I have received a hundred slabs of steamed rice cake and a basket of fruit. New Year’s Day marks the first day, the first month, the beginning of the year, and the start of spring. A person who celebrates this day will accumulate virtue and be loved by all, just as the moon becomes full gradually, moving from west to east, and as the sun shines more brightly, traveling from east to west.
First of all, as to the question of where exactly hell and the Buddha exist, one sutra states that hell exists underground, and another sutra says that the Buddha is in the west. Closer examination, however, reveals that both exist in our five-foot body. This must be true because hell is in the heart of a person who inwardly despises his father and disregards his mother. It is like the lotus seed, which contains both blossom and fruit. In the same way, the Buddha dwells within our hearts. For example, flint has the potential to produce fire, and gems have intrinsic value. We ordinary people can see neither our own eyelashes, which are so close, nor the heavens in the distance. Likewise, we do not see that the Buddha exists in our own hearts. You may question how it is that the Buddha can reside within us when our bodies, originating from our parents’ sperm and blood, are the source of the three poisons and the seat of carnal desires. But repeated consideration assures us of the truth of this matter. The pure lotus flower blooms out of the muddy pond, the fragrant sandalwood grows from the soil, the graceful cherry blossoms come forth from trees, the beautiful Yang Kuei-fei was born of a woman of low station, and the moon rises from behind the mountains to shed light on them. Misfortune comes from one’s mouth and ruins one, but fortune comes from one’s heart and makes one worthy of respect.
The sincerity of making offerings to the Lotus Sutra at the beginning of the New Year is like cherry blossoms blooming from trees, a lotus unfolding in a pond, sandalwood leaves unfurling on the Snow Mountains, or the moon beginning to rise. Now Japan, in becoming an enemy of the Lotus Sutra, has invited misfortune from a thousand miles away. In light of this, it is clear that those who now believe in the Lotus Sutra will gather fortune from ten thousand miles away. The shadow is cast by the form, and just as the shadow follows the form, misfortune will befall the country whose people are hostile to the Lotus Sutra. The believers in the Lotus Sutra, on the other hand, are like the sandalwood with its fragrance. I will write you again.
The fifth day of the first month
Reply to the wife of Omosu
I have received the sixty slabs of steamed rice cake, the container of refined sake, the fifty yams, the twenty mandarin oranges, and the string of dried persimmons that you so kindly sent. I placed these various articles before the Lotus Sutra and presented them as offerings to the sutra on the third day of spring.
Just as flowers open up and bear fruit, just as the moon appears and invariably grows full, just as a lamp becomes brighter when oil is added, and just as plants and trees flourish with rain, so will human beings never fail to prosper when they make good causes.
Moreover, the sincerity you showed in celebrating the third day of the new year exceeds even the sincerity you showed in commemorating the first day. The steamed rice cakes are like the full moon. I will write of other matters later.
The eleventh day of the first month in the third year of Kōan (1280), cyclical sign kanoe-tatsu