一 生 成 仏 抄 十 章 抄 IF you wish to free yourself from the sufferings of birth and death you have endured since time without beginning and to attain without fail unsurpassed enlightenment in this lifetime, you must perceive the mystic truth that is originally inherent in all living beings. This truth is Myoho-renge-kyo. Chanting Myoho-renge-kyo will therefore enable you to grasp the mystic truth innate in all life. The true perfect teaching practice is to keep the mouth constantly reciting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, whatever the occasion, and to keep the mind fixed on the meditation on the three thousand realms in a single moment of life. This is the practice and understanding of persons of wisdom. Thus the Lotus Sutra CHAPTER 7 says, Having taken his seat, ten small kalpas pass. Or, as the Lotus Sutra CHAPTER 2 says, “[The reason . . . was that] the time to preach so had not yet come.”As the sutra says, “Now is the very time when I must decisively preach the great vehicle.”“Do not preach this sutra to persons who are without wisdom.
The lotus sutra chapter 10 says, It must not be distributed or recklessly transmitted to others. Lotus sutra chapter twenty ‘Bodhisattva Never Disparaging” ‘I have profound reverence for you” ‘This ignorant monk.’ “Some among the group would take sticks of wood or tiles and stones and beat and pelt him. Encouraging Devotion chapter 14 it says, “There will be many ignorant people who will curse and speak ill of us and will attack us with swords and staves.” “T’ien-t’ai says, “The method chosen should be that which accords with the time.”“You should let your choices be fitting and never adhere solely to one or the other.”he seventh volume of the Lotus Sutra says, “After I have passed into extinction, in the last five-hundred-year period you must spread it abroad widely throughout Jambudvīpa and never allow it to be cut off.” the sixth volume states, “In the evil age of the Latter Day of the Law if there is someone who can uphold this sutra . . .” The fifth volume states, “In the latter age hereafter, when the Law is about to perish . . .”30 The fourth volume states, “Since hatred and jealousy toward this sutra abound even when the Thus Come One is in the world, how much more will this be so after his passing?”31 The fifth volume says, “It will face much hostility in the world and be difficult to believe.” And the seventh volume, speaking of the fifth five-hundred-year period, which is the age of quarrels and disputes, says that evil devils, the devils’ people, heavenly beings, dragons, yakshas, and kumbhānda demons will seize the advantage. The fifth volume of the Lotus Sutra similarly says, “In that evil age there will be monks,” “Or there will be forest-dwelling monks,” and “Evil demons will take possession of others.”
Lotus chapter 21: ““Hail, Shakyamuni Buddha! Hail, Shakyamuni Buddha! Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!”” The Great Teacher Dengyō declares: “The Former and Middle Days are almost over, and the Latter Day is near at hand. Now indeed is the time when the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra will prove how perfectly it fits the capacities of all people. How do we know this is true? Because the ‘Peaceful Practices’ chapter of the Lotus Sutra states, ‘In the latter age hereafter, when the Law is about to perish, [accept and embrace the Lotus Sutra]. The sutra says, ‘Since hatred and jealousy toward this sutra abound even when the Thus Come One is in the world, how much more will this be so after his passing?’ There is good reason for this statement. A person who spreads the Lotus Sutra is father and mother to all the living beings in Japan. For, as the Great Teacher Chang-an says, “One who rids the offender of evil is acting as his parent. From this situation one should understand that I am in fact the votary of the Lotus Sutra. Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, stated that, if anyone should abuse or curse someone who is spreading the Lotus Sutra in the evil world of the latter age, that person would be guilty of an offense that is a hundred, thousand, ten thousand, million times greater than if he had been an enemy of the Buddha for the space of an entire kalpa. And yet nowadays the ruler and the people of Japan, following their personal whims, seem to hate me even more intensely than they would an enemy of their own parents or one who had been a foe from their previous lifetime, or upbraid me even more severely than they would a traitor or a murderer. I wonder that the earth does not open up and swallow them alive, or that thunder does not come down from heaven and tear them apart! Or am I perhaps not the votary of the Lotus Sutra after all? If not, then I am wretched indeed! What a miserable fate, in this present life to be hounded by everyone and never know so much as a moment of peace, and in the next life to fall into the evil paths of existence! If in fact I am not the votary of the Lotus Sutra, then who will uphold the one vehicle, the teaching of the Lotus Sutra? The Lotus Sutra speaks of a person who “can uphold this sutra”66 or who “can preach this sutra.” What does it mean when it speaks of someone who “can preach” this sutra? Does it not mean someone who will proclaim, in the words of the Lotus Sutra itself, that “among the sutras, it holds the highest place. The fact that the Lotus Sutra enables one to attain Buddhahood in one’s present form, a fact well attested by both scriptural passages and actual events.Actual events refers to events mentioned in the Lotus Sutra. For example, in chapter 3, the Buddha predicted that Shāriputra would in the future attain enlightenment as a Buddha called Flower Glow. Chapter depicts the attainment of Buddhahood by the dragon king’s daughter and predicts the future enlightenment of an evil person, Devadatta. Whatever you may say, the time of the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai corresponds to the period described in the Great Collection Sutra as the age of reading, reciting, and listening. The time had not yet come for broadly proclaiming and propagating the Lotus Sutra.‘If you were to seize Mount Sumeru and fling it far off to the measureless Buddha lands, that too would not be difficult…. But if after the Buddha has entered extinction, in the time of evil, you can preach this sutra, that will be difficult indeed!’I pronounce the word “Buddha” before he died. And soon the eminent priests of Japan will no doubt be trying to cry out, “Namu Nichiren Shōnin (Devotion to the Sage Nichiren)!” But most likely they will only have time enough to utter the one word, “Namu!” How pitiful, how pitiful!
