Good afternoon to all of
you. I wish to thank the master of ceremonies for such a kind introduction. I
am Eijun Ishii, currently serving as chief priest of Hoshoji Temple in
I would like to thank all of you,
the Hokkeko members from overseas countries for making the arduous journey to
the Head Temple, haven of the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary and of High
Priest Nikken Shonin, in order to attend this Overseas Believers Summer Study
Tozan. Approximately 1,600 people from 14 nations have made this tozan
pilgrimage. I have no doubt that Nichiren Daishonin truly is glad to observe
this demonstration of your pure and yearning faith.
efforts certainly are no less admirable than those of Abutsu-bo, who crossed
raging seas, mountains, and valleys in order to pay reverence to the Daishonin
at Mt. Minobu. Your struggles are no less commendable than the exertions of
Nichimyo-ama, who carried her infant on her back in order to visit the
Daishonin on Sado Island. It is impossible to estimate the blessings that come
from traveling such long distances as you have to assemble here at the Head
Temple Taisekiji, in order to attend the Gokaihi Ceremony, the various
lectures, and other study tozan events.
I hope that this Summer Study Tozan
will allow you to deepen your faith. I also pray that the bonds between you, as
fellow believers, will strengthen as you eat, sleep, and carry out your
practice of Buddhism together.
The Daishonin’s Buddhism is not only the supreme,
but also the only correct Law capable of bestowing true happiness and peace
upon all the people of the Latter Day of the Law. The sacred teachings handed
down to us through the Daishonin’s various writings specifically clarify that
his Buddhism will spread throughout the entire world without fail. For example,
in “Letter to Misawa,” the Daishonin writes:
this one great Law shall spread all over the world.
(MW-3, p. 256)
the Gosho, “On the Buddha’s Prophecy,” he again states:
will establish the true object of worship represented by the five characters of
Myoho-Renge-Kyo and bring it to the entire world.
(MW-1, p. 112)
have been told that during the past ten years, (1991-2000) 23,805 overseas
members of Nichiren Shoshu have made the pilgrimage to the Head Temple to pray
before the Dai-Gohonzon.
truly hope that each one of you will contemplate the fortune of being alive and
having the opportunity to encounter the Dai-Gohonzon at this time, when we are
witnessing the spread of the mystic Law (Myoho)
not only in Japan, but in every nation of the world. I also pray that you will
reaffirm your determination to strive in your daily Buddhist practice.
ask that you contribute to the betterment of your homelands and birthplaces, as
upstanding citizens and members of society whose lives are based on the
Gohonzon, and thereby show brilliant proof of the mystic Law. Rest assured that
a single person’s vigorous practice of faith has a direct effect on worldwide
kosen-rufu and global peace.
I am greatly honored today to be
able to lecture before this audience of overseas Hokkeko members. During this
brief hour, I hope that you will lend me your kind attention as I speak to you
on today’s theme, “Nichiren—Japan’s Supreme Votary of the Lotus Sutra.” I will
begin with a passage from “Letter toJakunichi-bo,”
is the supreme votary of the Lotus Sutra in Japan. In this land only he has
lived the twenty-line verse of the Encouraging Devotion (Kanji; thirteenth) chapter.
(MW-1, p. 235)
you may know already, the Encouraging Devotion (Kanji; thirteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra describes the
persecutions that will befall the votary of the Lotus Sutra who propagates the
mystic Law during the Latter Day. The passage that I just quoted from “Letter
to Jakunichi-bo” is Nichiren Daishonin’s passionate affirmation, as the True
Buddha of the Latter Day, that he is the foremost votary of the Lotus Sutra in
Japan, because he, alone, has lived the 20-line verse of the Encouraging
Devotion (Kanji; thirteenth) chapter.
term “votary of the Lotus Sutra” refers to a person who practices Buddhism in
accordance with the Lotus Sutra’s doctrines, and teaches the Lotus Sutra to
others. There were other votaries of the Lotus Sutra before Nichiren Daishonin,
but I will save that issue for later discussion.
any event, Nichiren Daishonin claims to be “the supreme votary of the Lotus
Sutra in Japan” because he has read the 20-line verse of the Encouraging
Devotion chapter with his very life.
