I N Kamakura there are humble priests named Chikugo-bo, Acharya Ben, and Acharya Daishin.1 Please send for them, show them respect, and hold discussions with them. I will explain in outline the important teachings. They are somewhat familiar with the great Law that has not yet been propagated in Japan, and therefore you should pursue your studies under them.
In your letter, you write as follows: As soon as your letter reached me, the doubts that I had previously entertained were swept away, just as a strong wind blows away the layers of cloud and the bright moon comes into view. For people of the present age, however, whether high or low, these teachings are difficult to believe. That is because the Lotus Sutra promises that those who practice the Buddhas teachings will enjoy peace and security in their present existence and good circumstances in future existences.2 If this is so, then why is it that the priest Nichiren, though he calls himself a votary of the Lotus Sutra, should meet with so much persecution? People are saying that it must be because he is untrue to the Buddhas will.
With regard to these unjust criticisms, however, the persecutions I have encountered are due to my karma from past existences.3 There is no need to be surprised at my having incurred
the wrath of the government authorities.
By way of explanation, if you examine the text of the Lotus Sutra, you will find it stated that in the Latter Day of the Law, when people practice the Lotus Sutra just as it teaches, they are bound to meet with many persecutions. This is made perfectly clear in the text, and anyone who has eyes need only look to see what is there.
Thus, for example, the fourth volume of the Lotus Sutra says, 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?4 And the fifth volume reads, It will face much hostility in the world and be difficult to believe.5 It also says, There will be many ignorant people who will curse and speak ill of us and will attack us with swords and staves, with rocks and tiles.6 And it continues: In that evil age there will be monks [with perverse wisdom] . . . Or there will be forestdwelling monks wearing clothing of patched rags and living in retirement . . . they will preach the Law to whiterobed laymen and will be respected and revered by the world as though they were arhats who possess the six transcendental powers. . . . Because in the midst of the great assembly they constantly try to defame us, they