On Ridiculing a Reciter of the Hoke-kyo and Getting a Twisted Mouth as an Immediate Penalty

A tale from the Nihon Ryoiki
of the Monk Kyokai

Fuji School Gohonzon with a similiar passage inscribed on it from the Dharani chapter of the Lotus Sutra

In Yamashiro province there was once a self-ordained novice whose name is unknown. He used to play go all the time. One day when he was playing go with a layman, a mendicant came to recite the Hoke-kyo and beg for alms. The novice laughed at him, mimicking his accent with a twisted mouth. The laymen was greatly shocked at this and exclaimed, "How awful!" at each turn of the game. The layman won the game every time, and the novice lost. Meanwhile the novice's mouth became twisted, and no medicine could cure it.

The gist of this story is stated in the Hoke-kyo as follows: "Those who laugh at and slight this scripture will lose many teeth and get a twisted mouth, a flattened nose, crippled limbs and squint eyes." It is better to be possessed by evil spirits and talk in a daze than to abuse the devotees of the Hoke-kyo. Remember that evil comes from one's mouth.

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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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