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2020年 08月 01日

16. Tokiyori Pardons Nichiren. (1)

      Japanese edition

Ryoukan of Gokurakuji Temple was invited to the Shigetoki Hojo's mansion of Kamakura, and a grand banquet was held.

Lord Zhibu of the wife of Shigetoki, Nagatoki of the child and a relative enjoyed talking in front of the feast.

A cup is put on a low luxurious dining table.

Shigetoki got drunk hard.

“Oh, there will not be any happy samurai except me in this Japan. Born in the Hojo clan, my son became a regent, too. People around are seeing with the eyes of envy. And I grow old now and cling to Nembutsu and only wait to be born in the paradise of the future life. Fortunately, I came across priest Ryoukan and was able to build a temple on our land.”

Ryoukan praises him.

“I am sure that you will be reborn in paradise. I will promise in place of Tathagata Amida”.

“Oh, I am thankful for you. I want to die early!"

Everyone laughed a lot.

Ryoukan smiles and appreciates.

"By the way, I have inconvenienced you for the matter of the other day."

“What was the matter?”

“About a matter of Nichiren.”

“Yes, I'd cleanly forgotten it. Is that Buddhist priest alive?”

“That monk was very annoying. I assume religious precepts are important, but do not deny Nembutsu or Zen sect. It is the work of the priest to spread the teachings of Buddha and let the nation prosper even if it is any denomination.”


“That monk's iniquity lies in the fact that he has condemned us by holding the Lotus Sutra as absolute. Though Nichiren is a priest by superior virtue, it is regrettable.”

“Nichiren will not rest in peace as long as I am alive. The Shogunate either does not forgive that man. Please feel relieved, priest Ryoukan.”

“I am very happy for you. As long as Tono is alive and well, the Gokuraku-ji Temple will be safe and sound.”

“Oh, my! I do not seem to be able to die yet!"

Everyone roars with laughter.

Although night advanced, there was a lively banquet, which I don't know when that will end.

Shigetoki stood up cheerfully.

“Drank too much. I'm going to the restroom.”

Shigetoki went to the corridor with totter.

Ryoukan poured liquor in Nagatoki.

“Here you are.”

Nagatoki has a red face because of being drunk.

“I am very appreciative.”

Ryoukan flattered the inheritor at once.

“You are the leader of the Shogunate. If the time of you lasts for a long time, Gokurakuji will become Kanto's most famous temple sometime soon.”

"I am aware of it, sir."

Nagatoki is in a good mood. He had a famous parent's help, and became a regent. He talks as if not to know the trouble.

But when there were the eyes of two people, a scathing scream happened in a corridor. That sound made them sober.

All the members wondered what had happened, and went to the corridor.

Shigetoki has convulsions and is collapsing.


Nagatoki rushed and hugged Shigetoki.

Shigetoki gushes a bubble from his mouth while he groans. It was a sudden, unexpected incident. Nobody knows what they should do. The face of Nagatoki looks pale. Though their joy was at its peak, the sadness suddenly had just covered their eyes.

The vassals visited the Shigetoki Hojo's house one after another the next morning.

They were whispering to each other in the antechamber.

“It is said that he fell down suddenly. It's hard to know in detail. Well, what is the name of his illness?”

“It is a rumor called the cruel illness. The heat comes out suddenly and I have a nightmare. Anyway, it is said that he had seen a devil in the restroom."

“Is this a result of the vast oblation to priest Ryoukan?”

“By the way, Lord Shigetoki just banished Nichiren, a Buddhist priest, to Izu last month. Is this not a terrible retribution?”

The vassal puts his finger on his lips.

"Sh! Your voice is loud."

"By the way, although it is secret, the Lord Tokiyori is an illness, too. The lord of Kamakura may change."

A groan of Shigetoki occasionally sounded from the back room.

Shigetoki writhed in bed and suffered.

Lord Zhibu of the wife and Nagatoki of the child watch him with tears.

Shigetoki was the grandson of the first regent Hojo Tokimasa and was called lord Gokurakuji. Their whole families were named a Gokurakuji clan and were a second position of the head family among Hojo. That whole family was depressed.

It was certain that Shigetoki's condition was serious.

Gokurakuji Ryoukan could not hide his uneasy face due to the misfortune of a strong supporter.

It was a sudden tragedy. An atmosphere full of joy until just yesterday went away in an instant, and affliction has come over.

Gokurakuji Ryoukan put hands together on the side of Shigetoki who suffered. In this situation, he must peep at illness by prayer.

