QUESTION:   Where in the Gosho or other writings does Nichiren Daishonin declare himself to
be the original Buddha?

Rev. Hirota:   There is no place in the Gosho, not one instance in which Nichiren Daishonin
says, "I am the Buddha."  However, in the 21st chapter of the
Lotus Sutra Shakymuni transfers
the entirety of the Buddha's lifetime of teachings, which are all contained in the Lotus Sutra, to
Bodhisattva Jogyo (Bodhisattva Superior Practice) to keep after his death.

Shakyamuni said in the Lotus Sutra that in the fifth five hundred years after his extinction there
will be someone who will save all mankind with this sutra. In "How Those Initially Aspiring to the
Way Can Attain Buddhahood through the Lotus Sutra" (
Hokke Shoshin Jobutsu Sho) Nichiren
Daishonin says "I am Bodhisattva Jogyo."  In "Requital For the Buddha's Favor" (
Daishonin expressed his realization that if people practice as he instructs they will, as a matter of
course, awaken to enlightenment. In the "Opening of the Eyes"  (
Kaimoku Sho) he writes,
"Shakyamnui [Buddha],
Taho and the other Buddhas intend to insure the future propagation of
the Lotus Sutra so that it can be made available to every single living being in times to come.
Their concern and compassion are even greater than that of a father and mother who see their
only child inflicted with great suffering...I Nichiren am sovereign, teacher, father and mother to
all the people of Japan."  In "The Selection of the Time" (
Sen-ji Sho) Daishonin said, "There can
be no room to doubt that I, Nichiren am the foremost votary of the Lotus Sutra in all of Japan.
Indeed, from this we may assume that, even in China and India and throughout the entire world,
there is no one who can stand side by side with me."

These words are from the Gosho;
Nikko Shonin learned from these words, from these Gosho.
Nikko Shonin also lived with Daishonin -- sharing the same clothes, eating the same food -- and
observed how the Daishonin lived and what happened to him -- to his life. All of this led Nikko
Shonin to realize that Nichiren Daishonin was the votary of the Lotus Sutra, and that he was the
one and only Buddha. That is why, if you want to awaken to Buddhahood you have to practice
as the Daishonin teaches.

Believers of
Nichiren Shu are the one's who ask, "Where does Nichiren say he is the Buddha?
He didn't say anything like that, it's you who are saying that Nichiren is the Buddha."

Surely anybody can say, "I am the Buddha." The most important thing is how you live. Nichiren
Daishonin lived like one.
By Reverend Raido Hirota
Translated and edited by Udumbara Foundation volunteers
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