I HAD already received the three hundred coins that you sent by the hand of the priest Ben-bo,1 and now you have again sent me two hundred coins.
The Buddha, being truly worthy of respect, never judges by the size of ones offerings. In the past, the boy Virtue Victorious offered a mud pie to the Buddha, and was reborn as King Ashoka and ruled over all of Jambudvipa. A poor woman cut off her hair and sold it to buy oil [for the Buddha],2 and not even the winds sweeping down from Mount Sumeru could extinguish the flame of the lamp fed by this oil. Accordingly, your offerings of two and three strings of coins are far greater even than those of the ruler of Japan, who may offer the nation and build a pagoda adorned with the seven kinds of treasures that reaches to the heaven of the thirty-three gods.
A single character of the Lotus Sutra
is like the great earth, which gives rise to all things. A single character is like the great ocean, which contains the water from all rivers. A single character is like the sun and moon, which illuminate all four continents.
This single character changes and [becomes the moon. The moon changes and] becomes a Buddha.3 Rice plants change and become seedlings. Seedlings change and become stalks. Stalks change and become rice. Rice changes and becomes a person. And a person changes and becomes a Buddha. A woman changes and becomes the single character myo. The character myo changes and becomes Shakyamuni Buddha seated on a lotus pedestal. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
With my deep respect,
This letter was written at Minobu in the third year of Koan (1280) to a woman named Onichi-nyo. Though not much is known about her, the opening passage of the letter suggests
that she had some connection with Nissho, one of the Daishonins senior disciples.
Citing the stories about the boy Virtue Victorious and about the poor