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日蓮大聖人『御書』解説

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2022年 05月 21日

97. Descent Mt. Minobu


山と湖の風景自動的に生成された説明

Mt. Minobu


 Nichiren's condition continued to worsen.

In September of the 5th year of Koan, Nichiren finally decided to leave the mountain. He decided to leave Minobuyama, where he had lived for nine years. About nine months earlier, on November 24, Kouan 4, he had just completed the construction of the 18-meter, 4-sided temple. The reason for his descent was said to be to go to Hitachi-no-kuni for a hot-spring cure.

 Nichiren was aware that he himself would pass away in the not-too-distant future. In that case, the monastery in Minobu would not be a good location for his disciples. In addition, the young monks were still practicing Buddhism. He did not want to disturb them. Also, a large residence would be the best place for a large number of believers to gather.

 The Buddha had left a will that after his death, his ashes would be cremated and his bones would be divided to build a pagoda. However, he told his disciples to leave these matters to the lay believers of both sexes who were non-monks. This meant that the disciples should continue their training and missionary work. His destination after his descent was the Ikegami Munenaka residence in Musashi Province, or what is now Tokyo. The largest house among his supporters was the residence of the magistrate for construction affairs, Munenaka Ikegami. Even if something untoward were to happen, it would be unthinkable for anyone to mess with the residence of the magistrate under the direct control of the shogunate. The reason for the hot-spring cure in the country of Hitachi Province is thought to be out of consideration for Hakiri Sanenaga, who had taken care of him for many years as a landowner.

 Nichiren was carried by his disciples on a chestnut horse. Hoki-bo and his disciples followed with grim expressions on their faces. How many days would it take to reach Hitachi? It would not be an easy journey for Nichiren, who was ill.

The head of the land, Sanenaga Hakiri, was horrified by the sudden news, but Nichiren's will remained strong. He gave up and sent his own sons to accompany him.

As he was about to depart, Sanenaga said, "My priest, there is no need for you to leave in a hurry. Why don't you take it a little easier, sir?"

Nichiren shook his head weakly.

“I am ill, so there may be unforeseen circumstances. However, I cannot tell you how grateful I am that you have protected me for the past nine years, even though many in Japan find me a nuisance. Wherever I die, my grave will be placed here in Minobu."

Nichiren bowed deeply to Sanenaga, his temporary landlord. However, the reality was different. For the past nine years, Nichiren suffered from hunger and cold. Sanenaga, the landowner, was indifferent to Nichiren's plight. The later generations of believers accused Hakiri of being indifferent to Nichiren's situation. However, Nichiren never complained to Sanenaga.

On September 8, a group of Nichiren's party left the mountain. Hakiri Sanenaga saw them off in a daze.

The group walked along a deserted road. What kind of commotion might occur if Nichiren were to descend the mountain? Hoki-bo, who was in command of the group, chose a mountain path to hide himself.

They descended the steep slope of Mount Minobu. Nichiren was his horse as if he were asleep. Hoki-bo watched him without taking off the reins.

The group crossed the Fuji River. Disciple crossed the river with Nichiren on his back.

They crossed the river and entered the Musashino area. The group was moving forward with the magnificent sunset in the background. Mt. Fuji gradually became smaller and smaller.

Ikegami Munenaka's residence in Musashi was a samurai residence surrounded by woods. It is located in today's Ota Ward, Tokyo.

On September 18, ten days after his departure from Minobu, Nichiren arrived at the residence of his beloved follower, Munenaka.

Munenaka and his younger brother Munenaga were standing together at the gate. They were very happy to welcome their mentor to their mansion, but they could not rejoice at the thought of his illness. However, they greeted Nichiren with smiles as best they could.

Nichiren smiled slightly when he saw the brothers' smiles.

"Thank you for your kindness."

Nichiren bowed deeply to the brothers, whom he had once taught so strictly.

From Musashi, Nichiren sent the last letter of his life to Hakii in Kai. We can read his thoughtful consideration for his former landlord.

I would like to make a report. The journey from Minobu went smoothly, and we have come as far as Ikegami. Whether it was the mountains or rivers, there were great obstacles along the way, but protected by your sons and other members, we arrived here without incident. I am most grateful and delighted. When we eventually return, however, it will be necessary to retrace our steps, and because I am ill, I fear that an accident may occur.

But be that as it may, for no less than nine years you have believed in me, who is seen throughout Japan as more than a bit of a nuisance. I am more grateful than I can express in words for your sincerity. That is why, no matter where I should breathe my last, I would like my grave to be in the valley of Minobu.

Also, that chestnut-colored horse you sent along with us is such an extremely fine one that I would really prefer to keep him with me as long as possible. Much as I might wish to take him all the way with us to the hot springs in Hitachi, however, it is quite possible that someone might steal him. In addition, I feel it would be hard on the horse, and so until we return from taking the waters in Hitachi, I will leave him in the care of lord Mobara in Kazusa. But because I would worry about having a groom unused to the horse look after him, I think it is better to have the present groom stay with him until we return from Hitachi.

I explained this so that you understand the reasons for my actions in these matters.

With my deep respect,

Nichiren

Report to the samurai Hakiri

I apologize that because I am ill, I have had to refrain from adding my official signature.”

Nichiren was very fond of his chestnut horse, so he had a guard for him. At that time, horse thieves were frequent there. He also apologized for not being able to mark his signature due to illness. What humility!

 Shortly after Nichiren entered the residence of Munenaka Ikegami, an incident occurred.

 A Buddhist priest of Mt. Hiei Nikaidou Ise-Hoin, the son of Nikaido Ise-mori, an official of the shogunate, heard that Nichiren was staying at the Ikegami Munenaka residence and came with a large number of attendants to dispute on the Buddha's Law. At that time, Nichiren told Nichimoku that he should appoint priest Nichimoku in this dispute, and Nichimoku, who was skilled in questioning and answering, was to answer the question with Ise Hoin in place of Nichiren.

 The first question and answer began with the sutra "The world of peace and happiness, Amitabha Buddha’ and was followed by about ten other questions and answers, all of which resulted in Nichimoku's defeat of the Hoin. Nichiren must have been very satisfied with the results.

