|Shokubutsu En Nobeoka
The Bow and Arrow
I have received one kan of coins and a bamboo container. It is the power of the bow that determines the flight of the arrow,
the might of the dragon that controls the movement of the clouds, and the strength of the wife that guides the actions of
her husband. In the same way, it is your support that has enabled Lord Toki to visit me here now. We know the fire by its
smoke, discern the nature of the dragon by the rain, and recognize the wife by observing her husband. Thus, meeting here at
this moment with Lord Toki, I feel as if I were seeing you.
Lord Toki has told me that, while grieved at his mother’s death, he was grateful that she passed away peacefully
and that you gave her such attentive care. He said joyfully that he would never be able to forget this in any lifetime to
My greatest concern now is your illness. Fully convinced that you will recover your health, you should continue moxibustion
treatment for three years, as regularly as if you had just begun. Even those who are free from illness cannot escape the transience
of life, but you are not yet old, and because you are a votary
of the Lotus Sutra you will not meet an untimely death. Your illness is surely not due to karma, but even if it were, you
could rely on the power of the Lotus Sutra to cure it.
King Ajatashatru extended his life by forty years by embracing the Lotus Sutra. Ch’en Chen added fifteen years to
his life. You also are a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra and your faith is like the waxing moon or the rising tide. Be deeply
convinced, then, that your illness cannot possibly persist and that your life cannot fail to be extended! Take care of yourself
and do not burden your mind with grief.
When sorrows arise, think of Iki and Tsushima, as well as of the Dazaifu office. Or think of the people of Kamakura. They
were enjoying the delights of the heavenly realm, but when the soldiers departed for Tsukushi, the parting of the wives and
children who stayed behind from the men who left was like bark being ripped from a tree. They pressed their faces together
and lamented while gazing into each other’s eyes. Now the men gradually grow more distant, traveling through Yui Beach,
Inabura, Koshigoe, Sakawa and the Hakone pass; and so, as one day passes and then another goes by, they march farther and
farther away, and rivers and mountains, as well as clouds, are interposed between them and their families. Tears accompany
them and grief is their companion. How sorrowful they must be!
If the Mongol armies should come and attack while they are thus lamenting, they will be taken prisoner, whether in the
mountains or on the sea, and will suffer misery in ships or in Koryo [on the Korean Peninsula]. This is entirely because of
the treatment people have accorded Nichiren, the votary of the Lotus Sutra, who has committed no fault and is father and mother
to all the people of Japan. Without reason, they revile and beat him, and parade him through the streets. Such insanity has
provoked reprimands from the ten demon daughters, causing the present situation to arise. In addition, events that are a hundred,
a thousand, ten thousand and one hundred thousand times more difficult to endure will occur in the future. You will see such
mysteries unfold before your eyes.
There is nothing to lament when we consider that we will surely become Buddhas. Even if one
becomes an empress, Of what use would it be? Even if one is reborn in heaven, what end would it serve? Instead, you will follow
the way of the dragon king’s daughter and rank with the nun Mahaprajapati. How wonderful! How wonderful! Please chant
With my deep respect,
The twenty-seventh day of the third month
To Ama Gozen