Myōe – The Woman of Yuasa
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
From Shingon Refractions – Professor Mark Unno
THE WOMAN OF YUASA
Twice, in 1203 and 1205 , Myoe planned his pilgrimage to India, the homeland of his beloved teacher Sakyamuni. Both times he abandoned his plans, but he did not do so of his own accord. Instead, he followed the dictates of the Kasuga Deity. Of concern for us is the first attempt, when the deity, or kami, stopped Myoe by delivering a dramatic oracle.
Accounts of the oracle can be found in the Himitsu kanjin cho (Secret Book of Shrine Pledges), a work by Myoe chronicling the founding of a shrine that he built in Kishu, where he was engaged in intensive practice; in the Kasuga Myojin takusen ki (Chronicle of the Oracle of the Kasuga Deity), by Myoe's closest disciple, Kikai, as well as in later hagiographic sources.
According to these accounts, Myoe went to pray for an oracle concerning his desire to go to India in early 1203. There were a number of people present, and his cousin, the Woman of Yuasa (Yuasa no onna),the wife of his uncle Yuasa Munemitsu, had been preparing for this occasion by fasting for seven days. She was about the same age as Myoe, who was thirty at the time. At one point she suddenly entered a trance and declared that she was the Kasuga Deity who had come to tell Myoe not to go to India. In order to receive further confirmation, the prayers continued, until three days later, she entered a trance once again:
'When she spoke a thick odor accompanied her breath, and it covered everything, reaching a distance of more than four hundred yards.
The Kasuga Deity spoke to Myoe through her and said, "I love you as I would my own dear child. But it is to be regretted that you have been neglecting your studies of late, and I wish that you would pay more attention to the holy scriptures.. . . Many suffering beings are waiting for you, so do not isolate yourself but go live near the imperial palace. I also feel a deep sympathy for Gedatsubo Jokei, but unfortunately, he has gone into seclusion in Kasagi. Please relate my feelings to him. You are under the protection of various deities, but the Sumiyoshi Deity and myself are your constant guards, and I am like your father. You are assured of being born in the Tusita Heaven in your next life, but you should serve as a teacher for humans while you are in this world. Your desire to go to India is a great source of concern for me.... You should come to the Kasuga Shrine and live in Nara....
After the deity had finished speaking, he lifted Myoe up by his hands and cradled him. Tears filled his eyes as he looked into Myoe's face with tender affection. He said, "Do not go against my word no matter what happens."