prohibitions. I can hardly believe that such a course would be right. How can you justify that?
The host said: You have clearly seen the sutra passages that I have cited, and yet you can ask a question like that! Are they beyond the power of your mind to comprehend? Or do you fail to understand the reasoning behind them? I certainly have no intention of censuring the sons of the Buddha. My only hatred is for the act of slandering the Law. According to the Buddhist teachings, prior to Shakyamuni slanderous monks would have incurred the death penalty. But since the time of Shakyamuni, the One Who Can Endure, the giving of alms to slanderous monks is forbidden in the sutra teachings. Now if all the four kinds of Buddhists within the four seas and the ten thousand lands would only cease giving alms to wicked priests and instead all come over to the side of the good, then how could any more troubles rise to plague us, or disasters come to confront us?
With this the guest moved off his mat in a gesture of respect, straightened the collar of his robe, and said: The Buddhist teachings vary greatly, and it is difficult to investigate each doctrine in full. I have had many doubts and perplexities, and have been unable to distinguish right from wrong.
Nevertheless, this work by the Sage Honen, Nembutsu Chosen above All, does in fact exist. And it lumps together all the various Buddhas, sutras, bodhisattvas, and deities, and says that one should discard, close, ignore, and abandon them. The meaning of the text is perfectly clear. And as a result of this, the sages have departed from the nation, the benevolent deities have left their dwelling places, hunger and thirst fill the world, and disease and pestilence spread widely.
Now, by citing passages from a wide variety of scriptures, you have clearly
demonstrated the rights and wrongs of the matter. Therefore, I have completely forsaken my earlier mistaken convictions, and my ears and eyes have been opened on point after point.
There can be no doubt that all people, from the ruler on down to the general populace, rejoice in and desire the stability of the nation and the peace of the world. If we can quickly put an end to the alms that are given to these icchantikas and insure that continuing support is instead given to the host of true priests and nuns, if we can still these white waves50 that trouble the ocean of the Buddha and cut down these green groves that overgrow the mountain of the Law, then the world may become as peaceful as it was in the golden ages of Fu Hsi and Shen Nung, and the nation may flourish as it did under the sage rulers Yao and Shun.51 After that, there will be time to dip into the waters of the Law and to decide which are shallow doctrines and which are deep, and to pay honor to the pillars and beams that support the house of the Buddha.
The host exclaimed with delight: The dove has changed into a hawk, the sparrow into a clam.52 How gratifying! You have associated with a friend in the orchid room and have become as straight as mugwort growing among hemp.53 If you will truly give consideration to the troubles I have been describing and put entire faith in these words of mine, then the winds will blow gently, the waves will be calm, and in no time at all we will enjoy bountiful harvests.
But a persons heart may change with the times, and the nature of a thing may alter with its surroundings. Just as the moon on the water will be tossed about by the waves, or the soldiers in the vanguard will be cowed by the swords of the enemy, so, although at this moment you may say you believe in my words, I fear that later