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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Nichiren on fulfilling the great vow to broadly proclaim and propagate the Lotus Sutra.

"I, Nichiren, have to some small degree acted as an ally of the Lotus Sutra, and as a result I have met with these great difficulties. How immense, then, must be our gratitude toward Shakyamuni Buddha who, in lifetime after lifetime, has championed the cause of the Lotus Sutra! It is beyond the power of reckoning. Therefore the task set forth in the “Encouraging Devotion” chapter must never for a moment be neglected. More than ever, I look on it as a truly worthy one!

You speak of your desire to retire to the mountains. Although to do so would in general be to forsake the task of carrying out shakubuku, the practice essential to this, the Latter Day of the Law, still I know that you are suffering from illness. Moreover, when we are beset by so many natural disasters and problems of state, and when, no matter how often I warn the ruler, because he fails to understand how he himself is responsible, he refuses to believe my words, even I long for a life of retirement. How much more so must that be true in your case!

But if you should for a time retire to a dwelling in the mountain valleys, once your illness is mended and conditions are favorable again, you should set aside thoughts of personal well-being and devote yourself to the propagation of the teachings.

In accordance with your request, I have written out on a separate scroll of paper the prayer for preventing disaster and prolonging life that is appropriate for a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law and am sending it herewith. You should recite it once every day without fail. I myself, since the day I first took faith [in the Lotus Sutra], have recited these passages every day, making a vow and praying to the Buddhas and the gods, and although I have encountered great difficulties of various kinds, because of the profound influence of the benefits bestowed by the Lotus Sutra and the golden words of Shakyamuni Buddha, I have managed to survive until today.

Thus you should understand that so long as a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra remains unwavering in faith, free of all false alliances, entrusting himself wholeheartedly to the Lotus Sutra and practicing in accordance with the Buddha’s golden words, he will without fail be able to prevent disaster and prolong his life in this present existence, to say nothing of in the life to come. Splendid recompense will be his, and he will fulfill his great vow to broadly proclaim and propagate the Lotus Sutra."

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