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日蓮大聖人『御書』解説

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2022年 05月 21日

93. Education to the young man Nanjo Tokimitsu.


Tokimitsu visited Kai frequently. He had no doubt in his mind about Nichiren. Because of this, his enemies came like a cloud.

Nichiren taught him detailed instructions on how to deal with all kinds of enemies of the Law. The contents of his teachings are as vivid and vivid as we can see them today. The following is a letter written by Nichiren at the age of 56 and Tokimitsu at the age of 21.

“I received on the fourteenth day of May, the horse load of taros that you took the trouble to send me. Considering the labor involved in producing them, taros today are as precious as jewels or medicine. By the way, I have understood the contents you had written in your letter.

Once there was a man named Yin Kippo. He had an only son, whose name was Hakuki. The father was wise, and so was the son. One would have thought that no one would try to quarrel with each other, but Hakuki’s stepmother frequently slandered him to her husband. However, Kippo would not listen to her. Undaunted, the stepmother continued for several years to contrive a variety of plots against her stepson. In one such scheme, she put a bee in her bosom, rushed to Hakuki, and had him remove the insect, making sure as she did so that her husband would observe the scene. In an attempt to have her stepson killed, she then accused him of making advances to her.

A king named Bimbisara was a worthy ruler and the greatest lay supporter of the Buddha within the entire land of the world. Moreover, he reigned over Magadha, the state where the Buddha intended to preach the Lotus Sutra. Since the king and the Buddha were thus united in mind, it seemed certain that the Lotus Sutra would be preached in Magadha. A man named Devadatta wished to disturb this by any means possible, but all his attempts ended in failure. After much thought, he spent several years befriending King Bimbisara’s son, Prince Ajase, and gradually obtained his confidence. Then he succeeded in separating father and son. He deceived the prince into killing his own father, King Bimbisara.

Now that Ajase, the new king, had become of the same mind as Devadatta and the two had banded together, non-Buddhists and evil men from all five regions of India swarmed like clouds or mist gathering into Magadha. Ajase flattered them and won them over by giving them land and treasures. Thus, the king of the state became an archenemy of the Buddha.

Seeing this, the devil king of the sixth heaven of the world of desire descended with his innumerable followers to Magadha and possessed the hearts of Devadatta, Ajase, his six cabinet ministers, and others. Therefore, although these people were human in appearance, they wielded the power of the devil king of the sixth heaven. They were more boisterous, frightful, and alarming than a high wind flattening the grasses and trees, a gale stirring up waves upon the sea, a great quake jolting the earth, or a huge fire devouring one house after another.

A king named Haluri, incited by Ajase, put hundreds of Shakyamuni Buddha’s clan to the sword. King Ajase unleashed a herd of drunken elephants and let them trample to death countless disciples of the Buddha. He also had many other disciples killed by concealing his soldiers in ambush at the roadsides, defiling well water with excrement, or persuading women to bring false charges against them. Shariputra and Mokuren were severely persecuted. Karudai was buried in horse dung. The Buddha was forced to survive for ninety days, one whole summer, on horse fodder.

People thought that perhaps not even the Buddha’s power could match that of those evil persons. Even those who believed in the Buddha swallowed their words and said nothing, and closed their eyes so that they might not see. They could only wave their hands helplessly, speechless with dismay. Finally, Daivadatta murdered the Tathagata Shakyamuni’s foster mother, the nun Makahazyahadai, and then caused the Buddha’s body to bleed. Under these circumstances, there was no one who would side with the Buddha.

And yet somehow, despite all these many persecutions, the Buddha at length managed to preach the Lotus Sutra. A passage from this sutra states, “Since hatred and jealousy toward this sutra abound even when the Tathagata is in the world, how much more will this be hard after his passing?” This passage means that, even while the Buddha was alive, the enemies of the Lotus Sutra offered fierce opposition; all the more will they harass those who, in the Latter Day of the Law, preach and believe in a single character or even a single point in the Lotus Sutra.

