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2022年 05月 19日

72, Ikegami Brothers Guide Parents to the Lotus Sutra

The day of the Ikegami family's inheritance arrived.

The sky was blue and clear.

The people gathered at the residence of Yasumitsu Ikegami were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the guest of honor, Munenaga.

Ryoukan Gokurakuji sat with Yasumitsu and his wife.

His father, Yasumitsu, was relieved that his family would survive, while Ryoukan was satisfied with the elimination of the Nichiren sect.

Munenaga's wife and children were also there. He received countless gifts, but his wife was too absorbed in her thoughts to pay attention to them.

In the center of the room, the customary Shogunate retainers are seated.

The carpenters sat on the ground in the garden, watching to see what would happen. Among them was the disowned elder brother Munenaka. The haggard Munenaka was paired with the beaming Ryoukan.

At the appointed time, a warrior in charge of the ceremony, who was stationed in the left corner of the front hall, stood up and announced

 “We will now solemnly perform the ceremony of inheriting the heir to the title of Construction Inquisitor. Munenaga Ikegam, come in.”

Dressed in formal kimono with a large family crest, Munenaga slowly makes his way down the long corridor leading to the hall, dragging his long hakama behind him.

 His face was tense. Not everyone present congratulated the new master builder.

The host of the ceremony speaks up.

“First, I would like to hear a few words from the Priest Ryoukan of the Gokuraku-ji Temple.”

Ryokan looked radiant as he made it to the day.

“At the request of Mr. and Mrs. Yasumitsu Ikegami, who are the grand parishioners of Gokuraku-ji Temple, I have decided to nominate lord Munenaga as a magistrate for the construction's work. This young man is pure and innocent, with not a trace of greed or greediness in his life. He is truly worthy of being Ikegami's successor. I am sure that he will cherish Amida Buddha as his father did, and will not have any unnecessary thoughts in his mind. This is a superfluous worry. At any rate, let us hear what his determination is.”

All eyes were on Munenaga. 

Munenaga took a deep breath and spoke.

“I am very pleased to see so many of your distinguished guests here. I, Ikegami Munenaga, have been recommended by my parents and others to follow in their footsteps. Since ancient times, it has been the duty of a child to follow the advice of his parents, and it is also the law of the world. It is a great honor for me to be able to exert my abilities as the head of the Kamakura Carpenters as well as the head of the prestigious Construction Magistrate.

My only concern is for my elder brother Munenaka. He was disowned because of his faith in the Lotus Sutra. As a younger brother, I was not sure whether I could succeed him or not. The master told him that if he followed his parents and believed in the Nembutsu, he would go to hell. If I followed my elder brother and believed in the Lotus Sutra, I would lose my successor and my family would die out. It is one of two things.”

They all pricked up their ears.

“For a time I hated myself for having to suffer like this, but I had to make a decision. The child must obey its parents.”

Relief came to the parents.

“Here’s I think, the Shakyamuni of the Moon Kingdom was a prince of the King of Joubon. His parents wanted to hand over the kingdom and place him on the throne, but he fled the castle at night against his parents' wishes. His parents were envious of him for his lack of filial piety, but after he became a Buddha, he first led King Joubon and Lady Maya to Buddhism.”

Ryoukan became dismayed. Even Yasumitsu and his wife and his elder brother Munenaka were astonished. All the audience looked at Munenaga with a sense of wonder.

 Munenaga declared strongly as if he were a different person.

"If you are parents, I should obey them, but you are an enemy of the Lotus Sutra. If I follow you, you will be a person who has broken the Buddha's law, and you will be a person who has the greatest lack of filial piety. Even if my father abandons me, please know that my heart is the same as my brother's!"

The father's face scrunched up and his hands trembled. His mother covered her face with her hands and sobbed.

Ryoukan, who had been quiet up to this point, stood up.

“What are you talking about? Don't you see this gold and silver? Are you trying to stain my honor?”

Ryoukan bared his emotions in front of the crowd.

Munenaga was unmoved.

“I am sorry. I am a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra. I am not one to follow precepts like mosquitos and flies. This matter is beyond your reach!”

Ryoukan's face changed. His body was trembling. Then he laughed and uttered a curse.

“You brothers are finished. Go wherever you want. Now the magistrate Ikegami is no more. That's all right, I'm not troubled by anything. There are plenty of replacements.”  

Ryoukan snickered even more.

“What have I done? I've put my shoulder to the wheel of a mere lowly carpenter. What a farce. Ah, I've wasted my time. I have no more use for this place. I'm going home.”

When Ryokan urged his disciple Irusawa Nyudo to leave, everyone gasped.

The father, Yasumitsu, drew his sword and pointed it at Ryoukan's nose.

What was going on?

Yasumitsu was furious.

