ankei's disciple Yosen, to whom this letter is addressed, was a sister-in-law of SasakiNobutsugu. She would have been about twenty years old in 1656, when the letter was probably composed, and remained a supporter of Bankei throughout his career.
Allow me to address you this brief message. Concerning your religious practice: as yourthoughts haven't yet stopped, you must make every effort to rouse your faith, completelyforgetting all thoughts, of every sort—thoughts of cherishing good and loathing evil, of lovingor hating, of worldly affairs, of cherishing buddhahood, of loathing delusion or cherishingenlightenment. If nothing at all remains in your mind, then your religious practice is complete,so if you can come to this quickly, I'll be able to give you my acknowledgment. By assiduouslyrousing your faith, you'll quickly escape these delusions. When you have escaped them, I'llknow it, and at that time I'll be able to give my acknowledgment to that one who has escaped.Respectfully,Bankei
(zenshu, pp. 527-528.)etter from Bankei to his disciple Rintei (1630-1702), addressed by her earlier religious nameRitei. Like Yosen, Rintei was a sister-in-law of Bankei's patron Sasaki Nobutsugu. She becamea nun in 1679, settling in a hermitage within the compound of her husband's home. Bankei'sletter was composed sometime before 1691, when she assumed the name Ritei, and Akao hassuggested a date in the early to mid—1660s.
Having received your letter, allow me to address you this brief message. I hope you areall well. I myself am fine, so please rest assured. You are, I imagine, applying yourself diligentlyin your religious practice. Your constant strong desire to attain enlightenment right away,however, will make you deluded, so it's essential that you give up this attitude and just remainwithout any sort of discrimination or understanding. Don't hate the arising of thoughts or stopthe thoughts that do arise; simply realize-that our original mind, right from the start, is beyondthought, so that, no matter what, you never get involved with thoughts. Illuminate originalmind, and no other understanding is necessary. However,.if you become [attached to] thedesire for illumination, then it will-become a source of delusion. Only realize that, from thebeginning, original mind is beyond thought, and don't attach to your rising thoughts at all,whether they're about-good or evil, Buddhism or worldly matters, your own affairs or otherpeople's—whatever they are, just let them arise or cease as they will, and that way you'llnaturally accord with original mind. Thoughts arise temporarily in response to what you see and hear; they haven't any realexistence of their own. You must have faith that the original mind that is realized and thatwhich realizes original mind are not different. Should you have any further questions, don'thesitate to ask.Respectfully,Bankei
(zenshu, pp. 530-531.)his letter, probably dating from the mid-l670s, is addressed to Lady Naga, daughter of Bankei's samurai patron Kato Yasuoki and wife of Lord Kato's chief retainer OhashiShigeyoshi. Rikyo, who seems to have been an elderly lady in-waiting in the Ohashifamily, had apparently sought to meet with Bankei to receive his guidance on how to confront her approaching death. Bankei, unable to see Rikyo, passed on this message to her via Lady Naga. (The first part of the letter deals with unrelated material and has been omitted.
. . . On my way back this time, I won't have a chance to see anyone, so please convey myheartfelt regrets to Rikyo. Even for one who is young, life is uncertain at best, so for someonelike Rikyo who is well-advanced in years it is all the more understandable to feel regret. Since Itoo am not only old, but ailing as well, it is very unlikely that I will be able to see her again.Nevertheless, since she is sincerely committed to the Dharma and is practicing wholeheartedly,I'm sure she will illuminate the principle of original buddhahood and become the sort of personwho does not rely on the power of others. So my leaving for the capital is in no way a cause for