The Three Kinds of Treasure - The Practice of Revering Others

The heart of the Buddha’s lifetime of teachings is the Lotus Sutra, and the heart of the practice of the Lotus Sutra is found in the “Never Disparaging” chapter. What does Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s profound respect for people signify? The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies his behaviour as a human being.

(The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Vol 1, p851-852)

This letter was written at Minobu on 11 September 1277 and addressed to Shijo Kingo in Kamakura and titled, “The Three Kinds of Treasure”.

Sometime back, Shijo Kingo had begun making efforts to convert his Lord, Ema, to Nichiren Daishonin’s teaching. Lord Ema, however, did not respond positively. On top of this, Kingo’s colleagues spread scurrilous reports about him, and Kingo was accused of fomenting trouble at a religious debate at Kuwagayatsu in June the same year. Kingo faced his greatest crisis in life when his angry lord gave him the ultimatum to discard his faith or have all his lands confiscated.

Later that year Lord Ema fell illm and Kingo, being a skilled physician, was told to treat his lord. This letter was written in response to Kingo’s report that he was going to administer medicate treatment to his lord.

Eventually, Kingo managed to cure him and his grateful lord later increased Kingo’s land-holdings.


This is a passage in which Nichiren Daishonin taught that the essence of the practice of Buddhism lies in “the behaviour as a human being in revering others” based on the firm belief that Buddhahood exists in one’s life and in that of others.

“The heart of the Buddha’s lifetime of teachings” is none other than the Lotus Sutra - the teaching that expounds the universal enlightenment of all living beings. The Daishonin continued to state that the heart of the practice of the Lotus Sutra is found in the practice of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging described in the “Never Disparaging” chapter of the Lotus Sutra.

Bodhisattva Never Disparaging accorded everyone he met the highest respect, repeating the words from the “Twenty-four-character Lotus Sutra”, bowing to them in reverence as he recited the words. He was thus names because he was a bodhisattva who never disparaged others.

However, he was struck with sticks of wood, tiles and stones, and was vilified and persecuted by people who simply cannot believe that ordinary beings can attain Buddhahood. Nevertheless, Bodhisattva Never Disparaging persevered in his practice of revering others and as a result, achieved the purification of his six senses (purification of his life state) through the benefit of the Lotus Sutrs and attained Buddhahood. The Lotus Sutra expounds Bodhisattva Never Disparaging as Shakyamuni Buddha in a past existence.

In this way, when one perseveres in the Buddhist practice of revering others, it becomes the power source in transforming one’s life, which in fact, is the transformation of one’s karma and the purification of the six senses.

In other words, the conduct of revering others is equivalent to spreading the teachings of the Lotus Sutra and it is this practice of propagation that enables one to attain Buddhahood, that is, the fundamental victory in life.

The conduct of “the universal reverence for all living beings” demonstrated by Bodhisattva Never Disparaging is the very embodiment of the concept of the “universal enlightenment of all living beings”, the central theme underscoring the Lotus Sutra, the scripture that contains the true intent of the Buddha.

And, the conduct of revering all living beings can be said to be an indispensable practice for an individual aspiring to attain Buddhahood. For this reason, the Daishonin concluded here that “the purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behaviour as a human being”.

In this age of the Latter Day of the Law characterised by mistrust, disbelief and insecurity arising from the contempt of human life and all life entities, we are holding high the banner of the sanctity and dignity of life as we continue to engage others in dialogue to help them form connections with Buddhism. In this sense, our daily practice is in exact accord with the original spirit of Buddhism.

SGI President Ikeda said, “Those who sincerely revere and praise others will in turn be revered and praised. Likewise, those who sincerely rejoice at the happiness of others are those who are truly happy themselves.”

Let us expand the circle of friendship and trust as we strive for the happiness of ourselves and others while conducting ourselves with wisdom when engaging in sincere dialogues.

Translated and adapted from the September 2012 issue of The Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.