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 Myoichi ama
(Myoichi ama gozen-gohenji)
May 18, 1280 (Age 59)
That which we call faith is not particularly exceptional. We should place our faith in the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni, Taho, and all the Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and guardian deities of the ten directions, and we should chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, just as a wife cherishes her husband, as a man would give his life for his wife, as parents would never forsake their children, and as a child would never leave his mother’s side. This is what we refer to as faith. Furthermore, you should be mindful of the sutra passages, “Honestly discarding expedient means” and “Not accepting a single verse of the other sutras,” and never forsake them, just as a woman would never dispose of her mirror and a man would always carry his sword.
(Gosho p. 1467 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly December 2022)
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Reply to Shijo Kingo
(Shijo kingo dono-gohenji)
March 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. Those who uphold this sutra must be prepared to undergo hardships. However, there is no doubt that, “they will be able to instantly attain the unsurpassed Buddha way.”
To uphold this sutra means to indelibly etch into one’s heart Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, which is the most precious to all the Buddhas of the three existences.
(Gosho p. 775 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly November 2022)
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1272 (Age 51)
Even if one missed while pointing at the earth, even if one tied up the sky, even if the ebb and flow of the tide ceased, and even if the sun rose in the west, the prayers of the votary of the Lotus Sutra would never be unanswered. If, by an unlikely chance of a thousand to one, all the bodhisattvas, the human and heavenly beings, the eight kinds of lowly beings, the two sages, the two heavenly deities, and the ten demon goddess daughters fail to emerge to protect him, they will be committing the offenses of disparaging Shakyamuni and all the other Buddhas above and of betraying those of the nine worlds below. The practitioners may always be insincere; lacking in wisdom; impure as persons; and not in possession of virtues from practicing the precepts. Even so, those practitioners will be protected, without fail, as long as they chant Nam-Myoho-Renge- Kyo.
(Gosho p. 630 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly October 2022)
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The Tripitaka Master Shan Wu Wei
1270 (Age 49)
Even if words are strict, if they can help the people, then they can be true and compassionate. On the contrary, even if words sound compassionate, if they ruin people’s lives, then they can be false and destructive. Although people think that doctrines elucidated by present scholars are true and compassionate, they actually are destructive and false. This is because they go against the Lotus Sutra, which expounds the Buddha’s true intention. Nichiren states that those who chant the Nembutsu will fall into the hell of incessant suffering, and that Zen and Shingon are also erroneous sects. This may sound severe; however, it is true and compassionate.
(Gosho p. 445 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly September 2022)
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An Offering of Polished Rice
1280 (Age 59)
The word “Nam” is placed at the beginning of a phrase in order to venerate and worship any god or Buddha. To explain it, this word is derived from Sanskrit, and is translated as “devotion” in China and Japan. It means to offer one’s life to the Buddha. Depending upon one’s position in society, some people may have a wife and children, retainers, a manor, gold and silver, and so on while others may not. Whether or not one possesses these treasures, there is no treasure more precious than one’s life. That is why sages and wise men in the past have offered their lives to the Buddha and thereby attained enlightenment.
(Gosho p. 1544 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly August 2022)
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Letter to Nichigon-ama
(Nichigon-ama gozen gohenji)
Nov. 29, 1280 (Age 59)
Your faith will determine whether or not your prayers come true. I, Nichiren, am not at fault in any way. Clear water will reflect the moon, and the trees will sway when the wind blows. The hearts of people are like the water. Weak faith will manifest like muddy water; however, steadfast faith will be like clear water. You should realize that the trees are comparable to the principles [of Buddhism], and the wind that causes them to sway is like the recitation of the sutra.
(Gosho p. 1519 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly July 2022)
Print or download July Gosho.
