O N the twenty-second of this month I received all that you sent me from Shinanothree thousand coins, a sack of polished rice, fifty slabs of rice cake, one large and one small bamboo container of sake, five strings of dried persimmons, and ten pomegranates, as well as the list of items you enclosed with these offerings.
A sovereign is supported by the people, and they in turn live under his protection. Clothes protect us from a change of temperature, and food sustains us, just as oil keeps a fire burning and water enables fish to live. Birds nest high in the trees in fear that human beings will harm them, but they come down to feed and are caught in snares. Fish dwelling in the depths of the water fear that it is too shallow and dig holes to hide in, yet lured by bait, they take the hook. No treasure possessed by human beings is more precious than food and drink, clothing and medicine.
I am not as healthy as others, and in addition, I dwell in this remote mountain forest. This year was especially difficult, with widespread epidemics and famine in spring and summer, which worsened in autumn and winter. My sickness grew worse again, too, but you gave me various medicines and a quilted robe. Thanks to your remedies, I improved steadily; I have now recov
ered and feel much better than before. The Treatise on the Stages of Yoga Practice by Bodhisattva Maitreya and The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom by Bodhisattva Nagarjuna both state that, if ones illness is caused by fixed karma, even excellent medicine will turn to poison, but that, if one believes in the Lotus Sutra, poison will change into medicine. Although unworthy, I propagate the Lotus Sutra; hence heavenly devils have competed to deprive me of food. Understanding this, I have no complaint, but I believe that I survived this time only because Shakyamuni Buddha entered your body to help me.
So much for that. I was extremely concerned about your journey home last time, and I am overjoyed to hear that you have arrived safely in Kamakura. Such was my anxiety that I asked everyone who came here from Kamakura.about you. One said that he had met you at Yumoto, another that he had encountered you farther on at Kozu, and when a third told me that he had seen you in Kamakura, I felt greatly relieved. From now on, you must not come to visit me in person unless absolutely necessary. When you have something urgent to tell me, send a messenger. Indeed, I was deeply worried about your last trip. An enemy will try to make you forget the danger so that he can attack. If you should