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Bestowal of the Mandala of the Mystic Law
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Bestowal of the Mandala of the Mystic Law

I am bestowing upon you the Gohonzon of Myoho-renge-kyo. Though [the daimoku of] this mandala is written in but five or seven characters, it is the teacher of all Buddhas throughout the three existences and the seal that guarantees the enlightenment of all women. It will be a lamp in the darkness of the road to the next world and a fine horse to carry you over the mountains of death. It is like the sun and the moon in the heavens or Mount Sumeru on earth. It is a ship to ferry people over the sea of suffering. It is the teacher who leads all people to enlightenment. This mandala has never yet been revealed or propagated anywhere in the world in the more than 2,220 years since the Buddha’s passing.

[The prescription of] medicine differs according to the illness. Ordinary medicine will help a slight ailment, but for grave illnesses, elixir should be used. During the 2,220 or more years since the Buddha’s death, the people’s illnesses, that is, their illusions and negative karma, were not serious, and a succession of learned priests appeared in order to act as physicians and dispense medicine appropriately as these illnesses required. These learned priests came from the Kusha, Jojitsu, Ritsu, Hosso, Sanron, Shingon, Kegon, Tendai, Jodo and Zen sects. Each of these sects prescribed its own medicine. For example, the Kegon sect set forth the principle of the six forms and the ten mysteries, the Sanron sect advocated the middle path of the eight negations, the Hosso sect stressed the perception that all phenomena derive from consciousness only, the Ritsu sect upheld the two hundred and fifty precepts, the Jodo sect invoked the name of Amida Buddha, the Zen sect expounded the attainment of Buddhahood by perceiving one’s true nature, the Shingon sect propounded the meditation on the five elements, and the Tendai sect established the theory of ichinen sanzen.

Now, however, we have entered the Latter Day of the Law, and the medicines of these various sects no longer cure the people’s illnesses. Moreover, all the Japanese have become icchantika and people of grave slander. Their offense is even worse than that of killing one’s father or mother, fomenting rebellion or injuring a Buddha. Japan is filled with individuals whose offenses exceed even those of one who were to single-handedly remove the eyes of all the human beings of a major world system, or raze all temples and stupas in the worlds of the ten directions. Consequently, the heavenly deities glare down furiously upon our nation day after day while the earthly deities tremble in continual rage. Nevertheless, all the people of our day believe themselves to be without fault, and none doubts that he will be reborn in the Pure Land and attain enlightenment.

The blind cannot see or comprehend the shining sun, and someone who is sound asleep will not even feel an earthquake reverberating like a great drum. So too it is with all the people of Japan [who do not realize their own offenses]. The offenses committed by the men are heavier than those committed by the women. In like manner, the nuns’ offenses are heavier than the laymen’s and the priests’ more serious than the nuns’. Among the priests, the offenses of those who observe the precepts are worse than those of the priests who violate them, and those of the learned priests are graver still. Such priests are like those with white leprosy among lepers, and among those with white leprosy, the most malignant.

Then, what great physician or what efficacious medicine can cure the illnesses of all people in the Latter Day of the Law? They cannot be cured by the mudras and mantras of Dainichi Buddha, the forty-eight vows of Amida Buddha or the twelve great vows of Yakushi Buddha, not even his pledge to "heal all ills." Not only do such medicines fail to cure these illnesses; they aggravate them all the more.

The Lord Shakyamuni assembled Taho Buddha as well as all the other Buddhas, who were his own emanations, from throughout the ten directions and left one great medicine -- the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo-for the people of the Latter Day of the Law. He refused to entrust it to any of the bodhisattvas such as Hoe, Kudokurin, Kongosatta, Fugen, Monju, Yakuo and Kannon, let alone to Mahakashyapa, Shariputra [or any other man of the two vehicles]. Rather, there were four great bodhisattvas, including Jogyo, who had been disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha since gohyaku-jintengo. Not even for a moment had they ever forgotten the Buddha. Shakyamuni summoned these bodhisattvas and transferred Myoho-renge-kyo to them.

A woman who takes this efficacious medicine will be surrounded and protected by these four great bodhisattvas at all times. When she rises to her feet, so will the bodhisattvas, and when she walks along the road, they will also do the same. She and they will be as inseparable as a body and its shadow, as fish and water, as a voice and its echo, or as the moon and its light. Should these four great bodhisattvas desert the woman who chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, they would incur the wrath of Shakyamuni, Taho and all the other Buddhas of the ten directions. You may be certain that their offense would be greater than even that of Devadatta, their falsehood more terrible than Kokalika’s. How reassuring! Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Nichiren

  

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