Skip to main content


The Story of Wu-lung and I-lung

Photo by Nikada/ Getty Images.

Long ago in China, there lived a skilled calligrapher named Wu-lung, who refused to transcribe any Buddhist scriptures. On his deathbed, he expressed his final wish to his son, I-lung: “You have inherited talent in the art of calligraphy. But you must never transcribe the Buddhist sutras. In particular, do not transcribe the Lotus Sutra!” 

After his father passed on, I-lung went on to become an outstanding calligrapher who, obedient to his father’s will, never transcribed the Lotus Sutra.

Then one day, the ruler, seeking the most skilled calligrapher in China, summoned I-lung and asked him to transcribe sutra texts for a Buddhist celebration. Staying true to his father’s dying wish, I-lung refused the ruler’s requests. 

Finally, the ruler offered a compromise, saying, “I ask only that you write out the title of the Lotus Sutra.”  I-lung complied, but grieved over violating his father’s wish. 

In a dream that night, a heavenly being appeared and spoke to him: “Don’t you recognize me? I am your father, Wu-lung.” Having slandered the teachings of the Buddha, he explained, he fell into the hell of incessant suffering, enduring grueling ordeals. 

“Then yesterday morning,” he said, “the single character myo came flying through the air and, taking the form of a golden-hued Buddha, said, ‘Even those who have destroyed enough good causes to fill the entire realm of phenomena, if they hear the Lotus Sutra just once, will never fail to attain enlightenment.’ A Buddha for each character you wrote appeared in front of me and the hell of incessant suffering was instantly transformed into the Land of Tranquil Light. Because of that, I was able to become a Buddha.”

I-lung wrote a prayer describing his uplifting dream, inspiring many people in China and Japan to take faith in the Lotus Sutra.[1]

Ikeda Sensei explains: “Through chanting the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we can transmit benefit even to deceased family members, relatives, friends or acquaintances who my have opposed our Buddhist practice—benefit that will warmly embrace them and lead them to a state of profound peace and comfort” (The Teachings for Victory, vol. 7, p. 40). 

—Prepared by the World Tribune staff

December 9, 2022, World Tribune, p. 11


  1. See “Letter to Horen,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, pp. 514–16. ↩︎

Time to Sing a Song of Triumph

3 Keys to a Victorious Life