人気ブログランキング | 話題のタグを見る


2020年 07月 01日

1, Journey to Home Town (1)

            Japanese edition

It was spring of 1253 of the Kamakura era.

The water of Lake Biwa was reflecting Mount Hi’ei. The Enryakuji Temple towered in this forest of Hi'ei Mountain.

Many monks were reading books in the vast hall, and outside they were talking while walking along the mountain road.

An old monk and a young monk were sitting and facing each other in a small room in this temple.

A young monk was called Rencho.

The aged priest said regretfully.

" Rencho, are you going to go?"

Rencho nodded, went down the slopes of a mountain without looking back.

The old priest had been watching Rencho until he was out of sight.

Rencho who became 32 years old had finished ascetic practices and the studies for 15 years at temples, including the Enryakuji Temple, and he made up his mind to return to Awa of his hometown.

Rencho wears a hat and goes down the road to the east.

A group of samurai riding a horse came running from behind. The samurai put on formal headwear and run with bows and arrows on his back.

"Get out of my way!”

Passersby go into the sideway in a hurry.

When Rencho looked back on the course that came slowly, Mt. Hi'ei faded away.

It is a long journey from Ohmi to Awa.

Calm sunlight of the early summer comes into a wicker hat of Rencho.

A field of a foxtail millet and the Japanese barnyard millet spreads out endlessly around a road.

A samurai and the common people are walking past each other. Women covered with a big hat accompanied the servants and came and went with each other.

Rencho stopped in front of a farmhouse.

Farmers gather while surrounding one Buddhist priest. They seem to hear something.

The Buddhist priest came to spread Nembutsu in this village.

In the Kamakura era, the Nenbutsu sect of Buddhism spread out explosively.

Farmers matched their hand to the Nembutsu priest who wore black Ami clothes (note) and shoulder-worn robe.

"Thank Heaven. A Buddhist priest of Nembutsu says that we can be beatified by advocating Nam-Amidabutsu."

"Amida Tathagata, please help us. We have not had a method to solve the recent famine and epidemic. We cannot live without the help of Amida. We are dead after this and only wait for the Buddhists' paradise."

The Buddhist priest takes the farmer's hand and talks to him.

"It is a truly good mind, it is what fulfills the teachings of the Buddha. If you chant only Amida Buddha, the desire to be born in Pure Land will be fulfilled. "

Rencho walks beside them.

The Nembutsu sects were also called the pure land sects.

The Nembutsu that Honen began to spread among the common people in Japan intensely. An extremely simple teaching that a person could go to the Buddhists' paradise for if he chanted Nam-Amida-Buddha caught the mind of the people who painted in the difficult situations such as famine, the epidemic. The expanse of this Nembutsu began in the era of the Retired Emperor Gotoba just 50 years ago. Because it was too popular, even a learned and virtuous priest of Enryakuji Temple of the leader temple of the Tendai chanted Nembutsu.

On the other hand, the Kamakura shogunate often banned "the Praying only for the Nembutsu" after August 5, 1244, because many people at that time wished for Pure Land to escape from the hardships of this world such as famine and plagues and committed suicide.

Rencho goes ahead through the road to the east more.

He intended to go to Kamakura, the capital of the samurai on the way to his hometown.

It is said that it took 12 days from Kyoto to Kamakura in those days. How many days would he need from Mt. Hiei to Awa? It is thought to take at least 15 days.

Fuji covered with snow far away appeared.

The people of the time had more reverence for Mount Fuji than modern people thought.

It is written down with "the Record of the Sea and the Road" that is an account of a trip of the Kamakura era.

"Mount Fuji rises in the middle of the sky and surpasses it from the mountains in every direction like I heard it in the capital. The top of the mountain is the road which a bird crosses, and the foot of the mountain is the road which the beast goes along. Snow wraps up the top of the mountain with a white color like a hood. In addition, a long cloud like a belly band surrounds the middle of the mountain. The height seems to build a ladder over the heaven, and the person to climb comes back without being able to finish climbing it. The foot of the mountain has been wide as walking for days to go around, and the person walking there goes as if carrying a mountain on his back. A hot spring springs out on the mountaintop, and thin smoke goes up subtly, and a cold pond is full of water in the middle of the mountain, and a flow to overflow becomes the river. This is a really solemn mountain which we cannot compare to many mountains.”


      Mt. Fuji  From Wikipedia  


Ami cloth.   

One of the canonical robes which was made as if knitting a straw bag in the fiber of hemp and the nettle.

