On Gaining an Immediate Penalty for a Lifetime of Catching Fish in a Net

A tale from the Nihon Ryoiki
of the Monk Kyokai

The Most Venerable Jio, monk of Gango-ji in the capital, went on a summer retreat to lecture on the Hoke-kyo at Noo-dera in Shikama district, Harima province, on the invitation of the patron of the temple. In the neighborhood, there was a fisherman who had been netting fish since his childhood. One day he began to crawl in mulberry bushes on his property, crying aloud, "Fire is devouring me!" His family tried to help him, but he only repeated, "Don't come close to me. I shall be in flames soon." In the meantime, his parents rushed to the temple to ask the ascetic to save their son. The ascetic came and recited formulas for awhile, and the fisherman was released from the devouring flames. His breeches has already been burnt. Stricken with terror, the fisherman paid a visit to Noo-dera, confessed his sins in the congregation, and reprented, offering clothes and having a scripture recited. Thereafter he never did any evil.

The Ganshi kakun give an analogous passage: "Once there was a man who belonged to the Liu family in Chiang-ling, who made a living by selling stewed eel. Later he had a child with the head of an eel and a human body," which demonstrates the same moral.
Click here to learn more about the Hokekyo [Lotus Sutra]

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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. For non-profit educational use only. ISBN:0-7007-0449-3
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