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2020年 08月 30日

35. To Sado of the depth of winter

Japanese Edition

Nichiren had received the three times persecution, the Matsuba Valley, Izu banishment, and the Komatsubara persecution until now. All these were the persecutions that befell Nichiren alone. Certainly, Kyoninbo of disciple died by the surprise attack of the soldier of Tojo Kagenobu by a persecution of Komatsubara, and feudal lord Kudo Yoshitaka of Awa Amatsu did martyrdom, but it was only Nichiren to the last that was aimed, and they were sacrificed to protect Nichiren. However, the persecution of Tatsunokuchi was the great persecution that the whole disciple and believers of the Nichiren sect received including Nichiren for the first time.

While Nichiren feels the unrest of disciples, he encourages them to have to be aware of the joy that received great persecution because they are the practitioners of the Lotus Sutra.

There is the letter which he addressed to the people of the Seichoji Temple of Awa of the hometown at this time.

At this hopeless situation, he remembered a substantial foster father, Dozen-bo and the Great Nun, the senior disciples, Joken-bo and Gijo-bo, they were nostalgic.

“On the twelfth day of September, I incurred the wrath of the government authorities, and on the tenth day of October of this year, I am to leave for the country of Sado.

Originally, I pursued my studies because I wanted to master Buddhism and become Buddha and also to save my benefactors. It seems to me that one becomes Buddha when one is going to abandon one's life while hoping to attain Buddhahood. The sutra texts have already preached it; ‘cursed, vilified, attacked with swords and staves, shards and rubble and banished again and again’. I am encountering such difficulties and am applying the Lotus Sutra to myself. Therefore, my faith becomes strong, and I can hope about my next life. If I am dead, I shall surely save you all.

In India a person called the Shisi Venerable Monk was beheaded by King Danmira, and Bodhisattva Daiba was stabbed to death by a non-Buddhist. In China, a man named Chu Tao-Sheng was banished to a mountain in a place called Su-Chou, and the Master Hodo was branded iron to the face and exiled to a place called the south of the Yangtze River. All of these are the virtue of the Lotus Sutra and are reasons from the Law of Buddha.

Nichiren is the son of a chandala (note) family who was born near the sea of Tojo in Awa country, in the remote countryside of the eastern part of Japan. To throw away one's self, which is growing old in vain, for the sake of the Lotus Sutra, is to exchange a stone for gold, isn't it? All of you should not lament for me. Please, inform the Reverend Dozen-bo too. I have also thought of writing to the nun of the lord of the manor, but because of my present circumstances, she may no longer wish to remind me. If there is an opportunity, please tell her that I have said so.

October   Nichiren."  “Banishment to Sado."

Though falling into the biggest adversity throughout his life, Nichiren was anxious about people of the hometown Seichoji Temple where he had become a monk in boyhood. The nun of the lord of the manor means the nun O’ama. Nichiren says, "because of my present circumstances, she may no longer wish to remind of me. If there is an opportunity, please tell her that I have said so." Nichiren had discerned that the Great Nun's faith was not that strong.

‘Letter to five Followers in Prison of the Mud Wall’. Genuine writing. Myokakuji temple in Kyoto possesses this in complete condition.

In addition, there is a letter which was addressed to Shijo Kingo at this time.

Nichiren praised Kingo who had shared life and death in Tatsunokuchi, and he recommended him to more stronger and active faiths.

“You accompanied Nichiren as the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra and vowed to follow me in death. To save duke Yi from shame and dishonor, Koen has cut open his stomach and inserted his own liver to his dead lord Yi. Your behavior is a million times better than Koen's. When I visit the Spirit Eagle Mountain, I would first express how Shijo Kingo resolved to die for the Lotus Sutra!

Also, I hear unofficially that by the order of the ruler of Kamakura, he will banish me to Sado country. Out of the three kinds of light heavens, the heavens of the moon spared my life at Tatsunokuchi by appearing as a shining object, and the heavens of stars descended four or five days ago to greet me. Now only the heavens of the sun remain, and he is certain to protect me. How reliable! How encouraging! The chapter of 'the master of the Law' says, 'I, Buddha, will send the person of the incarnate and I will let them have to guard him'. This sentence leaves no room for doubt. The chapter of 'comfortable act' says, “Swords and staves will not touch him." The chapter of Kannon Bodhisattva states, 'And a sword will break into pieces'. There is nothing of a superficial decoration in these texts of the sutra. The strong and active faiths are precious indeed!

Sincerely yours”

Koen is a faithful vassal of the Duke Yi of the Wei Country in the Chinese Chunqiu Ages. When the Duke Yi was attacked in Beidi of the enemy in B. C. 660 and was murdered, the body of the Duke Yi was damaged, and his internal organs were scattered mercilessly. Koen cried when he had finished a duty as a messenger and returned to the home country, and it is said that for hiding the shame of the Duke himself, he cut his stomach, and takes his entrails, and had put it into the internal organs of the Duke Yi, and Koen died. Nichiren praised that the feeling of sacrifice for a teacher of Shijo Kingo is much superior to Koen.

In Kamakura, there was a dungeon, it was dug and was covered by the frame by the tree. Five disciples of Nichiren including Nichirou were imprisoned here.

A robust soldier stands outside.

Powdery snow danced calmly in the sky.

While Nichirou grasped the wooden frame of the dungeon, he looked up at the sky and prayed for the safety of Nichiren Shonin, who had fallen into enemy hands in the same way. He is a 26-year-old young monk.

"I pray for your safety, Nichiren Shonin."

