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日蓮大聖人『御書』解説

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2020年 03月 16日

Letter to the Brothers 4. 兄弟抄 四

Original Text.


When the Tathagata Shakyamuni was a prince, his father, King Shuddhodana, could not bear losing his only heir and so would not allow him to renounce his royal station. The king kept two thousand soldiers posted at the palace’s four gates to prevent him from leaving the castle. Nevertheless, the prince eventually left the palace against his father’s will. In all worldly affairs, it is the son’s duty to obey his parents, yet on the path to Buddhahood, disobeying one’s parents ultimately constitutes filial piety. The Shinchikan sutra says the essence of filial piety: “By renouncing one's favors and entering the Buddhist life one can truly repay the favors in full”. This means that the true repayment of debt is to leave one's home and become a Buddha against the will of one's parents in order to enter the true path.

In worldly affairs as well, if one’s parents foment a rebellion, it is one’s filial duty not to follow them. This is mentioned in The Classic of Filial Piety. When the great teacher Tendai tried to devote himself to the Lotus Sutra, his parents sat on his lap to obstruct his practice of Buddhism. This was the work of the heavenly devil, who took the form of his father and mother in order to oppose him.


I have just cited the story of Po I and Shu Ch’i. There is one more lesson you should learn from history. Emperor Ōjin, who is now Great Bodhisattva Hachiman, was the sixteenth sovereign of Japan. Emperor Ōjin had two sons: the first was Prince Nintoku, and the second, Prince Uji. The emperor transferred his throne to the younger brother, Uji. After their father passed away, Uji asked his elder brother to ascend the throne, but the elder brother reproached him, saying, “How can you refuse to comply with our father’s will?”

They argued back and forth, and for three full years no one claimed the throne. As a result, the people suffered indescribable grief. It was like a curse on the nation, and Prince Uji finally thought, “As long as I am alive, my brother will not assume the throne,” he committed suicide. At this Prince Nintoku was racked with sorrow and fell into despair. Seeing this, Prince Uji came back to life in order to give words of encouragement to his elder brother; then he passed away again. It is recorded that, when Nintoku at last ascended the throne, the nation became peaceful and received eighty boatloads of tribute yearly from the three Korean kingdoms of Silla, Paekche, and Koguryŏ.

Other cases exist where the relationship between the sons of worthy rulers was not harmonious. What bonds have enabled two brothers to continue on such good terms? Could you be the princes Pure Storehouse and Pure Eye reborn, or the embodiments of the bodhisattvas Medicine King and Medicine Superior? When your father disowned lord Munenaka, elder brother, I expected that younger brother might refuse to side with his brother, thereby making it even more difficult to clear up your father’s doubt and have him rescind his disownment. However, is it true what the boy Tsuruo told me? I heard that you two were the same in your resolve. Hearing this incredible news, I wrote a letter again. Will there be a better story than this until the distant future?




Continued


Original Text.  Table of Contents.



by johsei1129 | 2020-03-16 10:55 | WRITING OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)


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