In light of this passage, it would seem that no one practiced the Lotus Sutra as like the Buddha during the more than 2,220 years since the Buddha. The only one who has met with great persecution can be said to have mastered the Lotus Sutra. The great teachers Tendai and Dengyo would appear to have been practitioners of the Lotus Sutra, but they did not meet persecutions as severe as the Buddha did in his lifetime. They encountered only minor opposition. It is that Tendai from the three schools of the south and seven schools of the north, and Dengyo from the seven major temples of Nara. They were not persecuted by the ruler of the state, attacked by sword-brandishing multitudes, or abused by the entire nation. According to the Lotus Sutra, those who believe in the Lotus Sutra after the Buddha’s passing will suffer persecutions more terrible than those of the Buddha. Yet neither Tendai nor Dengyo met oppression as harsh as what the Buddha did, let alone persecutions that were greater or more numerous.

When a tiger purrs, a great hurricane blows; when a dragon intones, clouds gather. Yet a hare’s brag or a donkey’s roar causes neither winds nor clouds to rise. As long as the foolish read the Lotus Sutra and the worthy lecture on it, the country will remain quiet and undisturbed. But it is stated that, when a sage emerges and preaches the Lotus Sutra exactly as the Buddha did, the nation will be thrown into an uproar, and persecutions greater than those during the Buddha’s lifetime will arise.

Now I am not a wise man, much more not a sage. I am the most perverse person in the world. However, my actions seem to be in exact accord with what the sutra teaches. Therefore, whenever I meet great difficulties, I am more delighted than if my deceased parents had returned to life, or rather than one who sees the person one hates meet with some mishap. I am overjoyed that I, a man of worse, should be regarded as a sage by the Buddha. Suppose there are wise persons who strictly observe the two hundred and fifty precepts and are revered by the entire nation more than the lord Teishaku is by all heavenly beings. Yet what if, in the eyes of Shakyamuni Buddha and the Lotus Sutra, they are as sinister as Devadatta, they may appear respectful now, but what horrors await them in their next life. This is a horrible matter.

If the rumor spreads that you appear to be a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra, both those who are close to you and those who are not will unexpectedly admonish you as if they were your true friends, saying, “If you believe in the priest Nichiren, you will surely be misled. You will also be in disfavor with your lord.” Then, because the plots that people devise are fearsome even to worthy persons, you will certainly abandon your faith in the Lotus Sutra. So it is advisable that you let it be known that you are a believer. Those possessed by a great devil will, once they succeed in persuading a believer to recant, use that person as a means for making many others abandon their faith.

Although Sho-bo, Noto-bo, and nun of Nagoe were once Nichiren’s disciples. Greedy, cowardly, and foolish, they nonetheless beheld themselves off as wise persons. However, when persecutions befell me, they took advantage of these to convince many of my followers to backslide. If you were blamed and dropped out, those in Suruga who seem to believe in the Lotus Sutra, as well as the others who are about to take faith in it, will all discard the sutra without exception. There are a few in this province of Kai, who have expressed their desire to have faith. Yet I make it a rule not to permit them to join us unless they remain steadfast in their faith. Some people, despite their shallow understanding, pretend to have faith and speak contemptuously to their fellow believers, thus often disrupting the faith of others.

Please think cool. The time will come when, by the workings of Bonten, Teishaku, and other gods, the entire Japanese nation will simultaneously take faith in the Lotus Sutra. At this time, I am convinced, many people will insist that they too have believed since the very beginning.

If your faith is firm, then you should single-mindedly resolve: “I maintain faith, not for the sake of other people but for the benefit of my deceased father. Others will not perform memorial services for him; because I am his son, I am the one who must pray for his repose. I govern one village. I will spend one half of my revenue making offerings for the sake of my deceased father, and use the other half to feed my wife, children, and relatives. Should an emergency arise, I will give my life for my lord.” Speak in a mild manner, no matter what the circumstances.

If people should try to weaken your belief in the Lotus Sutra, consider that your faith is being tested. Let's tell them off. “I deeply appreciate your warning. However, you should save your admonishment for yourselves. I know that my Lord does not put in this faith too. So, the idea of you threatening me in his name is simply absurd. I was contemplating visiting you all and giving you some advice, but you came here before I could follow through. You will surely put your hands together and beseech me for help when you, along with your beloved wife and children, are dragged out before King Enma.”

