Imagine there is an indigent person
      who visits the house of an intimate friend,
      where drinking wine to excess makes him worsen
      until he falls down senseless drunk in the end.

      The host sees his guest in this unconscious state,
      but he has to leave on some business affairs,
      and since he is worried about his friend’s fate
      he decides to give the poor man unawares

      a pearl beyond price, which he carefully sews
      into the lining of his clothes while he lies
      fast asleep; then off the host silently goes,
      having bestowed this invaluable prize.

      As he slept off his overindulgence spree,
      in his garment with the hidden jewel clad,
      so helplessly intoxicated was he
      that he never dreamed of the treasure he had.

      The inebriated man awoke at length
      and discovered that his friend had gone away.
      Then after he found he’d regained enough strength,
      he set out on a journey without delay

      and in a foreign country at last arrived
      where he tried to scrape by and find food to eat.
      There the man faced great hardship, barely survived,
      and desperately struggled to make ends meet.

      To cover the simple essentials of life
      deficient indeed were his meager earnings.
      Though with troublesome worries his days were rife,
      he had no higher hopes, wishes, or yearnings.

      The impoverished man was oppressed and stressed,
      continuously plagued with misfortune’s throes,
      unknowing of the priceless pearl he possessed—
      the jewel sewn into the hem of his clothes.

      It happened that the prosperous friend by chance
      eventually stumbled across the man.
      Seeing how destitute he was at a glance,
      the friend looked disgusted and quickly began

      to question him and reproach him severely.
      He asked how this situation terrible
      had come about; said his friend to him, ‘Clearly
      your wretched condition seems unbearable.

      ‘In order to assure your comfort and peace
      I endowed you with wealth a long time ago.
      A jewel was sewn into your garment’s crease,
      and the pearl is still there; yet you did not know

      ‘of the fortune you’ve been blessed with all the while.’
      When he showed the destitute man the treasure,
      his face shone with joy and lit up in a smile
      once he saw that he had wealth without measure

      and could now hereafter his needs satisfy.
      This will be also be true in the present age
      for those who’ve awakened and learned by and by
      that they’d been content with a minimum stage

      of the deepest enlightenment one could know
      which all have forever inherently sought
      that of reciting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo—
      the Utterness jewel that Nichiren taught…

      Being drunk means not accepting the Dharma
      with faith in sounding Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
      Sobering up denotes changing that karma
      so the waters of wisdom will always flow.

      ~ Harley White

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[Inspiration for the poem is the parable of the priceless jewel sewn into the lining of the garment of the indigent individual, which can be found in the Eighth Chapter on the Prediction of Enlightenment for Five Hundred Disciples of the Dharma Flower Sutra (aka, Lotus Sutra).]

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This parable is found in “The Eighth Chapter on the Prediction of Enlightenment for Five Hundred Disciples” of the Dharma Flower Sutra. Below is a passage of the commentary by Nichiren, from The Dharma Flower Sutra Seen through the Oral Transmission of Nichiren Daishōnin – Translated by Martin Bradley.

* * * * * * * * * *

All the same, Nichiren and those who follow him are the people who reverently recite Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō, which is to devote our lives to and found them on the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect that pervades all the realms of dharmas that are in the entirety of existence. This means that these people have accepted with faith the jewel of the wisdom of the single vehicle to enlightenment of the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō, Saddharma). A mind of faith is to be compared to the jewel sewn into the lining of the garment of the indigent individual.

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Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō means to devote our lives to and found them on (Nam[u]) the Utterness of the Dharma (Myōhō) [entirety of existence, enlightenment and unenlightenment] permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect (Renge) in its whereabouts of the ten [psychological] realms of dharmas [which is every possible psychological wavelength] (Kyō).

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