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日蓮大聖人『御書』解説

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2019年 09月 28日

Outline of the life of Nichiren

                 Japanese


Nichiren was born in Kominato of the Tojo District in the Awa Province on February 16, 1222. The Kamakura Shogunate was founded in Japan by Yoritomo Minamoto, and 40 years had passed. The Mongolia empire was going to conquer Asia by military power in the Orient, and the invasion of the Crusade began in the West. It was like the times of a global fight.

Father of Nichiren was called Tayuu Mikuni, and mother was called Umegiku. The details are unclear, but his father Tayuu Mikuni lived as a fisherman. It is said that he worked by killing fish. Nichiren was writing it down later.


  "I, Nichiren, is a child of a chandāla (untouchable) family in the seaside of the Tojo Village of Awa Province in barbaric Japan of east". 'Receiving the Disfavor and Banishment to Sado'.


 On the other hand, it is known that Mother Umegiku was the family of a military commander of the Kamakura era. There is talk that mother was a well-educated lady to make Japanese poems and Nichiren's exceptional writing ability is thought to have been influenced by his mother.

Nichiren had a childhood name Zennichi-maro. In 1233, he climbed to the ancient Seicho-ji Temple which was near Kominato of his hometown when he became 12 years old, and he became a pupil there. Nichiren writes down in the letter which was addressed to the believer of the Seichoji temple later as follows. 


“I received great wisdom from the Bodhisattva Kokuzo. I prayed to him, 'Please make me the person who is the wisest in Japan'. The Bodhisattva felt pity for me, perhaps. He gave the great jewel as brilliant as Venus into my right-hand sleeve. Thereafter, while I learned all the Buddhist sutras, I could understand the inferior and superior of the eight denominations and all Buddhist sutras.” 'To the Public of the Seichoji Temple.'

 Four years later, he became a monk formally at 16 years old, and took the tonsure and changed the name to Zeshobo-Rencho. Zesho means the person being born under the solar light. Rencho vowed to give his life to the law of Buddha and not have a wife and child in his lifetime.

 However, Awa country with the Seicho-ji temple was culturally remote. Rencho visited various temples that were the center of Buddhism, such as the Yakushi-ji Temple of the southern capital, the Enryakuji of Hi'ei mountain, the Tsuruoka Hachiman Shrine of Kamakura and he learned the essence of the Law of Buddha. Rencho studied Buddhism for 16 years, mastered the Law of Buddha at last. At the time, Rencho was prepared for the hardships ahead and he made a vow as "I will become a pillar of Japan, I become a large ship of Japan, and I become the eyes of Japan."

 He returned to Awa of the hometown on April 28 in 1253 and declared the establishment of the Buddhism denomination. That place was the Buddha statue hall in the Seichoji temple which Rencho has prayed for making himself the wisest person in Japan. And he changed his name to Nichiren.

 "Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo." Nichiren declared that the people of the whole world could open the gate of attaining Buddhahood by chanting this subject. 

 At the same time, he criticized the four sects that prevent the road to attain Buddhahood of people. The Nembutsu sect creates the evil karma that causes the people to lead into the hell of incessant suffering. Zen gives rise to devil's functions. Shingon is an evil teachings that destroy the nation, and the precept sect is the bandit in the country. The four aphorisms mean this. These four aphorisms were the sharp swords for cutting off the fundamental darkness of all creatures. 

 However, Kagenobu Tojo, land steward of Awa, heard this incident and tried to arrest Nichiren immediately. Kagenobu was a strong believer of Nembutsu, he was trying to control the Seich-ji Temple. Nichiren immediately faced difficulties as Shakyamuni predicted in the Lotus Sutra that "A persecution befalls you if you spread the great clear Law in the time of the Latter Day of the Law."

 Nichiren avoided this difficulty and began propagation in Kamakura, the capital of politics. Nichiren, to spread the subject of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, began to criticize the other sect harshly. Nichiren had continued this activity for 18 years. Although he criticized the other sect, he increased notoriety along with the fame. Also, Nichiren taught that his believers should spread the Law according to their ability. As a result, believers of Nichiren were gradually increasing to relatives of the disciples, samurai's colleagues, and monks of the other denomination.

