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Hakuin Studies

Summaries of Hakuin’s Writings in Japanese (Kana hōgo)
by Yoshizawa Katsuhiro  

Oradegama #3

『遠羅天釜』巻之下「法華宗ノ老尼ニ贈リシ書」 (Oradegama, part 3: Letter in reply to an old nun of the Hokke school)

Oradegama, part 3, is Hakuin’s explanation of the true meaning of the Lotus Sutra, in the form of a letter to a nun of the Nichiren school. According to Hakuin, the ultimate significance of the Lotus Sutra is summed up in the one word “mind.” Hakuin urges the nun to perceive that “outside the mind no thing exists” and that “in the three worlds there is only mind,” and to see for herself “her own true nature, one with all that exists,” the “Wondrous Law of one’s own mind,” and the “True Face of the Lotus.”

Appended to the end of part 3 is a lengthy supplement in kanbun (Sino-Japanese), in which Hakuin responds to the question of an old monk friend on the nature of awakening. In years past the monk had studied under Hakuin and attained a measure of enlightenment, certified by Hakuin himself. Recently, however, he had realized his utter lack of understanding as he listened to a sermon by the master, and wondered if all his efforts had been in vain. Hakuin explains the folly of carefully guarding a minor enlightenment, using as an allegory the tale of two Chinese brothers who found some gold on the road. One hoarded his gold and impoverished himself as a result; the other invested it and became a wealthy man.

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  Last Update: 2003/12/19