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日蓮大聖人『御書』解説

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2022年 05月 18日

45. Loyalty of the Governor's deputy, Honma Shigetsura 

            Japanese Edition


Kingo Shijo was leisurely inspecting the land in Izu, directing his attendants. It was for the purpose of estimating the annual tribute. He had no idea about the big incident in Kamakura.

Kingo's spirits were low.

There were many days when he could not return to Kamakura due to the displeasure of his lord, Mitsutoki. Kingo was depressed at the thought of ending his life in disgrace. The thought of reuniting with his teacher, Nichiren, was a far-off dream.

Suddenly, a horse belonging to one of Mitsutoki's retainer came running toward him. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon.

The retainer got off his horse and was gasping for breath.

"It is said that Lord Noritoki was killed by Taira no Saemon."

Kingo grabbed the messenger's arm.

"Is it true?"

"The other lords of Nagoe were also killed in the melee. Many other clans of Nagoe were killed..."

Kingo encouraged the fallen messenger.

"And where is my lord, Mitsutoki?"

"I have no idea, but I have heard that Captain Saemon is planning to kill all the Nagoe clan. He is prepared to attack without Tokimune's orders. By now surely..."

The messenger fell to his knees and groaned.

Kingo was discouraged, but he quickly stood up. I have to see the scene before I can start. He put up his sword and tried to mount his horse.

But his attendants grabbed the reins and stopped him.

"Lord Kingo. You are the most excellent retainer of Lord Mitsutoki. You will be killed without a doubt."

Kingo tried to shake them off.

"No, I'm not letting go, sir. Think it over. Your sovereign will first of all be killed. Kingo-sama will not be caught in the act here. Let us go somewhere else to escape."

Kingo became angry.

"Don't be foolish. My Shijo has been in the service of Nagoe since his father's time. Are you asking me to betray him?”

 The servant frantically reined in his horse.

 ”I am well aware of that. However, the fate of Lord Mitsutoki has come to an end. Why should you be involved in this? Your territory will eventually be confiscated. You must flee somewhere else, and when the heat dies down, you should better serve another lord. You are a man of wisdom, courage, and fame. You will have many people inquiring about you. If you were to disappear, what would become of your wife and child? We will also lose our jobs. Please think this over carefully!"

 The servants could not let go of the reins.

 Kingo calmed down and stopped his horse.

"I understood. I was too quick to think. You are right. Life is not to be taken lightly."

 As soon as the squire loosened the rope, the horse moved and ran.

Kingo turned around.

"If I abandoned my lord, my life would be lost. I have always told my wife and children that my life is in the hands of the Lotus Sutra. I am indebted to you for your kindness. Tell the others. Kingo Shijo has fulfilled his life for the sake of his lord!"

Kingo kicked his horse and rode away.

The servants were dismayed, but one of them shouted,

"Yes, my master is going to the battlefield. Have you lost your nerve? Let's go!"

Everyone came to their senses. Some mounted their horses, others galloped after Kingo.


Kingo ran at once down the street.

"Now, Kamakura!"

He must now cross the Hakone Mountains. This is the shortest way to Kamakura.

"My Lord!"

Kingo Shijo, on his horse, ran down the steep slope, his hair in disarray.

 

The interior and exterior of Hojo Mitsutoki's residence were in turmoil.

In the midst of all this, Mitsutoki, the armored figure, sat down and closed his eyes.

His men and women were rushing about.

Many of his retainers were frightened and ran away. One by one, the attendants came to report.

"The Hei no Saemon lieutenant is on his way.

"Your younger brothers, Lord Tokiakira and Noritoki, have been killed.

"They call you a rebel!"

“Don't make a fuss! We have no intention of rebellion in our family."

 Mitsutoki thought in the midst of his desperation. We are outnumbered. We must not resist. There is no other way but to show our reverence. This was a life-threatening act in front of Yoritsuna, but he had no choice but to bet on this method.

At this point, he thought of Kingo Shijo. He was a dependable man. He was usually a stubborn and unpopular man, but in times of crisis, he would defend himself. In addition, Kingo's family had been in the service of Nagoe for two generations. Mitsutoki regretted now that he had kept Kingo away.

Suddenly, the gate was ripped open and a large number of soldiers surrounded Mitsutoki and his men.