 Nichiren regarded Nichimoku as extremely important. Apart from Nikko, to whom he entrusted his successor, Nichiren regarded Nichimoku as more important than the other five elderly monks.

 This is clearly shown in the Gohonzon that was presented to Nichimoku.

 In the second month of the second year of Koan, Nichiren granted Nichimoku the Gohonzon. Nichiren wrote their names and months and years he wrote them in small letters on the right side for his other disciples. On the other hand, on the Gohonzon given to Nichimoku, he wrote clearly on the right side, almost in the same size as Nichiren's writing in the center, "This is given to Nichimoku, the son of Shakyamuni." Nichiren also gave it to his disciple Nissho in November of the third year of Koan, and wrote in the lower left corner, "This is transmitted to Nissho, the son of Shakyamuni," which is extremely small.

 It is likely that Nichiren was convinced that Nichimoku would succeed Nikko and lay the foundation for the spread of Buddhism in Japan in his third generation.





# by johsei1129 | 2022-05-21 11:28 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
2022年 05月 21日

96, The Mountain of Perfect Enlightened.


山の景色自動的に生成された説明

 Chomolungma (Everest) from Wikipedia

      

The hermitage in Minobu was secluded. 

Hoki-bo entered Nichiren's room.

“Master, the breakfast is ready. I have boiled the rice that Lord Nanjo has offered...”

Hoki-bo saw that Nichiren collapsed in front of the Gohonzon.

“Master!"

Hoki-bo rushed to help Nichiren up.

Someone get in here!"

 Every human being has to die at least once. Although we may think that death is bad luck or that we don't want to think about it, no one has ever escaped it. If we think that death is the end of life, life is fleeting, but if we prepare ourselves for death and then turn around and think about life, we can live a meaningful life.

 But people do not realize this.

We are sheep going to the slaughterhouse. This world is a world of suffering filled with flames. Modern civilization is running away from death. People abhor death and keep it away from them. It is as if there is no end.

 Nichiren had been pondering about death, the fundamental proposition of Buddhism, since he was young. This is a theme that modern people have forgotten.

Take, for example, the solar eclipse. People in ancient times would have feared that the end of the world had come when the sun suddenly began to wane, and it finally became completely dark, even though it was still daytime.

 However, people today know that a solar eclipse is a phenomenon caused by the motion of the heavenly bodies, and that "the moon enters the space between the earth and the sun, and in the area in the moon's shadow, the sun is either diminished or completely obscured. We also know the exact date and position of future eclipses on the earth, and enjoy eclipses as a celestial show. This is possible because we understand the laws of celestial navigation.

In the second chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha says, "The Buddha's accomplishment is the highest, rarest, and most esoteric of all the Law, which he and he alone has accomplished.”

 In other words, people are anxious and fearful of death because they do not understand the laws of life and death. Both Shakyamuni Buddha and Nichiren have mastered the law of life, so there is no need to be afraid of death. This is because the Buddha Dharma does not see life as one but as three bodies: the Dharma body, the rewarding body, and the manifested body. Our life is composed of the Dharma body, which is the soul without beginning and without end, the manifested body, which is born as a fertilized egg in the mother's womb and ages and decays, and the reward body, which becomes enlightened through practice and becomes a Buddha to save all sentient beings. In other words, while the visible Body that we normally recognize as a person always dies, the Dharma body as the soul or spirit receives the results of one's deeds, good or bad, in this life and is born again as a new life. Therefore, the deeds of this life are important.

Nichiren explains the three bodies of Law, reward, and manifestation with the analogy of the moon.

 “With regard to the eye-opening ceremony appropriate, the Mahayana sutra states, “This great vehicle sutra is the treasure storehouse of the Buddhas, the eye of the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three existences.” It also says, “This correct and equal sutra is the eye of the Buddhas. It is through this sutra that the Buddhas are able to acquire the five types of vision.”

Concerning the phrase “acquire the five types of vision” in this sutra, this refers to the physical eyes, the heavenly eye, the wisdom eye, the Dharma eye, and the Buddha eye. These five types of vision are naturally acquired by one who upholds the Lotus Sutra, just as the person who becomes the ruler of a state will naturally be obeyed by all the people of that state, or as the lord of the great ocean will as a matter of course be followed by the fish who dwell there.

The Kegon, Agon, Hodo, Hannya, and Dainichi sutras may possess the five types of vision in name, but they do not possess them in reality. The Lotus Sutra possesses them in both name and reality. And even if it did not possess them in name, you may be certain that it would possess them in reality.

With regard to the three bodies of a Buddha, the Bodhisattva Fugen Sutra states: “A Buddha’s three types of bodies are born from this correct and equal sutra, which is the great seal of the Law that assures entry into the sea of nirvana. It is from this sea that a Buddha’s three types of pure bodies are born. These three types of bodies are fields of good fortune for human and heavenly beings and are highest among those worthy of alms.”

The three bodies are as follows: first, the Dharma body of a Tathagata; second, the reward body of a Tathagata; and third, the manifested body of a Tathagata. These three types of bodies of a Tathagata are invariably possessed by all Buddhas. If we use the moon as an illustration, we may say that the moon itself is comparable to the Dharma body, its light to the reward body, and its reflection to the manifested body. Just as a single moon has these three different aspects, so a single Buddha possesses the virtues of these three different bodies.

These doctrines of the five types of vision and the three bodies are not expounded anywhere outside of the Lotus Sutra. Therefore, the Great Teacher Tenda has said, “The Buddha consistently possesses the three bodies throughout the three existences. But in the various teachings, he kept this secret and did not transmit it.” In this passage of commentary, the phrase “in the various teachings” refers not only to the Kegon, Hodo, and Hannya sutras, but to all sutras other than the Lotus Sutra. And the phrase “he kept this secret and did not transmit it” means that, throughout the entire body of scriptures outside of the “Life Span” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, concealed and avoided expounding it. Therefore, in performing the eye-opening ceremony for painted or wooden Buddha images, the only authority to rely on is the Lotus Sutra and the Tendai school.” ‘Consecrating an Image of Shakyamuni Buddha

 In other words, the Dharma body is the essence of life itself, the rewarding body is the wisdom and circumstances of life, and the manifested body is the visual figure.

