The mentor–disciple relationship in Buddhism is a life-to-life connection based on the Mystic Law. Generally speaking, it is a relationship between two people that takes place when the mentor, or teacher, has something to communicate to the disciple, or student—whether it be knowledge, a skill, or a craft. In the case of Buddhism, however, it is the Law that the mentor is communicating. The mentor–disciple relationship is necessary to correctly practice the Law and ensure its transmission.
Whether engaging in his own practice or instructing his followers in faith, Nichiren Daishonin always placed great weight on the admonition, “Rely on the Law and not upon persons.” He also said that we should “seek out the votary of the Lotus Sutra and make him our teacher” (cf. WND, 278).
Faith in the Daishonin’s Buddhism is always based on the Law. We practice the Law, and we spread the Law. Achieving the lofty and great objectives of attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime and realizing kosen-rufu require that we unite in spirit and advance with unity of purpose. Toward that end, a teacher who correctly practices the Law is vital. That is why the Daishonin’s successor, Nikko Shonin, strictly stated: “Without following the correct relationship of mentor and disciple, there is no attaining Buddhahood.”
This guidance is an abstract from 'The World of Nichiren Daishonin Writings' with universal value and application
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