It was then.

Shigetoki moved his hand from the blanket and grasped the hand of Ryoukan. That hand had become the black color.

Women screamed.

Shigetoki groans.

“Monk Ryoukan, please help me! Even if you pray no matter how much, I do not cure. Why is it like this? There cannot be a person who valued Nembutsu greatly elsewhere except me.”

“For Lord Shigetoki, this is a little more patience. I am sure that the blessings of Amida Nyorai will be with you, Lord Shigetoki, a tremendous supporter of the Temple of Paradise.”

Shigetoki grasps the hand of Ryoukan tightly.

Ryoukan frowned unintentionally and untied that hand with his power.

Shigetoki looked suspicious there for the first time. He fixed his eyes into Ryoukan while groaning.

The voices of Nembutstu sounded without a break in this way in Shigetoki's mansion. A groan of Shigetoki was mixed together with that voice.

He was nearing his end.

Shigetoki raised his arm, which became all black highly in bed, writhed with pain.

The family cries around.

Ryoukan chanted Nembutsu aloud together with dozens of disciples on the side.

The black hands, which Shigetoki raised high, fell down on the bed slowly.

Child Nagatoki cried.


The family clung to Shigetoki.

Ryoukan and disciples gathered too, and stared at the features of his death.

His face becomes black. Shigetoki twisted a neck, and died staring at Ryoukan.

It was a life of 63 years.

Disciples of Ryoukan were frightened. One of them mutters about the grotesqueness of the aspect of death unintentionally.

“It is an aspect of hell that becomes black after death. It is said that the black color compares to a shadow of hell.”

Ryoukan grasps the hand of a confused disciple and glares.

“Lord Shigetoki became Buddha. He had finished chanting the Nembutsu and went to the Pure Land of paradise. Inform me that it was a quiet last. You must not forget!"

For five months, Shigetoki who banished Nichiren to Izu exile, which took Gokurakuji Ryoukan's intentions into account, had suffered from fever and chills since he fell down to the illness, and he left the world, November 3, 1261.

On the other hand, soldiers guarded it strictly around Hojo Tokiyori's house. The abnormality was clear.

Tokiyori is lying down in the bedroom. He was closing his eyes. He is still 37 years old.

Tokimune and Tokisuke brothers and Yasumori Adachi watched over him from the side.

Yasumori Adachi is a vassal. He is 30 years old, at this time. The Adachi clan destroyed two influential vassals called Wada and Miura, and there was the achievement that established the autocracy of Hojo. There was not a person who surpassed Yasumori in the vassals.

Lord Kasai was the official wife of Tokimune, besides, there was Lady Sanuki of the concubine. Kasai gave birth to Tokimune of the later eighth regent, and Sanuki gave birth to Tokisuke who became elder stepbrother of Tokimune.

Tokiyori opened his eyes. Brothers of Tokisuke and Tokimune looked at each other for an instant and muttered at the same time.


While Tokiyori coughed, he raised his upper body.

“This is what's called fate, too. I am not long in this world. But I accomplished what I should do. I had defeated many enemies to protect Hojo. I have nothing to regret.”

Tokiyori looks around.

“It is the subject to be left how we continue our Shogunate. Yasumori.”

Yasumori Adachi advances and appears.

“Appoint this Tokimune as a regent in the future.”

“Very good, sir.”

Tokisuke, the elder brother interfered with them.

“Father, I…”

Tokiyori soothed an older brother.

“From the beginning, I had decided that Tokimune would be the successor to Hojo. Tokisuke, you should assist the younger brother.”

Tokisuke left in anger.

This is no wonder.

He was brought up as the older brother. He had thought that it was natural that he would succeed his father. However, it is said that Tokiyori doubted whether Tokisuke is a real child. In that case, the successor has only Tokimune who is superior in courage.

Tokiyori looked at Tokimune and said so that the others could hear.

“Your older brother will become an enemy by all means. But rest assured.”

Tokiyori gave subordinates instructions.

"Invoke Heino Saemon-no-Jo."

At this moment, Yasumori Adachi put his hands on the floor and whispered it to Tokiyori.

“Our lord. The character of Saemon-no-Jo is dangerous and brutal. It thinks that there is a problem very much with incorporating that fellow in Hojo.”

Tokiyori remained silent.

Yoritsuna Taira passed the gate. The samurai of the guard shuddered.

