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).
“Reply to Sairen-bō”
January 28, 1273 (Age 52)
The votaries of the Lotus Sutra must neither discard their faith nor dishonestly live their lives. If they devote their lives completely to the Lotus Sutra and practice precisely as stated in the golden words of the Buddha, they will, without fail, enjoy a long and healthy life, unaffected by misfortunes and illnesses. They will achieve the ultimate supreme effect not only in their future lifetimes but also in their current lives. Moreover, they will be able to attain the great aspiration of Kōsen-rufu. (Gosho p. 642 / Selected Gosho Passages p.175)
Print or download December’s Gosho passage.
“Letter to Myōichi ama”
(Myōichi ama gozen-goshōsoku)
1275 (Age 54)
Those who maintain faith in the Lotus Sutra are as if in winter, but winter always turns to spring. Never, since ancient times, has anyone heard of or seen winter turn back to autumn. Nor have I heard of a believer in the Lotus Sutra turning back into a common mortal. (Gosho p. 832 / Selected Gosho Passages p.48)
Print or download November’s Gosho passage.
“Reply to Toki”
(Dōjōshin shugo ji)
December 13, 1276 (Age 55)
Bodhisattva Nagarjuna interpreted the single character Myo of Myoho-Renge-Kyo in the Treatise on the Great Sutra on the Perfection of Wisdom (Dai chido-ron) as follows, “It is likened to an excellent physician skillfully turning poison into medicine.” The Great Teacher Tiantai stated, “It has been affirmed in the Lotus Sutra that people of the two vehicles will attain Buddhahood without fail. This signifies the doctrine of ‘turning poison into medicine.’” Even if calamities befall you, they will be turned into happiness. (Gosho p. 1053 / Selected Gosho Passages p.226)
Print or download October Gosho Passage.
“Lessening one’s Karmic Retribution”
(Tenjū kyōju hōmon)
October 5, 1271 (Age 50)
In the Nirvana Sutra, there is a doctrine called “lessening one’s karmic retribution.” If one’s heavy negative karma accumulated since one’s past existences is not eradicated in this lifetime, then he is destined to undergo the sufferings of hell in the future. However, if he endures severe agony in this lifetime, the sufferings of hell will instantly disappear, and after his death, he will receive the benefit of reaching the states of humanity, rapture, the three vehicles, or the one vehicle of Buddhahood. (Gosho p. 480-481 / Selected Gosho Passages p.224)
Print or download September Gosho Passage.
April 12, 1276 (Age 55)
If one is unable to fulfill one’s prayer, it is not in the least the fault of the Lotus Sutra. It is like someone using a strong bow with a weak bowstring, or a coward holding a sharp sword.
(Gosho p. 975 / Selected Gosho Passages p.222)
*Rajagrha: The capital of the kingdom of Magadha in ancient India. It is currently known as Rajgir in Bihar State in India.
Print or download August Gosho passage.
(“On Securing the Peace of the Land through the Propagation of True Buddhism”)
July 16, 1260 (Age 39)
You must immediately renounce your erroneous belief and take faith in the supreme teaching of the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra. Then, this entire threefold world will become the Buddha land. How could the Buddha land ever decline? All the lands in the ten directions will transform into treasure realms. How could a treasure realm ever fall to ruin? If the nation never declines and the land is indestructible, you will find safety and peace of mind. These are the very words that you must believe and revere. (Gosho p. 250 / Selected Gosho Passages p.163)
Print or download July Gosho passage.
“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)
Print or download June Gosho passage.
“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)
Print or download May’s Gosho passage.
“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)
Print or download April’s Gosho passage.
“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)
Print or download March’s Gosho passage.
“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)
Print or download February’s Gosho passage.
“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.