QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON NICHIREN SHOSHU BASICS OF PRACTICE
MYOKYO MAGAZINE
DECEMBER 2014, PP. 14-17
Nichiren Daishonin encountered what is called the “four great persecutions and countless minor persecutions.” (Each of the four great persecutions almost cost him his life.) Since the Daishonin propagated the correct Law through shakubuku, priests of other sects and government officials persecuted him repeatedly. The four great persecutions are: the Izu exile, the Komatsubara persecution, the Tatsunokuchi persecution, and the Sado exile.
The Komatsubara Persecution
In Tojo no go, Awa province (southern part of Chiba prefecture), the Daishonin’s home town, there was a conflict over land between Ryokeno ama, a disciple of his, and Tojo Kagenobu, the lord of the area. Ryokeno ama asked the Daishonin for guidance about how to solve the problem. Due to the Daishonin’s prayer and guidance, Ryokeno ama won the court battle. Tojo Kagenobu, whose faith in Nembutsu was refuted by Nichiren Daishonin, held an increasingly strong grudge against him. The Daishonin described the situation in this way:
The land of Tojo is blocked so that I cannot enter. As a result, I have not been able to pay a visit to the grave of my parents for several years. (Gosho, p.1264)
Although Kagenobu tried to prevent the Daishonin from visiting the area, in the fall of the first year of Bun’ei (1264), the Daishonin heard the news of his mother Myoren’s sickness and returned to Awa province to take care of her. He knew that this might endanger his life. After his prayers caused Myoren to recover, the Daishonin remained in Awa province and propagated the true teaching with Rengeji Temple as his headquarters. As a result, many people came to take faith in the true Law.
Meanwhile, when Kagenobu learned of the Daishonin’s return, he waited for a chance to attack him. On November 11, 1264, Kudo Yoshitaka, who was a lord of Amatsu and a believer of true Buddhism, invited Nichiren Daishonin to his house, so the Daishonin headed there with about ten disciples. On the way, he was attacked by several hundred Nembutsu believers. The Daishonin’s disciple Kyonin bo was killed on the spot. Kudo Yoshitaka was seriously wounded. The Daishonin also received a severe wound on the right side of his forehead, and his left arm was broken. On the statues of the Daishonin in the Mieido and Kyakuden at the Head Temple, the scar from this wound appears.
The Appearance of the Practitioner of the Lotus Sutra
The Encouraging Devotion (Kanji; thirteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra describes practitioners of the Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law:
After the Buddha has passed into extinction, in an age of fear and evil we will preach far and wide. There will be many ignorant people who will curse and speak ill of us and will attack us with swords and staves,… (Hokekyo, p.375; Lotus Sutra, Watson, p.193)
Since the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra propagate the correct Law, it is said that they will receive various kinds of persecutions, such as being vilified, attacked with swords or sticks, and so on. The Komatsubara Persecution is the precise proof of this prediction in the Lotus Sutra. The fact that the Daishonin propagated the correct Law and was attacked by weapons such as swords proves that he is the true practitioner of the Lotus Sutra.
Repaying our Debt of Gratitude
The Lotus Sutra clearly states that “the person who propagates the Lotus Sutra will encounter hardships” Nichiren Daishonin understood this very well. Despite knowing that he would encounter hardships, he propagated Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo in order to save the people in the Latter Day of the Law. Therefore, we should never forget that we can practice this faith only because of the Daishonin’s great compassion. In order to repay our debt of gratitude to him, we should strive to do vigorous morning and evening Gongyo every day and exert our best efforts in doing shakubuku.

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