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In Itoi-Gun, Fukuoka Prefecture, there lives an old woman who is eighty-nine years of age. She often says to others, "Many, many years have passed since I got these prayer beads. I cannot part from them for any reason, because it is these that have supported me, how much ever hard my life might be. Under their guardianship, I've had many kinds of people help me in many ways and been able to continue to live to this age. I have no other feeling than a great gratification for them."
The old woman's husband has passed away. Three days before he died, he asked her if he could die peacefully, as he was, there and then. Without hesitation, she answered, "Never. You can't."
Was this not a cruel reply to a person who was nearing their end?
Shocked and scared her husband asked her what she meant. The old woman replied, "You say you don't remember deceiving others into doing something immoral or doing wrong yourself. Whether any untruths are hidden in what you say, lies open to the eyes of Buddha. From this evening until tomorrow, reflect on your past, and I am convinced that you cannot help but come to admit that you have lent yourself to such a speech and behavior that is the cause of immoral actions or anti-social behavior. I recommended that you confess to Buddha anything anti-social or immoral that weighs on your mind. When you are determined to do this let me know. I will be ready to sit with you in front of the altar and help you confess yourself openly to Buddha. I believe this confession will not fall on leading you to Paradise."
Theree days later, in the morning, her husband called her to his bed, saying that he wished to do as she had suggested to him. Some of the confessions he made to her at times shocked her and others she nodded tenderly with.
"I am relieved to hear that hotoke-sama (Buddha) is so merciful as to strike off my sins from his blacklist for the people in the netherworld. I already have no fear of death or of that what lies after," were his dying words.
Oba-chan (his wife) says, "We can believe confession is the only way of us sinners to beg Buddha's forgiveness. In order to share in the peace of the Buddhist Paradise, there is no other way."