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2022年 05月 21日

84. Shijo Kingo Encounters the Enemy.

Nichiren received a report from Hoki-bo on the outcome of the trial.

The verdict was returned without any blame to the peasant believers in Atsuhara. Yoritsuna had given up fighting in court.

Relief spread throughout the Hokke school. The mountains of Minobu were swarming with people as if in a festival, and mountains of rice and vegetables were piled up at Nichiren's mansion. The people had heard of Atsuhara's urgent situation and had gathered there.

Nichiren was in a good mood, but among these people he saw a servant of Kingo Shijo. He was an old man who was familiar to Nichiren.

This old man never left Kingo's side. But somehow, Kingo himself was not here. Why was the old man here alone?

Nichiren suddenly felt uneasy.

“Where is your... lord Kingo?"

The old man was beaming.

“My lord had a drinking party with the lord, so I came alone. Lord Kingo told me that he would take care of himself and that I should go to Kai to help the saint.”

Kingo is alone in Kamakura. It is dangerous.

“Lord Kingo is in danger!”

This night in Kamakura, lord Mitsutoki and Kingo were at a drinking party.

In the garden where the feast was being held, several bonfires were being built.

Mitsutoki's wife pours sake for Kingo. His wife had great faith in Kingo, who had cured her husband's illness.

Kingo's face turned bright red.

“My lord, I'm sorry to be so insistent, but what do you think about this?”

Mitsutoki laughed.

“I know, I know, but I'm getting tired of your Lotus Sutra madness.”

Everyone laughed, but Kingo did not smile.

“Listen to me seriously, my Lord. Kingo here has been given an excessive amount of territory by you, and he is very grateful for it. There are many of my colleagues who hate me, and I am sorry for that. However, Kingo is unable to repay you. I believe that it is my duty to serve my lord to have you carry Saint Nichiren's teachings with you.”

“I understand. I will think about it. But I will go to Tsukushi sooner or later. The Mongolian invasion will surely come. I have no time to spare now to prepare for that. I do not know what will happen if there is a battle. If I have a life, I will do as you ask.”

Kingo was drunk and in tears.

“I am relieved to hear that, my lord. Well, I must be off."

“Be careful on your way home. Where is your servant?”

“He is in Kai Province. With the saint."

“That worries me. I'll give you a retainer.”

“Do not worry about it. Rather, my lord, I pray for your safety in the extermination of the Mongols.”

"Aye. All right."

Nichiren was concerned for Kingo's safety.

Kingo was a passionate man, hated by his colleagues and prone to constant quarreling. But now Kingo has been added to their ranks again. The jealousy of his colleagues reached its peak. His colleagues could not bear to see Kingo alive. Kingo's life was in their hands.

Nichiren was always worried about Kingo. In particular, he urged him to be extraordinarily careful with alcohol.

“The nature of killing varies, however. The offense of the person killed is either heavy or light. If one kills the person who has murdered one’s father, mother, sovereign, or teacher, although the offense remains the same, what would have been a grave offense probably becomes a light one instead. This is something our contemporary scholars are acquainted with. But even bodhisattvas with their great compassion, if they make offerings to the enemies of the Lotus Sutra, are certain to fall into the hell of incessant suffering. On the other hand, even those who commit the five cardinal sins, if they show animosity toward those enemies, will definitely be reborn in the human or heavenly world. King Sen’yo and Utoku, who had destroyed, respectively, five hundred and countless enemies of the Lotus Sutra, became Shakyamuni Buddha in this world. His disciples such as Mahākāshyapa, Ananda, Shariputra, Mokuren, and other countless followers were people who, at that time, were in the vanguard, defeating the enemy, or killing them, injuring them, or rejoicing in the fight. The monk Kakutoku became Kasho Buddha. He was a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra of great compassion who, at that time, urged King Utoku to attack the enemies of the sutra as if they were the ones who had betrayed his father and mother in a previous lifetime.

Our present day corresponds to that time. If the ruler of our country had accepted what Nichiren said, he could very well have become like the two kings. Yet, in addition to rejecting it, he has actually sided with the enemies of the Lotus Sutra, so that the entire nation attacks me. From the ruler on down to the common people, all have become slanderers of the Law whose offense exceeds the five cardinal sins. Therefore, you all are also on the side of the ruler. Although at heart you are of the same mind as Nichiren, since your person is in service to your lord, it would have been extremely difficult for you to have avoided the offense of complicity in slander. How admirable it is that, despite this, you communicated this teaching to your lord and urged him to take faith in it. Even though he may fail to accept it now, you have managed to avoid the offense of complicity. From now on, you should be careful about what you say. On the other hand, surely the heavenly gods will protect you. I also will tell them to do so.

