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日蓮大聖人『御書』解説

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2022年 05月 21日

94. Disease devil in the Nanjo family.

      

テキスト が含まれている画像自動的に生成された説明

 ‘Reply to the lord Ueno (The Dragon Gate).” Autograph: In the collection of Taiseki-ji Temple, Fuji.


 Nichiren initially wrote him as a “saint”. However, he erased the word "saint" and rewrote it as "wise man”.

Kai Province is surrounded by mountains and has no salt. Without salt, there would be nothing to eat, nothing to taste, and no miso could be made. Miso was a necessity in those days. Mature soybeans and barley were fermented with salt and koji malt.

Pestilence was spreading.

If one's diet is not in order, illness will follow. It was a matter of life and death. Three hundred years later, during the Warring States Period, Shingen Takeda of Kai suffered from a salt shortage. This was a hardship unique to a mountainous region far from the seashore.

 The rain that began in the New Year turned into a heavy downpour in July, blocking the road leading to Nichiren's hermitage in Minobu Mountain.

Tokimitsu, who was now 22 years old, sent salt to Minobu to help this plight.

 “I have received the one horse load of salt and ginger that you sent.

 If there were as much gold as all the sand in Japan, would anyone hoard it away in the bottom of a chest as treasure? If there were as many rice cakes as would fill the entire land of the whole world, would anyone feel a debt of gratitude for rice?

It has rained every day since January this year. Particularly since July, it has poured down without stopping. Not only do mountains surround this place, but the Hakiri River runs to the south, the Haya River to the north, the Fuji River to the east, and deep mountains lie to the west. Thus as the incessant rain and downpours continue hour after hour and day after day, mountains crumble and bury valleys, stones surge and block paths, rivers rage and boats are forced to abandon their crossings. Without wealthy men to bestow them, the five kinds of grain are scarce. Without merchants to offer goods, people never gather. In the seventh month, for instance, one shō of salt cost a hundred pieces of coins, and we also traded one to wheat for five gō of salt. But now there is no salt anywhere. What can we use to buy it? Our miso has also run out. We are like a baby longing for its milk.

The sincerity you have shown in sending a horse-load of this salt to such a place in these circumstances is thicker than the earth ground and broader than the sky. My words hardly do it justice. I will simply hand the case over to the Lotus Sutra and Shakyamuni Buddha. There is so much that I wish to say, but it is impossible to express in a letter.

Sincerely yours,

Nichiren

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

Reply to Ueno”

The price of a measure of salt has gone up and is now said to cost 100 mons. This was a time when one hundred mons was enough to buy one stone of rice (180 liters). The average person could not afford it.

Nichiren praised Tokimitsu's aspirations and urged him to pursue the Buddha Law more strongly.

“Like you crave food when hungry, seek water when thirsty, long to see a opposite sex when falling in love, beg for medicine when ill, or as a beautiful woman desires powder and rouge, so please put your faith in the Lotus Sutra. Otherwise, regret will remain later.” The Reply to the Lord Ueno. (The Experience of the “Encourage Devotion” Chapter)’

He is saying that one should have faith in the Lotus Sutra just as one would have in the desire to see one's lover.

When he was twenty-three years old, the persecution of the organization of the Lotus Sutra in Atsuhara occurred.

Tokimitsu, together with Hoki-bo Nikko, stood in the crossfire as representatives of the local community.

He supported the peasants of Atsuhara and continued to assist the followers of the excellent Law without hesitation. His mother, wife, and younger brother Goro were also desperate. It was Tokimitsu who took charge of the 17 peasants who were released. Tokimitsu also continued to defend those who were involved in the incident.

Nichiren wrote a letter to Tokimitsu praising his heroic efforts to protect his followers. The handwritten letter still remains at Taiseki-ji Temple, the head temple of Nichiren Shoshu.

“A waterfall called the Dragon Gate exists in China. Its waters are swifter than an arrow shot by a strong warrior, and cascade down one hundred feet. There are thousands of carp gathered below in hopes of ascending it. For it is said that if a carp is successful in climbing the falls, it will be transformed into a dragon. Not a single carp, however, out of a hundred, a thousand, or even ten thousand, can climb the falls, not even after ten or twenty years. The strong currents deter them, eagles, hawks, kites and owls make them a prey and fishermen wait on both sides of the falls, trap, net or shoot with arrows. This is what it means for a fish to become a dragon.