the passage from “Letter to Jakunichi-bo states,” “Nichiren is the supreme
votary of the Lotus Sutra in Japan,” there are passages in “The Selectionof the Time” (MW-3, p. 111) and “Reply to Betto Gobo” (Gosho, p. 729) that read: “I, Nichiren, am the foremost votary of
the Lotus Sutra in the entire world.” This means that the phrase, “supreme
votary of the Lotus Sutra in Japan” carries the exact same weight as “foremost
votary of the Lotus Sutra in the entire world.”
passages conclude that nowhere in the world is there a votary of the Lotus
Sutra who surpasses Nichiren Daishonin. We can therefore consider these
passages to be declarations that emanate from the Daishonin’s profound life
condition and conviction within the context of the transmission of the Heritage
For this reason, the Daishonin further states in
“The Selection of the Time”:
can be no room to doubt that I, Nichiren, am the foremost votary of the Lotus
Sutra in all of Japan. Indeed, from this we may assume that, even in China and
India and throughout the entire world, there is no one who can stand side by
side with me.
(MW-3, p. 163)
Priest Nikken Shonin gives the following profound commentary on the phrase,
“foremost votary of the Lotus Sutra in all of Japan”:
The true meaning of “the foremost votary of the
Lotus Sutra in all of Japan” is that neither Tiantai of China nor Shakyamuni of
India “can stand side by side” with Nichiren Daishonin. What makes the
Daishonin the foremost votary of the Lotus Sutra in the entire world is the
fact that he is now actively propagating Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. Through
Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, Nichiren Daishonin is offering redemption from the
sufferings of hell to all people born during the ten thousand years of the
Latter Day of the Law. This means that truly, all people, not only in Japan,
but also throughout the entire world, can be rescued from the torments of hell.
(Collected Writings of Nikken Shonin, Series I, vol. 2, p. 665)
The profound reality that Nichiren Daishonin is the
True Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, who possesses the three virtues of
sovereign, teacher, and parent, is contained within the 14 Japanese characters
that comprise the phrase “Nichiren is the supreme votary of the Lotus Sutra in
Japan.” That reality is the realm of the Daishonin’s inner realization.
The proof that Nichiren Daishonin is the votary of
the Lotus Sutra is clear from the fact that, with his own life, he perfectly
matched the votary’s description as outlined in the 20-line verse of the
Encouraging Devotion chapter. For this reason, the Daishonin makes the
following statement in “The Opening of the Eyes”:
The Twenty-Line Verse
then I recall the twenty lines of verse in the Kanji chapter of the fifth volume of the Lotus Sutra….If I,
Nichiren, had not been born in this land of Japan, then the words of the Buddha
would have been a great prevarication.
(MW-2, p. 118)
would be helpful if I examined the contents of the 20-line verse in the
Encouraging Devotion (Kanji;
thirteenth) chapter. But before I do that, I would like to answer the question,
“For whom was the Lotus Sutra expounded?”
As you know, Shakyamuni expounded the Lotus Sutra
over a period of eight years on Eagle Peak, 42 years after attaining the Way. A
teaching in eight volumes and 28 chapters, the Lotus Sutra is said to be the
true purpose for Shakyamuni’s advent into this world.
a work called “The Essentials of the Lotus Sutra,” the Daishonin teaches that,
on the surface, it would seem that Shakyamuni expounded the Lotus Sutra
primarily as a means of illustrating the life condition of his own
enlightenment to the people of his day, in order to lead them to enlightenment.
The Daishonin asserts, however, that closer examination shows that the Lotus
Sutra was intended for the Latter Day of the Law.
scrutiny reveals that the Lotus Sutra divulges the course of action that our
founder Nichiren Daishonin would take, making his advent as the True Buddha for
the Latter Day of the Law in order to disseminate the Three Great Secret Laws.
the Lotus Sutra is vitally relevant to the Latter Day of the Law in that it
serves as testimony for the True Buddha of the Latter Day. For that reason,
however, the Lotus Sutra, in and of itself, does not have the power to lead
people to the attainment of enlightenment. That is why Nichiren Daishonin made
the following statement in “The Teaching for the Latter Day”:
in the Latter Day of the Law, neither the Lotus Sutra nor the other sutras lead
to enlightenment. Only Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo can do so.
