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The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin

The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin - Page 932

THE SUTRA OF TRUE REQUITAL

control of eight provinces in the Kanto region, or like Sadato, who during the Tengi era (1053–1058) took possession of the region of Oshu. Because these men caused a division between the people of their region and the sovereign, they were declared enemies of the imperial court and in the end were destroyed. Their plots and rebellions were worse than the five cardinal sins.

Buddhism in Japan today is exactly like this. It is merely plots and rebellions in a different form. The Lotus Sutra represents the supreme ruler, while the True Word school, Pure Land school, Zen school, and the Precepts priests, by upholding such minor sutras as the Mahavairochana Sutra and the Meditation on the Buddha Infinite Life Sutra, have become the deadly enemies of the Lotus Sutra. And yet women throughout Japan, unaware of the ignorance of their own minds, think that Nichiren, who can save them, is their foe, and mistake the Nembutsu, Zen, Precepts, and True Word priests, who are in fact deadly enemies, for good friends and teachers. And because they look upon Nichiren, who is trying to save them, as a deadly enemy, these women all join together to slander him to the ruler of the country, so that, after having been exiled to the province of Izu, he was also exiled to the province of Sado.

Here I, Nichiren, made a vow and declared: “There is absolutely no fault on my part. And even if I should be mistaken, the fact remains that I have made a vow to save all the women in Japan, and that sincerity cannot be ignored— especially since what I am saying is in complete accord with the Lotus Sutra.

“If the women of Japan do not choose to put faith in me, then they should let the matter rest there. On the contrary, however, they set about having me attacked. But am I in error?

“How will Shakyamuni, Many Trea

sures, the Buddhas of the ten directions, the bodhisattvas, the people of the two vehicles, Brahma, Shakra, and the four heavenly kings deal with this? If I am in error, show me how! In particular, the gods of the sun and moon are right before me. And since, in addition to listening to the words of Shakyamuni Buddha, you also vowed to punish those who persecute the votary of the Lotus Sutra, saying, ‘Their heads will split into seven pieces,’8 what then do you intend to do?” Because Nichiren strongly called them to task in this manner, the heavenly gods have inflicted punishment on this land, and these epidemics have appeared.

By rights the heavenly gods should command another nation to punish our country, but too many people on both sides would perish. Thus, the design of the heavenly gods is to avoid a general conflict and instead to first destroy the people [in this epidemic]— which is in effect cutting off the ruler’s hands and feet— thereby compelling the ruler and high ministers of this nation [to honor the Lotus Sutra]. In this way they intend to wipe out the enemies of the Lotus Sutra and make way for the propagation of the correct teaching.

Nevertheless, when I was exiled to the province of Sado, the constable of the province and the other officials, following the design of the ruler of the nation, treated me with animosity. And the people went along with those orders. In addition, the Nembutsu, Zen, Precepts, and True Word priests in Kamakura sent word that by no means should I be allowed to return from the island of Sado, and Ryokan of Gokurakuji and others persuaded the former governor of the province of Musashi9 to issue his own letters of instruction, which were carried to Sado by Ryokan’s disciples, ordering that I be persecuted. Thus it seemed that I could not possibly escape with my life. Whatever the design of the heavenly gods in the