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Ikeda Sensei’s Lectures

Awakening to Our ‘Greater Self’ and ‘Greater Mission’

Ikeda Sensei’s Lecture Series [77]

Photo by Geneva Lewis.

The ultimate aim of our Buddhist practice is, on an individual level, to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime and, on a societal level, to establish the correct teaching for the peace of the land through widely spreading the Mystic Law.

In other words, it is for each of us to elevate our state of life, strive together to accomplish our human revolution, and build a happy and secure society that makes respect for life and human dignity its spiritual foundation.

My mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, described the spirit of human revolution to his young disciples as follows:

If you are a youth who is genuinely concerned for your country and wishes for the happiness of the people, then you yourself should first seek this lofty essence of human revolution [that of working for the happiness of all people based on faith in Nichiren Buddhism], battle and triumph over the three powerful enemies[1] as well as the three obstacles and four devils,[2] and continue exerting yourself bravely and vigorously.[3]

Change for a Better Society

Many of the youth striving alongside Mr. Toda at that time had only recently joined the Soka Gakkai. Some were battling illness, and many were struggling with economic hardship. But having encountered the Mystic Law and awakened to their mission for kosen-rufu while young, they were challenging themselves courageously to create a peaceful society based on the life-affirming philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism.

Mr. Toda taught these youth, to whom he would entrust the future, that kosen-rufu is an ongoing struggle against the devilish nature inherent in life. Our personal attainment of Buddhahood in this lifetime and the essence of human revolution, he explained, lie in battling the three obstacles and four devils, defeating the workings of fundamental ignorance[4] within our hearts and forging ahead bravely and vigorously. Our grassroots Buddhist movement seeks to help people awaken to the infinite potential and power they and others possess, become strong and wise, and work together as agents of change for human happiness and the betterment of society. He noted that the established authorities, however, are certain to see the emergence of this new force for good as a threat and try to undermine and destroy its solidarity. That’s why, he said, we must be ready for the inevitable onslaughts of the three powerful enemies.

Only by resolutely confronting and vanquishing the obstructive forces that inflict suffering on the people can we advance our movement to realize kosen-rufu and “establish the correct teaching for the peace of the land.”

From the day Nichiren Daishonin proclaimed his teaching [on April 28, 1253], he initiated a momentous struggle, holding high the banner of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the Law for the enlightenment of all people. He overcame storms of opposition and persecution to open the way for the eternal transmission of the Law.

The greatest trials he encountered in his lifetime were the Tatsunokuchi Persecution of September 12, 1271, and the subsequent Sado Exile.[5]

This year [2021] is the 750th anniversary of the Tatsunokuchi Persecution. Let us mark this occasion by taking a fresh look at the significance of Nichiren Daishonin’s “casting off the transient and revealing the true”[6]at that time.

The Daishonin fought tirelessly as the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law to enable all people to attain enlightenment. By examining his noble spirit, let’s consider what it means for the Soka Gakkai and for each of us to “cast off the transient and reveal the true” and use it as inspiration to deepen our resolve in faith.

Collusion Between Secular and Religious Authorities

On the twelfth day of the ninth month of last year [September 12, 1271], between the hours of the rat and the ox (11:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.), this person named Nichiren was beheaded [at Tatsunokuchi]. It is his soul that has come to this island of Sado and, in the second month of the following year [February 1272], snowbound, is writing this to send to his close disciples. [The description of the evil age in the “Encouraging Devotion” chapter seems] terrible, but [one who cares nothing about oneself for the sake of the Law has] nothing to be frightened about. Others reading it will be terrified. This scriptural passage is the bright mirror that Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and the Buddhas of the ten directions left for the future of Japan, and in which the present state of the country is reflected. It may also be regarded as a keepsake from me. (“The Opening of the Eyes,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 269)[7]

This passage from “The Opening of the Eyes” confirms that, at the time of the Tatsunokuchi Persecution, Nichiren Daishonin “cast off the transient and revealed the true.”