(MW-3, p. 266)
only way that you and I can attain enlightenment is by revering and practicing
faith in the object of worship portrayed in the Lotus Sutra—that is, [the
Gohonzon, the enlightened life of] the True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin.
People in general think that the
Lotus Sutra was expounded for the sake of the people of Shakyamuni’s day, and
believe the sutra offers the same benefits in the Latter Day of the Law as it
did during the Buddha’s lifetime. However, this concept is a gross
misinterpretation of the truth.
would like you thoroughly to grasp the fact that the Lotus Sutra has two
distinct lines of transmission. The literal interpretation of the Lotus Sutra
is the Buddhism of the harvest, and was meant for the people of Shakyamuni’s
day, as well as for those born during the two thousand years of the Former and
Middle Days of the Law. In contrast, the meaning hidden in the depths or the
concealed rendition of the Lotus Sutra is the Buddhism of sowing, and was
expounded for the people of the Latter Day of the Law. It is imperative that we
read the words of the Lotus Sutra itself, as well as the Gosho. It is Nichiren
Shoshu alone that correctly transmits this teaching. This is a profoundly
secret teaching that those outside of the lineage of Nichiren Shoshu cannot
When we read the 20-line verse from
the Encouraging Devotion chapter of the Lotus Sutra, we can see that the verse
refers to the person of the True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin. We can further
reason that it is precisely because Nichiren Daishonin read this verse with his
own life that he is the votary of the Lotus Sutra for the Latter Day of the
At this juncture, I would like to
discuss previous votaries of the Lotus Sutra, based upon the words of the sutra
and the Gosho.
would first like to refer to a period in the remote past called Three Thousand
Dust-particle Kalpas (sanzen jindengo).
At that time, 16 princes expounded a revolutionized version of the Lotus Sutra
as taught by Great Universal Wisdom Buddha (Jpn. Daitsuchisho), and were thereby able to teach many people. These 16
princes could be called votaries of the Lotus Sutra.
during the Middle Day of the Law of Awesome Sound King Buddha (Jpn. Ionno), Bodhisattva Never Disparaging
(Fukyo) expounded the following twenty-four Chinese character version of the
have profound reverence for you; I would never dare treat you with
disparagement or arrogance. Why? Because you are all practicing the bodhisattva
way and are certain to attain Buddhahood.
(Gosho, p. 500; The Lotus
Sutra, Watson, p. 266)
that phrase, Bodhisattva Never Disparaging was able to carry out shakubuku. He
also is considered to have been an exemplary votary of the Lotus Sutra. For
this reason, Nichiren Daishonin writes the following in “A Sage Perceives the
Three Existences of Life”:
Nichiren, am the votary of the Lotus Sutra. This is because I follow the same
practice as Bodhisattva Never Disparaging.
(cf. MW-2, p. 258)
this passage, the Daishonin expresses his admiration for Bodhisattva Never
Disparaging. If we search for votaries of the Lotus Sutra down through the
years of Shakyamuni’s life and after his passing, we find that Nichiren
Daishonin makes the following comment in “The Votary of the Lotus Sutra Will
the entire lifetime of the Buddha as well as the two thousand years of the
Former and Middle Days of the Law that followed after his death, there were
only three votaries of the Lotus Sutra. They were Shakyamuni Buddha himself,
Tiantai, and Dengyo.
(MW-6, p. 80)
this passage states, there had been three votaries of the Lotus Sutra,
representing India, China, and Japan, respectively. While Shakyamuni made his
advent in India, Tiantai was born in China, and Dengyo, in Japan.
would like to bring to your attention an issue that might be considered a
contradiction in terms. As I mentioned earlier, the term “votary of the Lotus
Sutra” is usually used to mean a person who “practices” or “trains” according
to the Lotus Sutra. If we were to use that definition of a votary, then
Shakyamuni, a Buddha, would not fall into that category.
that is the case, then why did the Daishonin include Shakyamuni among the three
votaries that he mentioned in “The Votary of the Lotus Sutra Will MeetPersecution”? High Priest Nikken Shonin
clarified this matter in the following way:
Shakyamuni would not normally be called a
votary of the Lotus Sutra. That is because the person known as Shakyamuni is a
Buddha. The Daishonin called him a “votary” within the context of Shakyamuni’s
“practice” of expounding the Lotus Sutra, the Law that reigns supreme among all
of his lifetime teachings and leads ordinary people to the immediate attainment
of enlightenment. It is because Shakyamuni expounded the Lotus Sutra that the
Daishonin also includes him as a votary of the Lotus Sutra.
