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Writings of Nichiren Shonin Volume 6 2nd Edition

Writings of Nichiren Shonin Volume 6 2nd Edition

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This volume, the 14th project of the English Translation Committee of the Nichiren Shu Overseas Propagation Promotion Association (NOPPA), constitutes all 56 writings of Buddhist reformer Nichiren Shōnin (1222-1282) included in the Nichiren Shonin Zenshu, Complete Writings of Nichiren Shonin, Volume 6: Followers I, published in Tokyo in 1995.

The Nichiren Shonin Zenshu is a modern Japanese version of Nichiren's original writings, translated and edited with annotations by modern scholars of Nichiren Buddhism. Despite its all-inclusive title, the Zenshu is highly selective in that it takes into account only writings considered bibliographically authentic: attested to by original manuscripts. Among such texts, those included in the Showa Teihon Nichiren Shonin Ibun, Writings of Nichiren Shonin Standardized in the Showa Period, complied by the Rissho Daigaku Nichiren Kyogaku Kenkyu-jo, Center for the Study of Nichiren Buddhism, published by Minobusan Kuonji Temple between 1951 and 1959, are considered the most authoritative, and they provide the basic texts for this volume.

This is the first of the two "Followers" volumes and contains 56 writings to many people to whom we have already been introduced in the first five volumes. These include Toki Jonin, Shijo Kingo and the Ikegami brothers: Munenaga and Munenaka.

It is especially interesting to read the progression of events through these letters, such as when the elder Ikegami brother, Munenaka, was disowned by his father, Yasumitsu, because he would not renounce faith in the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren expresses his encouragement to both brothers to hold fast to their faith, comparing them to the brothers Pure-Store and Pure-Eyes in Chapter 27 of the Lotus Sutra and telling them stories from ancient China of brothers who faced similar difficulties. In the end, the brothers hold true, Munenaka reconciles with his father, and Yasumitsu realizes faith in the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren's joy can hardly be contained, and he expresses it generously in his letters.

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