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日蓮大聖人『御書』解説

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2022年 05月 21日

78. Persecution Broke out in the Peasant in Atsuhara.


It became the eighth month of the lunar calendar. In the solar calendar, it was autumn in September. The harvest season has begun.

In Atsuhara, Yashirou, accompanied by Yagoro and Yarokuro, visited the farmers who were believers. One house by one, the three of them tried to persuade the farmers to continue to believe in the Lotus Sutra. However, since the incident involving the blade, the response was not very positive.

Although the Lotus Sutra had the upper hand, Gyochi still controlled the temple. Nisshu and Niben of the Hokke school had no choice but to hide in a corner of the temple. Even the supporting Hokkebuso could not change this situation.

 Yashirou persuaded them at a peasant's house.

"We are going to appeal to the government office because of the recent attack. Please, cooperate with us.”

The peasants were cold toward Yashirou and his men.

“I don't like fighting. I don't attend meetings anymore. I'm going to consider whether or not I believe in the Lotus Sutra.”

“What are you talking about? You said before that you are grateful for this faith.”

“Ryusen-ji Temple has swords, bows and arrows. Peasants don't have them. I don't want to get cut down myself.”

The peasants pushed Yashirou back and closed the door.

The village fell silent. Finally, they stopped opening the door even when Yashirou and the others called out to them.

“Hey, you're here, aren't you? We'll hold a meeting tomorrow. Make sure you come. The monk Nisshu and monk Nichiben will be there.”

There was no response from inside. The three gave up and left.

They took their hands on the footpath and tried to persuade them, but they were not listened to. The peasants waved them off and left.

The ears of rice in the fields as far as the eye could see were drooping, and the harvest was just around the corner.

At lunchtime, Yashirou, Yagoro, and Yarokuro leaned against a large tree.

“No, we can't do it. Everyone in the village is cowed.”

Yagoro gave up. Yarokuro, too, was having a hard time convincing the villagers.

“The peasants are indeed weak against the warriors," Yagoro said.

“I thought that Atsuhara was united by the Lotus Sutra, but all it took was an injury and this is what happened. Shall we take up swords as well?”

Yashirou, the leader, said thoughtfully. He was impatient.

“That's one way to go. We may have to face a sword with a sword.”

Yagoro stopped him.

“That's no good. The headman and the landowner are not sitting still. Jinshirou said so too.”

Yashirou scowled.

“Don't talk about Jinshirou. That guy was so cute himself that he became a coward. His wife and children are more important than his piety.”

It was at this point.

I heard footsteps.

Yashirou stood up to see what was going on.

It was a samurai from Ryusen-ji Temple. The samurai suddenly drew his sword at Yashirou. Yashirou turned his back in a panic and tried to run away, but was slashed in the back and fell down.

The samurai then straddled Yashirou, who had fallen on his face, and struck his head off in one fell swoop. He then cruelly lifted Yashirou's head high in the air with his sword.

It all happened in the blink of an eye.

Yagoro and Yarokuro were stunned.

A samurai shouted like a madman.

“Tell the peasants. Tell the peasants that if they do not renounce the Lotus Sutra, this is what will happen to them. Nisshu, the priest of Niben is no exception!”

The warrior leaves valiantly. The name of who this warrior was has not been handed down.

Yagoro and Yarokuro cried over the headless body of Yashirou.


 That night, Yashirou's house was filled with the believers of Atsuhara.

Yashirou's body was placed in a hastily prepared wooden box and covered with a brand new cloth. Everyone joined hands.

An unbelievable thing happened. Yashirou, who until yesterday had taken the lead in leading the congregation, had been slain for no reason.

Nisshu and Nichiben, who had come to the scene, also prayed. Hoki-bo was away in Kai. The Jinshirou family was seated at the back of the line.

Yagoro's eyes turned red.

“It is decided. Gyochi of Ryusen-ji Temple intends to exterminate us. Let us all follow Yashirou's lead. We must appeal to the Inquiry Office. We have proof. We will surely win the verdict!”

The congregation all voiced their agreement. If it was a violent act, it would still be fine, but there had been deaths in the laities. If they did not appeal publicly, their own lives would be in danger.

An unusual heat swirled in front of Yashirou's coffin.

At this time, there was a commotion outside.

Soldiers, attracted by the warlord, rushed in. They were samurais in the local jurisdiction of the Shogunate.

Gyochi, acting on behalf of the director of the Ryusenji- Temple, appeared next. He pointed at the peasants. It was clear that the temple and the government office were in collusion.

The warriors threatened with halberds and swords.

Yashirou's tablets were thrown away on the earthen floor.

The peasants panicked.

The soldiers roughly chased Nisshu and the other monks out. They were not after Nichiren's disciples, but the peasants.

The women screamed.

The soldiers were small in number, but the empty-handed peasants were no match for them. Jinshirou shielded his wife and children with both hands.

The warlord looked around and said in a loud voice, "I am not going to let them get away with this.

“Ryusen-ji Temple has appealed to us. There are those who believe in the Lotus Sutra. Who is the ringleader?”

All the peasants cowered and put their heads to the floor in horror. The government office is furious at the belief in the Lotus Sutra.

The warlord slowly looked at each of the peasants and said, "You must give up your faith in the Lotus Sutra. Those who don't will be thrown out. This area is under the direct control of the Shogunate. We will not allow any followers of the Lotus Sutra in this land. Anyone who objects, stand up!”

No one stood up.

The warlord sneered.

“No one will stand up? Yes, that's right. Nobody's fool enough to stand up to the Shogunate. We will not do anything violent. Yes, that is all right. All you have to do is to worship Amida and cultivate the rice fields.”

