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2022年 05月 21日

98. Nichiren grants the propagated Law of his lifetime to Byakuren high priest Nikko.


  From Nichiren Daishonin's Diary of One Generation

 Shortly after entering Munenaka's residence, Nichiren became critically ill.

 Hearing the news, his disciples and followers gathered at the Ikegami residence one after another.

 Kingo Shijo came from Kamakura, Jonin Toki from Shimousa, and Tokimitsu Nanjo from Suruga. Many disciples and believers from Nichiren's hometown of Awa also gathered.

Hearing this, Nichiren roused himself. Although he was in a weakened state, he stood up and delivered a lecture on Rissho Ankoku-ron at the Ikegami family's Buddha hall. This was on September 25.

It is said that Nichiren's propagation began with Rissho Ankoku-ron and ended with Rissho Ankoku-ron. The time has come for him to fulfill this end.

 Nichiren left behind a number of important texts on the Buddhist teachings, including "Object of Worship," which explains the doctrine of Gohonzon, and "Opening of the Eyes”, which explains the fundamental Buddha. The last of preach, "Rissho Ankoku Ron," was Nichiren's last will and testament, which he gave to all his disciples and followers, saying, "While the spread of the Lotus Sutra has yet to be spread, that is, until the sovereign of the country takes refuge in the Lotus Sutra, you should continue to admonish.”

“There can be no doubt that all people, from the ruler on down to the general populace, rejoice in and desire the stability of the nation and the peace of the world.

 If we can quickly put an end to the alms that are given to these apostates and insure that continuing support is instead given to the host of true priests and nuns, if we can still these “white waves” that trouble the ocean of the Buddha and cut down these “green forests” that overgrow the mountain of the Law, then the world may become as peaceful as it was in the golden ages of Fu Hsi and Shen Nung, and the nation may flourish as it did under the sage rulers Yao and Shun.

 After that, there will be time to dip into the waters of the Law and to decide which are shallow doctrines and which are deep, and to pay honor to the pillars and beams that support the house of the Buddha.

The host stated with joy: Before my very eyes, the pigeon has transformed into a hawk, the sparrow into a clam. I am delighted to see that you have corrected your views by conversing with a friend of virtue in the orchid room, just as the winding mugwort grows straight in a hemp field. If you seriously reflect on the recent disasters and wholeheartedly trust my words, then the land will soon prosper, just as the ocean calms when the wind subsides.

 However, human hearts change with the passage of time, and human nature is affected by its surroundings. This is just like the reflection of the moon on the water rippling with the waves, or soldiers in the face of battle quailing at the sight of the swords of their enemy. You believe in my words at this moment; however, later you will surely forget them. If you desire a secure land, and wish to pray for peace in your present and future existence, you should waste no time, ponder on the correct path, and immediately eliminate slanders.

Why is this so?

Because of the seven types of disasters described in the Medicine Master Sutra, five have already occurred. Only two have yet to appear, the calamity of invasion from foreign lands and the calamity of revolt within one’s own domain.

And of the three calamities mentioned in the Great Assembly Sutra, two have already made their appearance. Only one remains, the disaster of warfare.

The various disasters described in the Sutra of the Golden Light have each occurred in succession. The disaster of invasion and marauding by foreign forces, however, has not occurred thus far; it has yet to be seen.

And of the seven disasters listed in the Benevolent Kings Sutra, six are now upon us in full force. Only one has not yet appeared, the calamity that occurs “when enemies rise up on all four sides and invade the nation.”

Moreover, as the Benevolent Kings Sutra says: “When a nation becomes disordered, it is the demon gods that first show signs of rampancy. Because the demon gods become rampant, all the people of the nation become disordered.” If we contemplate the current reality in light of these sutras, we can see that a hundred demon gods have been running wild, and a great many lives have been lost. It is clear that the disasters depicted in these sutras have already taken place. How can we doubt the occurrence of the remaining disasters? What will you do if these disasters occur simultaneously and relentlessly as a result of the people taking faith in erroneous teachings?

Emperors and kings have their foundation in the state and bring peace and order to the age; ministers and commoners hold possession of their fields and gardens and supply the needs of the world. But if marauders come from other regions to invade the nation, or if rebellion breaks out within the domain, people's farms are plundered, will they not be shocked? Will they not panic? If the nation is lost and homes are destroyed, where can you run away to? If you care anything about your personal security, you should first of all pray for order and tranquility throughout the every direction of the land, should you not?

