On Itai Doshin
- Itai Doshin Ji -
I have received the white winter robe and the thick-quilted one, as well as one kan of coins, through
the offices of Hoki-bo. Hoki-bo and Sado-bo and the believers at Atsuhara, united in their courageous faith, proved the true
strength of itai doshin.
If itai doshin (many in body, one in mind) prevails among the people, they will achieve all their
goals, whereas in dotai ishin (one in body, different in mind), they can achieve nothing remarkable. The more than three thousand
volumes of Confucianism and Taoist literature are filled with examples. King Chou of Yin led 700,000 soldiers into battle
against King Wu of Chou and his 800 men. Yet King Chou's army lost because of disunity while King Wu's men defeated him because
of perfect unity. Even an individual at cross purposes with himself is certain to end in failure. Yet a hundred or even a
thousand people can definitely attain their goal if they are of one mind. Though numerous, the Japanese will find it difficult
to accomplish anything, because they are divided in spirit. On the contrary, I believe that although Nichiren and his followers
are few in number, because they act in itai doshin, they will accomplish their great mission of propagating the Lotus Sutra.
Many raging fires are quenched by a single shower of rain, and many evil forces are vanquished by a single great truth. Nichiren
and his followers are proving this.
You have served the Lotus Sutra with devotion for many years, and in addition, you demonstrated remarkable
faith during the recent incident at Atsuhara. Many people including Hoki-bo and Sado-bo have told me so. I have listened carefully
and reported everything to the god of the sun and to Tensho Daijin.
I should have replied to you earlier, but there was no one who could bring this letter to you. Nissho
left here so quickly that I had no time to finish writing before his departure.
Some people may be ondering whether the Mongols will really attack again, but I believe that invasion
is now imminent. An invasion would be deplorable--it would mean the ruin of our country--but if it does not happen, the Japanese
people will slander the Lotus Sutra more than ever and all of them will fall into the hell of incessant suffering.
The nation may be devastated by the superior strength of the Mongols, but slander of Buddhism will cease
almost entirely. Defeat would be like moxa cautery which cures disease or acupuncture which relieves pain. Both are painful
at the moment but bring happiness later.
I, Nichiren, am the emissary of the Lotus Sutra, while the Japanese are like King Mihirakula who eliminated
Buddhism throughout India. The Mongol Empire may be like King Himatala of the Snow Mountains, a messenger from heaven sent
to punish those hostile to the votary of the Lotus Sutra. If the Japanese repent, they will be like King Ajatashatru who became
a devout follower of Buddhism, thereby curing his own leprosy and prolonging his life by forty years. Like Ajatashatru, they
will profess faith in spite of their earlier disbelief, and awaken to the entity of life.
With my deep respect,
The sixth day of the eighth month