“Unless we live fully right now, not sometime in the future, true fulfillment in life will forever elude us. Rather than putting things off till the future, we should find meaning in life, thinking and doing what is most important right now, right where we are–setting our hearts aflame and igniting our lives. Otherwise, we cannot lead an inspired existence.”
A personal awareness is very important. When we do something, we should do it whole-heartedly and on our own initiative, not dragging our feet and only taking action because someone has told us to. Personal awareness means a self-awakening. The deeper your own awareness, the more your horizons will expand, and the more profound your life will become.
Be deeply convinced, then, that your illness cannot possibly persist, and that your life cannot fail to be extended! Take care of yourself, and do not burden your mind with grief.
(The Bow and Arrow. WND pg 656)
Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter to the lay nun Toki in the third month of the second year of Kenji (1276) and entrusted its delivery to her husband, Toki Jōnin, who was visiting Minobu at the time.
Toki’s mother had passed away toward the end of the second month of the year. In the third month, Toki carried her ashes from his home in Wakamiya, Shimōsa Province, to distant Minobu, where a memorial service was performed for her. From a letter the Daishonin sent to Toki one year earlier, in 1275, it is clear that Toki’s mother was over ninety years old when she died. It is also thought that she had been extremely fond of her son.
The contents of this letter suggest that the lay nun Toki did her best to support and assist her husband. In addition, the Daishonin likens her faith to “the waxing moon or the rising tide,” suggesting that she was diligent in her practice. He also conveys Toki’s feelings regarding his mother’s death as well as his sense of gratitude toward the lay nun for her attentive care of her mother-in-law. Thus the Daishonin compassionately encourages the lay nun Toki during her illness, which she had been battling since the previous year.
It is possible that her illness was due at least in part to the exhausting effort of caring for her mother-in-law. The Daishonin expresses concern over her health in this letter and in another letter sent to Toki Jōnin in the eleventh month of 1276, in which he writes: “I think of your wife’s illness as if it were my own, and am praying to heaven day and night.” Although the year of the lay nun’s death is not certain, one source indicates 1303, which suggests that she was indeed able to recover and live many years longer.