 For example, every person on the earth, which is said to number 7.5 billion people today, had a moment when he or she was a newborn baby. But that baby is nowhere to be found now. That is exactly what the manifested body is. Therefore, it is not death that we should fear, but how we are living now. The way we live now determines our next life.

 Nichiren, who knew all about this law of life, is afraid of whether or not he is now believing in Myoho-renge-kyo. The Buddha Dharma teaches the rebirth of human beings, and the world after rebirth can be foreseen from the phase of a person's deathbed. Nichiren said that the mirror of the Lotus Sutra can guess a person's afterlife. He said that the phase of death is determined according to the evil or righteousness of the Dharma that one believes in.

In order to live a better life in preparation for death, one must have a good life. This is everyone's wish. A better life can only be realized by maintaining the excellent Law.

Nichiren wrote a letter to Rokuro-zaemon Matsuno, a follower of Nichiren. Matsuno is from Matsuno, Ihara-gun, Suruga Province. He became a devotee of Nichiren through the marriage of his daughter to Hyoue, the father of Nanjo Tokimitsu.

He has many children. Known are Rokuro Saemon-no-jo, the eldest son who built Rengeji Temple, Nichiren's high disciple Nichimochi, who later became one of the Six Elder Monks, and his daughter who married into the Nanjo family.

From the letter, we can infer that Matsuno was a very well-educated person. He was also the same age as Nichiren. For this reason, Nichiren expresses his friendship to Matsuno and appeals to him to live a life that upholds the excellent Law. This is a letter to a person who is also facing old age.

He drew on the story of a boy in the snow mountain to teach the sanctity of death. In addition, he also reminds us of the transience of those who end their lives in vain, not seeking the Buddha Dharma.

 “I received a thousand pieces of copper coin with one string, one polished rice of the horse-load, and one white clothing you sent me.

 To begin with, rolling fields and hills stretch out more than a hundred ri to the south of this mountain. To the north stands lofty Mount Minobu, which joins the peaks of Shirane farther off. Jutting sharply up to the west is a mountain called Shichimen, snow remains on these peaks throughout the year. There is not a single dwelling other than mine in the area. My only visitors, infrequent, are the monkeys that come to play among the trees. And to my regret, even they do not stay for long, but scurry back to where they came from. To the east run the surging waters of the Fuji River, which resemble the flowing sands of the desert. I think that it is extraordinarily mysterious that you send me letters from time to time to this place whose inaccessibility makes visitors rare.

 The monk Nichigen of Jisso-ji temple, becoming my disciple,was driven out by his own disciples and lay supporters, and had to give up his lands, so that he now has no place of his own. Nonetheless, he still visits me and takes care of my disciples. He is a true person of devotion to the way and is a saint. Also, he is already unrivaled as a scholar of Buddhism. Yet he has discarded all desire for fame and fortune and become my disciple. He is practicing Buddhism according to the words in the sutra, “we do not spare in our bodies or lives”. To repay his debts of gratitude to the Buddha, he has taught our fellow believers and inspired you to make these sincere offerings. This is truly mysterious.

The Buddha stated that, in the Latter Days of the Law, monks and nuns with the hearts of dogs would be as numerous as the sands of the Ganges. By this he meant that the priests and nuns of the Latter Days of the Law would be attached to fame and fortune. Because they wear robes, they look like ordinary priests and nuns. But in their hearts, they wield a sword of distorted views, hastening here and there among their patrons and filling them with countless slanders so as to keep them away from other monks or nuns. Thus, they strive to keep their patrons to themselves and prevent other monks or nuns from coming near their patrons, for instance, like a dog who first goes to a house to be fed, but growls and is irritated to attack at the moment another dog approaches. All of these monks and nuns will be certain to fall into the evil paths. Being the scholar that he is, Nichigen must have read this passage in the sutra. His special consideration and frequent visits to me and my disciples are deeply appreciated.

 In your letter, you write: “Since I took faith in this sutra [the Lotus Sutra], I have continued to recite the Ten Factors and the verse section in the Life Span chapter [Ji-ga-ge] and chant the title without the slightest neglect. But how great is the difference between the profit received when a saint chants the title and the profit received when we chant it?”. To answer, one is in no way superior to the other. This reason, because the gold that a fool possesses is no different from the gold that a wise man possesses; a fire either made by a fool is the same as a fire done by a wise man. However, a difference arises in chanting the title in defiance of the intent of this sutra.

 There are various stages in the practice of this sutra. In general terms, the volume five of the Annotations of the Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra only says, " In defining the types of evil, ‘explain at an appropriate time but not preach among at proper time’".

 One person enumerates the types of evil as follows, "I will first list the evil causes and their effects. There are fourteen slanders: (1) arrogance, (2) negligence, (3) egotistical judgment, (4) shallow understanding, (5) attachment to earthly desires, (6) lack of understanding, (7) disbelief, (8) aversion, (9) doubts, (10) slandering, (11) despising goodness, (12) hating of goodness, (13) jealousy for goodness, (14) grudges goodness”. Since these fourteen slanders apply equally to monks and laity, you must be on guard against them.

Bodhisattva Fukyo of old said that all people have the Buddha nature and that, if they embrace the Lotus Sutra, they will never fail to attain Buddhahood. He further considered that to slight a person is to slight the Buddha himself. Thus, his practice was to revere all people. He revered even those who did not hold the Lotus Sutra because they too had the Buddha nature and might someday believe in the sutra. Therefore, the monks and lay believers who espouse this sutra are even more so.

