THE SUPREMACY OF THE MYSTIC LAW
the Law which is Supreme. We venerate the three treasures --The Buddha, The Dharma ( Nam
Myoho Renge Kyo) and the Sangha ( The Priesthood ) Ultimately we each stand on
our own not subject to higher Human Authority but accessing the Ultimate truth
with our beloved Master , The Buddha Nichiren Daishonin. Each of us is free
through our unique connection and devotion to the Law to create a New World of unlimited Human aspiration and freedom.
The Law is described in one of Nichiren
Daishonin`s most important Gosho The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life Shoji Ichidaiji Kechimyaku Sho
I have just carefully read your letter. To reply, the
ultimate law of life and death as transmitted from the Buddha to all living
beings is Myoho-renge-kyo. The five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo1
were transferred from the two Buddhas inside the Treasure Tower,
Shakyamuni and Taho, to Bodhisattva Jogyo, carrying on a heritage unbroken
since the infinite past. Myo represents death and ho represents life. Life and
death are the two phases passed through by the entities of the Ten Worlds, the
entities of all sentient beings which embody the law of cause and effect
T'ien-t'ai said, "You must realize that the
interrelated actions and reactions of sentient beings and their environments
all manifest the law of simultaneity of cause and effect."2
Sentient beings and their environments" here means the reality of life and
death. The law of simultaneity of cause and effect is clearly at work in
everything that lives and dies.
The Great Teacher Dengyo said, "Birth and death are the
mysterious workings of the life essence. The ultimate reality of life lies in
existence and nonexistence."3 No phenomena
-- heaven or earth, Yin or Yang4, the sun and
moon, the five planets5, or any life-condition
from Hell to Buddhahood -- are free from birth and death. Thus the life and
death of all phenomena are simply the two phases of Myoho-renge-kyo. In his
Maka Shikan, T'ien-t'ai says, "The emergence of all things is the
manifestation of their intrinsic nature, and their extinction, the withdrawal
of that nature into the state of latency."6 Shakyamuni
and Taho Buddhas, too, are the two phases of life and death.
Shakyamuni who attained enlightenment countless aeons ago, the
Lotus Sutra which leads all people to Buddhahood, 7 and we
ordinary human beings are in no way different or separate from each other.
Therefore, to chant Myoho-renge-kyo with this realization is to inherit the
ultimate law of life and death. To carry on this heritage is the most important
task for Nichiren's disciples, and that is precisely what it means to embrace
the Lotus Sutra. For one who summons up his faith and chants
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the profound insight that now is the last moment of
his life, the sutra proclaims: "After his death, a thousand Buddhas will
extend their hands to free him from all fear and keep him from falling into
How can we possibly hold back our tears at the inexpressible joy of knowing
that not just one or two, nor only one hundred or two hundred, but as many as a
thousand Buddhas will come to greet us with open arms!
One who does not have faith in the Lotus
Sutra will instead find his hands firmly gripped by the guards of hell, just as
the sutra warns, "...After he dies, he will fall into the
hell of incessant suffering."9 How pitiful!
The ten kings of hell10 will then pass judgment
on him, and the heavenly messengers11 who
have been with him since his birth will berate him for his evil deeds.
Just imagine that those thousand Buddhas extending their
hands to all Nichiren's disciples who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo are like so
many melons or moonflowers extending their slender vines. My disciples have
been able to receive and embrace the Lotus Sutra by virtue of the strong ties
they formed with this teaching in their past existences. They are certain to
attain Buddhahood in the future. The heritage of the Lotus Sutra flows within
the lives of those who never forsake it in any lifetime whatsoever -- whether
in the past, the present or the future. But those who disbelieve and slander
the Lotus Sutra will "destroy the seeds for becoming a Buddha in this
Because they cut themselves off from the potential to attain enlightenment, they
do not share the ultimate heritage of faith.
All disciples and believers of Nichiren should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
with one mind (itai doshin), transcending all differences among themselves13 to become as inseparable as fish and the
water in which they swim. This spiritual bond is the basis for the universal
transmission of the ultimate law of life and death. Herein lies the true goal
of Nichiren's propagation. When you are so united, even the great hope for
kosen-rufu can be fulfilled without fail. But if any of Nichiren's disciples
should disrupt the unity of itai doshin, he will destroy his own castle from
Nichiren has been trying to awaken all the people of Japan
to faith in the Lotus Sutra so that they too can share the heritage and attain
Buddhahood. But instead they attacked me time and again, and finally had me
banished to this island. You have followed Nichiren, however, and met with
sufferings as a result. It pains me deeply to think of your anguish. Gold can
neither be burned by fire nor corroded or swept away by water, but iron is
vulnerable to both. A wise person is like gold and a fool like iron. You are
like pure gold because you embrace the "gold" of the Lotus Sutra. The
Lotus Sutra reads in part, "Sumeru is the loftiest of all mountains. The Lotus Sutra is likewise the loftiest of all the
It also states, "The good fortune of the believer cannot be burned by fire
or washed away by water."15
It must be ties of karma from the distant past that have
destined you to become my disciple at a time like this. Shakyamuni and Taho
Buddhas certainly realize this truth. The sutra's statement, "In lifetime
after lifetime they were always born together with their masters in the
Buddha's lands throughout the universe, "16 cannot be
false in any way.
