To desert the teaching of the Lotus Sutra denotes falling into hell. I have made a vow : “Even if someone says that he would make me the ruler of Japan if I give up the Lotus Sutra and rely upon the Kammuryojukyo (Sutra of Meditation on the Buddha of Infinite Life) for my salvation in the next life, or even if someone threatens me saying that he will execute my parents if I do not say ‘Namu Amida Butsu,’ and even if many great difficulties fall upon me, I will not submit to them until a man of wisdom defeats me by reason.” Other difficulties are like dust in the wind. I will never break my vow that I shall become a pillar of Japan, I shall become the eyes of Japan, and I shall become the great vessel of Japan.
(Background : February, 1272, 50 years old, at Sado, Showa Teihon, p.601)
The three great vows are stated here by Nichiren Daishonin. His salvation for all people is based on these three original oaths. Nichiren transmitted the Lord Buddha’s salvation to all people through his strong faith in the Lotus Sutra. On April 28th, 1253, at the age of thirtyone, he proclaimed his new faith which contained the fundamental principles of these vows. Because of Nichiren’s conviction concerning these oaths, he never gave up his mission even though he met countless religious persecutions. As Nichiren Buddhists seeking salvation through the teachings of the Lotus Sutra, we must understand the fundamental principles of these three vows of Nichiren. It is always true that in any religion there is no salvation without fundamental principles and diligent practice. They are the essence of Nichiren’s religion.
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