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日蓮大聖人『御書』解説

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2022年 05月 21日

92, Faith of Nanjo Tokimitsu


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 Memoirs of the Daishonin's Life and Times)


 Nanjo Tokimitsu was a vassal of the Hojo clan, whose clan name was Taira. He took the name Nanjo because his main domain was Nanjo Township in Izu Province (Nirayama Town, Tagata County, Shizuoka Prefecture). He was also called Ueno-dono because his father, Hyoe Shichiro, moved to Ueno Township, Fuji County, Suruga Province (Ueno, Fujinomiya City, Shizuoka Prefecture) as a landowner.

 The religious beliefs of the Nanjo family began with his father, Hyoe Shichiro. He was a man of warm character and deep affection, and his wife was also of a gentle disposition.

While serving in Kamakura, Hyoe Shichiro became a devotee of Nichiren and took the name Gyozo. However, he could not abandon the Nembutsu he had practiced up to that time and remained sick in bed, but when Nichiren sent to him a letter, he broke his attachment to the Nembutsu and persevered in his faith in the Lotus Sutra.

Nichiren, who was 43 years old at the time, wrote to Hyōei on his sickbed with a message filled with compassion.

"The fourth volume of the Lotus Sutra teaches, 'One who teaches the Lotus Sutra will be detested by others even during Shakyamuni’s lifetime. How much worse will this be after his passing!' The fifth volume of the Lotus Sutra states, 'In this world, one will encounter many grudge enemies; and it will be difficult to believe in the Lotus Sutra.' In Japan there are many who read and study the Lotus Sutra. There are many who are killed for chasing someone's wives or stealing into houses. There is, however, not a single person who was killed for the sake of the Lotus Sutra. Thus, among all the people who embrace the Lotus Sutra in Japan, there is not a single person who practices exactly as described in the sutra. Nichiren alone is reading the sutra with my entire being. This is the meaning of a passage in the Lotus Sutra that states, 'We do not hold our own lives dear but seek only the unsurpassed way.' I am therefore the foremost practitioner of the Lotus Sutra in Japan.

Should you depart from this life before I do, you should report to Brahma, Teishaku, the four heavenly kings, and King Yama. Please declare yourself to be a disciple of the priest Nichiren, the foremost practitioner of the Lotus Sutra in Japan. Then they cannot possibly treat you discourteously. But if you should be of two minds, alternately chanting the Nembutsu and reciting the Lotus Sutra, and fear what others may say about you, then even though you identify yourself as Nichiren’s disciple, they will never accept your word. Must not resent me later. Yet since the Lotus Sutra answers one’s prayers regarding matters of this life as well, you may still survive your illness. In that case, I will by all means meet with you as soon as possible and talk with you directly. Words cannot all be set down in a letter, and a letter never adequately conveys one’s thoughts, so I will stop for now.         

Sincerely yours,

Nichiren

December 13, Bun'ei 1, (1264).

 Writing to lord Nanjo Hyoe Shichiro.” 

 However, despite Nichiren's encouragement, Hyoue was already very ill, and on March 8, Bun'ei 2 (1265), three months after this letter was sent, he passed away.

 His death was a tragic one. His eldest son Tokimitsu was seven years old, and his younger brother Goro was still in his mother's womb. Hyoue passed away at the young age of 30 or so.

His wife's grief was endless, but she said that this look of death was wonderful.

 At that time, Nichiren went all the way to the Nanjo family in Fuji-Ueno from Kamakura to visit Hyoue's grave. He encouraged the widow Nanjo, who had maintained her faith for a long time and was raising her children well after her husband's death. In addition, he wrote that her eldest son Tokimitsu, who had grown up to be the spitting image of the late Hyoue.

 “I have received ten cords of coins, two packets of river nori, and twenty bundles of ginger. No words can express how moved I am that you remembered me with fondness, just when I was wondering whether the events in Kamakura would end up having been mere fleeting encounters.

I had been lamenting that if the late Lord Ueno, your husband, were alive, I could at any moment tell him things, or listen to what he had to say, and now I wonder if he did not make himself young again and stay behind in the form of his precious, beloved son. Words fail me when I see that not only is there a perfect resemblance, but even his heart is the same. I was told that your husband had attained Buddhahood through the Lotus Sutra, so I went to pay my respects at his grave.

Again, no words suffice to describe sincerity like yours. I began my life here in the mountains this year during a drought and famine, and my dwelling looks as if it were made of leaves laid out beneath the trees. Just try and imagine it.

