2016年 10月 22日

Outline Life of Nichiren


                           Japanese version



Nichiren was born in Kominato, Tōjō volost, Awa Province on February 16 1222.

In this time, the Kamakura Shogunate was opened in Japan by Yoritomo Minamoto, and 40 years passed. There was Mongolia empire on the road which conquered Asia by military power in the Orient, and invasion of the Crusade began in the West. Itwas the times of a global fight.


Fatherof Nichiren said Tayuu Mikuni, and mother said Umegiku. The details are unclear, but Tayuu Mikuni of father live by a fisherman, and it is said that he was as work by killing. Nichiren writes it down later with (Receivinga disfavor; and to the island of Sado) where "Nichiren is a child of seaside chandāla (untouchable) of the country of Japan savage in the eastern provinces Tojo Awa". On the other hand, it is known that Umegiku of mother was the whole families of the military commander of the Kamakura era. Mother has an opinion that 31-syllable Japanese poems had considerable culture. It is thought that the superior writing power of Nichiren might have discipline of this mother.


Nichiren called a childhood name Zen’nichimaro. 1233, Maro became twelve-year-old. He began studying Buddhism at Seichō-ji of the ancient temple near the home. Nichiren is writing in the letter which addressed to the believers of the Seichōji temple as follows later.

 “I received great wisdom from the living Bodhisattva Space Treasury. I prayed to the bodhisattva. ‘Please make to a wisest person in Japan.’ Then the bodhisattva might had put pity for me. He presented with a great jewel as brilliant as the morning star to my right sleeve. Thereafter, while I learn the all Buddhist scriptures, I was able to know superiority and inferiority of eight denominations and the all Buddhist scriptures.” (To the Seichōji temple public)


Four years later, he became a monk at the age of 16 years old formally, and took the tonsure and changed the name to Zeshōbō-Renchō. Zeshōbō is a meaning of giving birth under the sun. Renchō has vowed to dedicate his life to Buddhism without the marriage.


Awa Province there was Seichō-ji Temple, but cultural was a frontier land. He visited various temples of Nara, Kyoto, Kamakura, was the center of Buddhism, learned the essence of Buddhism. Renchō was piled up study over a period of sixteen years. Thus he finally reached the depths of Buddhism. At this time, Nichiren prepared that hardship is waiting ahead. And he vowed. "I will be the pillars of Japan. I will be the eyes of Japan. I will be a great ship of Japan."


Renchō returned to Awa of the hometown on April 28 in 1253 and declared the establishment of the true Buddhism. And he changed own name to Nichiren. The place was in the hall with a Buddha statue of Seichō-ji Temple. Its location was the place where Nichiren once prayed, “Please make to a wisest person in Japan.”


"Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo."

Nichiren declared. All for the world, that is one Jambudvipa people, and it is possible to open the gates of their Buddhahood by chanting this subject.

 At the sametime, he criticised the four sects that prevent the road to Buddhahood of people thoroughly. Nembutsu Sect create negative karma that cause the people to fail into the hell of incessant suffering; Zen gives rise to devil functions; Shingon is an evil teaching that destroys the nation; and Ritsu Sect is thief of the nation. A proverb of four means this. The proverb of this four, it was the sharp sword against worldly desire for cutting off the fundamental darkness of all creatures. 


But Kagenobu Tōjō, the estate steward of Awa, heard this matter, tried to immediately arrest the Nichiren. Because Kagenobu was a strong believer of Nembutsu, also he was trying to put undercontrolling the Seichō-ji Temple. Nichiren received immediately difficulties. “If you spread the correct law in the Latter Days of the Law, will subject to difficulties." Buddha had predicted in the Lotus Sutra.


After Nichiren avoid this persecution, he began spreading the Law in Kamakura, political capital. Nichiren, to spread the subject of the Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, began to fracture the other sect in severely. Nichiren had continued this activity for 18 years. Although he criticized the other sect, it went also increase notoriety along with the fame. Also Nichiren taught that believers should spread the Law according their own competence. As a result, believers to Nichiren were gradually increasing to relatives of the disciple congregation, samurai colleagues, and monks of the other.


