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日蓮大聖人『御書』解説

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2022年 05月 19日

64. The Struggle of Kingo Shijo

 The samurai were chatting in the daytime over sake at the residence of Mitsuoki Nagoe. In those days, drinking was part of the job of a samurai.

 Shimada Nyudo blushed.

 “Don't drink too much, it will interfere with your duties.”

 The others laughed bitterly in embarrassment.

 Yamashiro clucked his tongue.

 “I'm worried. Someone is being sent to Tsukushi every day to deal with the Mongols. I fear for my life tomorrow.”

 "Our lord is one of the generals of the Hakata defense. Hakata is far away. Even if something happens to my family members, I can't return home immediately. It will be difficult.”

 “It's also hard to find the money. We have to follow our lord, but the land he has given us is so small that we will not be able to pay our annual tribute.”

 “I don't want to complain to my lord, but he is unfair.”

 “What?”

 “Think about it. Why is it that the hardest working man in the family can only receive a small plot of land? Why does the hardest working man in the vassal get a small plot of land, and the one who does not work at all get a large plot of land from the Lord?”

 "Who are you talking about?”

 Kingo Shijo walked past them.

 Shimada whispered.

 "Speak of the devil and you will find the shadow.”

 "Shijo?"

 "He won a deal of territory just for curing Tono's illness. He didn't win the war with his sword.”

 “Come to think of it, he has become arrogant because he is favored by my lord. The others were complaining about it.”

 “There's more. You see, Shijo is a known follower of the Lotus Sutra in Kamakura. When  Nichiren was about to be beheaded, he was about to follow him in suicide. I hear that our lord is still bitter about it. Nevertheless, he unhesitatingly recommends the Lotus Sutra to our lord.”

 "Is that true? That's unacceptable.”

 "Once, when I was talking about the Nembutsu, Shijo yelled at me. I almost drew my sword.”

 "I think he doesn't think of our lord as his lord. When he talks to our lord, it is as if he were talking to a friend.”


 Kingo came face to face with his master, Mitsutoki.

 "My lord, I am glad that I could meet you.”

 “Kingo, you have done your duty well. You may leave for the day.”

 Kingo postured.

 “Have you thought about what happened the other day, Your Highness?”

 “What was it?”

 “It was about the Lotus Sutra.”

 "Oh, yes, that's right. Kingo, I have no intention of abandoning the teachings of the Nembutsu. The other day, I heard a talk by the Priest Ryoukan. I am very grateful. I was born a samurai, and now I know firsthand how important it is to recite the Nembutsu every day when you don't know what tomorrow will bring.”

 Kingo persisted.

 “Nembutsu is a low teaching, that is. The Lord Buddha still says that the Amitabha Sutra does not reveal the truth.”

 "I have heard that many times, but I will not abandon Nembutsu. Besides, a monk named Ryuzo-bo came from Kyoto. I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say.”

 Kingo said clearly.

 “My lord, no matter who preaches it, Nembutsu is still a teaching that leads sentient beings astray and into hell.”

 At this point, the quiet Mitsutoki became agitated.

 “What are you saying, Kingo? Are you trying to taunt your master? You think you can just shut up and listen. Go away!"

 Kingo could not answer and left the room.

 As they passed each other, Shimada Nyudo and Yamashiro Nyudo entered.

 Yamashiro spoke up.

 "My Lord, I have something to tell you. It is about Kingo Shijo. I think that he is taking advantage of his lord's affection for him, and that he may be going too far.”

 Shimada Nyudo agreed.

 “We, his colleagues, are all disgusted with Shijo. I hope that Tono will punish him severely for that.”

 Mitsutoki was an adult. He regained his good mood and calmed them down.

 “Kingo is one of my most important men. He has served Nagoe for two generations, father and son. I'm sure you're not happy about his stubbornness. But no matter what, my clan is safe when there are people who say things that are painful to hear.”


 The sun was shining at the gate of the Mitsutoki residence.

 Kingo was about to leave the house. The warriors around him pointed their fingers behind his back. Shimada and Yamashiro were among them.

 Kingo could feel their eyes on him. Unable to resist, he turned around.

 "What can I do for you, that I can?”

