Nichiren Daishonin states in “On Persecutions Befalling the Buddha”:
The four kinds of punishment consist of the general and individual, and the conspicuous and inconspicuous. The great epidemics and national famines, the extensive uprisings, and the foreign invasion occurring in Japan are general punishment. Epidemics are also a form of inconspicuous punishment. [The deaths experienced by] Ota and the others represent conspicuous and individual punishment. Each one of you must summon up the spirit of the lion king and never cower to those who may threaten you in any way. The lion king is never intimidated by even a hundred beasts, and the same is true of its cubs. [Those who slander] are like howling jackals, while the followers of Nichiren are like roaring lions.