Day of the Law, I, Nichiren, am the first to embark on propagating, throughout Jambudvipa, the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo, which are the heart of the Lotus Sutra and the eye of all Buddhas. During the 2,220 or more years since the Buddhas passing, not even Mahakashyapa, Ananda, Ashvaghosha, Nagarjuna, Nan-yüeh, Tientai, Miao-lo, or Dengyo has propagated them. My disciples, form your ranks and follow me, and surpass even Mahakashyapa or Ananda, Tien-tai or Dengyo! If you quail before the threats of the ruler of this little island country [and abandon your faith], how will you face the even more terrible anger of Yama, the lord of hell? If, while calling yourselves the Buddhas messengers, you give way to fear, you will be the most despicable of persons!
[While the regents government could not come to any conclusion,] the priests of the Nembutsu, the observers of the precepts, and the True Word priests, who realized they could not rival me in wisdom, sent petitions to the government. Finding their petitions were not accepted, they approached the wives and widows of high-ranking officials and slandered me in various ways. [The women reported the slander to the officials, saying:] According to what some priests told us, Nichiren declared that the late lay priests of Saimyo-ji and Gokuraku-ji have fallen into the hell of incessant suffering. He said that the temples Kencho-ji, Jufukuji, Gokuraku-ji, Choraku-ji, and Daibutsuji should be burned down and the honorable priests Doryu and Ryokan beheaded. Under these circumstances, at the regents supreme council my guilt could scarcely be denied. To confirm whether I had or had not made those statements, I was summoned to the court.
At the court the magistrate said, You have heard what the regent stated. Did you say these things or not? I
answered, Every word is mine. However, the statement about the lay priests of Saimyo-ji and Gokuraku-ji falling into hell is a fabrication. I have been declaring this doctrine [that the schools they belonged to lead to hell] since before their deaths.
Everything I said was with the future of our country in mind. If you wish to maintain this land in peace and security, it is imperative that you summon the priests of the other schools for a debate in your presence. If you ignore this advice and punish me unreasonably on their behalf, the entire country will have cause to regret your decision. If you condemn me, you will be rejecting the Buddhas envoy. Then you will have to face the punishment of Brahma and Shakra, of the gods of the sun and moon, and of the four heavenly kings. Within one hundred days after my exile or execution, or within one, three, or seven years, there will occur what is called the calamity of internal strife, rebellion within the ruling clan. This will be followed by the calamity of foreign invasion, attack from all sides, particularly from the west. Then you will regret what you have done! Hearing this, the magistrate Hei no Saemon, forgetting all the dignity of his rank, became wild with rage like the grand minister of state and lay priest [Taira no Kiyomori].
On the twelfth day of the ninth month in the eighth year of Bunei (1271), cyclical sign kanoto-hitsuji, I was arrested in a manner that was extraordinary and unlawful, even more outrageous than the arrest of the priest Ryoko, who was actually guilty of treason, and the Discipline Master Ryoken, who sought to destroy the government.7 Hei no Saemon led several hundreds of armor-clad warriors to take me. Wearing the headgear of a court noble, he glared in anger and spoke in a rough voice. These actions were in essence no different from those of the grand min