How admirable that you have asked about the transmission of
the ultimate law of life and death! No one has ever asked me such a question
before. I have answered in complete detail in this letter, so I want you to
take it deeply to heart. The important point is to carry out your practice
confident that Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the very lifeblood which was transferred
from Shakyamuni and Taho to Bodhisattva Jogyo.
The function of fire is to burn and give light. The function
of water is to wash away filth. The winds blow away dust and breathe life into
plants, animals and human beings. The earth nourishes the grasses and trees, and
heaven provides nourishing moisture. Myoho-renge-kyo too works in all these
ways. It is the cluster of blessings brought by the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.
The Lotus Sutra says that Bodhisattva Jogyo should now appear to propagate this
teaching in the Latter Day of the Law, but has this actually happened? Whether
or not Bodhisattva Jogyo has already appeared in this world, Nichiren has at
least made a start in propagating this teaching.
Be resolved to summon forth the great power of your faith, and
chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the prayer that your faith will be steadfast and
correct at the moment of your death. Never seek any other way to inherit the
ultimate law and manifest it in your life. Only then will you realize that
earthly desires are enlightenment and the sufferings of life and death are
nirvana. Without the lifeblood of faith, it would be useless to embrace the
I am always ready to clear up any further questions you may
my deep respect,
the Shramana of Japan
eleventh day of the second month in the ninth year of Bun'ei (1272)
Five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo: the
five characters are myo, ho, ren, ge, kyo. In the Daishonin's writings, Myoho-renge-kyo
is often substituted for Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. 2 Hokke Gengi, vol. 7. 3 Tendai
Hokkeshu 4Gozu Homon Yosan, vol. 5. 5Yin and Yang: Two universal principles of
ancient Chinese philosophy. Yin is the negative, dark and feminine principle:
Yang is the positive, bright and masculine principle. Their interaction was
thought to affect the destiny of all things. 6Five planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars,
Jupiter and Saturn. The more distant planets were undetected in 13th century Japan.
7Maka Shikan, vol. 5. 8 Nichiren Daishonin employs the name of Shakyamuni to
denote the Buddha, and the Lotus Sutra to denote the Gohonzon. Therefore, from
the viewpoint of the Daishonin's Buddhism, this passage means that the True
Buddha of kuon ganjo, the Gohonzon which leads all people to Buddhahood, and we
ordinary people are in no way different or separate from each other. 9 Lotus
Sutra, chap. 28. 10 Lotus Sutra, chap. 3. 11 Ten
kings of hell: Symbolic figures from popular religious tradition. One Chinese
concept viewed hell as a demonic court of law where the dead were tried for
their evil deeds. 12 Heavenly messengers: See p. 199, footnote 52. 13 Lotus
Sutra, chap. 3. 14 Transcending all differences among themselves: This phrase
could be rendered literally as "without any thought of self or other, this
or that." This is not a denial of individuality but rather urges the
bridging of gaps between people which arise from selfishness and mistrust. 15
Lotus Sutra, chap. 23. 16 Ibid. 17 Ibid. chap. 7.
-- The Heritage of the
Ultimate Law of Life
Records are sketchy, but it is believed
that Sairen-bo Nichijo was a noted priest of the Tendai sect who, for some
unknown reason, had been living in exile on Sado for a number of years. He met
the Daishonin there and became his follower. "Heritage of the Ultimate Law
of Life, " dated February 11, 1272, was addressed to a question posed by
Sairen-bo. The Daishonin also sent him several of his most profound writings, including
"The True Entity of Life, "
"On Prayer, " and
"Enlightenment of Plants."
Shoji Ichidaiji Kechimyaku Sho
(Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life) is
Shoji is life repeating the endless cycle of birth
Ichidaiji is "the most fundamental essence."
Ichi, is literally "one, " "the one and only." Ichi is also chutai essence (entity or
source).the essence of the Universe The Middle Way Ichidaiji, then, is
"the one and only fundamental essence."
Dai, literally "great, " here is used to
mean that the ultimate law of life is the fundamental force which penetrates
and pervades not only humanity but all things in the universe. It denotes the
universality of life.
Dai also means kutai, fgorce enegy space
Ji literally means "fact." That the
ultimate law of life is constantly present.
ji also means ketai. Facts phenomena (form) The
changing world-the changes in all phenomena
Shoji ichidaiji-- the ultimate law of life
Kechimyaku is the "pulse" unchanged, beneath
the passages of life and death. It also represents the The master-disciple
relationship with Buddha, as the teacher who transmits the law of life ---.
