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2020年 07月 16日

7. Three Disasters and Seven Calamities (Great disaster attacks Japan)

              Japanese edition


 A tornado in central Oklahoma. From Wikipedia.

Nichiren passes by the dug road.

He took the road which went around Tokyo Bay, passed through Musashi from Kamakura and went to Shimousa.

However, contrary to the enthusiasm of Nichiren, the wild landscape spread out before him.

Fields are becoming waste.

When looking around, the horse which lost weight is toppling down at the roadside. It was going to starve to death at any moment.

Nichiren frowns.

He heard the voice of a crying woman carrying on wind from somewhere. The plaintive tone seemed to grieve and seemed to bear a grudge. The sound is no trivial matter.

He turns around to the voice, there is the old house of the farmer, approximately a hundred yard from him.

Nichiren visited this house as if invited.

Opened the door of the entrance and as he looked into the inside, a woman who seemed to be her mother was bursting into tears.Nichiren ran up to her.

“What is the matter with you?”.

She said, "My baby just died!"

"Poor child. What's the name of this child?"

"I haven't named it yet."

Nichiren knelt down beside the child and put his hands together in prayer, chanting "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo" several times, and mourned the child's death.

Nichiren asked the woman.

"What happened to your husband?"

“He abandoned me and left. A thing to eat from this famine ran out and he said he could not live here anymore. I could not abandon a child and go away”.”

“That's terrible”.
“Besides, a pestilence spread, and the people of the village left, and anyone disappeared”.
Nichiren holds out a rice ball from a basket.

“You know what, you eat this and cheer up and should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo so that this child is born in the country of Buddha in the future life.”

Mother put a rice ball in the mouth of the child while sobbing and continued chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo until a figure of Nichiren was out of sight.

Nichiren goes under the dark, savage sky.

Smelled strange before long when he continued walking. It was the bad smell he had not yet experienced.

People sat down in the suburbs of the village and seemed to be roasting a creature. Women and children and an old person cried around there.

When he approached and looked at the incineration place, there were many human bodies.

“What happened?”

The answer of the old man who crouched down is feeble.

“Is pestilence. A pestilence is raging around here. This is an order of the government that bakes the dead person immediately. we cannot finish counting them...”

An old man pointed him to the hut on the outskirts.

Nichiren was amazed to see human skeletons being full in a hut.

He edged back and sat down.

“How terrible!”

A farmer muttered.

“We do not get the crops, and a pestilence spreads. This village is exterminated.”

The ground shook lengthwise at this time. And strong shaking in the transverse direction happened. Is a quite big earthquake. The mountains of incineration matter collapsed, and sparks scattered.

Women and children clung to Nichiren. Villagers exclaim and escape, and are at a loss.

Nichiren stood firm so that he would not lose against shaking.

The situation did not change even when he returned to Kamakura. Innumerable beggars held a knee on both sides of the sunken road and lined up endlessly. Everybody is dead tired and does not move.

A voice to ask for alms sounds.

“Show mercy upon me. Give grace to us.”

Nichiren looked around with a stern eye. He wanted to do something to help, but there was nothing he could do. 

It is said that two suns appeared in the countryside.

The farmer points to the sun in the fields which dried out and grieves.

The shaman put hands together towards the sun.

The spirit of overthrowing the upper class that a samurai gained power was characterized in the Kamakura era, but was the times when great disaster was frequent at the same time.

For example, from 1253 when Nichiren presented 'On Establishing the Correct Teachings for the Peace of the Land (Rissho-Ankokuron)', to next year 1254, disasters occurred in succession.

A major earthquake in Kamakura on June 10, 1253; a big fire in Kamakura on January 10, 1254; a document of government office of the Shogunate was lost by a gale on May 9, same year; a major earthquake in Kyoto on May 11 same year; a gale and rain in Kamakura on July 1 same year.

Nichiren writes down these disasters in the plural writings repeatedly.

