“The Gohonzon was never known, let alone inscribed, by anyone in the Former or Middle Day of the Law. The lion king is said to advance three steps, then gather himself to spring, unleashing the same power whether he traps a tiny ant or attacks a fierce animal. In inscribing this Gohonzon for her protection, Nichiren was like the lion king. This is what the sutra means by “the power [of the Buddhas] that has the lion’s ferocity.”1 Believe in this mandala with all your heart. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is like the roar of a lion. What sickness can therefore be an obstacle?
It is written that those who embrace the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra will be protected by the Mother of Demon Children and by the ten demon daughters. Such persons will enjoy the happiness of the wisdom king Craving-Filled and the good fortune of the heavenly king Vaishravana. Wherever your daughter may frolic or play, no harm will come to her; she will move about without fear like the lion king. Among the ten demon daughters, the protection of Kuntī is the most profound. But your faith alone will determine all these things. A sword is useless in the hands of a coward. The mighty sword of the Lotus Sutra must be wielded by one courageous in faith. Then one will be as strong as a demon armed with an iron staff. I, Nichiren, have inscribed my life in sumi ink, so believe in the Gohonzon with your whole heart. The Buddha’s will is the Lotus Sutra, but the soul of Nichiren is nothing other than Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Miao-lo states in his commentary that the heart of this sutra is the revelation of the Buddha’s original enlightenment and his immeasurable life span.2“
This brief letter was written addressed to Kyō’ō, Shijō Kingo’s infant daughter. This letter was written in response to news that Kyō’ō had become seriously ill. At this time the Daishonin was living in exile on Sado Island.
The Daishonin explains the significance of the Gohonzon, the object of devotion. At the Tatsunokuchi Persecution in 1271, the Daishoninrevealed his identity as the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law. Only after this did he begin to inscribe the Gohonzon and bestow it on his followers, particularly those who had staunch faith in his teachings.
In this letter, the Daishonin reveals that the Gohonzon is the very entity of his life, and that it possesses the tremendous power of the Buddha and the power of the Law. The boundless benefits of the Gohonzon will surely cure Kyō’ō’s sickness and urges Kingo and his wife to believe firmly in the Gohonzon.