人気ブログランキング | 話題のタグを見る


2022年 05月 19日

66. Kingo's Confrontation with the Magistrate

Kingo disobeyed Mitsutoki's command to ‘abandon his faith in the Lotus Sutra’, and vowed to uphold the Lotus Sutra even after abandoning his domain. Nichiren lavished praise on Kingo, saying, "It is an unspeakable thing for a man of the Latter Day of the Law, with a wife and children of his own, to be willing to give up his domain to believe in the Lotus Sutra.

“Your letter dated the twenty-fifth of last month arrived at the hour of the Cock (5:00–7:00 P.M.) on the twenty-seventh of the same month. On reading the official letter ordering you to receive a written oath renouncing your faith in the Lotus Sutra and you pledge not to write such an oath, I felt that it was rare and as fragrant as seeing the udumbara plant (note) in bloom and smelling the budding red sandalwood.

Shariputra, Mokuren, and Makakasho were great Arhats who had acquired the three insights and the six transcendental powers. Moreover, they were Bodhisattvas who, because of the Lotus Sutra, had attained the first stage of development and the first stage of security, that is, the realization of the non-birth and non-extinction of all phenomena. Yet even they deemed themselves unable to endure the great persecutions that would attend the propagation of the Lotus Sutra in the saha world in the Latter day of the Law, and declined to accept the task. How then is it possible for ordinary people in the Latter day of the Law, who have not yet eradicated hesitation of the three categories, to become votaries of this sutra?

Even though I myself have been able to withstand attacks with sticks of wood or tiles and stones, vilification, and persecution by the authorities, how could people such as lay believers, who have wives and children, and are ignorant of Buddhism, possibly do the same? Perhaps they would have not done better to have believed in the first place. If they have their faith to the end and are unable to uphold it for a short while, they will be mocked by others. So thinking, I felt pity for you. But during the repeated persecutions I suffered and throughout my two sentences of exile, you have demonstrated your resolve. Though that has been wondrous enough, I have no words sufficient to praise you for having written a pledge to carry through with your faith in the Lotus Sutra, in spite of your lord’s threats and at the confiscation of your two lands.

The Buddha wondered whether even Bodhisattvas like Fugen and Monjushiri could undertake the propagation of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter day of the Law, and he therefore entrusted the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo to Jogyo and the other four Bodhisattvas who had sprung up from the earth as numerous as the dust particles of a thousand worlds. Now, pondering the meaning of this matter, I wonder if Bodhisattva Jogyo has taken possession of your body in order to assist me along the way. Or could it be the arrangement of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings?

The fact that those retainers who resent you are spreading more presumptuous is definitely the result of the scheming of the priests Ryoukan and Ryuzo. Should you write an oath discarding your faith, they would only become more arrogant, and they would spread it around to everyone. Then my disciples in Kamakura will be blamed and disappear until not a single one remains.

It is the nature of ordinary people not to know what awaits them in the future. Those who have a full understanding of this are called wise men or saints. Passing over examples from the past, I will cite one from the present. The lord of Musashi gave up his two territories and became a lay priest. I hear that ultimately he abandoned his sons and daughters as well as his wife, and secluded himself from the world. You lord have neither sons nor reliable brothers. You have only your two lands. This life is like a dream. Nobody can know tomorrow. However wretched a beggar you might become, never must disgrace the Lotus Sutra. Do not be sad. Just as you have written in your letter, you must act and speak without the least servility. If you try to curry favor, the situation will only worsen. Even if your fiefs should be confiscated or you yourself driven out, you must think that it is due to the workings of the ten demon daughters, and wholeheartedly entrust your belief.

If I had not been exiled to the island, but remained in Kamakura, I would certainly have been murdered in the recent battle. In like manner, since remaining in your lord’s service will likely be to your danger, this may well be the suggestion of Shakyamuni Buddha.

I have written a petition on your behalf. Although there are several disciples there in Kamakura, as they are too unreliable, I was thinking of sending Sammi-bo. However, since he has still not recovered from his illness, I am sending this other monk in his stead. Have either Daigaku Saburo, Taki no Taro, or the Lord Toki make a clean copy of it when he has time, and please present it to your lord. If you can do that, the matter will be resolved. You need not be in a hurry; rather, make preparations quietly and please let the other enemies make noise. Then, if you submit the petition, it may spread throughout Kamakura, and perhaps even reach the regent himself. It means what would be misfortune changes into good fortune.