On September 10, 1271, the Daishonin was summoned to appear before Hei no Saemon-no-jo Yoritsuna[8] for questioning. Two days later, on the evening of September 12, Yoritsuna led a band of armed soldiers to his dwelling to arrest him.

As Nichiren later wrote, this was “not because of any secular crime” (“Letter From Sado,” WND-1, 303) on his part. Hostile priests, seeking to avoid facing him in religious debate, conspired with government officials to level false accusations against him and his followers, and as a result, he was unjustly arrested. Key among them were Ryokan,[9] the chief priest of Gokuraku-ji temple, whom the Daishonin had triumphed over in a contest to pray for rain,[10] and Nen’a Ryochu[11] and his cohorts, whose corrupt nature the Daishonin had exposed.

All of this accorded with the kind of persecution predicted in the Lotus Sutra, however. The Daishonin once again strongly remonstrated with Yoritsuna, pointing out that unless those in power put a stop to slander of the Law and upheld the correct teaching, the two disasters of internal strife and foreign invasion that he had warned would befall Japan in his treatise “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land” were certain to occur.

After arresting him, the authorities had apparently decided to exile the Daishonin to Sado Island, and he was detained that evening at the residence of Hojo Nobutoki, the constable of Sado.[12] But suddenly, in the middle of the night, he was taken to the beach at Tatsunokuchi on the outskirts of Kamakura. Certain officials of the military government who were deeply antagonistic to the Daishonin had secretly decided to execute him under cover of darkness.

Just as the executioner prepared to behead him, “a brilliant orb as bright as the moon burst forth” (“The Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra,” WND-1, 767) from the direction of the small nearby island of Enoshima, abruptly putting an end to the assassination attempt. This is the Tatsunokuchi Persecution.

A State of Limitless Freedom Brimming With Wisdom, Compassion and Courage

Why, though not actually executed, does Nichiren say in this passage, “This person named Nichiren was beheaded” (“The Opening of the Eyes,” WND-1, 269)? It is to express the profound significance of his “casting off the transient and revealing the true.”

As he indicates by the phrase “this person named Nichiren,” he is saying that the life of the ordinary individual known as Nichiren came to an end at Tatsunokuchi.

The Daishonin was taken from Tatsunokuchi to the residence of Homma Shigetsura [13] in Echi, Sagami Province (part of present-day Atsugi City, Kanagawa Prefecture), where he stayed for about a month until he was formally sentenced to exile on Sado. In a letter he composed while in Echi, he discussed the principle of “lessening karmic retribution”[14](see “Lessening One’s Karmic Retribution,” WND-1, 199).

Nichiren indicates that he was able to attain the Buddha’s supreme enlightenment through encountering persecution. This, he says, was just like Bodhisattva Never Disparaging[15] who attained the Buddha way “when his offenses had been wiped out” (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 312)—that is, when his karmic offenses from past lifetimes of slandering the correct teaching were finally eradicated through meeting with persecution for the sake of the Law (see WND-1, 199).

Nichiren showed through his example that an ordinary person of the Latter Day, born into an evil age and plagued by suffering, was able, “due to the blessings obtained by protecting the Law” (WND-1, 281), to lessen karmic retribution for slandering the Law in past lifetimes and eradicate those past offenses. He demonstrated it was possible to break free from the negative cycle of the three paths of earthly desires, karma and suffering.[16]

The Daishonin then says, “It is [Nichiren’s] soul that has come to this island of Sado” (WND-1, 269). “Soul,” here, refers to the originally inherent life state that can transform earthly desires, karma and suffering. In other words, it is the life state of the Thus Come One endowed with the three defining features of Buddhahood—namely, the Dharma body, the reward body and the manifested body.[17] It means being awakened to the Mystic Law—the ultimate truth pervading life and the universe—and having the courage to confront and overcome all hardships with supreme wisdom. It is also a state of complete freedom and infinite compassion for all life. The Daishonin awakened to and firmly established this unsurpassed state within his life just as he was—as an ordinary person.