 In addition, famine and a contagious disease were raging in those days. The great disaster was frequent, too.


 “From late years to recently there have been ominous occurrences in the heavens, and natural disasters on the ground. Famine and pestilence rage in all lands beneath the skies and in every place of the realm. Dead cattle and horses are everywhere, and human skeletons clutter the streets. More than half the population has already perished, and there is not a single person who does not mourn."


 Nichiren recorded this tragic situation and asked for a solution from all sutras of the Buddha.

 The large earthquake occurred in May 1257. This major earthquake destroyed all buildings of Kamakura. With this as an opportunity, Nichiren ascertained that a disaster to continue without a break does not get up accidentally, and they were happening from the wicked Law of Nembutsu, he finishes writing the 'Rissho Ankoku-Ron' [On Securing the Peace of the Country by Establishing the True Buddhism].

In July, 1260, Nichiren submitted this writing to Tokiyori Hojou who had the real power through the lay priest Yadoya of the Shogunate official. At the same time, Nichiren advised Yadoya to stop assistance to the Nembutsu and Zen sect which had been recognized officially by the shogunate. He further predicted that if not adopted, there would be civil war and invasion by other countries. (The first remonstrance to the government)

 By the way, Hokibo Nikko became a disciple when Nichiren was writing the Rissho Ankokuron. Nikko will become the successor of Nichiren later. After this, the young 12-years-old Nikko continues to stand in front of the propagation like "obeying the form of the shadow of Nichiren."

One month after Nichiren submitted Rissho Ankokuron, believers of Nembutsu sect attacked the thatched hut of Nichiren. (Persecution of Buddhists in the Matsuba Valley). Nichiren was barely able to escape this difficulty. In addition, the following year, May 1261, the Kamakura shogunate exiled Nichiren to Izu. The cause was the cabinet minister of the Kamakura shogunate having a strong faith in the Nembutsu sect. They brought a false charge against Nichiren. However, two years later, Tokiyori Hojo of the regent admits that this disposal depended on defamatory words and he pardons Nichiren. The activity of propagation (shakubuku) by Nichiren's disciples becomes even more active with this.

 The vast comet appears in the sky in July of 1264 (the Bun'ei first year), and the uneasiness of this world increases still more. November of that year, Nichiren was attacked from Kagenobu Tojo of the estate steward at the place of Komatsubara in Awa Province. (Persecution in Komatsubara). Nichiren was cut on his forehead and broke left arm by Kagenobu Tojo. However, because he proved the prediction that the great persecution would befall on the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra, he deepened the conviction again that he was the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law.

 Then in January 1268 after four years, the incident to bring dark clouds in the future in Japan happened. The envoy of the Mongol empire arrived at Dazaifu and demanded subordination from Japan. Mongol destroyed Korea with the powerful armaments and was invading mainland China. Kublai Khan, the emperor of the Yuan dynasty, demanded subordination from Japan in the letter. Further, if rejected this, he threatened to attack Japan. However, the Kamakura Shogunate began preparations for defense in defiance of this threat. As a result, the attack on Mongolia became deci

 This incident meant the hit of the calamity of the invasion of the foreign country which Nichiren had foretold in Rissho Ankokuron nine years ago. Nichiren was convinced that this national crisis could not be settled if it was not him and he sent the 11 letters to each temple of Kamakura, including regent Tokimune Hojo in October of that year, and demanded the public debate. This purpose is to gather the Buddhist priests of each denomination in front of a ruler, to determine right or wrong of the Law of Buddha. Nichiren claimed that a national crisis would approach finally, if the shogunate did not stop faith for the wicked religious sect.

 But Kamakura monks and the shogunate smothered Nichiren's remonstration. They had been terrified that the force of Nichiren would become more powerful. The number of believers in the Lotus Sutra had been attaining a one-tenth of Japan.