Shoji Ichidaiji Kechimyaku Sho ISThe one and most fundamental
essence the pulse of the force of life, and also indicates that the universe is
a living biological process . It is the way the Buddha endows people undergoing
the endless cycle of birth and death with the ultimate law
En'yu-santai or the perfect union of the three
truths is also
The 'perfect union of the three truths' is
Shoji can also
be an abbreviation of sho-ro-byo-shi
(ji of shoji is a phonetic change of shi) --- birth, old age, sickness and
death --- including all human suffering. The significant meaning here is the
entity that repeats the endless cycle of birth and death.
In the Ongi Kuden (his oral teachings of the
Lotus Sutra), Nichiren Daishonin says that the denial of birth and death
originates in delusion.. Life is the state in which the ultimate entity is
manifest, and death the state in which it lies dormant. The ultimate entity
remains unchanged, repeating the endless cycle of birth and death.
Life is like
the explosion and combustion of a force stored up during its rest period. Birth
and death are intrinsic to the ultimate entity of life.
The pulse , rhythm,
force, essence and manifestation of the living universe is Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
around us and in us is undergoing ceaseless change. Our environment and
ourselves change subtly from moment to moment. The nano changes in electronic
shells of atoms, the flux and flow of our neuronal connections gently weaving
themselves in our brains, our moods and thoughts and the very stars and
galaxies are constantly changing and yet held in patterns by a greater subtly
or primal force -namely the overriding integrating power of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
state of life from moment to moment determines the overall course of our life.
Our lifetime is an accumulation of momentary lives and deaths This, more
broadly, is the key to changing one's karma. When we value each moment and live
actively, enthusiastically, ready to greet the next moment, we go through a
state of life and death free from suffering and directed toward enlightenment.
This is a process which occurs naturally when we maintain the Gohonzon as the
primary focus in our lives
The changing nature of all phenomena , the interdependence of all
things, the elegance and perfection inherent in the Universe is described in
On the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra by Nichiren Daishonin
single character kyo are contained all the sutras in the entire universe. It is
like the wish-granting jewel that contains within it all manner of treasures, or
the vastness of space that encompasses all phenomena. And because this single
character kyo of Myoho-renge-kyo is the supreme achievement of the Buddha's
lifetime of teaching, the other four characters, Myo-ho-ren-ge, likewise
surpass all the other eighty thousand doctrines that the Buddha taught.
What we have here is a short cut to the unrivalled jewel of expression
of the universe as a self referential system in which the Human being
participates in a journey of exploration --the last frontier- into the depths
of his or her heart conjoined to the heart of the Universe. The fusion with the
Ikons of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo on the Gohonzon like the Ikons on a Computer
Screen entrains the brain and Being to a new mode of thinking and widom and
The individual breaks through the egg shell of ignorance into the ocean
of enlightenmnet of the living universe. The Gohonzon the mirror and entity of the Universe contains
within it the streams of
births and deaths of all sentient and insentient things which flow into broader
rivers of births and deaths, which in turn pour into the vast ocean of cosmic
is the ultimate law of life and the universe. At the same time it contains all
things in the entire cosmos. It is not just an idea or something abstract and
vague; it manifests itself in actual phenomena. It is The true entity of life
completely free and unobstructed . So when we chant to the Gohonzon( the
manifestation of Ichidaiji and ichinen sanzen) with faith and conviction with
our whole lives breaking through karma like unpeeling an onion skin we attain
absolute freedom and obtain conspicuous and inconspicuous changes in our lives.
We are accessing Reality" which is the fundamental power that makes each
life-moment actually work within all phenomena in the universe and within our
own lives !.
The two phases
of life and death, which are manifested in the ultimate entity of life, are
together the Mystic Law. The law does not exist outside the realities of living
and dying; Our life itself is the Mystic Law or shoji ichidaiji kechimyaku, .
character for Ho ( Law)consists of the ideographs for "water" and
"passing away" combined. Together they mean "flow of
water." Water represents the even, eternal and impartial, that which
pervades the universe. "Passing away" symbolizes the flow of time
from the infinite past to the infinite future This concept of law ( Ho ) places
human consciousness firmly within the context of all Biological and physical
laws. The rise and fall of all phenomena no matter what physical science we use
eg classical physics , complexity or relativity or within the context of
physiological and neuro endocrein science all incorporate livingness and
consciousness in this context" Ho represents this incorporation in terms
of living relationships with all phenomena Thus it becomes clear why Nichiren
Daishonin states, "Ho represents life." Hence shoho (literally, all
laws) of shoho jisso is translated as "all phenomena."
were limited only to the observation of phenomena, it would be no different
from scientific research. To understand the fundamental force that creates the
flow-this is the true object of religion. That fundamental force is never
divorced from real phenomena, but neither can it be grasped as a form or a
shape. Hence it is described as myo or mystic. To understand this fundamental
force requires and effort of faith , asense of awe and wonder and a direct
perception of this process which has a n immediacy and relevance which
transcends mundane or ordunary experience.Although it cannot be seen or
identified it is in the vibrancy and truth of every moment of experience .