On Copying the Hoke-kyo with Utmost Devotion and Witnessing an Extraordinary Event
A tale from the Nihon Ryoiki
of the Monk Kyokai
In the reign of Emporer Shomu, there was a man who made a vow in Sagaraka district, Yamashiro province. His name is unknown. He copied the Hoke-kyo in order to repay the four kinds of blessing and sent his messengers to the four quarters in search of sandalwood to make a container for the scrolls of the scripture. Eventually he bought it in the capital of Nara for one hundred kan and asked a craftsman to measure and make a container. When he tried to put the scrolls in it, he found he could not do so because the chest was too short. He was terribly disappointed, for he did not see how he could acquire such materials again. Therefore he made a vow, held a service as directed in the scripture, invited monks to confess offenses for three weeks, and wailing, he pleaded, "Please let me find such wood again."
After two weeks he tried to put the scrolls in the chest and found that it had stretched a little of its own accord though it was still a little shorter than the scrolls. The man tried harder to discipline himself and to repent, and, at the end of the third week, he could put the scrolls in the chest. Wondering whether the scrolls had become shorter or the chest larger, he compared them with the original and found they were the same length. Indeed, we know that this was a test of the vowers supreme faith and a sign of the miraculous power of the Mahayana scripture. There can be no doubt about it.
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