人気ブログランキング | 話題のタグを見る

日蓮大聖人『御書』解説

nichirengs.exblog.jp
ブログトップ
2022年 05月 21日

 89, Letter to Female Congregations (2)


白い花が咲いている自動的に生成された説明


Women shine because they have a husband as a companion. Rarely did a woman leave her husband because of her religious beliefs, as Nichimyo did. Nichiren also said, "A woman gives up her life for a man.”

 Then one can only imagine the grief she must have felt when her beloved husband passed away. It is even more so if their love for each other was deep. You have to put yourself in the woman's shoes to understand this. When she slumbers, she dreams, and when she awakes, she sees the shadow of his former figure.

In his letter, Nichiren shares his grief and sorrow for the woman's feelings. Nichiren, who did not mind great persecutions, felt compassion for the sorrows of others as if they were his own. He could not remain indifferent to all kinds of sorrows.

A man named Jirobei died in Owari. The cause of death is not known. It seems that he died young, however, as he is said to have left behind a young child.

His wife was more than a little saddened.

Nichiren understood his wife's feelings and sent her a letter.

“The Nirvana Sutra tells us to imagine a needle placed upright in the earth and a strong wind blowing. Then we are to imagine that under such circumstances, a thread is lowered straight down from the Brahma heaven and an attempt is made to pass it through the eye of the needle. It is easier to accomplish this feat, we are told, than to encounter a votary of the Lotus Sutra in the latter age.

 Again, the Lotus Sutra says that there is a turtle living at the bottom of the ocean. Once every three thousand years the turtle rises to the surface of the sea, and if he can encounter a floating piece of sandalwood with a hollow in it, he can rest himself there. But this turtle has only one eye, and the vision in that eye is distorted, so that things to the west of him appear to be in the east, and things to the east of him appear to be in the west. This simile indicates how difficult it is for men and women born in this evil world of the latter age to fit themselves into the “hollow” that is the Lotus Sutra and Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

 In view of these difficulties, I wonder what bond of karma from the past has inspired in your heart the determination to communicate with a person like me?

 If we examine the Lotus Sutra, we find it stated that, in cases like these, Shakyamuni Buddha enters into a person and inspires such determination in that person’s heart. It is like someone who, with no particular thought in mind, drinks sake and becomes intoxicated. After he is intoxicated, a quite unexpected desire arises in his heart and he is inspired to give away his belongings to other people. Although the person has all his life been stingy and greedy and is destined for rebirth in the realm of hungry spirits, because of the effect of the sake, he is able to enter the realm of a bodhisattva.

 If a jewel is placed in muddy water, the water will become clear, and if a person gazes at the moon, his heart will be filled with nostalgia. A picture of a demon can be frightening even though we know it is not alive, and a picture of a beautiful woman can make a wife jealous even though she knows the picture cannot steal her husband away from her. If a brocade bed mat is woven with a pattern of snakes, no one will want to lie down on it, and if one’s body is overheated, one will find a warm breeze distasteful. Such is the nature of the human heart.

So when a person like yourself feels drawn in your heart toward the Lotus Sutra, I suppose it must be that, since you are a woman, the dragon king’s daughter has taken possession of you.

 I come now to the matter of Jirō Hyōe-no-jō of Owari, whom I met in the past. Unlike most people, in the course of spreading these doctrines of mine I, Nichiren, have occasion to meet with a great many people. But there are fewer than one in a thousand who impress me as truly admirable. Jirō Hyōe was not inclined to heed my teachings, yet as a person he was quite without offensive manners and in fact was a man of compassion and goodwill toward all. I cannot of course vouch for his inner feelings, but when I met him he struck me as a straightforward person.

 His wife is a believer in the Lotus Sutra and therefore, although he may not have thought that it is the true sutra, it seems unlikely that he himself was completely opposed to it. This is a cause for hope. On the other hand, he put his faith in the Nembutsu and the Nembutsu believers, who disparage the Lotus Sutra, and was probably a Nembutsu believer himself, so I have doubts as to what kind of existence awaits him in his next life.

 It is like the case of those who take service in the palace of the ruler and labor diligently there. Some are rewarded by the ruler’s favor and some are not. But if any of them commits the slightest error, it is quite certain that that person will be punished. It is the same way with the Lotus Sutra. No matter how fervently a person may appear to put faith in it, if, knowingly or unknowingly, he has dealings with the enemies of the Lotus Sutra, he will undoubtedly end up in the hell of incessant suffering.

