I have received the hundred bamboo shoots and the one sack of sweet potatoes which you sent. In the seventh [fascicle] of the Sutra of Lotus Flower of the Sublime Dharma (Myoho renge kyo) it says, "If again there should be a person who, filling a great trichiliocosm with the seven jewels, makes offering to the Buddha as well as Pratyekabuddhas and Arhats, the merit which that person obtains is not as much as that very greatest merit (good fortune) of receiving and even one four-line verse of this Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokekyo)".
In [fascicle] ten of the Line Commentary Mongu) it says, "When it says that to offer the seven jewels to the Four Saints is not as good as keeping one verse it is that the Dharma is the teacher of the Four Saints. As that which produces, that which nurtures, that which achieves (accomplishes), that which prospers [Enlightenment] there is nothing that surpasses the Dharma. Therefore, the person is slight; the Dharma is important."
In [fascicle] ten of the Notes (Ki) it says, "It is as when a father and mother must guard their child with the four protections: now in the case of giving rise to the mind [of Enlightenment], its deriving from the Dharma he regards as producing (giving birth), pursuing it from beginning to end he regards as nurturing, fulfilling the Ultimate Effect [Buddhahood] he regards as achieving, responding to the Dharma Realms [as a Buddha] he regards as prospering. Although the four are not the same, they take the Dharma as their basis (root)."
The sense of the Sutra, as well as of Tendai and Myoraku. is that receiving and keeping or guarding and keeping one verse of the Dharma Flower Sutra is superior to making offering to all beings, making offering to Arhats, or making offering to all Buddhas by filling up a great trichiliocosm with the wealth of the seven jewels. In the Sutra it says, "It is not as much as that very greatest merit (good fortune) of receiving even one four-line verse of this Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokekyo)". Tendai says, "The person is slight; the Dharma is important." Myoraku says, "Although the four are not the same, they take the Dharma as their basis (root)." When we calculate this, relating all the beings of the nine realms to the Buddha, the good fortune (merit) of all beings is as light as a hair and the Buddha's good fortune (merit) is like a great mountain; the good fortune (merit) of all the Buddhas is as light as the three ounce robes of the Deva Brahma and the weight of good fortune (merit) of one character of the Dharma Flower Sutra is as heavy as the great earth. When they say, "The person is slight" they call the Buddha "the person'; when they say, "The Dharma is important", it is the Dharma Flower Sutra.
Now the Sutras before the Dharma Flower Sutra as well as the treatises praising the merits of the Buddha are the Buddha; this Dharma Flower Sutra praised the merits of the Sutra: it is like the father and mother of the Buddha. The inferiority of the Flower Garland Sutra (Kegongyo), the Vairocana Sutra (Dainichikyo), and so on is like one hair to a great mountain or like three ounces to the great earth.
And even when one compares the very lowest practitioner of the Hokekyo with the very highest monk of the Kegon or Shingon, they are superior and inferior like the Emperor Shakra and a monkey or a lion and a dog. Moreover, when a commoner curses a king, it is worth his life, when the practices of the [other] Sutras say they are superior to the Practicioner of the Dharma Flower Sutra, the country must necessarily be destroyed and they enter hell.
When there are no enemies, one pretends not to know; for example, even Masakado and Sadato, when there were no Sadamori or Yoriyoshi, administered their provinces and their wives and children were peaceful and secure and so on. When there are no enemies, dew rises up to the sky and rain falls to earth; at the time of an adverse wind the rain rises up to the sky and when the sun emerges the dew falls to earth. So the Six Sects of the Kegon and so on, when there was no Dengyo Daishi, were like dew and the Shingon was also like this. You should think that if strong enemies appear and I attack them with the Dharma Flower Sutra, even the Abbot of Hieizan, of Toji, of the Omuro, so on will be like dew meeting the sun.
In the case of the Dharma Flower Sutra for more than two thousand two hundred years there has not yet been a person who has preached completely and spread it in accordance with the Sutra. It is not that Tendai and Dengyo did not know, but since the time had not arrived and the capacities were not there, they ended without writing [about it] completely. The people who become disciples of Nichiren will easily know [about it]. Within the whole of Jambudvipa there is not yet a hall or stupa (pagoda) where they have written or made the form or image of the Shakya Buddha of the Chapter of the Measure of Life (Juryo hen) of the Original Doctrine (Hommon) of the Dharma Flower Sutra. How could it not be revealed? Because it is extensive, I will stop.
The bamboo Shoots [you sent] are one hundred and twenty and in [after] more than two thousand years the Dharma Flower Sutra is revealed. It is because. although the donation was slight, the intention was important. At the present time be it with agricultural matters or with constructing the shrine the common people have no free time at all. Because your intention is profound, will the Dharma [now] be revealed?
The eleventh day of the Fifth Month
Answer to Lord Nishiyama
In this Gosho, Nichiren Daishonin talks extensively about the superiority of the Dharma over the Buddha. Yet, he states in his concluding sentences:
"...Within the whole of Jambudvipa there is not yet a hall or stupa (pagoda) where they have written or made the form or image of the Shakya Buddha of the Chapter of the Measure of Life (Juryo hen) of the Original Doctrine (Hommon) of the Dharma Flower Sutra. How could it not be revealed?..."
Question: Is Nichiren Daishonin inconsistent? It seems as if he is contradicting himself.
Answer: Shakya Buddha of the Chapter of the Measure of Life IS the Dharma of the Lotus Flower Sutra. It is the second Great Secret Law in terms of the person, Shakyamuni Buddha.