"I HAVE received two thousand coins from Musashi-bo Ennichi,1 whom you sent as a messenger. Kogyoku, the thirty-sixth in the line of sovereigns, was a woman. At that time, there was a minister named Iruka. He became so arrogant that he insanely took action to seize imperial power for himself. The empress, the princes, and others felt that this was outrageous, but they found themselves utterly powerless against him.
Then the princes Oe and Karu, deploring this state of affairs, consulted a court official named Nakatomi no Kamako, who said that he was convinced it was beyond human power to stop Iruka. He cited the example of Umako, and insisted that without the power of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, it would be impossible to stop him. Taking this to heart, they had an image of Shakyamuni Buddha fashioned and prayed to it, and in no time at all Iruka was struck down.
This man named Nakatomi no Kamako was later granted a new surname and became known as Fujiwara no Kamatari. He was appointed inner minister, bore the title of the rank Great Woven Cap, and was the founder of the present-day Fujiwara family. That image of Shakyamuni Buddha is the present-day object of devotion at Kofuku-ji temple. Thus Shakyamuni Buddha is the reason the emperor was emperor, the reason the minister was minister, and the reason this land of the gods became the land of the Buddha. Please understand this by comparing it with what I have written in my letter to Uemon no Tayu. The reason our country now faces the threat of subjugation to another nation is that people fail to pay the least attention to Shakyamuni Buddha. The power of the gods is also ineffective for this reason.
People have regarded the two of you as surely having already yielded, but you have acted in an admirable manner. You probably think this is solely due to the power of Shakyamuni Buddha and the Lotus Sutra. I believe this also. No words can express the promise of your next existence. From now on too, no matter what may happen, you must not slacken in the least. You must raise your voice all the more and admonish [those who slander]. Even if your life should be threatened, you must not falter in the least."
With my deep respect,
With my deep respect,
The twenty-first day of the eighth month