I HAVE received the one thousand coins, one sack of salt, one sack of taros, and some ginger that you took the trouble to have a messenger bring.
In the heat, water is considered a treasure; in the cold, fire is. In a famine, rice is considered a treasure; in a war, weapons are. At sea, ships are seen as treasure; in the mountains, horses are. In the regions of Musashi and Shimōsa, stone is regarded as a treasure. But here deep in the mountains, taros and salt from the sea are held to be treasures. Even though we have bamboo shoots and mushrooms, without salt they taste like dirt. And with regard to gold, both the ruler and the people consider it a treasure. It is similar to rice, which is the life of all living beings.
The same may also be said of coins. In China there is a mountain called Copper Mountain. Because coins come from that mountain, each coin makes the journey here across three thousand miles of sea. Everyone thinks of them as jewels. And you have presented these to the Lotus Sutra.
A man named Mahānāma1 changed rocks into gems simply by taking them up in his hands. King Golden Grains2 turned sand into gold. The Lotus Sutra turns plants and trees into Buddhas, so how much truer must this be of human beings with minds? The Lotus Sutra turns people of the two vehicles, who have scorched their seeds of Buddhahood, into Buddhas. How much truer, then, must this be of people whose seeds are alive? The Lotus Sutra turns icchantikas, or people of incorrigible disbelief, into Buddhas. How much truer, then, must this be of those who believe?
It is impossible to say all that I wish. I will definitely write again.
With my deep respect,
The eighth day of the eighth month
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