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2022年 05月 18日

 50. Nichimyo is promised to receive the Gohonzon from Nichiren

 When they had finished chanting to the Gohonzon, Nichiren spoke to the others.

 "This Gohonzon was first manifested here on Sado Island. All the believers on Sado Island should chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo to this Gohonzon, which is displayed here in the treasure shelf. I will bestow the Gohonzon on the Lady Nichimyo another time, so please be patient."

 Mr. and Mrs. Abutsu-bo were solemnly presented with this Gohonzon by Nichiren on behalf of the entire group.

 Nichimyo also expressed his gratitude for Nichiren's promise to bestow the honzon upon him.

  "I cannot express my gratitude enough that you would bestow this precious Gohonzon on me. Thank you very much. Now, next, as for me..."

 Nichimyo stammered.

  "It is about your second marriage, isn't it?"

 Nichiren admonished Nichimyo.

 "No matter what kind of man you have as a husband, if he is an enemy of the Lotus Sutra, you must not follow him. You must maintain a strong and prosperous spirit. Ice is made from water, but it is colder than water; blue is made from indigo, but its color is more blue than indigo. The same is true of the Gohonzon, if we keep our aspirations in mind, our color will be better than others, and we will have a better life."

 Nichimyo was truly satisfied. He had traveled over a thousand miles to hear Nichiren's voice. I wanted to dance up.

 But what a person he was. How could he think so much of his disciples, even though he was an exile?

 ”My Saint, I no longer have any doubts in my mind. It's as if the sky has cleared and the earth has become bright. It was worth spending all the money I had.”

 At this point, Abutsu-bo interrupted him.

 "About that. I heard that there is no way for you to return to Kamakura."

 Nichimyo was stout-hearted.

 "Yes. Yes, but I would like to stay here for a while to serve and cultivate."

 At this point, the nun Kou put her hand on Nichiren's.

 "High Priestess. I beg you. Please let me and my husband make the arrangements for Lady Nichimyo's return."

  The Kou nun held out a copper coin tied with thread before Nichiren. Then, as if in a sudden flow, everyone around him placed coins in front of him.

 As a side note, this was not enough to pay for her return trip. For this reason, Nichiren suggested to his landlord, Ichinosawa Nyudo, and asked him to provide the money. At that time, he promised to give him a copy of the Ten Volumes of the Lotus Sutra. The circumstances of this event are described in "Letter to Ichinotani Nyudo," which was addressed to Ichinosawa Nyudo's wife from a hermitage in Minobu in the first year of the Kenji era (1275), as follows.

 "I tried to pay him back the principal with interest, but his disciples said that was not what he had promised. So, I was in a lot of trouble, and I'm sure the public will find this unacceptable. Sensing the limits of my power, I give you all ten scrolls of the Lotus Sutra. Since the nanny was more devoted to the Lotus Sutra than your husband Nyudo, I would like her to have this."

 Nichiren was about to fulfill his promise, but he hesitated to send the Lotus Sutra to Nyudo who had not yet left the faith of Nembutsu. When he tried to return the sutra in money with interest instead, his disciples told him that he would be breaking his promise. He was told that his grandmother was devoted to the Lotus Sutra, so he sent her the sutra.


 Nichimyo and her daughter leave the island and return to Kamakura. This time, the boatman who had taken them to Sado took them from Sado to Kashiwazaki.

 "You are a great man, aren't you?"

 The boatman was a bit punitive.

 "No, not at all. The great one is, you see, the saint Nichiren, who is wearing the light-ink vestments there.”

 The boat leaves.

 Nichimyo kept seeing Nichiren's image in his eyes. This might be the last time.

 The daughter Oto grasped his mother's hand tightly to keep from falling off the boat.

 The old man Abutsu-bo was at the wharf watching the scene. When he saw Nichimyo, he murmured to himself.

"Great lady! She is a great woman. It is said that women have traveled a thousand miles to be with the man they love, and have become stones, trees, birds, and snakes, but lady Nichimyo is more than that."

 Three years later, he, too, would cross the seas and mountains in love with Nichiren.

 While most of his disciples had retreated, some of them showed strong faith. They say that a lion sees courage by dropping his cub to the bottom of a valley, but Nichiren could see his disciple who bravely climbed up. The strength of her will made Nichiren's belief in the spread of Buddha Law in the Latter Day of the Law unshakable. Moreover, she was a woman who had left her husband and had a young child in order to carry out her devotion to Nichiren.

 In the history of Buddhism, there have been few women who have made a name for themselves. Nichiren's feelings toward Nichimyo are described in the following letter.

 “Genjo journeyed throughout India in search of the Buddha’s teachings for seventeen years, covering a distance of a hundred thousand miles. Teacher Dengyo remained in T’ang China for only two years, but he traveled three thousand miles across the billowing sea to arrive there. These were all men, however, ancients, wise men, and the saints. Never have I heard of a woman who journeyed a thousand miles in search of Buddhism as you did. True, the dragon king’s daughter attained enlightenment without changing her present form, and the nun Makahajahadai (note) received a prediction that she would become a Buddha in the future. I am not certain, but they may have been female forms assumed by Buddhas or bodhisattvas. After all, these events occurred in the Buddha’s lifetime.

