Reply to Tokimitsu
received the horseload of polished rice and ginger that you
he was still living a secular life, Aniruddha, the son of
King Dronodana, was a descendant of the wheel-turning king
who was the true ruler of India, a grandson of King Simhahanu,
a nephew of King Shuddhodana, and a son to King Dronodana.
He was a person of noble descent known throughout the whole
land. Moreover, his house was visited by twelve thousand people
each day: six thousand came to borrow from the wealth of his
family, and the other six thousand came to pay back what they
owed. Not only was he this wealthy, but he later became foremost
in divine insight, and the Buddha prophesied in the Lotus
Sutra that he would become the Buddha Universal Brightness.
we examine what great goodness he performed in past existences,
we find that a long time ago there was a hunter who supported
himself by capturing beasts in the mountains. He also raised
millet for food, but, since he lived in a time of famine,
there was almost nothing to eat. As he was eating the single
bowl of millet that was his only food, a sage, a pratyekabuddha
named Rida, appeared and begged him for it, saying, "I
have not eaten for seven days. Let me have your food."
The hunter replied, "I have put it in a vessel defiled
by a common person of the secular world, and moreover have
tainted the food by starting to eat it"; but the sage
said, "Just let me have it. If I do not eat now, I shall
die." Though ashamed of its unworthiness, the hunter
offered him the food. After eating the millet, the sage returned
the bowl to the hunter, having left just one grain of millet
remaining. This millet turned into a wild boar. The wild boar
changed into gold and the gold was transformed into a corpse.
The corpse then changed into a man made of gold. Whenever
the hunter pulled off one of the golden mans fingers
and sold it, a new finger would appear in its place. Thus,
for ninety-one kalpas the hunter was reborn as a wealthy man,
and in his present existence he was called Aniruddha and became
a disciple of the Buddha. Although it was a paltry amount
of millet, because it sustained the life of a sage in a famished
country, he received a wonderful reward.
Venerable Mahakashyapa was the worthiest of all the Buddhas
disciples. In terms of lineage, he was the son of the wealthy
Nyagrodha of the kingdom of Magadha. The floor of his house
was covered with one thousand straw mats, each seven feet
thick. Even those mats of lesser quality were each worth a
thousand ryo of gold. The household assets included
999 plows, each worth a thousand ryo of gold, and sixty
storehouses, each with 340 koku of gold inside. Such
was the immensity of his wealth. His wife had a gold-colored
body, which shed light to a distance of sixteen ri.
Her beauty exceeded even that of Lady Sotoori Hime of
Japan and surpassed even that of Lady Li of China. This husband
and wife conceived a desire to seek the way, and became disciples
of the Buddha. In the Lotus Sutra, it was predicted that the
husband would become the Buddha Light Bright. If we were to
inquire into the past existences of these two people, we would
find that because one had offered a bowl of wheat to a pratyekabuddha,
he was later born as the Venerable Mahakashyapa. The other
was a poor woman who had a sculptor of Buddhist images [a
previous incarnation of Mahakashyapa] beat a gold coin of
hers into gilding for a statue of the Buddha Vipashyin, and
who later became this persons wife.
I, Nichiren, am not a sage, I have become known as the defender
of the Lotus Sutra. For this, not only have I been hated and
assailed by the ruler of the country, but my disciples and
even those who visit me have been reviled or struck, or have
had their fiefs confiscated, or have been driven from their
dwellings. Because they live under such a ruler, even people
with seeking minds do not visit me. This has been the case
for some time, but this year, in particular, because of epidemics
and famine, very few people have come to visit.
as I was thinking that, even if I remained free from illness,
I would surely die of starvation, the wheat that you sent
arrived. It is more wonderful than gold and more precious
than jewels. Ridas millet changed into a golden man.
How, then, could Tokimitsus wheat fail to turn into
the characters of the Lotus Sutra? These characters of the
Lotus Sutra will become Shakyamuni Buddha and then a pair
of wings for your deceased father, flying and soaring to the
pure land of Eagle Peak. On returning, they will cover your
body and guide you.
my deep respect,
eighth day of the seventh month in the first year of Koan
to Lord Ueno
of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol. 7.