Shakyamuni and Many Treasures, as well as the four bodhisattvas headed by Superior Practices, will lead you by the hand on your journey. If I, Nichiren, precede you in death, I will come to meet you at your last moment. If you should precede me, I will be sure to tell King Yama all about you. Everything that I tell you is true. According to the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren is the guide who knows the passes and gorges along the way. Devote yourself singlemindedly to faith with the aim of reaching Eagle Peak.
Money serves various purposes according to our needs. The same is true of the Lotus Sutra. It is a lantern in the dark or a boat at a crossing. At times it is water and, at times, fire. This being so, the Lotus Sutra assures us of peace and security in our present existence and good circumstances in future existences.3
Of all the many places in Japan, Nichiren was born in the province of Awa. It is said that the Sun Goddess
first dwelt in this province, where she began exploring the land of Japan. An estate exists there dedicated to the goddess, who is the compassionate father and mother to all living beings in this country. Therefore, this province must be of great significance. What karma from the past caused Nichiren to be born in this same province? No reward could be greater. That is not the main point of this letter, so I will not go into further detail. But you should think about what I mean.
You must pray to the heavenly gods with all your heart. Be ever diligent in your faith so that your desire will be fulfilled. Please tell your wife all that I have said.
With my deep respect,
The twenty-first day of the second month
This letter was written to Hojo Yagenta, a lay believer in Kamakura, on the twenty-first day of the second month; though no year is indicated, it is believed to be 1274. The letter was sent by the Daishonin from Ichinosawa on Sado Island seven days after a pardon for him was issued in Kamakura. Although the official date of the pardon was the fourteenth of that month, it did not reach the Daishonin until the eighth day of the third month.
Yagenta was a samurai who belonged to the ruling Hojo clan. He was a recipient in 1268 of one of the eleven
letters the Daishonin wrote remonstrating with top government officials and religious leaders after a delegate from Khubilai Khan arrived demanding tribute.
For a samurai, the sword was the embodiment of status and strength. Swords were also symbols of power and death, but the Daishonin explains that because Yagenta has offered his to the Lotus Sutra their basic nature has changed for the good. Yagentas act amounts to a demonstration of faith and devotion. Some years later he became a lay priest.