“A traveler arrived and lamented to the host: In recent years there have been ominous occurrences in the heavens, and natural disasters on earth. Famine and pestilence rage in all lands beneath the skies and to every corner of the realm. Dead cattle and horses are everywhere, and human skeletons clutter the streets. Over half the population has already been about to die, and there is hardly a single person who does not grieve…They merely exhaust themselves in vain. Famine and pestilence rage more fiercely than ever, beggars are everywhere in sight, and dead people fill our eyes.” ‘Rissho Ankokuron [On Establishing the Correct Teachings for the Peace of the Land]’

“Now we receive reports that this land is beset by various kinds of disasters and see it in fact. From August of the eighth year of Kencho [1256] until February of the second year of Shogen [1260], various disasters such as major earthquakes, strong winds that blow out of season, widespread famines, and great outbreaks of pestilence occurred one after another and continue even today, it almost seems as though the entire population of the nation will be vanished. Many people have offered prayers in an attempt to alleviate these various calamities, but they appear to have had no result.” On Dealing with Disaster

“At the present time, numerous prayers are offered for the peace and safety of the nation. And yet in the first year of the Shoka era [1257] there was a severe earthquake, and in the second year of the same era, torrential rains and violent winds occurred and the rice plants failed to ripen. I would consider that there are evil teachings that are bringing about the destruction of the nation in this country.” ‘On the Protection of the Nation’

It says the corpse becomes the watchtower, and that it becomes the bridge. This miserable state is not an exaggeration.

Chomei Kamono records a state of the famine of Kyoto in the "Hojoki (The Ten-Foot-Square Hut)" before 40 years Nichiren is born.

“Time became a long time and I do not remember whether it was the time of the Yowa era [1181], but the world had become famine and, during two years, became terribly terrible surprisingly.

There was a drought in spring and summer, and a gale and flood in autumn. Such misfortunes continued, the cereals do not all grow. Therefore, there is work only to plow in spring, and to implant in summer, and there is no gaiety to mow rice in autumn, and to harvest in winter. Therefore, a person throws away land, and the people of every district leave the border and roam, and a person lives in the mountain regardless of his house. Various prayers begin, and mystic rites are performed, but totally have no effect. The people cannot save appearances to rely on everything in the custom of the capital in the country because nothing has been carried. They try to change various treasures for food without being able to endure it, but nobody tries to see it. The person changing it by chance underestimates the value of the money and respects the value of cereals. The beggars increased on the street, and it was full of the voice of the person who grieved.” From "The Hojoki: Famine in the Yowa Period." 

Chomei describes the state of the major earthquake endlessly after this. A natural disaster leaves people in despair.

Nichiren presented Rissho Ankoku-ron (On Establishing the Correct Teachings for the Peace of the Land) to Tokiyori HoJo (Saimyoji Nyudo) because of the great earthquake that occurred during the Shoka era.

 The Imperial Court and the Shogunate cannot take any measures for this disaster. A prayer and mystic rites were performed actively, but there are no results.

They modified the name of an era, but it was without effect.

When the Emperor passes away, modern Japan changes the name of an era. But, as for this era, it was different.

For a natural disaster, a pestilence, a bad crop, it was changed many times. The statesman too was desperately trying to escape out of misfortune desperately.

By the way, Nichiren was born in the Jo'o era [1222] first year and passed away at 61 years old, but the name of an era was changed 22 times during this period.

It is Gen'nin, Karoku, Antei, Kangi, Jo'ei,Tenpuku, Bunryaku,Katei, Ryakunin, En'no, Ninji, Kangen,Hoji, Kencho, Kogen, Shoka, Shogen, Bun'no, Kocho, Bu'nei, Kenji, Ko'an. We can't remember these easily.

In just sixty-one years, so many era names have changed. Bun’ei lasted the longest of these 22 times, but even then it only lasted 11 years.

In addition, the name of an era that continued for the longest time in Japanese history is Showa which had continued for 63 years.

For a name of these eras, the desire of the statesman to want the world calm is indicated somehow or other.

The people were feeling the strictness of the word of the Latter day of the Law strongly in this way.


An aerial photograph of the central area of Kamakura City. It is surrounded by mountains on three sides: the south is Sagami Bay and the east, west, and north. By Wikipedia.

Hachimangu Shrine can be seen at the end of the main street of Wakamiya.

