NEW YEAR'S GOSHO


 I have received a hundred mushimochi cakes and a basket of fruit.  
New Year's Day marks the first day, the first month, the beginning of the
year and the start of spring.  A person who celebrates this day will gain
virtue and be loved by all, just as the moon becomes full gradually, moving
from west to east, and the sun shines more brightly traveling from east to
west.

 First of all, as to the question of where exactly hell and the
Buddha exist, one sutra states that hell exists underground and another
sutra says that the Buddha is in the west.  However, closer examination
reveals that both exist in our five-foot body.  The reason I think so is
that hell is in the heart of a man who inwardly despises his father and
disregards his mother, just like the lotus seed, which contains both flower
and fruit at the same time.  In the same way, the Buddha dwells inside our
hearts.  For example, flint can produce fire and gems possess value in
themselves.  We common mortals can see neither our own eyebrows, which are
so close, nor heaven in the distance.  Likewise, we do not see that the
Buddha exists in our own hearts.  You may question how is it that the
Buddha can reside within us when our bodies, originating from our parents'
sperm and blood, are the source of the three poisons and the seat of the
carnal desires.  But repeated consideration shows the validity of my claim.  
The pure lotus flower blooms out of the muddy pond, the fragrant sandalwood
grows from the soil, the graceful cherry blossoms come forth from trees,
the beautiful Yang Kuei-fei was born of a maidservant, and the moon rises
from behind the mountains to shed light on them.  Misfortune comes from
one's mouth and ruins him, but fortune comes from one's mind and makes him
worthy of respect.

 The sincerity of making offerings to the Lotus Sutra at the
beginning of the New Year is like flowers blooming from trees, a lotus
unfolding in a pond, sandalwood blossoming on the Snow mountains, or the
moon beginning to rise.  Japan, in becoming an enemy of the Lotus Sutra has
now invited misfortune from a thousand miles afar, whereas those who
believe in the Lotus Sutra will gather fortune from ten thousand miles
afar.  The shadow is cast by the body, and just as the shadow follows the
body, misfortune will befall the country whose people are hostile to the
Lotus Sutra.  The believers in the Lotus Sutra, on the other hand are like
the sandalwood endowed with fragrance.  I will write you again.
        
                                                         Nichiren
 
The fifth day of the first month
Jan 5   Lady Omosu