Above all, when people are in this world they all fear what their lot may be in the life to come. In fear of this, people unknowingly take faith in erroneous teachings or venerate slanderous religions. Their inability to differentiate right from wrong is disgraceful. How pitiful is it that they believe they are dedicating themselves to correct Buddhism? With the power of faith that is in their hearts, why must they recklessly give credence to distorted doctrines?

If they do not shake off these delusions that they cling to but continue to harbor erroneous views, then they will quickly leave this world of the living and surely fall into the hell of incessant suffering.

Why do I say that? The Sutra of Great Assembly states: “If a king practiced almsgiving, observing the precepts, and obtaining wisdom for innumerable existences in the past, but in his current existence finds that the Law is in danger of being destroyed yet does nothing to protect it, then the boundless good fortune he had accumulated will vanish completely….. Soon the king will become morally ill and, upon his death, he will be confined to a deep hell. The king’s consorts, the crown prince, high ministers, barons, generals, local administrators, and officials will all receive the same retribution.

The Benevolent Kings Sutra states: “If persons destroy the teachings of the Buddha, they will have no filial sons, no harmony with their six kinds of relatives, and no aid from the heavenly deities and dragons. He will fall victim to epidemics and attacks by demons day by day, be hounded by bizarre disasters after another, and constantly be tormented by misfortune. After death, he will fall into the worlds of hell, hunger, and animality. Even if they should be reborn as human beings, they will be destined to become soldiers or slaves. Retribution will follow as an echo follows a sound, or as shadow follows a form. Someone writing at night may put out the lamp, but the words he has written will still remain. It is the same with the result of the deeds we perform in the threefold world.”

The second volume of the Lotus Sutra says, “If a person fails to have faith but instead slanders this sutra... When his life comes to an end he will enter the Avīchi hell.”

And a passage from the Bodhisattva Fukyo chapter in the seventh volume states, “For one thousand kalpas, he will undergo tremendous sufferings in avichi hell.”

The Nirvana Sutra teaches, “If one become estranged from his good friends, refuses to listen to the true Law, and adheres to evil doctrines, he will inevitably sink into avichi hell, where his body will expand and stretch eighty-four thousand yojanas.”

When we examine this wide variety of sutras, we find that they all stress how grave a matter it is to slander the correct teaching. How pitiful that people should all go out of the gate of the correct teaching and enter so deep into the prison of these distorted doctrines! How stupid that they should fall one after another into the snares of these evil doctrines and remain for so long entangled in this net of slanderous teachings! In this lifetime, the people’s ability to see the correct Law is obscured by a dense fog, and in future existences they will be engulfed by the roaring flames of hell. How can we not grieve? How can we not agonize?

You must quickly reform the tenets that you hold in your heart and embrace the one true vehicle, the single good doctrine of the Lotus Sutra. If you do so, then the threefold world will become the Buddha land. How could a Buddha land ever decline? All the lands in the ten directions will transform into treasure realms. How could a treasure realm ever fall to ruin?  If the nation never declines and the land is indestructible, you will find safety and peace of mind. These are the very words that you must believe and revere.

The guest said: Since it concerns both this life and the lives to come, who could fail to be cautious in a matter such as this? Who could fail to agree with you? Now that you have explained in detail the words of the Buddha based on the passages you have cited from the sutras, I have come to understand that slandering the true Buddhism is extremely serious and the offense of violating it is indeed grave.

I had put all my faith in one Buddha alone, Amida, and had rejected all the other Buddhas. I have honored the three Pure Land sutras and set aside the other sutras. But this was not due to any distorted ideas of my own conception. I was simply obeying the words of the founders of the past. And the same is true of all the people in the ten directions. But now I realize that to do so means to exhaust oneself in futile efforts in this life and to fall into the Avīchi hell in the life to come. The texts you have cited are perfectly clear on this point, and their arguments are detailed—they leave no room for doubt.

From now on, I will faithfully uphold your compassionate admonition so that I may clear my foolish and deluded mind. I will immediately eliminate all slanderous teachings and make every effort toward realizing peace throughout the land. These efforts will also secure my own peace of mind in this lifetime and will enable me to attain supreme happiness in future existences. I do not only believe, but I would admonish others for their errors.”  