The character of man and woman differs from the outset. Fire is hot and water, cold. Fishermen are skilled in catching fish, and hunters are proficient in trapping deer. A sutra states that women are clever at being jealous, but I have never heard that women are clever at Buddhism. A woman’s mind is compared to a refreshing breeze; even if one could bind the wind, it would be hard to grasp a woman’s mind. A woman’s mind is likened to writing on water because the characters do not remain on the surface. A woman is likened to a liar, for sometimes a liar’s word is true, and sometimes, false. A woman’s mind is compared to a river. Because all rivers bend.

The Lotus Sutra, however, contains such phrases as “honestly discarding expedient means,” “all that you [Shakyamuni] have expounded is the truth,” “honest and upright, gentle in intent,” and “gentle, peaceful, honest, and upright.” Those who believe in this sutra, therefore, must have minds that are as straight as a taut bowstring or a carpenter’s inking line. One may call dung sandalwood, but it will not have the sandalwood fragrance. A liar never becomes a truthful person simply because one calls him honest. All the sutras are the Buddha’s golden teachings, his true words. When compared with the Lotus Sutra, however, they are false, flattering, abusive, or double-tongued. The Lotus Sutra alone is the truth of truths. Only honest people can keep faith in this sutra, a teaching free from all falsehood. Therefore, perhaps you are a woman who has the true words.

Think of it! Even if one were to meet a person who could cross the ocean carrying Mount Sumeru on his head, one could never find a woman like you. Even though one might find a person who could steam sand and make boiled rice out of it, one could never meet a woman like you. You should know that Shakyamuni Buddha, Taho Buddha, the Buddhas of the ten directions who are Shakyamuni’s emanations, great bodhisattvas such as Jogyo and Muhengyo, Bonten, Teishaku, the four heavenly kings, and other deities will protect you, just as a shadow accompanies the body. You are the foremost practitioner of the Lotus Sutra among the women of Japan. Therefore, following the example of Bodhisattva Fukyo, I bestow on you the Buddhist name Sage Nichimyō.

From Kamakura in Sagami Province to the northern province of Sado is a journey of more than a thousand miles over treacherous mountains and raging seas. There are sudden onslaughts of wind and rain, bandits lurk in the mountains, and pirates lie in wait on the sea. The people at every accommodation and every post town are as bestial as dogs or tigers, and you must have felt as though you were undergoing the sufferings of the three evil paths in this life.

Moreover, we live in turmoil now. Since last year rebels have filled our country, and finally, on the eleventh day of the second month of this year, a battle broke out. It is now almost the end of the fifth month, but the world has not yet been restored to peace and security. But there is a little child. He has no father to care for him. It has been a long time since you parted.  

Ah, I cannot even imagine the hardships you must have suffered during your journey, much less describe them in words, so I will lay down my writing brush.


The twenty-fifth day of the fifth month, in the ninth year of Bun’ei (1272)

To the Sage Nichimyō”  ‘The writings to the Sage Nichimyo.’

 The word "female forms assumed by Buddhas or bodhisattvas" refers to the temporary appearance of a person. Although both the dragoness and the Makahajahadai are female, we cannot be sure of this because they were born during the reign of Sakyamuni. But now, the woman appeared before Nichiren's eyes. 

 Nichiren's admiration for her was unbounded. In his letter, he compared her to Gyobo Bonzi, Bodhisattva Shakyamuni, Medicine King, and Bodhisattva Fukyo. These bodhisattvas were people who gave up their lives to seek the Buddha Dharma. The same is true for Nichimyo.

 At the end of the letter, he writes, "I cannot even imagine the hardships you must have suffered during your journey, much less describe them in words, so I will lay down my writing brush. "

 While many followers of Nichiren sect retreated due to the suppression of the Shogunate, Nichimyo's visit to Sado showed that even a woman could have such a strong faith, and it certainly shook Nichiren's spirit.

 By the way, in April of the third year of the reign of Koan (1280), Nichiren presented Nichimyo with the principal image of the temple, which has been handed down to this day.



 Mahāpājāpati. According to Buddhist legend, the Buddha's birth mother Māyā died seven days after his birth, and his sister Makahajahadai became his adoptive mother. Six years after his attainment of Buddhahood, Shakyamuni returned to the royal palace of the Shakyamuni tribe, where many of his family members were ordained as disciples of Shakyamuni. Then, Makahajahadai repeatedly asked to be ordained, but the Buddha refused her request, claiming that women would interfere with the training of male ascetics (Bihku). It was Shakyamuni's cousin, Ananda, who was the Buddha's secretary. Ananda said to the Buddha, "You have taught that all people are equal. The Buddha replied, "That's right," and said, "Makahajahadai is your nurturing mother and a benefactor. Please allow her to be ordained.” As a result, the Buddha finally allowed Mahapajapati to be ordained as a monk. This marked the birth of the first female Buddhist monk (bhikkhuni).

 Makahajahadai attended the preaching of the Lotus Sutra as the head of six thousand nuns in the first chapter of the Lotus Sutra. Also, in the thirteenth chapter, "Encourage," the Shakyamuni Buddha gave her a prophecy that in a future life she would become "the Buddha whom all sentient beings will rejoice to see."

by johsei1129 | 2022-05-18 16:39 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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