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2020年 09月 30日

42. The lay priest Abutsu-bo and Island of a Grudge.

Japanese Edition

I will return this story to Sado.

The sun rises on Sado in spring. During the winter, the accumulated snow on the road is melting.

A young man was walking along the path to the Tsukahara funeral hall, a load of more than his height.

He was Iyobo Niccho, an adopted son of Jonin Toki. He is 21 years old.

His steps are heavy. It clearly showed that his worn shell and leg bonds were a long journey.

He was relieved to find the funeral hall in front of him where Nichiren lived, but his face soon became stiff.

There is a samurai at the front.

"Wait, where are you going?"

"Yes, I am a messenger of Toki Jonin, a retainer of Mr. Chiba, the governor of Shimousa Province. I came all the way from Kamakura in Soshu. I will deliver luggage to Nichiren Shonin."

Iyo-bo showed the document in his pocket to the samurai.

The samurai was arrogant.

"Show me inside your luggage."

A samurai forced him to unload his luggage and inspect each one.

A small bag of rice, sutra scrolls, a letter, paper, and a bundle of brushes came out from his luggage.

Iyo-bo begged.

"I have come from Kamakura for half a month. I came all the way to Saint Nichiren from starving to death. Please have mercy on me."

The samurai did not take a glance at Iyo-bo's voice, but continued to inspect it silently.

In the funeral house, Nichiren and his disciples sat in a circle.

There is a dish with beans in the center. They all stared at the beans.

Nichiren sighed.

"Is this all the food that Honma-dono gave you? It seems that the crops were poor last year. Have no choice"

When Hoki-bo distributed beans on their plates, a voice came from outside.

One of his disciples opened the door and was surprised at the young man who appeared before him.


The young man was relieved to find Nichiren in the back of the room.

"This is Iyo, the adopted son of Toki Jonin. Master, have you been all right?"

Nichiren ran to him and seized him by the shoulders and arms.

"Welcome to this island!"

He was glad to see his acquaintance on a remote island. He thought he met a strong ally.

A disciple found rice from a cargo carried by the Iyobo and made his eyes shine. Also, they took Buddhist scriptures from it and placed them in alcoves.

Iyobo was also pleased for a while, but soon sat as if he had withered.

"Master, 99 of the 100 believers in Kamakura have turned away. More than a dozen people remained, including lord Toki Jonin and lord Kingo Shijo. What a shame, I think."

Nichiren closes his eyes.

His disciples also had no words to reply, so he did not utter a word. They had no choice but to endure the devastation of Kamakura.

"The former believers seemed to believe in the master, but when they saw that the master had become like this, they threw away the Lotus Sutra, and they are saying that they are wise so as to try teaching the master.”

The followers of Nichiren in Kamakura were destroyed.

But Nichiren, who had been in silent contemplation, suddenly opened his eyes and began to speak to his disciples, who had fallen silent.

"You don't have to grieve. Do you know a waterfall called the Dragon Gate in China? Its waters are swifter than an arrow shot by a strong warrior, and cascade down one hundred feet. There are thousands of carp gathered below in hopes of ascending it. For it is said that if a carp is successful in climbing the falls, it will be transformed into a dragon. Not a single carp, however, out of a hundred, a thousand, or even ten thousand, can climb the falls, not even after ten or twenty years. The strong currents deter them, eagles, hawks, kites and owls take prey and fishermen who line up catch them by nets, or scoop them up, or shoot them with a bow. This is how a fish becomes a dragon.”

The disciple corrected his posture. The dragon metaphor shows that patience is required for the grand purpose of Kosen-Rufu throughout Japan.

“The path to becoming a Buddha is not inferior to it. It is like a carp becoming a dragon. Who will become a dragon after enduring this hardship?"


View of the coast of current Sado. By Wikipedia

At that time, hundreds of people were gathered at a Buddhist temple in Sado. They were unusually noisy.

In the upper seat, there are priests such as Insho-bo, who is the top leader of Nembutsu, Benjo-bo, and Shoyu-bo. Surrounding them were the strong believers of Nembutsu. Among them was an old man named Abutsu-bo. He accompanied Emperor Juntoku, who was exiled to Sado during the Jokyu War, and kept the Imperial mausoleum even after his death.

They are all excited.

Insho-bo began to speak.