Recently I offered up a portion of the benefit from a recitation of the sutra for the peaceful repose of your late husband. I was unable to restrain my tears, thinking how important it is that people have fine children. King Myoshogon was led to the way of the Buddha by his two sons. That king was a man of erroneous views. The late Ueno was a man of good views, and bears no resemblance to him. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Nichiren

The twenty-sixth day of the seventh month.

Respectful Reply.

Should avoid speaking indiscriminately about Buddhist doctrines to others. Speak if you are with the young lord.”

Seven-year-old Tokimitsu succeeded his father Hyoue as governor, and grew up under the warm protection of widow mother.

Tokimitsu, surprisingly, inherited his father's pure and innocent piety. He had no doubts about his faith in the Lotus Sutra. From the time he could remember, he continued to make offerings to Nichiren.

Nichiren was also struck by Tokimitsu's pure and innocent faith. It was as if his father, Hyoe, had transferred his faith to his son, Tokimitsu.

Tokimitsu once sent taro potatoes to the mountains of Kai Minobu while performing his official duties as the land steward. Tokimitsu was 16 years old and Nichiren was 54.

Nichiren sent a reply of encouragement to Tokimitsu. The letter shows that there were already forces opposing Tokimitsu's religious beliefs.

There were those who had some opinions about him. In particular, there was a person who warned Tokimitsu whether he should not support Nichiren, whom many people detested. Suruga Province, where Ueno Township is located, is littered with the estates of high-ranking officials of the Shogunate. It was a difficult environment for believers to uphold the Lotus Sutra under the oppressive circumstances.

 Nichiren, like his other disciples, urged him to have strong aspirations.

“On the second day of the fifth month I received the horse load of taros, well-dried like stone, which you sent from Ueno in Fuji to Mount Minobu.

Among the Buddha’s disciples was one called Aniruddha, who was known as the foremost in divine insight and was counted as one of the Buddha’s ten major disciples. He stood shoulder to shoulder with Mahākāshyapa, Shāriputra, Mokuren, and Ananda. When we inquire into his origins, we find that he was a son of King Dronodana, the second son of King Simhahanu, and that he was a cousin of Tathagata Shakyamuni.

He had three names: Muhin, Nyoi and Muryo, meaning “no poverty,” “do anything at will” and “get meat without hunting” respectively. Each of these names was given for a profound reason.

 In a time of famine in the past there lived a respectworthy pratyekabuddha called the Venerable Rida. Looking at his past lives, we see that once, in a time of famine, there lived a venerable Pratyekabuddha named Rida who, like everyone else, was starving. When he had eaten nothing for seven days, Rida happened upon a hunter who lived deep in the forest. The hunter had a pot of cooked millet and when Rida begged for some, the hunter gave it all to him. As a consequence of his virtuous act, the hunter was able to live a prosperous and meritorious life and for the next ninety-one kalpas, he was reborn again and again to a life of ease in the Worlds of Humanity and Ecstasy. Finally, he was born a prince, son of Dronodana. He never lacked for food in his golden vessels and finally became an arhat. His vision could penetrate the vast major world system in an instant. Thus, did he excel. In the fourth volume of the Lotus Sutra he received from the Buddha a prediction that he would become the Tathagata Brightness.

 The Great Teacher Myolaku commented on this matter, saying, “A meal of millet is a trifling thing. But because the donor gave all that he possessed, and because the recipient was a superior being, the donor was able to obtain marvelous recompense.” In other words, a bowl of cooked millet may be a trifle, but for the hunter who had nothing else to eat, it was precious. Because the hunter offered everything he had to the starving sage, he became an admirable man worthy of splendid rewards.

There are many stones here in the valley of Minobu, but there is no stone like dried taro. Moreover, it is summer now and people are occupied working in their fields. I hear that you are busy carrying out the others to construct a shrine. Even at such a hectic time, you thought of me in this village on Mount Minobu, and have sent me these offerings. In the end, though, is it not that you grieve over the loss of your father and for his sake have made offerings to Shakyamuni Buddha and the Lotus Sutra? No doubt you were motivated by your determination to perform your filial duties with devotion.

 Without such resolve, the king Brahmā, the lord Teishaku, the gods of the sun and moon, and the four heavenly kings would be unable to carry out their vow to make the home of the upholder of the correct teaching their own dwelling. Even a person who seems worthless strives so as not to go against his promise. How then can these gods go back on the promise that they made to the Buddha? And if this is indeed the case, when those who are vital to your merits try to prevent you from upholding your faith, or you are faced with great obstacles, you must believe that the king Brahmā and the others will without fail fulfill their vow, and strengthen your faith more than ever. In that event, your late father will surely attain Buddhahood. And if that happens, he will no doubt come and keep you from harm. When faced with difficulties, make faith the foundation for all you do. If people try to hinder your faith, I urge you strongly to feel joy.

