Nihon Ryoiki, Book II

p. 68, fn. 8 list of empresses


her reign (Chr.E.)

















p. 69, fn. 84 "The Wei chih ... compiled about 297 A.D. gives passages on Wa ... (Japan) and refers to Himiko (or Pimiko) as its ruler. "She occupied herself with magic and sorcery bewitching the people.""

pp. 73-74 "non-Buddhist" legends in the Nihon Ryoiki






"Taking a Fox [Vixen] as a Wife and Bringing Forth a Child"



"Boy of Great Physical Strength Whose Birth Was given by the Thunder’s Blessing"



"Contest between Women of Extraordinary Strength"



"Woman of Great Strength"



"Woman Devoured by an Evil Fiend"



"Woman Who Survived the Violation of a Big Snake Owing to the Power of Drugs"



"Woman Who Gave Birth to Stones and Enshrined Them as Kami"

pp. 157-158 Praeface to Book II

p. 157

"the seven virtues of Meng-ch>ang ... ["Minister of Ch>i" (fn. 11)] or

the three wonders of Prince Kung of Lu ... [Hou-Han S^u XV].

p. 158

"we shall fly beyond the firmament on

the right wing or fortune and virtue and

the left wing of wisdom".

p. 159, fn. 6 "Prince Nagaya ... secretly studied evil arts and wanted to overthrow the government." [S^oku Nihongi X (Tenpyo 1:2:10)]

pp. 159-216 Book II – 42 tales






"Only the prince’s bones were exiled to Tosa province ... [S^ikoku (fn. 8)], where many people died. {Their dying must have been an effect of the "evil arts".} ... At this the emperor moved the bones to an island off the coast of Hajiami, Ama district, Kii province".



"Attracted by the newcomer, the female crow flew high up into the sky toward the north, abandoning her chicks in the nest." Imitating these crows, Gyogi likewise abandoned his wife and son. {Likewise did "st." Augustine traitorously abandon his wife and son.}



"When it rains, the slate has been moistened beforehand." [fn. 6 : "the rain-making ceremony"]



"When the wicked son stepped forward to cut off his mother’s head, the earth opened to swallow him. At that moment his mother grabbed her falling son by the hair ... . In spite of all her



efforts to pull him up by the hair, he fell down. The merciful mother brought his hair back home to hold funeral rites and put it in a box".



"there was a woman of extraordinary strength in Ogawa Market, Katakata district, Mino province ... . ... Living within the marketplace of Ogawa, she used to rob passing merchants of their goods by force.

At that time there was another woman of great strength in the village of Katawa, Aichi district, Owari province ... loading two hundred and fifty bushels of clams on a boat, and anchoring near to the market."



"In the village of Nadekubo, Higashinari district, Settsu province ... a wealthy householder ... held services for seven years, sacrificing an ox each year ... . At the end of seven years he contracted a serious disease, and, during the following seven years, neither doctor nor medicine could cure him." {cf. the 7 years’ prosperity succeeded by 7 years’ famine (B-Re>s^it 41:29-30) in the tale of Yo^sep}



"After his death ... When nine days had passed, he came back to life and told this story :

"There were seven subhumans [fn. 8 : "hinin"], each with the head of an ox and a human body. They bound me by the hair and led me along under guard. In front of us there appeared a towering palace. ... When we entered the palace gate, ... I realized they were addressing King Yama [fn. 9 : "Enrao"]. ... At that moment ten million men suddenly appeared to unbind me ... . ... Eight {cf. the 8 cemeteries in the S`mas`ana Vidhi} days passed in this way, and on the evening of the eighth day I was told to appear at court ... . ...



The ten million men surrounded me and left the palace, carrying me on a palanquin and leading the way with upheld banners; they saw me off with praise, and knelt to salute me. All of them looked alike."