“Nichiren, who became a vengeful enemy of Nembutsu and a tempter of all living things, was exiled to Sado. At any rate, no one who has been carried away to this island has ever peacefully lived to see the end of their lives. Even if I was alive, I could not leave from here. There is no reproach for killing him. He is at a place called Tsukahara Funeral Hall in the fields and mountains of the residence of lord Honma, an agent of the provincial governor. There are only a few disciples besides Nichiren. Unlike Kamakura, however brave and powerful Nichiren may be, there is no one to help him.”

Shoyu-bo agrees.

"What if we come together with him and shoot him with a bow?"

There was a voice of approval.

However, Benjo-bo's opinion was different.

"It is evitable that Nichiren's head would be beheaded. However, as the wife of the lord Kamakura is pregnant, he cannot be killed for a while. He will be executed before long."

Old man Abutsu-bo wrinkled his brows and got angry.

"What are we going to do in such a sweet way?"

The hall was thrown into confusion. A conclusion has not been reached.

Here Insho-bo proposed.

"Let's offer Mr. Homma, the governor's agent, to execute him. If we cannot do that, we'll execute him by ourselves."

The voice of approval echoed.

In the front yard of Honma's residence, Buddhist monks wearing black robes, samurai warriors and farmers were all rowdy. Homma's retainer tried hard to soothe them.

In the guest room, Shigetsura Honma, the deputy of the governor, met Nembutsu priests, local samurais and farmers.

Shigetsura was sitting there with a puzzled look on his face. What he had feared had come true.

Abutsu-bo gets excited and complains.

"Governor's agent, please kill Nichiren, cut his neck. I can't stand the fact that there is a bad priest who says the Nembutsu is the hell of incessant suffering on this island. It is unclean. It is the duty of a Buddhist disciple to make that priest a dead person."

Some raised the agreement, but Shigetsura was not upset.

"No. I have no authority to punish criminals of the shogunate. Even no owner of this island can do such a thing."

"Then, we will take care of it. There is only one priest. It's nothing.”

"Yes, kill him. Kill him!"

The Nembutsu were full of excitement.

Here, Shigetsura took a document from his inside pocket.

"This letter from the lord of Kamakura states that he should not be killed. He is not a frivolous criminal. If there is an error, this Shigetsura must take responsibility. It is impossible for you to kill Nichiren."

A low grudge rang out.

Abutsu-bo knocked the floor. His face is wrinkled.

"Our steward, are you an agent of the governor? What are we paying the rice as tax for? Thanks to the sect of the Nembutsu, the island is maintained. Everyone on this island believes in the precious Amida. Why is there no punishment for the priest who says to put the Amitabha into the fire and let it flow into the water?"

The Nembutsu priests in the hall continued their unending ferocity.

Shigetsura soothed all of them.

"Calm down, Abutsu-bo. There's a good way."

The hall was quiet for a moment.

"All of you believe in Buddhist invocation. Then the enemy of Nembutsu appeared there. Then you should blame Nichiren on the dispute of Nembutsu versus the Lotus Sutra."

There are those who clap their hands in agreement.

"Well, there was such a way!"

"If so, the sooner the better. The date is January 16, and the place is Tsukahara Funeral Hall where the Priest Nichiren lives. How about that? "

"We see. That is worthy of the governor's agent!"

The whole party answered in a brave voice.

One of them, however, Abutsu-bo still looked unhappy and crossed his arms.

Shigetsura's retainer met with Nichiren and explained the process leading up to the dispute of Buddhism.

"We will set the stage for a confrontation between you and the Nembutsujin. Your safety is promised from our Lord."

Here the retainer smiled.

"But they are many and you are alone. I think the outcome of this match is obvious, but this is the Governor's representative's kind offer. You are not allowed to escape."

Nichiren was smiling.

"That's what I want. Let's take it and stand. After all, there is no better way than confrontation to achieve your goal. Please tell Lord Honma. Thank you for the unexpected arrangement."

The retainer left the room, looking at Nichiren seriously.

Nichiren nodded repeatedly as if the opportunity had come, but some of his disciples were uneasy. All the people on the island are enemies. It was quite predictable that many Nembutsu priests outside the island would also gather. If it is good if one-to-one, even if he was a Shonin, he would be outnumbered and not be able to form a proper legal theory.

Nichiren read his disciples' thoughts.

"Don't worry. You cannot win if you are a coward. A confrontation that was not realized in Kamakura can be fought in Sado. Why aren't you happy?"

The story of this confrontation of the doctrine spread all over the island. Not only that, but across the strait, it was spread to Echigo, Dewa and Shinano. It shows how much people were interested in Buddhism during this period. This enthusiasm is a far cry from the transformation of most existing sects today into Buddhism for funerals.