I explained the teachings of the Lotus Sutra to you before. Matter of minor importance arises from good. When it comes to a matter of great importance, great disturbances without fail changes into a great fortune. When people read this petition, their shame will surely come to light. You have only to speak briefly. Please speak ill, “I will neither leave from my lord’s family nor return my fief of my own accord. If my lord should confiscate it, I will regard it as an offering to the Lotus Sutra and a blessing.”

You must in no way behave in a servile fashion toward the judge. Please tell him, “These fiefs were not bestowed upon me by my lord. They were awarded to me because I saved his life with the medicine of the Lotus Sutra when he was seriously ill. If he takes them from me, his illness will surely return. At that time, even if he should apologize to me, I would not accept it.” Please say so and leave in a spiteful manner.

Avoid all gatherings. Maintain a strict guard at night. Be on good terms with the samurai of the night watchmen and make use of them. You should always be in company with them. If you are not ousted this time, the chances are ten to nine that the enemies of the family will awaken an attempt on your life. No matter what, be sure not to die a shameful death.” ‘The Reply to Shijo Kingo (A Warning against Territory)’

In addition, he was more concerned than most about the dangers that lay ahead for Kingo. If he resisted his master, it was inevitable that his colleagues would try to kill him.

“The Law of Buddha is common sense. Common sense will win against your lord. No matter how dearly you may love your wife and wish never to part from her, when you die, it will become to no avail. No matter how dearly you may cherish your estate, when you die, it will become someone else's property. You have been prosperous enough until now. Must not cling to this. As I have said before, be millions of times more careful than ever!” The Hero of the World.’

 Kingo presented himself to the magistrate's office.

The magistrate's office was overflowing with people.

At that time, there was no one in Kamakura who did not hear rumors about Kingo Shijo, a vassal of Mitsutoki Nagoe.

It was unthinkable at the time that a warrior would defy his lord and abandon his domain for the sake of his faith. In addition, there were controversies about Kingo's belief in the Lotus Sutra and his master Mitsuoki's belief in Nembutsu.

On Kingo's side were the followers of the Lotus Sutra sect, including Sanmi-bo and Jonin Toki. On the other side were the Nembutsu monks. Among them were a number of Shogunate officials.

A magistrate with a devilish expression questioned Kingo.

"Lieutenant Nakatsukasa Saburo Saemon, is that the more famous Kingo Shijo? You seem to be behaving disrespectfully to your lord, Nagoe Mitsutoki. It is said that when you came to hear the sermon of the famous Priest Ryuzo-bo, you were accused of misbehavior and caused a commotion with your bad words. Is that true?”

Kingo explained.

 “That is a groundless falsehood. I do not know who told you so, but surely it would be fitting if, out of pity for me, you were to summon them to confront me in your presence and inquire into the truth or falsehood of their accusations. How could a person who believes in the Lotus Sutra and aspires to the Buddha way possibly contemplate misbehavior or deliberately use foul language when the Buddhist teaching is being expounded? However, I leave this to your judgment.

 Having declared myself to be a follower of the Sage Nichiren, I returned home and reported to my lord exactly what had happened during the debate. Moreover, no one was surely present on that occasion who did not know me. What you heard must have been the fabrication of those who harbor jealousy against me. If you quickly summon them to face me in your presence, the truth of the matter will be brought to light.”

The magistrate did not respond to Kingo's request, but proceeded unilaterally in accordance with Ryoukan's wishes.

“All the people of Kamakura believe that Ryoukan Shonin, the Elder of Gokurakuji, is the reincarnation of Buddha.”

Kingo immediately countered.

"I cannot accept that. The reason is that, if what the sutra states is true, the Sage Nichiren is the envoy of the Tathagata who attained enlightenment in the infinite past, the manifestation of Bodhisattva Jogyo, the practitioner of the essential of the Lotus Sutra, and the great leader in the latter fifth five-hundred-year period following the Buddha’s passing. In an attempt to have this sage executed, the Honorable Ryoukan submitted a letter of petition to the authorities proposing that he be beheaded; but for some reason the execution was not carried out, and he was instead exiled far away to Sado Island. Was this not the doing of the Priest Ryoukan? The complaint is in the Appendix. Please see.”

Kingo's explanation was concrete and powerful.

The audience was buzzing. It was the verdict of the master and his retainer. At first, everyone had expected Kingo to lose. Regardless of the crowd's murmur, Kingo went after his opponent.

