A few words only are necessary in order to introduce this essay to the public.
Captain J. M. James, of Shinagawa, is an English gentleman who has lived in Japan for more than twenty years. He is a professional man, and the consistent way in which he has always devoted his skill and genius to the interest of both Government and people has made him universally beloved. No sooner did he arrive among us than he was struck with astonishment at the great predominance of Buddhism in the country, and this led him to enter upon a systematic study of Buddhist doctrines. His researches resulted in the discovery that Religious Truth is contained only in the religion of Buddha, especially as set forth in a sacred book of ours called ‘The Lotus,’ and that the teachings of this book are best exemplified in the doctrines and practices of the Nichiren school of thought. Thenceforward he directed his exclusive attention to the Nichiren form of Buddhism, and frequently visited our late lamented prelate, the Most Learned and Virtuous Archbishop Nissatsu Arai, at the temple of Ikegami, in order to receive his instructions. His knowlege thus increasing, his faith in what he learned kept pace with it. This faith, on his part, was doubtless due in a measure to the unfolding of his predestined nature; but must also be attributed to the high intellectual power he exercised in testing and observing truths.
Some time ago Captain James made me acquainted with a friend of his, Mr. Frederic H. Balfour, who had made a special study of the philosophico-religious systems of China. This gentleman, at my request, undertook to write out in its present form the essay now given to the world, which is from the pen of the late Archbishop of Ikegami above referred-to. This was most excellent and meritorious on the part of Mr. Balfour, who has thereby rendered a great service to our Sect. Never before have the doctrines of Japanese Buddhism been published by any European author in such detail. My warm acknowledgments are also due to Mr. K. Tatsumi, Professor of Sociology in the Nobles’ School, for his invaluable assistance in Englishing the original text. It is now printed for the advantage of all who are interested in the subject, and will be sent far and wide over the face of the globe. The doctrines it sets forth should not be confined to our own country; they are intended for the enlightenment of all living beings wherever such may be — in all times and ages, all spheres and realms of life. It is for this reason that the whole world is now given an opportunity of hearing and embracing the Truth.
College of the Nichiren Sect,
Abbot. Takanawa, Tokyo.
26th Year of Meiji (1893).
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