Ichinosawa, the lay priest ［一谷入道］ (d. 1278) ( Ichinosawa-nyūdō): A resident of Ichinosawa on Sado, an island province in the Sea of Japan, who supported Nichiren during his exile to that province. In the fourth month of 1272, Nichiren, who was in exile on Sado, was moved from his dismal accommodations at Tsukahara to the home of the lay priest Ichinosawa, where he lived for nearly two years until he was pardoned and left Sado in the third month of 1274. The lay priest Ichinosawa, though himself a believer of the Pure Land school, apparently was impressed by Nichiren and protected him.
In 1275 Nichiren wrote from Minobu to the wife of Ichinosawa: “The lay priest felt deeply concerned about the life to come and had for a long time devoted himself to chanting the Nembutsu. Moreover, he had constructed an Amida hall and dedicated his lands in offering to Amida Buddha. He was also afraid of how the steward of the area might react, and so he did not come forward and take faith in the Lotus Sutra. From his point of view, this was probably the most reasonable course to take. But at the same time, he will without doubt fall into the great citadel of the hell of incessant suffering. I had thought, for example, that, even if I were to send him a copy of the Lotus Sutra, he would not be willing to abandon the practice of the Nembutsu out of his fear of worldly opinion, and so it would be like combining water with fire. There was no doubt that the flood of his slander of the Law would extinguish the small flame of his faith in the Lotus Sutra. And if he were to fall into hell, I, Nichiren, would in turn be to blame. Thus, while asking myself anxiously again and again what ought to be done, I have so far not sent him a copy of the Lotus Sutra. . . . and yet I am afraid that people may think I am given to irresponsible and deceitful behavior. Therefore, I feel I have no choice but to send a copy of the entire Lotus Sutra in ten volumes. Since the lay priest’s grandmother seems at heart to be more deeply drawn to the sutra than does the lay priest himself, I entrust it to you for her sake” (529–30).