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日蓮大聖人『御書』解説

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2020年 07月 23日

11. Enemy of Buddhism in the life of Nichiren. Ryōkan of Gokurakuji Temple.

               Japanese edition



海と砂浜中程度の精度で自動的に生成された説明

  The present Zaimokuza Coast. By Wikipedia.

 Gokurakuji was a temple with a very large territory. Many facilities had been built in the domain.

 This temple was built by an offer of Shigetoki Hojo of the third son of second regent Yoshitoki Hojo. Although Gokurakuji now in Kamakura city is small so as not to be able to imagine former prosperity, there was a scale as if it put hospitals and universities together in those days. The place name of the Gokurakuji town is still left now. There were 49 annex buildings. There was a charity dispensary, the staying clinic, even the medicinal bath here.

 Shigetoki Hojo invited Ninsho Ryoukan as a founder. Gokurakuji Ryoukan will have a strange fate of having the confrontation for bringing rain with Nichiren in later years.

 The precincts of the temple became full with refugees. Priests scoop rice porridge with a ladle and give it to refugees. The poor people receive it by lining up as if saying, "I am thankful."

 Many priests did a white mask in the house of medical treatment and examined a patient. Boy monks were nursing on the side.

 The person whose eyes are sore. There are the coughing woman and leper. The people who suffer from a disease stood in line in a row in turn.

 On the other hand, there was the hall, where a door was shut, and nobody could enter. Only the light of the upper window shines in the hall. Dozens of Buddhist priests calculated with the abacus of the desk here. There were priests who threaded it through a string to the hole of the copper money, gathered it. The boxes of copper money, silks of a gorgeous color were piled up behind them.

 Gokurakuji Ryoukan expanded commerce along with philanthropy. When the base of the economy is not stable, philanthropy is not possible. Gokurakuji was not only a religious facility, but also it had the function of the mercantile firm.

Kenji Matsuo, a Buddhist historian, has studied the careful studies of Ryoukan. He describes the Zaimokuza coast, which Ryoukan had jurisdiction over.

 “Wakae Island was also called Iizima Island, it was an artificial island, pushed out of the sea near a fore-shore of current Komyo-ji Temple in the Zaimokuza shore and was made. The round deep-black stone at the time of ebb tide shows in the present too. Yuigahama beach was not suitable for the arrival at a shore of the big ships such as Chinese ships in Toasa, and Mutsuura, now Yokohama, was suitable for the arrival in port of such a ship.

 However, O-Amidabuts of the Nembutsu monk applied to the Kamakura Shogunate on July 12, 1232 saying 'I want to build Waga Ejima to dissolve the difficulty of the anchorage'. Regent Yasutoki Hojo of that time admitted it with great pleasure and cooperated with many people.

 By the way, the organization of Gokurakuji centered upon Ryoukan had played a big role in repairing, maintaining and managing this Wakae Island. The historical materials say.

 ‘The transit duty (rice) of Iizima Island, the construction of the island, and the prohibition of the killing in the fore-shore is maintained as in the past. Even in the case of the construction of the island, even in the case of the prohibition of the killing, do severe judgment. About the forbidden matter, this is particularly because it becomes security of the world and lengthens the lifespan. There should be the judgment after the fashion of an example of Bodhisattva Ninsho, Ryoukan’. Sincerely yours,

February 11, 1349. Signature by Takauji Ashikaga.

To the elder priests of Gokurakuji temple’.

These historical materials ('History of Gokuraku-ji') show that Takauji Ashikaga admitted their rule of "a transit duty on Iijima Island, the construction of the island, prohibition of the killing in the fore-shore" as before for Gokurakuji on a date of February 11, 1349. In other words, a right to take the rice of the barrier (transit duty) out of the ship which arrived in Iijima (site of Wakeshima Island) was accepted, but it can comprehend that it was compensation of maintenance, the management, and construction of the island of Iijima. In addition, the right to prohibit the killing of the fore-shore had been admitted. Besides, such a right began from Ninsho [Ryoukan] so that we understand from an upper boldface. (Omission) Furthermore, in Gokurakuji, a right to prohibit the killing in the seashore was granted. This case is the same as a right which the Shomiyo-ji Temple had and forbids the fishing of the commoner at the beach and, to the fishermen, is a right to recognize fishing by contributing constant money and goods to a temple. That is why it may be said that Gokurakuji took the control of the fishermen. As a right to prohibit killing in Uji River was admitted for Eison when Eison constructed Uji Bridge in 1286, at this point, it is thought that there were many similar cases in the river either which Gokurakuji and the subordinate temple manage.” 'Ninsho. Too Merciful Person'.

 We can understand the enormousness of the economic infrastructure of Ryoukan. The influence of the economic activities of Ryokan had been extended even in the times of Takauji Ashikaga after the Hojo clan. It was not necessarily an exaggeration that a historian said that the Hojo family had ruled the northern half of Kamakura and that Ryokan had influenced the southern half.

 Ryoukan had an ambition.