Do you think is true about Lord Niida. I have also heard about the people at Okitsu. If the occasion arises, you will be the same case with them too. When those of rank reproach you for your faith, should think of them as worthy adversaries of the Lotus Sutra. Consider it an opportunity as rare as the blossoming of the fig plant, or the blind turtle encountering a floating sandalwood log, and reply to them firmly and resolutely.

There have been instances in which those who governed a thousand or ten thousand cho of land had their lives taken summarily and their estates confiscated over trifling matters. If you give your life now for the sake of the Lotus Sutra, what is there to regret? Bodhisattva Yakuo burned his own body for twelve hundred years and became a Buddha. King Suzudan made a bed of his own body for his teacher for a thousand years; as a result, he was reborn as Shakyamuni Buddha.

Should not make mistakes. If you abandon your faith in the Lotus Sutra now, you will only make yourself the laughing stock of your foes. Shamelessly pretending friendship, they will try to maneuver you into recanting, with the intention of later laughing at you and letting others ridicule you as well. Let them say all they have to say. Then tell them, “Instead of advising me in the presence of many people, why don’t you admonish yourselves first?” With this remark, abruptly rise from your seat and leave.

What has happened about thou will reach here in a day or two. There are so many things I want to say that I cannot write all of them here. I will do so in my future letters.

Respectfully yours,

Nichiren

May 15,
Reply to the Lord Ueno”


An enemy coming head-on is easy to spot. The most dangerous are those who approach gently, pretending to be on the same side.

Those who retreat from the faith disrupt the cult and lead many people down the wrong path. Even after Nichiren entered Minobu, he would only accept as his disciples those who were visibly strong in faith. He did not accept those who were vague. A half-hearted believer will instead destroy the faith of others. This was his conclusion after overcoming many difficulties and observing many disciples.

Here, Nichiren made a curious statement.

He said that there would come a time when all the people of Japan would believe in Buddhism together. At that time, there will be those who say that they have always believed in this excellent Law.

Nichiren also gave Tokimitsu detailed instructions. The slander against Tokimitsu was so severe. Nichiren devoted his heart and soul to his disciple, who was of rare ability.

Nichiren is still hated by the Shogunate. Tokimitsu was no different.

Some people who are not mindful of Nichiren say, "Tokimitsu is still hated by the Shogunate. However, Tokimitsu was a landowner who served the Shogunate, but he sided with Nichiren. Tokimitsu's love for Nichiren was greater than the dignity of the shogunate.

He knew that his lord Tokimune does not trust him, but there were those who tried to scare him by referring to his lord. Nichiren told him to treat such people with ill will.

In July of the following year, Tokimitsu sent a load of white wheat and ginger.

Food supplies were running low in Mount Minobu. The disciples and supporters in various parts of Japan were unable to help Nichiren because of disease and famine.

Tokimitsu, in the midst of this desperate situation, was still able to send food and supplies across the mountain and rivers.

Nichiren was so grateful to Tokimitsu that he immediately sent a reply. It was as if he could hear Nichiren's voice.

“Although I, Nichiren, am not a sage, I have become known as the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra. For this, not only have I been hated and assailed by the ruler of the country, but my disciples and even those who visit me have been reviled or struck, or have had their fiefs confiscated, or have been driven from their dwellings. Because they live under such a ruler, even people with seeking minds do not visit me. This has been the case for some time, but this year, in particular, because of epidemics and famine, very few people have come to visit.

Just as I was thinking that, even if I remained free from illness, I would surely die of starvation, the wheat that you sent arrived. It is more wonderful than gold and more precious than jewels. Rida’s millet changed into a golden man. How, then, can Tokimitsu’s wheat fail to turn into the characters of the Lotus Sutra? These characters of the Lotus Sutra will become Shakyamuni Buddha and then a pair of wings for your deceased father, flying and soaring to the pure land of Spirit Eagle Mountain. If it returns, they will cover your body and protect you!

Sincerely yours,

Nichiren

The eighth day of the seventh month in the first year of Kōan (1278)

Reply to lord Ueno





by johsei1129 | 2022-05-21 11:22 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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