"The Saishoo-kyo [fn. 17 : "Konkomyo saishoo-kyo, XVI (Taisho, XVI, 352b-353c)"] gives the following ... :

"Rusui-choza ... set free ten thousand fish, which were reborn in heaven and repaid his kindness by presenting him with forty thousand jewels.""



"He ... sent his messengers ... in search of sandalwood to make a container for the scrolls of the scripture. ... . ... he tried to put the scrolls in the chest and found that it had stretched a little of its own accord".



"As for the Venerable Chiko, two messengers came from King Yama to take him to his land. They headed west, and Chiko saw a golden pavilion in front of them. ... On both sides of the gate there were two divine men [fn. 21 : "shinjin, those who look like kami"] in armor with red headbands. ... Then they pointed north, saying "Go along this way." So he went, accompanied by the messengers ... . ...



He returned eastward with the messengers ... . When he awoke, he ... told his disciples ... . ...



The Most Venerable Gyogi ... kept silent. Then Chiko said to him, "I saw a palace built of gold where you will be born.""


"Thus the Fushigiko bosatsu-kyo [fn. 25 : "Quoted in the Bonmo-kyo koshakki (Taisho, XL, 706b)."] ... has a passage ... :

"Bodhisattva Nyuzai ... is destined for ninety-one kalpa to fall into the wombs of lewd women, to be deserted after birth, and to be eaten by foxes and wolves because he talked about the faults of Bodhisattva Kenten ... ."".



"Okisome no omi Taime ... was the daughter of a nun named Honi ..., the presiding officer of the nunnery of Tomi ... in the capital of Nara. ...



One day she ... saw a large snake swallowing a big frog. {"At once Zaquicaz swallowed the toad. And from then on this was the food of snakes, who still today swallow toads." (PV 2:7, p. 72)} She entreated the snake, ... saying, "I will become your wife if you do me the favor of letting the frog go." ... Whereupon she said to the snake, "Come to me in seven days." ... On the way she met a strange old man with a big crab. ... She took off her robe, begging him to sell her the crab ... . She then took off her skirt to add to the price, and he finally agreed to her offer. {"The story of Zipacna and the crab .... . In the Achi` dialect of Quiche` there is a contemporary story about a character named Zipac that makes the sexual dimension more overt than it is in the PV." (PVDL, p. 248, n. 85)} Thereupon, she brought the crab home ... . ... . That evening the snake came back again, climbed to the roof, and dropped into the house ... . ... in her



bed, ... the next morning she found ... a large snake that had been chopped into pieces. Then she realized that the crab ... had come to her rescue".



"Otomo no Akamaro ... the governor of Tama district, Musashi province ... died ..., and was reborn as a blck-spotted calf ..., with an inscription on its skin. It could be made out as follows :

"Akamaro dedicated the temple he had built, ... and died ... . He was born as an ox ... .""



"In the village of Shimoanashi, Izumi district, Izumi province ..., ... a youth ... used to hunt birds’ eggs to boil and eat. In the third month in the spring of the first year of the horse, ... a strange soldier come to him ... . He had a plate four feet long [fn. 5 : "funda, a writ of summons on a wooden plate."] fastened to his waist. So they went off together, and ... came to the village of Yamatae in Hitada district ... ."



(Yamatae proved to be hell.)



"Fumi no imiki ... (his popular name was Ueda no Saburo ...). ... This wife of this ... man was a daughter of Kamitsuke no kimi Ohashi ... . ... He called his wife to go home with him, and on their return he violated her. Suddenly an ant bit his penis". {There is such an occult sensation as if an insect were biting the penis; I have felt it often : ability to sense this was apparently first achieved subsequent to the withdrawal of the penis into the body. A woman may feel the sensation as if an insect were biting her back; the woman (L. E.) with whom I cohabited used to feel this.}



