"Were they not Bodhisattvas of the Earth, they could not chant the daimoku."
(The True Aspect of All Phenomena - The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol.1, page 385) http://www.sgilibrary.org/view.php?page=383 Selection Source: SGI President Ikeda's guidance, Seikyo Shinbun, October 14th, 2012
Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter to Sairen-bo Nichijo while at Ichinosawa on Sado Island in the fifth month of the tenth year of Bun’ei (1273). For some reason Sairen-bo was also in exile on Sado, where he had been converted by the Daishonin in the second month of 1272. A former Tendai priest, he already knew something about “the true aspect of all phenomena”; it was a fundamental concept in the Tendai school of Buddhism. He could not, however, satisfactorily come to grips with this concept through T’ien-t’ai’s theory alone, so he asked the Daishonin for an explanation. The True Aspect of All Phenomena is the Daishonin’s reply.
Though comparatively short, this document elucidates two important elements of the Daishonin’s Buddhism. It was completed a month after Nichiren Daishonin wrote The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind, in which he explained the Gohonzon, the object of devotion that can lead all people in the Latter Day of the Law to enlightenment. True Aspect of All Phenomena begins with a passage from the “Expedient Means” chapter — the heart of the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra — that implies that no phenomenon is in any way different from the true aspect, or Myoho-renge-kyo. It also implies that all the innumerable forms and realities that exist, both concrete and abstract, are manifestations of Myoho-renge-kyo. The Daishonin then explains the essence of the Lotus Sutra, Myoho-renge-kyo, and its embodiment, the Gohonzon. This is the first element — the object of devotion in terms of the Law.
After clarifying the ultimate teaching of the Lotus Sutra, the Daishonin states that Bodhisattva Superior Practices, the leader of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, will propagate that teaching, and that he himself is carrying out the mission entrusted to that bodhisattva. In light of his own behavior and his fulfillment of the predictions in the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren Daishonin suggests that he himself is Bodhisattva Superior Practices. A more profound interpretation, however, identifies him as the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, whose purpose was to establish the Gohonzon for the enlightenment of all people in the Latter Day. Thus True Aspect of All Phenomena also explains the object of devotion in terms of the Person. This is the second element. Referring to both the Person and the Law, the Daishonin clarifies the fundamental object of devotion for the people of the Latter Day. He brings together the points he expounded in The Opening of the Eyes completed in 1272, which focuses on the second element, and in The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind, which focuses on the first element.
The latter half of this letter explains to Sairen-bo that those who devote themselves to propagating the correct teaching in the same spirit as the Daishonin are themselves Bodhisattvas of the Earth. The Daishonin predicts that Nam-myoho-renge-kyo will spread widely in the future, and concludes by setting forth the key elements of Buddhist practice in the Latter Day of the Law— namely, faith, practice, and study.