 The Kamakura Shogunate gave Ryoukan of the Gokurakuji temple the order to pray for rain in June, 1271 when three years passed since the arrival of the letter of Mongolia. Japan's farms had been hit by a drought that year. The Gokurakuji Ryoukan was the high priest of the shogunate recognition and has been criticized by Nichiren opposing the doctrine intensely.

 Nichiren offered this Ryoukan to decide the contest to pray for rain. As a result, Ryokan, who was to win easily, suffered a miserable defeat in this match and plotted to trap Nichiren. Ryokan gained the favor of wives of Shogunate officials and poured obstinate defamatory words. This voice spread out in the Shogunate, and the air which shall investigate Nichiren happened.

 On September 10, Yoritsuna Taira, the chamberlain of Tokimune, summoned Nichiren. Yoritsuna was overseeing the military and police of the shogunate, and he was able to be called the right-hand man of regent Tokimune. Yoritsuna asked about the truth of defamatory words, but because Nichiren had insisted the shogunate should prepare to Mongolia by the correct Law, Nichiren provoked an anger of Yoritsuna.

On the night of September 12 after two days, Yoritsuna Taira attacked the thatched hut of Nichiren. Yoritsuna intended to assassinate Nichiren without receiving permission of the regent Tokimune. Nichiren shouted while receiving a beat to his forehead, “You samurais are right now trying to overthrow the pillar of Japan!," and, again, foretold the calamity of rebellion and the invasion from foreign countries. (The Second Remonstrating to the Government)

 Nichiren was to be beheaded in Kamakura coast where was called "Tatsunokuchi (dragon's mouth)". (Persecution of Buddhists in Tatsunokuchi). But enforcement of the death penalty was aborted by the luminous object that suddenly appeared between the hours of the Ox and the Tiger (from a.m. 1:00 to a.m.5:00). At that moment, Nichiren wiped away the temporary style of the reincarnation of the Bodhisattva Jogyo who was preached in the Lotus Sutra when this particular phenomena happened at the place of desperate situation. At the same time, he expressed that he himself was the Buddha having the intrinsically perfect wisdom and is the fundamental Buddha in the infinite past. (Shaking off the provisional and revealing the origin). And he declared, “I, Nichiren, am the ruler, am the teacher, and am father and mother, to all the people of Japan”. The fundamental Buddha means the Buddha who holds the three virtues of a ruler, a teacher and parents in the Latter-Day of the Law.

 Oppression such as deportation or the territory confiscation began to the believers by the arrest of Nichiren. Nichiren records that 99 of 100 people of the same belief abandoned their faith. Although regent Tokimune spared the life of Nichiren, he received defamatory words and decided the banishment to Sado island.

 Sado Island was a land of adversity, but Nichiren erected the true object of religion, the Gohonzon, according to the conviction of the fundamental Buddha of the Latter-Day of the Law.

 Though "a teaching" called the Lotus Sutra of Shakyamuni Buddha was left in the Latter-Day of the Law, "Practice" for becoming the Buddha was unsuitable for the times and it lost power. Therefore, although all people have been practicing Buddhism, they had not been able to acquire the "proof" that they attain Buddhahood. Nichiren conferred the object of worship (Gohonzon) of a scroll on all people of the Latter-Day of the Law, and he established an eternal “practice" that all creatures attained Buddhahood by chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.

 The next year, in January, 1272, Nichiren had won in dispute with other sect at Tsukahara of Sado. 'Controversy on Tsukahara'. Then, Nichiren had predicted to Honma Shigetsura of the agent of the constables of Sado, “The civil war will soon occur in Japan". A battle (February disturbance) happened among the Hojo clan in Kamakura, one month later and gave the Shogunate a shock.

 In February, 1273, regent Tokimune Hojo pardoned Nichiren at last. Tokimune made the plan to borrow the power of Nichiren, and to raise the fate of the country against the attack of the Mongol empire. The doctrine of Nichiren who was prohibited was recognized officially by this pardon virtually.

