On Lustful Love for the Image of Kichijo-tennyo Which Responded with an Extraordinary Sign

A tale from the Nihon Ryoiki
of the Monk Kyokai

Kichijo-tennyo and her children

In a mountain temple in Chinu, Izumi district, Izumi province, there was a clay image of Kichijo-tennyo. In the reign of Emporer Shomu, a lay brother of Shinano province came to live in the temple. Attracted to the female image, he felt desire, fell in love with it, and prayed six times a day, saying, "Please give me a beautiful woman like you."

Once he dreamed of lying with the female deity and the next morning discovered a stain on the skirt of the image. Seeing this, he repented, saying, "I prayed to you to give me a woman like yourself, but what a sacrifice you made to give yourself to me." He was too ashamed to tell others of the event. One disciple, however, heard about it in secret. When he was scolded and expelled from the temple because of disrespect for his teacher, he spoke ill of his teacher and revealed the whole affair. Villagers went to the temple to verify the rumor, and they discovered the stain on the statue. The lay brother could not deceive them and described in detail what had happened.

Indeed, we know that deep faith never fails to gain a response. To this effect the Nehan-gyo says: "A lewd man feels desire even for a woman in a picture."

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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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