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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Among my disciples those whose faith is shallow will show at the moment of death the sign of falling into the Hell of Incessant Suffering.

A TRACT REVEALING THE GIST OF THE RISHO ANKOKU RON

"Aside from these people, some of my disciples might not be spared from this calamity of falling into the Hell of Incessant Suffering upon death. Those who disdained and hurt the Never -Despising (Fukyo) Bodhisattva fell into the Hell of Incessant Suffering upon death for as long as 1,000 kalpa. It was due to their great sin of slandering the bodhisattva that they were paid such a hard fate, although they had believed in, respected, followed, and obeyed the bodhisattva while in this life.

Now, the same could be said of disciples of Nichiren. If they believe in, respect, follow, and obey me in name only without heart, they will no doubt suffer in the Hell of Incessant Suffering for the period of one, two, ten, or one hundred, if not one thousand, kalpa. If you wish to be saved from this, you should each practice just as the Medicine-King Bodhisattva did; he set his arm afire to offer it as a light to the Buddha; or Gyobo Bonji, who skinned himself to write the dharma on his own skin. Just as Sessen Doji and Suzu Danno did, you should sacrifice your own life or serve your masters from the bottom of your heart in search of the dharma. Otherwise, you should beseech the Buddha for help, bowing to Him with your four limbs and face touching the ground, dripping with sweat. Otherwise, you should pile up rare treasures in front of the Buddha as an offering to Him. If that is not possible, you must become servants to the upholders of the dharma. Or you should practice some other ways according to the principle of the four ways of teaching. Among my disciples those whose faith is shallow will show at the moment of death the sign of falling into the Hell of Incessant Suffering. Do not blame me for it then!"

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BACKGROUND

The addressee of this letter is Oto Gozen, but in reality it is believed to have been written to her mother, Nun Nichimyo. When the nun took her daughter, Oto Gozen, to Sado to see Nichiren Daishonin in exile in the 5th month of the 9th year in the Bun'ei Era (1272), her daughter was still an infant. It is assumed, therefore, that she was still a child when this letter was written three years later, in the first year of the Kenji Era (1275). Judging from a statement in this letter, "I would imagine Oto Gozen has become matured and wise," it is only natural to assume that it was addressed to her mother. Commending Nun Nichimyo, who had visited Nichiren on Sado Island earlier all the way from Kamakura, for coming to see him again on Mt. Minobu, Nichiren Daishonin explained the comparative superiority between Mahayana and Hinayana sutras and provisional and true sutras, comparing them with small and large ships and rocks and gold.

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