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日蓮大聖人『御書』解説

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2022年 05月 21日

88. Letter to women believers. 1


ダイアグラム が含まれている画像自動的に生成された説明

 (From Nichiren Daishonin's Diary of One Generation)


 It was lonely in the mountains of Kai.

 The place is secluded, no one comes to visit, and there are only Nichimoku and other young monks in the pavilion.

 The only sounds outside are the faint voices of monkeys and deer. Silence reigned in the area.

When one has been in this place for a number of years, one cannot help but become introspective. We naturally await news from the outside, and we miss people.

At times like these, I am most grateful for letters. It is no wonder that people in ancient times treasured and preserved letters. In those days, letters were a means of communication that included even the breath and heart of a person through the use of Japanese ink. In other words, the letter itself was alive. In the Tale of the Heike, it is said, "The traces of a fragile brushstroke are a memento to be cherished for posterity. This is a feeling that modern people do not understand. The joy of the recipient of such a letter was extraordinary.

 The same was true for Nichiren.

In particular, he was comforted many times by letters from people in his hometown with whom he felt at home.

The lady Kounichi-bo was a native of Awa Province, Nichiren's hometown of Amatsu. She sent the letter thinking of Nichiren in the mountains. The content of the letter is probably a report on the recent situation of the people of Awa.

In winter, there was deep snow in the Kai Mountains, and no one came to visit him. When Nichiren received the letter, he was more than a little moved. Nichiren thought back to his hometown of Awa, where he had spent his childhood, and wrote a long reply to the letter, reflecting on his own turbulent life.

This letter was later named "Saint’s Behavior.” Novelist Chogoro Kaionji calls Nichiren's "Saint’s Behavior" the first autobiography in Japan. Without this letter, the novel "The Life of Nichiren"could not have been written. Today, we who follow Nichiren must be grateful to Kounichi-bo.

At the end of his letter, Nichiren described his feelings in the mountains as they were.

“A deer is killed by people because of its taste, and a tortoise is killed because it has oil. If a woman is beautiful, there will be many who are jealous of her. He who governs a country is in fear of other countries. He who has wealth, his life is in danger. Those who possess the Lotus Sutra will surely attain Buddhahood. Therefore, the devil king of the sixth heaven, the lord of this threefold world, will become intensely jealous of anyone who abides by the sutra. This devil king, we are told, attaches himself like a plague demon to people in a way that cannot be detected by the eye. Thereafter, like persons who gradually become drunk on fine old wine, rulers, fathers and mothers, wives and children gradually become possessed by him and are filled with jealousy toward the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra. And that is precisely the situation we face today in the world around us. Because I chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, I have for over twenty years been driven from place to place. Twice I have incurred the wrath of the authorities, and in the end I have retired to this mountain.

Here I am surrounded by four mountains, Shichimen to the west, Tenshi to the east, Minobu to the north, and Takatori to the south. Each is high enough to touch the sky, and so steep that even flying birds have trouble crossing them. In their midst are four rivers called Fuji River, Haya, Ohshira, and Minobu. In the middle, in a ravine some hundred yards or so across, I have built my hut. I cannot see the sun in the daytime or the moon at night. In winter there is deep snow, and in summer the grass grows thick. Because so few people come to see me, the trail is very hard to travel. Especially this year, the snow is so deep that no one visits me. Knowing that my life may end at any time, I put all my trust only in the Lotus Sutra. In these circumstances, your letter was particularly welcome. It seemed almost like a message from Shakyamuni Buddha or from my departed parents, and I cannot tell you how grateful I was. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo."

Nichiren sent letters to his followers from the mountains. There are as many as 500 letters that have survived as authentic manuscripts and old transcriptions.

Among them, there are an astonishing number of letters written to both ordained and ordained women. Nichiren said, "Men and women should not be discriminated against if they wish to propagate the five words of the Myōhō-Renge-kyo in the Latter Day of the Law.”

 This Buddhism is strengthened by the faith of each and every believer. By praying to the principal image of Nichiren's Gohonzon, believers are led to the Lotus Sutra, where they can "accumulate good fortune" by discovering their Buddhist nature.

 However, it is also a fact that the way of believers in the Lotus Sutra differed from one another.

 Many believers thought that Nichiren would grant their wishes. They relied on others. They seemed to think that it was Nichiren's fault that their prayers were not answered.

 The same was true of Nichiigon Nun. She mistakenly believed that someone would help her, just like the Nembutsu sect. She could not open her own Buddhist world in this way.

 Nichiren said, "Whether it comes true or not depends on your faith. Nichiren urged Nichigon Nun to have strong faith in Buddhism. This letter was written when Nichiren was fifty-nine years old.

 “On November 8, 1280, I, Nichiren submitted an application form for a petition, as well as a sum of money from the donation and a single-layer of clothes, to the Lotus Sutra and to heaven of the sun and the moon. From now on, your wishes will not come true if you only expect me to do them.

When water is clear, the moon is reflected. When the wind blows, the trees shake. Our minds are like the water. Faith that is weak is like muddy water, while faith that is brave is like clear water. Understand that the trees are like reason, and the wind that shakes them is like the recitation of the sutra.

Sincerely yours,

Nichiren

 November 29

 Reply to the nun Nichigon





by johsei1129 | 2022-05-21 11:13 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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