By practicing as the Buddha taught, with selfless dedication, he revealed the state of Buddhahood that is originally inherent in the lives of all ordinary people in the Latter Day.

“The Opening of the Eyes” clearly captures Nichiren’s boundless life state as the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, who possesses the three virtues of sovereign, teacher, and parent and seeks to lead all people to enlightenment. This life state is the essence of Nichiren Daishonin’s “casting off the transient and revealing the true.”

All Inherently Possess the Life State of the Buddha of Time Without Beginning

In a well-known passage in “The Opening of the Eyes,” Nichiren writes:

Although I and my disciples may encounter various difficulties, if we do not harbor doubts in our hearts, we will as a matter of course attain Buddhahood. Do not have doubts simply because heaven does not lend you protection. Do not be discouraged because you do not enjoy an easy and secure existence in this life. (WND-1, 283)

“I and my disciples … will as a matter of course attain Buddhahood” means that the life state of the Buddha of time without beginning inherent within the Daishonin is also inherent within every one of us.

But as long as the delusion and suffering that cloud people’s lives control them, they will fail to perceive their inner Buddhahood.

That is why Nichiren tirelessly encouraged his disciples through his own example and behavior, through his guidance and instruction. He also wrote countless letters to them, engaging in dialogue through the written word, to inspire and support them in faith and practice so that they could reveal the same inner life state of Buddhahood he had. In essence, he taught his disciples that by summoning the heart of a lion king and persevering through all with unwavering faith, they could manifest the same vast life state of wisdom, courage and compassion as the Buddha.

From this, it is clear that the key for ordinary people to attain Buddhahood is to practice just as Nichiren teaches. In the concluding section of “The Opening of the Eyes,” he calls on us to engage in spreading the Mystic Law, a struggle to combat the destructive tendencies arising from fundamental ignorance, the ultimate cause of people’s suffering. We can see this as expressing his wish for us to follow his example and “cast off the transient and reveal the true” in our own lives.

A Reflection of the Present

We can read the second half of the passage we are studying from “The Opening of the Eyes” as the Daishonin’s instruction to recognize the essence of the three powerful enemies and fight resolutely against them.

It says that he is writing this work “in the second month of the following year [February 1272], snowbound, … to send to his close disciples” (WND-1, 269). He had begun composing “The Opening of the Eyes” soon after his arrival on Sado, and after completing it in February 1272, he entrusted it to Shijo Kingo to share with his closest disciples.

Next, he writes, “[The description of the evil age in the ‘Encouraging Devotion’ chapter seems] terrible, but [one who cares nothing about oneself for the sake of the Law has] nothing to be frightened about” (WND-1, 269). He ardently encourages his disciples, assuring them that though the three powerful enemies described in “Encouraging Devotion,” the 13th chapter of the Lotus Sutra, may seem intimidating, for practitioners of this sutra they are nothing to fear.

At the same time, his statement that “Others reading it will be terrified” (WND-1, 269) declares that those who are not prepared to live out their lives together with him as practitioners of the Lotus Sutra are certain to be frightened by this description in the “Encouraging Devotion” chapter.

The Daishonin, while acknowledging that the three powerful enemies—and, in particular, the third kind, arrogant false sages—can indeed be formidable, also expresses his powerful conviction that those who have steadfast faith as practitioners of the Lotus Sutra can triumph over them.

Ryokan, one of the key figures behind the Tatsunokuchi Persecution, was revered by many as a “living Buddha” (“Condolences on a Deceased Husband,” WND-2, 777). In reality, however, he was driven by greed and ambition, and conspired with the authorities to persecute the Daishonin, the votary of the Lotus Sutra. He was, therefore, the epitome of the most threatening of the three powerful enemies, arrogant false sages.

Nichiren’s efforts to propagate the Mystic Law were a battle against the three powerful enemies. Though he experienced countless persecutions—including the Matsubagayatsu Persecution,[18] the Izu Exile[19] and the Komatsubara Persecution[20]—he refused to retreat a single step as he continued to spread the correct teaching.