 But whatever may happen to Jirō Hyōe, I cannot help feeling pity when I think of the grief his wife must be suffering. She must feel like a wisteria vine in full bloom that has twined itself around a pine tree, but finds to her consternation that the pine has suddenly toppled over, or like ivy on a fence when the fence has collapsed.

 She enters her home, but there is no husband there; it is as though the house were destroyed and had lost its pillar. Visitors appear, but there is no one to step forward and greet them. In the dark of night her bedroom is bleak and lonely. When she visits the grave, she sees the marker on it but hears no familiar voice.

 Again, when she imagines her departed husband, she wonders who is accompanying him as he travels past the mountains of death and over the river of three crossings, or whether he is weeping as he makes the journey all alone. Is he wondering why his wife and children who have remained behind have sent him all alone on this journey, is he protesting in his grief that this is not in accord with the promises they made?

 As the autumn night wanes away and the sound of a winter storm comes to her ears, the wife’s sorrow must grow heavier than ever. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Nichiren

The sixth day of the ninth month in the first year of Kōan [1278].

To the lay nun Myoho”

The author describes the painful feelings of a woman who has been left behind as if it were her own.

There is also a letter to a widow named Nun Jimyo. She is said to have been the aunt of Hoki-bo Nikko and the wife of Takahashi Rokurobei.

On the anniversary of her late husband's death, Jimyo sent money to her teacher Nichiren as a memorial service.

 Nichiren admires her deep love for her late husband.

The contents of the letter are deeply moving. The letter is said to have been written when Nichiren was fifty-five years old. Here is the full text of the letter.

 “I have received the food you sent me for the monks' meals. It is already the anniversary of your husband's death? I was absorbed in something or other and had forgotten. However, I am sure you will never forget.

 A man named Sobu traveled to the land of the barbarians as an emissary on behalf of the Han emperor, and as a result his wife was separated from her husband for nineteen years. However, his wife could not stop thinking about her husband. And so strong was the wife's love for him that every autumn she would lay the cloth for him on a board and beat it to spread the fibers. And it is said that the sound was transmitted over a long distance and her husband heard it.

 There was a man named Chen Zi (note) who, when he and his wife separated, would break a mirror in two so that each would have a piece to keep. When one party forgot the other, the bird would fly away to inform one of the parties.

 A woman named Mutual Love, longing for her husband, went to his grave and there she was reborn as a tree. This is what is now known as the tree of mutual love (note).

 There is a deity named Shika, who dwells on the road to China beyond the sea. It is said that a woman, longing for her lover who had gone on a journey to China, became the deity of the shrine, and that the shape of the island where this deity dwells resembles that of a woman. That woman was Princess Sayo of Matsura (note).

 From the distant past to the present day, whether parent and child, or lord and servant, has there ever been a parting that was painless? But there is nothing nobler than the parting between a man and a woman. You were born a woman in countless existences of the distant past, but was this husband your last good knowledge in this world.

 Scattered flowers and fallen fruits

 But blossom and fruit again.

 Why does the departed never return?

 Last year was gloomy, so is this year

 Day after day, month after month.

 The heart does not feel joyful.

I chant the title of the Lotus Sutra and send it to you.

Nichiren

November 2nd.

Reply to Nun Jimyo”

He says there is nothing more precious than the parting of a man and a woman. One would have to have experienced love to say this. This letter is so close to the feelings of a man and a woman that it makes one wonder if Nichiren ever experienced love.

The letter goes on to ask, "Why is it that a flower that has fallen and a fruit that has fallen (in the next year) blooms again, but a person who has passed away does not return?"

I was sad last year, and I wonder if this year will be another hard month, for the loss of a beloved husband is something that doesn't always clear the mind."

 These two waka poems, which are extremely rare in Nichiren's writings, express Jimyo Nun's feelings. In these poems, Nichiren expresses his strong sympathy for Nun Jimyo, saying, "I understand your feelings very well.”

 From the viewpoint of Buddhism, it is a vexation for ordinary people to continue to think about their deceased husbands. However, it is impossible to make sense of it to a woman who is still obsessed with the thought of her lost husband.

