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Main > Japanese folktales > Fairy tale "The Bell of Dōjōji"

The Bell of Dōjōji

The monk Anchin was young in years but old in scholarship. Every day for many hours he read the Great Books of the Good Law and never wearied, and hard characters were not hard to him.

The monk Anchin was young in years but old in holiness; he kept his body under by fastings and watchings and long prayers. He was acquainted with the blessedness of sublime meditations. His countenance was white as ivory and as smooth; his eyes were deep as a brown pool in autumn; his smile was that of a Buddha; his voice was like an angel’s. He dwelt with a score of holy men in a monastery of the mountains, where he learned the mystic “Way of the Gods.” He was bound to his order by the strictest vows, but was content, rejoicing in the shade of the great pine trees and the sound of the running water of the streams.

Now it happened that on a day in spring-time, the old man, his Abbot, sent the young monk Anchin upon an errand of mercy. And he said, “My son, bind your sandals fast and tie spare sandals to your girdle, take your hat and your staff and your rosary and begging bowl, for you have far to go, over mountain and stream, and across the great plain.”

So the monk Anchin made him ready.

“My son,” the Abbot said, “if any wayfarer do you a kindness, forget not to commend him to the gods for the space of nine existences.”

“I will remember,” said the monk, and so he set forth upon his way.

Over mountain and stream he passed, and as he went his spirit was wrapped in contemplation, and he recited the Holy Sutras aloud in a singing voice. And the Wise Birds called and twittered from branch to branch of the tall trees, the birds that are beloved of Buddha. One bird chanted the grand Scripture of the Nicheten, the Praise of the Sutra of the Lotus, of the Good Law, and the other bird called upon his Master’s name, for he cried:

“O thou Compassionate Mind! O thou Compassionate Mind!”

The monk smiled. “Sweet and happy bird,” he said.

And the bird answered, “O thou Compassionate Mind!.

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