---> https://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/8p.62When you look at those of superior capacity, do not disparage yourself. The Buddha’s true intention was that no one, even those of inferior capacity, be denied enlightenment. Conversely, when you compare yourself with persons of inferior capacity, do not be arrogant and overproud. Even persons of superior capacity may be excluded from enlightenment if they do not devote themselves wholeheartedly.
One may think fondly of one’s native village, but, paying no visit and with no particular reason to go, one in time gives up the idea of returning. Or one may pine for a particular person, but, with no hope of winning that person’s love and having exchanged no vows, one abandons the thought of waiting. So in like manner we neglect to journey to the pure land of Eagle Peak, though it surpasses in grandeur the palaces of nobles and high ministers, and moreover is quite easy to reach. We fail to behold the gentle and benign figure of the Buddha, who has declared, “I am a father to you,”31 though we ought surely to present ourselves before him. Should we not grieve at this, until our sleeves are drenched with tears and our heart consumed by regret?
The color of the clouds in the sky as twilight falls, the waning light of the moon when dawn is breaking—these things make us ponder. In the same way, whenever events remind us of life’s uncertainty, we should fix our thoughts on the existence to come. When we view the blossoms of spring or the snow on a winter morning, we should think of it, and even on evenings when winds bluster and gathering clouds tumble across the sky, we should not forget it even for an instant.
Life lasts no longer than the time the exhaling of one breath awaits the drawing of another. At what time, what moment, should we ever allow ourselves to forget the compassionate vow of the Buddha, who declared, “At all times I think to myself: [How can I cause living beings to gain entry into the unsurpassed way and quickly acquire the body of a Buddha]?”32 On what day or month should we permit ourselves to be without the sutra that says, “[If there are those who hear the Law], then not a one will fail to attain Buddhahood”?33
How long can we expect to live on as we have, from yesterday to today or from last year to this year? We may look back over our past and count the years we have accumulated, but when we look ahead into the future, who can for certain number himself among the living for another day or even for an hour? Yet, though one may know that the moment of one’s death is already at hand, one clings to arrogance and prejudice, to worldly fame and profit, and fails to devote oneself to chanting the Mystic Law. Such an attitude is futile beyond description! Even though the Lotus Sutra is called the teaching that enables all living beings to attain the Buddha way, how could a person such as this actually attain it? It is said that even the moonlight will not deign to shine on the sleeve of an unfeeling person.
Moreover, as life does not go beyond the moment, the Buddha expounded the blessings that come from a single moment of rejoicing [on hearing the Lotus Sutra]. If two or three moments were required, this could no longer be called the original vow of the Buddha endowed with great impartial wisdom, the single vehicle of the teaching that directly reveals the truth and leads all living beings to attain Buddhahood.
As for the time of its propagation, the Lotus Sutra spreads during the latter age, when the Buddha’s Law is about to perish. As for what capacity of persons it is suited to, it can save even those who commit the five cardinal sins, or who slander the correct p.63teaching. Therefore, you must be guided by the intent of [the Lotus Sutra, which is] the immediate attainment of enlightenment, and never give yourself up to the mistaken views that stem from doubts or attachments.
How long does a lifetime last? If one stops to consider, it is like a single night’s lodging at a wayside inn. Should one forget that fact and seek some measure of worldly fame and profit? Though you may gain them, they will be mere prosperity in a dream, a delight scarcely to be prized. You would do better simply to leave such matters to the karma formed in your previous existences.
Once you awaken to the uncertainty and transience of this world, you will find endless examples confronting your eyes and filling your ears. Vanished like clouds or rain, the people of past ages have left nothing but their names. Fading away like dew, drifting far off like smoke, our friends of today too disappear from sight. Should you suppose that you alone can somehow remain forever like the clouds over Mount Mikasa?34
The spring blossoms depart with the wind; maple leaves turn red in autumn showers. All are proof that no living thing can stay for long in this world. Therefore, the Lotus Sutra counsels us, “Nothing in this world is lasting or firm but all are like bubbles, foam, heat shimmer.”35
“[At all times I think to myself]: How can I cause living beings to gain entry into the unsurpassed way?” These words express the Buddha’s deepest wish to enable both those who accept the Lotus Sutra and those who oppose it to attain Buddhahood. Because this is his ultimate purpose, those who embrace the Lotus Sutra for even a short while are acting in accordance with his will. And if they act in accordance with the Buddha’s will, they will be repaying the debt of gratitude they owe to the Buddha. The words of the sutra, which are as full of compassion as a mother’s love, will then find solace, and the cares of the Buddha, who said, “I am the only person who can rescue and protect others,” will likewise be eased. Not only will Shakyamuni Buddha rejoice, but because the Lotus Sutra is the ultimate purpose for which all Buddhas appear in the world, the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three existences will likewise rejoice. As Shakyamuni said, “[If one can uphold it even for a short while] I will surely rejoice and so will the other Buddhas.”36 Not only will the Buddhas rejoice, but the gods also will join in their delight. Thus, when the Great Teacher Dengyō lectured on the Lotus Sutra, Great Bodhisattva Hachiman presented him with a purple surplice,37 and when the Honorable Kūya38 recited the Lotus Sutra, the great deity of Matsuo Shrine was able to gain protection from the cold wind.
Embracing the Lotus Sutra