In addition, famine and a contagious disease were prevalent in those days. The great disaster was frequent, too.

“In recent years there have been unusual occurrences in the heavens, and natural disasters on earth. Famine and epidemics rage in all lands beneath the skies and in every corner of the realm. Oxen and horses lie dead in the street, the population has already been carried off by death, and there is hardly a single person who does not grieve.” Nichiren was recorded this tragic situation. He asked the way of solution from all scriptures of the Buddha.

A large earthquake occurred in May 1257 in addition. This major earthquake destroyed all buildings of Kamakura. Nichiren had an insight that this disaster was not by chance but happened from the bad law of Nembutsu. Thus he wrote the Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land. (Risshō Ankokuron).

1260 July, Nichiren submitted this remonstration to the highest authority Hōjō Tokiyori. The lay priest Yadoya of shogunate officials was intermediary.

At this time, Nichiren toward priest Yadoya advised to stop assistance to Nembutsu and Zen sect which had been certified by shogunate. Furthermore, when was not adopted, he foretold that an internal war and the invasion of other countries happen. (The first remonstration with respect to the government)


By the way, Nikkō became a disciple to Nichiren during of writing the Risshō Ankokuron. Nikkō will become a successor of Nichiren later. After this, the young age 12-year-old Nikkō will stand in the front of the propagation, like "obey the form of the shadow to Nichiren."


One month after Nichiren submitted Risshō Ankokuron, believers of Nembutsu sect attacked the thatched hut of Nichiren. (Persecution of Buddhists in the Matsuba Valley). Barely Nichiren was able to escape this difficulty. In addition, the following year, May 1261, the Kamakura shogunate exiled Nichiren to Izu. The reason was because there was the strong believer of Nembutsu sect in the cabinet minister of shogunate. However, the regent Hōjō Tokiyori pardoned Nichiren as was due to defamation two years later. The activity of shakubuku by Nichiren’s disciples in the wake of this went become even more active.


1264 July, a large comet in the sky appeared, the anxiety of the world went growing further. November of that year, Nichiren was attacked from Kagenobu Tōjō of the estate steward at Komatsubara of Awa Province. (Persecution of Buddhists in Komatsubara). Nichiren was wounded the forehead, and broken his left arm. But Nichiren proved aphorism that difficulties befall to the votary of the Lotus Sutra. He went further deepen the conviction that he is the votary of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law.


Then in January 1268 after four years, the incident occurs to bring the dark clouds to fate of Japan. The envoy of the Mongolia empire arrived at Dazaifu and requested commerce. Mongolia destroyed Korea with the powerful armaments and went to invade in mainland China. Emperor Kublai demanded the servitude in Japan at the sovereign message. Further, if rejected this, he threatened to attack japan. The Kamakura Shogunate began preparations for country defense in defiance of this threat. As a result, the attack of Mongolia became decisive.


This incident meant the calamity of invasion from foreign country which Nichiren foretold in Risshō Ankokuron nine years ago. Nichiren was convinced that only he can resolve the difficulty of this country.

October of that year, Nichiren delivered letters to each temple of the regent Hōjō Tokimune and Kamakura, urged the public showdown. (11 Letters to authority). The purpose of this letter was to collect monks of various sects in front of the king, and was to decide a positive and evil of Buddhism. Nichiren claimed that a national crisis approached finally if Shogunate did not stop faith to evil doctrine.

But Kamakura monks including the shogunate was smothered Nichiren's remonstration. They had been afraid that the force of Nichiren become more powerful. The number of believers who are believing in the Lotus Sutra had reached a one-tenth of Japan.