Letter to Chikugo-bo in the Cave Prison
Oct. 9, 1271 (Age 50)
Tomorrow, I, Nichiren will depart for the province of Sado. Tonight, as I feel the cold, it pains me to think of how it must be for you in prison. You are an admirable man to have read the Lotus Sutra in its entirety, with both your body and mind. In doing so, you will effectively be able to save your father and mother, the six types of kin, and all mankind. 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 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly June 2022)
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Reply to Kyo-o
Aug. 15, 1273 (Age 52)
The lion, the king of beasts, will take three steps forward and one step back, to prepare to spring forth, releasing the same force whether it goes after a tiny ant or strikes out at a ferocious animal. I, Nichiren, am in no way inferior to the lion king, in inscribing this Gohonzon for your protection. This is what is meant by the words of the sutra: “the power of…the lion’s ferocity.” You should believe in this mandala with the utmost sincerity. Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is comparable to the roar of a lion. What illness could possibly hinder you? It is said that the Demon Goddess (Skt. Hariti; Jpn. Kishimojin) and her Ten Demon Goddess Daughters (Skt. Rakshashi; Jpn. Jurasetsunyo) will protect those who uphold the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra.
(Gosho p. 685 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly May 2022)
Repaying Debts of Gratitude
Jul. 21, 1276 (Age 55)
This is a matter of foremost importance concerning Buddhism. In examining the sutras, based on my humble perspective, I see that those who claim that there is a sutra superior to the Lotus Sutra, regardless of who they may be, cannot avoid the blame that they have slandered the Law. Thus, if we follow what is stated in the sutra, how can people such as these not be regarded as enemies of the Buddha? If I am fearful and fail to point out this fact, then the distinctions of superiority and inferiority among the entirety of the sutras will have been made in vain.
(Gosho p. 1003 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly Apr. 2022)
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The Passing of Ishikawa’s Daughter
(Reply to Ueno, Ueno dono-gohenji)
Apr. 1, 1278 (Age 57)
Now, in the Latter Day of the Law, neither the Lotus Sutra nor the other sutras have the power to save the people. Only Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo can lead all people to Buddhahood. This is not just my own interpretation. It is the judgment of Shakyamuni Buddha, Taho Buddha, and all the Buddhas in the ten directions as well as the innumerable Bodhisattvas of the Earth. It is a grave offense to mix Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo with other teachings. After the sun has risen, of what use is a lamp? When rain falls, are not dewdrops superfluous? Would a mother feed her newborn infant anything other than her own milk? With good medicine, it is not necessary to add any other ingredients. Although Ishikawa’s daughter possessed no special knowledge of the teachings, she naturally practiced this profound principle and upheld the true Law, sincerely chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo at the final moment of her life. How admirable!
(Gosho, p. 1219; The Gosho of Nichiren Daishonin-1, pp. 33, 35)
Print or download March Gosho.
On Persecutions Befalling the Buddha
(Shonin gonan ji)
Oct. 1, 1279 (Age 58)
In this county [Nagasa], there is a temple named Seichoji. Facing toward the south, inside the Jibutsudo hall of the Shobutsubo, I first spoke about the doctrine [Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo] at noon on the twenty-eighth day of the fourth month in the fifth year of Kencho (1253). Twenty-seven years have passed since then and it is currently the second year of Koan (1279). It took Shakyamuni Buddha forty-odd years, the Great Teacher Tiantai thirty-odd years, and the Great Teacher Dengyo twenty-odd years to accomplish the purpose of their advent. The great and severe persecutions that befell them during those years are indescribable. I, Nichiren, already have discussed this matter with you. It has taken me twenty-seven years.
(Gosho p. 1396 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly Feb. 2022)
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On Practicing according to the Buddha’s Teachings
May 1273 (Age 52)
“The Lotus Sutra is the teaching of shakubuku, the refutation of the provisional doctrines.” Since these are the golden words [of the Buddha], eventually every person who clings to the provisional teachings will surrender [to the true Law] and become a follower of the King of the Law. Then, all the people throughout this world will discard the provisional teachings and take faith in the one vehicle of Buddhahood. When the mystic Law (Myoho) alone prevails in the land and the entire nation chants Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, the wind will blow gently without causing the branches to rustle, and the rain will fall softly without breaking a clod. The world will become like the times of Fuxi and Shennong. The people will be able to drive away disasters and misfortune and gain the ability to live long lives. The principle of the eternity and immortality of both the person and the Law will be revealed. Be assured that all of these events will occur. There is no doubt about the written evidence [in the sutra] of, “peace and security in this lifetime.”
(Gosho p. 1388 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly Jan. 2022)
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