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2020年 07月 04日

2. People of Seichoji Temple of the Hometown. (1)

            Japanese version   

There was Awa country on the south edge of the present Chiba Boso Peninsula.

The sunlight seemed to be subtropical.

The temple in the middle of the mountain, Seichoji, was looking down on the Pacific Ocean.

Unlike the capital here, there is calmness. In the temple, the little monks were sweeping out the wide gate.

A laughter sounded at the auditorium of Seichoji Temple.

The statue of the Bodhisattva Kokuzo, the principal worship, is being enshrined in the auditorium. People waiting for the return of Rencho were in this auditorium.

Tayū Mikuni is the father of Rencho, mother is Umegiku-nyo, Nun O'ama of the believers from old times, Dozen-bo of the chief priest, Jokenbo of the disciple, Gijo-bo and others were sitting down in a circle.

Nun O'ama is a strong supporter of this temple. Dozen-bo is the teacher of Rencho. Gijo-bo, Joken-bo are the senior disciples of Rencho. Everyone knows Rencho from childhood.

The nun O'ama talks smilingly.

"Rencho was really a smart child. Everybody was to know, I had favored Rencho since he was young. Twelve years have already passed since then. It will be that he certainly became an excellent priest."

The nun O'ama was a widow of Hojo Tomotoki who was the founder of the Nago'e branch family of Hojo clan. Tomotoki’s older brother is Yasutoki Hojo, who is famous as a great politician. The nun O'ama was rooted in this land by the relations that her husband was the feudal lord of Awa.

She is willing to care of people, and favored parents and child of Rencho and provided mental and material support.

Tayu Mikuni humbled and lowered his head to O'ama whom he met after a long absence.

"Rencho became a priest by the help of nun O'ama in this temple and was able to train himself in the Enryakuji Temple. I would like to thank you again as a father."

The Umegiku of the mother also bowed her head to O'ama with gratitude for Rencho growing and going toward the Seichoji safely.

"I was impatiently waiting for Rencho to become an excellent priest and come back to this Awa. Also, as his mother, I am happy to listen to his sermon in this temple where Rencho climbed when he was 12 years old. "

O'ama talks to Dozen-bo, the aged chief priest.

"He seemed to have done considerable ascetic practices in a famous temple with a venerable history of Kyoto and Nara such as Shitenno-ji Temple or Yakushi-ji Temple including Mt. Hiei-zan. I am very much looking forward to what kind of sermon he does".

Dozen-bo talks weakly.

"Well, what do you think? Rencho surpassed everybody in a childhood in this temple sure enough, but,I do not know how was he at the Enryakuji temple where the excellent monks of the countries gathered. Because Rencho has a little obstinate character, I worry slightly what kind of sermon he does.”

Dozen-bo looked after Rencho from 12 years old to 20 years old and brought him up. He exists like a second father for Rencho.

The nun O'ama begins to chuckle.

"Oh, Dozen-bo's anxious mind began again."

All members had a contagious grin.

However, it was a peaceful atmosphere, there was a person who was not glad Rencho was coming home.

Old priest Enchi-bo and Dōgibō whispered in the corner of the temple.

“Rencho is worthless. Though he trained himself in Mt. Hiei-zan, after all, he came back to the original country temple without making a success in life in a temple of Kyoto. He can do nothing. If Rencho intends to succeed Dozen-bo, this is a laughingstock”.

"Dozen-bo of faintheartedness may think that his supporters have increased, but this Seicho-ji is under the control of us”.

They chuckled.

There is a power struggle in the world of any place.

Enchi-bo and Dogi-bo were influential people of the Seicho-ji Temple. Especially Enchi-bo bowed three times for one character in the Seicho-ji and spent three years writing the Lotus Sutra [note], and he perfectly memorized ten volumes of the Lotus Sutra. And it is said that he had read two texts of the Lotus Sutra in a single night a day during 50 years. The masses of the temple praised that Enchi-bo is sure to become the Buddha. Therefore, he was arrogant. He was ruling Seicho-ji Temple together with Dogi-bo. However, the young monk who returned from Mt. Hiei will appear here. They cannot feel interesting.