A meeting began in the government office which controlled state affairs and financial affairs of the Kamakura Shogunate.

Tokiyori Hojo, brothers of Tokisuke and Tokimune, Shigetoki Hojo of the uncle of Tokiyori, and Yasumori Adachi were present. There was a Yin Yang fortune-teller in a farther seat.

Tokiyori was irritated and loitered around.

"This country is ominous. The ominous occurrences in heavens, an earthquake, famine, a contagious disease. What does this mean? Was abandoned by God and Buddha?”

While Shigetoki Hojo read the documentary which arrived from the shogunal vassals of each place, he muttered.

“Death for hunger 10,000 people in Kanto. Person 20,000 who fell by a pestilence. Furthermore, two suns appeared, and it seems that a black-and-white rainbow came out.”

The anger of Tokiyori does not have an outlet.

"Nothing could be worse than this. This is the greatest crisis since we Hojo had ruled Japan. Even if the revolt happens in any district, it is not to be wondered about.”

Sigetoki answered indignantly.

“Would be the present conditions that are only to pray.”

“Then, how are the prayers at the Buddhist temple and Shinto shrine in Kyoto and Kamakura?”

“Already gave the order to forbid killing a creature on the equinoctial week of six purification days and two seasons in this January (note) and gave the Buddhist temple and Shinto shrine of the countries an order for a prayer of the epidemic extermination in June.”

“So why be of no effect? Does it not rather amplify a misfortune? The Yin Yang fortune-teller, what are you doing now?”

The Yin Yang fortune-teller looks in the divination panel (note), and answers.

“I beg a thousand pardons. I can only say a devil enters this country now and ogres grow powerful.”

Tokiyori who heard this swore.

“If a Yin Yang fortune-teller does not have the measures either, I only decide it. Open the storehouse of rice, give it to beggars. Gather a medicinal herb of each place. Use merchants. Force all Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines of the whole country to continue a prayer.”

Audience flocked to Rengeji of Kamakura. It is a large temple of the Nenbutsu sect of Buddhism.

The people thought that they could not but cling to Nembutsu to get over the world of suffering, and visited this temple.

In the audience, there is Nichiren, clad in a gray robe and monk’s stole.

Priest of the black robe, Nen'a began a sermon before long.

Nen'a calls the official name Ryochu Nen'a. He was born in the Iwami Province (present Shimane Prefecture). He became a priest at 16 years old. He learned the Kusha and Tendai following Enshin and Shinren and trained himself in esoteric Buddhism following Mitsuzo and Gencho. He went to Chikugo Province to hear the Buddhism of Ben'a Shoko and became a disciple afterwards. He opened Rengeji (subsequent Komyo-ji Temple) in Kamakura and granted religious precepts by a request from Tsunetoki Hojo in 1240. He is a Nembutsu priest who represents Kamakura.

Nen'a begins to talk calmly.

“This world is filled with suffering. We cannot but chant Nam-Amidabutsu to escape from these sufferings. Abandon other teachings. The only teaching suitable for us mere mortals is Namu Amidabutsu. An ideal in other teachings is too high. We neither understand the Lotus Sutra nor the Kegon Sutra. If we threw away these and chanted only Nam-Amidabutsu, we could be beatified.”

Nichiren spoke here.

”Splendid. Really splendid."

Nen'a smiled and nodded. Nichiren caught the smile.

“It is bold that attaining Buddhahood is no other than Nam-Amidabutsu, and abandon the sutra such as the Lotus Sutra, is not it? Where and who preached that teaching?”

“Young person, it is a good question. It is Amitabha Sutra.”

Nichiren crossed his arm and became interested.

“It’s mysterious. Amitabha sutra is called temporary Mahayana sutra among the sermons of Buddha and is around one step of lower teachings than true Mahayana sutra such as the Lotus Sutra or the Nirvana Sutra. On that basis, to say that the only way to attain Buddhahood is to chant Namu Amidabutsu or to discard all other sutras would be to disparage the founder of Buddhism, Shakyamuni Buddha. In the first place, is the Amitabha sutra preaching us to throw all other sutras away?”