Some of the young disciples were crying.

Nichiren looked around at them and compassionately told them.

“What is the matter? If you keep crying, you will not be able to listen to my teachings.”

However, the disciples, who were about to lose their teacher, could not stop their grief.

Silence reigned at the Ikegami residence.

 It was now October 8.

Nichiren was lying in another room.

Six monks, including Hokibo Nikko, sat there in a mysterious manner. 

On his deathbed, Nichiren spoke.

“On the occasion of my death, I have chosen six of my disciples to be my successors.

Nissho Ben-Ajari (62 years old)

Nichiro Daikoku Ajari (38)

Nikko Byakuren Ajari (37)

Nikou, Sado Ajari (39)

Nicchou Iyo AJari (31)

Nichizi Renge Ajari (33)

These are the six. All of you will be called the Six Venerable Monks.”

Nichiren appointed the six disciples in the order of their initiation. He also declared that there was no pecking order in the order in which he read them out, i.e., that they were in no particular order. The oldest of the six was Nissho, who was sixty-two years old, and the other five were all in their thirties.

In addition, Nichiren said.

"A notice has already been made that six individuals were selected as the major disciples. However, the essence of the Lotus Sutra is directly transmitted only to a single person.

What is the reason? When Buddha was alive and after Buddha passed away, though these are different, the ceremony of the commission is the same. For example, though there were the direct disciples like the four major Bodhisattvas and the sixty thousand disciples, Buddha decided Jogyo Bodhisattva as the great leader entrusted with the Law of fundamentals. It is the same again now."

Shakyamuni Buddha entrusted the great Dharma of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo to a single person, Jogyo Bodhisattva. Nichiren is also trying to give his Dharma to only one person.

His disciples held their breath in excitement. Who will take over Nichiren's cult?

“Though there are six monks and several disciples, I determine Nikko as the general who entrusts the Law of Fundamentals.”

It was expected that Hoki-bo Nikko would be Nichiren's successor, but Nissho, the oldest and a fellow countryman of Nichiren, was by no means satisfied that Nikko, thirty years younger than Nichiren, would be the top head of the six. However, once Nichiren passed away, the circumstances would change. The eldest Nissho convinced himself that all that remained was to do as he wished.

Nichiren had already written his last will and testament, naming Hoki-bo Nikko as his successor.

“I, Nichiren, transfer the entirety of the Law that I have propagated throughout my life to Byakuren Ajari Nikko and I designate him the Great Master of Propagation of the Essential Teaching. When the sovereign embraces this Law, establish the precept platform of Hommongi Temple at Mount Fuji. You must await the time. This is what is called the precepts of reality. Above all else, my disciples must obey this instruction.


September in the fifth year of Ko'an(1282).

The order of the Heritage of the law: from Nichiren to Nikko.” Document for Entrusting the Law that Nichiren Propagated throughout his Life.’

However, he was not relieved. As Nichiren looked toward death, he wrote again, as if foreseeing the future of five people, not including Nikko.

“I transmit Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings of fifty years to Byakuren Ajari Nikko. He should be the manager of Kuonji Temple on Mt. Minobu. Crowds of believers and monks who disobey him are fellows of going against the Law.


The thirteenth day of October in the fifth year of Ko'an (1282). At Ikegami in Musashi Province.” ‘Document to inherit Mt. Minobu.’

These two wills are called the Two Documents of Inherit, and are named " The Document for Entrusting the Buddha's Law, which Nichiren spread throughout his life”" and " Document to inherit Mt. Minobu.

Nichikan, the 26th generation of Nichiren Shoshu explains it.

“I am now convinced that the two documents are indeed commissioned by propagation and continuity of the Law.

‘I, Nichiren, transfer the entirety of the Law that I have propagated throughout my life to Byakuren Ajari Nikko and designate him the Great Master of Propagation of the Essential Teaching.’ This text is a missionary entrustment. That is why it is called "Propagation of the Essential Teaching." etc.

‘I transmit Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings of fifty years to Byakuren Ajari Nikko. He should be the manager of Kuonji Temple on Mt. Minobu.’ This is a commission that should be entrusted to continue. Therefore, it is written, "He should be the manager," etc. It must be kept secret, it must be kept secret.” ‘Annotation of Selection of Times'. In 1715.’ 