There were two families of the samurai in Japan, the Minamoto clan and the Taira clan, who served as the gatekeepers of the emperor like dogs. They were as eager to guard the emperor as a woodcutter folk is to admire the full moon on the fifteenth night of August when it rises from the mountains. They loved the elegant parties of the men and women of the court nobles, just as monkeys in the trees are enraptured by the sight of the moon and the stars glittering in the sky. Though low rank, they longed to find some way to mingle in court circles. But even though Sadamori of the Taira clan crushed the rebellion of Masakado, he was still not admitted to the court. Even his child Masamori could not fulfill his wish. Tadamori, Masamori's son, was granted permission to enter the court at long last. And the next line, Kiyomori, and his son Shigemori, not only enjoyed life among court nobles, but Kiyomori’s daughter became the emperor’s consort, and his grandson became the emperor. It was like holding the sun and moon.

The path to become a Buddha is no less difficult than it. It's like a fish climbing up a dragon's gate and a doorkeeper having an audience with the emperor. Shariputra, for example, practiced Bodhisattva acts for sixty kalpas in order to attain Buddhahood, but finally could persevere no longer, he returned to the paths of self-closure. When in a previous life, Shakyamuni was the sixteenth son of the Daitsu-Chisho Buddha, though some of the people had been gained his seed of the Buddhahood, there were the people who received suffering for as long as the Three Thousand Dust- particle Kalpas. Some among those who received the seed of Buddhahood from him in the even more remote past of kuon, suffered for the span of kalpas of the five-hundred world dust. All these people practiced the Lotus Sutra, but when harassed in one way or another by the devil king of the sixth heaven, who had taken possession of their rulers and other authorities, they backslid and forsook their faith, and thus wandered the six paths for as long as countless kalpas.

Until now these events seemed to have had no bearing on us, but now we find ourselves facing the same kind of ordeal. My disciples, now is the time to hold a great vow! We were fortunate to not be among us taken by the devastating pestilences last year and the year before. But the Mongol invasion is now imminent and few are likely to be spared. In the end, no one can escape death. The sufferings at that time will be exactly like what we are experiencing now. Since death is the same in any case, you must decide to abandon your life for the sake of the Lotus Sutra. Must think of the offering of your life, as a drop of dew falling down to the ocean, or a speck of soil adding to the ground. As stated in the third volume of the Lotus Sutra, “I extend this immeasurable merit equally to this world, so that together with people, we may attain Buddhahood!"

                Respectfully yours,

Nichiren

December6.

The Reply to lord Ueno, the wise man.

I wrote this letter in deep gratitude for your dedication throughout the persecution at Atsuhara.” ‘Reply to the lord Ueno (The Dragon Gate).”  

It is addressed to " lord Ueno, the wise man.” Nichiren initially wrote him as a “saint”. However, perhaps fearing Tokimitsu's self-conceit, he erased the word "saint" and rewrote it as "wise man”.

Nichiren's fears were unfounded. Tokimitsu became a strong young man under Nichiren's tutelage.

Just when everything seemed to be going well, there came a sudden sad news.

On September 5, Koan 3, the year after the Atsuhara persecution, his younger brother, Goro Nanjo, passed away.

Goro was only 15 years old. His death was said to be due to illness, but it was too sudden.

Two months earlier, Goro and Tokimitsu had just arrived at Mount Minobu and met with Nichiren. Nichiren had treated the young brothers with great hospitality, and they were overjoyed to see him.

They say that life is fleeting, but when people close to us pass away, we are more disheartened than shocked. Nichiren felt more than anything for his nun mother, who had suddenly lost her young child. Nichiren honestly expressed his feelings.

 “With regard to the news of the demise of lord Nanjo Shichiro Goro: Once a person is born that person must die—wise men and foolish, eminent and lowly alike all know this to be a fact. Therefore one should not be grieved and alarmed by a person’s death; I know it to be so and teach others to do likewise. And yet when something like this actually happens, I wonder if it is not a dream or an illusion.

