Quotes from the Writings of Nichiren

Daily quotes from the Writings of Nichiren Vol. 1 & 2

Archive for the category “Writings of Nichiren”

On Offering Prayers to the Mandala of the Mystic Law, WND, p. 414

I HAVE offered prayers to the Gohonzon of Myoho-renge-kyo. Though this mandala has but five or seven characters, it is the teacher of all Buddhas throughout the three existences and the seal that guarantees the enlightenment of all women. It will be a lamp in the darkness of the road to the next world and a fine horse to carry you over the mountains of death. It is like the sun and moon in the heavens or Mount Sumeru on earth. It is a ship to ferry people over the sea of the sufferings of birth and death. It is the teacher who leads all people to Buddhahood and enlightenment. This great mandala has never yet been propagated anywhere in Jambudvipa in the more than 2,220 years since the Buddha’s passing.

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from Letter to Nikke, p. 1027, from Writings of Nichiren

tiger 1
How swiftly the days pass! It makes us realize how few are the years we have left. Friends enjoy the cherry blossoms together on spring mornings, and then they are gone, carried away like the blossoms by the winds of impermanence, leaving nothing but their names. Although the blossoms have scattered, the cherry trees will bloom again with the coming of spring, but when will those people be reborn? The companions with whom we enjoyed composing poems praising the moon on autumn evenings have vanished with the moon behind the shifting clouds. Only their mute images remain in our hearts. Though the moon has set behind the western mountains, we will compose poetry under it again next autumn. But where are our companions who have passed away? Even when the approaching tiger of death roars, we do not hear and are not startled. How many more days are left to the sheep bound for slaughter?

Deep in the Snow Mountains lives a bird called the cold-suffering bird that, tortured by the numbing cold, cries that it will build a nest in the morning. Yet when day breaks, it sleeps away the hours in the warm light of the morning sun without building its nest. So it continues to cry vainly throughout its life. The same is true of human beings. When they fall into hell and gasp in its flames, they long to be reborn as humans and vow to put everything else aside and serve the three treasures in order to gain enlightenment in their next life. But even on the rare occasions when they happen to be reborn in human form, the winds of fame and profit blow violently, and the lamp of Buddhist practice is easily extinguished. Without a qualm they squander their wealth on meaningless trifles, but begrudge even the smallest contribution to the Buddha, the Law, and the Buddhist Order. This is very serious, for then they are being hindered by messengers from hell. This is the meaning of “good by the inch and evil by the foot.”

On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land, from the Writings of Nichiren, page 7 & 25

Page 7
I have pondered the matter carefully with what limited resources I possess, and have looked a little at the scriptures for an answer. The people of today all turn their backs upon what is right; to a person, they give their allegiance to evil. This is the reason that the benevolent deities have abandoned the nation and departed together, that sages leave and do not return. And in their stead devils and demons come, and disasters and calamities occur. I cannot keep silent on this matter. I cannot suppress my fears.

Page 25
Therefore, you must quickly reform the tenets that you hold in your heart and embrace the one true vehicle, the single good doctrine [of the Lotus Sutra]. If you do so, then the threefold world will become the Buddha land, and how could a Buddha land ever decline? The regions in the ten directions will all become treasure realms, and how could a treasure realm ever suffer harm? If you live in a country that knows no decline or diminution, in a land that suffers no harm or disruption, then your body will find peace and security, and your mind will be calm and untroubled. You must believe my words; heed what I say!

To my Friends by Daisaku Ikeda

September 24, 2013

–TO MY FRIENDS–
The Daishonin admonishes:
“Strengthen your faith day
by day and month after month.”(*)
Faith is the driving force for taking
on challenges and making progress.
Let’s break through the rut and
shatter the inertia in our lives.

(*)”On Persecutions Befalling the Sage, WND p. 997

Translation of “To My Friends” published in the Seikyo Shimbun, based on President Ikeda’s recent guidance, with universal value and application.

–わが友に贈る–
「月月・日日に
 つより給へ」
 信心は挑戦と
 向上の原動力だ!
 惰性を打ち破れ!

–WAGA TOMO NI OKURU–
“TSUKI-ZUKI HIBI NI
TSUYORI TAMAE”
SHINJIN WA CHOSEN TO
KOJO NO GENDORYOKU DA!
DASEI O UCHI YABURE!

from Letter to the Sage Nichimyo, WND, p. 324

Commoners became royalty in a day. Just as a commoner can become a king in this present life, so can an ordinary person become a Buddha instantly. This is the heart of the doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life.

