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 Emperor Sushun”
September 11, 1277 (Age 56)
It is extremely rare to be born a human being. The chances can be likened to the amount of soil that one can place on a fingernail. Furthermore, it is difficult to maintain one’s life, which is as transient as morning dew on grass. It is more important to live with honor for even a single day, than to live for 120 years, but die in disgrace. (Gosho p. 1173 / Selected Gosho Passages p.178)
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“Questions and Answers between a Sage and a Foolish Man”
1268 (Age 47)
By the single practice of taking faith in Myoho-Renge-Kyo, there are no benefits that will not be drawn to you, and there are no benefits that will fail to come, and no good causes that will fail to be accumulated. These examples illustrate that although the number of meshes in a net is immeasurable, when one pulls the line, all the meshes will be pulled together, and that although the number of threads is innumerable, when one pulls the corner of a piece of cloth, all other threads will be pulled along with it. (Gosho p. 408 / Selected Gosho Passages p.134)
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“The Doctrine of Ichinen Sanzen”
(“Ichinen sanzen hōmon”)
1258 (Age 37)
When one chants Myoho-Renge-Kyo, the Buddhahood inherent in one’s life will be manifested. Those who have the opportunity to hear it will be able to eradicate their negative karma that has been accumulating for infinite asamkhya kalpas. Those [who hear Myoho-Renge- Kyo] and rejoice for even a single life-moment, will attain Buddhahood in their present form. Even if they hear it but do not believe in it, this constitutes the sowing of the seed of Buddhahood. Thus, the sown seed will become mature and enable one to attain Buddhahood without fail. (Gosho p. 109 / Selected Gosho Passages p.253)
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“The True Entity of All Phenomena”
May 17, 1273 (Age 52)
Strive forth in the two ways of practice and study. If practice and study are neglected, then Buddhism will cease to exist. You should practice for yourself and lead others to this teaching. Both practice and study originate from faith. You must propagate to others with all your might, even if it is only a single sentence or phrase. (Gosho p. 668 / Selected Gosho Passages p.207)
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“Letter to Chikugo-bo in the Cave Prison”
October 9, 1271 (Age 50)
When all others practice the Lotus Sutra, they read it with their mouths but do not believe it in their hearts. And even if they believe it in their hearts, they do not put it into action. You are upholding the sutra with both body and mind. How admirable! (Gosho p. 483 / Selected Gosho Passages p.212)
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“On the Transmission of the Three Great Secret Laws”
April 8, 1282 (Age 61)
Although Bodhisattva Vasubandhu and Nagarjuna themselves chanted the Daimoku during the Former Day of the Law, they did so to practice for themselves only. During the Middle Day of the Law, Nanyue, Tiantai, and others did chant the Daimoku; however, they did it only for the sake of their own practice and not for teaching others. This type of Daimoku was practiced based on the theory. Now, in the Latter Day of the Law, the Daimoku that Nichiren chants is different from that of previous ages. It is the Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo of the practice for oneself, and the practice for others. (Gosho p. 1594 / Selected Gosho Passages p.31)
Print or download January’s Gosho passage.