"young cowherds in her village caught eight crabs and ... she removed her robe to pay for the crabs. ... Afterward she ... saw a large snake swallowing a big toad. She implored the large snake, ... "I will become your wife in exchange for this toad. ..." The woman made a promise to the snake, saying, "Come to me in seven days." {cf. p. 172} ... The snake came, ... climbed onto the roof of the house, ... and dropped in front of her. ... The next morning she found ... the snake cut to



shred by them. She then learned that the released crabs had come ... . {cf. p. 173} ... From this time on, people in Yamashiro province have honored big crabs in the mountain streams". [p. 63 : "The tales on crabs became the prototype of the Kaniman-ji ..., legends concerning the foundation of temples".] {According to the PV, the female crab sought by Zipacna was merely the idol of one, and became the foundation underlying a mountain (temples being symbolic of mountains).}



"In a mountain temple of Chinu, ... there was a clay image of Kichijo-tennyo ... . [p. 46, fn. 6 : "Kichijoten ... (S`ridevi or Laks.mi), a female deity"] ... a lay brother of Shinano province ... came to live in the temple. ... Once he dreamed of lying with the female deity and the next morn ing discovered a stain on the skirt of the image." {cf. the Baule (of Ivory Coast) idols used for summoning a divine spouse in dreams (B)}



"a poor princess ... went to Hatori-do ... to worship the image of Kichijo-tennyo. ... The princess, in her joy, gave the robes to her wet nurse, but later, when she went to the temple to worship" them.



"That night, the mendicant had a dream. A red cow came to him, saying, "I am the mother of the master of this household. ... I have confided this to you ... since you are going to preach on the Mahayana scripture for me tomorrow. ...""



"He climbed a withered pine tree ..., and died. His spirit, which possessed a diviner [fn. 9 "kamnagi"], said, "... leave my corpse for seven days." ... On the seventh day he awoke and said ... : "With five monks in front, and five lay brothers in the rear, I was going along a wide flat road as straight as a ruler. On both sides holy banners were raised, and a golden palace was in front. ... Then, they revealed the fact, saying, ‘... the five monks and the five lay brothers are the ten oysters you paid for ... .’ On either side of the palace gate stood a man with a horn on his forehead. ... The monks and lay brothers escorted me back, and suddenly I awoke and found myself here.""



"There was a small pond to the west of the stagehouse of Heguri ... . ... There was a heron on it. ... When they looked closely at the stake on which the heron had rested, they saw golden fingers."



"in Sagaraka district, Yamashiro province, ... all of a sudden, the layman’s mouth was distorted."



"Tokari no suguri ..., ... this lay sister died while asleep ..., and went to King Yama. ... When three days had passed, the king said to her, "Now it is time for you to go home." When she came out of the palace, there stood three men in yellow robes. [fn. 7 : "they are the spirits of the scriptures she copied. Their yellow robes may signify scriptures which were written on yellow paper."] ... Then she left them, returned home, and awoke."



"The chanting sounded like bees humming together. Wondering at this, the mother had scarcely come out of the rear building when its wall collapsed."



"Konsu the Ascetic stayed there ... . In the temple was enshrined a clay image of Shukongojin ... [fn. 7 : "Vajradhara"]. The ascetic never ceased to pay day and night, holding a rope tied to the legs of the image. [fn. 8 : "This practice is called ... tsunahiki-gyo which became popular during the Heian period, particularly among those who aspired to rebirth in the pure land."] It happened that light emanated from its legs".



"In some part of Hine district, Izumi province ..., a man passed on horseback along the north side of the temple. He heard a voice crying, "Ouch! ouch!" ... cutting off the limbs and chiseling the neck of a bronze Buddha that had been laid on its back. ... The monks ... held a tearful funeral service". [fn. 5 "mogari, funeral rite before burial; ... they treated the broken Buddha like a human being."]



"at midnight, he heard a wailing in a field covered with smartweed south of the Kazuraki nunnery ... . Something cried, "Ouch! ouch!" ... breaking a bronze image of Bodhisattva Miroku [fn. 4 : "Maitreya"] ... with a stone."