How, then, can we obtain this benefit? Should we peel off our skins as the ascetic Aspiration for the Law did, follow the boy Snow Mountains’ example and offer our bodies to a demon, or emulate Bodhisattva Medicine King in burning our arms? As the Great Teacher Chang-an stated, “You should let your choices be fitting and never adhere solely to one or the other.” The practice we should perform in order to master the correct teaching and attain Buddhahood depends upon the times. If there were no paper in Japan, then you should peel off your skin. If the Lotus Sutra had not yet been introduced to our country and a single demon were to appear who knew it, then you should offer your body to him. If there were no oil available in our country, then you should burn your arms. But of what use is it to peel off our skin when the country has an abundant supply of heavy paper?

Hsüan-tsang journeyed throughout India in search of the Buddha’s teachings for seventeen years, covering a distance of a hundred thousand ri. Dengyo remained in T’ang China for only two years, but he traveled three thousand ri across the billowing sea to get there. These were all men, ancients, worthies, and sages. Never have I heard of a woman who journeyed a thousand ri in search of Buddhism as you did. True, the dragon king’s daughter attained enlightenment without chang
ing her present form, and the nun Mahaprajapati received a prediction that she would become a Buddha in the future. I am not certain, but they may have been female forms assumed by Buddhas or bodhisattvas. After all, those events occurred in the Buddha’s lifetime.

The character of man and woman differs from the outset. Fire is hot, and water, cold. Fishermen are skilled in catching fish, and hunters are proficient in trapping deer. A sutra states that women are clever at being jealous, but I have never heard that women are clever at Buddhism. A woman’s mind is compared to a refreshing breeze; even if one could bind the wind, it would be hard to grasp a woman’s mind. A woman’s mind is likened to writing on water because the characters do not remain on the surface. A woman is likened to a liar, for sometimes a liar’s words are true, and sometimes, false. A woman’s mind is compared to a river, for all rivers bend.

The Lotus Sutra, however, contains such phrases as “honestly discarding expedient means,” “all that you [Shakyamuni] have expounded is the truth,” “honest and upright, gentle in intent,” and “gentle, peaceful, honest, and upright.” Those who believe in this sutra, therefore, must have minds that are as straight as a taut bowstring or a carpenter’s inking line. One may call dung sandalwood, but it will not have the sandalwood’s fragrance. A liar never becomes a truthful person simply because one calls him honest. All the sutras are the Buddha’s golden teachings, his true words. When compared with the Lotus Sutra, however, they are false, flattering, abusive, or doubletongued. The Lotus Sutra alone is the truth of truths. Only honest people can keep faith in this sutra, a teaching free from all falsehood

from the True Aspect of All Phenomena, WND, pg 385

Now, no matter what, strive in faith and be known as a votary of the Lotus Sutra, and remain my disciple for the rest of your life. If you are of the same mind as Nichiren, you must be a Bodhisattva of the Earth. And if you are a Bodhisattva of the Earth, there is not the slightest doubt that you have been a disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha from the remote past. The sutra states, “Ever since the long distant past I have been teaching and converting this multitude.” There should be no discrimination among those who propagate the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo in the Latter Day of the Law, be they men or women. Were they not Bodhisattvas of the Earth, they could not chant the daimoku. At first only Nichiren chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, but then two, three, and a hundred followed, chanting and teaching others. Propagation will unfold this way in the future as well. Does this not signify “emerging from the earth” ? At the time when the Law has spread far and wide, the entire Japanese nation will chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, as surely as an arrow aimed at the earth cannot miss the target.

To my Friends by Daisaku Ikeda

September 11, 2013

–TO MY FRIENDS–
The Daishonin admonishes,
“You cannot strike fire from
flint if you stop halfway.”(*)
When you are undergoing hardship,
steadfastly maintain strong faith.
Emerge victorious in the end without fail!

(*)”Earthly Desires are Enlightenment,” WND 1, p. 319

Translation of “To My Friends” published in the Seikyo Shimbun, based on President Ikeda’s recent guidance, with universal value and application.

–わが友に贈る–
「火をきるに・
 やすみぬれば火をえず」
 苦難の時こそ
 強盛な信心を貫け!
 断じて最後に勝て!

