The Bow and Arrow
Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter to Toki-ama Gozen on the twenty-seventh day of the third month in 1276, and entrusted its delivery to her husband, Toki Jonin, who was visiting Minobu at the time.
Toki's mother had passed away toward the end of the second month of the year. In the third month, Toki carried her ashes from his home in Wakamiya, Shimosa Province, to distant Minobu, where a memorial ceremony was performed for her. From a letter the Daishonin sent to Toki one year earlier, in 1275, we know that Toki's mother was over ninety years old when she died. It is thought that she had been extremely fond of her son.
The contents of this Gosho suggest that Toki-ama Gozen did her best to support and assist her husband. In addition, the Daishonin likens her faith to "the waxing moon and the rising tide," suggesting that she was diligent in her practice. He also conveys Toki's feelings regarding his mother's death as well as his sense of gratitude toward Toki-ama for her attentive care of her mother-in-law. Thus the Daishonin compassionately encourages Toki-ama during her illness, which she had been battling since the previous year.
It is possible that her illness was due at least in part to the exhausting effort of caring for her mother-in-law. The Daishonin expresses concern over her health in this letter and ill another letter sent to Toki Jonin, in which he writes: "I think of your wife's illness as if it were my own, and am praying to heaven day and night" (Gosho zenshu, P. 978). Although the year of Toki-ama's death is not certain, one source indicates 1303, which suggests that she was indeed able to recover and live many years longer.
Designed by Will Kallander