The point is this passage is simple. Nichiren states: “It is when the age is in turmoil that both sages and fools come into view,” and having faith that unity of purpose will help us identify the difference so we can act accordingly is the point of this letter in my opinion.
Nichiren wrote the letter that we now call, “A Father Takes Faith,” to the Ikegami Brothers in 1278. The Ikegami Brothers of Japan were loyal follows of Nichiren. Their faith was so strong that were unswayed by their father threatening to disinherit them if they did not give up their faith. Later, they converted their father to the Mystic Law. This letter was written in celebration of that fact.
In “A Father Takes Faith”, President Ikeda states that Nichiren was highlighting the truth that Unity is strength, and faith is the “sharp sword” that can cut through all of our obstacles and troubles. In the letter, Nichiren alludes to the power of unity. In this case, the power of unity within the Ikegami family.
In this letter and also in the “Letter to the Brothers,” he applauds the brothers for their faith. Regarding their faith, President Ikeda states: “When we realize that the appearance of the three obstacles and four devils signals that we are on the verge of achieving a profound inner transformation in our lives, we will be ready and eager to rise to the challenges they present, our hearts filled with courage and self-assurance.”
Unity is important because in the latter age begins, “even those who seek the way adopt erroneous views.” Therefore, during this time it is crucial that we fight for unity to keep us on the right path. Faith supports unity. When we have faith, we are able to accept that unity is possible. In the letter, “A Father Takes Faith,” Nichiren shows that the Ikegami family proved that unity despite obstacles is possible if we have faith—even in an age of turmoil.
By Michelle Flowers (c) 2012, All rights reserved