Great Smoky Mountains Peace Pagoda &

The Most Venerable Nichidatsu Fujii

Yatsubuchi and Momonoo Cascades

Autumn 1984, Atami, Japan

            IT TAKES A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE to appreciate the profound Dharma and to decisively grasp the very essence of Nichiren Daishonin's teachings. What does it take to have such an experience? After much reflection, I decided to case aside all my learning in search of such an experience, and, at the risk of my life, secluded myself under waterfalls known for ascetic practices from bygone days. The rapid water cascading from the peak of Mount Hira created eight waterfalls. I climbed to the highest of the eight and engaged in a week-long practice under it. Either I lose my life during this practice or I would gain the confidence for imparting the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin in this Era of Final Dharma. That was my reason for choosing the basin of a waterfall seldom visited by anyone. Prepared to meet my death, I did not even bring candles. The clothes I wore were all I had. I dared not sleep even when night fell, but I laid on a relatively smooth surface created by the pounding water, exposed to its splash against the rocks. By the end of the week, mold covered the single-layered cotton undergarment I had on.

        Although a week passed, I arrived at no resolve. It would have been easier had I died. I wondered what I should do and decided to change locations to repeat the practice. As I started to descend the mountain without getting what I had come for, I casually looked back. What I saw was a magnificent, multi-storied tower gate with a hanging frame. In vivid gold the two lines of calligraphy on the frame read, "The dual paths of learning and budo forestall internal enemies." It urged me to remain vigilant so as not to be compromised by internal enemies when I set forth on the mission of spreading the Dharma and to find my own unique footing. This was the lesson I learned at the Yatsubuchi Cascade.

​       ... I eventually arrived at Momonoo Waterfalls located in the mountains of Tenri City. It was already late in autumn of that year. I felt pressed for time. I had already decided to set out on my mission to edify the people shouldering the great Dharma revealed by Nichiren Daishonin at the beginning of the New Year. There was nowhere I could go after this. Bound and determined to have the great precept conferred to me as a disciple of Nichiren Daishonin before I stepped out, I sequestered myself for a week in a small temple and practiced under the waterfall.

      At dawn during the morning prayer on the last day of my practice, someone was ascending the mountain beating a drum. There was nothing out of the ordinary about this person. He looked no different from any layperson. I inquired who he was. His response astounded me. He said, "I am Bodhisattva Superior Practice." Bodhisattva Superior Practice was carrying an oizuru [a wooden box used like a backpack in the early 20th century] on his back. When I asked what he was carrying in his box, he answered, "Lord Buddha." He then passed by and continued to climb the mountain. This was the mysterious experience I had. I was not asleep, dreaming. Wondrously, Bodhisattva Superior Practice spoke those exact words to me and passed by. That's all that happened. It was a profound realization of the way Bodhisattva Superior Practice would practice when edifying the people in the Era of Final Dharma. Right then and there was determined the course of action I was to take throughout my life. None of the academic learning on the Dharma I had up to that time was necessary. I came to the realization that all I needed to do was to  walk about the Earth beating the drum, carrying Lord Buddha on my back. Thus I stepped out on my mission to spread the Dharma.