“Life is full of unexpected suffering. Even so, as Elenor Roosevelt said: “If you can live through that [a difficult situation] you can live through anything. You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I live through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ ” That’s exactly right. Struggling against great difficulty enables us to develop ourselves tremendously. We can call forth and manifest those abilities lying dormant within us. Difficulty can be a source of dynamic growth and positive progress.”
FAITH requires us to continue to the end. Along the way there will be many valleys to travel and mountains to cross. Sometimes you may feel exhausted, and there may be times when you are unable to do a full morning and evening gongyo. The important thing, however, is never to stray from or abandon the Gohonzon.
THERE may be times, certainly, when being a member of an organisation seems bothersome and we just want to be alone. But how sad it is if we are left alone without any support, and then lose faith. True growth comes from striving together with our fellow members in the living realm of human beings, ourselves experiencing the rich gamut of human emotions.
There are six kinds of flavors. The first is subtle, the second, salty, the third, pungent, the fourth, sour, the fifth, sweet, and the sixth, bitter. Even if one were to prepare a feast of a hundred flavors, if the single flavor of salt were missing, it would be no feast for a great king. Without salt, even the delicacies of land and sea are tasteless.
The ocean has eight mysterious qualities. First, it gradually becomes deeper. Second, being deep, its bottom is hard to fathom. Third, its salty taste is the same everywhere. Fourth, its ebb and flow follows certain rules. Fifth, it contains various treasure storehouses. Sixth, creatures of great size exist and dwell in it. Seventh, it refuses to house corpses. Eighth, it takes in all rivers and heavy rainfall without either increasing or decreasing.
(The Universal Salty Taste. WND pg 39)
The date and recipient of this letter are unknown, as are the reasons for its writing. The statements “One who upholds the Lotus Sutra and is subjected to imprisonment” and “To condemn one who upholds the Lotus” indicate that Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter at a time when he or his disciples were undergoing persecution. Several views exist concerning the year of its writing. One is that it was written in 1261 when the Daishonin was in exile in Izu; another, in 1271 when he was in exile on Sado Island; and a third, in 1279, during the worst period of the Atsuhara Persecution. Of these, 1261 seems most likely.
In this letter, the Daishonin says that there are six kinds of flavors, of which salt is the most important. Without salt, any food will be bland. In employing this simile, the Daishonin is indicating that none of the sutras assume their true significance unless they are based on the truth revealed in the Lotus Sutra. Then he cites the eight mystic qualities of the ocean enumerated in the Nirvana Sutra. But while the Nirvana Sutra actually applies these qualities to itself, the Daishonin asserts that it is using them to praise the superiority of the Lotus Sutra.
In the final section, the Daishonin compares the salt in a jar or tub of pickled vines to a follower of the Lotus Sutra, and the salt of the ocean, to Shakyamuni Buddha. The brine in a jar or tub ebbs and flows exactly as the ocean does, and by analogy, to imprison a votary of the Lotus Sutra is to imprison Shakyamuni Buddha.