Youth Yoritsuna walks with an arrogant face. His looks had the hooked nose, which seemed to symbolize strong volition and had thin and sharp eyes like beaming light. It is said that he was short.

Yoritsuna Taira, people called him Heino-saemon-no-jo. He is the undersecretary serving regent Hojo. It is said by a butler, too. He was only 20 years old.

Moritoki, his grandfather, was an aide to Yoritomo Minamoto. Moritoki may be said to have been a secretary. He wrote orders introducing the will of the Kamakura Shogunate into the whole country instead of busy Yoritomo. There is also a record of Moritoki's activities in the 'Eastern Mirror.' Moritsuna of his child supported the three generations of Hojo Yasutoki, Tsunetoki and Tokiyori. Yoritsuna, who succeeded his father, becomes an aide of Tokimune. Yoritsuna was already top on the list of the undersecretary which assisted the Kamakura Shogunate in spite of being a youth.

Originally his ancestors were ordinary clerical staff. They had no power, but because the Hojo clan who succeeded Yoritomo became frantic for a struggle for power and destroyed the influential clan of Wada and Miura, they were given an important role as the steward and became powerful.

As Hojo became a dictator, it was natural for his aides to gain power at the same time. This is because the instructions of the dictators are always given by an aide. Therefore, with the downfall of the outside vassals, the undersecretary such as Yoritsuna took the power. Yasumori Adachi was the only one who could be opposed to Yoritsuna Tairano in outside vassals now.

While Yoritsuna looks around, he advances.

His clan is said to be 100 people or 200. As a representative of them, he looked people down completely.

He appeared and sat before Tokiyori, the ruler.

Yasumori watched Yoritsuna viciously. Yasumori Adachi is a leader of the vassals, and Yoritsuna is a leader of the entourage. The places to stand are different. The antagonism of both is fate.

“Did you call for me, sir?”

"Saemon-no-jo, your family has protected Hojo from generation to generation. Must protect from every enemy the same as me, positioning this Tokimune as the pillar."

Saemon-no-jo answers graciously.

“Very good, sir. As a butler of Hojo.”

When he said so, he looked at Yasumori and the other vassals.

“I will do away with a man who resists lord Tokimune by all means.”

The vassals trembled violently with this speech of Saemon-no-jo.

Tokiyori lay on the bed with relief and said an unexpected thing.

“This is my last will to. Forgive Nichiren.”

“Do you forgive Nichiren, sir?”

Yasumori is surprised and speaks unconsciously.

“Our lord, we banished Nichiren to Izu on the suspicion of having disturbed the Shogunate. Sir, why will you pardon him?”

Tokiyori says while looking at the ceiling.

“I have committed a rash act. I punished him with my own judgment, but that monk should be of no harm to us. Although I obeyed what the person around said, he is innocent if I watch it with a clear eye. My death is near. I want to get all the regrettable things out of the way before I die.”

Yasumori is against him.

“Nichiren was a man who criticized His Highness' rule. I beg you to reconsider.”

Tokiyori grinned.

“There are a lot of my subordinates. I can see that they all seem to serve me. But nobody gives an opinion to me. Forgive that upright Nichiren. He may support us some time."

Tokimune closed his eyes.

Tokimune prepared for the death of his father, and cried.


However, after Nichiren was pardoned in February 1263, Tokiyori miraculously recovered. Nine months after this day, he passed away on November 22 while watching the growth of Tokimune. He was a 37-year-old.

Nichiren writes it down about the absolution of the Izu banishment by Tokiyori as follows later.

“Certain influential persons banded together and, conspiring with people of the town, people by the tens of thousands attacked and intended to kill me in the night. But, perhaps because the ten daughters of the demon arranged it, I was able to escape from danger. Officials of both Sagami and Izu thought it was a failure that I was not murdered, for this reason, they banished me to Izu. But the lay priest Saimyoji [Tokiyori] alone, believing that there were extenuating reasons in my case, hastily pardoned me.” ‘Book condemning Ryoukan and others.’’

On February 23, 1263, Nichiren left Izu and went to the road of Sagami.

The mountains of Kamakura could be seen in the distance. Teacher Nichiren and disciple Nikko walk with their chest out.

They turn back to Kamakura, which is the origin of the propagation of the Lotus Sutra and the center of state power of Japan. They wouldn't help walking with their chest out.

The Izu persecution was a big turning point for Nichiren. The letter which he sent Yoshitaka Kudo of the feudal lord of Awa is left.