 Shimada mended.

 “No, nothing at all. Lord Kingo, is something the matter?”

 Kingo also provoked him.

 “I beg your pardon, but I was feeling an evil feeling in my back right now.”

 Yamashiro became somewhat excited.

 “Well, that's creepy.”

 Kingo turned to face him.

 “It's very unpleasant. There's a strange creature in the shadows, looking down at people and smiling thinly.”

 Shimada's expression changed.

 "What are you saying, Shijo? Who are you talking about?”

 “Ask your own heart!" 

 Kingo, Shimada and Yamashiro confronted each other.

 The two of them tried to pull out their swords, but their colleagues desperately tried to stop them.


 After this incident, Kingo went to visit Nichiren at his hermitage in Minobu and met him. For Kingo, Nichiren was the only person who would listen to his complaints.

 "My Lord has no ear for the Lotus Sutra. My colleagues are all jealous of me. I'm getting old, saint. I think it's time for me to stop serving the master. I am a little tired. I have saved up a lot of money over the years, so I think I will step down. But that's all because I have a lord who doesn't understand."

 "It should not."

 Kingo was surprised by the unexpected reply. He had thought that Nichiren would be convinced by his story. He thought he would understand.

 “The reason Nichiren is able to read the Lotus Sutra here in the mountains and not starve to death on Sado Island is because of the lord Kingo's help. If you ask me why the lord Kingo helped me, I will tell you that it was because of my master, Mitsutoki. The filial piety of lord Kingo's father and mother is also due to his master, isn't it? How can you abandon the relatives of such a person for whatever reason? Should not abandon him, even if your life depends on it.”

 Kingo was puzzled. This made his visit not worth the trouble.

 Nichiren continued.

 “A wise person is one who is not affected by the eight winds. The wise man is one who is not buffeted by the eight winds: prosperity, decay, defamation, honor, praise, slander, praise, sorrow, pain, pleasure, and sorrow. In general, it means not to rejoice when there is gain and not to be disheartened when there is decline. Heaven will protect those who are not affected by these eight winds. But if you are unreasonable and resent the Lord, the heavens will not protect you, no matter how much you say.”

 Kingo did not listen to him.

 “I understand. I thought the saint was of the same mind as me, but alas.”

 Kingo stood up. Nichiren saw that Kingo was entering a crisis.

 “Please be patient. For the next one hundred days, refrain from drinking with colleagues or strangers. Do not drink outside. And do not drink at night. When your master calls you, if it's daytime, hurry and come; if it's nighttime, say you're sick and refrain three times. If he calls you more than three times, take a servant or someone else to lead you the way. If you do this, when the Mongols attack, the hearts of them will return to normal.”

Kingo pretended not to hear, but Nichiren did not stop advising him.

 "You must be careful for a while. Even if there is no illness in your body, give yourself a moxibustion or two and say you are sick.”

 Kingo left the mountain without saying a word.

 Nichiren was worried about Kingo. After this, he sent people to Kamakura to inquire about  Kingo's movements, but they were unable to ascertain anything.

 Nichiren further instructed his high disciple, Nissho, to contact Kingo and report back to him. He also had him inform Kingo that Nichiren himself was very concerned about him.

 

 “Recently I have sent a person to Lord Shijo Kingo, but I am feeling worried about his words. Because it is quite anxious for me, inquire about the matter and find out all the details, and once you have done so, write and tell me what you have known. Also, inform Kingo of this as well as what I am worried about for him.” ‘Letter to the monk Nissho.’


 A few days later, the retainers gathered at the residence of Mitsutoki Nagoe.

 It was a sudden summons.

 Kingo Shijo and his retainers were suspicious. They did not know the reason for the gathering. 

 Mitsutoki appeared on the scene.

 “We have decided to change the fiefs of the vassal.”

 The announcement came out of the blue. The retainers buzzed.

 “First of all, Kingo Yorimoto Shijo, I will take away your land in Izu and give you the one in Echigo Province.”

 Kingo was taken aback, but Mitsutoki was unconcerned.

 "Shimada Nyudo. I will give you the territory of Izu Province. That is all.”