"Then the fiend said, "... there is a diviner [fn. 18 : "sohakkeyomi; literally, one who can read the features of a house or a man" {physiognomist}] ... at the shrine of Izagawa ... [fn. 19 : "a brook which originates in Mt. Kasuga ... and flows into the Saho River"]. He can be your substitute. We will take him instead. ... I urge you, however, to recite ... one hundred times,



invoking our names ... .

The first name is Takasamaro ...;

the second, Nakachimaro ...;

the third, Tsuchimaro ... ."



"a fiend, a messenger of King Yaman, came to seize her. ... Thereupon, he took her to the other Kinume’s home in Utari province to see her, and , taking out a one-foot chisel from his red bag, drove it into the latter’s forehead and arrested her." The reprieved-from-the-netherworld soul of "Kinume of Utari district went home only to find her corpse had been cremated during her three-day absence. ... Kinume of Utari district came back to life in the body of Kinume of Yamada district. She said, "This is not my home. My home is in Utari district.""



"Now there was a horse-chestnut tree in the village of Tsuki in Yoshino district ... . It was cut down to be made into Buddha images, but this was abandoned for many years. In this area there was a river named Akikawa ... . the log was laid over the river so that men and animals could cross it."



"she happened to go to the Kusatsu River ... to wash clothes. ... She drew the boat half way up the beach, leaving its stern sunk in the water. ... She again dragged the loaded boat for about half a furlong. ... Even five hundred men could not pull the boat".



"a woman on the west side of Daian-ji ... got up to hind four kan of coins by the gate bridge. ...



Accordingly, the treasurers of the six schools ... returned the money to her."



"In the village of Gango-ji ..., ... a woman whose hair was smeared with animal oil, listened to the preaching."



"a woman from the village of Kawamata, Wakae district, Kawachi province ..., came to the meeting with a child to hear the teachings. ... the venerable master said to her, "Throw the child into the stream!" ... the mother ... threw him into the deep stream."



"Niu no atase Otokami ... was a man of Iwata district, Totomi province ... . ... a girl was born to Otokami, though he was seventy and his wife was sixty-two. ... Provincial magistrates ... organized ... to build a seven-stor[e]y pagoda ... . This is the pagoda of Iwata-dera ...".



"Okada no suguri Iwahito ... had a dream in which ... the calf ... knelt, saying in tears, "I am Mononobe no Maro ... of the village of Sakura ... . (He was popularly called Shiotsuki ... . When he was alive, ... he ground salt and brought it to the spot to find not a boar but an arrow stuck in the ground. ...) ..." ... (Oomina was Iwahito’s sister, a mistress in charge of the rice wine brwery.)"



"Kagamitsukuri no miyatsuko ... had a daughter whose name was Yorozu-no-ko. She neither married nor made love. ...



After several years, a man came to propose with a present consisting of three carts loaded with pretty dyed silk cloths. She ... allowed him to enter the bedroom ... . ... ... her mother knocked at the door of the bedroom, calling her daughter but getting no answer. ... she opened the door and found her daughter completely eaten up except for her skull and one finger. ... When they looked at the silk sent as a betrothal present, they discovered that it had turned into animal bones, and the three wagons into silverberry wood." {cf. another such elopement : "when they went off with Phormio’s daughter, left their wares behind in payment" (GM 74.5); these merchants left herb-benjamin (GM 74.l) instead of silverberry.}



"In the neighborhood of Uetsuki-dera ... there was an orphaned girl. ...



... the girl ... offered ..., holding the rope tied to the image and praying for a good share of fortune ... . ... In the same village there was a wealthy widower. ... Then the man forced his way in to call on and visit with her. Presently she accepted him and lay with him. ... The rain kept him from leaving her, and he stayed with her for three days. ...



