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Single-mindedly desiring to see the Buddha” may be read as follows: single-mindedly observing the Buddha, concentrating one’s mind on seeing the Buddha, and when looking at one’s own mind, perceiving that it is the Buddha. Having attained the fruit of Buddhahood, the eternally inherent three bodies, I may surpass even T’ien-t’ai and Dengyō, and excel even Nāgārjuna and Mahākāshyapa. The Buddha wrote that one should become the master of one’s mind rather than let one’s mind master oneself.4 This is what I mean when I emphatically urge you to give up even your body, and never begrudge even your life for the sake of the Lotus Sutra. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo,Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.


 

This letter was written at Ichinosawa on Sado Island in the fifth month, 1273, to Gijō-bō, who had been the Daishonin’s senior at Seichō-ji templein Awa Province. Nearly a month earlier, Nichiren Daishonin had written The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind, in which he had explained both the object of devotion in terms of the Law and the correct practice for attaining enlightenment in the Latter Day. This letter briefly restates the profound contents of The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind.

Nichiren Daishonin says that, of all the chapters of the Lotus Sutra, the “Life Span” chapter is particularly important to him. He quotes a passage, “ . . . single-mindedly desiring to see the Buddha . . . ,” and notes, “As a result of this passage, I have revealed the Buddhahood in my own life.” He declares that in his capacity as the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law he has realized and embodied Nam-myoho-renge-kyo of the Three Great Secret Laws, which is implied in the depths of the “Life Span” chapter.

This is one of the earliest references in his writings to the Three Great Secret Laws: the invocation (Nam-myoho-renge-kyo), the object of devotion (the Gohonzon), and the place of worship (the sanctuary).

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