Please be careful. Those who hate you will be increasingly vigilant in watching for a chance to do you harm. Put a stop to all drinking parties at night. You should be satisfied when you drink liquor only with your wife. Do not let down your guard when you attend banquets with others in the daytime. Your enemies will have no opportunity to attack you, apart from your drinking. You cannot be too careful.”On Recommending This Teaching to Your Lord and Avoiding the Offense of Complicity in Slander.’

On the way home, the full moon shone brightly on his feet.

Kingo looked up, humming a tune as he wobbled alone.

“Beautiful, isn't it? The moon in the past world is now still the moon, and the flowers in the past world are still flowers. How many more times will the moon wax and wane before the Lotus Sutra is spread?”

At this moment, Kingo felt a presence and turned his head for a moment to see something shining.

The light came from a sword. A masked warrior held his sword in the upper stance and slashed at him.

Kingo reacted to the light, and quickly paid with his sword to dodge the enemy's blade. The sword sparks flew.

Kingo immediately set his sword to the right to intimidate his opponent.

Before he knew it, he was surrounded by four samurai. All four were wearing masks. Kingo was unfazed. He was completely sober from his intoxication.

(Have they attacked me after all?)

The masked samurai completely surrounded Kingo. There was nowhere to run. Kingo was in desperate straits, but he focused all of his wisdom. There must be an opening somewhere.

The warrior's eyes, which were slightly visible through the mask, were smiling. Kingo instantly felt that they were optimistic that he alone, without any help, could easily kill them. Thinking that, he felt more relaxed.

“I think you have the wrong guy. I am Nakatsukasa Saburo Saemon-no-jo Yorimoto, or as people call me, Shijo Kingo.”

The samurai did not hear Kingo's voice. He closed the gap and with a yell, slashed at Kingo.

Kingo shrugged off the sword and stepped back.

“I don't remember any resentment. If I have, it is because my lord has given me an excessive amount of territory. There are many vassals. Fish are making noise in the scarce water, and birds are fighting in the narrow forests. All in search of food. If so, are you all fish or birds?”

The angry samurai lowered his sword, but Kingo caught it firmly with the sword to prevent it from spilling over, and they were joined at the body.

He then looked through his mask and shouted loudly.

“Oh, those eyes are definitely Shimada Nyudo. You have one foot in the Buddhist world, and you are good at striking in the dark!”

Shimada was so angry that he flicked Kingo's sword away and tried to slash at him, but Kingo quickly flicked him in the body with the tip of his blade. Shimada screamed and fell back.

The three men look at each other. Their eyes say, "He must be drunk, but he is so strong.”

Their breathing has become labored.

Kingo, on the other hand, remained surprisingly calm.

“I wonder if you can let me live. Kingo is a lowly man, but he is a follower of the Lotus Sutra. He is like a dirty sack holding a golden coin, or a snake holding a jade. I would like to live for a while in the presence of sage Nichiren, whom I adore as my lord, my teacher, and my parents. Those who stand in my way will be regarded as demons or devils!”

A samurai took an upper stance and slashed at Kingo, but he held him off again with ease. At that moment, one of them came around behind Kingo and cut at his back.

Kingo quickly crouched down and dodged. The cut who had shaken the sword accidentally cut down his comrade. The cut samurai screamed and left.

There are still two of them. However, the two men's breaths were unusually sharp and their swords were not in focus.

Kingo looked down on his opponents and said forcefully, as if threatening them.

“Killing is forbidden by the Buddha, but it is inevitable now that the situation has come to this. This Kingo is prepared to do the same. The Lotus Sutra says, ‘When one goes into battle, all the soldiers and combatants are in the line of battle!’”

At this time, the masked warrior saw, perhaps through an optical illusion, another Kingo standing next to Kingo as he took the upper stance. The moonlight shone eerily from behind Kingo's back.

The assassins screamed and ran away when they saw the two Kingos attack at once.

When Kingo saw his enemies leave, he was so relieved that he slumped to the ground in a heap. He stared at his hands.

It was not by his own strength.

Nichiren received an urgent message from Kingo and immediately wrote a reply.

