The Fourteen Slanders

Background and Summary(Short Story)

In this letter, Nichiren Daishonin replies to Matsuno Rokurō Saemon, explaining the fourteen slanders and emphasizing unity among believers. He warns against abusing fellow believers and shares the story of the boy Snow Mountains as a model of faith. He criticizes priests who lack diligence and instructs Matsuno on practicing as a lay believer, including chanting, supporting priests, and spreading the Law. The term “priests” refers specifically to the Daishonin’s disciples in line with the letter’s teachings.

Main Text

Take these teachings to heart, and always remember that believers in the Lotus Sutra should absolutely be the last to abuse one another. All those who keep faith in the Lotus Sutra are most certainly Buddhas, and one who slanders a Buddha commits a grave offense.When one chants the daimoku bearing in mind that there are no distinctions among those who embrace the Lotus Sutra, then the blessings one gains will be equal to those of Shakyamuni Buddha.

No matter how humble a person may be, if his wisdom is the least bit greater than yours, you should ask him about the meaning of the sutra.

Though a person may have been fortunate enough to be born as a human being and may have even entered the priesthood, if he fails to study the Buddha’s teaching and to refute its slanderers but simply spends his time in idleness and chatter, then he is no better than an animal dressed in priestly robes. He may call himself a priest and earn his livelihood as such, but in no way does he deserve to be regarded as a true priest. He is nothing but a thief who has stolen the title of priest. How shameful and frightening!


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