He also confidently and calmly triumphed over the greatest persecution of all, his near execution at Tatsunokuchi. Later, reflecting on the events of that time, he declared his victory, saying, “I survived even the Tatsunokuchi Persecution” (Gosho zenshu, p. 843).[21]

In “The Opening of the Eyes,” he writes, “This scriptural passage [from the ‘Encouraging Devotion’ chapter] is the bright mirror that Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and the Buddhas of the ten directions left for the future of Japan, and in which the present state of the country is reflected. It may also be regarded as a keepsake from me” (WND-1, 269).

This passage describes the serene and boundless state Nichiren had achieved by reading the “Encouraging Devotion” chapter with his life, triumphing over the devil king of the sixth heaven[22] and standing undefeated against the three powerful enemies.

A Buddha in Inner Enlightenment, a Bodhisattva in Outer Action

Having “cast off the transient and revealed the true,” Nichiren Daishonin continued to devote himself to fulfilling the great vow that surged forth ever more powerfully from his inherent life state of Buddhahood. This is the vow to enable all people to attain unshakable happiness. It is identical to the constant earnest wish of Shakyamuni—which Nichiren refers to as “the compassionate vow of the Buddha, who declared, ‘At all times I think to myself: [How can I cause living beings to gain entry into the unsurpassed way and quickly acquire the body of a Buddha]?’ [LSOC, 273]” (“Questions and Answers about Embracing the Lotus Sutra,” WND-1, 62). This wish is expressed in the concluding lines of the “Life Span” chapter’s verse section.

“Casting off the transient and revealing the true” does not mean becoming someone special, something beyond an ordinary human being. It means taking action as a bodhisattva in the real world, in society. This is the essence of the principle of the “mutual possession of the Ten Worlds”[23] taught in the Lotus Sutra.

In other words, the Daishonin’s inner life state was that of the eternal Buddha, the Buddha of time without beginning. But in his outward actions in the real world, he behaved as Bodhisattva Superior Practices, the leader of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth whom Shakyamuni charges with the mission of propagating the Lotus Sutra in the evil latter age after his passing.

The Bodhisattvas of the Earth are “[individuals] entrusted with the supreme Law” (“The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind,” WND-1, 372) and therefore are enlightened to the same Law as the Buddha of time without beginning. Nevertheless, they go out among the suffering people in this troubled saha world [24] to spread the Mystic Law as bodhisattvas, seeking to promote human happiness and build a secure and peaceful world. Nichiren exemplified this through his own behavior.

Also, though he faced the danger of violent assaults by powerful forces, none could succeed in taking his life. This affirmed for the Daishonin that the lofty, invincible state of Buddhahood inherent within him as an ordinary person of the nine worlds could not be destroyed. And the great vow he made when he established his teaching—the vow to lead all people to enlightenment he swore never to forsake—only grew stronger over time.

The depth of Nichiren’s compassion was such that he wished to help every person in the Latter Day “cast off the transient and reveal the true,” just as he had done.

In that sense, in terms of our Buddhist practice, to “cast off the transient and reveal the true” means to awaken the awareness that we are heirs to the Buddha’s eternal vow and begin our own dauntless efforts for people’s happiness. It starts with one person confidently setting forth on the same great path the Buddha vowed to walk. When such deeply committed individuals unite and launch a movement to “establish the correct teaching for the peace of the land,” they will build a Buddha realm, a realm of security and happiness for all. This is the true meaning of “casting off the transient and revealing the true” in Nichiren Buddhism.

