the spouses from whom they had been as inseparable as a pair of eyes, or the parents upon whom they had relied as they would upon heaven and earth. For them, what meaning does life hold? How could sensible people not abhor this world? The Buddha taught that there is no safety in the threefold world, but the current state of affairs seems excessively tragic.
Although I myself am only an ordinary person, I informed the ruler that the Buddha had left behind teachings predicting such a situation. However, he did not heed my admonitions, but rather began to persecute me even more harshly, so there was nothing further I could do. This country has already become a slanderer of the Law, and by turning into an enemy of the Lotus Sutra, it has also made itself an enemy of the Buddhas and the gods of the three existences and the ten directions.
Please consider deeply. No matter what grave crimes I, Nichiren, have been charged with, I am a votary of the Lotus Sutra. No matter what grave crimes a person who chants Namu Amida Butsu may be guilty of, it cannot be denied that he is a follower of the Nembutsu. Because I chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with my own mouth, I have been reviled, struck, exiled, and had my life threatened. However, in spite of all this, I have continued to exhort others to do like
wise. Am I not then a votary of the Lotus Sutra?
In the Lotus Sutra, it is stipulated that those who bear a grudge against its votary are destined to fall into the Avichi hell. The fourth volume states that the offense of harboring malice toward a votary of the Lotus Sutra in the latter age is graver than that of reviling the Buddha for an entire medium kalpa.2 The seventh volume teaches that people who disparage the votary will suffer in the Avichi hell for a thousand kalpas.3 The fifth volume states that after the Buddhas passing, when the Latter Day of the Law arrives, a votary of the Lotus Sutra will certainly appear, and that at that time, in that country, an immeasurably great multitude of monks who either uphold or violate the precepts will gather and denounce the votary to the ruler of the country, causing him to be banished and ruined.4
These passages from the sutra all coincide precisely with what has happened to me. I am therefore convinced that I will attain Buddhahood in the future. I will speak in more detail when we meet.
The thirteenth day of the second month in the fourth year of Kenji (1278), cyclical sign tsuchinoe-tora
This letter was written from snowbound Minobu and addressed to the lay priest Matsuno Rokuro Saemon, a follower who lived in the village of Matsuno in Ihara District of Suruga Province.
Matsuno, Nanjo Tokimitsus grand
father, apparently was diligent in his practice. From the several letters addressed to him, the first of which was written in the second month of 1276, it is clear that he sent frequent gifts to the Daishonin. In these letters, the Daishonin often touched on the subjects