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The Offering of a Summer Robe

A woman is like water, which takes the shape of its container. A women [sic] is like an arrow, which is fitted to the bow. A woman is like a ship, which is guided by its rudder. Therefore, a woman will become a thief if her husband is a thief, and she will become a queen if her husband is a king. If he is a man of virtue [who has faith in the True Law], she will become a Buddha. Not only in this life but also in the life to come, her lot will be determined by her husband.

Hyoe no Saemon is a votary of the Lotus Sutra. Because you are his wife, whatever may happen, the Buddha must acknowledge you as a woman of the Lotus Sutra. Moreover, you have aroused faith of your own accord, and have sent me a summer robe for the sake of the Lotus Sutra.

There are two kinds of votaries of the Lotus Sutra: saints and common mortals. The saint peels off his skin and uses it to transcribe the words of the sutra. If the common mortal offers his only robe to the votary of the Lotus Sutra, then the Buddha accepts it as equal to the peeled-off skin of the saint.

Your summer robe has been offered to the Buddhas of the 69,384 characters that compose the Lotus Sutra. Thus, it is equivalent to 69,384 robes. And as every one of these 69,384 Buddhas encompasses all 69,384 characters of the sutra, it is as though you had offered that many robes to each of them. To illustrate, suppose there is a spring field of a thousand square ri which is thick with grass. When a spark as small as a bean is set to a single blade of grass, fire will spread throughout the field in an instant, bursting into an immeasurable and boundless sheet of fire. The same is the case with this robe. Although it is only one, it has been offered to the Buddhas of all the characters of the Lotus Sutra.

Be firmly convinced that the benefits from this offering will extend to your parents, your grandparents and a countless number of other people, not to mention the husband you love most dearly.


The twenty-fifth day of the fifth month.

Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol. 4, page 135.

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