“If the spirit of many in body but one in mind prevails among the people, they will achieve all their goals, whereas if one in body but different in mind, they can achieve nothing remarkable. The more than three thousand volumes of Confucian and Taoist literature are filled with examples. King Chou of Yin led seven hundred thousand soldiers into battle against King Wu of Chou and his eight hundred men.2 Yet King Chou’s army lost because of disunity while King Wu’s men defeated him because of perfect unity. Even an individual at cross purposes with himself is certain to end in failure. Yet a hundred or even a thousand people can definitely attain their goal, if they are of one mind. Though numerous, the Japanese will find it difficult to accomplish anything, because they are divided in spirit. In contrast, although Nichiren and his followers are few, because they are different in body, but united in mind, they will definitely accomplish their great mission of widely propagating the Lotus Sutra. Though evils may be numerous, they cannot prevail over a single great truth, just as many raging fires are quenched by a single shower of rain. This principle also holds true with Nichiren and his followers.
You have served the Lotus Sutra with devotion for many years, and in addition, you demonstrated remarkable resolve during the recent incidents [at Atsuhara]. Many people have mentioned this, and Hōki-bō and Sado-bō have also said so. I have listened carefully and reported everything to the god of the sun and to the Sun Goddess.
I should have replied to you earlier, but there was no one who could bring this letter to you. Āchārya Ben3 left here so quickly that I had no time to finish writing before his departure.
All of you have been wondering whether the Mongols will really attack again, but I believe that invasion is now imminent. Though the fall of our country would be deplorable, if the invasion does not take place, the Japanese people will slander the Lotus Sutra more than ever, and all of them will fall into the hell of incessant suffering. The nation may be devastated by the superior strength of the Mongols, but the slander of the correct teaching will cease almost entirely. Defeat would be like moxacautery, which cures disease, or like acupuncture, which relieves pain. Both are painful at the moment, but bring happiness later.
Nichiren is the emissary of the Lotus Sutra; the Japanese are like King Mihirakula, who eliminated Buddhism throughout Jambudvīpa. The Mongol empire may be like King Himatala, a messenger from heaven sent to punish those hostile to the votary of the Lotus Sutra. If the Japanese repent in their present existence, they will be like King Ajātashatru, who became a follower of the Buddha, cured his white leprosy, and prolonged his life by forty years; though lacking the roots of faith, he reached the first stage of security, and in his present life gained the realization that phenomena neither are born nor perish.”
Nichiren Daishonin’s writings, the principle of unity- the spirit of “Many in Body, One in Mind”- is stressed again and again. Unity starts with the individual. He writes: ‘Even an individual at cross purposes with himself is certain to end in failure.’ The Letter highlights seven broad aspects of this spirit which the Daishonin states is the Path to Victory :
The heart-to-heart bonds shared between mentor and disciple and among fellow members together make up the unchanging formula for absolute victory-victory toward kosen-rufu and in our lives as practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism. These two kinds of unity — known respectively as the “oneness of mentor and disciple” and the “unity of many in body, one in mind”—-are essential to the deepening of each individual’s faith and to the progress of kosen-rufu. The oneness of mentor and disciple and the spirit of many in body, one in mind are essentially inseparable principles; they are like the two wheels of a cart. If we do not share our mentor’s heart or spirit to realize kosen-rufu, there will be no genuine unity of purpose among our diverse membership. Nor can we be called disciples who truly embody our mentor’s spirit if we fail to cherish our harmonious community of practitioners and to make continuous efforts to forge and maintain unity. Nichiren teaches his followers that if they persevere in faith with the same spirit as his and unite in heart and mind, the goal of kosen-rufu will definitely be realized.
- Unity is the Key to Overcoming Great Obstacles
This letter was written to confirm that unity, or the spirit of many in body, one in mind, was the key to overcoming this great difficulty. In terms of Buddhism, the core of “being one in mind” is faith based on the oneness of mentor and disciple— that is, each person taking kosen-rufu, the Buddha’s will and intent, as a personal mission and actively working for its realization. For disciples to take on challenges and strive to win with the same spirit as their teacher is the essence of the spirit of many in body, one in mind. Only when we each bring forth the wisdom of our enlightened Buddha nature can we truly actualize the unity of many in body, one in mind as taught in Nichiren Buddhism. Because we rise above our attachment to self and reveal our highest potential and individuality, the path of many in body, one in mind becomes a path for absolute victory. Here, we should also remember that, through manifesting the wisdom of our Buddha nature, we can break free from the fundamental darkness or ignorance that would keep us trapped in the paths of evil and suffering.
From an organizational perspective, vital to maintaining the condition of many in body, one in mind is the attitude of leaders. This may seem somewhat contradictory, but unity begins with a central figure taking a solitary stand. History teaches us that there is no true or lasting unity under arrogant leaders. Only sycophants skilled in the arts of flattery and subterfuge remained around him. In terms of our efforts, everything begins with leaders rising into action with a stand-alone spirit to empower the people. Sharing that ideal, our member join together for its realization, and with unshakable unity of purpose, they rise up to confront and defeat evil. This could be called the formula for the victory of the people in the realm of kosen rufu.
- The Importance of Building a United Organization
Let us forever engrave in our lives the motto: Win through perfect unity. With this resolve, let’s continue to build a united organization through our faith and our concerted efforts, and create a rhythm of unceasing victory.
- True Unity Begins With a fundamental Change in One’s Own Resolve
As we strive to accomplish human revolution while working to forge the unity of many in body, one in mind, we can conquer our attachment to self and establish faith based on the selfless spirit of “valuing the Law more highly than our own lives.” Making the Law the basis of our practice is the true essence of the spirit of many in body, one in mind.
- The Condition of Many in Body, One in Mind Is Proof of the Victory of Kosen-rufu
The many examples of powerful unity evident in our Soka Gakkai activities give eloquent testimony to the success of our kosen-rufu movement and are the essence of its growth and development. In other words, unity of purpose in the realm of faith is not only the key to victory but also the proof of that victory. All those who vibrantly unite in the spirit of many in body, one in mind based on the Mystic Law blossom as victorious “human flowers”. Victory in the realm of Buddhism equals victory in all areas of life.
- The Single Great Truth to the Mystic Law
In this writing, Nichiren Daishonin and his followers —- who manifest the power of the Mystic Law, battle slander and persecution, and advance the cause of kosen-rufu—- are described as representing “a single great truth”. This is because the Mystic Law represents a single truth, or ultimate good, that links all life and phenomena and can vanquish evil. The world is counting on our united efforts to forge an alliance of people dedicated to good. Let us advance with pride and confidence, and write a history of truly brilliant achievement.