Lotus Sutra

"Sad Dharma Pundarika Sutra" (The sacred book which is clean and mysterious like a white lotus flower) in Sanskrit.

As for the translation in Chinese, 16 kinds have been conveyed, including partial translation and a different book, but three books exist with complete form. Among them, because the translation of Kumarajiva spread more widely, generally speaking of the Lotus Sutra means his translation.

The reason why Buddha assumed the symbol of this sutra a white lotus flower, is because a lotus flower blooms from mud unlike other trees and plants. Because this makes a clean large white bloom without being stained with mud meaning worldly desires, it is said that shows the idea that worldly desires themselves are Buddhahood. In addition, the lotus flower symbolizes that cause and effect are simultaneous together because it lets fruit (underground stem) bloom instantly. The place of origin of the lotus flower is India, and it is thought that a lot of lotus flowers grew in the area that Shakyamuni Buddha propagated.

 The Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo of the three great secrets of the Law, Nichiren Daishonin preached it.

“In the times of the latter days of the Law of now, neither the Lotus Sutra nor the other sutras have the power to save the people. Only Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo can lead all people to Buddhahood. This is not just my own interpretation. It is the judgment of Shakyamuni Buddha, Taho Buddha, the various Buddhas in the ten directions and the innumerable Bodhisattvas welling from the ground.” ‘Reply to lord Ueno’


At that time, they could hear people's voices at the front gate.

"Did Rencho return home?"

O'ama was restless.

All members proceeded to the entrance hall.

Buddhist priests of the temple are quarreling with samurais who rode a horse at the door front.

 One samurai among them, Kagenobu Tojo of the land steward, was staring with a fearless look.

 He is a guest who has not been invited. Everyone's faces were clouded.

 Kagenobu Tojo looked down at all the people of the Seichoji Temple.

“Well! Every one of the Seichoji Temple, all of you are together here, aren’t you? I thought today to resolve the longtime land dispute and came over”.

Youth Jokenbo, the senior disciple of Rencho, glared at Kagenobu and criticized him.

“Lord Tojo, what did you say? You are not permitted the selfish behavior in this temple despite being a land steward”.

Kagenobu turned his head to the side.

"I manage this whole area. I am ruling this land by the instruction of Kamakura shogunate, the leader of the samurai family."

Likewise, the senior disciple Gijo-bo rebutted with determination.

"Its validity lies only in the land controlled by the landowner. Your control is powerless against this Seichoji Temple.”

Kagenobu does not hear in silence. He retorts to Gijo-bo by the authority of the shogunate.

"However, it is a fact that there are some people against Kamakura. It is not permitted that old-fashioned temples behave selfishly.”

This matter concerns the very existence of Seicho-ji Temple. Joken-bo hunts down Kagenobu without flinching.

"You appeal to Lord Kamakura if so and should decide which is right!"

Dozen-bo could not bear to see a violent quarrel between his disciples and land steward and stepped in between them.

"Dear land steward Kagenobu, actually, the person who is called Rencho of my disciple finished long ascetic practices in the Enryakuji Temple and will return here today or tomorrow. We are busy with preparations to invite him now. Excuse me, but it is not quarreling time now".

Kagenobu was fearless.

“Well. I am coming again sometime soon, all of you should prepare. If you have the slightest unpardonable thing, I come to control all of you".

Kagenobu went away on horseback.

In establishing the Kamakura Shogunate, Minamoto Yoritomo dispatched the samurai to his ruling place and set up land stewards and governors. Though he held the ruling area, it was not the whole country, but the eastern area from Kinki, and in addition it was out of the territory of the temple.
However, the quarrel in the boundary happened consistently when a land steward was installed next door to the territory of the temple.


Location of Bōsō Peninsula in Japan. From Wikipedia

Rencho left Kamakura and made for Mutsura, present Yokohama. This is because he gets into a boat, it arrives at Awa early and comfortably by ship rather than going around Tokyo Bay on foot.

 But it was cumbrous that there was a checkpoint on the way.

People crowded in front of the checkpoint.

Travelers take out money and pay it to a government official. The person without the money held out brown rice. This checkpoint was built just recently. Therefore, all the people were getting angry.

One priest was chatting with a samurai in the hall of the checkpoint.

