Day 17 covers all of Chapter 12, Devadatta, and opens Chapter 13, Encouragement for Keeping this Sutra.
Having last month heard Śāriputra’s doubts about an 8-year-old female dragon becoming a Buddha, we meet the daughter of the dragon king.
At that time the daughter of the dragon-king had a gem. The gem was worth one thousand million Sumeru-worlds. She offered it to the Buddha. The Buddha received it immediately. She asked both Accumulated-Wisdom Bodhisattva and Venerable Śāriputra, “I offered a gem to the World-Honored One. Did he receive it quickly or not?”
Both of them answered, “Very quickly.”
She said, “Look at me with your supernatural powers! I will become a Buddha more quickly. ”
Thereupon the congregation saw that the daughter of the dragon-king changed into a man all of a sudden, performed the Bodhisattva practices, went to the Spotless World in the south, sat on a jeweled lotus-flower, attained perfect enlightenment, obtained the thirty-two major marks and the eighty minor marks [of the Buddha], and [began to] expound the Wonderful Dharma to the living beings of the worlds of the ten quarters. Having seen from afar that [the man who had been] the daughter of the dragon-king had become a Buddha and [begun to] expound the Dharma to the men and gods in his congregation, all the living beings of the Sahā-World, including Bodhisattvas, Śrāvakas, gods, dragons, the [six other kinds, that is, in total] eight kinds of supernatural beings, men, and nonhuman beings, bowed [to that Buddha] with great joy. Having heard the Dharma [from that Buddha], [a group of] innumerable living beings [of that world] understood the Dharma, and reached the stage of irrevocability, and [another group of] innumerable living beings [of that world] obtained the assurance of their future attainment of enlightenment. At that time the Spotless World quaked in the six ways. Three thousand living beings of the Sahā World reached the stage of irrevocability, and another group of three thousand living beings [of the Sahā-World] aspired for Bodhi, and obtained the assurance of their future attainment of enlightenment. The Accumulated-Wisdom Bodhisattva, Śāriputra, and all the other living beings in the congregation received the Dharma faithfully and in silence.
Excuse me while I digress here. I’ve been reading The Nichiren Mandala Study Workshop‘s three volume “The mandala in Nichiren Buddhism.” One of the tidbits I picked up is the name of the 8-year-old daughter of the Dragon-King Sāgara. Her name is Ryūnyo. (Ryū being the word for dragons.)
In a discussion concerning Tōkōzan Myōho-ji, the authors explain the relationship between the goddess Shichimen, the dragon girl Ryūnyo and Nichiren:
On the main altar a grouping of statues is enshrined … while a backside room is dedicated to the goddess Shichimen, a female protective deity adopted in the Minobu School quite early on. According to tradition, Nichiren’s disciples Nichirō and Nambu Sanenaga climbed mount Shichimen on the 19th day of the ninth month in 1297 in order to pray to the resident deity. In the Shintō pantheon, Shichimen is actually a celestial nymph and in Nichiren’s Buddhism she is considered to be a manifestation of the Dragon Girl Ryūnyo described in the Lotus Sūtra. Local legends describe an encounter with Nichiren in 1277, while he was preaching around Minobu. Disguised as a human female, she listened to the sermon and later revealed herself as the dragon girl Ryūnyo. … Shichimen is the protective deity of Kuon-ji and very dear to the Minobu School. Several Abbots of this tradition placed her on the mandala on the same spatial level of the other two Shintō deities Tenshō and Hachiman.
I also recently got my hands on a copy of the Japanese-English Buddhist Dictionary, which offers this on the dragon girl:
Ryūnyo-jōbutsu –’The nāga (ryū) girl attains Buddhahood.’ – This phrase alludes to the well-known story in the [Lotus Sutra] about an exceptionally intelligent eight-year-old nāga girl who, under the guidance of Mañjuśrī, grasps the concept of shohō-jissō [the real state of all elements]. When she appears before the Buddha, she is transformed into a boy, and attains Buddhahood in one of the worlds to the south of this one.