Nen'a got angry for an instant.

“No, it is wrong. Holy priest Honen said it. We only obey it.”

“It is a pity. Though priest Honen studied it with much effort in the Enryakuji Temple, he was deeply attached to low teachings and he distorted the Law of Buddha of Shakyamuni. It is crime equal to the hell of the incessant sufferings. A person who says it, he is the worst person who ropes people in Hell.”

Nen'a has begun to be excited.

“Who is thou? Answer!"

Nichiren said towards the audience.

“Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Nichiren, and I am a monk living in Matsuba Valley. Come to me anytime if you want to hear the present tale in detail.”

Amidst the full house's angry roar, a disciple of Nen'a removes Nichiren from the hall. Nichiren left magnificently.

While Nichiren spread the Lotus Sutra, he went to the temples of other denominations and fought about the doctrine of Buddhism hard.

It was worth it, a large number of people came gradually flocking to the thatched hut of Nichiren of the Matsuba valley.

Nichiren talks to the people who visited the thatched hut powerfully.

“Lord of teachings, Shakyamuni Buddha, said that he had not yet expressed the truth, and preached the Lotus Sutra after 40 years of starting the sermon. Therefore, Amitabha Sutra, which was preached before the Lotus Sutra is the teachings of the temporary not to include the best Buddhahood preached in the Lotus Sutra. Lotus Sutra is the King of all the Buddhist sutras said to be 80,000 sutras, is the ultimate teachings of Buddha. That is why it cannot come true that all people of the Latter-Day of the Law attain Buddhahood if they do not advocate Myoho-renge-kyo which is titled of the Lotus Sutra.

However, the priest Honen says, ‘abandon, close, leave and cast aside the Lotus Sutra and chant Nembutsu'. That is why it is determined certainly to fall into the hell of the incessant sufferings if people chant Nam-Amidabutsu of priest Honen who slanders the Buddha's best teachings.”

Priests of Nembutsu cannot beat Nichiren.

Because Nichiren attacked the wicked doctrine of Nembutsu in a text of a sutra first of all, the person of Nembutsu was not able to resist him.

There were many people who criticized Nembutsu of Honen from the old days. The imperial order was promulgated, too. Mt. Hiei ever oppressed Nembutsu, too, but the teachings of Honen spread without stopping naturally. Nichiren was able to stop this. Nichiren talks about the reason as follows.

“Thus, when I was thirty-two, from around the spring of the fifth year of the Kenchō era [1253], I began criticizing the Nembutsu and Zen sects, and later I attacked the Shingon sect."

“At first the Nembutsu followers despise me, saying, ‘Even if Nichiren is clever, he can hardly surpass the priest Myo'en, or the priest Ko'in of the administrator, or the chief priest Kenshin. These people at first attacked the priest Honen, but later they all capitulated and became his disciples or followers of his teachings, and Nichiren no doubt will do likewise.’ They sought to disprove my words one after another."

"When persons in past times criticized Honen's teachings, they did not at the same time criticize those of his predecessors Zendo and Doshaku, nor did they try to distinguish between provisional sutras and those that are true, as a result the Nembutsu believers only became more self-confident than ever. But now, I, Nichiren, have thrust Zendo and Honen into an interminable hell, and have driven home my criticisms by comparing the three Pure Land sutras and the Lotus Sutra. It is like comparing the sun and moon with a firefly, or comparing the water of a small stream with the great ocean.

Moreover, I have demonstrated that the Nembutsu is a mere childish doctrine that the Buddha expounded as an expedient for a time only. To desire by such a doctrine to leave from the sufferings of birth and death is like building a ship of stone and hoping to cross the vast sea with it, or like loading a mountain on one's back and attempting to go over a steep slope. When I criticized them in this way, none of the Nembutsu believers had been able to refute me.” On refuting to Ryōkan and Others’

 Myo'en, Ko'in, Kenshin are each the Buddhist priests who submitted to the Nembutsu. Above all, the priest Kenshin was attracted by the Nembutsu while being the head priest of the Tendai Sect and changed religion.

