Important Cultural PropertySutra in gold letters on deep blue paper, made in Chōtoku 4 (998)

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  • 1 scroll
  • Gold paint on deep blue paper
  • 15.0x131.3
  • Heian period / Chōtoku 4 (998)
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • E-15275

This is a fragment of the Lotus Sutra Vol. 1, which Fujiwara Michinaga transcribed on dark blue paper with gold ink. He put it in a sutra cylinder and buried it on August 11, 1007 when he visited Mt. Kinbu. Although most of the scroll lacks its bottom, characters such as "長徳四年 (998)," "峯山金" and "件第一," can be identified in the postscript at the end of the scroll, suggesting that this sutra was transcribed in 998 with the aim of burying it on Mt. Kinbu.
 According to Michinaga's autograph diary "Mido Kanpaku-ki" (owned by Yomei Bunko in Kyoto), Michinaga left Kyoto on August 2, 1007, held a memorial service on Mt. Kinbu on August 11 and returned Kyoto on August 14. The gilt bronze sutra cylinder (owned by Kinbu Shrine in Nara), which was excavated during the Genroku era (1688 – 1703) near Zaodo on Mt. Kinbu, is the one that Michinaga buried in 1007 and bears a prayer inscribed on the body with 511 characters in 24 lines. This prayer said that after purifying his body and mind for 100 days, Michinaga put 15 scrolls of sutras, which he had transcribed and included the "Lotus Sutra," "Muryogi Sutra," “Amida Sutra" and "Miroku Sutra," into a bronze container, buried it on Mt. Kinbu, and built a gilt bronze lantern on it. In addition, it also said that although he was going to bury the "Lotus Sutra" he had transcribed in the previous year, he could not do so due to an illness, but already finished a Buddhist service for the sutra in Kyoto and that he transcribed the "Amida Sutra" and "Miroku Sutra" to be buried together with the "Lotus Sutra" in 1007.
This is a very valuable relic in that the details of the background and events surrounding the transcription, such as Michinaga's visit to Mt. Kinbu and the construction of a sutra mound, have been revealed by the inscription on the sutra cylinder and "Mido Kanpaku-ki."