There are twists and turns in the course of this Two Documents of Inherit.

After Nichiren's death, this document was kept at Omosu Honmonji Temple, which was built by Nikko, but in March 1581, exactly 300 years later, it was stolen by the followers of Nishiyama Honmonji Temple and Masuyama Gonemon, a vassal of the war lord Takeda Katsuyori, who were disputing about the doctrine.

At the time, the head priest of Omosu Honmonji was a monk named Nichiden. On March 28, he immediately presented Takeda Katsuyori with a petition for the return of the treasure.

However, Katsuyori did not take Nichiden seriously at all. He was more interested in adjudicating the doctrinal dispute between Omosu Honmonji and Nishiyama-Honmonji himself. Katsuyori supported Nishiyama Honmon-ji Temple. To this end, he took away Nichiren's written documents, and tried to bring the ruling in favor of Nishiyama-Honmonji.

The time was the Warring States Period, and Katsuyori seemed to be in a great hurry. The Takeda clan had been in decline since its crushing defeat at the Battle of Nagashino seven years earlier by Oda Nobunaga. Shingen, the god of war, was already gone. Katsuyori had to regain his power in every possible way. One such method was the exploitation of Nichiren's treasures.

The next day, February 6, Tensho 10, Nichiden, unhappy that his appeal was not put in, fasted and passed away. He was fifty-seven years old. He must have been frustrated at not being able to keep Nichiren's will, and his own disappointment must have been great. He closed the doors of the temple and died without letting anyone in. ‘The Collecting the Point of the Doctrine at Fuji sect, Vol. 9’

The following month, in March, Takeda Katsuyori was unable to withstand the all-out attack by the combined forces of Oda and Tokugawa, and perished along with his family at the foot of Mount Tenmoku. Katsuyori killed himself, as well as the women and children of his clan, by slaughtering them to death.

The "Records of Lord Nobunaga" describes the tragic end of his life.

“On March 30, Takigawa Sakon received information that Takeda Shiro, his family, and his retainers were hiding in the mountains of Kogatsuko. In the course of their search, they found a flat house at a place called Tago where they had set up a fence and encamped.

Takigawa Gidayu and Shinooka Heiemon, who had led the advance party, ordered their soldiers to surround them, but they seemed to think that they could not escape, and as if breaking branches of flowers, they drew in forty beautiful ladies and children and stabbed them to death. The rest were scattered to pieces and died in repeated fights with us.” ‘Records of Nobunaga’

Takeda Shiro means Katsuyori. In the Battle of Nagashino, he commanded an army of 15,000 men, but in the end, he died a cruel death with a few people. It was the downfall of the prestigious Takeda family. In this respect, his end was similar to those of Hojo and Taira no Yoritsuna.

The two documents were lost during this war and have never been found. As a side note, on June 2 of the same year, Oda Nobunaga committed suicide at Honnoji Temple.

None of the disciples doubted that Nichiren had appointed Nikko as his successor. Nichiren himself explained the reason for this.

“He was the first to take the lead in the exile of Izu and in the exile of Bun'ei, as well as at other times of great persecution, as if he were following in the shadow of Nichiren. Who would doubt this?

The root of the Minobu land steward's motivation was the power of Nikko's teaching. The reason for my secluded life from the world is because of Nikko's kindness and devotion to Mimaki in Kai Province.” ‘One Hundred and Six Articles.’


Hoki-bo Nikko was always by Nichiren's side during his exile to Izu and Sado Island. Other disciples followed him, but they did not embody Nichiren's great aspiration. The disciples followed Nichiren, but none of them, except for Hoki-bo Nikko, had any desire to know Nichiren's true intentions or to realize his great aspiration.

It was through Hoki-bo's work that Hakiri, the head of the land, was awakened to piety. I have already mentioned that Nichiren moved to Minobu under the arrangement of Hoki-bo. Even the Five Elder Priests cannot dispute this fact.

 However, the five elderly priests did not honestly accept Nichiren's last will and testament that "Nikko should be the manager of Kuonji Temple on Mt. Minobu." These Later facts speak eloquently of this.

by johsei1129 | 2022-05-21 11:30 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)

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