"Even though the Priest Ryoukan preaches day and night on each of the six days of purification against killing even a blade of grass, he actually proposed that the priest who propagates the correct teaching of the Lotus Sutra be beheaded. Has he not contradicted his own words? Is the priest Ryoukan himself not possessed by the heavenly devil?”

The nembutsu practitioners were furious.

The magistrate raised his hand to calm him down.

Kingo further explained.

“Please let me explain how this situation came about. Whenever the priest Ryoukan preached, he would lament: “I am endeavoring to help all people in Japan become ‘observers of the precepts’ and to have them uphold the eight precepts so that an end can be put to all the killings in this country and the alcohol in the entire land; but Nichiren’s slander prevented me from achieving my desire.” Hearing of this, the Sage Nichiren declared, ‘Somehow I must overturn the delusion of his great arrogance and save him from the agonies of the hell of incessant suffering.’ Hearing this, I, Yorimoto, and his other disciples all were anxious, thinking, ‘Even though you speak out of profound compassion as a champion of the Lotus Sutra, since the Honorable Ryoukan is revered throughout Japan, especially by the samurai in Kamakura, perhaps you should refrain from making strong statements.

Then, at the time of the great drought, the shogunate ordered the priest Ryoukan to perform a ceremony for rain on the eighteenth day of the sixth month in the eighth year of the Bun’ei era (1271), in order to save the people. Hearing this news, the Sage Nichiren said, ‘Although prayers for rain are a trifling matter, perhaps I should take this opportunity to demonstrate to everyone the power of the Law that I embrace.’ He sent a message to the priest Ryoukan, saying: “If the Honorable Ryoukan brings about rainfall within seven days, I, Nichiren, will stop teaching that the Nembutsu leads to the hell of incessant suffering and become his disciple, observing the two hundred and fifty precepts. But if no rain falls, that will show clearly that the Honorable Ryoukan is deliberately confusing and misleading others, though he appears to be observing the precepts. In ancient times there were many instances in which the supremacy of one teaching over another was determined through prayers for rain, such as the challenge between Gomyō and the Great Teacher Dengyo, or between Shubin and Kōbō.”

The Sage Nichiren sent this message to the priest Ryoukan through the intermediaries, the priest Suo-bo and Irusawa Nyudo, who are Nembutsu believers. In addition to being Nembutsu believers, this priest and lay priest are Ryoukan’s disciples and do not yet believe in Nichiren’s teaching. So the Sage Nichiren said to them, “We will decide whose teachings are correct through this prayer for rain. If it rains within seven days, I would believe that you will be reborn in the Pure Land by virtue of the eight precepts and the Nembutsu, which you already uphold. But if it does not rain, he must place his faith in the Lotus Sutra alone.” Delighted to hear this, the two delivered the message to the priest Ryoukan at Gokuraku-ji temple.

With tears of joy, along with more than 120 of his disciples, Priest Ryoukan offered prayers, the sweat of their faces rising up in steam and their voices resounding to the heavens. They chanted the Nembutsu, the Prayer for Rain Sutra, and the Lotus Sutra, and the priest Ryoukan preached on the eight precepts in an effort to produce rainfall within seven days. When no sign of rain appeared after four or five days, he was upset and summoned hundreds of his disciples from Tahō-ji Temple to join him, exhausting all his powers of prayer. But within seven days not a drop of rain fell.

At that time, the Sage Nichiren sent a messenger to him on no less than three occasions, saying, ‘A wanton woman called Izumi Shikibu and a priest named Nōin who broke the precepts were each able to cause rain immediately with just a thirty-one-syllable poem that made little sense and was full of excess flourishes. Why is it that the Honorable Ryoukan—who observes all the precepts and rules, has mastered the Lotus and True Word doctrines, and is renowned as the foremost in compassion—cannot produce rainfall within seven days, even when assisted by hundreds of his followers? Consider this: if the one who cannot cross a moat feet wide, can one cross a moat that is ten or twenty feet wide? If you cannot bring about rainfall, which is easy, how can you attain rebirth in the pure land and achieve Buddhahood, which is difficult?

Accordingly you should from this point on revise your prejudiced views, which lead you to hate Nichiren. If you fear for your next life, come to me immediately as you have promised. I will teach you the Law that causes rain to fall and the path that leads to Buddhahood. Not only have you not brought rain within seven days, but the drought has intensified, the eight winds are blowing more and more violently, and the people's grief is becoming deeper and deeper. Stop your prayers immediately.’

