This is part of a series of posts to share my preparation for the Grade 2 Study Exam that I will sit this coming November.
From ‘An increasingly tense situation in Atsuhara’:
A2 - Why did Nichiren Daishonin refer to the two persecutions at Tatsunokuchi and Komatsubara, and what impact must this have had on Tokimitsu?
First of all, let's point out some details about the three persecutions mentioned:
Komatsubara Persecution: 11 November, 1264 - an attempt by Tojo Kagenobu (a Nembutsu believer) to kill the Daishonin at Komatsubara in Awa Province.
Tatsunokuchi Persecution: 12
September, 1271, the authorities arrested Nichiren Daishonin and took
him to the execution grounds of Tatsunokuchi on the outskirts of
Kamakura. After the execution attempt failed, he was eventually exiled to Sado Island, which was tantamount to a death sentence.
Atsuhara Persecution: A series of threats and acts of violence (which included the execution of three men)
against followers of Nichiren Daishonin in Atsuhara Village in Fuji
District, starting in around 1275 and continuing until around 1283.
This letter was written in 1279, right when the Atsuhara Persecution began to intensify in earnest.
It is probably because the Daishonin had received news of the increasingly tense situation in Atsuhara that, from the outset of this letter, he discusses the various persecutions he has undergone, and especially two in which direct attempts were made on his life.
Both of these were violent attacks with swords, and must have made a strong impression on Tokimitsu, in whose area a similar incident had taken place. Although he had personal experience of overcoming pressure and criticism for his faith in the Daishonin’s teachings, this time there was a chance that his very life was in danger.
The Daishonin explains the significance of the persecutions he has undergone and showing his invincible fighting spirit urges Tokimitsu to be prepared to overcome such obstacles in the same way he has. The example of someone who has fought and won against similar threats must have been of great encouragement to him.
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