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 Persecutions Befalling the Buddha”
“Shonin gonan ji”
October 1, 1279 (Age 58)
The four kinds of punishment consist of the general and individual, and the conspicuous and inconspicuous. The great epidemics and national famines, the extensive uprisings, and the foreign invasion occurring in Japan are general punishment. Epidemics are also a form of inconspicuous punishment. [The deaths experienced by] Ota and the others represent conspicuous and individual punishment. Each one of you must summon up the spirit of the lion king and never cower to those who may threaten you in any way. The lion king is never intimidated by even a hundred beasts, and the same is true of its cubs. [Those who slander] are like howling jackals, while the followers of Nichiren are like roaring lions.
(Gosho p. 1397 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly Dec. 2020)
Print or download December’s Gosho.
“Reply to Soya”
August 2, 1276 (Age 55)
Trying to attain enlightenment without admonishing slander of the Law is like seeking water in fire or fire in water. How useless! No matter how earnestly one upholds faith in the Lotus Sutra, a single act of slander will cause one to fall into hell without fail. It is like a single crab leg, which can ruin a thousand pots of lacquer. This is what is meant by, “The poison has penetrated deeply, causing them to lose their true mind.”
(Gosho p. 1040 / Selected Gosho Passages p. 194)
Print or download November’s Gosho.
“On Securing the Peace of the Land Through the Propagation of True Buddhism”
July 16, 1260 (Age 39)
When I, with my limited knowledge, read the sutras, I find that all people have gone against the correct Law and become wholly devoted to evil doctrines. This is why all the guardian deities have abandoned this country and sages have left this land, not to return. Seizing this opportunity, devils and demons rush in, bringing disasters and calamities. This is most fearful. We must speak out!
(Gosho p. 234 / Selected Gosho Passages p. 257)
Print or download October’s Gosho.
“On Practicing According to the Buddha’s Teachings”
May 1273 (Age 52)
The fifth Five-hundred-year Period, which corresponds to the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law, is the time when the pure and perfect teaching of the single truth of the Lotus Sutra is to be propagated throughout the world. [As precisely predicted by the Buddha], this is the age of conflict, when the pure Law will become obscured and lost, and the Lotus Sutra and pre-Lotus Sutra teachings are confused. (omit) In the present time of the Latter Day of the Law, the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings are the enemies of the Lotus Sutra. When the teaching of the one vehicle of Buddhahood is spread, all the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings become its enemies. When the Lotus Sutra and pre-Lotus Sutra teachings are confused, you first should refute the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings using the true Mahayana. Of the two practices of shoju and shakubuku, this is called shakubuku, based on the Lotus Sutra.
(Gosho p. 672-673 / Selected Gosho Passages p. 274-275)
Print or download September’s Gosho.
“On the Transmission of the Three Great Secret Laws”
“Sandai hiho bonjo no koto”
April 8, 1282 (Age 61)
There are two types of Daimoku: the Daimoku chanted during the Former and Middle Days of the Law, and the Daimoku to be chanted during the Latter Day of the Law. Although Bodhisattvas 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 [in order to observe one’s mind] based on the theory [elucidated in the surface meaning of the words]. 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 August’s Gosho.
“Letter to Ni’ike”
December 1280 (Age 59)
It is said that the Kankucho bird in the Snow Mountains suffers from the cold at night and cries out it will build a nest after dawn. But when the sun rises, it is lulled to sleep in the warmth of the morning sun, and again, does not build its nest. For its whole life, it keeps screeching in vain. The same applies to humans. Upon falling into hell, we suffer in anguish in raging fires, yearning to be reborn as a human so that we can make offerings to the three treasures before everything else and attain enlightenment in the future. However, when we happen to be reborn as a human, the wind of desire for fame and fortune blows fiercely, easily extinguishing our light of determination for Buddhist practice.
(Gosho p. 1457 / Selected Gosho Passages p.233)
Print or download July’s Gosho.
“Reply to Nichinyo gozen”
June 25, 1278 (Age 57)
It is said that the Yellow River becomes clear once in a thousand years. It is said that a sage makes his advent only once in a thousand years. A Buddha is said to be born only once in innumerable kalpas. Even if you encounter the Buddha, it is difficult to encounter the Lotus Sutra. And even if you encounter the Lotus Sutra, it is still more difficult for common mortals like us, who were born in the Latter Day of the Law, to encounter the votary of the Lotus Sutra.
(Gosho p. 1232 / Selected Gosho Passages p.8)
Print or download June’s Gosho.
“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 kosen-rufu.
(Gosho p. 642 / Selected Gosho Passages p.175)
Print or download May’s Gosho.
“Reply to Shijō Kingo”
“Shijō Kingo dono-gohenji”
1272 (Age 51)
The Lotus Sutra states:
“If, after my passing, there are good men and good women, and one among them secretly preaches the entire Lotus Sutra or a phrase of it to even one other person, then you should know that this individual, indeed, is an envoy of the Tathagata. As the Tathagata’s envoy, he carries out compassionate action in his stead.”
A person who recites even a character or a phrase of the Lotus Sutra and also preaches it to others is an envoy of Lord Shakyamuni.
(Gosho p. 620 / Selected Gosho Passages p.186)
Print or download April’s Gosho.
“Reply to Hyo’e-sakan”
“Hyo’e sakan dono-gohenji”
November 20, 1277 (Age 56)
Even if one has upheld faith in the Lotus Sutra for immeasurable kalpas, one cannot attain enlightenment [if one abandons his faith in the face of the three obstacles and four devils]. Changes certainly occur when the high tide yields to low tide, when the moon rises and sets, when summer gives way to autumn, or winter turns to spring. The same is true when a common mortal attains Buddhahood. At a critical moment, he definitely will encounter the three obstacles and four devils. The wise will rejoice, while the foolish will retreat.
(Gosho p. 1184 / Selected Gosho Passages p.236)
Print or download March’s Gosho.
“On the Buddha’s Behavior”
1276 (Age 55)
The five characters of Myoho-Renge-Kyo are the core of the Lotus Sutra and the origin of all Buddhas throughout the entire world. Upon seeing the signs that these five characters now must be propagated, I, Nichiren, have set the precedent, today, at the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law.
My disciples, you must follow one after another and become greater than Mahakashyapa or Ananda and, moreover, surpass even the Great Teacher Tiantai or Dengyo.
(Gosho p. 1057 / Selected Gosho Passages p.174)
Print or download February’s Gosho.
“On the Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life and Death
“Shoji ichidaiji kechimyaku-shō”
February 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)
Print or download January’s Gosho.