ing that not just one or two, not just one hundred or two hundred, but as many as a thousand Buddhas will come to greet us with open arms!
Concerning one who disbelieves the Lotus Sutra, because the sutra states, When his life comes to an end he will enter the Avichi hell,6 the wardens of hell will surely come for one and take one away by the hands. How pitiful! The ten kings7 of the world of the dead will then pass judgment, and the heavenly messengers8 who have been with one since birth will berate one for ones evil deeds.
Think of those thousand Buddhas extending their hands to all of Nichirens disciples and lay supporters who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as melons or moonflowers extending their slender vines. My followers are now able to accept and uphold the Lotus Sutra because of the strong ties they formed with it in their past existences. They are certain to obtain the fruit of Buddhahood in the future. The heritage of the Lotus Sutra flows within the lives of those who never forsake it in any lifetime whatsoeverwhether in the past, the present, or the future. But those who disbelieve and slander the Lotus Sutra will immediately destroy all the seeds for becoming a Buddha in this world.9 Because they cut themselves off from the potential to attain enlightenment, they do not share the heritage of the ultimate Law of life and death.
All disciples and lay supporters of Nichiren should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the spirit of many in body but one in mind, transcending all differences among themselves10 to become as inseparable as fish and the water in which they swim. This spiritual bond is the basis for the universal transmission of the ultimate Law of life and death. Herein lies the true goal of Nichirens propagation. When you are so united, even the great desire for
widespread propagation can be fulfilled. But if any of Nichirens disciples disrupt the unity of many in body but one in mind, they would be like warriors who destroy their own castle from within.
Nichiren has been trying to awaken all the people of Japan to faith in the Lotus Sutra so that they too can share the heritage and attain Buddhahood. But instead they have persecuted me in various ways and finally had me banished to this island. You have followed Nichiren, however, and met with suffering as a result. It pains me deeply to think of your anguish. Gold can be neither burned by fire nor corroded or swept away by water, but iron is vulnerable to both. A worthy person is like gold, a fool like iron. You are like pure gold because you embrace the gold of the Lotus Sutra. The sutra states, Just as among all the mountains, Mount Sumeru is foremost, so this Lotus Sutra is likewise.11 It also states, The good fortune you gain thereby . . . cannot be burned by fire or washed away by water.12
It must be ties of karma from the distant past that have destined you to become my disciple at a time like this. Shakyamuni and Many Treasures certainly realized this truth. The sutras statement, Those persons who had heard the Law dwelled here and there in various Buddha lands, constantly reborn in company with their teachers,13 cannot be false in any way.
How admirable that you have asked about the transmission of the ultimate Law of life and death! I have never heard of anyone who has asked such a question. I have answered in complete detail in this letter, so please take it deeply to heart. The important point is to carry out your practice confident that Nam-myoho-renge-kyo alone is the heritage that was transferred from Shakyamuni and Many Treasures to Bodhisattva Superior Practices.