The scenery of the plowed field broke off, and a row of houses came to continue.

Kamakura became near. The pedestrian traffic increased, too. The shout of the vendor sounds.

The daughter who dressed up bewitchingly appeared. She exposes a chest and exposes a thigh and approaches Rencho.

It is a prostitute. She was also called 'towari.' In this era, prostitutes were a legitimate profession. They always were in the inn town.

The state in Odawara of the inn town is pictured in "the road of a spring deep mountain" of the then account of a trip.

“When a day went down, we arrived at the inn of Sakawa, but as usual, women and woman divers called to us in a loud voice with young prostitute”.

There is still the place name of Sakawa in Odawara city, Kanagawa.When the day went down, the Rencho arrived in Sakawa, but local women make noise to take the visitor with a prostitute forcibly as always. There is a lively scene.

A pretty daughter talked to Rencho.

"Hi, a young monk. Where do you go?"

Rencho answers.

“I go to the country of Awa.”

The daughter took Rencho's hand suddenly.

“Won’t you take me to Kamakura? My husband is in Kamakura. I have been in this situation for a serious reason, but if I enter Kamakura, I can return to the original couple. Please be with me.”
Even if Rencho gets entangled in a harlot, he does not make a nasty face. He stared at the daughter in silence, and thought about the future of this woman.

Kyoto is the base of the court nobility, Kamakura is a center of the samurai family. Public security is strict. It is impossible that a mere prostitute enters.

The woman opened the lovely lips.

“Buddhist priest, do you think that I told a lie? "
Then, an elderly woman appeared at that place and soothed the young woman.
“Hey. You must not tease the monk”.
The older woman apologized to Rencho.
“Excuse me. This daughter is having a hobby that wants to get along with watching a man”.
 Rencho smiled hearing the exchanges of the conversation of the people in the inn town for the first time in a while.

“Please do not worry. I am feeling that all the things to watch are unusual because I had trained myself for a long time in a mountain. I talked to a lady after a long absence”.

The women burst into laughter.

"Indeed!, what an honest Buddhist priest".

Rencho nodded and left.

The women who had been laughing until now greeted and immediately caught samurai passing by and began to invite.

Rencho came to the entrance to Kamakura.

Kamakura is facing the Pacific in the south, and the north and the east and west where the fortress-like land is surrounded by mountains. Therefore, in order to enter Kamakura, people had to go through the excavated roads (note) which were dug deep as if one horse was barely able to go.

A crowd is in confusion at the entrance of the sunken road.

The samurais of the guard stood in right and left and checked the appearance of the passerby.

The samurai obstructed Rencho who was going to pass with a sword.

“Stop. What is your name?”.

“My name is Zeshobo Rencho, a monk in Seichō Mountain of Awa”.

“Awa? So do you intend to pass through this Kamakura?”

“Exactly. I trained myself at various temples including Mt. Hiei for approximately 20 years. And I mastered the Law of Buddha and intend to return to the mountains in my hometown”.

"What is your sect? After all, is it Nembutsu?".

Rencho shook head.

"Then, are you the Zen Buddhism that is popular among samurais now?".

Rencho shook head again.

"Well, are you the precepts sect of dear Ryoukan who is praised in Kamakura recently? Or are you Shingon that a noble priest advocates?".

"I am neither of them".

Samurai doubted.

"It is stupid! What other sects are there in this country? Well, are you not a fake monk? If that is true, I will not let you go through".

Rencho said with calm eyes.

"I was able to gain the ultimate truth of the Law of Buddha by the ascetic practices of twenty years. I preach it in the Seichoji temple of my hometown and would like to repay the favor of parents and the teacher."

"What is the ultimate Law of Buddha?"

"It is the Lotus Sutra".

The samurai says.

"What! The Lotus Sutra. I heard it for the first time. Is it not Nam-Amidabutsu?"

Rencho shakes his head again.
"It is a provisional teaching. It is not the true teaching of Buddha".

The samurai grasps a sword.
"You are a more doubtful guy. I cannot let you go through."

Rencho watched samurai and he answered calmly till then, but spoke with strong condition to a samurai.

"If you do not pass through the person who leads a nation to prosperity and conveys the true teaching of Buddha and relieves people, you receive a punishment from Buddha, and the future life falls into hell. If you do not mind it, you need to prepare! "

Rencho and samurai stared at each other.

Probably the samurai would have intended to try Rencho. He grinned and let Rencho go through.

