On Gaining an Immediate Reward for Faith in the Three Treasures, Reverence to Monks, and Having Scriptures Recited

A tale from the Nihon Ryoiki
of the Monk Kyokai

Namu Sakyamuni Buddha!

In the ninth month of the fourth year of the hare, the fourth year of the Jinkai era, Emporer Shomu went hunting with his officers in the mountain at Yamamura in Sou upper district. A deer ran into a farmer's house in the village of Hosome, and the family killed and ate it without knowing whose it was. Later, when the emporer heard this, he sent messengers to take them prisoner. More than ten men and women met with this misfortune, and they shuddered in fear without any recourse. Their only thought was that nothing but the divine power of the Three Treasures would save them from their sad plight. As they heard that the Sixteen-foot Buddha of Daian-ji would respond to the people's prayers, they sent a man to visit the temple and have scriptures recited. They made an appeal to the monks, saying, "When we are led to court, please open the southern gate of the temple so that we may pay homage to the Buddha. Also we beg you to ring the bell when we are taken to court so that the sound of the bell may follow us."

According to their wishes, the monks rang the bell, recited scriptures, and opened the gate so that people might worship. The latter were sent to court by the messengers and confined in a guardroom. Just then a prince was born, and the emporer granted a general amnesty to criminals and did not punish them. Instead, he gave alms to the people, and their happiness and joy could not be measured.

We learn that this is due to the influence of the Sixteen-foot Buddha and the merit of reciting scriptures.

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Miraculous Stories from the Japanese Buddhist Tradition: The Nihon Ryoiki of the Monk Kyokai. Translated and edited by Kyoko Motomochi Nakamura. First published in 1973 by Harvard University Press: MA. This edition published by Curzon Press: Surrey, Great Britain. Copyright 1997. For non-profit educational use only. ISBN:0-7007-0449-3

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