 The fourth volume of the Lotus Sutra says, “If there was a person who spoke only one word to slander the laypersons or monks or nuns who uphold and preach the Lotus Sutra, then his offense would be even graver than that of slandering Shakyamuni Buddha to his face throughout one kalpa”. The Lotus Sutra also states, “If anyone sees a person who accepts and upholds this sutra and tries to expose the faults or evils of that person, whether what he speaks is true or not, he will in his present existence be afflicted with white leprosy”. Take these teachings to heart, and always remember repeatedly that believers in the Lotus Sutra should not abuse one another. This is the reason because all those who keep faith in the Lotus Sutra are most certainly Buddhas, and one who slanders a Buddha commits a grave offense. In this way, when one chants the title bearing in mind that there are no distinctions among those who embrace the Lotus Sutra, then the profits one gains will be equal to those of Shakyamuni Buddha. A commentary states, “Both the beings and the environment of the Avi hell exist entirely within the highest saint himself, the life and the environment of Buddha never transcend the minds of common mortals.” Please surmise the significance of the fourteen slanders in the light of the above quotations.

 That you have asked me about Buddhism shows that you are sincerely concerned about your next life. The Lotus Sutra states, “ . . . a person capable of listening to this Law, such a person is likewise rare.” Unless the Buddha’s correct envoy appears in this world, who is there that can expound this sutra in exact accord with the Buddha’s intent? Moreover, it would appear that there are very few who ask about the meaning of the sutra in an effort to resolve their doubts and thus believe in it wholeheartedly. No matter how humble a person may be, if his wisdom is the least bit greater than yours, you should ask him about the meaning of the sutra. But the people in this evil age are so arrogant, prejudiced, and attached to fame and profit that they are afraid that, should they become the disciple of a humble person or try to learn something from him, they will be looked down upon by others. They never rid themselves of this wrong attitude, so they seem to be destined for the evil paths.

The “Teacher of the Law” chapter says: “If you make offerings to the priest who preaches the Lotus Sutra and hear its teachings for even a moment, then you will experience joy because you can gain even greater benefits than one who offers immeasurable treasures to the Buddha for the space of eighty million kalpas.”

 Even an ignorant person can obtain blessings by serving someone who expounds the Lotus Sutra. No matter if he is a demon or an animal, if someone proclaims even a single verse or phrase of the Lotus Sutra, you must respect him as you would the Buddha. This is what the sutra means when it says, “You should rise and greet him from afar, showing him the same respect you would a Buddha.” You should respect one another as Shakyamuni and Taho did at the ceremony in the “Treasure Tower” chapter.

 The monk Sammi-bo is the lower classes, but since he can explain even a little about the teachings of the Lotus Sutra, you should respect him as you would the Buddha and ask him about the teachings. “Rely on the Law and not rely on persons.” This word should be your discipline.

 Long, long ago, there was a young man who lived in the Snow Mountains and was called the Sessen-Doji. He gathered bracken and nuts to keep himself alive, made garments of deerskin to clothe his body, and has quietly practiced himself. As he observed the world with care and attention, the boy came to consider that nothing is permanent and everything changes, and that all that is born is destined to die. This vale of tears world is as fleeting as a flash of lightning, as the morning dew that vanishes in the sun, as a lamp easily blown out by the wind, or as the Basho leaves that are so easily broken.

No one can escape this transience. In the end, all must take the journey to the Yellow Springs, the land of darkness. When we imagine the trip to the other world, we see the darkness and disconsolate. There is no light from the sun, the moon, or the stars, not even so much as fire to light a torch. And along that dark road, there is no one to keep company. When one was in the Saha world, one was surrounded by parents and relatives, brothers and sisters, wife and children, and retainers. Fathers showed lofty compassion, and mothers, profound loving sympathy. Husband and wife were perhaps as harmonious as two shrimps of the sea who vow to share the same hole and never to part throughout life. Yet, though they push their pillows side by side and play together under quilts embroidered like mandarin ducks, they can never be together on that journey to the land of darkness. One travels alone in complete darkness. None is to come to ask after him.

Though old and young alike dwell in the realm of uncertainty, it is part of the natural order for the elderly to die first and the young to remain a while. So, even as we grieve, we can find some cause for consolation. Sometimes, however, it is the old who remain and the young who die first. No one feels more bitter than a young child who dies before its parents. No one despairs more deeply than parents who see their child precede them in death. People live in this fleeting world where all is uncertain and impermanence, yet day and night they think only of how much wealth they can amass in this life. From dawn to dusk they concentrate on worldly affairs, and not revere the Buddha and not take faith in the Law. They ignore Buddhism practice and lack wisdom, idling their days away. And when they die and are brought before the court of Enma, the lord of hell, what can they carry as provisions on the long journey through the threefold world? What kind of a boat or raft is it to sail across the sea of sufferings of birth and death for going to the land of Bodhisattva or the Buddha Land? When one is strayed, it is as if one were dreaming. And when one is enlightened, it is as if one had awakened. Thinking in this way, the Sessen-Doji resolved to awake from the dream of the transient world and to seek the reality of enlightenment. So, he secluded himself in the mountains and devoted himself to deep meditation, sweeping away the dust of delusion and vacillation in his single-minded pursuit of Buddhist teaching.

The Teishaku in heaven looked below from heaven and observed the Sessen-Doji in the distance. He thought to himself: “The child fish are many, but there are few that grow up to be a fish. Though the flowers of the mango tree are many, there are few that turn into fruit. In like manner, there are many people who set their hearts on enlightenment, but only a few who continue their practice and in fact attain the true way. The aspiration for enlightenment in common mortals is often hindered by evil connections and easily swayed by circumstances. For instance, though many warriors don armor, few go without fear into battle. Let me go test this young man’s resolve.” So saying, Shakra disguised himself as a demon and appeared at the boy’s side.

At that time the Buddha had not yet made his appearance in the world, and although Sessen-Doji had sought everywhere for the scriptures of the Mahayana, he had been unable to learn anything about them. Just then he heard a faint voice saying, “All is impermanence. This is the law of birth and death.” The young man looked all around in amazement, but there was no one in sight except a demon standing nearby. In appearance it was fierce and horrible; the hairs on its head were like flames and the teeth in its mouth like swords, and its eyes were fixed on the boy in a furious glare. When the boy saw this, he did not frighten him in the least. He was so overjoyed at the opportunity to hear something about Buddhist teaching that he did not even question it. For example, he was like a calf separated from its mother that hears the faint sound of her lowing. “Who did recite that verse? There must be somewhere!” he thought, and once more he searched all around, but still there was no one to be seen. He wondered if it could have been the demon who recited the verse. But on second thought that seemed impossible, since the demon must have been born a demon in retribution for some past evil act. The verse was certainly a teaching of the Buddha, and he was sure it could never have come from the mouth of a lowly demon. But as there was no one else about, he asked, “Was it you who preached that verse?” “Don’t speak to me,” replied the demon. “I’ve had nothing to eat for days. I’m starved, exhausted, and almost out of my mind. I may have uttered some sort of nonsense, but in my dazed condition I don’t even know what it was.”