In the secular texts it says, “A sage is one who fully understands those things that have not yet made their appearance.” And in the Buddhist texts it says, “A sage is one who knows the three existences of life—past, present, and future. Three times now I have gained distinction by having such knowledge. All I have done is try to repay the debt I owe to the country of my birth by endeavoring to save it from disaster. That my advice was not heeded was certainly a cause of great regret to me. Not only was it not heeded, but I was summoned before the authorities, and the scroll of the fifth volume of the Lotus Sutra was snatched from the breast of my robe and I was harshly beaten with it.156 In the end, I was arrested and paraded through the streets of the city. At that time, I called out: “You gods of the sun and moon up in the sky, here is Nichiren meeting with this great persecution.
If you are not ready to risk your lives to aid me, does this mean, then, that I am not the votary of the Lotus Sutra? If that is so, then I should correct my mistaken belief at once. If, on the other hand, Nichiren is the votary of the Lotus Sutra, then you should send some sign of that fact to this country at once! If you do not do so, then you, the gods of the sun and moon and all the other deities, will be no more than great liars who have deceived Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and the Buddhas of the ten directions. Devadatta was guilty of falsehood and deception and Kokālika was a great liar, but you deities are guilty of telling lies that are a hundred, thousand, ten thousand, million times greater!”
I had no sooner uttered these words than the nation was suddenly faced with internal revolt. Since the country has fallen into grave disorder, then, although I may be a mere common mortal of no social standing, so long as I uphold the Lotus Sutra, I deserve to be called the foremost Great Man in all Japan at this time. The Tendai Lotus school is superior to the other schools because of the sutra that it is founded on. Therefore, in declaring its superiority, it is not simply praising itself and disparaging others.” The seventh volume of the Lotus Sutra states, “Just as among all the mountains, Mount Sumeru is foremost, so this Lotus Sutra is likewise. Among all the sutras, it holds the highest place. But the votaries of the Lotus Sutra should now keep the following in mind. The Lotus Sutra says that, just as among all the rivers, streams, and other bodies of water, for example, the ocean is foremost, so a person who upholds the Lotus Sutra is likewise.
We care nothing for our bodies or lives but are anxious only for the unsurpassed way. Never Disparaging or the Scholar Bhadraruchi and continues to assert the superiority of the Lotus Sutra, he will almost certainly lose his life. To practice with such resolve in the face of this threat is the most important thing of all. Now I, Nichiren, am confronting just such a situation. Though I am a humble man, I have proclaimed that the great teachers Kōbō and Jikaku, the Tripitaka masters Shan-wu-wei, Chin-kang-chih, and Pu-k’ung, and others of their kind are potent enemies of the Lotus Sutra, and that, if the words of the sutra are to be trusted, they have without doubt fallen into the hell of incessant suffering. To proclaim such a thing as this is a very grave step. It would be easier to walk naked into a raging fire, easier to take up Mount Sumeru in one’s hands and toss it away, easier to hoist a great stone on one’s back and walk across the ocean, than to do what I have done. To establish the correct teaching in this country of Japan is indeed a difficult thing.
If Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, of the pure land of Eagle Peak, Many Treasures Buddha of the World of Treasure Purity, the Buddhas of the ten directions who are Shakyamuni’s emanations, the bodhisattvas as numerous as the dust particles of a thousand worlds who sprang up out of the earth, Brahmā and Shakra, the gods of the sun and moon, and the four heavenly kings do not, conspicuously or inconspicuously, give me their protection and lend me aid, then they will never know a single day or a single hour of peace and safety!