The Good Medicine for All People

Moreover, the Lotus Sutra states that it is “good medicine for the ills of the people of Jambudvipa.” The people of this world of Jambudvipa are suffering from illness, but they have the medicine of the Lotus Sutra. Now in your case, the three requirements are already present, so how could you fail to recover? But if you have doubts, I am powerless to help you.

(Passage from “Reply to the Lay Priest Takahashi”, The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p610)

Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter in 1275 at Minobu to the lay priest Takahashi Rokuro Hyoe, who lived in Kajima, in Fuji District of Suruga Province. Takahashi’s wife was the aunt of Nikko Shonin, and it was through this connection that he converted to the Daishonin’s teaching. He appeared to have been a leading figure among the lay believers in the Fuji area. It is said that Nikko Shonin stayed at his residence when Nikko Shonin waged the propagation movement in the Fuji area, using it as a central base for this movement.

At the beginning of 1275, the year that this letter was written, Takahashi fell seriously ill. This letter was written by Nichiren Daishonin in response to news of Takahashi’s illness and was entrusted to Nikki Shonin to be delivered to Takahashi.

The Daishonin taught in this Gosho that the “good medicine” in the Latter Day of the Law is none other than the teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. In the concluding portion, the Daishonin encouraged Takahashi by citing examples of King Ajatashatru who overcame his illness through the good medicine of the Lotus Sutra. Shortly after receiving this letter from the Daishonin, Takahashi fully recovered from his illness.

In the passage, Nichiren Daishonin offered warm encouragement to the lay priest Takahashi, who was suffering from a grave illness.

Quoting a passage from the “Former Affairs of the Bodhisattva Medicine King” (23rd) Chapter of the Lotus Sutra which states “… this sutra provides good medicine for the ills of the people of Jambudvipa” (The Lotus Sutra, p288), the Daishonin taught that the Lotus Sutra, specifically, the teachings of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the good medicine for the ills of all people in the world.

By stating that “the people of this world of Jambudvipa are suffering from illness”, the Daishonin was speaking in both literal and figurative sense. Not only was he referring to physical sickness of which the recipient of this letter, Takahashi, was suffering, but also of people’s delusions, which Buddhism describes as the three poisons of greed, anger and foolishness.

The Daishonin then explained that the great Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the good medicine that will cure the ills of the body and mind.

By saying that “the three requirements are already present”, the Daishonin was referring to the three elements necessary for the fulfillment of one’s prayers, namely, the sutra, the Buddha and the practitioner.

The sutra that Takahashi is embracing is the teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the fundamental seed of Buddhahood while the Buddha is none other than Nichiren Daishonin, the original Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law. Furthermore, Takahashi himself was sincerely dedicated to Buddhism and had contributed tremendously to kosen-rufu. Thus, Takahashi possessed all that he needed to become well. For this reason, the Daishonin encouraged him that with all three requirements fulfilled, he will overcome his illness without fail.

After Takahashi received his guidance, he did in fact overcome his illness. We can imagine that he must have struggled earnestly through faith and prayer to get well. In the final analysis, it all boils down to one’s determination. No matter how much encouragement we receive, if we have doubt or are weak in faith, our prayers will not be answered.

In the course of our journey in life, there will be times when we experience illness or painful difficulties. However, if we continue to practice sincere faith without harbouring any doubts during such adversities, our lives will never fail to move in the direction of happiness.

SGI President Ikeda said in his guidance, “It is in the midst of adversity that we should arouse a profound and strong ichinen of faith. Only then will we be able to elevate and expand our state of life to be as vast as the great ocean. The resolute ichinen of faith brings about happiness and victory in life.”

Let us always remember that with any struggle, standing up in faith based on firm determination and elevating our life condition is the powerful means to achieving a magnificent victory.