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).
The True Entity of All Phenomena
May 17, 1273 (Age 53)
Whatever may happen, you now must practice assiduously, maintain your faith as a votary of the Lotus Sutra, and be a follower of Nichiren throughout your life. If your mind is one with Nichiren, you must be one of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Because you are a Bodhisattva of the Earth, there is no doubt that you are a disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha from the inconceivably remote past of kuon. This is what is meant when the sutra expounds, “I have taught and led these people since the inconceivably remote past of kuon.” In the Latter Day of the Law, there are no inequalities among those who propagate Myoho-Renge-Kyo, be they men or women. Without the advent of the Bodhisattva of the Earth, they could not chant the Daimoku.
(Gosho p. 666 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly September 2023)
Print or download 2023 September Gosho passage.
Reply to Shijo Kingo
(Shijo kingo dono-gohenji
June 27, 1276 (Age 55)
No greater happiness and comfort exist for all people than to chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. The sutra states: “Where living beings enjoy themselves at ease.” This phrase, [“enjoy themselves at ease”], describes the state of “enjoying one’s life of enlightenment and experiencing the joy of the Law.” How can you not be included in “living beings?” This location [designated by “where”] is all of Jambudvipa. Japan exists within this Jambudvipa world. Happiness and comfort signify that, in body and mind and in our existence and environment, we are manifestations of ichinen sanzen (three-thousand realms in a single life-moment) and the Buddha endowed with the property of perfect wisdom. No greater happiness and comfort exist than to uphold the Lotus Sutra. This is what is meant by enjoying “peace and security in this lifetime and good circumstances in the next.” (Gosho p. 991 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly August 2023)
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A Comparison between the Lotus Sutra and Other Sutras
(Shokyo to hokekyo to nan’i no koto)
May 26, 1280 (Age 59)
Since the doctrines of Kobo, Jikaku, and Chisho have been widely accepted, this truth [of the Lotus Sutra] has been obscured in Japan for over four hundred years. It is like exchanging a gemstone for a piece of gravel or selling off sandalwood as common lumber. When Buddhism becomes corrupted, society becomes defiled and chaotic. Buddhism is like the body and society like the shadow. When the body is twisted, so is the shadow. Fortunately, my disciples are able to follow the Buddha’s will and naturally flow into the sarvajna ocean of profound wisdom. The Buddhist scholars in society will suffer, since they will sink into the sea of sufferings, as they believe in the teachings expounded according to the capacity of the people.
(Gosho p. 1469 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly July 2023)
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Questions and Answers on Embracing the Lotus Sutra
(Jimyo hokke mondo-sho)
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 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly June 2023)
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On Great Evil and Great Good
1275 (Age 54)
Great events will not be preceded by small omens. When great evil occurs, great good will follow. Since immense slander already exists throughout the land, the supreme, true Law will definitely extend throughout the land. What causes you all to lament? Though you may not be the revered Mahakashyapa, you should dance for joy. Though you may not be Shariputra, you should stand up and dance. Bodhisattva Jogyo, as he emerged from the earth, danced joyfully. When Bodhisattva Universally Worthy made his advent, he caused the ground to shake in six different ways.
(Gosho p. 796 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly May 2023)
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On Emperor Sushun
September 11, 1277
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. You must live your life so that the people of Kamakura will sing your praise that Nakatsukasa Saburo saemon-no-jo is positively attentive and diligent in serving his lord, in his service of Buddhism, and in his concern for those in society. Be mindful of this. The treasures of the body are superior to the treasures of the storehouse. And the treasures of the heart are superior to those of the body and are the most valuable. After you read this letter, you must strive to amass the treasures of the heart.
(Gosho p. 1173 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly April 2023)
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Reply to the Wife of Abutsu-bo
(Abutsu-bo ama gozen-gohenji
September 3, 1275 (Age 54)
You must make a pledge to achieve the great aspiration for kosen-rufu and pray for your attainment of enlightenment. There is no doubt that one will fall into the hell of incessant suffering, if one commits a slight slander or harbors disbelief. For example, even if a boat sailing across the ocean is sturdy, all the passengers surely will die together if bilge water accumulates. Even if the embankments of a filled rice paddy are firm, the water eventually will leak if there is an opening even as small as an ant hole. Therefore, you must bail out the bilge water of slander and disbelief, and build a strong embankment for your faith. If the offense of a believer is minor, you should take the initiative to forgive him and enable him to attain benefits. If it is grave, you should encourage him to strengthen his faith so that he can expiate the offense.
(Gosho p. 906 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly March 2023)
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The Selection of the Time
June 10, 1275 (Age 54)
Single droplets of water accumulate to form the great seas. Specks of dust pile high to form Mount Sumeru. When I, Nichiren, initially took faith in the Lotus Sutra, I was like the first drop of water and the first particle of dust in the entire nation of Japan. When two, three, ten, then hundreds, thousands, ten thousand, and a hundred million people begin to chant the Lotus Sutra, they will form a Mount Sumeru of perfect enlightenment and the vast sea of great nirvana. You must not seek any other means to attain Buddhahood.
(Gosho p. 868 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly February 2023)
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The Punishment of Exile to Sado Island
Early October 1271 (Age 50)
I have believed that the path to becoming a Buddha entails encountering some great trial that will cause one to risk his life, and only then can he become a Buddha. Already, as the sutra expounds, I have been cursed and spoken ill of, assaulted with swords, staves, tiles, and stones, and banished from places again and again. That I have experienced these circumstances shows that I have read the Lotus Sutra [with my entire life]. Thus, my faith is all the more empowered and my conviction increases about my existences in the future.
(Gosho p. 482 / Nichiren Shoshu Monthly January 2023)
Print or download January 2023 Gosho passage.