the design of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings?
The fact that those retainers who resent you are growing more presumptuous is definitely the result of the scheming of the priests Ryokan and Ryuzo. Should you write an oath discarding your faith, they would only become more arrogant, and they would mention it to everyone they meet. Then my disciples in Kamakura would be hounded until not a single one remained.
It is the nature of ordinary people not to know what awaits them in the future. Those who have a full understanding of this are called worthies or sages. Passing over examples from the past, I will cite one from the present. The lord of Musashi1 gave up both his domains and became a lay priest. I hear that ultimately he abandoned many estates, forsook his sons and daughters as well as his wife, and secluded himself from the world. You have neither sons nor reliable brothers. You have only your two fiefs. This life is like a dream. One cannot be sure that one will live until tomorrow. However wretched a beggar you might become, never disgrace the Lotus Sutra. Since it will be the same in any event, do not betray grief. Just as you have written in your letter, you must act and speak without the least servility. If you try to curry favor, the situation will only worsen. Even if your fiefs should be confiscated or you yourself driven out, you must think that it is due to the workings of the ten demon daughters, and wholeheartedly entrust yourself to them.
Had I not been exiled, but remained in Kamakura, I would certainly have been killed in the battle.2 In like manner, since remaining in your lords service will likely be to your detriment, this may well be the design of Shakyamuni Buddha.
I have written a petition3 on your behalf. Although there are several priests
there [in Kamakura], as they are too unreliable, I was thinking of sending Sammi-bo. However, since he has still not recovered from his illness, I am sending this other priest4 in his stead. Have either Daigaku Saburo, Taki no Taro, or Toki5 make a clean copy of it when he has time, and present it to your lord. If you can do that, the matter will be resolved. You need not be in a great hurry; rather, make preparations quietly within your lords clan. As for the others, let them clamor against you far and wide. Then, if you submit the petition, it may spread throughout Kamakura, and perhaps even reach the regent himself. This would be misfortune changing into fortune.
I explained the teachings of the Lotus Sutra to you before. Matters of minor importance arise from good, but when it comes to a matter of great importance, great disaster without fail changes into great fortune. When people read this petition, their errors will surely come to light. You have only to speak briefly. Say rebukingly, I will neither leave my lords clan nor return my fief of my own accord. If my lord should confiscate it, I will regard it as an offering to the Lotus Sutra and a blessing.
You must in no way behave in a servile fashion toward the magistrate.6 Tell him, These fiefs were not bestowed upon me by my lord. They were awarded to me because I saved his life with the medicine of the Lotus Sutra when he was seriously ill. If he takes them from me, his illness will surely return. At that time, even if he should apologize to me, I will not accept it. Having said so, take your leave in an abrupt manner.
Avoid all gatherings. Maintain a strict guard at night. Be on good terms with the night watchmen7 and make use of them. You should always be in company with them. If you are not ousted this time, the chances are nine to one that your fellow samurai will