On Rebuking Slander of the Law and Eradicating Sins - No Prayer Will Go Unanswered

I am praying that, no matter how troubled the times may become, the Lotus Sutra and the ten demon daughters will protect all of you, praying as earnestly as though to produce fire from damp wood, or to obtain water from parched ground.

(The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Vol 1, p444)

Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter on Sado Island in 1273 to his devoted follower Shijo Kingo, who lived in Kamakura.

During this time, persecutions from the authorities were not only directed to the Daishonin but also to his disciples. The community of the Daishonin’s disciples in Kamakura especially, was subjected to harsh persecutions.

However, the Daishonin encouraged his disciples based on his absolute conviction in this letter. For instance, the Daishonin said that, though in exile, his overriding emotion is one of joy, stating with conviction that he has been banished precisely because he denounced the errors of those who slander the Lotus Sutra. Because he had met this great trial for the Sutra’s sake, the Daishonin explained, he was certain to thereby eradicate in this lifetime his evil karma accumulated since the distant past.

The Daishonin concluded thi letter by stating that no matter how tumultuous the times, he was earnestly praying that the heavenly beings and benevolent deities (protective functions of the universe) would protect each and every one of his disciples.


This is a passage in which Nichiren Daishonin taught the importance of offering powerful prayers to make the impossible possible.

As the Daishonin stated here, “no matter how troubled the times may become”, the living conditions when this letter was written was indeed one of chaos and turmoil with the appearance of the three calamities and seven disasters. One year before this letter was written in 1272, the calamity of revolt within one’s own domain happened with the occurrence of the “February Disturbance”. The following year after this letter was written; in 1274 the calamity of invasion from foreign lands occurred when the Mongol army invaded Japan.

Amidst such turbulent conditions, Nichiren Daishonin’s disciples were going through intense oppression from the authorities because of their practice of faith. Moreover, the Daishonin himself was confronting one of the harshest persecutions of exile to Sado, which was deemed as good as the death penalty. Living conditions in Sado were so hostile that the Daishonin was not sure if he could survive till the next day.

Despite living in such extreme conditions, the Daishonin continued to offer powerful prayers for the protective forces of the universe to protect his disciples. The Daishonin’s profound compassion and powerful determination must have been a great source of inspiration to his disciples to resolutely stir up their faith to confront and overcome the persecutions they were facing. In this way, the path of the disciples in Nichiren Buddhism is to stand up in response to the mentor’s callings and consistently offer prayers based on the united spirit of mentor and disciple.

Moreover, the Daishonin also taught us the mindset and determination with which we should offer such prayers by using an analogy: he stated “… praying as earnestly as though to produce fire from damp wood or to obtain water from parched ground”. Through this illustration, the Daishonin was teaching us the essence of faith to never give up even though things may seem impossible in reality, and that we must continue to pray till our prayers are realized.

Only when we continue to offer such powerful prayers with perseverance will wisdom and courage well forth from the depths of our lives and the power of all Buddhas, bodhisattvas, heavenly beings and benevolent deities (protective forces in the universe) be activated to render their protection, thereby opening the way forward.

Quoting this Gosho passage, SGI President Ikeda gave the following guidance:

“While deeply cherishing the profound meaning of this Gosho, both my wife and I are sincerely sending daimoku to all fellow members every day. Precisely because the times are so troubled and turbulent, we must never, ever forget the absolute conviction that ‘no prayer will go unanswered’! This is what we call faith.”

Let’s us continue to advance with hope based on prayers infused with the united spirit of mentor and disciple and absolute conviction.

Ten demon daughters – refers to the ten female rakshasa who protect those who uphold the Lotus Sutra as heavenly gods and benevolent deities (protective functions of the universe). The Sanskirt word, rakshasa means demon. In the “Dharani” (26th) chapter of the Lotus Sutra, they vow to shield and guard the sutra’s votaries.

Translated and adapted from the May 2014 issue of The Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.