Some of the peasants tried to stand up, but they could not. When they tried to stand up, their wives and children stopped them. Yagoro and Yarokuro were also frustrated because they could not stand up.

As the soldiers laughed and turned to leave, Jinshirou finally stood up.

“You!"

"Dad!"

 Jinshirou's wife and son shouted.

He shook and said.

“I am Jinshirou, a resident of Atsuhara. No matter how much you frighten me, I will never abandon my faith in the Lotus Sutra!”

After a moment of silence, soldiers grab their swords and threaten him.

At this point, Yagoro also stood up.

“I am Yagoro. I will never leave the sage Nichiren!”

Amid the soldiers' angry shouts, Yarokuro also stood up.

“I am Yarokuro, that I am. I will not abandon Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo!”

Men and women, young and old, stood up vigorously.

“I too will not abandon the Lotus Sutra.”

 This was the only time they all shouted.

 Even the warlord flinched for a moment at the peasantry's spirit. The soldiers who had flanked the warlord felt threatened when they saw all the peasants standing up. It was a bizarre sight. The peasants, unarmed, were hurling themselves at the warlord.

"Take them in!"

The warrior gave the order, but the soldiers ran away in fear. The warrior, too, turned his back and walked away.

Silence returned to Yashirou's house.

 The children and women, probably relieved, cried in unison. The men silently patted each other on the shoulder.

They fixed the messy altar and chanted the title again in front of Yashirou's coffin.

Before they knew it, Jinshirou was at the center of the circle.

 The group of believers in Atsuhara came to be known as the organization of the Lotus Sutra. The Atsuhara Lotus Sutra followers became more united as a result of the courage shown at Yashirou's home.


The long-awaited harvest began.

The believers harvested the rice with shining eyes. Every face was happy. On that day, they harvested the rice field of Nisshu's equity. In addition to the joy of a bountiful harvest, they were harvesting rice for their own abbot. It was a moment of unparalleled joy.

But there was an unusual silence beginning to reign.

An unfamiliar group of warriors surrounded the farmers.

There must have been a hundred of them. They were not local soldiers. It was on a scale that could not even be compared to the incident at Yashirou's house.

Jinshirou and his men could not resist and were captured.

There were exactly 20 peasants tied up. One by one, they were thrown into a prepared cage and carried away.

Clearly, a huge force was at work. It was an event that had been carefully prepared in advance by an unknown entity.

September 21, Kouan 2 (1279), was the beginning of the persecution of Atsuhara.


As if to coincide with the capture of the peasants, the acting director of the temple, Gyochi, went to the Kamakura government office and submitted the complaint.

He read the complaint before the magistrate.

“The Acting Lord of Ryusen-ji Temple below Fuji in the Land of Suruga, Taira Sakon Nyudo Gyochi, respectfully submits this complaint.

First point. Nisshu and Nichiben of the Ryusen-ji, calling themselves disciples of the priest Nichiren, claim that the sutras other than the Lotus Sutra and the practitioners of the Shingon teachings are all ineffectual in bringing benefit either in one’s present existence or in the existences to come.

Second point. It is a big problem that they make the Lotus Sutra their service while the Japanese nation should make the Amida Sutra their service.

Third point. On the twenty-first day of the present month a band formed of a number of persons armed with bows and arrows broke into the director’s territory of our temple, and that Shimotsuke-bō Nisshū, armed and mounted on a horse, along with a peasant of Atsuhara named Kijirō, set up a notice board and the group then reaped the rice crop and carried it off to the compound occupied by Nisshū.

These three articles above are the deadly sins that do not fear the gods of Buddha and God. I ask that you review them and pass judgment on them."

The magistrate received the complaint, but he was not pleased.

"I hope this complaint of yours is not false. There have been many people who have sued Nichiren's sect. But none of them have ever been true."

Gyochi scoffed.

“I have a witness here.”

To his surprise, monk Sanmi-bo appeared and said,

“I am Sanmi-bo, a disciple of Nichiren until the other day. I have been unable to bear Nichiren's misdeeds, so I have decided to become a witness and frustrate the evil priest's attempts. It is clear to me that this will expose the crimes of the peasants of Atsuhara.”

The magistrate was surprised. Speaking of Sanmi-bo, isn't he a high disciple of Nichiren?

At this moment, Taira no Yoritsuna appeared, as if he had been waiting for them.

One of the officials exclaimed in surprise.

"Here is the Hei-no-Saemon-no-jo!"

The magistrate was stunned and fell flat. The magistrate had no idea what was going on. Why had the chief retainer of the Hojo family, in other words, the high-ranking official of the Kamakura shogunate, appeared here?

Yoritsuna assumed a dignified air.

“This is a very serious complaint, and it is difficult to overlook. Atsuhara is under the direct jurisdiction of the Shogunate. Therefore, Yoritsuna, who is a direct retainer of the Shogunate, will handle this matter. The peasants shall be under Yoritsuna's charge. Are there any objections?”

The magistrate involuntarily bowed his head at Yoritsuna's intimidating eyes.

Acting Director, Gyochi, also smiled and fell flat.

Twenty peasants from Atsuhara were shoved into bamboo cages and carried away.

“Why capture these innocent peasants?”

 Nisshu and Nichiben desperately pleaded with the soldiers, but they were brushed aside at their mercy.

The soldiers were expressionless.

The twenty are accompanied by soldiers and carried along a long road.

“Get us out of here, where are you taking me?”

 A peasant screamed from inside his cage.

The sky was filled with eerie clouds that seemed to hint at the fate of the peasants in Atsuhara.

 The peasants' cries were heard in vain, and the twenty cages crossed the Suruga into Kamakura, Sagami Province.



To be continued.


by johsei1129 | 2022-05-21 10:35 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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