Publishing the Sutras
Tetsugena devotee of Zen in Japandecided to publish the sutraswhich at that time were available only in Chinese. The books were to be printed with wood blocks in an edition of seven thousand copiesa tremendous undertaking.
Tetsugen began by traveling and collecting donations for this purpose. A few sympathizers would give him a hundred pieces of goldbut most of the time he received only small coins. He thanked each donor with equal gratitude. After ten years Tetsugen had enough money to begin his task.
It happened that at that time the Uji River overflowed. Famine followed. Tetsugen took the funds he had collected for the books and spent them to save others from starvation. Then he began again his work of collecting.
Several years afterwards an epidemic spread over the country. Tetsugen again gave away what he had collectedto help his people.
For a third time he started his workand after twenty years his wish was fulfilled. The printing blocks which produced the first edition of sutras can be seen today in the Obaku monastery in Kyoto.
The Japanese tell their children that Tetsugen made three sets of sutrasand that the first two invisible sets surpass even the last.