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日蓮大聖人『御書』解説

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2020年 07月 19日

9. Appearance of Female Believers

Japanese edition.

9. Appearance of Female Believers_f0301354_13570313.jpg

 Lotus Flower. By Wikipedia.


Spring calm sunlight comes in in a samurai residence.

Wives and widow nuns had gathered here. There was the wife Nichigannyo of Kingo, and Nichimyo who became a great believer later.

Nichiren was active in the propagation of the woman believer too.

Originally the Lotus Sutra is the sacred book of the woman to attain Buddhahood. Nichiren emphasized that women should believe in the only Lotus Sutra that preached the woman to become the Buddha.

“The woman was said to be a person with many sins from ancient times. Also, a woman is said to be the source tearing a country. The Buddhist sutra reveals five obstacles of women and the teachings of non-Buddhism teaches the three subservient. Three subservient means that they follow parents when they are children, follow a husband when they come of age, and follow child when they grow old. Three subservience is without hearing what she wants to listen without watching what want to watch without saying what to think without going unfree following the three people up to old age from childhood. Because there are three obstacles in this way, women are not free in this world. It was said that they could not attain Buddhahood in the Law of the Buddha either. However, Shakyamuni Buddha preached about becoming the Buddha of women for the first time, in the Lotus Sutra.”

Women had been hearing only from the Nembutsu sect. That is the teachings which are helped only after dying. They are not interested in such a sermon. But Nichiren was different. Lotus Sutra preaches that the woman becomes the Buddha directly. It was a fresh surprise.

“However, all women of Japan do not chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, but chant the Amida Buddha's name sixty thousands or a hundred thousand times a day aloud, by the Sokan Sutra or Muryoju Sutra which do not reveal becoming the Buddha of woman. Because this is an Amida Buddha's name, it is similar to wisdom, but she is a woman counting a property of the others in vain. The reason for this was, after all, that I had been seduced by bad knowledge. Therefore, the enemy of all women in Japan is that the person teaches Nembutsu without teaching the Lotus Sutra. They are worse than an enemy of the parents, than a prostitute, than a bandit pirate, than a wolfish villain. Though the standpoint of the woman should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and be a woman believing a Lotus Sutra, the women of nowadays chant Amida's name frequently during their life, and perform Buddhist service of Nembutsu consistently without chanting the Lotus Sutra and without holding a service, and they let the priest slightly read the Lotus Sutra, but they treat a monk of Nembutsu like parents or brothers, and look down the holder of the Lotus Sutra than vassal and kindred. All the same, they say that they believe the Lotus Sutra. Reform yourself early. Reform yourself early.”

Precious writing, which revealed women believers opened their minds to Nichiren in those days, is left.

It is the About the Menstruation.’ That is the answer of Nichiren to the wife of Hiki Daigaku Saburo, having asked how she should do ascetic practice at the time of woman menstruation in the coming months.

Nichiren preaches it clearly as follows.

“In my own study of the sacred teachings, though I find clear prohibitions on certain days of the menstruation against the impurity of things like meat or wine, the five spicy foods, or sexual acts, for instance, I, Nichiren, have never come across any passage in the sutras or treatises that speaks of avoidances connected with menstruation.

While the Buddha was in the world, many women actively became nuns and devoted themselves to the Buddha's teachings, but they were never disliked during their menstrual period yet. Judging from this, menstruation is not any kind of impurity coming from an external person. It is simply a handicap or a characteristic of the female sex which has a law of nature in the succession of the seed of birth and death. Or in another viewpoint, it might be regarded as a kind of chronic recurring illness. In the case of feces and urine, though these are substances produced by the body, so long as one keeps clean habits, these are not disliked. It is surely the same in this case.”

Nichiren preaches more about women believers.

