Witnessing these problems, Nichiren Shonin was motivated to write the Rissho Ankoku Ron (Treatise on Spreading Peace Throughout the Country by Establishing Righteousness). In it, he attributes the disasters to the foolishness of the people who were following superstition and misguided religious beliefs. He admonished the people to convert to faith based on the Lotus Sutra.

Persecutions Deepen Nichiren’s Teachings

A copy of the treatise was presented to the government authorities, and the message of that work was repeated in his preaching on the streets. His work drew many hostile reactions. Fueled by the rage of the religious authorities, whom Nichiren Shonin accused of false teachings, his treatise triggered a succession of persecutions. Notable among these punishments were the persecution at Matsubayagatsu, the exile to Izu, more persecution at Komatsubara and Tatsunokuchi, and nearly three years of lonely exile on Sado Island.

Throughout these adversities, Nichiren Shonin’s missionary zeal was unrelenting. His subsequent writing of four more major works demonstrates his resolve. While in exile on Sado Island, Nichiren Shonin completed two works. The “Kaimoku Honzon Sho” (Opening the Eyes) expressed Nichiren Shonin’s state of mind as a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra. In the “Kanjin Honzon Sho” (The Spiritual Introspection of the Supreme Beings), he expounds on the idea of unity between the Eternal Truths and the Eternal Buddha. To underscore the thesis introduced in this latter work, Nichiren Shonin shortly thereafter rendered a graphic representation of his underlying theology. This representation is the Mandala Gohonzon.