 It was to control the government with economic power, and to dominate Japan spiritually. The Ritsu sect that Ryokan spread only preaches religious precepts, and the contents of the doctrine are low-grade. He will be despised on the religion for this by the growing sects led by Nichiren, and the existing power of huge Mt. Hiei Enryakuji Temple. He suppressed the criticism by using the power of the Shogunate to supplement this, and planned his prosperity.

 The hometown of Ryōkan is Nara Todaiji Temple.

 He was a representative of Nara, namely the Southern capital Buddhism, but Nara Buddhism has become outdated. In the times of the Emperor Kanmu, the Dengyo Great Teacher appears and criticizes Southern capital Buddhism thoroughly, and Imperial authorization for the establishment of the Mahayana precept sanctuary was granted from the Emperor Saga seven days after Dengyo's death. In addition, Nara Buddhism lost power because the Emperor Kanmu left Nara and built Kyoto the new capital.

Then, a standard-bearer of new Buddhism was born in sequence from the Enryakuji Temple on Mt. Hiei of Dengyo. Honen, Shinran, Dogen, the denomination of the new age, including Nichiren go out of this Enryakuji Temple.

 Nichiren studied based on the Enryakuji Temple for more than ten years, too, and began propagation in Kamakura. Therefore, Ryoukan, who was a representative of Nara Buddhism, spread a religious precept sect in Japan, somehow or other and wanted to regain the prosperity of Nara.

 The decoration of the wall which is in the living room of Gokurakuji is vivid.

 Ryoukan wore a fantastic clerical robe. Disciples and Shigetoki Hojo, who was a wealthy supporter, put cups beside them.

 The Kamakura samurai usually had a simple meal in comparison with a court noble of Kyoto, but the so-called fine table lined up today.

 The steamed rice, which was mixed with wheat and a foxtail millet with unpolished rice. The sea bream which was roasted, with salt from near a beach, the large-sized prawn which was boiled, the boiled season vegetables of the bright color, the soup of a duck and turnip, miso pickles of the radish, the friedcake which honey was attached to, the fish guts pickled, the sacred white wine, a salt by boiling down sea water, and the fish guts pickled were set on the tray of another low dining table.

 A child fills Shigetoki's cup. Sigetoki received it cheerfully.

 “The really excellent temple was completed. It is the best in Kamakura. Including a temple of Nembutsu, the building which accommodated a hospital, a hospitalization dormitory, refugees were completed here. What a relief.”

 Ryoukan deeply appreciates Shigetoki and says to him respectfully.

 “It's thanks to Lord Shigetoki. I really admire the power of lord.”

 Shigetoki puts on a cup.

 "The reason why we help you as the chief monk of a temple is that we respect religious precepts and are for the Shogunate. We can plan the maintenance of peace and order if we relieve a person and the sick people who are without a relative. It is convenient for both us and you, the chief monk of the temple."

 Ryoukan put hands together.

 “However, it is not suitable for me. For me, such a lively place avoids it and must do observance of the commandments in the quiet temple in the mountain.”

 Shigetoki laughed.

 “What did you say now,sir? Even the samurai is afraid of the priest Ryokan and hesitates. Besides this Japan has been utterly exhausted by famine and pestilence now. Everyone in Kamakura is relying on your virtue.”

 “Is that so? However, I don't think the people in Kamakura respect me. In fact, it seems there is a monk that calls this Ryoukan a bad person.”

 Shigetoki stared askance at.

 “Who, sir?”

 "It is a priest named Nichiren. I hear that he lives in the Matsuba valley."

 "Is it a Buddhist priest? Well, what is he saying?”

 “He says that the person chanting the Nembutsu falls into hell.”

 Shigetoki is a strong believer of Nembutsu. He expressed anger for an instant, but burst into laughter immediately.

 “Please do not worry, the chief monk. There is a maniac and a schmuck in the world of any place. Please be reassured. All of the Shogunate including this Shigetoki protects you.”

 Shigetoki laughed high.

 A young monk came over and put both his hands on the floor in front of Ryoukan.

 "Teacher. It's time, please."

 Ryoukan nodded and stood up. It is time for the sermon.

 His disciples took off Ryoukan's beautiful clothes and transformed him into a simple clerical robe. The appearance of a charity monk should not be gorgeous.

 He goes ahead through the long corridor.

 This main hall of a Buddhist temple was crowded with several hundred people.

 The noise continued.

 When dozens of disciples appeared there, including Ryoukan in the lead, a shout of joy echoed.

 “Priest Ryoukan!”

 Women exclaim and shed tears and cover the face with a sleeve. The men waved their hands and called the name of Ryoukan. Buddhist priests and nuns put hands together and advocate Nembutsu. It is a bizarre scene which does not seem to be a place for Buddhist priests to preach.

 Shigetoki Hojo was surprised by the enthusiasm that spent an immoderate degree for Ruoukan of the common people of Kamakura.

 Ryoukan answered with a smile in place of the sermon.

 A shout of joy does not readily stop. Ryoukan was praised as the holiest priest now in Kamakura, he was a charismatic person who is said in the present times.