Mitsutoki's vassals tried to fight back, but Mitsutoki stopped them with a shout and took a stance of non-resistance.

Yoritsuna came out.

"Oh, this is Lord Mitsutoki. You are very auspicious, that you are. Unlike your brother, you have no blade, do you?"

Mitsutoki shouted.

"What makes you think that I am a rebel, Lieutenant Hei no Saemon?"

Mitsutoki was a member of the Hojo clan. Yoritsuna, his servant, was not in his sights.

 But Yoritsuna was proud to use the prestige of the regent as a shield.

"It goes without saying. There's no smoke without fire. Your daily behavior is arrogant and insolent. I'm going to rectify it today."

"That's no reason at all.”

”You'll be quiet. This is Tokimune's order. I would like you to come to our military headquarters now, lord Mitsutoki. I will examine it.”

Yoritsuna had planned to kill Mitsutoki in the midst of battle, but seeing that he did not resist, he decided to interrogate him. He would torture him, expose his guilt, and have him disemboweled.

Mitsutoki's men saw through this intention. Seven of them stepped forward to protect the lord.

"Please wait. We will accompany you. We will live and die with our lord. We seven, who have always been indebted to you..."

As he was saying this, a voice called out,

"Wait!”

 Kingo Shijo, the owner of the voice, appeared, and sat down beside the seven with his hair and collar done up.

"Eight men, that is."

For the first time, Mitsutoki showed a happy face.

"Yorimoto..."

Mitsutoki called out Kingo's name in a friendly manner. Kingo's real name was Nakatsukasa Saburo Saemon Lieutenant Yorimoto.

This Kingo stepped forward in front of Mitsutoki. It had been a long time since they had met.

"My lord, I hope you are all right."

Yoritsuna chuckled.

"Well, well. Kingo Shijo."

Kingo looked closely at Yoritsuna as he was called.

"This must be some kind of mistake. Do you have any evidence of treason against my lord? Where in the law does it say that innocent people should be punished? Do you know this, Lord Kamakura? It is a little rash of you to be in charge of the samurai, that is."

Yoritsuna's eyes were bloodshot.

"Shut up. You, Shijo Kingo, are the one who troubled the Shogunate as a servant of Nichiren. The life of that monk on Sado Island is in danger of dying out. It is absurd to think that you, a disciple steeped in paganism, would protect your lord."

Yoritsuna was the one responsible for the suppression of Nichiren. There was no one Kingo hated more than him.

But today's Kingo was cooler than ever.

"This is not a place for religious dispute. I am asking if the steward of the lord of a country may behave selfishly. I am asking if you are trying to divide the Hojo clan and weaken the shogunate."

Yoritsuna became dizzy with anger and was about to draw his sword, but his men stopped him.

"You must not draw your sword, sir."

Yoritsuna finally had second thoughts.

"It is Lord Kamakura's command. Stand up, everyone!"

Mitsuoki Nagoe left the residence with Kingo in the lead.

While defending his lord, Kingo scolded the crowd of soldiers.

"Get back, get back. Lord Mitsutoki Nagoe is on his way. Stand aside!"

Taira no Yoritsuna angrily pulled out his sword and threw it at a distant pine tree.

The sword plunged deep into the trunk.

Kingo acted with surprising bravery, but at the same time he felt a twinge of anxiety.

(What is going to happen now? It had been less than half a year since he had made up his mind to commit suicide at the mouth of the dragon with the master. My future is changing at a dizzying pace. It is as if I was in the middle of a raging torrent. And now I was going to share my death with my lord. Now that it had come to this, perhaps I would have no life of my own)

There was no loneliness in his heart, but there was one thing missing. Saint Nichiren was not there.

(Oh, if only Saint were here at a time like this...)

 Kingo looked at the reddening northern sky.

 

The Japan Sea to the north was glowing in the setting sun.

 A warrior on a fast boat landed at the port of Sado and immediately ran to the Honma residence on horseback.

 From the moment the February disturbance broke out, it was reported to all samurai in the country. Messengers scattered all over the country with the news of this important event.

There was nothing more important for the samurais than this. This is because their lands have been relieved by the shogunate. They had to get to Kamakura as soon as possible. Both the guardians and the local chiefs rode their horses with the slogan, "To Kamakura." The fate of the family, not to mention their own progress, was at stake at this time. If they arrived late, their territories would be confiscated, if they arrived in time, they would be relieved, and if they worked hard, they would be increased in territory. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

This news also reached Sado. The journey from Kamakura to Sado usually took 13 days. This messenger made the run in seven days.