Nichiren

 The third day of the fifth month      

 Reply to Lord Ueno”

In July of the same year, Tokimitsu sent a bale of white wheat, a bale of small white wheat, and five sheets of laver. White barley" refers to polished barley. Laver is a green algae that grows on stones in mountain streams.

Nichiren sent a thank-you note. In the postscript, Nichiren, as a senior in life, gives his advice on how to live a good life. In the postscript, Nichiren's feelings as if he were one of his own children can be read. He was probably trying to educate the young man Tokimitsu on behalf of his father, even though he was far away from home in Kai.

“When things are going smoothly in this world of ours, we suppose there is nothing to worry about, but these days the situation seems very threatening indeed. Whatever happens, however, you must not despair. Be firm in your approach, and as if things should not go as you wish with regard to your territory, then determine to be more content than ever, adopt an attitude of indifference, and if you like, come here. There are too many people who don't know where they are. Think of how grievous it must be for those who these days have to set off for Tsukushi. The reason for this is that everyone has been trying to get the ruler to despise Nichiren.”

As the letter states, the world situation is still not stable. However, he urges us to deal with any adversity with a spirit of joy. Even the possession of your own land should not be spared. He also asks them to come and see him.

The Mongolian unrest continued. He said that the root of this calamity was that the regent Tokimune looked down on Nichiren with contempt.

 If the water is pure, the moon will reflect. Tokimitsu's untainted faith, like the clear waters of Fuji, motivated Nichiren. Nichiren could not help but love Tokimitsu.

In a letter written at the age of fifty-four, the same year, he tells us how to behave as a wise and saintly man. The four blessings of Buddhism and the four virtues of the external way are both teachings that people today have forgotten.

Nichiren teaches him as a substitute for his father.

“When the Buddhas of the three existences of past, present, and future appear in the world, they all, all preach the importance of repaying the four debts of gratitude. And the worthy men of antiquity, the Three Sovereigns, the Five Emperors, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Gankai, and the others, taught the practice of the four virtues.

The four virtues are (1) filial piety toward one’s father and mother; (2) loyalty to one’s lord; (3) courtesy toward one’s friends; and (4) pity and kindness toward those less fortunate than oneself.

First, being filial toward one’s father and mother means that though a parent may act unreasonably or speak in a tone of ill will, one never shows the slightest anger or looks displeased. One never in any way disobeys a parent; is always mindful of providing a parent with all manner of good things, and if this happens to be impossible, in the course of a day one at least smiles twice or thrice in their direction.

Second, being loyal to one’s lord means that one never has anything to be ashamed of in serving him. Though it may mean sacrificing one’s own life, if it will benefit one’s lord, one acts with a willing heart. For though one’s merits may at first go unnoticed, in time it will be openly rewarded.

Third, treating one’s friends with courtesy means that, although one may encounter them ten or twenty times in the course of a single day, one greets them courteously as though they had traveled a thousand or two thousand miles to see one, never showing them indifference.

Fourth, treating those who are less fortunate with pity and kindness means that, toward those whose circumstances are inferior to one’s own, one thinks of such persons as one’s own children and shows them consideration at all times, exercising pity and compassion.

These, then, are the four virtues, and if you observe them in this manner, you may be called a wise man or saint. If you pay attention to these four concerns, then although you may err in other ways, you will still deserve to be called a good man. If you can follow these four patterns of behavior, then although you have never read all the three thousand volumes of the Confucian and Taoist classics, it will be as though you had in fact read them.

Next, the four debts of gratitude of Buddhism are (1) Repay the debt of gratitude to be paid to one’s father and mother; (2) the debt of gratitude to be paid to the ruler of the nation; (3) the debt of gratitude to be paid to all living beings; and (4) the debt of gratitude to be paid to the three treasures, the Buddha, the Law, and the Monk.

 First, with regard to the debt owed to one’s father and mother, the two fluids, red and white, of the father and mother came together to become your body. You dwell within your mother’s womb for 270 days, a period of nine months during which your mother on thirty-seven occasions undergoes suffering that is close to death. And the pains she endures at the time of birth are almost too great to imagine, the panting breath, the sweaty steam rising from her forehead till it reaches the Brahma heaven. After birth, she provides you with 180 and more measures of milk; for a period of three years you play about the knees of your father and mother. So, when you come of age and take faith in Buddhism, you must first of all think of paying the debt you owe to your father and mother. Mount Sumeru is paltry in comparison to the towering debt you owe your father; the great ocean is shallow compared to the profoundness of the debt you owe your mother. You must bear in mind these debts you owe to your father and mother.