 They were all surprised. Kingo, one of his chief retainers, had been transferred to the left. Echigo Province was a long way from Kamakura.

 Kingo stopped Mitsutoki unexpectedly.

 "My Lord, please wait. Why are you giving me such an order?”

 Mitsutoki made a grim face.

 “Kingo, do you disagree?”

 Kingo persisted.

 “The most important thing for a samurai is the fields of his domain, that is. I do not like the idea of such an important matter being decided so easily. I think you should have been informed in advance.”

 Mitsutoki glanced at him.

 “You are getting a little arrogant these days, Kingo. Are you criticizing my Nembutsu and now complaining about the territory?”

 Kingo shook his head.

 "My lord is often ill, that you are. Kingo is worried about my lord’s illness, that I am. Even now, the world is in turmoil over the Mongols. My mind now is that no matter what happens, I will give up my life in front of my lord. If something should happen, I am not sure that I will be able to come all the way from Echigo Province. Even if I am deprived of my domain, I will not be separated from my lord this year. Other than this, I have nothing to fear, no matter how much trouble I may suffer. What is more important than this is the matter of the saint Nichiren and my deceased parents, that it is. Even if the lord were to abandon Kingo, I would give my life to you. I leave the rest of my life to Saint Nichiren."

 Mitsutoki became angry.

 "Shut up!"

 Yamashiro Nyudo berated Kingo.

 “Kingo, this is lord’s command. What's with that tone of voice? Are you still a samurai of Nagoe?”

 Kingo blackmailed him.

 “Silence. It is not your place to speak.”

 Shimada Nyudo drew his sword and Yamashiro Nyudo joined him.

 Kingo drew his sword and glared at the two men.

 They were surrounded by their retainers and an uproar ensued.

 At this point, Mitsutoki intervened and stopped them.

 “I don't want you to do this. Are you crazy to cut each other in the same vassals? Our real enemy is Mongolia!"

 After this disturbance, Kingo again visited Nichiren in Minobu.

 Kingo was even more furious than before. His quarrel with his master had gone beyond the belief in the Lotus Sutra and had reached the territory that was the life of a samurai. Kingo was also a samurai. His attachment to his land was stronger than most.

 "I am utterly astonished at him, my Saint. I am so disappointed in my lord. He suddenly ordered me to change my territory and gave it to Shimada. There is no hope of harvesting any land in Echigo. All I can say is that you are harassing me. The saint, I am tired of serving the lord. I hope you will understand."

 Nichiren stopped him.

 “I have known about this for a long time. Your Lord is not a man to be resented even if you do not owe him a bit of favor. Besides, is it not a mistake for you to dislike the territory though you have received favors from Him until now? The current lord Kingo is filled with greed, fame, and anger. Sir, are you still a samurai?”

 Kingo retorted.

 "Saint, I have been devoted to his lord until now. Are you saying that I am mad with greed and fame? I understand. From now on, I will do as I please."

 Nichiren quietly watched Kingo leave. Then he instructed Nichimoku, his apprentice.

 "Call Sanmi-bo."

 Nichiren instructed his high priest, Sanmi-bo.

 “I'm worried about Lord Kingo. You should go to Kamakura and meet him and report to me every step of the way.”

 Sanmi-bo made a blatantly displeased face.

 “The Priest, Lord Kingo, is just a believer. What need is there for me to go out of my way for the sake of a single believer?”

 “What do you mean by that?”

 "It seems to me that it would be better for me to deal with a person of higher rank, such as nobles, rather than the lord Kingo. I have followed the priest to the depths of the Buddha Law. With my current abilities, I should be able to do so.”

 Nichiren strengthened his tone.

 "Sanmi-bo, what has happened to the lord Kingo is extremely serious. It will probably reach the highest levels of the shogunate. This is the time to test your abilities.”

 Sanmi-bo reluctantly agreed.

 “If that is what you want, I will go.”

 Nichiren glared at Sanmi-bo's back as he left his seat. Sanmi-bo was an old and high disciple who had tried to martyr himself at the time of the Tatsunokuchi Persecution. Even today, he still exerts his power as Nichiren's single arm. His answers to questions and answers were excellent, and he was highly trusted by his disciples.