 When Ryoukan cleared his throat lightly before long, the hall finally fell silent.

 “Thank you for coming during a busy time of yours. I will teach you eight Buddhist commandments today. It is the teachings of religious precepts. Those who wish to sleep may do so.”

 Children chuckle, and their heads were given a light poke by parents.

 There were Kyonin-bo Nichigyo and Chikugo-bo Nichiro of the disciple of Nichiren in the audience.

 Kyonin-bo stood up.

 “Priest Ryōkan. We respect priest Ryōkan. Any one of Kamakura loves the holy priest.”

 It was a sudden remark, but Ryoukan nodded smilingly.

 “The road became large, and the port was maintained thanks to priest Ryokan and became still more livable than before. It's thanks to priest Ryokan.”

 Ryoukan smiled at him.

 “You are praising me too much.”

 Laughter happens in the audience. It was good until here.

 Monk Nichiro had a smile and stood up.

 “However, such construction must be very difficult. The difficulty needs the expenditure of the money in particular. You take the rice from the common people at the checkpoint and buy up the wood of the mountain and sell high. Such a project will be difficult if you do not do so.”

 Audience began to talk in whispers.

 “If it is not a priest Ryoukan, a person cannot behave in such a way. You are really precious. From the old days a priest of the Ritsu sect was good at business and borrowing and loaning the money, wasn't he?”

 Kyonin-bo speaks rapidly and continuously.

 “If it is a true priest, he should know the depth of Buddhism, and we think that it is a true priest who shows a way of becoming Buddha to people, but you do not seem to be suitable for a priest, don't you?”

 Ryokan looked his disciples in the eye. Buddhist priests of Gokurakuji drove two people away while the hall rustled.

 Cried out Kyonin-bo as he left.

 “I am called Kyonin-bo Nichigyo of the disciple of priest Nichiren who lives in the valley of Matsuba.”

 “Similarly, I am Chikugo-bo Nichiro.”

 “Nichiren Shonin teaches that the Lotus Sutra is the highest teaching.If you would like to hear him preach, please come to the Valley Matsuba!”

 They went away as if they were being pressed.

 Still Ryoukan was smiling.

 “They are amusing characters.”

 And he assumed a straight face for an instant.

 The believers of Nembutsu became terribly afraid whereas Nichiren attacked them with the text of basic sutra.

 Unbelievably, they bent the doctrine of teacher Honen and tried for self-defense.

 Though Honen had denied all denominations in 'the Selection of Nembutsu', the believers of Nembutsu bent a doctrine by severe indication of Nichiren and began to advocate the rebirth of the pure land by the various ascetic practices.

 Nichiren sharply accuses the worst change in doctrine of desperation of the Nembutsu priests sharply.

 “Until some seven or eight years ago, they asserted widely and irresponsibly that practices other than the Nembutsu could never lead to rebirth in the Pure Land. The Priest Zendo declared 'even one person in a thousand' cannot be rescued. In addition, in Honen's 'the Choice of Nembutsu', he urged people to abandon various practices and likened those who followed them to a band of robbers. Then, in these last four or five years, the person appeared who preached a different doctrine, asserting that there are sutras proving that those who urge others to chant the Nembutsu as advocated in 'the Choice of Nembutsu' are in fact slandering the Law, and that both the Nembutsu priests and their followers are destined to fall into the hell of incessant suffering. When this doctrine first appeared, the Nembutsu believers unanimously cursed, "Who is the heretic who claims that the Nembutsu devotee will go to hell of constant suffering?" But then they began to realize some reasons why Nembutsu believers were fated to fall into the hell of incessant suffering. One by one, they proceeded to examine 'the Choice of Nembutsu' more closely. And, perhaps because they realized that in fact it is a writing that slanders the Law, they stopped its assertion that as 'not even one person in a thousand' cannot be rescued by other practices, and each of them came to declare the view that practices other than the Nembutsu can lead to rebirth in the Pure Land. But this was merely something that they proclaimed with their mouths. In their minds, they continued as before to believe that “not even one person in a thousand.” The lay followers of Nembutsu are unaware that their inner minds are slandering the Buddha's Law. The Nembutsu believers are deceived by pronouncements that practices other than the Nembutsu can lead to rebirth in the Pure Land. Therefore, the lay believers have become thinking that the Nembutsu proponents are not slandering the Lotus Sutra and contrary, that it is wrong that the people of the sacred teaching accuse that the Nembutsu priests slander the Lotus Sutra. They say that even another practice can lead to rebirth in the Pure Land. However, these Nembutsu proponents are committing a greater slander than those who openly declared that not one person in a thousand can be saved by such practices. While at the same time making others believe that it was not the fault of their doctrine, they are plotting to spread only the Nembutsu. This is the trap of evil spirits.”Act of Chanting the Title of the Lotus Sutra’.

The people of the sacred teaching meant people who believed in the Lotus Sutra. The Nembutsu priests had to spread the name of Amida even by concealing their own evil intentions.



To be continued.



Life of Nichiren. Vol. 1. Contents



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