Shijo Kingo’s Life of Shared Struggle With His Mentor

Over and over I recall the moment, unforgettable even now, when I was about to be beheaded and you accompanied me, holding the reins of my horse and weeping tears of grief. Nor could I ever forget it in any lifetime to come. If you should fall into hell for some grave offense, no matter how Shakyamuni Buddha might urge me to become a Buddha, I would refuse; I would rather go to hell with you. For if you and I should fall into hell together, we would find Shakyamuni Buddha and the Lotus Sutra there. It would be as if the moon were illuminating the darkness, as if cold water were pouring into hot, as if fire were melting ice, or as if the sun were dispelling the darkness. But if you depart from my advice even slightly, do not blame me for what may happen. (“The Three Kinds of Treasure,” WND-1, 850)[25]

This is a passage from “The Three Kinds of Treasure,” a letter in which Nichiren Daishonin stressed to his embattled disciple Shijo Kingo the importance of “the treasures of the heart” (WND-1, 851) and one’s “behavior as a human being” (WND-1, 852). Here, he reflects on their unbreakable bond as mentor and disciple evident during the Tatsunokuchi Persecution.

As many of you may know, as his captors led him on horseback to Tatsunokuchi, the Daishonin dispatched a messenger to Shijo Kingo, calling him to his side. He may well have wanted his disciple to witness his indomitable spirit in the face of this life-threatening persecution and thereby show him the selfless dedication of a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra.

Shijo Kingo, accompanied by his brothers, immediately dashed off to join the Daishonin, without taking time even to put on his shoes. He made his way to Tatsunokuchi with the Daishonin, fully prepared to die alongside him.

Just before the executioner raised his sword, Shijo Kingo, overcome with emotion, broke into tears, but the Daishonin said to him calmly: “You don’t understand! What greater joy could there be? [You should smile and rejoice!]” (“The Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra,” WND-1, 767). This was his proud, defiant cry in the face of imminent death. It was the roar of a lion king emanating from the towering life state of the Daishonin, who had dedicated his life to the great eternal vow for kosen-rufu.

Nichiren’s behavior as he “cast off the transient and revealed the true” during the Tatsunokuchi Persecution demonstrated his life state as the leading force in guiding people of this evil age to enlightenment, that is, as the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law. But I also believe that it constituted a ceremony between mentor and disciple in which the mentor shows the disciple how great a human being can be.

Nichiren no doubt sought to etch his life-and-death struggle for Buddhism in the mind of Shijo Kingo, one of his most trusted disciples, to ensure it would be passed on eternally into the future. That is why he says he will never forget how Shijo Kingo, who readily accepted this mission, accompanied him to Tatsunokuchi. He says that if for some reason Shijo Kingo should fall into hell, he himself would turn his back on becoming a Buddha and follow him there. This is how he praises his disciple, assuring him that he will attain enlightenment without fail.

The Noble Task of Elevating the Life State of Humanity

Seven centuries after Nichiren Daishonin’s death, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda, our first and second presidents, carried on the Daishonin’s selfless practice with this same profound bond of mentor and disciple based on the vow for kosen-rufu. I have also forged ahead wholeheartedly on this same path with the same spirit. And now an endless stream of members is following our lead on the great path of Soka, not only in Japan but in 192 countries and territories worldwide.

Through their dedicated efforts, our members strive to realize the Buddha’s intent, tap their Buddhahood to challenge and overcome difficulties, and work to create an ever-growing treasure land of hope and security, happiness and peace.

Today, members everywhere are engaged in the noble task of elevating the life state of humanity by bringing forth their “greater selves”—that is, their true power as Bodhisattvas of the Earth—and embracing their “greater mission”—the great vow to realize kosen-rufu and the ideal of “establishing the correct teaching for the peace of the land.”

This is proof that they are “casting off the transient and revealing the true” in their own lives, by living true to their vow and solidifying their unwavering resolve never to be defeated by any obstacle. And as more and more people do so, spreading ripples of unsurpassed joy that will inspire and motivate others to strive alongside us, so will our movement for worldwide kosen-rufu develop and grow.

The brilliant actual proof of our members’ human revolution attests to how the Soka Gakkai has carried on and revived in modern times the Daishonin’s faith and practice for leading all people to enlightenment.

The Greatness of Human Beings

As global society grapples with complex problems, now is the time for each of us to rise to the challenge of showing how truly great human beings can be in order to change the destiny of humankind.