 The white lotus flower, which symbolizes the Lotus Sutra, differs from other flowers and plants in that it produces a large, clean white flower in the mud. This signifies the immediate bodhi of vexation. The Lotus Sutra does not destroy vexations, but sublimates them into bodhi, or enlightenment. Nichiren sympathized with Jimyo's love for her husband and urged her to convey her feelings to the Lotus Sutra, saying, "Let the title of the Lotus Sutra be enshrined in your hearts, let it be done.”

The nun Utsubusa lived in present-day Utsubusa, Anbara County, Shizuoka Prefecture.

 The nun was elderly, like Nichiren's mother. She seemed to be pure in her piety, but one day, while visiting a shrine, she decided to visit Nichiren in Minobu.

When Nichiren heard that the nun had committed slander by visiting the shrine, he was hesitant to immediately meet with a believer who had just committed slander. The nun was at a loss as to why. Nichiren, however, could not allow her to meet with him. On the other hand, he should not allow her to doubt her faith as she was suspicious of this.

Nichiren asked a layman named Misawa Kojiro to explain the reason why he had not seen the nun Utsubusa, and to persuade her not to have any doubts about his faith.

In addition to the nun of Uchifusa, Nichiren also drove away believers who came to the hermitage in Minobu for merely sightseeing.

“The nun Utsubusa came a long distance to visit me despite her advanced age, but since I was told that it was merely a casual visit on her way back from the shrine to the god of her ancestors, I would not see her, although I pitied her greatly. Had I permitted her to see me, I would have been allowing her to commit slander against the Lotus Sutra. The reason is that all gods are subjects, and the Lotus Sutra is their lord. It is against even the code of society to visit one’s lord on the way back from visiting his subjects. Moreover, the Nun Utsubusa is a lay nun and should have the Buddha foremost in mind. Because she made this and other mistakes as well, I refused to see her. She was not the only one, however. I refused to see many others who stopped by to visit me on their return from the hot spring resort at Shimobe. Utsubusa is the same age that my parents would be. I feel sorry to have disappointed her, but I want her to understand this point and I want you to explain her it in detail.” ‘Writing to Misawa’



To be continued.



Note


Chen Zi.

A figure in a legend from the Six Dynasties period of China. When he separated from his wife, he broke a mirror and gave half of it to her. The husband later found out where his wife was, but by that time she had already become someone else's wife. The story is also told in the Records of Taihei. Another theory is that when the couple separated, they broke the mirror and shared half of the mirror. Later, when the wife communicated with another man, the mirror turned into a magpie and flew in front of the husband.


 The tree of mutual love

During the Warring States Period in China, a wife died of longing for her husband who had served in the military and had not returned home for a long time. A tree grew over her grave, with all its branches and leaves facing her husband's direction. The tree is called "A tree of mutual love," meaning the tree beside the grave.


 Living God of Shika

 The deity of the Shiga Kaijinsha Shrine on Shiga Island in Nukada district, Fukuoka Prefecture. This deity is one of the three deities of Watatsumi, who are worshiped by the Arao Azumi of Shiga, and has been worshiped as a guardian deity of the sea since ancient times, and is mentioned in a poem in Japan's oldest anthology of poems.

 

 Princess Sayo of Matsura

Princess Matsuura Sayohime. A legendary beautiful woman who lived in Matsuura, Hizen Province (Saga Prefecture). She is said to have been married to Otomo no Sadehiko, who was on his way to Mimana, but she was so sad to leave her husband that she climbed a mountain and kept swinging her shawl toward a ship. The mountain was named the "Swung Shawl." Since ancient times, the story has been sung in many literary and dramatic works, including Japan's oldest anthology of poems. (The Anthology of Myriad Leaves), Vol. 5, as a parable of the sadness of a married couple's parting.


 Good knowledge.

An honest and virtuous friend. A term against evil knowledge. A person who leads others to Buddhism, whether Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, human beings, or heavenly beings.

"Good knowledge is neither a teacher nor a disciple." 'Opening of the Eyes.'




by johsei1129 | 2022-05-21 11:14 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
トラックバックURL : https://nichirengs.exblog.jp/tb/32678084
トラックバックする(会員専用) [ヘルプ]
※このブログはトラックバック承認制を適用しています。 ブログの持ち主が承認するまでトラックバックは表示されません。


<< 90, Thoughts on...      88. Letter to w... >>