 However, his only fault was that he was arrogant. Nichiren pointed out his temperament several times, but Sanmi-bo did not change. He was about to reprimand him severely, but stopped himself. The reason is said to have been that his disciples would think, "Is he jealous of the wise?” This was unusual for Nichiren, who was known for his direct speech, but he was hoping for the growth of his disciples. However, this made Sanmi-bo even more arrogant of himself.

 Kingo began to train in swordsmanship in his own garden in Kamakura.

 He wears a blindfold. One of his retainers fought with Kingo with a wooden sword. Then another man strikes Kingo in the back.

 Kingo quickly tried to dodge, but was struck in the shoulder a moment too late. The blindfold was not enough to dodge the enemy behind him.

 Kingo frowned as the pain was too much for him.

 He sensed that there was a disturbing atmosphere in the Nagoe household. All of them, including Mitsutoki, were trying to get rid of Kingo. There were no allies. He was outnumbered. The only thing he could do was to defend himself with his sword. It was a seed he had sown, but he had no choice but to rely on his own strength.

 Kingo's wife, Nichigan-nyo, and daughter, daughter Tsukimaro, looked at him with concern.

 Kingo felt everyone's eyes on him.

 “What is this? Don't worry about it. Come on, one more bottle.”

 “It's impossible, I'm afraid. No matter how many times you try, it will always be the same. Even with Lord Kingo's skill, there is no way you can dodge the sword behind you with blind eyes.”

 "Shut up. If I can't dodge, I'm willing to die. One more.”

 He was already willful, but still could not dodge and was struck.

 Kingo yelled at him.

 “Don't go easy on me.”

 Here they finally took a short break.

 At the hut, he received treatment for his wounds. The painkillers were so painful that even Kingo winced.

 In the midst of all this, Sanmi-bo came to see him. He wanted to know if Kingo was in a good mood.

 "Well, well. Lord, are you in the middle of a sword fight?”

 Kingo was in a foul mood.

 "Monk Sanmi-bo, it's all right. Please sit down here.”

 Sanmi-bo sat down on the wooden chair offered to him.

 Kingo rubbed his back and said.

 “I'm glad you're here. I'm sure you've heard. I will accept no more teachings from anyone. Priest Sanmi-bo, the saint may have said something to you, but I will not listen to him.”

 Sanmi-bo laughed.

 “The saint is a strict man, and he is strict with me. I'm sure it must have been very painful for you, lord Kingo.”

 “These days it's not all that interesting. Nothing seems to be going right.”

 Kingo looked at his back.

 “Even if I were to train my sword, it would be such an abomination. Even if you came here, it would not be good..."

 Sanmi-bo changed the subject.

 “I am thinking of going to Kuwagayatsu Valley.”

 “Kuwagayatsu Valley?”

 “I thought I'd take a peek at the sermons of the priest Ryuzo-bo, a Buddhist monk of great repute in Kamakura.”

 Kingo looked up.

 “Oh, that Ryuzo-bo, that is. I don't know what kind of monk he is.”

 “I don't know what kind of monk he is, but it seems that he is living west of the Great Buddha Gate and preaching day and night. He is said to be preaching that those who have doubts about the Buddha Dharma because of their present condition should ask questions regardless of whether they are ordained or secular. It is said that all the people in Kamakura, both upper and lower, revere Ryu Zobo as if he were the Buddha. However, I have heard that there is no one to ask and answer questions. I, sanmi-bo, would like to go there to ask and answer questions and clear away the doubts of all sentient beings. I came here because I thought you might like to join me.”

 Kingo has a penchant for this kind of a "religious dispute.” He stood up immediately.

 “I would be happy to accompany you.”

 The pain in Kingo's wound had completely disappeared.

 Because of his stubbornness, Kingo Shijo had fallen out with his master. It was all because of his selfishness. This was also the result of his own uncontrollable desire for success and his desire for fame and fortune.

 Even today, there are many people who are dissatisfied with their companies and superiors. The same was true for the samurais of the Kamakura period. The only difference was that Kingo was a firm believer in the Lotus Sutra. Eventually, Kingo's selfishness takes an unexpected turn.





by johsei1129 | 2022-05-19 18:51 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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