People of Nembutsu thought that Nichiren had either been the same and cannot win even if he blamed Honen of the teacher.

But the technique of Nichiren is different.

He assumed the Lotus Sutra highest sutra and concluded three sutras of Pure Land that people of Nembutsu clung to to be a fictitious theory. In addition, he declared that priests, including Chinese Zendo who was a teacher of Honen where in the hell of incessant sufferings.

Nichiren continued studying internal and external writings, even after it until. He became a priest at the age of 16 and established the sect at 32 years old. As a matter of course, he has read the writings of Zendo, too. The result of the study of these, Nichiren will gradually clarify in subsequent scenes by more than 500 writings that he left throughout the life, including the 'Rissho Ankokuron'.


Six purification days in a month. The two seasons equinoctial week.

Words relating to Buddhism. Six purification days mean 8, 14, 15, 23, 29, 30th every month. It had been considered to be a day to spend with the observance of the commandments cleanliness both on six purification days of a month and on the equinoctial week two seasons.

Divination panel

Rikujin-choku-ban in Japanese. A tool of the fortune-teller that a Yin Yan fortune-teller used. The disk on which the Big Dipper or traditional Japanese music was written down is put on the square board with words and figures written down. It is thought that this disk meant the heavens, that the square meant the ground. The Yin Yang fortune-teller of the Kamakura era foretold the future by turning this Rikujin-choku disk.

ダイアグラム, 設計図自動的に生成された説明

The sun is setting in the west.

Shijo Kingo, the samurai who rode a horse, leisurely went ahead through the town of Kamakura.

A retainer holds the mouth of the horse.

Kingo passed through the gate of his residence and called it aloud.

“I just returned.”

Nichigan-nyo of the wife appeared there.

“Welcome home.”

“How is the child?”

Two people go to the back room.

The baby is sleeping on the futon when they open the door of the room.

Kingo looked at the sleeping face of the child. Always stern Kingo showed an expression that was full of affection.

Nichigan-nyo of the wife told him to mutter.

“Though the condition has gotten a little bit better...”

“We should observe the situation a little more maybe. Sometimes this baby gets a little better, but then she may have a relapse”.

“Sorry. I have lots of flaws.”

“It is not your fault. A bad illness is going on now. Only this is helpless even if we prevent it no matter how much.”

The small bottles formed by soil are displayed in the room of Kingo.

Kingo was good at medicinal herbs. He was a pharmacist or doctor in the present day. He has the achievement that cured the illness of his master.

He mixed medicine with a spoon and placed it in a dish. And he handed the drug to Nichigan-nyo.

“On the morning of tomorrow, give it to our daughter.”

Nichigannyo nodded.

Shijo Kingo is the Shogunate vassal serving Mitsutoki Hojo (also Mitsutoki Nago'e). Mitsutoki's father was Asatoki, the younger brother of the famous Hojo Yasutoki. Not a direct descendant of Hojo. However, even the mere mention of the name Hojo was given weight by the people.

His name was known in Kamakura as a vassal of Mitsutoki continuing for two generations. But in particular, he was famous because his character was extremely obstinate and was short-tempered. 

There is a large sunken hearth in the center of the living room.

A maid began preparations for dinner.

Kingo had a meal.

Nichigan-nyo says to him good-naturedly.

“How was today for you?”

“Nothing. It's a monotonous job. Though lord Mitsutoki is despite a branch family of Hojo, he is still in good health too. Will be peace for the moment.”

“For the moment?”

“I do not know what would occur after the lord Tokiyori retired. Power is concentrated in the head family now. I can't imagine how we, the vassals of branch families, will be from now on.”

“It cannot possibly be a dispute?”

“I regard myself as a samurai, if not much of one. Must prepare when that time comes.”

Nichigan-nyo was somber, but she pulled herself together and poured the liquor into the cup of Kingo.

“There now, don't worry.”

Nichigan-nyo stared at Kingo smilingly.

“Please tell the tale of that Buddhist priest again.”

Kingo looked blatantly disgusted.

“I do not want to say it.”

Nichigan-nyo continues talking anyhow.

“You were so angry about the monk that day.”

