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2023年 06月 29日

The Treatise of Establishing the Correct Teachings for the Peace and Security of the Nation.4 立正安国論四

Original text

My disciple, there was a time in a previous existence when the Buddha appeared in this fortress city of Kusinagara. His name was the Tathagata of Increasing Joy. After this Buddha passed away, the correct teaching that he had taught remained in the world for countless millions of years. Then, during the final forty years before this Law would come to an end, there was a monk who observed the precepts. This monk’s name was Kakutoku. At the same time, however, there were a great many monks who violated the precepts. As Kakutoku preached the correct Law, nefarious thoughts emerged in the minds of those slanderous monks, and they attacked him with swords and staves.

The king at the time was named Utoku. Upon hearing of this crucial situation, the king rushed to the aid of Monk Kakutoku in order to protect the Law and fought with all his might against the evil monks who were violating the precepts. As a result, the monk who had been preaching was able to escape grievous injury. But the king received so many wounds from the knives and swords. There was no part of his body that was not scarred. There wasn't even a poppy seed-sized area that was okay. At this time the monk Kakutoku praised the king, saying: ‘Splendid, splendid! You, O king, are now a true defender of the correct teaching. In ages to come, this body of yours will surely become a boundless vessel of the Law!’ At that time, the king had heard the teaching, he felt great joy in his heart and that moment he took his final breath. And he was reborn in the land of the Ashuku Buddha, where he became the Buddha’s best disciple. King Utoku’s generals, vassals, subjects, and followers who had fought beside him, as well as those who rejoiced at seeing the correct Law being protected continued to have unwavering determination to seek enlightenment. Therefore, after death, they were all born in this land of the Ashuku Buddha. Later, the priest Kakutoku also died, and he too was reborn in the land of the Ashuku Buddha, where he became second among the voice-hearer disciples. Thus, if the correct teaching is about to come to an end, this is the way you ought to support and defend it. Kashyapa, it was I myself, in fact, who was king at that time, and the monk who preached the sermon was Kashyapa Buddha. Kashyapa, those who protect the correct Law will gain this kind of immeasurable merit. As a consequence, I had acquired the many sacred features that adorn my present self, and to put on the body of Law that can never be destroyed. Then the Buddha said to Bodhisattva Kashyapa: “For this reason, laymen believers and others who wish to defend the Law should arm themselves with swords and staves and protect it in this manner."

Mahakasyapa in the Kizil Caves, carbon dated to 422–529 CE.  摩訶迦葉。キジル壁画、422年から529年ごろ

Goodman, in the age of impurity and evil after I have passed away, the nation will fall into devastation and disorder, men will plunder and steal from one another, and the common people will suffer to starvation. Due to hunger, many men at that time will choose to become monks. I will call them people with shaved heads. When this crowd of shaved heads sees anyone who is attempting to protect the correct teaching, they will chase after him and drive him away, or even kill him or injure him. That is why I now give permission for monks who observe the precepts to act together with white-robed laymen who bear swords and staves. Even though they carry swords and staves, I would call them people who observe the precepts. But although they may carry swords and staves, they should not use them to take life.

The Lotus Sutra says: “If a person fails to believe in this sutra and slanders it, immediately he will sever all the seeds for becoming a Buddha in this world...When his life comes to an end he will enter the Avi hell.”

The meaning of these passages from the sutras is perfectly clear. What need is there for me to add any further explanation? If we accept the words of the Lotus Sutra, then we must understand that slandering the Mahayana scriptures is more serious than committing the five grave sins countless times. Therefore, one who does so will be confined in the great citadel of the Avi hell and cannot hope for release for an immeasurable length of time. According to the Nirvana Sutra, even though you may give alms to a person who has committed the five cardinal sins, you must never give alms to a person who has slandered the Law. One who kills a child ant will invariably fall into the three evil paths, but one who forbids slander of the Law will ascend to the state from which there can be indomitable. For example, Kakutoku was reborn as Kashyapa Buddha, and King Utoku was reborn as Shakyamuni Buddha. The teachings of the Lotus and Nirvana Sutra are the heart of Shakyamuni’s doctrines expounded throughout the five periods of his lifetime of preaching. The warnings in these teachings are extremely serious. Who would fail to heed them?

