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The Story of King Rinda

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Long ago, a great monarch named King Rinda ruled over an ancient kingdom. He loved white horses and kept a number in his care. Upon hearing their neighing, King Rinda would become invigorated. He would feel rested and nourished, his mind sharp and his body healthy and strong. The white horses would neigh only when they caught sight of white swans, so he also kept and cared for a number of white swans. The king enjoyed his days and was able to cultivate a peaceful and prosperous realm.

But suddenly, perhaps due to evil karma of the past or an error in his ruling, all of the white swans in the land disappeared. Without the white swans, the horses stopped their neighing, and King Rinda’s health quickly 

declined. His strength faded, and his mind became clouded and dull. Likewise, the country fell into chaos. Natural disasters swept through the lands, famine and pestilence overcame the people, and other countries attacked the nation. 

To try and bring back the white swans, the king declared he would honor the teaching of anyone who could make the swans return and the horses neigh again. First, the non-Buddhist leaders tested their practices for many days. But not a single white swan appeared, and the white horses did not neigh. 

Then he summoned a Buddhist practitioner named Bodhisattva Ashvaghosha. When he offered prayers, a white swan immediately appeared. The horses, catching sight of the white swan, whinnied for the first time since the swans disappeared. Soon more white swans joined the first, and the horses neighed joyfully. When King Rinda heard this, he regained his complexion, and his mind became clear. In fact, his physical strength and perceptive powers far surpassed what they had been before. The country, too, was revived, surpassing its previous prosperity.[1]

Nichiren Daishonin in his writings affirms that the neighing of the horses signifies the chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which has the power to rouse our life force. Ikeda Sensei comments on this Buddhist parable, saying:

Our invincible prayer … can break through the darkness that shrouds our lives and the lives of others, and call forth the magnificent dignity and strength of the Buddha nature that is inherent in all living beings. Through chanting, we can expand the realm of happiness and joy, and bring forth a world filled ever more with the positive energy and peace of mind that is a reflection of Buddhahood. (The Teachings for Victory, vol. 2, p. 134)

—Prepared by the World Tribune staff

Jan.20, 2023, World Tribune, p. 11


  1. See “King Rinda,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, pp. 985–87. ↩︎

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