When the messenger conveyed the Sage Nichiren’s message word for word at the hour of the monkey (3:00–5:00 p.m.) on the seventh day, the priest Ryoukan wept, and his disciples and lay believers also cried aloud in their chagrin.

When the Sage Nichiren incurred the wrath of the government authorities and was asked about this matter, he told the story as it really happened. So he said: ‘If the priest Ryoukan had had any sense of shame, he would have disappeared from public view and retired to a mountain forest. Or if he had become my disciple as he had promised, then he would have shown at least a little seeking spirit. But in actuality, he made endless false accusations against me in an attempt to have me executed. Is this the conduct of a noble priest?’

 I, Yorimoto, also personally observed the situation. Where other affairs are concerned, I would not dare to address my lord in this fashion, but in this matter alone, however I may consider it, I find I cannot remain silent.”

The magistrate began to get upset.

“No, after all, the priests Ryuzo-bo and Ryoukan are the second coming of Buddha and Amitabha.”

At this point, Kingo testified to something surprising.

"In Kyoto, Ryuzo-bo has been known to eat human flesh and bones for breakfast and dinner.”

The whole place was in an uproar. A Buddhist monk became agitated, saying,

"What nonsense are you talking about? It was unbelievable. How could such a famous monk be a cannibal?”

But Kingo kept his cool.

“Addressing your statement, too, with the utmost respect, I must point out that, while in Kyoto, the priest Ryuzo-bo was feeding morning and evening on human flesh; and when this became known, the priests of Enryaku-ji temple on Mount Hiei rose up against him, saying, ‘The world has entered the latter age, and evil demons are rampant throughout the country. We must subdue them with the power of the Mountain King.’ They burned down his dwelling and intended to punish him, but he quickly escaped, and no one knew of his whereabouts. Then he suddenly appeared in Kamakura and was again eating human flesh, causing right-minded people to tremble in fear. Nevertheless, you say you respect him as a Buddha or a bodhisattva. How can I, as his retainer, refrain from pointing out my lord’s error? I wonder what the kind-hearted people in my colleagues think about this matter.”

The noisy audience appeared to be in a hurry. The magistrate was also upset, but still bullish.

“It is the blessing of God and Buddha, as well as a good example to the world, for a man to follow the will of his Lord and parents. Are you saying that disobeying the Lord is the right thing to do?”

The magistrate glared at him triumphantly.

Kingo responded quietly.

“This is the most important thing of all. My peers and others think that I am disrespectful, but in the world, I will always obey the orders of my parents and sovereign. However, because of this, I only regret that the Lord to whom I owe so much has been tormented by evildoers and has fallen into the wrong path. Having listened to the teachings of various priests, I have come to the conclusion that Nichiren Shonin is the Lord of the three thousand and one worlds, the father and mother of all sentient beings, and the messenger of Shakyamuni Buddha. I only believe that this is what is taught in the Lotus Sutra.”

The magistrate pressed Kingo with a cunning look, hoping to get to the heart of the matter now.

"In your oath, you say that you will forsake your two territories and believe in the Lotus Sutra. A land is the life of a samurai. By that argument you are saying that you are willing to be on the street.”

“I have left my lord's house and have no desire for land now. The land I now possess was not given to me by my lord. It was given to me because I helped him with the medicines of the Lotus Sutra when he was seriously ill, and if I were to take it away, the illness would return to my lord. At that time, even if the lord has a letter of apology, it will not be used.”

Shimada and Yamashiro are stunned to hear Kingo's allegations, which could be seen as a reopening of the situation. 

Suddenly, Kingo put his hands on the floor and began to speak out loudly.

“I can only lament when I see my lord, to whom I am so profoundly indebted, being deceived by those who embrace evil teachings and in danger of falling into the evil paths. Because King Ajase took Devadatta and the six non-Buddhist teachers as his mentors and opposed Shakyamuni Buddha, all the people of the kingdom of Magadha had become enemies of Buddhism, and the 580,000 clansmen of the king also had opposed the Buddha’s disciples. Among them, only Minister Giva was the Buddha’s disciple. The great king was not happy of Giva's devotion to the Buddha just as my lord disapproves of me. But in the end he discarded the erroneous doctrines of the other six ministers and took faith in the correct teaching that Giva espoused. Perhaps, in the same way, I will save my lord in the end.

When I speak this way, you may wonder how I dare to compare you to Ajase, who committed the five cardinal sins. But it is clear in the light of the sutra that my lord's offense is a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand times worse than his, though I hesitate to say such a thing.

