On the Buddha’s Prophecy

If, however, in the time after the Buddha’s passing, a person renounces his attachments to the four flavours and three teachings (1), and converts to faith in the Lotus Sutra that is true Mahayana, the heavenly gods and benevolent deities, as well as the bodhisattvas numerous as the dust particles of a thousand worlds (2) who emerged from the ground, will protect him as the votary of the Lotus Sutra. Under their protection, he will [establish and] spread abroad widely throughout Jambudvipa (3) the object of devotion of the essential teaching, or the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo.

(Passage from “On the Buddha’s Prophecy”, The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p398-404)

Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter on the eleventh day of the fifth month in the year 1273 during his exile at Ichinosawa on the island of Sado. It is addressed to this disciples and lay supporters in general. The title, “On the Buddha’s Prophecy”, points to two prophecies: One is Shakyamuni Buddha’s prediction that the votary of the Lotus Sutra will appear at the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law and spread the teachings of the Lotus Sutra despite great prosecutions. The other is the Daishonin’s own prophecy that in the future his teachings will spread throughout the world to benefit humankind. This letter made clear that the Daishonin himself was the votary of the Lotus Sutra who fulfilled Shakyamuni Buddha’s prophecy.

This passage constitutes the second prophecy made by the Daishonin, that the supreme Buddhist teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which he revealed, will spread throughout the entire world in the future.

Firstly, the Daishonin stressed that those who discard theprovisional teachings (referred to here as “the four flavours and three teachings”), which are inappropriate for the times, and devote themselves to the correct teaching for the times, the true Law of the Lotus Sutra, will be protected by the benevolent deities, as well as by the various Bodhisattvas, including the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

By “a person” in this passage, the Daishonin was specifically referring to himself. More broadly, however, this includes anyone who spreads the Mystic Law in the same spirit as he did.

“Under their protection” means that a person who spreads the essence of the Lotus Sutra will cause the powers of the benevolent deities, as well as the worlds of Buddhahood and Bodhisattva, to well forth from within his or her life. This power in turn affords one’s protection. Though Buddhism speaks of the power of benevolent deities, Buddhas, bodhisattvas and the like, such power does not exist outside our own lives. It emerges from within us. As a result of our faith and practice, the life state of Buddhahood is manifested, which then elicits a positive response from other people and from our environment. In this way, these functions act as a protective force.

“The object of devotion of the essential teaching, or the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo” is the fundamental Law or teaching to be spread throughout the world during the Latter Day of the Law. This fundamental Law is none other than Nam-myoho-renge-kyo of the Three Great Secret Laws. This is called the implicit Lotus Sutra, the in-depth teaching implicit in the Lotus Sutra, which the Daishonin revealed.
With the emergence and development of the SGI, the Mystic Law that the Daishonin revealed more than 750 years ago has spread to 185 countries and territories around the world. From this fact, it is clear that the SGI alone has been concretely realising the Daishonin’s prediction that his teaching will “spread abroad widely throughout Jambudvipa”.

SGI President Ikeda said in his guidance, “The SGI has widely declared and spread the Mystic Law throughout the world. It has advanced straight ahead in accord with the Daishonin’s teachings. Those who spend their lives with the SGI will bring forth limitless power, limitless hope and limitless courage from within their lives.”

Those who devote themselves to spreading the Mystic Law together with the SGI will lead superlative lives grounded in happiness that emerges from the innermost depths of life and lasts eternally. With this conviction and pride, let’s strive together in our practice to spread the teachings of Buddhism.

Footnotes :
1. Four flavours and three teachings – Refer to those teachings the Buddha expounded prior to the Lotus Sutra, which are provisional, preparatory and expedients in nature. The “four flavours” refers to the first four flavour of the five flavours, namely fresh milk, cream, curdled milk and butter. The ‘three teachings” are the first three of the four teaching of doctrine – the Tripitaka, connecting and specific teachings,

2. The bodhisattvas numerous as the dust particles of a thousand worlds – Refer to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

3. Jambudvipa – One of the four continents situated in the four directions around Mount Sumeru, according to the ancient Indian worldview. Jambudvipa is located to the south and is the place where the Buddhas appear. It is often used to refer to the entire world.