On the Immediate Penalty of Being Given a Twisted Mouth and Death for Speaking Ill of the Monk, Devotee of the Hoke-kyo
A tale from the Nihon Ryoiki
of the Monk Kyokai
In the Tenpyo era (729-749), there once lived a layman in Sagaraka district, Yamashiro province, who name is unknown. At Koma-dera in the same district there was a monk named Eijo who used to recite the Hoke-kyo all the time. It happened that the monk and the layman had been playing go for some time. Whenever the monk put down his stone, he said, "This is the Venerable Eijo's hand of go." He went on and on this way. Then, all of a sudden, the layman's mouth was distorted. In fear, he left the temple holding his chin with his hands. He had hardly gone any distance before he fell on his back and died immediately. Witnesses said, "Though he did not persecute a monk, mocking and mimicking him got him a twisted mouth and sudden death. What, then, must the penalty be if one vengefully persecutes a monk?"
The Hoke-kyo gives a passages to this effect: "A wise monk and a foolish monk cannot be discussed in the same breath. Similarly, a long-haired monk and a wise, unshaved laymen cannot be treated alike and served with the same dishes. If one dares to do so, he will swallow an iron ball which is heated on red-hot copper and charcoal, and fall into hell." [Note: unlocated in the Hoke-kyo]
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