Writings of Nikken Shonin, Series I, vol. 2, pp. 663-4)
contrast with Shakyamuni, the Great Teachers Tiantai and Dengyo were mere
practitioners of the Lotus Sutra.
In “Reply to Toki-dono,” the Daishonin writes:
is likely that Nichiren of Awa has inherited the Hokke sect from the three
masters [Shakyamuni, Tiantai, and Dengyo] in order to further its dissemination
in the Latter Day of the Law. Thus, adding one more to the three, in the three
countries [of India, China, and Japan], the masters number four.
(Gosho, p. 679)
passage proclaims that Shakyamuni, Tiantai, Dengyo, and Nichiren Daishonin are
the four votaries of the Lotus Sutra. But we must understand that this
statement is a generalization at best, for in the final analysis, only Nichiren
Daishonin is the true “votary of the Lotus Sutra” for the Latter Day of the
the Encouraging Devotion (Kanji;
thirteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni describes in minute detail
how the “votary of the Lotus Sutra” would behave during the Latter Day of the
description verifies that the true “votary of the Lotus Sutra” was to make his
advent during the Latter Day of the Law. Moreover, if a votary, whose
persecutions were to exceed those of Shakyamuni, had not made his advent during
the Latter Day of the Law, then the Lotus Sutra would have proven to be a
falsehood, and the Buddha would have been guilty of perpetrating a lie.
Making his advent in the Latter Day
of the Law, Nichiren Daishonin clearly conducted himself in accord with the
scriptural description of the votary of the Lotus Sutra. The emergence of the
“three powerful enemies,” foretold in the sutra, furthermore proves his
three powerful enemies are three groups of people who will persecute the votary
of the Lotus Sutra after the Buddha’s passing in the evil age of the Latter Day
of the Law.
In the Gosho, the three powerful enemies are called
by various names. For example, in “Letter to Shimoyama,” they are simply called
“the three groups”; in “The Opening of the Eyes,” they are called “the three
powerful enemies”; and in the Gosho, “On Practicing According to the Buddha’s
Teachings,” they are known as “the three kinds of enemies.”
I mentioned earlier, there is a detailed description of the three powerful
enemies in the 20-line verse of the Encouraging Devotion chapter of the Lotus
Sutra. This 20-line verse section of the Chinese version of the Encouraging
Devotion chapter is structured so that each line is composed of four
five-character phrases. This means that the entire 20 lines are composed of 400
we use the Jigage section of our
sutra book as a means of comparing this type of literary structure, Ji ga toku bud’rai makes up the first
phrase, Sho kyo sho kos-shu forms the
second, Mu-ryo hyaku-sen-man composes
the third and Oku-sai-a-so-gi
constitutes the fourth. Together, these four phrases comprise one line of
verse. This is why the verse section of the Encouraging Devotion chapter is
said to be composed of 20 lines.
In this 20-line verse section, great
multitudes of bodhisattvas promise to disseminate the true Law without
succumbing to persecution. This section begins:
beg you not to worry. After the Buddha has passed into extinction, in an age of
fear and evil we will preach far and wide.
(The Lotus Sutra, Watson, p. 193)
This initial passage of verse is a general summary
of the promise that the entire group of bodhisattvas made earlier to propagate
the Lotus Sutra without fail during the Latter Day of the Law.