After three years, june 1271, Kamakura Shogunate ordered the prayer of rain to Ryōkan of Gokurakuji Temple. “The prayer of rain” means to pray the rain to fall down. Japan's fields had been hit by drought that year. Ryōkan of Gokurakuji temple was a learned and virtuous priest of the Shogunate official recognition. Because he was at odds at doctrine also, had accused Nichiren violently.

Nichiren offered the confrontation of rain prayers to this Ryōkan. Result, Ryōkan was miserably defeated at this game. He began a plan to entrap Nichiren into for self-protection. Ryōkan gained the favor of wives of Shogunate officials and poured obstinate defamatory words. This voice spread out in the Shogunate, and the air which shall investigate Nichiren opened.


On September 10, Nichiren was summoned to Yoritsuna Taira of the chief vassal of the Shogunate. Yoritsuna was overseeing the military and police of shogunate, was the brain truster of the regent Tokimune. Yoritsuna asked about the truth of defamatory, but because Nichiren had insisted on preparing of Mongolia by the correct Law, Nichiren provoked a rage of Yoritsuna.


On the night of September 12, Yoritsuna Taira attacked the thatched hut of Nichiren. Yoritsuna had a plan to assassinate Nichiren without receiving permission of the regent Tokimune. Nichiren shouted while receiving a wound to the forehead, “You guys are right now trying to overthrow the pillar of Japan!" He foretold the calamity of revolt with the calamity of invasion from foreign country again. (The second remonstration with respect to the government)


Nichiren was to be beheaded in Kamakura coast called "Tatsunokuchidragon's mouth". (Persecution of Buddhists in TatsunokuchiBut enforcement of the death penalty was aborted by a luminous object that suddenly appeared between the hours of the Ox and the Tiger (from a.m. 1:00 to 5:00).

At that moment, Nichiren wiped out the appearance of provisional of the reincarnation of the Bodhisattva Jogyō who was preached in the Lotus Sutra from the particular omen that happened at the place of this desperate situation.

At the sametime, he expressed that he is the Buddha having the Intrinsically Perfect Wisdom and is the Origin of the True Buddha in the Infinite Past. Sweeping the provisional and revealing the origin.And declared,“Nichiren, I am, sovereign, teacher, father and mother to all the people of Japan.” He showed that he is the Buddha who have the three virtue, sovereign virtue, teacher virtue, parent virtue in the Latter Day of the Law.


Now, by arrest of this Nichiren, believers of Nichiren exiled and were confiscated their own territory. Nichiren was recorded that followers of the 99 out of the 100 people were apostasy. Regent Tokimune Hōjō helped life of Nichiren, but he determined the exile to Sado Island in response to the calumny.


Sado Island was a land of adversity, but Nichiren erected the true object of worshipthe Gohonzon. This was a proof that he is the True Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law.

"Teaching" of the Lotus Sutra of Buddha enters into the Latter Day of the Law, had been left yet. But “practice” becoming a Buddha is no longer applied to the era and the teachings of the Buddha had lost power. Therefore, although sentient beings have been practicing Buddhism, they had not been able to acquire the "proof" that they become a Buddhahood. Nichiren was bestowed the Gohonzon of one scroll to sentient beings in the Latter Day of the Law.

He has established the “practice" becoming a Buddhahood by chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo to the Gohonzon over the future forever.


1272 January of the following year, Nichiren had won in dispute with another sect at Tsukahara of Sado. (Dispute in TsukaharaIn that time, Nichiren had predicted to Honma Shigetsura magistrate, “The civil war will soon occur in Japan." After one month, actually that fighting occur at each other of Hojo clan in Kamakura, the shogunate was shocked. (February Turmoil).


Regent Tokimune Hōjō was pardoned Nichiren in February 1274 at last. Tokimune made the plan to borrow power of Nichiren, and to make better the fate of the country against the attack of the Mongolia empire. The doctrine of Nichiren who was prohibited, was recognized officially by this pardon virtually.