And how much greater must be the grief of the mother! She had lost her parents, her siblings, and even her beloved husband had preceded her in death, but still she had her many children to comfort her heart. Yet now her youngest child, her darling, a son, surpassing others in features and form, devoted in heart, in whom his associates took such delight—now all at once he has been taken away, like a scattering flower that withers in the wind or a full moon that is suddenly lost from sight.

I can scarcely believe that such a thing has happened, and cannot even think of what words to write, though there is much more that I would say.

Respectfully yours,

Nichiren

The sixth day of the ninth month in the third year of Kōan [1280]

Reply to Ueno

Postscript: When I met him on the fifteenth day of the sixth month, I thought what a fine and spirited lad he was. How it grieves me to think I will never see him again! Nevertheless, he had devoted himself to Shakyamuni Buddha and the Lotus Sutra, and he died in a fitting manner. I know that in heart he has gone to join his father in the pure land of Spirit Eagle Mountain, where they will clasp hands and face one another in joy. How pitiful, how pitiful!

Mother Nun's grief was especially deep, as Nichiren worried. Goro was the child she was carrying in her belly when her husband died. She lost her beloved child after her husband died at a young age. Where else can a woman feel such sorrow?

The mother nun who is grieving the loss of her own child cannot be healed by ordinary pep talks and sermons. The only way is to enter into the heart of the despairing mother, understand her feelings, and become one with her. Mother Nun's sorrow is Nichiren's sorrow. Her suffering is Nichiren's suffering. Nichiren taught, "All the different suffering of all sentient beings must be Nichiren's suffering alone" (Oral Transmission Teachings).

Nanjo Goro's 49th day had come.

Nichiren wrote the letter to the nun because he thought that his mother, who had already been ordained as a nun, would be more calm and would be able to listen to the teachings of the Buddhist priesthood.

 “It has now been forty-nine days since your son, the late Shichiro Goro, passed away. Though impermanence is the way of all things, even one who merely hears the news of a person’s having passed away finds it hard to bear. How much more deeply, then, must his mother or his wife grieve! I believe I can understand some of your feelings.

Though children may be young in years or more mature, though they may be ugly or even physically handicapped, their parents love them nonetheless. In your case, your child was a son, and in addition, he was blessed in every way, and he had a warm heart. When your husband, the late Ueno, preceded you in death, he was still in the prime of life, and your grief on that occasion was no shallow matter. Had you not been pregnant with his child, I know you would have followed him through fire and water. Yet when this son was safely born, you felt that it would be unthinkable to entrust his upbringing to another so that you could put an end to your life. Thus you encouraged yourself and spent the following fourteen or fifteen years raising your children.

How, then, are you to endure what has happened? You must have thought that in the future you would have two sons to rely upon. And yet on the fifth day of the ninth month of this year, this younger son, like the moon hidden in the clouds, like blossoms scattered by the wind, passed from sight. As you wondered whether or not you were dreaming, lamenting at how long the dream goes on, you felt that this dream is indeed like reality, and forty-nine days had already passed. And if it is indeed real, how will you bear it? The full-blown flower remains on the tree, while the bud just about to open has withered away. The aged mother remains behind, while the young son has departed. How heartless is the transience of the world!

Now you should shun and abandon this heartless world, entrusting yourself to the Lotus Sutra, in which the late Shichiro Goro placed his faith, and quickly reach the eternally abiding and indestructible pure land of Spirit Eagle Mountain. Your son’s father is on Spirit Eagle Peak; his mother remains in the sahā world. I sympathize with the feelings of the late Shichirō Gorō, who is in the interval between the two of you.

There is much more that I would like to say, but I shall end here.

Respectfully yours,

Nichiren

The twenty-fourth day of the tenth month

Reply to the mother of Ueno.


テキスト, 手紙自動的に生成された説明

‘Reply to the mother of Ueno.’ Autographs: Divided among Koizumi Kuon-ji, Kitayama Honmon-ji, and Chozon-ji Temple.


  



by johsei1129 | 2022-05-21 11:24 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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