Following this, the verse section goes on to give a
detailed description of what the evil age of the Latter Day of the Law will be
The Three Powerful Enemies
At this point, I would like to give
you definitions of the three powerful enemies. The first of these powerful
enemies are extremely arrogant lay people (zokushu
zojoman); the second are extremely arrogant, heretical priests (domon zojoman); and the third,
extremely arrogant false sages (sensho
zojoman). The names of these three groups are not to be found in the Lotus
Sutra, but were coined by the Great Teacher Miaole in his Annotations on the Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra (Hokke mongu ki). As the titles suggest,
these groups represent three types of arrogant people.
will give a more in depth explanation of these three groups, but it is
important to realize that the words “extremely arrogant” (zojoman) are appended to all three.
Zojoman refers to the kind of arrogance
whereby one has become so egotistical that he has convinced himself that he has
gained supreme enlightenment, when in fact he has not. This kind of person
thinks he is superior and believes that he always is in the right. He refuses
to accept the validity of the true Law, and approaches the true Law and its
devotees with hatred, animosity, and oppression.
first of the three powerful enemies is extremely arrogant lay people (zokushu zojoman). The term zokushu refers to people outside of the
priesthood. A passage from the Encouraging Devotionchapter of Lotus Sutra states:
There will be many ignorant people who will curse
and speak ill of us and will attack us with swords and staves, but we will
endure all these things.
This passage relates that there will
be lay people, uninformed about Buddhism, who will persecute cruelly the votary
of the Lotus Sutra by degrading, denouncing and slandering him, and by wounding
him with swords and beating him with staffs. Lay men and women during Nichiren
Daishonin’s lifetime fall into this category.
The second group of powerful enemies
is extremely arrogant, heretical priests (domon
zojoman). The term domon
(literally, “at the gate to the path”) refers to priests who practice Buddhism.
The sutra states:
that evil age there will be monks with perverse wisdom and hearts that are
fawning and crooked who will suppose they have attained what they have not
attained, being proud and boastful in heart.
the sutra uses the word biku, which
is the Japanese pronunciation of the Sanskrit word bhikshu, meaning Buddhist priest, the Great Teacher Miaole uses the
term domon zojoman to describe this
enemy of the votary of the Lotus Sutra.
passage tells us that during the evil age of the Latter Day of the Law, there
will be priests who have mastered the craft of dishonesty, and whose hearts are
crooked and full of flattery. These priests will believe that they have
understood the most profound Buddhist doctrines, when in fact, they have not.
They will, nonetheless, be terribly self-satisfied. Though they have been
unable to attain enlightenment due to their own arrogance, these priests will
have convinced themselves that they are enlightened. We should not forget that
among this group, there are also those who feign enlightenment in order to
In “The Opening of the Eyes,” the Daishonin states:
the Lotus Sutra speaks of the second type of enemy, “monks of that evil age,” it
is referring to men like Honen who disregard the precepts and hold perverse
(MW-2, p. 186)
domon zojoman indicates priests of
heretical sects who, in their great arrogance, become brainwashed with mistaken
ideas and slander the votary of the Lotus Sutra.
The third powerful enemy signifies
extremely arrogant false sages (sensho
zojoman). The word sen in sensho means “to act with inappropriate
pride,” while sho means “sage.”
Therefore, sensho means “to act with
the pride of a sage without actually being one.”
passage from the Encouraging Devotion chapter of the Lotus Sutra reads:
there will be forest-dwelling monks wearing clothing of patched rags and living
in retirement, who will claim they practice the true way, despising and looking
down on all humankind. Greedy for profit and support, they will preach the Law
to white-robed laymen and will be respected and revered by the world as though
they were arhats who possess the six transcendental powers. These men with evil
in their hearts, constantly thinking of worldly affairs, will borrow the name
of forest-dwelling monks and take delight in proclaiming our faults, saying
things like this: “These monks are greedy for profit and support and therefore
they preach non-Buddhist doctrines and fabricate their own scriptures to delude
the people of the world. Because they hope to gain fame and renown thereby they
make distinctions when preaching this sutra.” Because in the midst of the great
assembly they constantly try to defame us, they will address the rulers, high
ministers, Brahmans and householders, as well as the other monks, slandering
and speaking evil of us, saying, “These are men of perverted views who preach
(The Lotus Sutra, Watson, pp.193-4)
Chinese word for “forest-dwelling” is aren’nya,
which connotes “a wild land” or “a secluded place removed from human
habitation.” The word for “clothing of patched rags” is no’e, which refers to a coarse garment worn by ascetics. This
combination of lifestyle and dress is meant to show how assiduously an
individual is pursuing his ascetic practice. The phrase “living in retirement”
comes from the Chinese word kugen,
which means the same thing as aren’nya.
