Have Faith – No Matter What

Nichiren on Sado IslandTonight’s study group concerned itself with Nichiren’s reply to his disciple Sairen-bo regarding The True Aspect of All Phenomena (WND383)

In the letter Nichiren writes

‘Now, no matter what, strive in faith and be known as a votary of the Lotus Sutra, and remain my disciple for the rest of your life. If you are of the same mind as Nichiren, you must be a Bodhisattva of the Earth. And if you are a Bodhisattva of the Earth, there is not the slightest doubt that you have been a disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha from the remote past.’

It is easy to miss the phrase ‘No Matter What’ in the first sentence, but studying it more closely, and taking into account the circumstances in which Nichiren and Sairen-bo found themselves when it was written, we see a deep and most profound meaning.

Both of them were in exile on Sado Island and being held in less than pleasant conditions. So when Nichiren wrote ‘No Matter What’, he was asking Sairen-bo to keep his faith and maintain his practice whatever situation he found himself in.

There is little doubt that both Nichiren and Sairen-bo were subjected to much worse conditions than we can ever imagine, let alone experience. Due to their fortitude and strength, Nichiren Buddhism exists today. If they had lost their faith, or stopped practicing in order to improve their situation, Nichiren Buddhism would have died at that time.

So when we find ourselves in difficult situations, when we feel that we are too tired or too busy to practice, we must remember their resolute stance and practice all the harder. To do anything less would be to let their efforts be for nought. Let your practice reflect their strength and your efforts be worthy of their sacrifice.

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