That Buddhist priest wears a poor priest robe, but he gains a little weight and looks healthy.

He was called the name Ninshō, and a popular name was called Ryokan.

He is from Yamato. He climbed Mt. Shigisan at 10 years old and trained himself. At the age of 17, he received the religious precept at the ordination hall of Todaiji Temple. He studied under Eison, a distinguished priest of the Shingon religious precept sect, and at the age of 24, became a priest. He went to the Kantō district in 1252 and entered Kamakura in 1262 and spread the Precepts Sect.

This Buddhist priest has been receiving strong trust from the Shogunate. The Gokurakuji temple was founded in 1259 by Shigetoki Hojou of the third son of second regent Yoshitoki Hojo, and Ryoukan became the founder.

Ryoukan is unique. He has been managing this checkpoint. It is unexpected that a monk managed the means of transportation, but a monk was engaged in the administration of such facilities mainly in those days.

It has not long since the samurai ruled the state. The Shogunate which Hojo leads is not stable in its finances. Samurais spent all their time in battle until now. They do not have a sense of economy at all. Even if they were good at the struggle, the ability to rule was no match for the court nobility. The public works projects to build a bridge and the road are impossible for them. From the plane of knowledge, experience and the money of the administrative technique, Buddhist priests belonged to an educated class. Therefore, the priest who had abundant financial power played a key role, and the maintenance of the country was pushed forward.

The center of politics is Kamakura, but the economy was in Kyoto at that time. The people who have grasped a fund of Kyoto were the priests of Kinki.

Ryokan gained the favor of the Shogunate by the abundant fund again and strengthened power. Given that he is from Todaiji, we recall what happened 70 years ago with a massive fund raising to rebuild the Great Buddha of Nara. He from Todaiji Temple learned this collection system of money and came over to Kanto.

Ryoukan was talking with Shigetoki Hojo. Shigetoki is a strong believer of Nembutsu. His father is Yoshitoki Hojo, who built the prosperity of the Shogunate.

Therefore, Shigetoki got an important post of the Shogunate for granted. Nagatoki, his child, became the regent after succeeding Tokimune. It was a famous lineage among Hojo.

Shigetoki took a satisfactory cup while looking at the checkpoint.

Government officials of the checkpoint carried a large quantity of money, the Sung Coin which was imported from China (note). They gathered it from passersby. The copper money has a hole in the middle. Government officials thread this hole with a string and make a thousand. These 1000 pieces were called one kan in those days. One kan is worth 180 liters of rice, and the then value of money is approximately 50000 yen in the present. Money called thousands kan was piled in heaps in this way. The rice grains were piled up like mountains, too. The people called this, as "the rice in the checkpoint of Mutsura".

Ryōkan and Shigetoki Hojo talk peacefully.

Shigetoki was pleasant.

"Gee, you thought carefully. To make a barrier, and to collect rice and money. A country samurai cannot think of anything. It is a good idea!”.

Ryokan, a big belly, begins to talk to Shigetoki in a tone to persuade.

"Kamakura needs more public works. This method helps the finances of the Shogunate, and it becomes the happiness of a poor person if we collect taxes from people thinly and widely in this way. This adapts to the Buddha road to teach in our precepts sect”.

Shigetoki gets moderately drunk.

"I am thankful. Moreover, because the ascetic practices of the precepts sect have only to follow rules, it is easy".

Ryokan answered.

"I believe that our denomination is one united body into the Shogunate. The priest cannot live without the government. I am devoting myself to the Shogunate in this way, but there is a problem that the temple of Kamakura is slightly smaller now. Lord, thank you in advance”.

It was so. In fact, there is a plan to build a temple on my land in Kamakura. The temple is called Gokurakuji. I am seeking a priest now”.

"That is the good news. It will lead to prosperity of the lord, if you leave that temple to me”.

Shigetoki nodded for a proposal of Ryoukan as having had thought came true.

There was Rencho in the line of the traveler discontented at the entrance of the barrier. He took out the money from the bag and offered it to the officials.


North Sung coin (three pieces on the left) south Sung coin (others)


Life of Nichiren. Vol. 1. Contents

by johsei1129 | 2020-07-04 12:23 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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