On the Mother Who Had a Bad Dream,
with the Utmost Faith Had a Scripture Recited,
and Saved Her Daughter by an Extraordinary Sign
A tale from the Nihon Ryoiki
of the Monk Kyokai
In the village of Yamamura in Sou upper district, Yamato province, there lived an aged mother whose name is unknown. She had a married daughter who bore two children. Her son-in-law was appointed provincial magistrate, and he took his family to his post. Several years passed.
Once the old mother, who had stayed in the home village to take care of the household, received an omen in a dream concerning her daughter. Surprised and fearful, she wanted to have a scripture recited for her daughter, but she was too poor to ask a monk to do it. As her mind was never free of worry for her daughter, she finally thought of taking off her robe and washing it to offer it to the monk for his service. Then another omen appeared in a dream. In even greater fear she took off her skirt, cleaned it, and, as she had done before, gave it as an offering to the monk for reciting a scripture.
Meanwhile her daughter was living in the official residence for a provincial magistrate at her husband's post. It happened that her children were playing in the court, while she herself was inside the back quarters. The two children saw seven monks seated on the roof reciting a scripture. They called to their mother, saying, "Mother, seven monks are chanting a scripture on the roof. Hurry! Come and see them!" The chanting sounded like bees humming together. Wondering at this, the mother had scarcely come out of the rear building when its wall collapsed. All of a sudden, the seven the monks disappeared. Greatly terrified and marveling at this accident, she thought to herself that heaven and earth had saved her from being crushed. Later, however, she heard from her mother who had sent a messenger to tell her about the evil omens and the subsequent services for the recitation of scriptures. She was so impressed with her mother's report that she professed faith in the Three Treasures with the greatest awe.
Thus we know that the whole sequence of events was generated by the power of reciting scriptures and the determination of the Three Treasures to protect us.
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