“It is already twenty-four or twenty-five years since I began studying Buddhism. I have begun to believe wholeheartedly in the Lotus Sutra for these six years or seven years particularly. Moreover, although I had believed in the sutra, because I was negligent and because there were interruptions by the worldly affairs, though I studied, each day I read only a single scroll, a chapter, or the title. However, for the period of more than 240 days from the twelfth day of May of last year to the sixteenth day of January of this year, I think I have trained the Lotus Sutra twenty-four hours each day and night. This reason is, having been exiled for the Lotus Sutra, I read and trained the Lotus Sutra continuously, whether I am walking, standing, sitting, or lying down. For someone born as human, what other joy would there be?

Although the habit of the common mortals strives hard from oneself and arouses Buddhahood and prays for the coming future, the person recalls it himself and strives hard only for two hours or four hours among 24 hours. As for myself now, I can read the Lotus Sutra without remembering it, and can ascetically practice it even when I do not read.

During infinite past lives, I might have revolted, committed theft or broken into others' homes at night and, on account of these offenses, been convicted by the ruler and received banishment or death. Now, however, because I was so firmly resolved to propagate the Lotus Sutra that evil people have brought false charges against me, I was banished. Surely this will become a profound virtue in future lifetimes. There cannot be anyone else who upholds the Lotus Sutra willingly for twenty-four hours of the day and night in the latter days of the Law.” ‘Four Gratitude.’

A group of people walk along Wakamiya-oji Avenue. As they approach their pavilion in the Matsuba Valley, passersby who knew Nichiren shout in surprise.

“Everybody, Nichiren Shonin came back cheerily!”

Both Nichiren and Nikko stand in front of a hall with deep emotion.

Boy Kumao found them and embraced Nichiren at full speed.

The woman in the store chats up to him.

“Welcome home. Dear Shonin.”

It is an ironic thing.

When he left Kamakura, the people laughed, but they completely changed and celebrated him when was pardoned.

Believers of more than 100 waited for a return of Nichiren in a hall.

Teacher Nichiren is not a criminal anymore. The faces which overflowed with joy gathered.

Shijo Kingo and Toki Jonin and others met them with a smile. Michigan-nyo, the wife of Kingo, holds a baby in her arms.

Nichiren exchanged greetings to each one and found a baby before long.

"Oh, this..."

Shijo Kingo lowered his head deeply.

“Thanks to the master, she got well. Though I wondered what would happen at one point, this is the force of the marvelous Law of Buddha.”

Hearing the recovery of the condition of the baby of Kingo whom Nichiren trusts, his joy is not ordinary.

“Of course, it is the power of the Lotus Sutra. However, the real reason is that there was the strength of the faiths of the couple. The illness disappeared because it was a brave faith. Come on.”

Nichiren gently took the baby and fussed over it as if it were his own. It was as if the hardships of exile had never happened.

Kingo stared at Nichiren and heartily thought it the good fortune that his baby was embraced by him.

The sun begins to sink in Matsuba Valley.

Believers gathered because Nichiren would preach after an interval of two years.

The Nembutsu monks of the black robe come too. People looked from a window too.

 “I was pardoned and was able to return to Kamakura now. This is because lord Kamakura knew that this punishment had been caused by the slander of the vassals. Like the propagation of the Great Teacher Tendai and Dengyo, one must determine the right or wrong of the Law of Buddha in the public place. What will it mean evading because they cannot win in the argument of the doctrine of Buddhism, entrapping the Buddhist priest of the partner to sin? To block teachings of Buddha is to threaten a country. This depends on the evil of Nembutsu and Zen Buddhism, not an error of the politics. The Lotus Sutra says; 'Even the time of living Tathagata still had been much jealousy (note). It goes without saying after he passes away. There was persecution even at the time of the Buddha. Besides, there are still more persecutions in the wicked world of the Latter Days. I realized it deeply in my mind. A difficulty befalls for certain if everybody chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo aloud. Also, if you do not encounter difficulties, there is no Buddha Law there. It is not difficult to attain Buddhahood, it is difficult to hold onto the Lotus Sutra.”



Resentment and envy. To vilify those who practice the Law correctly as taught. It mainly refers to accusations and slander against those who believe in the Buddha Law. “It is called ‘resentment’ when one is not yet rid of obstacles, and ‘envy’ when one is not pleased with what one hears.” (Myolaku)


Life of Nichiren. Vol. 1. Contents

by johsei1129 | 2020-08-01 18:41 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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