This April, Nichiren return to Kamakura and meet with Yoritsuna Taira who had been received will of Tokimune Hōjō. Nichiren answered to the question of Yoritsuna, “It definitely would be in this year,” predicted that Mongolia come attacking by the end of the year. And preached that shogunate should not let other sects especially Shingon to pray. (The third remonstration with respect to the government)

But the Shogunate was not able to eliminate existing sects. Nichiren forsake the shogunate, was secluded to Minobu Mountain of Kai Province. He was according to this proverb, on the surface, “If you were rejected remonstrance three times by the lord, you must be secluded life in the mountain” Real intention was to train disciples, and to achieve the purpose of life.


In October of that year, like was prophesied, Mongolia came in to attack. The Japanese was the same as were defeated, destroyed Dazaifu including islands of Iki and Tsushima. Mongolia troops went away, but the pessimistic information as that Japan will perish by the next attack was transmitted to the whole country.


After secluded life in the mountain of Minobu, Nichiren was not out of the mountain even one step. But he left the writings, and erected the gohonzon, training disciples, write letters to believers incessantly. He poured his best so that the correct Law of the Buddha is transmitted to the far future.

Shijō Kingo was one of the believers lived in Kamakura. He was a strong believer that received the persecution of the Tatsunokuchi with Nichiren, but he was forced apostasy from lord. Nichiren continues to send letters of encouragement to Kamakura faraway from the thatched hut of Minobu mountain.

Also Ikegami brother who was born in the house of Minister of Construction fell into predicament that had been forced to Nembutsu from father. Nichiren encouraged to withstand and said "Grit your teeth!"


Persecution of Buddhists in Atsuhara happened in September 1279.

 Nikkō of disciple had propagated the Law of Nichiren at Atsuhara Fuji region extensively. The monks of another sect were devotion to the Lotus Sutra after another, this faith went spreading to farmers.

 Yoritsuna Taira took this situation seriously and arrested people of 20 farmers who are believing in the Lotus Sutra and urged the apostasy. Yoritsuna could not arrest the monks who were permitted. He aimed at the farmer vulnerable instead. This was the great persecution that believers of Nichiren received the first time. Although farmers were threatened, they refused rigidly, and three brothers including Jinshirō were executed.

Nichiren was impressed by the sight of farmers unnamed through the faith, he felt that now is the time all the people of the world to embrace the Mystic Law. He erected the Real Object of Worship (Dai-Gohonzon). It was not the gohonzon that has been erected by any opportunity or fate. This great mandala was erected for all creatures of the whole world. Nichiren drew the Dai-gohonzon to the surface of the logs of the big camphor tree to withstand up to 10,000 years and end of the future in the Latter Day of the Law.

This Dai-Ghonzon was the purpose of Nichiren advent. Nichiren stated, "I took twenty seven years" from the true Buddhist declaration, in order to achieve it.

The Dai-Gohonzon was erected on October 12 1279, it is the One Great Secret Law to bundle up the Three Great Secret Law(the Essential Object of Worship, the Essential High Sanctuary, the Tssential Subject). This is the basic Law of the Nichiren Buddhism and is enshrined in Hall of Hō’an of the Huji Daisekiji Temple now.


Now, Nichiren preached repeatedly that Japan would be destroying a country by the Mongolia forces.

Mongolia attacked Japan at 140,000 soldiers and 4,400 warships again in 1281.

They brought that excess energy that conquered China and they attacked Japan by big boat. But met with a typhoon and was exterminated. They defeated and went away.

Nichiren who was advocated the destruction of the country to this result had kept silence, but the Buddhist priest of various sects trumped at around that it was the result of own prayer.

Nichikan of the 26 generation in Fuji Taiseki-ji temple said, "Because various gods received the commandments by Nichiren of the sect founder, gods helped the country". He is declaring that Japan was won by the force of Nichiren. (Commentary of 'Repaying Debts of Gratitude', Part One)


Nichiren became sixty-one years old. He has felt that time of death is imminent, he defined the successor to White Lotus Acharya Nikkō in 1282 September. Nichiren was testament to Nikkō.

