The Opening of the Eyes - Establishing Faith to Strive On "When the Crucial Moment Comes"

Although I and my disciples may encounter various difficulties, if we do not harbour doubts in our hearts, we will as a matter of course attain Buddhahood. Do not have any doubts simply because heaven does not lend you protection. Do not be discouraged because you do not enjoy an easy and secure existence in this life. This is what I have taught my disciples morning and evening, and yet they begin to harbor doubts and abandon their faith. Foolish men are likely to forget the promise they have made when the crucial moment comes.

(The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Vol 1, p283)

“The Opening of the Eyes” was a treatise in which Nichiren Daishonin revealed his identity as the Buddha of the Latter of the Law, thereby establishing the basis for this treatise being designated as the writing that clarified the object of devotion in terms of the Person.

The Daishonin began writing this treatise immediately after arriving on Sado Island and completed it in February 1272. It was addressed to Shijo Kingo, on behalf of his followers.

The title, “The Opening of the Eyes” means exactly that: “To open the eyes”. It is a call to all people in the Latter Day of the Law to “open their eyes to Nichiren”, who would lead them to happiness.

After experiencing a near execution at Tatsunokuchi on 12 September in the previous year, the Daishonin was exiled to Sado by the authorities. In the aftermath of the Tatsunokuchi Persecution, many of his disciples were imprisoned, banished to exile, or had their lands confiscated.

As a result, a majority of his followers in Kamakura began to harbor doubts and abandoned their faith. The Daishonin described this situation in one of his writings in this manner: “…in Kamakura, among 999 out of 1,000 people… gave up their faith when I was arrested.” (WND-1, p469)

Many in society, including his disciples scathingly asked why, if the Daishonin were truly the votary of the Lotus Sutra as he claimed, he and his followers did not enjoy protection from the heaven.

It was against this setting that the Daishonin composed this treatise. In order to dispel people’s negativity and doubt and instill them with confidence and conviction, it was imperative that the Daishonin provided clear answers to the doubts raised by both his followers and the general populace.

The greater part of this treatise is devoted to clarifying such doubts.


This is an important passage in which Nichiren Daishonin taught us on establishing faith for surmounting difficulties.

Prior to this passage, the Daishonin wrote: “This I will state. Let the gods forsake me. Let all persecutions assil me. Still I will give my life for the sake of the Law”. (WND-1 p280)

Ready to brave all consequences, the Daishonin articulated his own unshakeable vow to persevere in his efforts to spread the Mystic Law in order to lead all people of the Latter Day to enlightenment., irrespective of the difficulties this may entail and even though he may not receive any protection from the heavens.

The Daishonin then called forth to his disciples to respond to this lion’s roar and share his resolve to stand up and struggle aslongside him through this passage that we are studying this month which begins with the words, “Although I and my disciples…”

It is expounded in the Lotus Sutra that in the course of our endeavor to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime, the three obstacles and four devils will vie with one another to appear and the three powerful enemies will surely appear in our journey of kosen-rufu.

It I for this reason that the Daishonin empahsised here inthis passage that we must not harbor doubts because heaven does not lend us protection or be discouraged because we do not enjoy an easy and secure existence in this life.

Another reason for this admonition is because disbelief is the root of slander and this will destroy one’s faith.

Now, the question is how do we surmount and prevail over these hardships?

The Daishonin stated here very clearly, “if we do not harbor doubts in our hearts” – in other words, by sharing and maintaining strong faith based on the spirit of not begrudging one’s life demonstrated by the Daishonin himself, one will be able to summon forth the great life force that enables one to surmount and prevail over all kinds of obstacles. By doing so, we will “as a matter of course” attain Buddhahood.

This was what the Daishonin had been teaching his disciples all along but when obstacles appear in reality, many began to harbor doubts and abandon their faith.

“Crucial moments” are precisely the time when one should uphold and never forget the promises they made to their mentor and rise up to take on the challenges.

SGI President Ikeda said, “The principles that ‘obstacles lead to enlightenment’ and ‘persecutions lead to attaining Buddhahood’ signify that all obstacles we encounter in life or in the course of our practice of faith appear so that we can attain Buddhahood. Attaining Buddhahood means to attain absolute happiness and eternal victory. It means we can enjoy the same life state as the eternal Buddha and thereby manifest the ultimate strength as a human being.”

Let us be convicted that it is courageous faith to fight all obstacles at crucial moments that will enable us to manifest Buddhahood from within and charge ahead fearlessly.

(Translated and adapted from the May 2012 issue of The Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai's monthly study journal.)