“After the Buddha passed away, all women of modern times are living in the first 500 years after that 2000 years. Shakyamuni Buddha wrote that the present times are the genuine times of the woman who would attain Buddhahood. For example, there is much ice in winter, the flowers aren’t rare in spring, and there is much grass in the summer, and much fruit in autumn. The season rotates in this way. That the woman will attain Buddhahood in the present time is the same too. These are not problems, even if she is very arrogant, even if she is very foolish, even if there is much anger, even if she has much greed, even if jealousy. Much more there is no reason why a woman who does not have these flaws cannot become a Buddha.” ‘Writings about the Woman Attains Buddhahood.’

The women received the excellent Law through the faith of their husbands. They believed as the man told them to believe, but they were more interested in what the Lotus Sutra taught about women attaining Buddhahood. Furthermore, they knew that the Lotus Sutra preached gender equality and were surprised. This was a shock to them.

The sutras before the Lotus Sutra preached that the woman could not become the Buddha if was reincarnated many times and not became a man. It preaches they cannot become the Buddha as a woman. These sutras are so harsh toward women that one wonders if they had something against women.

“A woman is a messenger of hell and cuts the seeds of Buddha. The outside resembles a Bodhisattva, but the inside is like a demon.” ‘Kegon Sutra

“The Bodhisattvas of mercy existing in every world cannot let the extreme accumulated evilness of women surrender.” ‘The Sutra of the 12 Names of Buddha

“The worldly desires of the man of the three thousand worlds gather and become the obstacles of karma of one woman.” ‘Same as above.

“If you see a woman even once, you will be in samsara for a long time. And if you profane a woman even once, you will surely fall into hell.” ‘Commentary on the Great Wisdom Sutra.’

The man reading this might think happy not being born as a woman. Women may also have an idea of the Buddha's criticism of women.

“In the different viewpoint, a woman is called the people of suffering.” From the Chapter of Devadatta in the Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings.’

The women were the vulnerable groups in society in those days overwhelmingly so that Nichiren pointed out.

But it was Shakyamuni Buddha to have broken the pains of this woman too.

Buddha did not accept the priest of the woman at first because he thought the woman would disturb the ascetic practices of the Buddhist priest of the man. The nun of the first woman was Mahaprajapati of the foster mother of the royal palace era of Buddha, but she applied for becoming a priest over and over again, but continued being refused from Buddha. Unable to stand by any longer, Anan of the disciple entreated Buddha, and said "Mahaprajapati is the lady who had taken care of you."

He begged to accept her as a priest and was finally permitted. Still, in religious precepts (commandments for completeness) which a person of the priest should follow, the nun was 348 religious precepts, though a man was 250.

Furthermore, in the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha gives the disciples a prediction of future becoming the Buddha one after another, but promises to become the Buddha for not only the monk but also the nun.

He gave Mahaprajapati of the aunt a prediction of becoming the Buddha who is watched with praise by all creatures, and gave Yasodhara of the wife of the royal palace era a prediction of becoming the Buddha of the countless lights. In addition, the lady of a dragon with a body of snake attained Buddhahood in present form without changing the body, this fact surprised arhats of Shariputra and others.

Nichiren preaches about the essential qualities of the woman as follows.

“To become a woman is the existence that obeys a thing and forces a thing to obey.” ‘Letter to Brothers’

While a woman is bound by every social limitation, the complete freedom is obtained by faith. It seems to be restricted and is the position to let a thing obey. If one had this awareness and chanted the marvelous Law, one can get circumstances of freedom. For the woman, this was like having her blind eyes opened by the Lotus Sutra.

Therefore, it was the course of nature that women of the strong faiths appeared one after another in Nichiren disciples. Women of the strong faiths were born as nun Myoho, nun Sazhiki, nun Sennich, Nichigan-nyo, and Nichimyo so that Nichiren oneself surprised them.


  サボテンの花自動的に生成された説明

        Lotus Flower. By Wikipedia


Continued to (2)


Life of Nichiren. Vol. 1. Contents



by johsei1129 | 2020-07-19 14:04 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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