The priest in black walks along the path where the young buds begin to sprout. His disciple, a young monk, hangs a sutra scroll around his neck. January 16 in those days was around the late March, according to the present solar calendar. The mountains of Sado were still covered with snow.

The boat for Sado was boarded by monks, Buddhist supporters, and even samurai for the purpose of watching the confrontation. A priest opens a sutra scroll on a boat and devotes himself to reading it. Everyone was in high spirits to win against Nichiren. Monks of the Zen and Shingon sects, not just Nembutsu, gathered at Sado Island one after another.

They could not stand Nichiren, who was attacking their religious doctrine. They intend to take this opportunity to defeat Nichiren and return home triumphantly. No matter how much he came from Kamakura, the capital of Buddhism, they did not have the slightest idea that they would be defeated in a doctrinal debate against only one Nichiren.

The sun is setting.

The residence of Abutsu-bo was located in a small field overlooking the Sea of Japan.

His name before he left the priesthood was Tamemori Endo. It is said that he was a follower when the Retired Emperor Juntoku was defeated in the Jokyu Disturbance and exiled to Sado Island. He was small but muscular, but the most notable thing was his advanced age of nearly 90. He was very young for his age.

Abutsu-bo is sharpening his sword eagerly on the dirt floor.

His wife, the Nun Sennichi, and his son, Moritsuna, looked anxiously at Abutsu-bo, who was full of unusual tension. He is usually mild and gentle.

Sharpening his blade, Abutsu-bo said.

"Don't worry. It will be decided tomorrow. Of course, Nichiren was bound to lose. Then I will cut him to death."

He is in a murderous mood. His wife, nun Sennichi, felt that she had never seen such a husband before.

"You have been told that if you harm Nichiren, you will be punished by the shogunate. Is that OK with you?"

Abutsu-bo keeps sharpening his sword.

"The devil has come to this island. You can't keep him alive. I will punish him as an emissary of Amida Nyorai."

The day of confrontation came on January 16.

Around the Tsukahara Funeral Hall, flowers bloom and a hint of spring flowered.

The square was filled with people. People also sit on the hillside, making it look like a packed theater.

Local farmers began to gather, too. The peasants thought Nichiren, whom they did not know, was a monster or a goblin.

"Nichiren has a terrible face and his eyes are said to be glowing black"

"And rumor says that his voice is like a tiger."

The farmers are afraid for the other party to see for the first time.

As the time of confrontation approached, the crowd began to boo uniformly toward the Funeral Hall. Everyone is obsessed with his hatred for Nichiren.

The clamor from outside echoes in the funeral hall.

In the room, Nichiren was sitting upright with his eyes closed.

Hoki-bo also sits still beside Nichiren in the same style. The other disciples saw the outside through the gap in the wall of the funeral Hall.

"Sir, there are a lot of people outside."

"Monks come not only from Sado, but also from Echigo, Ecchu, Dewa, Oshu and Shinano. With so many people, the odds of winning are..."

Hoki-bo scolded them.

"Don't make a noise, be cool. Look at the Shonin. Are you not shy?"

The door opened, and a retainer appeared.

"It's time for confrontation."

Nichiren opened his eyes and rose to his feet.

Hoki-bo followed Nichiren immediately. The other disciples fearfully followed.

Nichiren stepped out of the hall and stood on the veranda. Hoki-bo immediately leads him.

The curse of the crowd reached its peak.

Nichiren sits on tatami mats in the garden. It is Inshobo, a priest of Nembutsu, who confronts him.

Shigetsura Honma, the deputy of the provincial constable of Sado, sat on the veranda one step higher and looked down on them.

Even so, the angry voices of the crowd do not subside. Even though a samurai announced the opening, he could not hear it.

The Nembutsu monk chuckled. We would have thought the victory was ours.

However, the growling voice was indeed starting to pull away. Nichiren would not let this opportunity pass him by.

"It is better to be quiet. Each of them came to hear the teachings of Buddha. This is a rare opportunity. If you are all disciples of the Buddha, why don't you listen to the doctrine quietly? If you get emotional, you won't get what you need."

The crowd went wild again.

Shigetsura instructed his subordinates. The shouting out guys, in particular, seized and took them out.

The square was finally quiet.


Life of Nichiren. Vol. 2. Contents

by johsei1129 | 2020-09-30 06:52 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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