Ryoukan stood still, unable to move. Ryoukan's disciples surrounded them, watching with bated breath.

Yasumitsu glared at him and said,

“Priest Ryoukan, your words are not in keeping with your usual behavior. Even the lowly carpenters are skilled and serve the shogunate. Your words are rather disrespectful to Lord Kamakura, don't you think?”

The ceremony took a turn for the worse and turned into an abnormal scene.

The magistrate was turning his blade against the living Buddha of Kamakura. Yasumitsu could not bear the insult to his profession of architecture any more than his second son's betrayal.

Ryoukan's face changed color as he saw the shining blade in front of him. Sweat broke out on his face and he fell to his knees.

“It was a gaffe, no matter how it was made. Lord Yasumitsu, forgive me.”

Ryoukan's disciple left as if he were fleeing.

“Wait, don't leave me!”

He ended up embarrassing himself in front of a packed audience.

Ryoukan and his apprentice finally got out, but the mishaps continued. The carpenters stood in their way.

 They had seen the whole thing. All of them were glaring at Ryoukan with anger in their eyes.

The carpenters shouted as much abuse as they could at Ryoukan and his apprentice.

Ryoukan barely escaped from the deafening barrage of abuse and left.

Munenaga, dressed in formal attire, walked down to the garden and walked in front of his brother. He put his hands on the ground.

The bearded elder brother nodded.

“Munenaga, you have said it well. You are worthy to be my brother.”

A large crowd of carpenters surrounded them. Some were in tears.

The father was watching them.

The Ikegami family's disturbances were over for the time being.

What did not subside was Ryoukan. He could not sit idly by while his fame was ruined by the Ikegami family and threatened him with a sword.

Ryoukan immediately rushed to the shogunate office and appealed to Taira no Yoritsuna.

“Your Highness, the Ikegami brothers are a faction of Nichiren. They are trying to spread the Lotus Sutra and to exterminate the Nembutsu. They are the most evil men in Kamakura, who do not obey their parents and do not fear the world. What is more, his father Yasumitsu, in his madness, turned his blade against the innocent Ryoukan. What an evil act to do to a monk, a messenger of the Buddha. That father and son have gone mad. Please judge them.”

The cool-headed Yoritsuna laughed, which was rare.

“So, what do you want me to do?”

“I ask that Yasumitsu Ikegami be stripped of his magistrate's office, that his lands be taken from him, and that the brothers be banished to Kamakura.”

 Yoritsuna was critical.

“That is up to lord Tokimune, the regent. There is nothing I can do about it.”

Ryokan approached.

“Lord Yotitsuna, consider the payback to be great. By doing so, you may be able to drive Nichiren's disciples out of Kamakura. The Ikegami brothers are the apple of our eyes. Don't you think the benefits are great for both of us?”

Yoritsuna laughed again.

“Benefit. That's a word that's appropriate for the priest Ryoukan, isn't it?"

Yoritsuna's high-pitched laugh echoed throughout the government office.

The construction of the regent's mansion has been completed.

 There was a commotion once, but the carpenters overcame their hardships and were able to unveil the new building.

During the celebration, they whispered to each other.

“The lord Kamakura is here. I hear that the Ikegami family is to be blamed for the upcoming inheritance issue.

“I heard that Gokurakuji Ryoukan requested that Ikegami be destroyed.”

“They say the brothers were banished from Kamakura.”

“I heard that lord Yasumitsu is going to commit ritual suicide for having cut his blade against Ryokan.”

Yasumitsu, the magistrate of the construction, accompanied Tokimune inside the completed hall. Yasumitsu pointed to various parts of the building and explained them to Tokimune. Tokimune expressed his admiration and gratitude.

The two men finished their inspection and entered the back room.

There, Taira no Yoritsuna and Adachi Yasumori were waiting for them. In the corner of the room, Ryoukan Gokurakuji was prostrate.

Tokimune sat down in the center. Yasumitsu Ikegami prostrated in front of Tokimune as if he were the accused.

Yoritsuna spoke.

“Ikegami Munenaka and Munenaga, come in.”

The brothers appeared and fell prostrate behind their father.

The scene was set for the trial.

Ikegami and his son were the defendants, and Ryoukan was the plaintiff. Yoritsuna and Yasumori were the prosecutors and defense counsel, and Tokimune was the judge.

Taira no Yoritsuna said ruthlessly.

"The Ikegami brothers, Munenaka and Munenaga, have been unfaithful to their parents. This is a matter of grave concern. Moreover, the brothers are upholding the teachings of Nichiren, which are not in line with the shogunate. Furthermore, Yasumitsu, a magistrate, turned his blade against the priest Ryoukan of Gokuraku-ji Temple. He has a bad reputation for insolent behavior toward a priest who is held in high esteem in Kamakura. Now that the matter had come to this, it was unavoidable. It is imperative that we confiscate the lands of Ikegami and his son, dispose of them, and take away their positions as magistrates.”

