their actions fail to reflect their words. For example, countless people study the non-Buddhist works known as the Three Records and the Five Canons, but not even one case in ten million is found where a person governs society and behaves as the texts teach. Thus it is very difficult to establish peace in society. One may be letter-perfect in reciting the Lotus Sutra, but it is far more difficult to act as it teaches. The Simile and Parable chapter states, If this person . . . on seeing those who read, recite, copy, and uphold this sutra, should despise, hate, envy, or bear grudges against them . . . The Teacher of the Law chapter reads, 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? The Encouraging Devotion chapter reads, Many ignorant people will attack us with swords and staves . . . again and again we will be banished. The Peaceful Practices chapter states, It [the Lotus Sutra] will face much hostility in the world and be difficult to believe. Although these quotations from the sutra are the Buddhas prophecies, there is no reference to when these persecutions will occur. In the past, Bodhisattva Never Disparaging and the monk Realization of Virtue
read and lived these passages. But setting aside the two thousand years of the Former and Middle Days of the Law, now, in the Latter Day, in all Japan only Nichiren seems to be doing so. From the present situation, I can well imagine how followers, relatives, disciples, and lay supporters must have grieved in the past when during the reigns of evil kings so many of their sage monks met persecution.
Nichiren has now read [and lived] the entirety of the Lotus Sutra.5 Even a single phrase or verse assures ones enlightenment; since I have read the entire sutra, how much more certain is my enlightenment. I am more confident than ever. Though I may sound presumptuous, my most fervent wish is to realize the security and peace of the entire land. In an age when none will heed me, however, it is beyond my power. I will close now to keep this brief.
The fifth day of the tenth month in the eighth year of Bunei (1271), cyclical sign kanoto-hitsuji
Reply to Ota Saemon-no-joLay priest Soya Dharma Bridge Kimbara
Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter on the fifth day of the tenth month, , only three weeks after he was nearly executed at Tatsunokuchi. It was sent to three of his leading disciples: Ota Saemon, a government official, the lay priest Soya Kyoshin, and the Dharma Bridge Kimbara. One of them may have visited the Daishonin while he was being held in detention for exile at
the residence of Homma, deputy constable of Sado Island, in Echi. Records indicate that the three disciples lived in Shimosa Province, to the northeast of Kamakura; this letter may well have been an expression of gratitude for the visit and for their concern for the Daishonins safety.
Following the failure to behead the Daishonin, the government had diffi