 Being aware to some small degree of these errors, I have ventured to bring them to your attention. Among those in service, despite their differences in rank, there is none who does not honor his lord, each according to his station. If, knowing that my lord will fare badly in both this life and the next, I were to remain silent in fear of my fellow samurai or of the world at large, then would I not be guilty of complicity in their offense?

Therefore, no one can deny that the Shijo of two generations, my father and myself, have dedicated our lives in service to our lords. Old days, when the lord's father incurred the wrath of the authorities, his hundreds of retainers all abandoned their allegiance; among them, my late father Yorikazu alone remained faithful to the end, accompanying him into exile to the province of Izu. Shortly before the battle that took place in Kamakura on the twelfth day of the second month in the eleventh year of the Bun’ei era, I, Kingo, was in the province of Izu, but no sooner had I received word at the hour of the monkey on the tenth day than I hastened alone over the Hakone Pass and joined with seven others who vowed before my lord to put an end to their lives.

But the world at length grew calm again, and my lord now lives in peace. Since that time, my lord has included me among those who enjoy his trust in all matters, whether trifling or significant. How, then, could I estrange myself from my lord? I would obediently follow the lord even into the next life. If I should attain Buddhahood, I would save him as well, and if he was to attain Buddhahood, I expect my lord would do the same for me.

So I listened to the sermons of various priests and inquired into which teaching leads to Buddhahood. And I came to believe that, according to the teaching of the Lotus Sutra, the Sage Nichiren is the sovereign of the threefold world, the father and mother of all living beings, and the emissary of the Tathagata Shakyamuni—Bodhisattva Jogyo.

Then, in the time of the Retired Emperor of Oki, the eighty-second sovereign, the Zen and Nembutsu schools appeared and spread throughout the land, as had the great evil True Word teaching. So the vows made by the Sun Goddess and the god Hachiman to protect one hundred sovereigns throughout one hundred reigns were broken, and the imperial authority came to an end.43 Through the workings of the Sun Goddess and the god Hachiman, affairs of state then came to be entrusted to the Acting Administrator Yoshitoki of the Kanto region.

These three evil teachings spread to Kanto, where they gained support within the ruling clan to a surprising degree. Therefore, the two heavenly lords Brahmā and Shakra, the gods of the sun and moon, and the four heavenly kings were enraged and admonished the rulers by means of unprecedented disturbances in the heavens and calamities on earth. When their admonitions went unheeded, they commanded a neighboring country to punish those who slandered the Lotus Sutra. The Sun Goddess and the god Hachiman were powerless to help. The Sage Nichiren alone was aware of all this.

Such being the strictness of the Lotus Sutra, I have set aside all trivial concerns and served the lord devotedly until this day in my desire to lead my lord to enlightenment. Are not those who accuse me falsely thereby disloyal to the lord? If I cease to be his retainer, my lord will immediately descend into hell. Then, even if I myself were to attain Buddhahood, I could only grieve, feeling that I had done so in vain.

As for the Hinayana precepts, the two hundred and fifty precepts were expounded for the heavenly gods by the great arhat Pūrna, but the layman Vimalakīrti reprimanded him, saying, “You should not place impure food in a jeweled vessel.” Angulimāla reproached Manjushrī, saying, “You will never realize the truth of emptiness expounded in the Mahayana teachings through Hinayana practices, which are as insignificant as mosquitoes and gadflies.” Manjushrī later set forth seventeen flaws in the Hinayana precepts, and the Tathagata likewise repudiated them with the eight analogies. The Great Teacher Dengyo denounced them as donkey’s milk and likened them to a toad. The later disciples of Ganjin accused the Great Teacher Dengyo of calumny and appealed directly to Emperor Saga, but because what Dengyo had said is clearly indicated in the sutras, their efforts were to no avail. The petition submitted to the emperor by the schools of Nara proved futile, and the great ordination platform [for conferring the Mahayana precepts] was erected at Enryaku-ji temple on Mount Hiei. Thus the Hinayana precepts have already long since been discarded. Even if I, Kingo, should compare the priest Ryoukan to a mosquito, a gadfly, or a toad, because such assertions are clearly based on the sutras, you would have no reason to find fault with me.

Now it is unimaginably grievous to me that you would order me to submit a written oath discarding my faith in the Lotus Sutra. If Kingo should happen to fall ill and accidentally write a pledge, my lord will immediately receive the punishment of the Lotus Sutra. When the Sage Nichiren, the envoy of the Tathagata Shakyamuni, was exiled because of the false charges leveled against him by the priest Ryoukan, fighting broke out within one hundred days, just as he had predicted, and a great number of warriors perished. Among them were the scions of the Nagoe clan. Isn't the priest Ryoukan solely to blame for their deaths?”

