The Supremacy of the Law - Faith Based on the Spirit to Challenge "More than Ever"

Strengthen your resolve more than ever. Ice is made of water but it is colder than water. Blue dye comes from indigo but when something is repeatedly dyed in it, the colour is better than that of the indigo plant. The Lotus Sutra remains the same but if you repeatedly strengthen your resolve, your colour will be better than that of others and you will receive more blessings than they do.

(The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Vol 1, p615)

Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter at Mount Minobu in the eighth month of the first year of Kenji (1275). It was addressed to Oto, the daughter of Nichimyo, an earnest believer living in Kamakura.

This letter, though addressed to Oto, was obviously meant for her mother. Though separated from her husband, Nichimyo was raising her daughter single-handedly while maintaining pure faith in the Daishonin’s Buddhism.

Major persecutions began befalling on the Daishonin and his disciples around 1271. When the Daishonin was exiled to Sado Island, many of his disciples abandoned their faith.

Amidst such circumstances, Nichimyo visited the Daishonin with her daughter, while he was in exile on Sado Island. The journey to Sado was a dangerous one and the Daishonin was greatly impressed by the strength of faith she demonstrated and addressed her as “Sage Nichimyo” in a letter dated the fifth month of 1272.

After the Daishonon went to live in Minobu in 1274, his prediction of foreign invasion came true when the Mongols attacked Japan. Once again, the whole nation was thrown into turmoil and the people were struck with fear and anxiety.

Against such a social setting, Nichimyo again took the long journey to Minobu to visit the Daishonin.

This letter was written one year after her visit and the Daishonin assured Nichimyo that she and her daughter, Oto would surely receive great protection from the Buddhist gods (protective functions of the universe) and encouraged her to strengthen her faith ever more, so she could gain even greater vitality and good fortune.


Our practice of faith entails a continuous struggle for limitless improvement. It is a continuous challenge to scale greater heights and to strengthen our lives ever more.

It is only by undertaking such a challenge can one savour true fulfillment, joy and happiness.

Nichimyo, the mother of Oto, who received this letter from the Daishonin was a woman of wholehearted faith. She deeply cherished a single-minded commitment to strive together with her mentor throughout her life.

Her life, however, was far from comfortable. She was separated from her husband and had to raise her daughter alone.

But this did not deter her from seeking her mentor. When the Daishonin was exiled to Sado, she made the long and treacherous journey with her daughter in hand amidst fierce persecutions to visit her mentor on the bitter cold island.

When the Daishonin moved to Mount Minobu, she courageously undertook another journey to visit him, this time amidst the turbulent circumstances after an invasion from the Mongols.

Profoundly touched by her devoted seeking spirit, the Daishonin praised Nichimyo, “You are the foremost votary of the Lotus Sutra among the women of Japan.” (WND-1, p325)

Even though Nichimyo was a woman of such exceptional faith, the Daishonin encouraged her in this letter, “Strengthen your resolve more than ever.”

He used the phrase “more than ever” as a reminder never to become complacent when it comes to our practice. Only by striving “ever more” to summon forth strong faith can we transform all misfortunes into fortunes, sufferings into joy and karma into mission. Strong faith is the key.

Ice is produced by freezing water. Though ice is made from water, it is colder than water. Similarly, though blue dye comes from the indigo plant, when a cloth is repeatedly dyed in it, the colour is better than that of the original indigo plant.

Likewise, though the “Lotus Sutra remains the same”, that is to say, although the Gohonzon remains the same, when we pray with enhanced resolve and make deidicated efforts for kosen-rufu (peace and happiness for all people), we will receive immense benefits.

We will expand our lives and receive benefit from our faith in the Gohonzon in direct proportion to the daimoku we chant and the actions we take.

In his guidance, SGI President Ikeda said, “It is a terrible mistake to think that you have done enough in your practice and that you have firm enough faith to protect yourselves from all the negativities within and without your life. No one can ever make that claim. Buddhism and faith are eternal progress, and eternal struggle. ‘Peace and security’ are to be found in that unending progress. The never-ending bold and unequivocal struggle is, just as it is, the life of victory.”

Lets continue advancing on the path of limitless challenge, seeking spirit and improvement with vitality and ever-youthful spirit.