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2022年 05月 18日

54. Nichiren's Return to Kamakura from Sado 

 On March 25, the ship arrived at Kashiwazaki in Echigo.

A crowd of people could be seen across the shore. Surprisingly, there were local Buddhist monks waiting for them.

The news of Nichiren's pardon had already reached Echigo.

The Nembutsu practitioners came toward Nichiren's group as they disembarked from the ship. They all had weapons in their hands.

"You’re a Nichiren. Give it up. You are an enemy of Nembutsu. We will not let you pass."

The nembutsu practitioners surrounded Nichiren and the others.

At this moment, a group of armored warriors charged out of nowhere and slashed at the Nembutsu, not Nichiren.

The Nembutsu-sha ran away screaming.

The warriors formed an orderly line in front of Nichiren.

The commander dismounted from his horse and knelt down before Nichiren.

"Priest Nichiren, we have come from the Shogunate's samurai office to protect you. I will accompany you to Kamakura."

The words were filled with respect. They were the bodyguards sent by Tokimune.

Nichiren replied with dignity.

"Thank you for your hard work. It is truly auspicious."

At the Shinano Zenkoji temple, the masses gathered in front of the gate.

A Buddhist priest held a naginata in his hand.

"It is said that the evil priest Nichiren departed Sado safely."

The masses shouted in anger.

"We will not let him pass through the presence of the living Amida Buddha at any cost. Do you understand?"

The crowd responded in unison, blocking the main road.

"Here it comes!"

However, they were astonished to see that Nichiren was being guarded by a group of brave warriors.

"What is that?"

Hoki-bo grasped the rope of Nichiren's horse and rode on. His disciples proudly followed him.

The warriors kicked the Nembutsu practitioners out of the way and rode proudly past Zenkoji.

The masses were astonished at the sight.

The Market in Kamakura, on the other hand, was bustling with activity. Peddlers' voices rang out.

The town was abuzz with talk of Nichiren's return.

"I heard that Priest Nichiren has been pardoned!"

"They say he's coming back to Kamakura."

"I heard that he will become a high priest with the approval of Lord Kamakura."

"I heard that he will be in charge of praying for the extermination of the Mongols together with the Shingon and Nembutsu priests. Lord Kamakura has prepared 100,000 kans and is going to build a large temple for the priest. What a mess!"

"That's great. He had gotten up from the bottom rung. I wish I could be like him!"

Nichiren left Sado on March 13 and returned to Kamakura on March 26. During this period, there was no end to the talk of Nichiren's pardon throughout Kamakura.

After all, he had been a sinner until now. This criminal had endured hardships, won his innocence, and returned to the capital. There was no one who did not praise him. The condemned man was exonerated. Even those who had openly condemned him paid tribute to him.

 The 26th day of the third month of the lunar calendar was early summer in early May.

 Kamakura Hachiman Shrine was bustling under the blazing sun.

Kingo Shijo, Jonin Toki, and Zhomyo Ota gathered here. There was also one of the later Six Elderly Monks, Nichiro, who had just been released from the dungeon.

Nichiro was confined to a dungeon during the persecution of Tatsunokuchi, but shortly after the February disturbance, Nichiren's prediction of a rebellion came true, and he was forgiven by the shogunate and released from prison. The following is an account of this incident in "Writing to Kounichi-bo " written in the second year of Kenji (1276).

“On February 11 of the following year, the generals defending Japan were killed with ease. The commandments of heaven were revealed. The Shogunate must have been surprised by this. For that reason, my disciples were forgiven.”

The master will return. The good news came suddenly. The news was so unbelievable that I felt like I was going crazy.

Kingo was very excited.

"Did you hear?"

Even the calm Jonin felt a pang.

"I did hear it. Olden days the Emperor Juntoku could not return to Kyoto and ended his life on Sado Island, but I never thought he would be pardoned. In Kamakura, people are talking about Nichiren Shonin. People who were saying bad things about him yesterday are inexplicably singing his praises today."

Ota agreed with him.

"That's right. I can't tell you how many times I've been congratulated on the way here. It's getting a little creepy."

"It's a good thing, isn't it? Our hard work has paid off. Our prayers have been answered."

Jonin, who had a big smile on his face, suddenly turned serious and spoke.

"By the way, there have been unbelievable stories flying around about the lord Kamakura preparing 100,000 kans for the saint, building a large temple, and preparing 1,000 pounds of good rice fields. Is this true? I wonder if the saint will receive it."

"More importantly, I want to talk about defeating the Mongols. Will the saint really pray together with the monks of Shingon and Nembutsu? How is that possible?"

Kingo replied.

"Unfortunately, only a saint can know that. He is truly beyond our knowledge."

At this moment, a group of rebelled believers happened to pass in front of them.

Kingo and the others looked at them squarely. The former devotees averted their gaze and walked past with their eyes downcast. They could not make eye contact with Kingo and the others.

For them, the revival of Nichiren was a miscalculation. They had tried to establish a new sect in place of Nichiren, but it had fallen very quickly.

Kingo murmured.

"We must take responsibility for our actions. We have only followed our saint this time and in the future."

 Ryoukan Gokurakuji was in the guest room of the samurai quarters.

 He was pacing restlessly by himself. He looked annoyed. A box of coins as tall as a man was piled high beside him.

 He heard the voice of a follower.