–WAGA TOMO NI OKURU–
“HI O KIRU NI
YASUMINURE BA HI O EZU”
KUNAN NO TOKI KOSO
GOJO NA SHINJIN O TSURANUKE!
DANJITE SAIGO NI KATE!

from The Essence of the “Life Span” Chapter (Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p. 182)

We find two flaws in the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings: First, “Because the Ten Worlds are separate from one another in these teachings, they fail to move beyond the provisional.” That is, they do not reveal the doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, that of discarding the provisional and revealing the true, or that of persons of the two vehicles being capable of attaining Buddhahood — the doctrines related to the ten factors of life stated in the “Expedient Means” chapter of the theoretical teaching.

Second, “Because they teach that Shakyamuni first attained enlightenment in this world, they fail to discard the Buddha’s provisional status.” Thus they do not reveal the Buddha’s original enlightenment in the remote past expounded in the “Life Span” chapter. These two great doctrines [the attainment of Buddhahood by persons of the two vehicles and the Buddha’s original enlightenment] are the core of the Buddha’s lifetime teachings, the heart and marrow of all the sutras.

from The Embankments of Faith, WND, vol. 1, p. 626

Now you should make a great vow and pray for your next life. If you are disbelieving or slander the correct teaching even in the slightest, you will certainly fall into the great citadel of the hell of incessant suffering. Suppose there is a ship that sails on the open sea. Though the ship is stoutly built, if it is flooded by a leak, those on the ship are sure to drown together. Though the embankment between rice fields is firm, if there is an ant hole in it, then surely, in the long run, it will not remain full of water. Bail the seawater of slander and disbelief out of the ship of your life, and solidify the embankments of your faith. If a believer’s offense is slight, overlook it, and lead that person to obtain benefits. If it is serious, encourage him to strengthen his faith so that he can expiate the sin.

You are indeed an unusual woman since you asked me to explain the effects of various degrees of slander. You are every bit as praiseworthy as the dragon king’s daughter when she said, “I unfold the doctrines of the great vehicle to rescue living beings from suffering.” The Lotus Sutra reads, “If one can ask about its meaning, that will be difficult indeed!” There are very few people who inquire about the meaning of the Lotus Sutra. Always be determined to denounce slander against the correct teaching to the best of your ability. It is indeed wonderful that you should be helping me reveal my teachings.

Respectfully, Nichiren

from the Unity of Husband and Wife, p. 464

Even though she may be slandered by everyone, for a woman, there is ultimately no greater happiness than to be loved by the man she holds dearest. Let others hate you if they will. What have you to complain of, if you are cherished by Shakyamuni Buddha, Many Treasures Buddha, and the Buddhas of the ten directions, as well as by Brahma, Shakra, and the gods of the sun and moon? As long as you are praised by the Lotus Sutra, what cause have you for discontent?

You say that you have now reached the unlucky age of thirty-three and for that reason sent offerings. I have presented them before Shakyamuni Buddha, the Lotus Sutra, and the god of the sun, and reported your sincerity to them. A person’s body has a left and a right shoulder, on which there are two gods, one called Same Name and the other, Same Birth. These are two deities whom Brahma, Shakra, and the gods of the sun and moon have assigned to protect each person. From the time we enter our mother’s womb until the end of our life, they accompany us like our shadow or like our eyes. If we commit an evil act or perform a good deed, they report everything to the heavenly gods without omitting even a detail as minute as a dewdrop or a speck of dust. This is related in the Flower Garland Sutra and is cited by the Great Teacher T’ient’ai in the eighth volume of his Great Concentration and Insight.

He states, however, that if a woman’s faith is weak, even though she embraces the Lotus Sutra, she will be forsaken. For example, if a commanding general is fainthearted, his soldiers will become cowards. If a bow is weak, the bowstring will be slack. If the wind is gentle, the waves will never rise high. This all accords with the principles of nature.

Now [your husband] Saemon is a believer in the Lotus Sutra, without peer among the Buddhist lay believers in Japan. Being married to such a man, you also are foremost among the women of Japan. Because you live for the sake of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha surely regards you as equal to the dragon king’s daughter. The character for woman implies “to depend.” The wisteria depends on the pine tree, and a woman depends on a man. Make Saemon your teacher and be guided in the faith of the Lotus Sutra.

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