I HAVE received your request for prayers for your father, and I will offer them before the Buddha. Concerning prayer, there are conspicuous prayer and conspicuous response, conspicuous prayer and inconspicuous response, inconspicuous prayer and inconspicuous response, and inconspicuous prayer and conspicuous response. But the only essential point is that, if you believe in this sutra, all your desires will be fulfilled in both the present and the future. The third volume of the Lotus Sutra states, “Although the devil and the devil’s people will be there, they will all protect the Law of the Buddha.”1 And the seventh volume states, “[If a person who has an illness is able to hear this sutra, then] his illness will be wiped out and he will know neither old age nor death.”2 You must not doubt these golden words. I deeply appreciate the lay nun Myōichi’s3 visit to this mountain. I have given her a written scroll. You should open it and read it. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
The tenth day of the eighth month in the second year of Kenji (1276), cyclical sign hinoe-ne
To the lay priest Dōmyō
Little is known about the lay priest Dōmyō, the recipient of this letter. He may have been a retainer of the lay nun Myōichi or of Indo Saburō Saemon Sukenobu, who was an elder brother of Nisshō, one of the Daishonin’s six senior disciples. In any event, Dōmyō had evidently requested the lay nun Myōichi to carry a letter to the Daishonin asking him to pray for Dōmyō’s father, who was ill.
In this reply, the Daishonin clarifies the relationship between prayer and its resulting benefit. “Conspicuous prayer” means prayer offered with a clear objective or purpose. “Inconspicuous prayer” means prayer offered without a pressing need, that is, simply chanting the daimoku continually. “Conspicuous response” indicates the immediately perceptible fulfillment of one’s prayers. “Inconspicuous response” indicates benefit that may not become manifest immediately, but is evident over the 751course of time, such as the gradual purification of one’s life.
The Daishonin stresses that the important thing is simply to maintain strong faith in the Gohonzon.