On Gaining an Immediate Reward for
Faith in Bodhisattva Kannon

A tale from the Nihon Ryoiki
of the Monk Kyokai

Elder Master Gyozen came from the Katashibe family and was sent to Koryo for Buddhist studies during the reign of the empress who resided at the Palace of Owarida. When that country was invaded, he wandered from place to place. When he came to a river, he was at a loss how to cross it, for there was neither bridge nor boat. Sitting on a broken-down bridge, he was meditating on Kannon when an old man came by in a boat to take him to the other side. Upon landing, he could see neither the old man nor the boat. Thus he learned that the old man was an incarnation of Kannon, and on the spot he made a vow that he would make an image to be venerated.

Namas Sakyamuni Buddha, Namu Myoho-renge-kyo, Namo Kannon Bodhisattva

Eventually he reached Great T'ang China where he made an image to worship day and night. He was called Dharma Master Riverside. No one exceeded him in fortitude, and he was respected by the emporer of the T'ang dynasty. He returned home with the Japanese envoys to China in the second year of the Yoro era. He lived at Kofuku-ji and never ceased performing services before that image until he died.

Surely we learn that the power of Kannon is beyond understanding. The note says: An eminent monk went to study abroad, fell into danger, and was unable to cross at the ferry. On a bridge he meditated on Kannon and trusted holy power. Kannon, in the form of an old man, came to his rescue and disappeared after they had parted. The monk made an image of Kannon and worshiped it continuously until his last day.

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Miraculous Stories from the Japanese Buddhist Tradition: The Nihon Ryoiki of the Monk Kyokai. Translated and edited by Kyoko Motomochi Nakamura. First published in 1973 by Harvard University Press: MA. This edition published by Curzon Press: Surrey, Great Britain. Copyright 1997. Pages 111-115. For non-profit educational use only. ISBN:0-7007-0449-3
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