In short, people of this group live
in tranquil places secluded from the rest of the world, and purposely wear
tattered priest’s robes. Believing that they are practicing the true Buddha
path, they despise and condemn people who live in the “real” world. This kind
of person is not the model of a sage. A Buddha’s original purpose is to save
all living beings from suffering, and therefore, he spends all of his time with
is said that Shakyamuni himself visited Rajagriha 120 times, and as far as is
known, stayed at Shravasti at least 910 times.
to say, Nichiren Daishonin also spent his life struggling among the masses.
The next section of the
above-mentioned passage, beginning, “Greedy for profit and support…” indicates
attachment to fame, fortune, and money. The white-robed laymen to whom they
preach the Law are people of power and influence. This prestigious image causes
people to revere these monks as though they were sages who possess the six
transcendental powers. However, the hearts of these monks are impure, obsessed
with desires of the flesh. [To cover up their own weakness,] they adopt the
title of hermit ascetic, while gaining satisfaction from pointing out the
imperfections of the votary of the Lotus Sutra.
sutra explains the behavior of these monks, who constantly go around among the
masses denouncing those who embrace the true Law. They slander and cause
trouble for the votary of the Lotus Sutra by maliciously gossiping to the
sovereign, his ministers, Brahmans, members of the Buddhist laity, and other
priests by saying, “He’s a heretic! He teaches non-Buddhist doctrines!”
If one were to make a list of those
who fit into the category of extremely arrogant false sages during Nichiren
Daishonin’s lifetime, the names of people like Ryokan of Gokurakuji Temple and
Doryu of Kenchoji Temple would have to be among them.
the chief priest of Gokurakuji Temple, was particularly active as the invisible
ringleader behind the persecution of the Daishonin’s followers. He was an evil
priest of the Shingon-Ritsu sect, and well connected to the Hojo family, which
was extremely powerful at that time. Ryokan built a medical facility in the
Kuwagayatsu section of Kamakura, and acting as though he were the very
embodiment of compassion, was even said to be a living Buddha.
he instituted many public works projects such as building roads and bridges,
establishing checkpoints and collecting rice in lieu of cash revenues. However,
he actually used many of these projects to line his own pockets, gain political
power and attain his own personal goals. From the abundance of imported
porcelain excavated from the ruins of Gokurakuji Temple, we know that in
comparison with the poverty suffered by the general masses, Ryokan indulged
himself in the greatest of luxuries.
in his attempts to have Nichiren Daishonin murdered, Ryokan was responsible for
such great persecutions as the attempted execution of the Daishonin at
Tatsunokuchi and his exile to Sado Island. Working behind the scenes, he tried
to have the military government oppress the Daishonin’s followers in various
and sundry ways.
The conduct of the evil priest
Ryokan represents the epitome of an extremely arrogant false sage. The sutra’s
indictment, “…they will address the rulers, high ministers …” is especially
true of Ryokan, because he incited the rulers, high ministers and other people
in authority through his slander of the votary of the Lotus Sutra. It is a
special character trait of people who belong to the category of extremely
arrogant false sages to manipulate and abuse authority in order to instigate
Another passage from the Encouraging
Devotion chapter of the Lotus Sutra characterizes, in general, the persecutions
that the three powerful enemies will level at the votary of the Lotus Sutra.
evil monks of that muddied age, failing to understand the Buddha’s expedient
means, how he preaches the Law in accordance with what is appropriate, will
confront us with foul language and angry frowns; again and again we will be
(The Lotus Sutra, Watson, p. 195)
phrase “again and again we will be banished” is consistent with the two
occasions when Nichiren Daishonin was exiled, once to Sado and once to Izu.