“The monk called Nichiren did not shrink at my violent language. He may be a monk with backbone.”

“From what you've told me, he's like a monk who's turned you into one.”

Kingo remembered.

Nichiren's words oddly stuck with him.

‘A man abandons his life for shame, and a woman abandons her life for a man.'

座る, ケーキ, 古い, テーブル が含まれている画像自動的に生成された説明

The seated statue of Toki Jonin. Constructed during the Tensho era (1573-1592). Possessed by the Nakayama Hokekyoji Temple. By Wikipedia.

On the other hand, Toki Jonin who became a believer of Nichiren was working for the Chiba clan in Kamakura. Toki is senior to Nichiren by 6 years. As such, he was a man of sense.

Chiba, who was a lord of Toki, had domains in the whole country. There were territories in Kinki and Kyushu including Shimousa. Jonin was busy with the handling of the trial, the collection of the land tax, the transportation of supplies, and financial management as a bureaucrat of lord Chiba.

Father of Toki is originally from Inaba (Tottori) originally. There was the original territory in the Toki district of the Inaba country. Because father served Chiba, the child Jonin entered Kanto and he worked there.

Parent and child Toki were able bureaucrats. The dispute of Zhokyu is already over, stability of the reign is the urgent business. An influential person like the Chiba clan had been seeking a talented government official.

An administrative official displayed a desk in the Chiba office and did some writing. The busyness of the work is the same as a modern company. A horse and a cart went in and out to the plaza busily.

Toki Jonin makes a document on a desk in the office. A co-worker took a look at the documents on the side. He read the imperative sentence that just arrived. It is a bitter face.

“Oh, an instruction of the construction has been reached from lord Kamakura!”

Everybody looks at each other like saying "Again!"

“Wait a minute! The family of Chiba is the military governor, but the finances are tight. Is there not a way to refuse somehow? Where is it?”

“Kyoto, Lotus Flower King Temple.”

“It is such a money-consuming matter!”

Jonin considers.

“At first we must raise money for the trip to the Kyoto of our lord. It is roughly estimated at 200 kan.”

A co-worker lamented.

“Neither Shimousa nor Kamakura has such money!”

Everybody crossed an arm.

Jonin said.

“Why don't you procure from the land tax of Kyushu?”

A co-worker clapped his hands.

“You're right. We will borrow the money from a merchant and will let him collect it for the liquidation in Kyushu.”

The provincial financial difficulty is not the thing which began from now. The people of the Middle Ages have been in trouble, too. They freely have used the forwarding agent, and merchant who was called Bashaku, and digested instructions of the Shogunate. If the crop of the land tax is a distant place, Bashaku collects it. It was a kind of money order.

The co-worker complained.

“However, it is costly, isn't it? Our lord has just finished acting as a military guard of Kyoto. We are driven hard. The Lord of Kamakura works his men too hard.”

Jonin corrects him.

“What? You shouldn't speak like that. The Lord of Kamakura is contributing to the peace and security of our lord. We must take measures by every means for our master.”

His colleagues all laughed.

"What you say is all very well. We will certainly comply with your request. We are no match for Mr. Toki who is a strong sect believer of the Lotus Sutra.”

Toki's belief in the Lotus Sutra is well known. Everyone resumed their job with a bitter smile.

Also, when they sort out a document, they have been throwing away papers which they had finished using. Jonin picked up that paper and gathered it.

The co-worker looked at him with a dubious look. What does he use the used document for?

The setting sun shone on the thatched huts in Matsuba Valley. Nichiren takes the writing brush. He writes into a paper which was taken from Jonin. The paper's surface has already been written in, but the back side is still usable. The papers had been used by the government officials of the Chiba clan including Jonin.

Paper was precious in those days. It was sometimes used so as to recycle and reuse.

Jonin sent miscellaneous papers, and Nichiren and disciples copied the Buddhist sutras or Tientai's writing into the backside of this poor-quality paper and studied.
By the way, thanks to this, the document of the Chiba clan written to the surface has come to the present day, it becomes precious documents which are able to know the Kamakura era.


Life of Nichiren. Vol. 1. Contents

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