first began to intone Myoho-renge-kyo, the daimoku of the sutra. However, the people of faraway countries such as China and Japan were unable to hear of it at that time. It was over a thousand years before China heard so much as the name of the sutra, and another three hundred and fifty or more years before it was heard in Japan.
Thus, encountering this sutra is as rare as the blossoming of the udumbara flower, which occurs but once in three thousand years, or the one-eyed turtle finding a floating piece of sandalwood, which happens only once in innumerable, boundless kalpas.
Suppose one were to place a needle in the earth point up and throw down tiny mustard seeds at it from the palace of the great king Brahma in the heavens. One could sooner impale a mustard seed on the point of a needle in this way than encounter the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra. Or suppose one were to place a needle upright on top of the Mount Sumeru in one world and then, standing atop the Mount Sumeru of another world on a very windy day, were to try to cast a thread so that it reached the other mountain and passed through the eye of the needle. One could sooner thread a needle in this way than encounter the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra.
Therefore, when you chant the daimoku of this sutra, you should be aware that it is a more joyful thing than for one who was born blind to gain sight and see ones father and mother, and a rarer thing than for a man who has been seized by a powerful enemy to be released and reunited with his wife and children.
Question: What passages of proof can be cited to show that one should chant only the daimoku?
Answer: The eighth volume of the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law states that one who accepts and upholds the mere name of the Lotus Sutra
will enjoy immeasurable good fortune. The Lotus Sutra of the Correct Law says that, if one hears this sutra and proclaims and embraces its title, one will enjoy merit beyond measure. And the Supplemented Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law says that one who accepts and upholds the name of the Lotus Sutra will enjoy immeasurable good fortune. These statements indicate that the good fortune one receives from simply chanting the daimoku is beyond measure.
To accept, uphold, read, recite, take delight in, and protect all the eight volumes and twenty-eight chapters of the Lotus Sutra is called the comprehensive practice. To accept, uphold, and protect the Expedient Means chapter and the Life Span chapter is called the abbreviated practice. And simply to chant one four-phrase verse or the daimoku, and to protect those who do so, is called the essential practice. Hence, among these three kinds of practice, comprehensive, abbreviated, and essential, the daimoku is defined as the essential practice.
Question: How great are the blessings contained within the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo?
Answer: The great ocean contains all the numerous rivers that flow into it, the great earth contains all sentient and insentient beings, the wish-granting jewel is capable of showering down innumerable treasures, and the heavenly king Brahma rules over all the three- fold world. The five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo are comparable to these. All beings of the nine worlds, as well as those in the world of Buddhahood, are contained within them. And since all beings of the Ten Worlds are contained within them, so are their environments.
Let us first examine the fact that the five characters, Myoho-renge-kyo, contain within them all teachings. The single character kyo, or sutra, is the king