Now, as we make our way to the Soka Gakkai’s centennial (in 2030), Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism of the Sun has begun to brightly illuminate the world. Let us renew our determination to dispel the darkness of the evil age of the Latter Day of the Law as we persevere with dignity and conviction.

Translated from the September 2021 Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.


  1. The three powerful enemies: Three types of arrogant people who persecute those who propagate the Lotus Sutra in the evil age after Shakyamuni Buddha’s death, described by the Great Teacher Miao-lo of China as arrogant lay people, arrogant priests and arrogant false sages. ↩︎
  2. Three obstacles and four devils: Various obstacles and hindrances to the practice of Buddhism. The three obstacles are 1) the obstacle of earthly desires, 2) the obstacle of karma and 3) the obstacle of retribution. The four devils are 1) the hindrance of the five components, 2) the hindrance of earthly desires, 3) the hindrance of death and 4) the hindrance of the devil king. ↩︎
  3. Translated from Japanese. Josei Toda, Toda Josei zenshu (The Collected Writings of Josei Toda), vol. 1 (Tokyo: Seikyo Shimbunsha, 1992), p. 267. ↩︎
  4. Fundamental ignorance: Also, fundamental darkness. The most deeply rooted illusion inherent in life said to give rise to all other illusions. ↩︎
  5. The Tatsunokuchi Persecution was an unlawful attempt to execute Nichiren Daishonin at Tatsunokuchi in Kamakura on September 12, 1271. Shortly thereafter, based on false charges, he was sentenced to exile on Sado Island. The exile lasted for two years and five months, from the end of October 1271 until his pardon in March 1274.[ref]The Tatsunokuchi Persecution was an unlawful attempt to execute Nichiren Daishonin at Tatsunokuchi in Kamakura on September 12, 1271. Shortly thereafter, based on false charges, he was sentenced to exile on Sado Island. The exile lasted for two years and five months, from the end of October 1271 until his pardon in March 1274. ↩︎
  6. Casting off the transient and revealing the true: The revealing of a Buddha’s true status, and the setting aside of that Buddha’s provisional or transient status. In terms of Nichiren’s life, it refers to his revelation at the Tatsunokuchi Persecution, during which he casts off his transient status as an ordinary, unenlightened person burdened with karma and suffering and, while remaining an ordinary human being, reveals his original, true identity as a Buddha possessing infinite wisdom, compassion and courage. ↩︎
  7. Nichiren completed “The Opening of the Eyes” at Tsukahara on Sado Island in February 1272 and addressed it to all his disciples. ↩︎
  8. Hei no Saemon-no-jo Yoritsuna (d. 1293): A leading official in the Hojo regency, the de facto ruling body of Japan during the Kamakura period. He wielded tremendous influence as deputy chief of the Office of Military and Police Affairs (the chief being the regent himself). ↩︎
  9. Ryokan (1217–1303): Also known as Ninsho. A priest of the True Word Precepts school in Japan. With the patronage of the Hojo clan, Ryokan became chief priest of Gokuraku-ji temple in Kamakura. He actively conspired with the authorities to have the Daishonin and his followers persecuted. ↩︎
  10. In response to a prolonged drought, the government in 1271 ordered Ryokan to pray for rain. Learning of this, Nichiren made a proposal to Ryokan: If Ryokan should succeed in producing rain within seven days, the Daishonin would become his disciple; but if he failed to do so, then Ryokan should place his faith in the Lotus Sutra. When his prayers failed to produce any rain even after a seven-day extension, he clearly lost the challenge. Rather than honestly acknowledge defeat, however, he grew even more hostile toward Nichiren, bringing accusations against him by filing a complaint with the government in the name of the Nembutsu priest Gyobin. ↩︎
  11. Nen’a Ryochu (1199–1287): Also known as Nen’amidabutsu Ryochu. A Pure Land (Nembutsu) priest and leader of the Nembutsu followers in Kamakura during Nichiren’s day. In “The Opening of the Eyes,” the Daishonin designates Nen’a as one of the arrogant false sages—namely, the third kind of the three powerful enemies. ↩︎