 Nichiren returns to Kamakura and, in that April, meets Yoritsuna Tairano who received the intention of Tokimune Hojo. And Nichiren answered a question of Yoritsuna. "They will not certainly spend this year". In other words, Nichiren predicted that Mongolia would attack by the end of this year, and he preached that shogunate must not let the various sects including Shingon pray. (The Third Time Warning to the Government)

 However, the Shogunate was not able to exclude existing sects. Nichiren pushed away the Shogunate and went to the seclusion in Mount Minobu of Kai country. Though he followed this maxim on the surface, “If one remonstrates about a lord three times and is not used, one must live in the forest”, the real intention was to train disciples, and to achieve the purpose of his life.

 In October of that year, like he foretold, Mongol came to attack. Mongol exterminated Dazaifu, Iki, and Tsushima, the Japan side became the state that looked like defeat. The Mongolia forces went away, but the pessimistic information that Japan would be destroyed by the next attack spread.

 After secluded life in the mountain of Minobu, Nichiren was not out of the mountain even one step. However, he wrote writings and revealed the Gohonzon and educated disciples and sent letters to believers constantly. He put his best so that the correct Law of the Buddha is transmitted to the far future.

 Shijo Kingo, the believer in Kamakura was the strong believer who accompanied Nichiren at the persecution of Tatsunokuchi, but he was forced to convert his faith on by a lord. Nichiren continued to send letters of encouragement to Kamakura far away from the thatched hut of Minobu mountain.

 Also, though Ikegami’s brother was born into a family whose father was the Minister of Construction, they fell into predicaments forced into the Nembutsu by their father. Nichiren sent them a letter, saying, "Clench your teeth. Must persevere!" He continued to encourage them.

 In September 1279, the Atsuhara Persecution occurred. Nikko, a disciple, had propagated the Law of Nichiren at Atsuhara of Fuji region extensively. Therefore, the monks of another sect devoted to the Lotus Sutra, one after another, spread this faith to farmers.

 Yoritsuna Taira saw this situation seriously and arrested 20 farmers who believed in the Lotus Sutra and pressed them for apostasy of faiths. Yoritsuna could not capture Nichiren, who had been forgiven, but he instead targeted the socially vulnerable peasants. This was the great persecution that believers of Nichiren received the first time. Although farmers were under the yoke of a tyrant, they refused rigidly, and three brothers including Jinshiro were executed.

 Nichiren was impressed by the sight of unknown farmers carrying through the religious belief, at this time, he had a hunch of time that all the people of the world embrace the ultimate Law, so he set about erecting the Dai-Gohonzon. It was not erected by a mere opportunity or a relationship, this grand mandala was erected for all people of the whole world. Nichiren drew the Dai- Gohonzon on the surface of a camphor tree cut in half from a log so that it could stand for 10,000 years of the Latter-Day of the Law, or forever.

 This Dai-Gohonzon was the ultimate purpose in his life, "It had taken 27 years" since Nichiren declared to establish the denomination.

 The Dai-Gohonzon erected on October 12, 1279 (the second year of Koan Era) is the One Great Secret Law to gather up the Three Great Secret Law (the fundamental Gohonzon, the fundamental sanctuary, the fundamental title) of the basic theory of the Law of Nichiren, and it is placed in the Ho'ando Hall of Taiseki-ji Temple of Fuji now.

 Nichiren had repeatedly preached that Japan would be ruined by the Mongol forces. Mongols attacked Japan with 140,000 soldiers and 4,400 warships again in 1281. They approached Japan on great boats by the force that conquered China, but encountered a typhoon by chance and was exterminated and was defeated.

 Nichiren, who had advocated the termination of the country, remained silent on this outcome, but the monks of the various sects trumpeted it as the result of their own prayers.  Nichikan of the 26 generation in the Fuji Taisekiji temple is saying, "Because various gods received the commandments by the sect founder Nichiren, gods helped the country". Nichikan is affirming that the victory of Japan is an achievement of Nichiren. (Commentary of 'Gratitude the Favors', Part One)

 Nichiren who became 61 years old realized that the death was approaching and, in September, 1282, he determined his successor the Byakuren Ajari Nikko.