The Nembutsu priest angrily denounced Kingo's words, but Kingo did not flinch.

“And if my lord now pays heed to the views of Ryuzo-bo and Ryoukan and forces me to write this oath, will he not be equally guilty? I am not sure whether those who slander me are simply ignorant of this causal principle, or whether they are intentionally trying to do me harm. In any event, I urge you to summon those who are plotting to use me in order to provoke some major incident, and have them confront me in your presence!”

The trial ended amid the shouts of the Nembutsu priests.

Shimada and Yamashiro immediately rushed to Mitsutoki's mansion and chased after their master.

 The anger of the two men reached its peak.

 “Your Excellency, there will be no respite. Kingo Shijo is as good a traitor as he is. You must insulate ourselves from him immediately and appeal to the military office as an inverted. We should put an end to his life!”

But Mitsutoki did not seem to listen. His fatigue is deep. He stood up sluggishly and was about to leave the room when he collapsed.

The two men were startled by the suddenness of the situation and could only call out, "My lord, My lord!”

Mitsutoki's wife came out to see what was going on, flipped them off and picked her husband up in her arms.

“My lord!”

The wife put her hand on her husband's forehead and screamed. The heat was like a fire.

She reflexively screamed.

“Call lord Kingo. Call lord Yorimoto!”

Hearing the news, Kingo rushed to the Mitsutoki residence.

At the entrance, Shimada and Yamashiro blocked his way, but he brushed them aside and entered. The two men glared at Kingo's back.

In addition to his wife, his relatives and other family members gathered to watch over the sickbed. Kingo jumped into the room.

The Lord was lying on the bedding, his face pale, breathing hard and coughing badly.

His wife complained.

“The fever has gone away, but he is suffering like this.”

Kingo put his hand on the master's forehead, opened his chest of the straight garment he was wearing, and examined his neck and chest.

“This is measles, that is, and it is spreading in Kamakura.”

“Lord Kingo, tell me how I may care for him.”

“Our lord is suffering from a lung disease, and if he continues like this, his heart is in danger. Ma'am, and in any case, please do not let his body get cold. Keep him warm.”

Kingo looked around the room.

“It's too bright in here. Make it a little darker. Eat less for the time being and make him drink plenty of water. Prepare some fruit, and when he recovers, let him eat it first.”

“Yes, sir. Lord Shijo Kingo is our only hope.”

“Rest assured, madam. I will not leave my lord's side no matter what.”

At the same time, a man-eating riot broke out in the city of Kamakura.

A group of warriors headed for the top of a mountain, clanging gongs and shouting as they chased after the cannibal. It was a hunting method to catch boars and deer.

“Were there any?”

"Are you sure this is the right place? Are you sure it's here?”

The man-eater was hiding in the shade of a tree, but it jumped out in distress. It was surrounded by a group of warriors.

There was no place to run. The cannibal was held back by dozens of sticks and gave up.

The warrior took off his mask and said, "Give up, the priest Ryuzo-bo!”

The next day, in the middle of the day, the roadside was crowded with people.

The cannibal had his face covered and was being dragged through the streets, bound in layers of rope.

The townspeople hurled abusive language at him. The criminal who had plunged Kamakura into the depths of terror had been caught.

Among the crowd was Gokurakuji Ryoukan. He still did not know that the cannibal was Ryuzo-bo. Ryoukan went out into the street and smacked the cannibal on the head with a fan.

At this moment, a soldier barked his mask and revealed his face for the first time.

The crowd screamed and then fell silent.

As Kingo had testified, the cannibal man was Ryuzo-bo.

Ryoukan was taken aback.

Fortunately, or perhaps miraculously, the story of the Ryuzo-bo incident has been handed down to us by Jonin Toki, a follower of Nichiren.

Jonin had been reporting the situation in Kamakura to Nichiren in Kai one by one.

People of this period were very good at writing. Jonin also reported on the abominable human flesh incident.

Susumu Ishii, an excellent expert of medieval history, explains.

“Around the third year of Kenji (1277), Toki Jonin, an old pupil of Nichiren and an influential follower, wrote a letter to Nichiren at Mt. Minobu, in which he described strange rumors in Kamakura at that time.