Rencho entered Kamakura.
There is a market.
The road was crowded with people. Here, the townspeople exchanged necessities such as rice, cloth, birds, liquor, with money.

Kamakura was prosperous, so as to compete against Kyoto after Yoritomo Minamoto established the capital here. It is said stores were the most crowded around 4 pm to 7 pm. It is the same as the present day.
People who sell things are gathering beside the road.

People are peeping into it and walking.

Sweaty men dressed in loincloths pulled the carriage which loaded timber on the street.

Rencho walks to see this scene. Everything was fresh.

The historical materials that the gaiety of this town can imagine are left. Yasutoki Hojo promulgates a rule of the control in Kamakura in 1240. He says to divide Kamakura into administrative districts, put a magistrate, and firmly ban them. It was 13 years ago, Rencho was 19 years old at that time.

This content was to supervise the next people.
 1. Burglar.
 2. Traveler.
 3. Kidnapping.
 4. Rascal.
 5. Buying and selling at a street and the crossroads.
 6. Narrowing an alley.
 7. Sumo in crossroads, and the blind biwa (Japanese lute) player on the street corner.
 8. Forced purchase.

Kidnapping is to capture a woman on the street. It's scary, but it happened frequently in Kamakura in this era.

In the town, the blind biwa player sings the He'ike Story, Sumo wrestling takes place in various places. A store called Komachiya displays goods in the storefront and narrows a street, and buying and selling are started anywhere, we can imagine the prosperity of the big city. Isn't it interesting that it is forced purchase, not by selling?

He came to the port. It was the coast of Wakae.

A port suitable for the new capital was completed. Approximately 50 big boats are crowded. Dozens of small boats cluster around the side.

A large quantity of workers takes down a load from a ship busily.

There were the ceramics that had a fresh color. It will import goods from Chinese Soong.

Rencho looked at it without getting tired.

"The record of sea and road" writes down the prosperity of the seashore of then Wakae.

“When we look, the corner of the southeast is a port where boats are gathered, and every merchant is prosperous as getting tired of busyness. In the east, the west and the north, this place is surrounded by high mountains and low mountains like a screen and seems to decorate this land".
It seems that the scene is visible.

Act of god of horseback archery was carried out in the open spaces in a city.

A crowd crowds until the verge of the passage of the horse.

The samurai who dressed up elegantly ran on a horse and he drew an arrow to the full and shot a mark wonderfully.

The cheers of people happen all at once.

Rencho headed east along the coast and reached the beach of Yui.

The author of " Record of Sea and Road " went down to Kamakura from Kyoto in April 1223 and returned to Kyoto in May. It was a journey with a friend.

It seems that security was good at that time. It is thought the record was exactly picturing a state of the Kamakura approximately because describing it three years ago when Rencho was born.

“We arrived at the beach of Yui at about 5:00 P.M. After a short break, looking at the beach, the Yui beach is crowded with hundreds of ships sharing a rope like a chain. The lively scene resembles a sight of Ōtsu of Lake Biwa. A large quantity of houses densely populated panorama is like the town of Ōyodo that is near to the shrine of Ise. After the sunset in front of the gate of the Holy Spirit Shrine, we passed through Wakamiya Boulevard and reached the inn”.


The Excavated Road

The photograph is of the sunken road of Nago'e, one of the seven sunken roads of Kamakura.


horseback archery (Yabusame in Japanese)



     The present Kamakura Hachiman-gu Shrine. From Wikipedia.

Rencho went to the east along the shore and arrived at the place of execution of the Tatsunokuchi (the mouth of the dragon).

He could see Enoshima Island.
Now, high-rise buildings line up and are full of surfers and tourists, but this was the place of execution in those days. Even now, human bones that are supposed to have been executed are found near here.

People were gathering here.

A sinner was brought to Tatsunokuchi.

There was a hole in the center of the sandy beach for cutting off the neck.

The official tells him a criminal sentence.

"This sinner committed a theft in Kamakura, in addition murdered a person. The crime is not light. Although each place is famine, and food is scarce, this is behavior unworthy of the residents of the capital. Therefore, we behead him”.

The officer of beheading drew a sword bluntly.

The sinner who had been quiet until now acted violently as soon as blindfolded.
 "No, please help me, I do not want to die."
 The officials surrounded the sinner, suppressed him, and pushed his neck into the hole.
 The sinner shook head.
 The officer chanted "Namu-Amida-Butsu", cutting off the sinner's neck with a single blow.
 The scream of the crowd broke out.

