On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land ［立正安国論］ ( Risshō-ankoku-ron): Abbreviated as On Establishing the Correct Teaching. One of Nichiren’s five or ten major writings. Nichiren submitted this treatise to Hōjō Tokiyori, the retired regent but still the most powerful figure in Japan’s ruling clan, through the offices of shogunate official Yadoya Mitsunori on the sixteenth day of the seventh month, 1260. Around the 1250s, Kamakura and Japan as a whole experienced a series of floods and landslides, epidemics and famine, and an earthquake of unprecedented scale in 1257. In an effort to clarify the fundamental cause of these disasters, Nichiren visited Jissō-ji temple at Iwamoto in Suruga Province in 1258 to do research in its sutra library in preparation for writing this treatise. As a result, he found ample documentary support for his arguments in such sutras as the Benevolent Kings, Medicine Master, Great Collection, and Golden Light.
The treatise begins by depicting the misery caused by the frequent disasters ravaging Japan, and regards the fact that the whole nation is turning against the correct teaching as a major factor responsible for the unprecedented disasters. Nichiren explains that the people should abandon their faith in erroneous teachings and embrace the correct teaching, asserting that this is the basis for establishing a peaceful land. On Establishing the Correct Teaching was written in classical Chinese and consists of a dialogue between a host and a visitor. It is generally considered that the host represents Nichiren, and the visitor, Hōjō Tokiyori. In this treatise, Nichiren presents numerous scriptural references to the disasters that will befall a nation that follows incorrect teachings. He makes an unsparing criticism of the Pure Land teachings of Hōnen. The Medicine Master Sutra lists the seven disasters, of which Nichiren points out that five have already occurred. The remaining two—internal strife and foreign invasion—will happen without fail, he says, if the rulers continue to support erroneous doctrines. Later these prophecies were fulfilled when Hōjō Tokisuke revolted against his younger half brother, Regent Hōjō Tokimune, in the second month of 1272, and when the Mongol forces attacked Japan twice, in 1274 and 1281. During the years he resided at Minobu, Nichiren created an expanded version of this treatise by adding scriptural passages, but the keynote remained the same as in the 1260 version. In the ninth month of 1282, shortly before his death, Nichiren lectured on this treatise to his followers. The attention he continued to give it long after it was submitted, including making several copies and having his disciple Nikkō copy it also, demonstrates the importance he attached to this work, and that he intended it for future generations as well as his contemporaries.