This horse ran into the residence of Honma Shigetsura.

Shigetsura was in the middle of dinner.

He dropped the bowl he was carrying on the floor.

"At Kamakura..."

Shigetsura shouted in dismay.

"So, who won? Lord Kamakura or...?

The messenger replied.

 "It is unknown, that it is. But it should have been settled by now."

The men and women began to prepare for battle in an uproar.

Honma growled.

"What am I to do?"


In the house of the funeral, Nichiren, Hoki-bo and others were picking up beans in the baskets.

 "Tomorrow I will go around the village to collect food."

"I will go out to gather wild vegetables."

Hoki-bo looked pleased.

"The other day's sectarian dispute seemed to change the atmosphere in Sado. The peasants are calling out to me."

"Me too. Today, there was a samurai who came to ask about the Lotus Sutra."

 Nichiren was astonished.

“What is his name?”

"I think he was Kou Nyudo, sir."

At this moment, there was a noise outside. It could have been the Nembutsu-sha attacking them. The disciple was on the alert with a wooden sword in his hand.

"Who is it?"

In the moonlight, a samurai was standing with his hands together. He looked very old, but his legs and feet were hale and hearty.

There were vegetables in front of him, as well as bales of rice and miso.

The apprentice rolled his eyes.

The old samurai greeted him.

"It's nothing fishy. I am a man from this island and my name is Abutsu-bo. This is a time when the crops are still unfruitful, that it is. I thought that you must be very hungry. Please eat this. It is not poisoned."

Nichiren went to the porch.

"You say you are Abutsu-bo. Thank you. I have nothing to give you in return, is that alright with you?"

Abutsu-bo seemed extremely nervous when he saw Nichiren. He just nodded and ran off without a word.

The disciples took the foodstuff in and rejoiced together.

 The atmosphere on Sado Island surrounding Nichiren dramatically changed after the so-called Tsukahara Questions and Answers, a legal debate held on January 16. The islanders changed the way they looked at Nichiren. Rumors that Nichiren was an evil priest and an evil demon were all that prevailed, and there was nothing but hatred in their hearts. However, when they witnessed Nichiren defeating priests of other sects, their evaluation of him was reversed. This was that one glance was better than a hundred words.

Abutsubo was one of those who hated Nichiren the most. But perhaps as a reaction to this, he came to yearn for Nichiren at a glance.

I hear another voice calling from outside.

"Shonin, Shonin."

The disciples naturally smiled.

"Someone has brought us food again."

When they opened the door, they found an even more astonishing person.

It was Honma Shigetsura, the lieutenant governor of this island. He is sitting with his hands put together in a dignified manner.

 The disciples were taken aback.

 Nichiren invited him in, and they met.

Honma said, keeping his hands together.

"I have just received word of a battle in Kamakura. Please help me, Priest Nichiren. I had doubted the reason for your words on the 16th day of the New Year, but I was surprised it came true within thirty days. The Mongols will surely attack us. There is no doubt that the Nembutsu is an interminable hell. I will not chant Nembutsu for much longer than now."

A lieutenant governor's surrender.

But Nichiren was surprisingly cold.

"However you may say it, if Lord Tokimune does not adopt me, then the people of Japan will not adopt me. If they do not adopt me, the nation will surely fall. Even though Nichiren is a young man, he is a messenger of the Buddha when he propagates the Lotus Sutra. Even if such a Nichiren is adopted, if it is respected me wickedly, the country will be destroyed. Moreover, they have made hundreds of people hate me, and have even sent me away twice. There is no doubt that this country will be destroyed, but because Nichiren was here praying for help for this country, this country has been at peace until now. But if you disobey the Law and do something unreasonable, you will be punished. If they do not adopt me again this time, the Great Mongol will strike and the nation of Japan will be destroyed. This is just the kind of disaster that the Hei no Saemon Lieutenant likes. Neither anyone nor this island will be at peace.”

 This was Nichiren's only reply.

Shigetsura left with a drooping head.



To be continued.








by johsei1129 | 2022-05-18 16:10 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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