Rencho stayed overnight in a temple of his acquaintance and walked the downtown of Kamakura again.

He visited the temple belonging to the Zen sect.

More than a dozen samurais are sitting with crossed legs for meditation (note).

The Zen Buddhism was popular among samurais explosively in those days.

A Buddhist priest walks around the room with a warning stick calmly.

He hits the right shoulder of the samurai who was about to sleep with a warning stick.

The samurai blushed unintentionally, and he joined his hands and inclined the neck to the left and opened the right shoulder. A Buddhist priest strongly hit the right shoulder with a warning stick this time. After the samurai was beaten with a warning stick, he joined his hands, and had lowered the head, and he raised his head and stretched out the back and came back to the original posture.

 Rencho watched it through the window. He felt the force that Zen Buddhism spread out among Kamakura samurais in this way on his skin.

Rencho passes Wakamiya main street. It is a gentle uphill slope.

There was a Tsuruoka Hachiman Shrine in the distance.

Yoriyoshi Minamotono, the leader of the second generation of Kawachi Genji erected the Hachiman Shinto shrine. Yoriyoshi invited a divided god from the Iwashimizu Hachiman shrine of Kyoto to the Township of Yui in Kamakura and built a Shinto shrine and assumed it a tutelary deity of Genji.

Since his descendant Yoritomo subjugated the Kantō Region, Hachiman became the god of all the samurai. Therefore, no one of the samurai following the Genji not worshiped Hachiman.

"Travel to the East", a travelog of the same era as "Records of Sea and Road", briefly describes the origins of Hachiman Shrine.

“In the first place the origin of this Kamakura is that a person said to be late Yoritomo of the right side shogunate was born in the house of the samurai as a descendant for the ninth generation of the Emperor Seiwa. Because Yoritomo raised an army with soldiers of the loyalty and won to a enemy of the Imperial government in the days of an end of the Jisho era, a reward from the Imperial Court was given frequently, and he was appointed a general. And because Yoritomo established the Shogunate on this land and built a temple and a Shinto shrine in this place, it became the land which is prosperous like now. Especially in the Hachiman shrine of Tsuruoka, the green of pine and oak grows steadily, and there is no time when the offerings to god will end. The concert of the four seasons is held after the musical instrument performers are determined, and in August a festival is held to release living things by the appointed official. The ceremony of worshiping God is said not to be different from the Iwashimizu Hachiman Shrine."

The gentle straight road continues from the Hachiman shrine to the sea.

A group mounting a horse came down quietly from Hachiman Shrine on this road.

The person who is riding a horse is Tokiyori Hojou and is Tokisuke the eldest son and Tokimune the second son. Vassals follow after them.

Tokiyori is the regent of the Kamakura shogunate. He was only 27 years old.

The regent was lower-ranking than a general of Kamakura apparently. However, the general after Yoritomo became a puppet, and Hojo had the armaments and held power. Therefore, it might be said that Tokiyori of the regent was the real ruler of Japan.

Father and his children were proceeding leisurely through Wakamiya Main Street.

The roadside crowd avoided the road and lowered heads.

"That person is Dear Ms. Saimyoji."

Tokiyori became a lay priest at the Saimyoji of the Zen temple. Therefore, people called him Saimyoji.

Seven years old Tokisuke approaches his father's horse. He shows a melancholy expression in spite of being a boy.

"Dad, is it true that you will quit your regent?"

Tokimune replies.

"I do not intend to yet resign. But I managed the Shogunate, and a decade has already passed. I think that now may be the time for me to step down from the stage to retire.”

Tokimune, the younger brother, approached his father. Tokimune was only 5 years old. The expression of Tokimune was naivete, unlike Tokisuke.

"Dad, now it is not time to retire. There are still many people who criticize Hojo. The Shogunate is safe if father is there".

His elder brother, Tokisuke, gave a blatantly disgusted look.

These brothers are born of different mothers. Perhaps because of Tokiyori's bloodline, they were competitive in everything they did.

Tokiyori laughed.

"Do not worry, I am arranging for your future."

Father and children drove a horse fast.


Crossed legs for meditation

The holiest way to sit down in Buddhism. Riding in combination both legs on both thighs.This how had been used in the sitting image of Buddha and it was used as how to sit down at the time of the posture of contemplation.


Life of Nichiren. Vol. 1. Contents

by johsei1129 | 2020-07-01 21:58 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)

<< 2. People of Se...      Life of Nichire... >>