“For me to hear only the first half of that verse,” said the boy, “is like seeing only half the moon, or obtaining half a jewel. It must have been you who spoke, so I beg you to teach me the remaining half.” The demon replied, “You are already enlightened, so you should feel no resentment even if you don’t hear the rest of the verse. I’m dying of starvation, and I haven’t the strength to speak—say no more to me!”. “Can you teach me if you had something to eat?” asked the boy. “If I had something to eat, I might be able to teach,” said the demon. Elated, the boy said, “Well, then, what kind of delicious food would you like?” But the demon replied, “Ask me no more. You will certainly fear when you hear what I will eat. Besides, you would never be able to offer it.” Yet Sessen-Doji was insistent. “If you will just tell me what you want, I will try to find it for you.” The demon answered, “I eat only the tender flesh of humans and drink only their warm blood. I fly through the air far and wide in search of food, but people are protected by the Buddhas and gods, so that, even though I want to kill them, I  cannot. I can only kill and eat those whom the Buddhas and gods have forsaken.”

Hearing this, the boy decided to give his own body for the sake of the Law so that he could hear the entire verse of the sutra. “Your food is right here,” he said. “You are not necessary for searching it from another place. Since I am still alive, my meat is warm. Since my body is warm, so is my blood. Therefore, teach me the rest of the verse, and in exchange, I will offer you my body.” Then the demon grew furious and said to him, “Who can believe your words? After I’ve taught you the rest of the verse, who can I call on as a witness to make you keep your promise?” Sessen-Doji replied: “This body of mine is mortal at all. But if I give my life for the Law and cast away this vile body that would otherwise die in vain, in the next life I will certainly attain enlightenment and become a Buddha and I will gain an exquisite body. It is like throwing away an unglazed earthenware and gaining a treasure vessel in exchange. I make Brahma, Teishaku, the four heavenly kings, and Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions to be my witnesses. I will not deceive you further.”

The demon, somewhat softened, said, “If what you say is true, I will teach you the rest of the verse.” Sessen-Doji was overjoyed and, removing his deerskin garment, spread it out so that the demon could sit upon it. Then, the boy knelt, bowed his head to the ground, and placed his palms together in reverence, saying, “All I ask is that you teach me the rest of the verse.” Thus, he offered his heartfelt respect to the demon. The demon, seated himself on the deerskin, then recited these words: “Release the circulate of birth and death, should enter the joy of nirvana.” The moment he heard this, the boy was filled with joy, and his reverence for the verse was boundless. Resolving to remember it in his next life, he repeated it over and over, and etched it deep in his heart. He thought to himself, “I rejoice that this verse is no different from the teaching of the Buddha, but at the same time I am sad that I alone have only heard it and that I am unable to transmit it to others.” Thereupon he inscribed the stanza on stones, cliff faces, and the trees along the road, and he cried, "Those who later pass by would see this, understand its meaning, you must enter the true way!" This done, he climbed a tall tree and threw himself down before the demon. But before he had reached the ground, the demon quickly resumed his original form as Teishaku, caught the boy, and gently placed him on a level spot. Bowing before him reverently, the god said, “In order to test you, I spared the Tathagata’s sacred teaching for a time, causing anguish in the heart of a Bodhisattva. I hope you will forgive my faults and save me without fail in my next life.” Then, the whole heavenly beings appeared and gathered around to praise the boy, saying, “Excellent, excellent! You are truly a Bodhisattva”. By casting away his body for listening to half of a verse, the Bodhisattva was able to eradicate offenses of the sufferings of birth and death throughout twelve kalpas. This story is referred to in the Nirvana Sutra.

In the past Sessen-Doji was willing to give his life to hear but half a verse. So, how much more thankful should we be hearing a chapter or even a book of the Lotus Sutra! How can we ever repay such a blessing? Indeed, if you care about your next life, you must make this Bodhisattva your example. Even though you may be too poor to offer any treasure, if the opportunity should arise to give up your life to acquire the Law of the Buddha, you should offer your life in order to study the Law.

This body of ours in the end will become nothing more than the soil of the mountains and fields. Therefore, no matter how much you spare, you cannot spare it forever. Even people who live a long time rarely live beyond the age of one hundred. And all the events of a lifetime are like the dream in the wink of sleep. Though a person may have been fortunate enough to be born as a human being and may have even entered the priesthood, if he fails to study the Buddha’s teaching and to refute its slanderers, but simply spends his time in idleness and chatter, then he is a beast dressed in priestly robes. He may call himself a priest and earn his livelihood as such, but in no way does he deserve to be regarded as a priest. He is nothing but a thief who has stolen the title of monks. Be shameful. Be afraid. In theoretical teaching, there is a passage that reads, “We care nothing for our bodies or lives, but spare only for the unsurpassed road”. The essential teaching reads, “Not hesitating even if it costs our lives”. The Nirvana Sutra states, “Our body is slight, the Buddha's law is supreme. We dedicate our lives in order to propagate the Law.” Thus, the Nirvana Sutra and both the theoretical and essential teachings of the Lotus Sutra, they all indicate that one should abandon one’s life to spread the Law. It is a grave offense to go against these admonitions, and though invisible to the eye, the sin piles up until it sends one plummeting to hell. It is like heat or cold, which has no appearance or form that the eye can see. Yet in winter, cold will come to attack the trees and grasses, humans and beasts, and in summer the heat comes to torment people and animals. While, as a lay believer, the important thing for you is to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo single-mindedly and to provide support for the priests. And if we follow the words of the Lotus Sutra, you must also convey this by the range of one's capability.

