A Letter to the Religious Abutsu
The 13th day of the third month of the 9th year of Bun.ei , at 50 years of age
I have finished reading through your letter attentively. Well now, as offerings for the stupa made of precious materials, there was one string of a thousand coins, some white rice, and various other gifts, all of which I received intact. To this effect, I have respectfully made it known to the Fundamental Object of Veneration (gohonzon) and the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). So please set your mind at rest.
In your letter you ask, “What is the significance of the stupa made of precious materials of the Tathāgata Abundant Treasure (Tahō Nyorai, Prabhūtaratna) springing up into view out of the earth?”
This gateway to the Dharma is a matter of grave importance. The Universal Teacher Tendai (T’ien T’ai), in the eighth fascicle of his Textual Explanations of the Dharma Flower (Hokke Mongu) said, in regard to this stupa made of precious materials, that there are two ways of seeing its significance. One is as a testimony to the truth of the theoretical doctrine, and the other, as a pointer to what was to come afterwards.
[A stupa is a representation of the Dharma realm, which in the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) can only imply its Utterness.]
The testimony to the truth refers to the temporary gateway, and what was to come afterwards indicated the original gateway. Or, if you like, the closed stupa refers to the temporary gateway, and what was to come afterwards stands for the original gateway. These are in fact the two dharmas of the objective realm and the subjective insight of the original terrain. Since this is getting very involved, I shall put it aside for now.
What this really comes down to is that, when the hearers of the voice of the Buddha [who were enlightened by one of the three modes of the teaching in the Dharma Flower] were actually listening to the sutra, they saw it in their own minds in terms of the stupa made of precious materials.
[The three modes of the teaching in the Dharma Flower were i) through the Dharma itself, ii) through metaphors and parables, or iii) through references to the lives of the Buddhas in the past.]
It is also just the same with the disciples and supporters of Nichiren at the present time. In the final period of the Dharma of Shākyamuni (mappō), there is no stupa made of precious materials other than the configurations of the men and women who hold to the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō). Without making any distinction between the honourable and the humble or the higher and the lowly, the people who recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō are those whose persons are that of the Tathāgata Abundant Treasure (Tahō Nyorai, Prabhūtaratna).
Outside of Myōhō Renge Kyō, the Sutra on the White Lotus Flower-like Mechanism of the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō), the stupa made of precious materials does not exist. The title and the theme of the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) is the stupa made of precious materials. This stupa made of precious materials is also Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō
[This is the consecration and founding of our lives on the vertical threads of the sutra, into which is woven the simultaneousness of the Utterness of existence.]
Now, the whole person of the saintly Abutsu is composed of the five universal elements of earth, water, fire, wind, and relativity (kū, shūnyatā). These five universal elements are the five ideograms for the title and the theme. Hence, the Religious Abutsu is just like the stupa made of precious materials, and the stupa made of precious materials is just like the Religious Abutsu. Apart from this, no other discursive thinking is to any advantage.
This stupa is adorned with the precious materials of the seven treasures of i) listening to the dharmas, ii) receiving it with faith, iii) holding to the precept, iv) intense concentration on the object of meditation, v) diligent progression, vi) the ability to let go of attachments and troublesome worries (bonnō, klesha), and vii) a sense of modesty.
When you thought you were making offerings to the stupa made of precious materials of the Tathāgata Abundant Treasure (Tahō Nyorai, Prabhūtaratna), it was not so at all. You were offering them to your own person.
Moreover, your own person is made up of the three bodies that are inseparable from the one of the Tathāgata awakened to the inherent infinity. It is in the spirit of this kind of faith that you must recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō. The place where you dwell is just like the stupa made of precious materials. In the sutra, it says this: “At the place wherever the Dharma Flower Sutra (Hokke-kyō) is expounded, this stupa made of precious materials will spring up and appear before them.”
Because I am so moved and grateful for your faith, I shall write out for you and reveal the stupa made of precious materials [in the form of mandala]. If you do not have a son, you must bequeath it to no one; nor should you let anybody see it if they do not have a mind of faith that is strong and diligent, because this concerns the ultimate aspiration of my whole being.
The Religious Abutsu should be known as the guiding teacher of this northern region. Could you not be the reincarnation of the Bodhisattva Pure Practice (Jyōgyō, Vishuddhachārita) who came to pay Nichiren a visit? It is something so imponderable that I do not know what to say. It is beyond the understanding of Nichiren why you have such determination and is something I will have to leave until the appearance of the Bodhisattva Pure Practice (Jyōgyō, Vishuddhachārita), who has the power to know these things. It is beyond all reasoning.
You and your wife should in private pay reverence to the stupa made of precious materials. I will eventually go over this again in detail.
With awe and respect,
Addressed to the abode of the Religious Abutsu
Sunset at McKenzie Beach on the western side of Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Martin Bradley, The Buddha Writings of Nichiren Daishōnin, ISBN: 2-913122-19-1, 2005,
> The Buddha Writings of Nichiren Daishōnin by Martin Bradley
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License.