Gosho: The individual and collective writings of Nichiren Daishonin, True Buddha and founder of Nichiren Shoshu. Goshos are generally divided into letters of personal encouragement, treatises on Buddhism and recorded oral teachings. Go is an honorific prefix and sho means writing(s).
“On the Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life and Death” “Shōji ichidaiji Kechimyaku shō”
Feb. 11, 1272 (Age 51)
All disciples and believers of Nichiren should chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo with the spirit of many in body, one in mind, overcoming all differences among themselves, just like fish being inseparable from the water in which they swim. This is called the heritage of the ultimate Law of life and death. This is also what Nichiren is trying to propagate now in the Latter Day of the Law. When you are so united, even the great aspiration for kōsen-rufu can be fulfilled without fail. (Gosho p. 514 / Selected Gosho Passages p.205)
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“Reply to Kyo-o”
August 15, 1273 (Age 52)
I, Nichiren, with sumi ink, have infused my life into the Gohonzon. So believe in it. The will of the Buddha is the Lotus Sutra, but the spirit of Nichiren is nothing other than Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. (Gosho p.685 / Selected Gosho Passage p.25)
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“On Attaining Buddhahood”
1255 (Age 34)
Even a tarnished mirror will shine like a jewel when it is polished. Likewise, a mind that is presently clouded by illusions originating from the fundamental darkness of life is like a tarnished mirror. Yet, once it is polished, it will become a clear mirror of absolute truth. Arouse deep faith and polish your mirror night and day without neglect. How should you polish it? You should do so by single-mindedly chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. (Gosho p.46 / Selected Gosho Passages p. 223)
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“The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra”
Oct. 23, 1279 (Age 58)
No matter how earnestly Nichiren prays for you, if you lack faith, it will be like trying to set fire to wet tinder. Spur yourself to muster the power of faith… Employ the strategy of the Lotus Sutra before any other. (“Shijō Kingo Dono Gohenji” Gosho p.1407)
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“Questions and Answers on Embracing the Lotus Sutra”
1263 (Age 42)
If you seek to become a Buddha, you should lay down the banner of arrogance, cast away the stave of anger, and devote yourself solely to the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra. Fame and honor are nothing more than decorations in this life. Arrogance and attachment to biased views are hindrances in attaining Buddhahood in your future existences. You should be ashamed of them. You should fear them. (Gosho p.296 / Selected Gosho Passages p. 242)
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“The Difficulty of Sustaining Faith”
Mar. 6, 1275 (Age 54)
This is what the Lotus Sutra refers to in the passage, “the most difficult to believe and the most difficult to understand.” Many people accept the Lotus Sutra upon hearing it. However, it is rare to find those who “remember and never forget what they have been taught” when the great hardships that they have heard about actually befall them. Accepting is easy, but continuing is difficult. Even so, one must maintain one’s faith in order to attain Buddhahood. (Gosho p. 775 / Selected Gosho Passages p. 56)
Print or download February’s Gosho passage.
“The Three Kinds of Treasure”
September 11, 1277 (Age 56)
More valuable than treasures in a storehouse are the treasures of the body, and the treasures of the heart are the most valuable of all. From the time you read this letter on, strive to accumulate the treasures of the heart.
(“Sushun Tennō Gosho” Gosho p. 1173)
Print or download January’s Gosho passage.