Reply to Lord Matsuno's Wife
I am deeply ashamed at having failed
until now to respond to your gift of one chest of wheat, one basket of yams, one basket of melons and various other items,
which I received on the third day of the sixth month.
This place, the valley of Minobu,
is located in the area of the three villages of Iino, Mimaki and Hakiri of Kai Province, in the northwestern corner of the
village of Hakiri. To the north, the peak of Mount Minobu pierces the heavens; to the south, Mount Takatori’s crest
merges with the clouds; to the east, Mount Tenshi rises as high as the sun; and to the west, great sheer mountains stretch
across to the summit of Mount Shirane. The screeching of monkeys resounds in the heavens, while the earth is filled with the
chirping of cicadas.
I feel as if Eagle Peak in India had
made its way here, or as if I were seeing Mount T’ien-t’ai in China right before my eyes. Although I am neither
Shakyamuni Buddha nor the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai, because each day I read the Lotus Sutra day and night and
discuss the Maka Shikan morning and evening, this place is like the pure land of Eagle Peak and in no way different from Mount
Nevertheless, I am an ordinary person
dependent on other things for my existence. If I were without clothes, the wind would penetrate my body, and if I did not
eat, my life could not be sustained. It would be like failing to replenish a lamp with oil, or failing to add wood to a fire.
How could I continue to live? If my life should become difficult to maintain, if the provisions needed to sustain it were
to be exhausted, in one to five days the voice that now reads and recites the Lotus Sutra would also be silenced, and weeds
would grow up thick before the window from which discourses on the Maka Shikan are heard. Such are the conditions under which
I live, but I wonder how you were able to perceive this.
Because a hare made offerings to a
person walking about in exercise after meditation, the heavenly king took pity on it and placed it in the moon. Now, when
we gaze up at the heavens, in the moon we see a hare. In your position as a woman, you have made offerings to the Lotus Sutra
in this defiled latter age. Therefore, King Bonten will look after you with his divine eye, Taishaku will press his palms
together and pay obeisance to you, the earthly deities will delight in reverently holding up your feet, and Shakyamuni Buddha
will extend his hand from Eagle Peak to stroke your head. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
With my deep respect,
The twentieth day of the sixth month
in the second year of Koan (1279), cyclical sign tsuchinoto-u
Reply to Lord Matsuno’s wife