I have carefully read your letter, in which you described the recent battle with powerful enemies. So, they have finally attacked you. It is a matter of rejoicing that your usual prudence and courage, as well as your firm faith in the Lotus Sutra, enabled you to survive unharmed. When one is filled with good fortune, even strategy is not necessary. When luck is exhausted, even the vassals no longer follow. You survived because you still had both good fortune and luck.

Moreover, in the “Entrustment” chapter, the heavenly gods and benevolent deities pledged to protect the votaries of the Lotus Sutra. Of all the guardian deities in heaven, it is the gods of the sun and moon who visibly protect us. How can we doubt their protection?

The heavenly deity Marishiten in particular stands in service before the god of the sun. When the god of the sun protects the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra, how could the honorable one of heaven Marishiten, who is his vassal, possibly abandon them? The “Introduction” chapter of the Lotus Sutra reads, “There were also the sons of gods, Moon, Hukoh, Hokoh, and the four heavenly kings, along with their followers, ten thousand sons of gods.” Marishiten must be among the thirty thousand sons of gods who were present at the ceremony. Otherwise, this deity could only abide in hell. You must have escaped death because of this deity’s protection. Marishiten gave your skill in swordsmanship, while I, Nichiren, have bestowed on you the five characters of the title of the Lotus Sutra. Marishiten also upholds the Lotus Sutra and helps all living beings. Even the words “Those who join the battle are all in the front lines” derive from the Lotus Sutra. This is that "If you preach the worldly books, politics, conversation, industry, etc., they will all be in accordance with the correct teaching".

Therefore, you must summon up the great power of faith more than ever. Must not blame the heavenly god, even if you exhaust your good fortune and lose their protection.

Masakado (note) was renowned as a brave general who had mastered the art of war, yet he was defeated by the emperor's order. Fan Kuai (note) and even Chang Liang (note) had failures. It is the mind that is important.

No matter how earnestly Nichiren prays for you, if you disbelieve, it will be like trying to fire up a wet tinder. Encourage yourself and muster the power of faith. Regard your survival as wondrous. Must employ the strategy of the Lotus Sutra before any other. “All others who bear you enmity or malice will likewise be wiped out”. These golden words will never prove false. The important matter of strategy and swordsmanship, too, derives from this excellent Law. Must have profound faiths. You can get nothing if you are cowardly!

   Respectfully yours,


October 23, 1279.

To the Lord Shijo Kingo” ‘The Strategy of the Lotus Sutra’

To be continued.



? ~Tenkei 3 (940). Warlord who rebelled in the Heian period. Grandson of Taira Takamochi and son of Chinmoku Shogun Yoshimasa. He was called Soma Kojiro. He was a powerful figure in Shimousa (Chiba Prefecture), but a dispute with his family over his father's legacy led to murder his uncle Kunika in Jouhei 5 (935), followed by the defeat of his family members Yoshikane, Yoshimasa, and Sadamori, and he became the most powerful member of his family. Later, he burned down the provincial capital of Hitachi (Ibaraki Prefecture) and gained the Shimono and Ueno prefectural capitals. He called himself the new emperor and built a royal castle in Ishii, Sashima, Shimousa Province, with the aim of establishing the Ritsuryo (law-abiding) state. The Imperial Court therefore appointed Fujiwara no Tadafumi as the Seito Shogun and sent him to suppress the Shogun's rebellion, but Taira no Sadamori defeated him first with the help of Fujiwara no Hidesato. (Tenkei Rebellion)

Fan Kuai

? ~189 BC. Warlord of the Chinese pre-Han dynasty. A native of Pei Pei County, Jiangsu Province. From a lowly background, he served Pei Pei Dong (Liu Bang, the Han Dynasty's high ancestor) from early on and helped Pei Pei Dong to establish the Han Dynasty. Especially, he defeated Fan Zhao's plan and saved Pei Pei Dong's life at the meeting of Hongmen.

Zhang Liang

? ~168 BC. Founding statesman of the Han Dynasty in China. Born in Han. He hated Qin Shi Huangdi, who destroyed Han, and gathered assassins to kill him, but was unable to do so, and hid in Xiapi. There, he is said to have learned the art of warfare from old man Huangshi, and became an active military strategist in response to Liu Bang's military expedition. He later destroyed the Qin Dynasty, saved Liu Bang from a crisis at the Hongmen Battle of Hongmen, and contributed to the establishment of the Han Dynasty.

by johsei1129 | 2022-05-21 11:04 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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