When the world makes you feel downcast, you should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, remembering that, although the sufferings of this life are painful, those in the next life could be much worse. And when you are happy, you should remember that your happiness in this life is nothing but a dream within a dream, and that the only true happiness is that found in Spirit Eagle Mountain, and with that thought in mind, chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. In this way, continue your practice Buddhist without backsliding until the final moment of your life, and when that time comes, behold. How interesting this world was! When you climb the mountain of perfect enlightenment and gaze around you in all directions, then you will see that the entire realm of phenomena is the Land of Tranquil Light. The ground will be of lapis Lazuli, and the eight paths will be set apart by golden ropes. Four kinds of flowers will fall from the heavens, and music will resound in the air. All Buddhas and bodhisattvas receive the soft breezes of eternity, happiness, true self, and cleanliness, and are enjoying, tasting pleasure. The time is approaching when we too will be counted and rejoice with them! If you are weak in faith, you can never go to such a wonderful place. Cannot reach there. If you still have questions, I am waiting to hear them.

Respectfully,

Nichiren

The ninth day of December in the second year of Kenji (1276)

Reply to the Lord Matsuno





# by johsei1129 | 2022-05-21 11:27 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
2022年 05月 21日

 95, Resuscitation of Tokimitsu


末法に法華経を信じる者は過去に十万億の仏を供養せる故であることを説いた書【法華証明抄】_f0301354_10461396.gif

The Proof of the Lotus Sutra. Autographs: scattered among three temples including Honmonji in Nishiyama. Period manuscript: By Nikko Shonin (in the collection of Fuji Taiseki-ji Temple)


Tokimitsu's faith remained unwavering despite the sudden death of his younger brother.

He worked hard to support Nichiren. He also supported Nichiren in the persecution in Atsuhara. No one in Kamakura does not know of this.

For this reason, the Shogunate was no longer pleased with Tokimitsu. The people hated him as if he were an evil person. Tokimitsu was a follower of Nichiren who openly criticized the Shogunate, even though he was the head of the land. The Shogunate imposed many official matters on him.

Therefore, Tokimitsu had no horse to ride and his wife had no clothes. Even so, he sent a consistent amount of money to Nichiren. What a young man of faith!

 Nichiren encourages the impoverished Tokimitsu.

 “I have received your offering of one thousand coppers. Because you have demonstrated such sincerity, I would state. You must not think I am a greedy monk.

 I will teach you how to become a Buddha easily. Teaching another something is the same as oiling the wheels of a cart so that they turn even though it is heavy, or as floating a boat on water so that it moves ahead easily. The way to become a Buddha easily is nothing special. It is the same as giving water to a thirsty person in a time of drought, or as providing fire for a person freezing in the cold. Or again, it is the same as giving things which are only one, or making offerings to others when one's own life is about to end without it.

 There was once a ruler called King Konziki. For twelve years his country was besieged by a severe drought, and countless numbers of people died of starvation. In the rivers, corpses were treated as bridges, and on land, skeletons were regarded as burial mounds. At that time, King Konziki aroused a great aspiration to save others and distributed a vast quantity of alms. He gave away everything he could, until a mere five measures of rice remained in his storehouse. When his ministers informed him that this would provide him with food for a single day, the great king took up the five measures of rice and let each of his starving subjects have, for example, one or two grains, or three or four grains. Then the king looked up to the heavens and raised his voice, crying out that "I feel the pain of all the people’s hunger and thirst on himself and decide to die of starvation!" The heavenly gods heard him and instantly sent down the sweet rain of immortality. All those people whose bodies this rain touched or whose faces it fell upon became satiated with food, and in the space of a moment, the inhabitants of the entire country revived.

 In India there was a wealthy man called Sudatta. Seven times he became poor, and seven times he became a wealthy man. During his last period of poverty, when all the people had fled or perished and only he and his wife remained, they had five liters of rice that would nourish them for five days. At that time, five people—Makasho, Shariputra, Ananda, Rafura, and Shakyamuni Buddha—came one after another to beg for the five measures of rice, which Sudatta had. From that day on, Sudatta was the wealthiest man in all India, and he built the Temple Gion. From this, you should understand all things.

 Just as a monkey resembles a man and a rice cake resembles the moon, you already resemble the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra. Though you so earnestly protected my congregations in Atsuhara, the people of this country consider you to be like Masakado of the Shōhei era or Sadato of the Tengi era. This is solely because you have devoted your life to the Lotus Sutra. The heavenly gods do not in the least regard you as a man who has betrayed his lord. In addition, having had numerous public works forcibly assigned to your little village, you yourself lack the horse you should be riding, and your wife and children lack the clothing they should be wearing. Nonetheless, your feeling anxious that the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra was probably being assailed by snow amidst the mountains and in want of food, and sending me one thousand pieces coins even in such circumstances, is exactly like the poor woman giving a begging monk the single garment that she and her husband wore, or like Rida giving the millet in his jar to a pratyekabuddha. How precious. How high-minded. I will speak to you in more detail later.

Respectfully yours,

Nichiren

 The twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month in the third year of Kōan (1280)

 Reply to lord Ueno”


 Just as it seemed that peace had been restored, tragedy struck again.

Tokimitsu himself became seriously ill.

News of his illness had reached Nichiren in September of the previous year.

“I have received your message. I have heard that you are having difficulties with your illness. I have heard that you are having difficulty with your work, and I hope that you will hurry to make a cure and visit here." 'Reply to lord Nanjo': September 11, Kouan 4 (1281), 60 years old.

 Contrary to the expectations of those around him, his illness became more serious. The name of the disease was unknown. But it was an illness that would surely lead to death. No medicine could cure it. After his father, Shichiro Hyôe, and his younger brother, Goro, it was Tokimitsu's turn. Tokimitsu was only a young man of twenty-three. The Nanjo family was clearly destined to have a short life.

In February of the following year, Tokimitsu finally became critically ill.

Nichiren knew the seriousness of the situation, raised himself from his sickbed, had Nichiro dictate to him, and instructed Hoki-bo Nikko to have Tokimitsu drink a cup of a medicine, the protective agent.”

The protective agent was a medicine made by mixing ashes of sutra texts with water.

Nichiren was desperate to prolong Tokimitsu's life at all costs, even if his illness was due to a destiny.