  12. Hojo Nobutoki (1237–1323): Known as the lord of Musashi, he was a powerful figure in the Kamakura government. At the time of the Tatsunokuchi Persecution, he was the governor of Musashi Province and the constable of Sado Island. During the Daishonin’s exile there, Nobutoki issued fabricated government orders directing repressive measures against him and his followers. ↩︎
  13. Homma Shigetsura (n.d.): Also, Homma Rokurozaemon-no-jo Shigetsura, served as a retainer of Hojo Nobutoki. While also possessing a fief and residence at Echi in Sagami Province, Homma was the deputy constable of Sado. ↩︎
  14. Lessening karmic retribution: This term literally means “transforming the heavy and receiving it lightly.” “Heavy” indicates negative karma accumulated over countless lifetimes in the past. As a benefit of protecting the correct teaching of Buddhism, we can experience relatively light karmic retribution in this lifetime, thereby expiating heavy karma that ordinarily would adversely affect us not only in this lifetime, but over many lifetimes to come. ↩︎
  15. Bodhisattva Never Disparaging appears in the 20th chapter of the Lotus Sutra. This bodhisattva—Shakyamuni in a previous lifetime—would bow to everyone he met and say: “I have profound reverence for you, I would never dare treat you with disparagement or arrogance. Why? Because you will all practice the bodhisattva way and will then be able to attain Buddhahood” (LSOC, 308). He did so despite being attacked by arrogant monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen. This practice became the cause for him to attain Buddhahood. ↩︎
  16. The three paths of earthly desires, karma and suffering are called “paths” because one leads to the other. Earthly desires (including greed, anger, foolishness, arrogance and doubt) give rise to actions that create evil karma. The effect of this evil karma then manifests itself as suffering. Suffering aggravates earthly desires, leading to further misguided action, which in turn brings on more evil karma and suffering. In this way, the three paths function to prevent a person from attaining Buddhahood. ↩︎
  17. The Buddha possesses three bodies. The Dharma body is the fundamental truth, or Law, to which a Buddha is enlightened. The reward body is the wisdom to perceive the Law. And the manifested body is the compassionate actions the Buddha carries out to lead people to happiness. ↩︎
  18.  Matsubagayatsu Persecution: An attempt on Nichiren Daishonin’s life by Nembutsu followers and others at his dwelling at Matsubagayatsu in Kamakura in 1260. ↩︎
  19. Izu Exile: A persecution in which the Daishonin was exiled to Ito in Izu Province (part of present-day Shizuoka Prefecture), from May 1261 through February 1263. ↩︎
  20. Komatsubara Persecution: An ambush in 1264 on the Daishonin and some of his disciples at Matsubara in Tojo Village. He suffered a sword cut to his forehead and broken hand, and one of his disciples was killed while another later died of injuries sustained. ↩︎
  21. “Oko kikigaki” (The Recorded Lectures); not included in WND, vols. 1 or 2. ↩︎
  22. Devil king of the sixth heaven: Also, devil king or heavenly devil. The king of devils, who dwells in the highest or the sixth heaven of the world of desire. He is also named the heavenly devil Freely Enjoying Things Conjured by Others, one who makes free use of the fruits of others’ efforts for his own pleasure. The devil king is a personification of the negative tendency to force others to one’s will at any cost. ↩︎
  23. Mutual possession of the Ten Worlds: The principle that each of the Ten Worlds possesses the potential for all 10 within itself. “Mutual possession” means that life is not fixed in one or another of the Ten Worlds, but can manifest any of the 10—from hell to Buddhahood—at any given moment. This means that every person has the potential to manifest Buddhahood, while a Buddha also possesses the nine worlds and, in this sense, is not separate or different from ordinary people. ↩︎
  24. Saha world: This world, which is full of suffering. Often translated as the world of endurance. ↩︎
  25. This letter, dated September 11, 1277, was written to Shijo Kingo, teaching him the key to victory in life. ↩︎

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