha and all the other Buddhas of the ten directions [to
fathom the greatness of] the resulting benefits.
written to you about various events of this past year, but
I must say that I do not recall at any time in my life such
cold as we are now experiencing. The snow has fallen and piled
up in great quantity. Even those with a strong resolve find
it difficult to visit me. The fact that you have sent a messenger
to me here shows that yours is certainly no ordinary sincerity!
my deep respect,
twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month
to Kubo-no-ama Gozen
Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol. 7.