“The twenty-eight characters of this sutra are from the seventh volume of the Lotus Sutra, 'Medicine King.' One year, when the Buddha's nanny became very ill and was about to die, he wrote this sutra and gave it to her to drink with purified water, and she soon came back to life. Although Nanjo Tokimitsu is from a humble background, he is a man deeply committed to Nichiren. Even if this is his destiny, for once I am praying, "King Enma, save him. Tomorrow, at the time of the tiger, the rabbit, and the dragon [A.M.3:00-A.M.9:00], fetch water from the Shojin River, burn this sutra into ashes, put it in 0.1 liter of water, and make him drink.

Respectfully yours,

Nichiro

February 25” ‘Letter to the priest lord Hoki-bo.’

The origin of the "protective agent" is the story of how the Lord Shakyamuni Buddha saved his nanny and foster mother, Mahaprajapati, from serious illness.

This is not the first time that Nichiren used the protective agent. Ten years ago, when Kingo Shijo's wife, Nichigan-nyo, conceived a child, he sent her the protective agent to ensure a safe delivery.

 “I understand the circumstances of your pregnancy. In response to your request, I have prepared the protective agent, choosing from among the lore that has been transmitted to me. You must be careful to have firm faith. For example, even the most excellent medicine will have little effect if poison is added to it. Even a sword will be of no use to a coward.

Above all, both you and your husband are upholders of the Lotus Sutra. You will surely bear a jewel of a child who is going to inherit the seed for the propagation of the Lotus Sutra. I wholeheartedly congratulate you. The child is the one who will inherit both your physical and spiritual aspects. It will possibly not suffer prolonged labor. I expect that the child will be born quickly. If you take this medicine, there can be no doubt.

Even the darkness becomes bright when a lantern is lit, and even muddy water becomes clear when the moon shines on it. Can anything exceed the sun and moon in brightness? Can anything surpass the lotus flower in purity? The Lotus Sutra is the sun and moon and the lotus flower. Therefore it is called the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law. Nichiren, too, is like the sun and moon and the lotus flower.

If the water of your faith is clear, the moon of blessings will surely cast its reflection on it and protect you. You are assured of an easy delivery. A passage from the Lotus Sutra says, “A wonderful Law such as this . . . ,” and another says, “She will be delivered safely of a healthy child.” I have carefully explained in detail to monk Ben about the orally transmitted instructions. Therefore, Ben is “an envoy of the Tathagata.” You must be earnest in your faith.” ‘Reply to the Wife of Shijo Kingo. In 1271

 The day after he gave the protective agent, a baby girl was born in the Shijo family, and Nichiren named her Girl Tsukimaro with joy.

Nichiren burnt the text of “King Medicine” in the Lotus Sutra, which he had written himself, and instructed Tokimitsu to mix the ashes with a cup of water from the Shojin River between the hours of 3:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and give it to Tokimitsu. The name of the Shojingawa River still exists today as "Shojin River, Fujinomiya City, Shizuoka Prefecture.

The twenty-eight-character of the Medicine King Chapter is probably this sentence.

“This sutra is a good medicine for all human diseases in the whole world. If a person has a disease and he listens to this sutra, the disease will disappear and he will be immortal.” 

What exactly is the utility of the protective agent? Nichiren wrote in his journal that in his later years, he was cured of his "emaciation illness" by taking a medicine prepared by Kingo Shijo, who was also a physician. He also wrote about the cause of his illness as follows.

 “The first is illness due to lack of harmony with the environment, the second is illness due to lack of eating and drinking, the third is illness due to lack of zazen (meditation), the fourth is illness caused by demons (contagious diseases), the fifth is illness caused by demons (mental illness), and the sixth is illness caused by karma (fate).” ‘Reply to lord Ota Nyudo.’

 Of these, one through five can be cured by medical treatment. Only the sixth, disease caused by karma, cannot be cured unless the sinful obstacles are extinguished through faith in the Lotus Sutra.”

Then, what is the benefit of the protective agent? What kind of benefit did Nichiren think it would have? 

 In fact, there are very few examples of Nichiren's actual use of the talisman. Considering the example of Nichigan-nyo's use when she conceived, it can be inferred that this was offered to her to relieve her mental anxiety. Conception is not a disease. However, the first birth can cause anxiety. Therefore, Nichigan-nyo asked Nichiren for a protective agent, and he seems to have agreed to the request.

 What about Tokimitsu's case?

 When Tokimitsu sent a messenger to Nichiren to tell him that he was seriously ill, Tokimitsu offered a horse as an offering. This is the only time that Tokimitsu wrote to Nichiren about offering a horse to Nichiren, and it is extremely unusual. It is assumed that Tokimitsu, feeling that he had little time left to live, gave his beloved horse, which had been with him, as a substitute for his own life. Nichiren could not help but say to Tokimitsu who had been driven to such an extreme level.

  (You will not die. It is too early to give up. I am with you!)

Nichiren may have given the protective agent voluntarily, although Tokimitsu did not ask for it, in order to inspire him with the will to live.

The reason for the defective agent he gave to Nichigan-nyo is not specifically stated as being from any scripture. The talisman given to Tokimitsu, however, clearly states, "The twenty-eight characters of this sutra are from the seventh volume of the Lotus Sutra, ‘King Medicine.’”

 Match of environment and body is a fundamental principle of Buddhism. Hearing Nichiren's words from Nikko and receiving the protective agent from him, Tokimitsu no doubt felt the will to live once again, and his inherent power to heal naturally increased.

 Generally, when a new drug is tested, a group is divided into two groups: one group takes the investigational drug and the other group takes a placebo (fake drug) made from starch or other ingredients, and the results are compared to determine the exact effect of the drug. In other words, even if the drug is given to the patients without informing them that it is a fake drug, some people may feel relieved by the fact that they have taken the drug, and the natural healing power of the patients may be elicited and the drug may be effective.

Nichiren thinks.

After his death, his disciples will probably face various hardships. However, those who call themselves Nichiren's disciples must overcome all difficulties. If they do not, they will have no future.

