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Gosho Study

To ‘Admire the Moon Over the Capital’

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Be diligent in developing your faith until the last moment of your life. Otherwise you will have regrets. For example, the journey from Kamakura to Kyoto takes twelve days. If you travel for eleven but stop with only one day remaining, how can you admire the moon over the capital?

—“Letter to Niike,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 1027

It’s challenging to keep up the long fight to realize all our dreams and goals. 

Practicing faith in Nichiren Buddhism is no different. Nichiren Daishonin understood people’s tendency to become less passionate and motivated over time. He warmly and continuously urged his disciples to keep making efforts in faith to develop their lives.

In this letter, he encourages Niike Saemon-no-jo, a devout disciple who, as an official in the Kamakura government, faced pressure to discard his faith. Nichiren reminds him to carry through with his faith until the very end. 

It’s not easy to persevere, especially when difficulties intensify or there seems to be little prospect for success. So Nichiren tells Niike to seek out good friends who can help him continue his “journey of faith” (WND-1, 1027)—a great tip for us today too. 

While he praises Niike’s “frequent offerings,” he also counsels him not to rest on his laurels, writing, “Strive even harder in faith, and never give in to negligence” (WND-1, 1027). Sometimes success causes us to slack off and stop giving our all. A lax attitude or behavior can lead to undoing something we’ve dedicated considerable time and effort to create. 

We may stumble along our journey. But as long as we remain earnest in our Buddhist practice, we will “admire the moon over the capital.” We will achieve our goals and savor the riches of Buddhahood—good fortune, wisdom, fulfillment and joy—throughout our lives. 

—Prepared by the SGI-USA Study Department

Ikeda Sensei’s Encouragement

1. Make Steady Efforts Each Day

Achieving [an invincible fighting spirit] … doesn’t require any special or unusual form of practice. 

As Nichiren Daishonin states in The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, “Morning after morning we rise up with the Buddha, evening after evening we lie down with the Buddha” (p. 83).

All we need to do is keep pressing ahead in our faith day after day, steadily and patiently, with confidence and good cheer. In this way, we will experience gratitude and the joy of faith amid our seemingly ordinary lives. …

As long as we continue chanting to the Gohonzon each day and practicing alongside our mentor and our fellow members, we will have no cause for anxiety or fear. We will reside in a realm of complete security and peace of mind.

The purpose of our Buddhist practice is to attain indestructible happiness, no matter what. (January 2020 Living Buddhism, p. 56)

2. ‘Strengthen Your Faith Day by Day and Month After Month’

Though having had the great good fortune to embrace Nichiren Buddhism, if we stop practicing before we reach the end of our life, we won’t be able to attain the ultimate summit of Buddhahood. Since the flame of Buddhist practice is easily extinguished, Nichiren Daishonin urges us to remain diligent in developing our faith. 

Why is the flame of faith easily extinguished? Because people allow themselves to be defeated by the desire for fame and fortune or by onslaughts of the three obstacles and four devils.[1] Nichiren says: “Strengthen your faith day by day and month after month. Should you slacken in your resolve even a bit, devils will take advantage” (“On Persecutions Befalling the Sage,” WND-1, 997). A slackening or wavering in our resolve or faith triggers our fundamental darkness, our negativity. To maintain faith throughout our lives, therefore, rests on our resolve to keep on striving in our Buddhist practice. (The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life: SGI President Ikeda’s Study Lecture Series, p. 65)

3. Facing Adversity? Chant, Share Buddhism, Take Action 

You’re certain to face all sorts of challenges in society. There may even be times when you reach such an impasse that you feel that your life is ruined. But whatever happens, never abandon your Buddhist faith and practice. In times of the greatest adversity, you need to pray your hardest. You need to share this Buddhism with others and strive with all your might for kosen-rufu. Such times are golden opportunities to transform your karma. (The New Human Revolution, vol. 22, revised edition, p. 230)

This concludes The series “Go-To Gosho Passages.” 

August 4, 2023, World Tribune, p. 9


  1. 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 earthly desires, 2) the hindrance of the five components, 3) the hindrance of death and 4) the hindrance of the devil king. ↩︎

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