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日蓮大聖人『御書』解説

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2022年 05月 19日

74. Epidemic Strikes Japan

白い背景にある星の絵中程度の精度で自動的に生成された説明

The electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virions with visible Coronae which was a worldwide epidemic in 2020. From Wikipedia.

 The situation in Japan was getting worse.

 Misfortunes never come singly.

 A new calamity came at a time when Japan was grieving and suffering from hunger.

 It was a plague.

 It was a time when there was no advanced medicine. This sad news was heard in various provinces and reached the mountains of Nichiren. In the letter written in 1278 when Nichiren was 57 years old, his misery at that time was described.

 “Moreover, from the spring of last year through the middle of the second month of this year, epidemics have spread throughout the country. In five families out of ten, in fifty households out of a hundred, all the members have died from disease. Others have escaped illness, but are suffering from awful spiritual distress, and thus are in even more terrible agony than those who are ill. Even the people who managed to survive have lost the children who used to accompany them as closely as shadows, or the spouses from whom they had been as inseparable as a pair of eyes, or the parents upon whom they had relied as they would upon heaven and earth. For them, what meaning does life hold? How can sensible people not dislike this world? The Buddha preached that there is no safety even in the three worlds, but this present circumstance seems to deviate from nature excessively.” ‘Letter to the lord Matsuno’

 The pestilence spread widely from the spring of 1277, and many people died one after another. The next year, it did not decline. In addition, this year was a very poor harvest due to bad weather.

 The Imperial Court rushed to change the name of the era to Koan, and changed the previous Kenji. On May 18,1278, Kofuku-ji Temple built a statue of Kannon (Deity of Mercy) to pray for the end of the plague. The Imperial Court further ordered 22 shrines to pray on May 26.

 The pestilence is hard to spread if there is a good harvest. Nichiren describes the world as suffering from famine in addition to epidemics. This is also a letter written when he was 57 years old.

 "Last year and this year pestilence has been rampant in this country. People die like trees toppling before a great wind or plants flattened by a severe snowfall. I am afraid that if things continue as they are, not a single one of them will survive.

 The weather this year, however, was at first very seasonable. The five kinds of grain flourished in the fields, and plants and trees grew lush on the plains and mountains. It was as though we were living in the age of the sage rulers Yao and Shun, or in the beginning of the universe of formation.

 But now, with the heavy rains and winds that appeared in the eighth and ninth months, the whole country of Japan is troubled by crop failure, and the common people who are left alive wonder how they can get through the winter. The situation is worse than what we faced in the past in the Kangi and Shoka eras, and more severe than the three disasters.

 Also, we are troubled by the rebellion in our own country, thieves and bandits fill the land, enemies come from abroad to attack us, and all our thoughts are about armed conflict. The people’s hearts are lacking in filial piety and they look to their own parents as strangers. Monks and nuns, embracing erroneous views, quarrel with one another like dogs and monkeys. Because of the lack of pity and compassion, the heavenly deities cease to guard this country of ours. Because of the prevalence of erroneous views, the three treasures of Buddhism also abandon the people aside.

 The epidemics seemed to have subsided for a time, but now the evil spirits appear to have come upon us again. In provinces to the north, provinces to the east, provinces to the west, and provinces to the south, everywhere alike, we hear the cries of those suffering from sickness.” ‘Letter to lord Ueno’

屋内, テーブル, 座る, ケーキ が含まれている画像自動的に生成された説明

Digitally colored scanning electron micrographs of SARS-CoV-2 virions (yellow) emerging from human cells cultured in a laboratory. From Wikipedia.

 It is said that if slander to the correct Law accumulates, the country will suffer the small three calamities, famine, warfare, and pestilence.

 The rise in grain prices starts from famine, and creates violent inflation. And a war and pestilence. These all come from the three evil ways of anger, greed and foolishness created by humans.

 Nichiren says that this evil intention is caused by slander of the correct Law.

 “In the kalpa of destruction, the three major calamities will occur. These are namely the calamity of fire, the calamity of water, and the calamity of wind. And in the kalpa of decrease, the three small calamities will occur. These are namely famine, pestilence, and warfare. Famine occurs as a result of greed, pestilence as a result of foolishness, and warfare as a result of anger. Though there are 4,994,828 different people and different men and women in Japan at present, they have the three poisons to be caused by the same one reason. And these three poisons occur at the boundary of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. As a result, these people at the same time, try to curse, attack, banish, and kill Shakyamuni, Taho Buddha, and the ten directions' Buddha. This is the beginning of the appearance of the three small calamities.” ‘Reply to the lord Soya.’

Famine, epidemics and warfare, the three major evils, arise from within human beings. It doesn't come from the outside. Nichiren preached in detail by referring to Tendai's 'Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra'.

“Hence volume four of Words and Phrases says, 'The mark of the impurity of the age is the fact that the four types of impurity appear in increased number and intensity and flock about the age. Because anger increases intensely, strife of warfare occurs. Because greed increases in intensity, famine arises. Because the foolishness increases in intensity, pestilence breaks out. And because these three calamities occur, earthly desires grow more powerful and false various views increasingly flourish.’

 The Lotus Sutra says, 'Hatred and jealousy toward this sutra abounded even when the Tathagata was in the world. It goes without saying after the Buddha had passed away.' I decide that a person who does not believe in the Lotus Sutra is 'the handicapped by the five contaminations'. Hence the sutra says, 'in this wicked world of the five contaminations, because people enjoy and cling to only the various desires, they will never seek for the Buddha's road’. Here “the Buddha's road” is another name of the Lotus Sutra. As Tien-tai says, “The Buddha's road” means this Lotus Sutra in particular."

 The four turbidites are the various phases of the cloudiness of vexations, the cloudiness of views, the cloudiness of sentient beings, and the cloudiness of life. When all sentient beings are obsessed with worldly desires and wrong thoughts, their lives, the whole society and the lives of sentient beings become muddy. If the four turbidites continue, the five turbidities will be completed as a result of the turbidity of the age.

 Anger multiplies and becomes war, greed multiplies and becomes famine, stupidity multiplies and becomes epidemics.

 Famines occurred in succession. Japan was exhausted from the fear of the Mongol invasion that followed the February Disturbance. In addition, pestilence was rampant. Shakyamuni's prediction of the future is frighteningly accurate.

 The people of Japan have not yet taken refuge in the excellent Law. Nichiren called those who have turned their backs on the orthodoxy of the Law as people of disobedience. This is because they are disobedient to their master, Shakyamuni Buddha. He says that this plague is caused by the disbelief of the Japanese nation.

 “Considering these matters, all people of Japan are not filial. The Nirvana Sutra states that non-filial people are more numerous than the dust particles of the earth. This is why the sun, the moon, and eighty-four thousand stars in the sky are outraged, glowering at the nation of Japan with stern eyes. This is what today's Yin Yang fortune tellers are reporting to the ruler as frequent extraordinary phenomena in the heavens. With ominous happenings on the ground occurring day after day, this country is like a small boat tossed on the vast sea. This is the reason why the children of Japan lose their consciousness, and why the women are vomiting blood.” ‘Reply to the lord Ueno’

What kind of pestilence is it that children lose their consciousness? Does the phrase "women are vomiting blood" refer to tuberculosis?




by johsei1129 | 2022-05-19 19:41 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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