life by forty years. In gratitude, he assembled a thousand arhats to record all the Buddhas teachings, especially the Lotus Sutra, for future generations. It is therefore owing to King Ajatashatru that we have the Lotus Sutra we embrace today.
But let us set aside the story of Ajatashatru. If I were to repeat the teachings given by the Buddha to King Ajatashatru, the Japanese would consider them to be merely my own fabrications. But since you are my disciple and supporter, I will reveal them to you. The Buddha states: After my death, in the Latter Day of the Law, the land will be filled with those who pretend to be pious by observing the five ascetic practices1 as Devadatta did. They will persuade an evil ruler to act against the one person of wisdom. They will curse or strike him, cause him to be exiled, and even make an attempt on his life. At that time there will be ominous changes in the heavens and strange occurrences on earth, as well as violent winds, famines, and epidemics greater than ever witnessed before, and these disasters will continue year after year. The land will be attacked by another country. This is the substance of the tenth volume of the Protection Sutra.
The present age has developed exactly as the Buddha predicted it would, and Nichiren may be the person of wisdom whom the Buddha described. Though some people wish to help me, either their determination is weak, or, though firmly resolved, they are unable to act on their intentions. Thus, you are one of the very few whose actions match their will. You surpass others in your resolve, and it is because of your devoted support that I have been able to survive. The heavens are certainly
aware of this; the earth surely knows about it, too. If any misfortune were to occur to you, it could only mean that heaven wanted my life itself. Wherever one may be, whether in the mountains, on the seas, in the skies, or in the cities, one cannot escape death. Nevertheless, a sutra explains that even ones fixed karma can be changed.2 Tientais commentary also states that one can prolong ones fixed span of life.
As I have advised you before, until the Mongol forces actually attack this country, continue to conduct yourself in a circumspect manner. As for the reply to your lord, declare to him firmly: Since I am ill, it is most distressing for me to be transferred to a remote place. Moreover, the entire country is already in turmoil. Should an emergency arise, how could I possibly be a coward? At this moment I am resolved to sacrifice my life for my lord if anything grave happens. But should a sudden crisis occur, it is doubtful whether I could reach you in time from the distant province of Echigo. Therefore, even at the risk of losing my estate, I will not leave you this year. Anything else you command of me, I will obey without hesitation or fear. Even more important to me than this, however, are the priest Nichiren and my deceased parents.
Say in a ringing voice, Even if you disown me, I will devote my life to you. My next life I have entrusted to the priest Nichiren.
The sixth day of the ninth month in the second year of Kenji (1257), cyclical sign hinoe-ne