This sutra passage provides ultimate and definitive proof that Nichiren
Daishonin does indeed accord with the sutra’s prophecy about the votary of the
Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law.For this reason, Nichiren Daishonin makes the following statement in “The
Opening of the Eyes”:
The Supreme Votary
“Again and again we will be banished,” says the
sutra. But if Nichiren had not been banished time and again for the sake of the
Lotus Sutra, what would these words “again and again” have meant? Even Tiantai
and Dengyo were not able to fulfill this prediction, that they would be
banished “again and again,” much less was anyone else. But because I have been
born at the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law, the “fearful and evil age”
described in the sutra, I alone have been able to live these words.
(MW-2, p. 119)
have presented you with a brief discussion of the three powerful enemies. Only
Nichiren Daishonin, the True Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, accorded with
the 20-line verse of the Encouraging Devotion (Kanji; thirteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra without the slightest
deviation, in that he endured persecution by the three powerful enemies while
propagating the mystic Law. For this reason, the Daishonin makes the following
proclamation in “Letter to Jakunichi-bo”:
is the supreme votary of the Lotus Sutra in Japan. In this land only he has
lived the 20-line verse of the Kanji
(MW-1, p. 235)
passage demonstrates Nichiren Daishonin’s total conviction that he is
undoubtedly the only votary of the Lotus Sutra who has read the Lotus Sutra
with his very life.
as I mentioned earlier, in terms of Nichiren Daishonin’s own inner realization,
the fact that he is “the votary of the Lotus Sutra” further demonstrates that
he is the True Buddha of the infinite past of kuon-ganjo and the Master of Buddhism for the Latter Day. He is the
Buddha who possesses the three virtues of sovereign, teacher, and parent. We
can find proof of this fact in the following Gosho passages.
“The Unity of Husband and Wife,” he states: “…the votary of the Lotus Sutra is
like the sun, the moon, King Bonten, or the Buddha…” (MW-5, p. 156). He also states the following in “The Difficulty of
Sustaining Faith”: “The votary of the Lotus Sutra is the Buddha of eternal
life…” (MW-1, p. 128)
In “Repaying Debts of Gratitude,” he comments:
even the Buddha had difficulty bearing up under such persecutions, how can
ordinary human beings be expected to bear them, particularly when these
troubles are destined to be even greater than those that occurred during the
Buddha’s lifetime?….If persecutions greater than those that arose during the
Buddha’s lifetime keep occurring again and again to someone who is not guilty
of the slightest fault, then one should realize that that person is a true
votary of the Lotus Sutra in the age after the Buddha’s passing.
(MW-6, pp. 184-5)
A passage from the “Orally Transmitted Teachings”
votary of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law is endowed with the
three unadorned properties of the Buddha.
The honorific title of these three unadorned properties is Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.
(Gosho, p. 1765)
above Gosho passages indicate that the inner identity of the votary of the
Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law is truly the Buddha. Another passage
from the same document reads:
The true object of worship
is the very life of the votary of the Lotus Sutra.
(Gosho, p. 1773)
This passage reveals that the entity of the votary
of the Lotus Sutra is, in and of itself, the object of worship for people in
the Latter Day of the Law. To rephrase this idea, we might say, “The votary is
the True Buddha, and the Object of Worship is the votary.”
[August 2000], as High Priest Nikken Shonin stands at the vanguard to refute
heresy and reveal the truth, I hope that all of you will be able to discern the
true nature of the three powerful enemies. Without fearing them, I hope that you
will chant ever-increasing Daimoku, and work relentlessly to break through the
obstacles that these enemies create, confident that today is another golden
opportunity to expiate our slanders of the Law. With that confidence, I hope
that you will progress powerfully in your practice of Buddhism.
Priest Nikken Shonin states:
must not believe in and embrace the true Law for ourselves alone. Real benefit
lies in offering the true Law to those with whom we have established a
significant connection. This is the path to the attainment of enlightenment
that accords with the Daishonin’s heart.
(Collected Writings of Nikken Shonin, Series I, vol. 2, p. 249)
I hope that you will etch this instruction
into your hearts, treasuring every moment of every day. I also hope that with
abundant Daimoku and a resolute practice, each of you will work to advance
further and further along the Buddha path, praying for the peace of your
respective nations and your personal attainment of enlightenment.
Three unadorned properties
of the Buddha: The eternally existing and uncreated three
enlightened properties of the True Buddha.