“The gist of the letter is: Recently, human flesh has been offered at the Inari Inari Shrine and the Hachiman Shrine. One of the lowest-ranking monks was found cutting up the flesh of a dead man who had been buried on Kobukuro Slope. When the Shogunate's office questioned him at Yui Beach, he confessed that he had cut them out on order from Ryuzo-bo. When we questioned the monk again, he replied that he had received the order from the Buddhist priest of the Touroto Hall in Kesho Slope, and rumor has it that an investigation is underway. This is a truly amazing and outrageous incident." (The Middle Ages in Japan, Chuokoron Company)  

It was Nichiren who identified Ryuzo-bo as the culprit of the human flesh incident. From the very beginning of the incident, Nichiren had paid attention to Ryuzo-bo, who was from Hieizan. When he was young, Nichiren had practiced asceticism at Hieizan. As such, he knew many people there. He knew the name of Ryuzo-bo, who had been forced to leave the mountain because of a human flesh incident on Mt. Based on all the information he had gathered, Nichiren determined that Ryuzo-bo in Kamakura was the same person, and had Kingo accuse him at the trial.

Kingo was doing his best to heal. No one can fix the lord Mitsutoki but him.

He woke up the sleeping Mitsutoki and gave him some medicine. He squeezed a wet piece of cloth and placed it on his forehead. Mitsutoki woke up and tried to get up, but Kingo shook his head and held him down and made him lie down.

In the middle of the night, while the others dozed off, Kingo alone held his hands together at his bedside.

"Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, let my lord's illness be cured.

Morning came.

When Kingo came out of his room, his wife and the clan were waiting for him.

Shimada and Yamashiro were still glaring at Kingo from behind his wife. They hated Kingo so much that they wanted to kill him, but they couldn't do anything until their master was healed.

The wife was exhausted.

“I wonder how his condition is. Lord Kingo, will he be able to recover?”

Kingo sat upright and put his hands together.

“I do not know. However, I have done all I can. I thought that this was not an illness that I should be able to help, but even though I declined, he insisted, and so I have been here. It was none other than my lord, whom I have served for generations, so I was only taking care of him.”

At this moment, a servant came running in.

“Lord Kingo, our lord's skin is …”

Everyone gathered in the hospital room.

When they looked, they saw that the skin on Mitsutoki's face and chest was peeling. It was as if a rash had fallen off.

Kingo nodded smilingly. The look on his face told them that Mitsutoki's illness was over.

The family quietly walked out of the tatami room, holding hands in hushed voices.

Mitsutoki woke up. He looked around and saw that Kingo was the only one in the room. When he realized this, he turned his head to the side.

Silence reigned. Kingo could not speak either.

Eventually, Mitsutoki spoke up.

“A Lucky man...”

Kingo answered immediately.

"Indeed. Your Highness is a leading figure in the Hojo clan. There is no one else in the Shogunate who can match you.”

Kingo flattered to make his master feel better.

"It's not me, it's you.”

Kingo fell silent at his master's unexpected comment.

“You believe in the Lotus Sutra and in the saint Nichiren to the bottom of your heart. I could hear the voice of the sutras. Is that how precious priest Nichiren's faith is?”

Kingo leaned forward.

"My lord, Nichiren Shonin is the messenger of Shakyamuni Buddha, the Lord of the Three Realms and the father and mother of all sentient beings. Please chant the title and relieve the suffering of Japan and its people as the keystone of the Shogunate.”

However, Mitsutoki looked lonely.

“No, I have disobeyed the saint Nichiren in this matter. As the Lotus Sutra says, you will be condemned to the incessant hell. You, who are a man of great faith, will attain Buddhahood, and I will be welcomed by a prisoner of hell.”

Kingo began to sob in sympathy at the sight of Mitsutoki's weakened condition, which he had never seen before.

“My lord, why should I feel estranged from you after all this time? I will follow you to the end of my life, and if I attain Buddhahood, I will save you, but if you do not attain Buddhahood, it will not save me either. If that's the case, even if Kingo becomes a Buddha, it won't be worth it."

Kingo's spirits sank. Despite his best efforts, Kingo's feelings were not understood by Mitsutoki. Was this how deep the rift between him and his master had become? The matter had gone as far as a lawsuit. Then, it would be useless to follow his master any further.

Kingo quietly left Mitsutoki's presence and bade his wife farewell.

“Your Lord is not completely cured, that he is not. The future is important, that it is. Thank you for your care over the years. I will take my leave now.”

"Lord Kingo."