"The lord Hei no Saemon lieutenant, Yoritsuna is here."

Ryoukan immediately put his hands on the floor.

Taira-no Yoritsuna sat down on the upper seat, waving a fan as if it were hot.

Ryoukan said.

"I have prepared 100,000 copper coins for you, lord Saemon. You must be in a hurry. Has the Mongol attack been decided, sir?"

Yoritsuna stammered.

"No, that has not yet been decided. Even though you are in charge of the southern half of Kamakura, it must have been no small feat. I thank you."

"No way, lord."

At this point, Ryoukan looked up and glared at him.

"By the way, lord Saemon Yorituna, there are some bad rumors circulating in Kamakura."

"Oh, what is it? If you are suspicious, my samurai office will look into it."

"It is said that Nichiren has been forgiven his sins and will return to Kamakura, where he will be given a temple in the center of town and allowed to preach.It is said that Nichiren has been forgiven and will return to Kamakura. If that happens, it will be the end of the world."

Yoritsuna laughed.

"Priest Ryoukan, he is only one monk. What are you afraid of? You are not worthy to be called a living Buddha of Kamakura."

Ryoukan leaned toward him.

"Your Highness, Nichiren is a more fearsome man than the Mongols. He is an evil monk who is not afraid of the authority of the Shogunate and only wants to propagate the Lotus Sutra. If we allow him to continue, the entire nation of Japan will be covered with the titles of the Lotus Sutra. I am sure that His Highness is bitterly disappointed in that man. I beg you not to pardon his exile. If that is not possible, then at least stop him from entering Kamakura."

But Yoritsuna pretended not to hear him.

"In fact, the Shogunate has decided to compromise with Nichiren."

Ryokan was astonished, but Yoritsuna did not seem to mind.

"No matter what happened in the past, we want Nichiren's help now. At any rate, there is much talk in Japan about when the Mongols will arrive. With Nichiren's divine power, we may be able to find out when they will come out."

"No way. That man lived his life without compromising with anyone. Why did the Shogunate take him in?"

"Don't say anything else, priest Ryokan. The pardon of the monk Nichiren was a decision for Lord Tokimune, or the Shogunate."

 Ryoukan assumed a defiant attitude.

"What will happen to me, then, sir? I built the roads and bridges of Kamakura for the Shogunate, and maintained the port of Wakae. I have contributed to the finances of the Shogunate by taking checkpoint tax from passersby, and I have led the nonbelievers to maintain public order. Isn't it too hasty to appoint Nichiren without my input?"

Yoritsuna's eyes turned angry.

"Then I will say this. The Priest Ryoukan, I will present this 100,000 kan to the Priest Nichiren."

Ryoukan's eyes widened.

Yoritsuna looked down at him.

"I have already secured a plot of land on Wakamiya Main Street near the Shogunate Palace. Thank you for your hard work, priest Ryoukan."

Yoritsuna was about to stand up, but Ryoukan grabbed his sleeve and stopped him.

"Please wait. This Ryoukan will do anything. But please do not take up with Nichiren alone."

Yoritsuna glared at him. At this moment, Ryoukan realized that he was in danger and put his forehead on the floor.

Yoritsuna later adopted a reign of terror, assassinating the warriors one after another. All were afraid of Yoritsuna's eyes.

"From now on, please call him Nichiren Saint. From now on, the common people of Kamakura will revere saint Nichiren Saint as the new living Buddha. It would be wise for you to show your reverence to Saint Nichiren while you still can. In the first place, shouldn't priest Ryokan have become Nichiren Shonin's disciple when you were defeated in the confrontation with the rain?"

 Yoritsuna laughed loudly and looked at him contemptuously.

"For a monk who can't even make it rain, praying for the extermination of the Mongols would be like the sun rising in the west."

Yoritsuna smiled broadly and walked away.

Ryokan remained staring at the floor with soulless eyes.

On the other hand, Nichiren on his horse, protected by a group of warriors, rode quickly southward through Musashi and into Sagami. Mt. Fuji, with its snow-capped peak, greeted him.

When Nichiren's party arrived at the excavation road in Kamakura, the guards bowed in unison.

 The captain of the guard reported.

"We have brought the Priest Nichiren Shonin from Sado. We are now entering Kamakura."

The warriors on guard approached Nichiren's horse.

"We have been expecting you, High Priest. Welcome to Kamakura."

The crowds were already filling the streets and streets of Kamakura. The heat was sweltering, but the people were eagerly awaiting Nichiren's arrival.

"Priest Nichiren is here!"

They shouted in unison.

Nichiren had arrived, leading a group of Shogunate warriors.

It was a magnificent procession.

Hoki-bo pulled on the reins of Nichiren's horse. This time, a saddle with the three scales of the Hojo family crest on it had been prepared.

A crowd of people crowded around and waved their hands at Nichiren. The crowd waved their hands to Nichiren, and an unusual enthusiasm arose.

"Priest Nichiren is our hero!"

The cheers continued unabated.

"Welcome home!"

"I've admired you for a long time."

"I've always believed in you, too."

"Priest Nichiren, we are having another year of drought. Please let it rain.

The roaring cries of the people echoed through the streets of the town.

However, this enthusiasm of the masses was the same as that which had been shown to Ryoukan of Gokurakuji Temple.

To be continued.

by johsei1129 | 2022-05-18 19:34 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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