And yet those people who forget about the correct way and slander the Law put more trust than ever in Honen’s 'Choice of the Nembutsu' and have increased their foolish illusions and rendered them blind and deaf to the correct Law. Thus, some have expressed their longing for the deceased Honen by creating wooden statues and paintings of his image, while others, putting faith in his perverse teachings, carve woodblocks with which to print his ugly words. These writings scatter about throughout the area bounded by the seas, carrying them beyond the cities and into the countryside. People perceive that the only traditions worthy of reverence are those of the Nembutsu, while the only people worthy of receiving alms are Honen's disciples. As a result, we see people cutting off the fingers of the images of Shakyamuni and refashioning them to form the gesture of Amida, or converting the temples formerly dedicated to Yakushi, the Tathagata of the Eastern, and replacing his statues with those of Amida, the Tathagata of the Western Land. Or we find the ceremony of copying the Lotus Sutra, which had been carried out for over four hundred years on Mount Hiei, being suspended and the copying of the three Pure Land sutras substituted in its place, or the lectures of the Great Teacher Tendai being replaced by lectures on the teachings of Zendo. These people are countless in number. Are they not desecrating the treasure of the Buddha? Are they not desecrating the treasure of the Law? Are they not desecrating the treasure of the monks? And all their distorted teachings derive from the 'Choice of the Nembutsu'.

How sad it is that the people go against the Tathagata’s admonitions that are based on true intentions! How pitiful it is that they follow the fallacious words of this ignorant and deceptive monk! If we hope to bring order and tranquility to the world without further delay, we must put an end to these slanders of the Law that fill the country!

The guest said: If we are to put an end to these people who slander the Law and do away with those who violate the prohibitions of the Buddha, then are we to condemn them to death as described in the sutra passages you have just cited? If we do that, then we ourselves will be guilty of inflicting injury and death upon others, and will suffer the consequences, will we not?

In the Great Collection Sutra, the Buddha says: “If a person shaves his head and puts on clerical robes, then, whether that person observes the precepts or violates them, both heavenly and human beings should give him alms. In doing so, they are giving alms and support to me, for that person is my son. But if men beat that person, they are beating my son, and if they curse and insult him, they are reviling me.”

If we stop to consider, we must realize that, regardless of whether one is good or bad, right or wrong, if he is a monk, then he deserves to have alms and nourishment extended to him. For how could one beat and insult the son and still not cause grief and sorrow to the father? The Brahmans of the Bamboo Staff school who killed the Venerable Maudgalyāyana have for a long time been sunk in the depths of the hell of incessant suffering. Because Devadatta murdered the nun Utpalavarnā, he has for a long time gasped in the flames of the Avīchi hell. Examples from earlier ages make the matter perfectly clear, and later ages fear this offense most of all. You speak of punishing those who slander the Law, but to do so would violate the Buddha’s prohibitions. I can hardly believe that such a course would be right. How can you justify that?

The host said: You have clearly seen the sutra passages that I have cited, and yet you can ask a question like that! Are they beyond the power of your mind to comprehend? Or do you fail to understand the reasoning behind them? The purpose of the sutras is not to punish the Buddha's children, but to hate slander. According to the teachings describing Shakyamuni Buddha’s previous lives before his advent in India, slanderers had to be killed. The teachings elucidated by Shakyamuni when he appeared in India as the Buddha of Perseverance only prohibit making offerings to slanderers.

Thus if all of the four kinds of believers throughout the and refuse to make offerings to the evil and instead devote themselves to the good, then what catastrophes could occur, and what disasters could vie with one another to arise?

The guest moved off his mat in a gesture of respect, straightened the collar of his robe, and said: The Buddhist teachings vary greatly, and it is difficult to investigate each doctrine in full. I have had many doubts and perplexities, and have been unable to distinguish right from wrong.

Nevertheless, this work by the Sage Hōnen, Choice of Nembutsu, does in fact exist. And it lumps together all the various Buddhas, sutras, bodhisattvas, and deities, and says that one should “discard, close, ignore, and abandon” them. The meaning of the text is perfectly clear. And as a result of this, the sages have departed from the nation, the benevolent deities have left their dwelling places, hunger and thirst fill the world, and disease and pestilence spread widely.

Now, by citing passages from a wide variety of scriptures, you have clearly demonstrated the rights and wrongs of the matter. Therefore, I have completely forsaken my earlier mistaken convictions, and my ears and eyes have been opened on point after point.

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 unbelievers 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 groves” 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 exclaimed with joy: The dove has changed into a hawk, the sparrow into a clam. How gratifying! You have associated with a friend in the orchid room and have become as straight as mugwort growing among hemp. If you will truly give consideration to the troubles I have been describing and put your entire faith in these words of mine, then the winds will blow gently, the waves will be calm, and in no time at all we will enjoy bountiful harvests.