The wife grabbed Kingo by the sleeve, but he shook her off and left.

Kingo and his family were moving into a cheaply-built house.

There was no sign of anyone in the house where they had been living. One by one, his former followers greeted Kingo and left. The only one who stayed behind was the old man who had been there since his father's time.

Kingo's territory had been taken away from him. There was no word from his master, Mitsutoki.

He had lost his domain in exchange for his faith. It was a heavy price to pay. For Kingo, who was already forty-five years old, it seemed to be a heavy burden. At least that is how the world saw it.

But Kingo was unfazed.

The young daughter Tsukimaro sat on Kingo's lap and asked.

“Father, why are your retainers leaving? Did your father do something wrong?”

Kingo shook his head.

“I am being tested. The heavens are sifting my faith. Do you dislike poverty, Tsukimaro?”

Tsukimaro said with an innocent look on his face.

“I'm happy as long as I have my father and mother.”

Kingo laughed.

“That's right. Nothing is necessary. Our whole life is a dream, and we never know what tomorrow will bring. No matter how many beggars we become, do not let the Lotus Sutra be damaged. It is as the sage said. The treasure of the body is superior to the one of the storehouse. The treasure of the heart is more important than the treasure of the body. We should have more treasure in our heart than in possessions, a career, or fame.”

Under the midsummer sun, Kingo Shijo and his old servant were plowing the fields. Having lost their fields, they had to cultivate them by themselves.

Kingo went far away from Kamakura and found a place where he could grow rice and settled down.

Kingo picked up the hoe and the old servant sowed the seeds. Both of them worked up a sweat every day.

The old man grumbled.

“It's a shame. Just yesterday we had so many fields and so many servants. The mansion in Kamakura has been taken away. Now there is only one house with no gate, no fence, no stable, and no Buddhist hall. I'm sure you must be in a lot of pain.”

The old man knew that it was Kingo who was having a harder time than he was, but he couldn't help complaining.

Kingo started to hoe.

“I told you not to complain about it. This is part of your training.”

“I wonder if that's true.”

Just then, two warriors on horseback approached. They are Shimada Nyudo and Yamashiro Nyudo. They were looking down at Kingo and smiling.

The old servant noticed them and stood in front of Kingo.

Shimada, on his horse, was well-dressed and in a good mood.

“It's been a long time, lord Kingo, that it has. I haven't seen you in Kamakura for a while, but I didn't know you were here. There are rumors among our people that you have retired.”

The old man became angry.

“How rude. My master has been slandered by those who have no heart..."

Kingo interrupted him.

"No, no, leave them alone. They are the ones who envy me. They are those who envy me, who do not know the reason why they fall into the wrong path if they slander the righteous law. They are the ones who deceive my lord. They are the ones who are trying to get me to do something evil. Do not deal with them. It is a waste of time.”

 Shimada was angrily about to dismount, but Yamashiro stopped him.

“Tomorrow, Lord Kingo, the Nagoe family will be celebrating a special occasion. Our sovereign Lord Mitsutoki has been cured of his illness, and the whole family will gather there. I've just come to suggest that you, my lord's favorite, should come along as well. I'm sure Tono would be delighted. If there is even the slightest chance of meeting him, come.”

The two men on horseback walked away laughing.

Shimada and Yamashiro used to be after Kingo's life, but now that Kingo has been abandoned by his master, they have decided that he is no longer worth burying. To them, Kingo was no longer an enemy, but merely a former colleague to be made fun of.

Kingo stared at their backs as they left.

The old man clutched at Kingo.

“You must not go. You mustn't go. Lord Mitsutoki is no longer your master. He is a distant person. If you go, your life may be in danger.”

Kingo did not answer, but looked at the sky. He returned to his home and placed his hands in front of the Gohonzon, the image presented to him by Nichiren. Then he squeezed out the words.

“Thanks to the Lotus Sutra, my Lord has made a full recovery. It is thanks to the Lotus Sutra.”

To be continued.


The udumbara plant

Udonge. A legendary flower that is said to bloom only once in 3,000 years. In Buddhist scriptures, it is used as a metaphor for extremely rare occurrences (good omen).

by johsei1129 | 2022-05-19 18:58 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
トラックバックURL : https://nichirengs.exblog.jp/tb/32676744
トラックバックする(会員専用) [ヘルプ]
※このブログはトラックバック承認制を適用しています。 ブログの持ち主が承認するまでトラックバックは表示されません。

<< 67. Kingo's...      65. Controversy... >>