Tomorrow, I, Nichiren, will be exiled to Sado Island. In this cold evening I am thinking of you in the cold dungeon. My thought is that you have read and practiced the Lotus Sutra with your thought and action, which would save your parents, brothers, sisters, relatives, ancestors and everyone around you. Other people read the sutra vocally without feeling it in their hearts. Even though they might read it with their heart, they do not experience it as the sutra teaches. Compared with them you are very precious since you are practicing the sutra with your actions, voice and spirit.
Nichiren wrote this passage in a Letter to his Disciple Nichiro (Tsuchi-ro Gosho). At this point in Nichiren’s life, he had been placed on the execution mat at Tatsunokuchi Beach, only to have the execution stopped at the last minute. Instead of deterring him from teaching the Wonderful Dharma, this experience cemented his resolve to continue admonishing all those who were harming the people of Japan. He taught that rewarding delusions and leading people away from the Buddha’s wisdom only causes misery. Nichiren recognized that his life was the experience of the Lotus Sūtra, and showed his appreciation to everyone who, as he put it, “reads it with their bodies.”
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