The people who support the disciples are the lay believers and supporters. Nichiren believed that Nanjo Tokimitsu would be the key figure in the Lotus Sutra organization. Therefore, Nichiren believed that Tokimitsu must be revived at all costs.

On February 28, three days after Nichiren had Nichirō dictate to him, he woke up for the sake of Tokimitsu, even though he was bedridden. Then, exerting his last strength, he wrote a letter.

It is addressed not to anyone, but to the demons and devils that haunt Tokimitsu.

It is literally a book of life and death, live and let live. The entire writings are filled with the spirit of a demon.

 “By Nichiren, the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra.

How does the mirror of the Lotus Sutra reflect a person believing a Lotus Sutra as like a text of a sutra in the cruel world in the Latter day of the Law? Shakyamuni Buddha has left us words from his golden mouth revealing that such people have already made offerings to a hundred thousand million Buddhas in their past existences. But ordinary people in the Latter day of the Law might well doubt the words spoken by just one Buddha. With this in mind, Taho Buddha came expressly all the way from his World of Treasure Purity, many lands to the east. Facing Shakyamuni Buddha, he gave his words of testimony about the Lotus Sutra, saying, “All that you have expounded is the truth!” If this is so, then there can be no room for doubt about the matter. Nevertheless, Shakyamuni Buddha may have felt that ordinary people in the Latter-Day of the Law would still be skeptical. Hence, he summoned the Buddhas of the ten directions to come and join him in the magnificent act of extending their long, broad tongues, which had told nothing but the truth for as long as countless Kalpa, until they arranged into the sky as high as Mount Sumeru.

Since this is the case, ordinary people who believe even one or two words of the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law are having the Buddhas' tongue of the ten directions. I wonder what relationship I created in the past to have been born as such a person, and I am filled with joy. The words of Shakyamuni that I referred to above indicate that the immense merits that come from having made offerings to a hundred thousand million Buddhas are so great that, even if one has believed in teachings other than the Lotus Sutra and as a result of this slander been born poor and lowly, one is still able to believe in this sutra in this life. Tendai states, “It is like the case of a person who falls to the ground, but who then pushes himself up from the ground and rises to his feet again.” One who has fallen to the ground recovers and rises up from the ground. Shakyamuni said that even if those who slander the Lotus Sutra will fall to the ground of the three evil paths, or of the human and heavenly realms, but in the end, through the help of the Lotus Sutra, they will attain Buddhahood.

Now since Nanjo Tokimitsu, is an ordinary person in the Latter Day of the Law and was born to a warrior family, he should by rights be called an evil man, and yet his heart is that of a good man. I say this reason. Everyone, from the ruler on down to the common people, refused to take faith in my teachings. They inflicted harm on the few who had a faith, heavily taxing or confiscating their estates and fields, or even in some cases putting them to death. So, it is a difficult thing to believe in my teachings, and yet both his mother and his deceased father dared to accept them. Now he had succeeded his father as his heir, and even without any prompting from others, he has wholeheartedly embraced these teachings. Many people, both high and low, have admonished or threatened him, but he has refused to give up his faith. Because he now appears certain to attain Buddhahood, perhaps the heavenly devil and evil spirits are sending illness to try to intimidate him.

One's life in this world is limited. Must not be even the least bit afraid. And you, demons, by making this man suffer, are you trying to swallow a sword point into your mouth, or embrace a raging fire, or become the archenemy of the Buddhas of the ten directions in the three existences? How terrible this will be for you! You must cure this person’s illness immediately, act rather as his protectors, and escape from the grievous sufferings that are the lot of demons. If you fail to do so, you probably should have your head broken into seven pieces in this life and fall into the great hell of incessant suffering in your next life! Must not prolong his disease! Should stop it forever! If you despise Nichiren's words, you will regret it later. You're gonna regret it.  

 The twenty-eighth day of February in the fifth year of Kōan (1282)

 Down to Hoki-bo.” The Proof of the Lotus Sutra.

 Nichiren achieved the true meaning of his lifetime with the erection of the Dai-Gohonzon on October 12, Kouan 2. He also finished lecturing to his disciples on the Lotus Sutra as the true Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law on May 28, Kouan 3. On January 11, he completed his oral transmission of the "One Hundred and Six Articles" to Hoki-bo Nikko, to whom he entrusted his successor after his own death. He has no regrets even if he had completed his death at this point. Or, it would not be surprising if Nichiren prayed that Tokimitsu could prolong his life, and that he would be willing to give his remaining life to Tokimitsu. The three braves of Atsuhara gave Nichiren the opportunity to build the Dai-Gohonzon. It was his disciple Nikko who protected the peasant believers in Atsuhara, and among the believers, it was Nanjo Tokimitsu himself.

 On his way to Tatsunokuchi, Nichiren once dismounted from his horse and scolded the great Bodhisattva Hachiman. "When Nichiren visits the Pure Land of Spirit Eagle Mountain tonight with his neck cut off, I would say to lord Shakyamuni, ‘Sun Goddess and Justice Hachiman are the deities who do not follow Shakyamuni’s order," pointing to you. If you think that you are afraid, you should hasten to make your arrangement!’” Again, Nichiren scolded the demons in this letter.

After this, Nanjo Tokimitsu recovered. Tokimitsu was successfully revived. He received a life span of exactly 50 years from this day onward, and continued to live his entire life with faith in the Lotus Sutra. After Nichiren passed away, Tokimitsu offered his land to Hoki-bo Nikko and laid the foundation of today's Taiseki-ji Temple. At the age of seventy-four, Tokimitsu ended his life as a martyr to Nichiren, a life full of vicissitudes, but a life of integrity. Today, Ueno Township at the foot of Mt. Fuji, which was Tokimitsu's estate, is filled with believers from all over the world who adore Nichiren Daishonin and Nikko Shonin.

In the Life Span Chapter of the Lotus Sutra, there is the phrase, "To be given further life span.”

It is said that the Buddha gave 40 years of life to King Ajase, and that the Tendai Taishi gave 15 years of life to his elder brother. Nichiren extended his mother's life span by four years and gave Nanjo Tokimitsu a life of fifty years.





# by johsei1129 | 2022-05-21 11:25 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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)
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





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