The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra - Offer Prayers Based on the Conviction for Absolute Victory

Employ the strategy of the Lotus Sutra before any other. “All others who bear you enmity or malice will likewise be wiped out.” These golden words will never prove false. The heart of strategy and swordsmanship derives from the Mystic Law. Have profound faith. A coward cannot have any of his prayers answered.

(The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Vol 1, p1,001)

This letter was written from Minobu on the 23rd day of the 10th month in 1279 to Shijo Kingo, a leading disciple in Kamakura.

Around the time when Nichiren Daishonin began living in Mount Minobu in 1274 after his pardon from Sado exile, Shijo Kingo fell out of favour with his lord Ema because of his faith in the Daihonin’s teaching.

Envious fellow retainers had also slandered him to his lord, and with the added devious plotting of Ryokan of Gokuraku-ji temple, the situation eventually reached the point where Kingo was asked to submit a written pledge to discard his faith in the Lotus Sutra.

Despite these hardships, Kingo did not give up. He continued to seek guidance from the Daishonin and remained true to his faith. Eventually, around 1278, he regained the trust of his lord and was even awarded an estate three times larger than the one he had before.

However, this enhanced the hatred his jealous colleagues harboured against him and they resolved to get rid of him.

The Daishonin wrote this letter in response to Kingo’s report that he had been ambushed by enemies among his fellow samurais, but had managed to escape unharmed.


Life is a series of intense, unceasing struggle that requires one to either win or lose in every challenge. Such is the intrinsic nature of life. How should we confront and overcome each trial that comes attacking us, one after another, without any pause?

In this writing, Nichiren Daishonin taught, “Employ the strategy of the Lotus Sutrs before any other.” This means take on every challenge that we confront based on faith.

Put another way, it means to summon forth courage and wisdom from the depths of our lives with prayers based on absolute conviction as the driving force and to exert ourselves to the fullest.

The Daishonin continued in this passage, “The heart of strategy and swordsmanship derives from the Mystic Law.” The inherent potential and power that lies deep within each human life is boundless. It is way beyond human comprehension.

“Strategy” and “swordsmanship” can be said to be partial revelation of a universal Law that can help tap this boundless potential from within one’s life.

In contrast, the Mystic Law is the ultimate Law of the life and the entire universe. For this reason, when one’s life is connected to the Mystic Law through one’s profound faith, the immense potential and power that exist in the depths of one’s life is unleashed.

On top of this, the Daishonin reminded, “Have profound faith. A coward cannot have any of his prayers answered.” The greatest enemy that obstructs one from unleashing the tremendous power within is none other than one’s “cowardice” which resides in one’s heart.

Only by winning over one’s “cowardice” and with absolute faith in the Mystic Law can one unleash the limitless power that lies dormant in one’s life. Faith is a challenge to have complete and absolute belief in one’s own inherent potential.

It is the three successive presidents of the Soka Gakkai who revived the “strategy of the Lotus Sutra” taught by the Daishonin in the modern age by remaining undefeated in the face of unceasing intense persecutions and achieving ultimate victory in the struggle for human happiness and lasting global peace.

SGI President Ikeda said, “No matter what hardships we may encounter, there is no greater strategy than the Lotus Sutra. Let us embrace this conviction as we lead our lives with lion-like dignity and composure. Nothing can compare to the power of daimoku. By chanting daimoku, we can move everything in the best possible direction, change everything into joy.”

Lets base our lives on profound prayers to achieve absolute victory and deeply committed prayers infused in the spirit of the oneness of mentor and disciple and boldly achieve victories in all aspects of our lives.

Translated and adapted from the June 2009 issue of The Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.