New Year's Gosho
I have received a hundred mushimochi cakes and a basket of fruit. New Year's Day marks the first day, the
first month, the beginning of the year and the start of spring. A person who celebrates this day will gain virtue and be loved
by all, just as the moon becomes full gradually, moving from west to east, and the sun shines more brightly traveling from
east to west.
First of all, as to the question of where exactly hell and the Buddha exist, one sutra states that hell
exists underground and another sutra says that the Buddha is in the west. However, closer examination reveals that both exist
in our five-foot body. The reason I think so is that hell is in the heart of a man who inwardly despises his father and disregards
his mother, just like the lotus seed, which contains both flower and fruit at the same time. In the same way, the Buddha dwells
inside our hearts. For example, flint can produce fire and gems possess value in themselves. We common mortals can see neither
our own eyebrows, which are so close, nor heaven in the distance. Likewise, we do not see that the Buddha exists in our own
hearts. You may question how is it that the Buddha can reside within us when our bodies, originating from our parents' sperm
and blood, are the source of the three poisons and the seat of the carnal desires. But repeated consideration shows the validity
of my claim. The pure lotus flower blooms out of the muddy pond, the fragrant sandalwood grows from the soil, the graceful
cherry blossoms come forth from trees, the beautiful Yang Kuei-fei was born of a maidservant, and the moon rises from behind
the mountains to shed light on them. Misfortune comes from one's mouth and ruins him, but fortune comes from one's mind and
makes him worthy of respect.
The sincerity of making offerings to the Lotus Sutra at the beginning of the New Year is like flowers blooming
from trees, a lotus unfolding in a pond, sandalwood blossoming on the Snow mountains, or the moon beginning to rise. Japan,
in becoming an enemy of the Lotus Sutra has now invited misfortune from a thousand miles afar, whereas those who believe in
the Lotus Sutra will gather fortune from ten thousand miles afar. The shadow is cast by the body, and just as the shadow follows
the body, misfortune will befall the country whose people are hostile to the Lotus Sutra. The believers in the Lotus Sutra,
on the other hand are like the sandalwood endowed with fragrance. I will write you again.
The fifth day of the first month.