 Nichiren wrote his will as, "When the sovereign embraces this Buddha's law, you must erect the precept platform of the Honmon-ji Temple at Mount Fuji. Devote yourself to await that time. This is called the actual commandments." and he entrusted Nikko with the propagation throughout the world (Kosen-Rufu).

 And, to all monks following him, Nichiren warned, "You would suffer a punishment to nature if you do not place the name of the sun [Nichi] first when you attach a name to yourself."

 After this, Nichiren went down the mountain of Minobu on September 8, and stayed in the house of Munenaka Ikegami in Musashi country. And in spite of his disease, he lectured the Rissho-Ankokuron to his disciples in this place.

 And October 8, he appointed six monks to become the leader between disciples, then he entered the nirvana at the Ikegami house at the time of the dragon [from 7 AM to 9 AM] October 13.

 Nikko of the successor protected Buddhism of Nichiren as an administrator of the Kuonji temple of Mount Minobu after passing away of Nichiren, during six years, but Sanenaga Hakiri of the land steward, who should protect Nikko, violated the four slanders to the Nichiren's doctrine. Hakiri had erected the Buddha statue, worshiped at the Shinto shrine, and gave offerings to persons slandering the Law and had built the hall of Nembutsu. Furthermore, Minbu Nikou, one of the six monks, agreed to this slander, so slandering of the Law in Mt. Minobu has spread.

 As long as the landowners of Minobu are steeped in slander the Law and will not listen to admonitions against it, Nikko can no longer remain in the land. 1288 December, the broken hearted Nikko got off the Minobu Mountain that became the land of slander. And in 1290 after two years, Nikko accepted a donated land from Tokimitsu Nanjo who was a strong believer, accepting the teachings of Nichiren for two generations, and he founded the Fuji Taisekiji Temple in Suruga and placed Dai-Gohonzon here. Nikko had continued to defend the Law principles of sect founder Nichiren in the land of this Ueno for forty-three years.

 Nikko, became 88 years old, entrusted to Nichimoku who is the best disciple for the sake of after his death.

 That content was that Nichimoku must hang Dai-Gohonzon of the fundamental ordination hall, which was erected by teacher Nichiren, in the Honmonzi temple in the dawn of the Kosen-Ruhu [Worldwide Propagation]. And Nikko said as if he was Daishonin. "Nichimoku will manage the Taisekiji Temple including the Holy Hall and the cemetery. And he maintains the premises and conducts the Buddhist religious service, and must wait for the Kosen-Ruhu.”

 And the following year, he left 26 religious precepts to future disciples and believers for the Kosen-Rufu and the relief of ten thousand years and left the world.

 "The doctrine of Fuji was never different in the least from the propagation which the Daishonin performed”.

 "In our denomination, you dye the books of the Daishonin into your soul and convey the supreme theory from a teacher, and should study the Tendai if there is spare time".

 Precepts of these 26 are still being strictly defended in Fuji Taisekiji Temple.

 Nichimoku, the successor, left for the Imperial Court of Kyoto to submit the written opinion in November of the year in which Nikko passed away. It is said to have been the 42th Kokka Kangyo (the admonition of the ruler to convert the whole nation to the right religion) in his life. But he was in the middle of the trip, unfortunately entered nirvana in the town of Tarui in Mino country. He was seventy four years old.

 Nichimoku talked a chagrin, becoming the end at a deathbed and he said with a will that if there was the person who offered an admonition to the government instead of him, that person was the second coming of Nichimoku, and left the world.

 The soul which spread Law over three generations was inherited ceaselessly in this way. The Dai-Gohonzon was inherited to Nikko from Nichiren, then was handed down to Nichimoku from Nikko. The followers of Nichiren Shoshu, whose faith in the Dai-Gohonzon is the basis of their faith, are now found in more than fifty countries around the world.



Continued



by johsei1129 | 2019-09-28 23:47 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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