On the Eighteen Perfections Chapter12

On the Eighteen Perfections Chapter12

Written by Nichiren

I know that you are already familiar with the doctrines that I have discussed above, but I have ventured to write about them here. You should make a very careful examination of the doctrine of the eighteen perfections. The doctrine of the lotus of the entity of the Law, which was handed down to me and represents Nichiren’s own enlightenment, is just as I have described it on various occasions in the past. For details you may refer to Daily Records of the Transmission. There is no more recondite doctrine than this in the Tendai school. The profound principle represented by the threefold contemplation in a single mind and three thousand realms in a single moment of life does not go beyond the single phrase Myoho-renge-kyo. This is a point that you should never forget! This is a point that you should never forget!

The Great Teacher Dengyō states, “The reverend priest out of his compassion has transmitted to us in a single phrase the threefold contemplation in a single mind.”43 And the work regarding the transmission of the profound meaning44 states, “It is the wonderful meaning expressed in one phrase, the profound principle of the single teaching.”

The “Life Span” chapter of the Lotus Sutra says, “At all times I have this thought in mind:45 How can I cause living beings to gain entry into the unsurpassed way and quickly acquire the body of a Buddha?” “This thought” of “at all times I have this thought in mind” is one instant of thought or a single moment of life comprising three thousand realms that is originally inherent in Buddhas and all living beings. You must keep this secret! You must keep this secret!

With my deep respect,



The third day of the eleventh month in the third year of the Kōan era [1280]

Sent to Sairen-bō



43. A Clarification of the Precepts. “The reverend priest” in this passage refers to Tao-sui.

44. Details about this work are unknown.

45. The translation of the last passage of the “Life Span” chapter is changed here to express the meaning of the Daishonin’s teaching on it. The original translation reads, “At all times I think to myself.”

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