Rissho Ankoku-ron (Treatise for Spreading Peace Throughout the Country by Establishing the True Teac (立正安国論)

Rissho Ankoku-ron is a treatise written in 1260 by Nichiren, who founded the Nichiren sect of Buddhism, to be submitted to Tokiyori HOJO, a former regent to the shogunate, who was the head of the major lineage of the Hojo family. A copy of the treatise presumed to have been transcribed by Nichiren himself in 1269 remains at Hokekyo-ji Temple (national treasure) and there exist many other copies transcribed by his direct disciples and other followers. There is also an enlarged edition of the treatise at Honkoku-ji Temple, which contains criticisms aimed at Shingon Esoteric Buddhism.

Before Nichiren wrote the treatise, there had been a succession of disasters, such as earthquakes, rainstorms, famines and epidemics since the Shoka era (1257 - 1258). Out of his concern as a religious leader, Nichiren, who lived in Kamakura at the time, wrote the treatise at Jisso-ji Temple (in present-day Fuji City) in Suruga Province, following his "Shugo Kokka-ron" (Treatise on the Protection of the Nation) published the previous year, to present his arguments on political and religious ideals to Tokiyori HOJO, who was the actual leader of the Kamakura Shogunate government at the time. Nichiren actually submitted his treatise to Tokiyori.

In his treatise, Nichiren criticized other competing Buddhist sects, arguing that these sects, including Jodoshu (Pure Land Buddhism), which led people to believe in false teachings (evil teachings) other than the Lotus Sutra, the only true teachings of Buddhism, were the reason for the disasters, that leaving Jodoshu and other heretical sects unattended would lead to a civil war in Japan and invasion by foreign countries and that the only way to provide the nation and the people with peace and security would be to establish the Lotus Sutra as the true religion.

More specifically, Nichiren argued for the validity of the Lotus Sutra, which captures the essence of nature, based on the fact that the philosophy of the Ezo people (northern Japanese natives), which was handed down to Japanese fishermen at the time, had the same theory of numbers as the teachings of the Lotus Sutra. Based on the belief that the female menstruation cycle was the same as the rotation cycle of the sun, the philosophy of the Ezo people taught that everyone born by a woman embodies cosmic principles and receives benefits from the sun.

Nichiren's treatise, which was soon known across Japan, caused Jodoshu Buddhists, who were angry about his arguments, to attack Nichiren; Tokiyori, who believed in Zen Buddhism, also regarded Nichiren's arguments as political criticism; and as a result, Nichiren was sent to Izu Island the following year.

However, in 1268, after Tokiyori died, a sovereign letter from the Mongolian Emperor ordering submission to the Mongolian Empire was delivered to Japan, which led to the attack by the Mongolian army in 1274, following which the regent Tokimune HOJO, who was Tokiyori's son, murdered his older paternal half-brother, Tokisuke HOJO, while there were also signs of conflict between the Retired Emperor Gofukakusa and Emperor Kameyama in the imperial court, and all these events suggested signs of a civil war. These developments led Nichiren and his followers to believe that his Rissho Ankoku-ron was a book of prophecy that predicted the future. Gaining confidence in his teachings, Nichiren revised his Rissho Ankoku-ron (enlarged edition) in 1278 and subsequently provided advice to the government twice (three times in total).

In these publications, Nichiren made a distinction between three different Chinese characters meaning "nation" ("國," "囻" and "国"; all pronounced "kuni" in Japanese).

The first character 國 is presumed to have been used to mean "land," the second character 囻 "nation" and the third character 国 "state."

[Original Japanese]