"When the sovereign embraces this Law, you should establish the High Sanctuary of Hommongi Temple at Mount Fuji. You must await the time. This is the actual precept of the Law." and he entrusted the whole world propagation (kōsen-rufu) to Nikkō.

And, for all monks of after to follow himself, he admonished them that, "you would suffer law punishment of nature if you would not place a sun character at first when you call yourself".

After this, Nichiren went down the mountain of Minobu on September 8, and stayed in house of Munenaka Ikegami in Musashi country. And in spite of the disease, he lectured the Risshō-Ankokuron to disciples.

And October 8, he nominated six monks of becoming a core between disciple, then he entered the nirvana at Ikegami house at a dragon time7 a.m. to 9 a.m.October 13.


Nikkō, which became the successor, during the post-mortem six years of Nichiren, defended the Law righteousness of Nichiren as Secretary of Minobusan-Kuonji Temple. But during this, Sanenaga Hakiri of the lord who was supposed to protect the Nikko, committed slanders of four kinds. That was, Buddha statue making, Shinto shrine worship, the memorial service to slander, Nembutsu hall construction. Furthermore, Nikou, was one of the six monks, he had agreed this slander, so slander of Minobu Mountain was rampant.

Landlords of Minobu is stained slander. Nikkō was remonstrance him, but Hakiri did not hear. For this reason, Nikkō was no longer able to live in this land. 1288 December, Nikkō went away the Minobu Mountain which became the land of slander in heartbreak.

And 1290 of after two years, Nikkō accepted a donated land from Tokimitsu Nanjō who was a strong believer, and then founded the Fuji Taiseki-ji Temple in Suruga and enshrined Dai-Gohonzon here. Nanjō over the two generation of parents and children, had received the tutelage of Nichiren. Nikkō continued defending the Law righteousness of sect founder Nichiren in the land of this Ueno for forty three years.


1332, Nikkō became eighty eight age. He entrusted the post to Nichimoku who was the most high-ranking disciple.

That content was that Nichimoku must hang Dai-Gohonzon of the essential sanctuary which was erected by Teacher Nichiren to the Hommonzi temple in dawn of the kōsen-ruhu. And he said as same as teacher Nichiren."Nichimoku would manage Taisekiji Temple including the main hall and the cemetery. He should maintain the premises and conduct Gongyō (Buddhist religious service) and await the time of kōsen ruhu. "

And the following year, he passed away leaving twenty six precepts for achieving kōsen-ruhu, and aiding the ten thousand years.

"Fuji style should not be different from the propagation which Teacher of the Predecessor was performed, even just a little.”

"In our denomination, you should dye excellent teachings on your soul. And should transmit the supreme doctrine from teacher. If there is spare time, you should listen to Tendai sect."

"Teacher" means Nichiren." The excellent teachings " signify the writings which had been written by Nichiren. Precepts of these 26 Article are defended to Fuji Taiseki-ji Temple now firmly.


Nichimoku, who became the successor, went journey to submit writings which remonstrate the imperial court of Kyoto in November of year in which Nikkō's death. It is said that it was 42 th of remonstrance against the government in his life. But he was in the middle of trip, died in the town of Tarui in Mino country. He was seventy four years old.

Nichimoku told the chagrin of greet the dying on the floor of the death. And he left this last will and testament. "If there are those who achieve the remonstrance on behalf of me, that person will be a reincarnation of Nichimoku." After this he left this world.


This spirit spreading the Law over thus three generations has been passed down without cease. Believers of Nichiren has set the root of faith to the Dai-Gohonzon.

This Dai-Gohonzon was inherited in Nikko from Nichiren. Then was handed down to Nichimoku from Nikko. In this way now, Nichiren's believers who have a faith of main to Dai Gohonzon are spreading in more than 50 countries around the world.



continued Life of Nichiren Part 1


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by johsei1129 | 2016-10-22 14:26 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Comments(0)


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