The Birth of Tsukimaro
the message that your baby was born. Congratulations! It is
especially significant that today is the eighth day of the
month. Not only have you had your baby, but on such an auspicious
day! The fulfillment of your wish is now complete, just like
the tide at the high water mark or the blossoming of flowers
in a spring meadow. Thus, I have wasted no time in giving
her a name. Please call her Tsukimaro.
Great Bodhisattva Hachiman, the sovereign deity of this country,
was born on the eighth day of the fourth month. Shakyamuni
Buddha, the lord of this saha world, was also born
on the eighth day of the fourth month. Your baby girl was
born on the eighth day, though in a different month. She could
well be the reincarnation of Shakyamuni or Hachiman. Ordinary
man that I am, I, Nichiren, have no way to tell for certain,
but I am convinced that this auspicious birth is attributable
to the mystic agent1 I
gave you. How happy you both must be! In celebration, you
have kindly sent me rice cakes, sake and one string of coins.2
I also reported this to the Gohonzon and the Ten Goddesses.
the Buddha was born, there were thirty-two auspicious phenomena,3
as is recorded in a book called Shusho no Iki.4
Shakyamuni Buddha took seven steps immediately following his
birth, opened his mouth and uttered the words, expressed in
sixteen Chinese characters: "Throughout heaven and earth,
I alone am worthy of respect. The threefold world is a place
of suffering from which I shall save all people." Tsukimaro
must have chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with her very first
cry at birth. The Lotus Sutra speaks of "the true entity
of all phenomena."5
Tien-tai says, "Voices do the Buddhas
work."6 The deaf
cannot hear the thunder, and the blind cannot see the light
of the sun and moon. But I, Nichiren, am quite certain that
the Ten Goddesses must be together side by side, giving the
baby her first bath and watching over her growth.
me heartily congratulate you. I can imagine your joy. I have
respectfully reported this to the Ten Goddesses and to the
Sun Goddess. I am too excited to write any more. I shall be
writing you again.
- Mystic agent: Gohifu, a specially prescribed agent of
protection in Buddhism. In the Gosho "Easy
Delivery of a Fortune Child," dated May 7,1271,
Nichiren Daishonin refers to it as "this medicine."
- One string of coins: One thousand coins
bound together by a string. At this time, coins had a square
hole in the center and were usually strung together in hundreds
or thousands to form larger monetary units. The string,
or kan of coins formed the basic exchange rate for rice.
- Thirty-two auspicious phenomena: Good omens,
mentioned in the Zuio Honqi Sutra, which occurred when Shakyamuni
Buddha made his appearance in this world.
- Shwho no Iki: "Record of Wonders in
the Book of Chou." The original has been lost and details
are unknown. It is usually attributed to the end h Six Dynasties
period (222-589). The book, according to other works which
quote it, seems to have placed Shakyamuni Buddha's birth
in the twenty-fourth year of the reign of King Chao (1028
B.C.) of the Chou dynasty. There have been and still are
controversies regarding the dates of Shakyamuni's birth
and death, but adopted the account given Nichiren Daishonin's
contemporaries generally in this book.
- Lotus Sutra, chap.
2. This means that phenomena and the ultimate reality
are mutually inclusive; all phenomena are manifestations
of the Mystic Law.
- Hokke Gengi, vol. I.
Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin,
Vol. 3, page 39.