After he had left the next day, ten rolls of silk and ten straw bags [fn. 6 : "one hyo contains 2.5 bushels of rice."] of rice were sent from him".



Prince Uji "in Tsuzuki district ... met Taikyo ..., a monk of Shimotsuke-dera ... . ... Although the monk and his disciple ran ... to escape, the attendants caught him and broke open the chests [fn. 8 : "to store ..., in this case, Buddhist scriptures."] they were carrying. ... In three days the prince died, his body as black as ink."



"the head of the image ... in the golden hall of Shimotsuke-dera ... fell off ... . The patron of the temple discovered this and ... came back to find that the head had returned to its place of its own accord, ... and that now it gave off light."



"a wooden image ... was enshrined and venerated at a mountain temple of Upper Chinu ... . Once a fire broke out and consumed the sacred hall. The wooden image of the Bodhisattva ... took about twenty steps out of the hall and lay down without sustaining any damage."



"there was a monk who lived in a mountain temple of Maniwa ... . When he was on the point of death, he said to his disciples, "After I die, you must not open the door of my room until three years have passed." Seven times seven days after his death, a huge venomous snake was found lying at the door of the room. As the disciples understood why it had come, they counseled it, opened the door of the room, and found thirty kan of coins secretly stored there."



"the river Oigawa ... . Beside the river was the village of Uda ..., which is in Harihara district ..., Totomi province. ...



... a voice crying, "Take me out! Take me out!" was heard from the sand on the beach at the village of Uda. ... The monk answered and could hear the voice coming from under the sand. Suspecting that some dead person buried there might have come to life, he dug and found".



"Once a slave of Naramaro went to Nara hills to hunt ... and found many young foxes there. He caught and skewered them with a stick, leaving the stick standing at the opening of the fox hole. Now, this man had a baby. The mother fox ... turned herself into the baby’s grandmother. She took the baby in her arms and carried it to the entrance of the hole, threading it on a skewer and leaving it standing at the entrance as the man had done to her children."



"In the village of Umakai, Sarara district, Kawachi province ..., ... the girl climbed a mulberry tree to pick leaves. A large snake crawled up the tree after



her. ... The snake, too, dropped down after her, wrapping itself around her and creeping into her vagina ... . ... After three years she died, having been violated by a snake again." {cf. "whenever he lay with another woman he discharged, not seed, but a swarm of noxious serpents" (GM 89.c), "the Circaean Root which Procris uses to cure Minos of his genital affliction." ("SP")}


"Once when Buddha and Ananda were passing a cemetery, a man ... cried out of his love for his mother ... . ... Buddha ... lamented aloud. ... Buddha said ..., "This



woman had a son in her previous existence. She was so attached to him that she kissed his penis. ... She was reborn was the daughter of a neighbor. eventually became the wife of her own son ... .""



"Amanotsukai Minome ... had given birth to nine children ... . on the tenth of the tenth month in the ... tenth year ..., ... her sister happened to visit her and left a chest made of



leather, the legs of which were soiled with horse dung. ... Then she opened the chest ... and found a hundred kan of in it. When she ... went to Kannon ... as usual, she noticed that its feet were soiled with horse dung." {(According to Souidas,) Empousa was also called "Onokole, because she has an ass's leg; which they call manure [boli/tinon ], that is donkey manure. For bo/litoj [is] the proper word for donkey excrement. " (E)}

PV = Popol Vuh, transl. by Delia Goetz & Sylvanus Griswold Morley, from Adrián Recino's translation from Quiché into Spanish.


PVDL = Popol vuh: the Mayan book of the dawn of life, transl. by Dennis Tedlock.

B =

"SP" =

E =

HARVARD-YENCHING INSTITUTE MONOGRAPH SERIES, Vol. 20 = Kyoko Motomochi Nakamura (transl.) : Miraculous Stories from the Japanese Buddhist Tradition : the Nihon Ryoiki of the Monk Kyokai. Cambridge (MA), 1973.