THE lay nun is particularly devoted in her faith in the Lotus Sutra, and I wish her to know that this gratifies me greatly.
With regard to the fifth volume of Great Concentration and Insight,1 we will begin the reading of this on New Year’s Day, at the hour of the dragon [7:00–9:00 a.m.]. Everyone says that the coming year will be a time of great unrest, and so, with our thoughts wholly directed toward the next existence, we are planning to continue the reading and discussion of Great Concentration and Insight until the fifteenth day. But [doing so seems impossible, because] copies of the text are scarce here. I hope you can see to it that some are made available to us.
I cannot thank you enough for the to of polished rice that you kindly sent. Kamakura is troubled by shortages and there are many priests here. You did this perhaps to make up for the sufferings you underwent in a past existence in the world of hungry spirits.
With regard to my doctrine, my great desire is to enable each person in this country of Japan to take faith in it, and I believe that my wish is about to be realized. At present, because of the letter of demands that has arrived from the Mongols, the criticisms against me have somewhat abated, and there is good reason for this to be so. Those people who have believed in my teaching all along seem to be particularly delighted.
The twenty-second day of the twelfth month
Reply to the lay nun
This letter, dated the twenty-second day of the twelfth month, was probably written in 1269 or 1270, though one account places it in 1275. There are two views regarding possible recipients of the letter. One is that it is addressed to the mother of Nanjō Tokimitsu of Ueno Village in Fuji District of Suruga Province. The other view holds that the letter was addressed to Toki Jōnin and his mother because Nichiren Daishonin is asking for copies of volume 353five of Great Concentration and Insight. The Daishonin in other writings asked Toki to send him reference materials, and Toki had a collection of Buddhist scriptures. For these reasons, Toki and his mother seem the more likely recipients.
In this letter, the Daishonin expresses joy at the lay nun’s deep faith, and says that he is about to begin a reading with his disciples of T’ien-t’ai’s Great Concentration and Insight, the fifth volume, of which he possesses insufficient copies. Because this volume reveals the doctrine of three thousand realms in a single moment of life, the Daishonin periodically lectured on it. He expresses deep gratitude for the offering of rice, coming as it did in the midst of a shortage when he and his disciples were in need.
With the arrival of a delegation from the Mongol Empire, the prediction of foreign invasion the Daishonin made in his 1260 treatise On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land, was being proven accurate. As a result, criticism and pressure on him and his followers appeared to be easing, he states.