I HAVE carefully reviewed your question about the Buddhist teachings. The blessing of the Lotus Sutra is a state of life that can only be understood between Buddhas. It is an inner enlightenment that even the wisdom of Shakyamunis emanations throughout the ten directions may be no match for. That is why, as you well know, even the Great Teacher Tien-tai commented on the character myo, saying that it is defined as beyond ordinary comprehension.1 As for this sutra, however, it is divided into various practices. These are the teachings that were known only by men such as Tien-tai, Miao-lo, and Dengyo. The Great Teacher Dengyo in particular, even though he was the reincarnation of Tien-tai, sent envoys to Tang China on many occasions in an effort to resolve the doubts of others. So what is really important is that the teachings of the mutual possession of the Ten Worlds, of the hundred worlds and thousand factors, and of three thousand realms in a single moment of life are the essence of this sutra. These teachings are described in the work entitled Great Concentration and Insight.
Next, the teaching of the Life Span chapter is what I, Nichiren, personally depend on. Although Tien-tai and Dengyo also understood it in a general way, they never put it into words or
proclaimed it. The same is true of Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu. The verse section of the chapter states, . . . singlemindedly desiring to see the Buddha, not hesitating even if it costs them their lives. As a result of this passage, I have revealed the Buddhahood in my own life. The reason is that it is this sutra passage that has enabled me to embody the Three Great Secret Laws, or the reality of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, that is found in the Life Span chapter. But keep this secret, keep it secret.
The Great Teacher of Mount Hiei [Dengyo] journeyed to China and received instruction on the point of this passage. Single of single-mindedly means the one pure way, and mind means all phenomena.2 That is why the Great Teacher Tien-tai, explaining the Chinese character for mind, said that its four brush strokes represent the moon and three stars, and that this implies that the mind of the effect [of Buddhahood] is pure and clean.3 I, Nichiren, say that single stands for myo, or mystic, mind for ho, or law, desiring for ren, or lotus, see for ge, or flower, and Buddha for kyo, or sutra. In propagating these five characters, practitioners should not hesitate even if it costs them their lives.
Single-mindedly desiring to see the Buddha may be read as follows: