R eply to the lay priest Toki. Nichiren
I HAVE received the unlined robe you sent me through the offices of Saemon.1 Please inform all those who sent me various offerings that I have received everything he listed. I also wish to acknowledge receipt of the various offerings from the lay priest Ota shown on the list you made. I have written the other part of the teaching I will discuss here in my letter to Saemon. I hope you will ask him to show it to you.
Your letter says that the epidemics are raging all the more fiercely. The illnesses of human beings may be divided into two general categories, the first of which is illness of the body. Physical diseases comprise one hundred and one disorders of the earth element, one hundred and one imbalances of the water element, one hundred and one disturbances of the fire element, and one hundred and one disharmonies of the wind element,2 a total of four hundred and four maladies. These illnesses do not require a Buddha to cure them. Skilled physicians such as Water Holder and Water Carrier,3 Jivaka, and Pien Chüeh4 prescribed medicines that never failed to heal physical sickness.
The second category is illness of the mind. These illnesses arise from the
three poisons and are of eighty-four thousand kinds. They are beyond the healing powers of the two deities5 and the three ascetics [of Brahmanism] or the six non-Buddhist teachers. Medicines prescribed by Shen Nung and Huang Ti6 are even less effective.
Illnesses of the mind differ greatly in severity. The eighty-four thousand kinds of illnesses of the mind that arise from the three poisons and that afflict ordinary people of the six paths can be treated by the Buddha of Hinayana and his teachings in the Agama sutras, or by the scholars and teachers of the Dharma Analysis Treasury, Establishment of Truth, and Precepts schools. However, if these Hinayana practitioners, in following their teachings, should turn against the Mahayana, or, even though they may not oppose Mahayana Buddhism, if the Hinayana countries think themselves equal to the Mahayana countries, the people will be plagued by sickness. If one attempts to cure such illnesses with Hinayana Buddhism, they will only become worse. They can be treated only by the votaries of the Mahayana sutras. Even within the Mahayana, if adherents of the Flower Garland, Profound Secrets, Wisdom, Mahavairochana, and other provisional Mahayana sutras confuse the inferior with the superior, and insist that the teachings of their schools are equal to