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Gosho Study

Win With the Lion’s Roar of Daimoku

Photo by Rob Hendry.

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is like the roar of a lion. What sickness can therefore be an obstacle?

“Reply to Kyo’o,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 412

Sometimes illness may strike us, or some unexpected hardship may throw our lives into disarray. When those times come, let us be prepared, remembering Nichiren Daishonin’s declaration: “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is like the roar of a lion.”

This is a well-known passage from “Reply to Kyo’o,” a letter written in 1273 that Nichiren addressed to the ailing Kyo’o, an infant daughter of a couple who followed his teachings in Kamakura. Traditionally, Kyo’o was thought to be the daughter of Shijo Kingo and Nichigen-nyo. However, recent research cannot find evidence to support this point. 

In the letter, the Daishonin reassures Kyo’o’s parents that she will surely return to health—if they believe firmly in and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon. 

Two years before writing this letter, Nichiren endured the Tatsunokuchi Persecution and subsequent exile to Sado Island.[1] It was after the Tatsunokuchi Persecution that he began to inscribe the Gohonzon, the crystallization of his lionlike life state, and bestow it on his followers. 

In “Reply to Kyo’o,” the Daishonin says he poured his entire life into inscribing the Gohonzon for Kyo’o and her parents. He emphasizes that the key to her recovery is their faith in and prayer to the Gohonzon. 

“Kyo’o’s misfortune will change into fortune,” he writes. “Muster your faith, and pray to this Gohonzon. Then what is there that cannot be achieved?”

As we or our loved ones challenge illness and other daunting problems, let’s take to heart Nichiren’s timeless guidance, chant to the Gohonzon and summon forth the life force to win with the lion’s roar of our daimoku.

—Prepared by the SGI-USA Study Department

Ikeda Sensei’s Encouragement

1. ‘The Lion’s Roar of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo Is Invincible’

No one can avoid battling illness at some point in life. However, the lion’s roar of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is invincible. The supreme power of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo enables us to bring forth the boundless life force of the lion king from within us. No illness can ever destroy the happiness of a dedicated champion of kosen-rufu.

I hope, therefore, that you will chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with courage and fierce determination, positively transform your situation in accord with the principle of “changing poison into medicine,” and resolutely triumph over all. I am always chanting fervently that the protective functions of the universe will thoroughly protect my beloved fellow members everywhere. (July 20, 2012, World Tribune, p. 3)

2. How to Establish a State of Genuine Health

If you exert yourself wholeheartedly in faith, your life will be filled with hope, supreme happiness and fulfillment even if you have a chronic illness. … Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is a lion’s roar. A lion’s roar will send even the fiercest of animals running. In the same way, when faced with the chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, no ailment can be an obstacle to one’s happiness or to kosen-rufu.

People in modern society have been described as being only half healthy, meaning that we are all afflicted with some kind of illness and that our physical health will decline as we age. But is sickness necessarily the cause of unhappiness? Absolutely not. It is being defeated by illness and losing hope that make us unhappy. We become unhappy when we forget our mission to strive for kosen-rufu.

There are many people with perfectly healthy bodies who are unhappy because they are ailing spiritually. On the other hand, there are many Soka Gakkai members who, while struggling with illness or disability, are not only genuinely happy themselves but also work for the happiness of others.

At life’s most fundamental level, health and sickness are one. There are times when our life manifests a healthy condition and times when it manifests illness. The two conditions are interconnected. Thus, by making earnest efforts in faith and fighting against illness, we can establish a state of genuine health both mentally and physically. (The New Human Revolution, vol. 10, revised edition, pp. 235–36)

Feb. 17, 2023, World Tribune, p.9


  1. Tatsunokuchi Persecution and Sado Exile: On Sept. 12, 1271, Nichiren Daishonin was arrested and taken to Tatsunokuchi, on the outskirts of Kamakura, to be executed under cover of darkness. The execution attempt failed. During this event, Nichiren cast off the transient and revealed the true—while remaining an ordinary human being, he revealed his true identity as a Buddha of infinite wisdom and compassion. After deliberating his sentence for about a month, the authorities exiled him to Sado Island, which was tantamount to a death sentence. However, when his predictions of internal strife and foreign invasion came true, the government issued a pardon in March 1274, and he returned to Kamakura. ↩︎

What’s Next? March Youth General Meetings

Nichiren Daishonin’s Life and Legacy