But a person’s heart changes with the times, and the nature of a thing alters with its surroundings. Just as the moon on the water will be tossed about by the waves, or the soldiers in the vanguard will be cowed by the swords of the enemy, so, although at this moment you may say you believe in my words, later you will forget them for a long time.

Now if we wish first of all to bring security to the nation and to pray for our present and future lives, then we must hasten to examine and consider the situation and take measures as soon as possible to remedy it.

Why do I say this? 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 Collection Sutra, two have already made their appearance. Only one remains, the disaster of warfare.

The different types of disaster and calamity enumerated in the Golden Light Sutra have arisen one after the other. Only that described as marauders from other regions invading and plundering the nation has yet to materialize. This is the only trouble that has not yet come. 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 demons that first show signs of rampancy. Because the demons become rampant, all the people of the nation become disordered.”

Now if we examine the present situation carefully in the light of this passage, we will see that the various demons have for some time been rampant, and many of the people have perished. If the first predicted misfortune in the sutra has already occurred, as is obvious, then how can we doubt that the later disasters will follow? If, in punishment for the evil doctrines that are upheld, the troubles that have yet to appear should fall upon us one after the other, then it will be too late to act, will it not?

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 revolt breaks out within the domain and people’s lands are seized and plundered, how can there be anything but terror and confusion? If the nation is destroyed and people’s homes are wiped out, then where can one flee for safety? If you care anything about your personal security, you should first of all pray for order and tranquility throughout the four quarters, should you not?

It seems to me that when people are in this world they all fear what their lot may be in the life to come. So it is that they put their faith in distorted doctrines and pay honor to slanderous teachings. They hate being confused about right and wrong, and at the same time they are grievously trying to have faith in the Buddha Law. 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.

Thus the Great Collection Sutra says: “Though for countless existences in the past the ruler of a state may have practiced the giving of alms, observed the precepts, and cultivated wisdom, if he sees that my teaching is in danger of perishing and stands idly by without doing anything to protect it, then all the inestimable roots of goodness that he has planted through the practices just mentioned will be entirely wiped out . . . Before long, the ruler will fall gravely ill, and after his life has come to an end, he will be reborn in the great hell. . . . And the same fate will befall the ruler’s consort, his heir, the high ministers of the state, the lords of cities, the village heads and generals, the magistrates of districts, and the other officials.”

The Benevolent Kings Sutra states: “If persons destroy the teachings of the Buddha, they will have no filial children, no harmony with their six kinds of relatives, and no aid from the heavenly deities and dragons. Disease and evil demons will come day after day to torment them, disasters will descend on them incessantly, and misfortunes will dog them wherever they go. And when they die, they will fall into the realms of hell, hungry spirits, and animals. 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 a 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 effect 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 in the Fukyo chapter in the seventh volume, it says, “For a thousand kalpas they underwent great suffering in the Avīchi hell.”

In the Nirvana Sutra, we read: “If a person separates himself from good friends, refuses to listen to the correct teaching, and instead embraces evil teachings, then as a result he will sink down into the Avīchi hell, where the size of his body will become eighty-four thousand yojanas in total length and breadth.”

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! They lose their way in these mists and miasmas, and sink down amid the raging flames of hell. How could one not grieve? How could one not suffer?

Therefore, 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, and how could a Buddha land ever decline? The regions in the ten directions will all become treasure realms, and how could a treasure realm ever suffer harm? If you live in a country that knows no decline or diminution, in a land that suffers no harm or disruption, then your body will find peace and security, and your mind will be calm and untroubled. You must believe my words; heed what I say.

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 when I examine the passages you have cited from the sutras and see exactly what the Buddha has said, I realize that slandering the Law is a very grave fault indeed, that violating the Law is in truth a terrible offense.

I have put all my faith in one Buddha alone, Amida, and 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 eminent men of the past. And the same is true of all the other persons 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, with your kind instruction to guide me, I wish to continue dispelling the ignorance from my mind. I hope we may set about as quickly as possible taking measures to deal with these slanders against the Law and to bring peace to the world without delay, thus ensuring that we may live in safety in this life and enjoy good fortune in the life to come. It is not enough that I alone should accept and have faith in your words, I must admonish the errors of others.

by johsei1129 | 2023-06-29 16:49 | WRITING OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)

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