Yasumori Adachi countered.”

“No, I am against it. From the magnificence of this building, no one but the lord Ikegami would be more suitable for the position of construction magistrate. I believe that this matter is a plot by someone to undermine the Ikegami family. I ask that you investigate this matter and exercise discretion.”

Yoritsuna, a close personal servant, and Yasumori, a retainer, glanced at each other with ferocious eyes.

All eyes turned to Tokimune.

Tokimune opened his mouth.

“First of all, lord Yasumitsu, as a magistrate and a father, I would like to know what is on your mind right now.”

Yasumitsu looked up. He was exhausted from the chaos of the past few days, but he had a good head on his shoulders.

“Our lord, thank you very much for asking me. First of all, this latest scandal is entirely the fault of Yasumitsu himself. The two children are blameless.”

The brothers looked up. Everyone was surprised.

“I was always against the priest Nichiren," he said.

Yasumitsu took one look at Ryoukan.

“The other day, however, has awakened me to the fact that I am not the only one. I have now made up my mind to devote myself to the Lotus Sutra.”

The brothers were more and more astonished.

“However, I was so foolish as to not listen to them. I disowned my first son and forced my second son to recite the Nembutsu. This sin will not disappear. However, if you could at least forgive my son's sins and punish me alone, I would be more than happy.”

What a surprise.

The brothers clutched Yasumitsu's arms. Tears were already streaming down his face.


The elder brother Munenaka shouted to Tokimune.

“My Lord, I humbly beg your pardon. This disturbance was caused by me alone. My father is blameless. I beg you to punish me for my lack of filial piety!”

This time, the younger brother Munenaga defended his brother.

“My Lord, what my elder brother has said is a lie. I am the one who openly disobeyed and abused my father. Such an unfilial person must be punished. Please judge me alone. Please, please!”

Tokimune looked at the father and son. His eyes looked both tender and lonely.

Ryoukan of Gokuraku-ji Temple was alarmed at the sight of them. Without thinking, he stepped in front of Tokimune.

"My Lord, you must not be deceived. This father and son were seduced by Nichiren. Do not allow Nichiren's people into the Shogunate. Please..."

Before he could finish, Tokimune's angry voice rang out.

“You are interrupting our talk. What do you know about it? Stand down!”

Tokimune glared at him with the authority of a general. Ryoukan cowered and backed away.

 Father Yasumitsu was satisfied.

“It is ironic, that it is. For the first time, father and son have become one. Now that this has happened, I leave everything to you, Your Excellency!”

The father and two children put their foreheads on the floor so that they could rub their foreheads against the floor.

Regent Tokimune remained meditating with his arms folded.

Outside, countless carpenters watched the scene.

The brothers' wives were there. The family was there. People from the Lotus Sutra school, led by Kingo Shijo, had come to the scene. There were also onlookers. The atmosphere was noisy.

Soon, Yasumitsu came out of the hall.

 His expression was severe.

The people looked up at him and fell silent.

Then came Munenaka and Munenaga.

The carpenters prepared for the worst.

However, the three men soon broke into smiles and took each other's hands, with Yasumitsu in the center.

The moment they saw this, the crowd understood. Some jumped up. Some danced. Cheers went up again and again.

 Tokimune was watching the father and son in the corner of the hall.

“They look happy," he said.

Yasumori praised Tokimune.

“It is thanks to your judgment, Your Highness.”

Yoritsuna remained silent.

Although Tokimune should have judged brilliantly, today's him was somewhat lonely.

“I wonder if fathers and sons are as harmonious as that. I also had an elder brother, though he was a half-brother, but I looked up to him as an elder brother. But he is gone now.”

Tokimune also had an older brother named Tokisuke. Six years ago, he murdered that brother.

 Although he did not tell anyone, he seemed to feel remorse for his brother's death.

 Tokimune could not become a member of the Ikegami brothers. He left with cheers at his back.

 The Ikegami riot was resolved by the regent Tokimune's final decision. Tokimune was the only person who could have brought such a contentious disturbance under control. Tokimune's single voice brought the situation under control. Nichiren looked back.

"Ikegami Munenaka defied his parents, but was reversed and forgiven by the word of the precious top." 'Writing to Shijo Kingo.’

Who is the "top"? From the expression in the "precious", we know that it was Tokimune.

Dancing continued in the plaza. A dance of joy filled the plaza. Carpenters danced around, exploding with joy.

Yasumitsu, brothers, and their wives laughed with tears at their antics.

by johsei1129 | 2022-05-19 19:29 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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