Nichiren sent a letter to Nichiro and his friends, who were held captive for their innocent crimes, shaking off their grief.

"On the seventh day of this month I am to leave for the country of Sado.

Because all of you are reading the Lotus Sutra itself with your lives, you will offer the virtue to you as well as to your parents, to your brothers and sisters, and living and dead.

When I feel cold this evening, I am pained, not about myself, but about all of you. If you have been released from a prison gate, please come here in the spring of next year. Let us reunite respectfully." Letter to five Believers in Prison of the Mud Wall’.

Nichiren has instructed strictly at all times "Do not think of a wife, a child, and relatives at all." But he grieved about what was happening when the disciple encountered persecution, and he worried about the situation falling into hardship. He had two faces of a severe father, at the same time a merciful mother.


‘The Letter from Teradomari’. Genuine writing; Nakayama Hokekyoji Temple possesses this in complete condition.

The departure to Sado was decided on October 10.

A cold wintry wind wrapped the land of Sagami.

Winter is coming.

As the soldiers crowded around him, Nichiren prepared to start. Several disciples, including Hoki-bo and servants were permitted to attend him.

Nichiren bade good-bye to Shijo Kingo and Toki Jonin and others. The meet again is most difficult.

The boy Kumao, lady Nichimyo, and others were in tears.

Nichiren tells us to persuade them.

“Everybody, must not grieve. Now is a time of hardship, but the time will surely come when all people will chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. We only await time. Please keep the Lotus Sutra with an unbending faith's power until that time comes.”

Nichiren thought about the country of hometown Awa and watched the far-off east sky.

“What will Dozen-bo teacher and nun O’ama think about this?”

A government official of the Shogunate was coming to Seicho-ji Temple in Awa. For conveying Sado banishment of Nichiren.

Dozen-bo, Gijo-bo, Joken-bo and the Great Nun met with him. Everybody was equally surprised.

Dozen-bo muttered timidly in a tremulous voice.

“Nichiren, banishment to Sado...”

Joken-bo was furious.

“I can't take your word for it. Why? What did priest Nichiren do?”

The government official chided Joken-bo who was excited.

“You should not say a presumptuous thing very much. I am saying it with kindness. We are arresting the believers of the Lotus Sutra in Kamakura. All of you should be careful, too. Especially, we hear that nun O’ama is a strong supporter of Nichiren.”

The Great Nun who was called had a forced smile, and she spoke trembling.

"Is Nichiren? Hum, it is the name I do not know."

Gijo-bo and others doubted her. What's O’ama talking about?

But she remained cool.

“Who is a person called Nichiren? In the meantime, that person seems to me to be an irrelevant one.”

“The nun O’ama!”

The surrounding person pressed the nun, but she was there as if nothing was amiss.

A party of Nichiren went the road of Musashi to the north.

That road was from Musashi to Ueno, and passed through Shinano, and continued to Echigo country.

The mountains of Fuji gradually fade away from the eyes of Nichiren.

A party for him goes the road where the powdery snow flies. Putting on a bamboo hat and receiving north wind to the front, they advanced.

It was a trip of difficulties.

Nichiren was already fifty years old. Winter strictness touches his body approaching old age.

The group crossed Ueno and entered Shinano.

A local crowd flocked to the road of the Shinano Zenkoji Temple. They booed Nichiren, the enemy of Nembutsu, passing the very front.

A crowd is going to grab Nichiren, but Hoki-bo becomes the shield and prevents them. The soldiers attending on them shook off a crowd, too, and advanced.

They crossed the mountain of Shinano and approached Echigo.

Dusk approaches. The wind barked threateningly.

They arrived at the top of the mountain pass.

Echigo plains were silver-white all, and the vast Sea of Japan were under their eyes.

This was the sea which both Nichiren and Hoki-bo watched for the first time. A wave undulates unlike the sea of calm Awa Kominato that Nichiren looked at in a childhood and is gruff.

One of the soldiers pointed him to the island that floated far away.

" Sado Island."

Nichiren writes down in a letter addressed to Toki Jonin as follows about this traveling.

“On the tenth day of this October, we started from the Echi town in Aikoh District of the Sagami country. Along the way we stopped at Kumegawa in the Musashi country and, after traveling for twelve days, arrived at the harbor of Teradomari in Echigo country. From here we are going to cross the sea to Sado country, but now no favorable wind is coming, so I do not know when we will depart. The hardships along the way were worse than having imagined and were more than writing down. I will leave you to surmise how I endured. But because I have prepared for such difficulties from the outset, there is no grieving about these now. Therefore, I no longer talk about it.” ‘Letter from Teradomari’.



Sanskrit name. They were under the fourth family name in the Indian caste system and were engaged in slaughtering and disposing of corpses. They were called "untouchables" and were not allowed to be seen or touched by the general public. When a Chandala walked, he would wear a bell or ring a bamboo stick to let people know he was there. It is used for those of lowly status.

Nichiren described himself as coming from the lowest class of the people and knowing the suffering of all the people, and therefore made it his lifelong credo to preach the Myoho-renge-kyo in order to save them.

"Nichiren was born into poverty and lowly birth, and came from a Chandala family." 'Document in Sado Island'

“The Nirvana Sutra says, ‘Various sufferings of all sentient beings are the sufferings of alone Tathagata.’ Nichiren states, ‘Same sufferings of all sentient beings are the suffering of Nichiren alone.’” ‘To Admonish God Hachiman.'


Life of Nichiren. Vol. 2. Contents

by johsei1129 | 2020-08-30 21:54 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)

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