Second is the debt of gratitude to repay to the ruler of the nation. From the time of your birth and on, the food, clothing, and other articles first of all, and all other things you enjoy, come to you through the kindness of the sovereign. It is only fitting, therefore, that you should pray that he will “enjoy peace and security in his present existence and good circumstances in future existences.”

Third is the debt of gratitude to be paid to all living beings. If you stop to consider, you will realize that, from the infinite past, all men have been your father and all women, your mother. Thus, in the course of all the many lifetimes and existences you have lived through, you have come to owe a debt of gratitude to all living beings. And since this is so, you should help all of them to attain Buddhahood.

Fourth is the debt of gratitude to be paid to the three treasures of Buddhism. If we examine the Kegon Sutra, the first sutra to be preached after the Buddha attained enlightenment, we find that it is a Mahayana sutra preached by the Buddha in his aspect as the Tathagata of the reward body. Thus, to the voice-hearers, cause-awakened ones, and others, it was like daytime to an owl or nighttime to a hawk; though they listened to it, it was as though they did so with deaf ears or blind eyes. This being the case, though people hoped that the sutra would enable them to pay back the four debts of gratitude, because it speaks disparagingly of women, it was hardly possible for them to repay the debt of gratitude owed to their mothers with the sutra.

 Then for the following twelve years the Buddha preached the Agon sutras, which are Hinayana sutras. And since they are Hinayana sutras, they accord with our native capacities. The Buddha then explained that men must observe the five precepts; women, the ten precepts; monks who teach the Law, the two hundred and fifty precepts; and nuns, the five hundred precepts. Moreover, there are three thousand rules of conduct to be mastered. But those of us who live in this latter age can hardly be expected to abide by all these rules, and it is hard to repay the debt one owes to one’s mother. In particular when these sutras too speak disparagingly of women.

In the Hodo, Hannya, and all the other sutras that were preached in this period of forty and more years, women are in all cases disparaged. Only in the Woman Born as a Man to Become a Buddha Sutra and the Meditation Sutra do we find passages that describe the possibility of a woman attaining the way. But these speak of the possibility in name only and give no actual example of the prize. Moreover, these are all sutras preached when the Buddha had “not yet revealed the truth,” so they can hardly be regarded as authoritative.

In all these various sutras expounded in the first forty and more years of the Buddha’s preaching life, women are spoken of in a disparaging manner, and they are similarly spoken of in the last sutra he preached, the Nirvana Sutra. If one asks, then, what sutra enables one to repay the four debts of gratitude, I would reply that it is none other than the Lotus Sutra, which reveals that women can attain Buddhahood. The eight-year-old daughter of the dragon king [in her reptile form] attained Buddhahood, and the Buddha’s aunt, Gautami, and the nun Yashodhara are given prophecies of the attainment of Buddhahood. Our mothers are human women; they do not belong to the realm of animals, nor have they the bodies of reptiles. If the eight-year-old dragon king’s daughter can become a Buddha, then what reason is there to believe that our mothers, through the power of this sutra, cannot become Buddhas? Therefore a person who upholds the Lotus Sutra is repaying the debt of gratitude owed to father and mother. Even if one does not feel in one’s own heart that one can do so, one can repay it through the power of this sutra.

Thus we know that Shakyamuni, Taho, and the countless Buddhas of the ten directions; Jogyo and the other bodhisattvas who emerged from the earth; Fgen, Manjushrī, and the other bodhisattvas of the theoretical teaching; Shāriputra and the other great voice-hearer disciples; the great heavenly king Brahma, the gods of the sun and moon, and the other heavenly lords and deities; the eight kinds of nonhuman beings; the ten demon daughters; as well as the great and small deities of the country of Japan, will, as a shadow follows a form, guard anyone who has firm faith in this Lotus Sutra and who remains at all times stalwart and unwavering in that faith. Think of this, think of this, never let your mind stray, be firm in faith at all times, and you will “enjoy peace and security in your present existence and good circumstances in later existence.”

Sincerely Yours,

Nichiren

To lord Ueno”

 Nichiren knew the emptiness of not being able to receive familiar lessons because Tokimitsu lost his father at an early age. Therefore, he tried his best to help Tokimitsu grow up to be a respectable person by taking the place of his father.





by johsei1129 | 2022-05-21 11:20 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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