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The Izu Exile

 

I have received rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves, sake, dried rice, peppers, paper and other items from the messenger whom you took the trouble of sending. He also conveyed your message that this offering should be kept secret. I understand.

 

On the twelfth day of the fifth month, having been exiled, I arrived at the harbor. When I left the boat, still in suffering, and even before learning your name, you kindly took me into your care. What destiny brought us together? You might have been a votary of the Lotus Sutra in times past. Now, in the Latter Day of the Law, you were born as Funamori Yasaburo to take pity on me. Being a man, it was perhaps natural for you to act as you did, but your wife might have been less inclined to help me. Nevertheless, she gave me food, brought me water to wash my hands and feet and treated me with great concern. It is beyond me to fathom [this karmic relationship]; I can only describe it as wondrous.

 

What caused you to believe in the Lotus Sutra and to make offerings to me during my more than thirty-day stay there? I was hated and resented by the steward and people of the district even more than I was in Kamakura. Those who saw me scowled, while those who merely heard my name were filled with spite. And yet, though I was there in the fifth month when rice was scarce, you secretly fed me. It would almost seem as though my parents had been reborn in Kawana close to Ito in Izu Province.

 

The fourth volume of the Lotus Sutra states, ‘[If after I {Shakyamuni) have entered extinction there are those who can expound this sutra, I will send... monks and nuns and] men and women of pure faith, to offer alms to the teachers of the Law.’ The meaning of this sutra passage is that the heavenly gods and benevolent deities will assume various forms such as men and women and present offerings to help one who practices the Lotus Sutra. There can be no doubt that you and your wife were born as just such a man and woman of pure faith and now make offerings to the teacher of the Law, Nichiren.

 

Since I wrote to you in detail earlier, I will make this letter brief. But I would like to mention one thing in particular. When the steward of this district sent me a request to pray for his recovery from illness, I wondered if I should accept it. But since he showed some degree of faith in me, I decided I would appeal to the Lotus Sutra. If I did, I saw no reason why the ten demon daughters should not join forces to aid me. I therefore addressed the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni, Taho and the other Buddhas of the ten directions, the Sun Goddess, Hachiman and the other deities, both major and minor. I was sure that they would consider my request and respond. Certainly they would never forsake me, but would respond as attentively as a person rubs a sore or scratches an itch. And as it turned out, the steward recovered. In gratitude he presented me with a statue of the Buddha which had appeared from the sea along with a catch of fish. He did so because his illness had finally ended, an illness which I am certain was inflicted by the ten demon daughters. The benefit of his recovery will pass on to you and your wife.

 

We, living beings, have dwelt in the sea of the sufferings of birth and death since time without beginning. But now that we have become votaries of the Lotus Sutra, we will without fail attain the Buddha’s entity which is as indestructible as a diamond, realizing that our bodies and minds that have existed since the beginningless past are inherently endowed with the eternally unchanging nature, and thus awakening to our mystic reality with our mystic wisdom.

 

Then how can we be in any way different from the Buddha who appeared from the sea? Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, who declared in the remote past of gohyaku-jintengo, "I am the only person [who can rescue and protect others,]" is none other than each of us, living beings. This is the Lotus Sutra’s doctrine of the three thousand realms in a single moment of life, and our behavior is a personal demonstration of "I am always here, preaching the Law." How valuable, then, are the Lotus Sutra and Shakyamuni Buddha for us, but we, ordinary people, are never aware of it. This is the meaning of the passage in the Juryo chapter, "I make it so that living beings in their befuddlement do not see me even when close by." The difference between delusion and enlightenment is like the four different views of the grove of sal trees. Let it be known that the Buddha with the three thousand realms in a single moment of life is any living being in any of the realms of existence who manifests his inherent Buddhahood.

 

The demon who appeared before Sessen Doji was Taishaku in disguise. The dove which sought the protection of King Shibi was the god Bishukatsuma, King Fumyo, who was imprisoned in the castle of King Hanzoku, was Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings. The eyes of common mortals cannot see their true identities, but the eyes of the Buddha can. As the sutra states, the sky and the sea both have paths for birds and fish to come and go. A wooden statue [of the Buddha] is itself a golden Buddha, and a golden Buddha is a wooden statue. Aniruddha’s gold was seen first as a hare and then as a corpse. Sand in the palm of Mahanama’s hand turned into gold. These things are beyond ordinary understanding. A common mortal is a Buddha, and a Buddha a common mortal. This is exactly what is meant by the doctrine of the three thousand realms in a single moment of life and by the phrase, "I in fact attained Buddhahood."

 

Thus it is quite possible that you and your wife have appeared here as reincarnations of the lord of teachings, the World-Honored One of Great Enlightenment, in order to help me. Although the distance between Ito and Kawana is short, we are not allowed to communicate openly. I am writing this letter for your future reference. Do not discuss these matters with other people, but ponder them yourself. If anyone should learn anything at all about this letter, it will go hard with you. Keep this deep in your heart, and never speak about it. With my deepest regard. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

 

Nichiren

 

The twenty-seventh day of the sixth month in the first year of Kocho (1261)

 

To be sent to Funamori Yasaburo.

  

high-ho-silver-of-kami-igata-cho-nobeoka-shi-miyazaki-ken-japan1.jpg
High Ho Silver, our fish from Igai River, Kami Igata Cho, Nobeoka, Miyazaki, Japan.

One who recites even one word or phrase of the Lotus Sutra and who speaks about it to another person is the emissary of the Lord Buddha Shakyamuni.
 
 

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Abacus to Abstract Japanese to English Pictures by Howard Ahner in Nobeoka, English-Tel 0982-34-5666

Thursday evenings at 6:00 pm English Classes, Mina
Thursday evenings at 6:00 pm English Classes, Minami Nobeoka

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What kind of sentences do high school kids come up with in Japan?

Gokase-River-Suns-Sets
Gokase-River-Suns-Sets

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Around The Tsurugaoka House 2-2-2009

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Friday the Thirteenth on Nagahama Beach in Nobeoka

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The Modernization and Internationalization of Kadogawa Cho, Miyazaki, Japan

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Zaikouji and Nagahama Beach

Rap by Howard Ahner
Rap by Howard Ahner

Rocky XXXXXX by Howard Ahner
Rocky XXXXXX by Howard Ahner

Toe Jammed by Howard Ahner
Toe Jammed by Howard Ahner

Sazanpia 9:30am by Howard Ahner
Sazanpia 9:30am by Howard Ahner

On Bile Duct Cancer
On Bile Duct Cancer

Fun at Sazanpia, Nobeoka - 1-31-2009
Fun at Sazanpia, Nobeoka - 1-31-2009

All of Howard Ahner
All of Howard Ahner

Tsurugaoka Special Tree
Tsurugaoka Special Tree

Stumped in Nobeoka
Stumped in Nobeoka

Log On in Nobeoka
Log On in Nobeoka

Wooded Shiohama Nobeoka
Wooded Shiohama Nobeoka

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Shapes at Nagahama

Kadogawa English Teacher
Kadogawa English Teacher

Midorigaoka Has Changed
Midorigaoka Has Changed

Heisei Kindergarten
Heisei Kindergarten

How Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood Through the Lotus Sutra
The Learned Doctor Shan-wu-wei
The Entity of the Mystic Law

Conceive a desrie to attain the way.
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