The Nichiren Buddhism【ミステリーな日蓮 英訳版】19. No prayer other than mine has power!

19. No prayer other than mine has power!

Hiroto Ema

 

 In the fifth year of Bun-ei (1268) , when the official letter from Mongolia arrived and the invasion threatened Japan, Nichiren sent a letter to Hōjō Tokimune, the then regent. The content of it was as follows.

 

“This accords precisely and without the slightest deviation with the prediction I made in my On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land, the work that I, Nichiren, compiled some years ago on the basis of key passages from the various sutras. Nichiren is thus in some sense a sage, for a sage is one who knows those things that have not yet made their appearance.

Accordingly, I take this opportunity once more to deliver a respectful warning. You must cease at once to lend your support to Kenchō-ji・Jufuku-ji (Zen sect), Gokuraku-ji (Shingon-Ritsu esoteric sect), Tahō-ji, Jōkōmyō-ji・Daibutsu-den (Pure Land sect), and other temples. If you do not do so, you will assuredly invite attack not only from the Mongols but from lands in all the four directions. You must pray quickly to overcome and subdue the men of the Mongol nation and bring peace and security to our land. And the task of subduing them cannot be accomplished by anyone but Nichiren.……If you fail to heed the warnings of Nichiren, you will surely regret it later.……I have sent letters of warning to various other officials of the shogunate, and it is my hope that you may summon them all, discuss the matter, and let me know your judgment on it.

In effect, the different types of prayers that are being offered up should be suspended, and the representatives of the various schools should be summoned into your presence so that they may debate with me to decide what is correct and what is incorrect in matters of Buddhist doctrine.……In the three countries of India, China, and Japan, the question of correctness in matters of Buddhist doctrine was decided by the ruler, that is, by King Ajātashatru in the case of India, by the rulers of the Ch’en and Sui dynasties in the case of China, and by Emperor Kammu in the case of Japan.

I am not urging any private or prejudiced view of my own; I speak solely out of my intense loyalty. I do not speak out for my own sake, but for the sake of the gods, for the sake of the ruler, for the sake of the nation, and for the sake of all living beings” (Letter to Hōjō Tokimune)

 

 I think in no other letter is the true aim and intention of Nichiren expressed so clearly. The letter above was written before he was transported to Sado Island, so he hadn’t had the preparedness as the true follower of the Lotus Sutra yet. Nevertheless, he insisted that by holding public debate, the shogunate and its regent should decide whose doctrine of Buddhism was right. Furthermore, he threatened the regent that any prayer which didn’t regard him as a Master of State would invite further invasions and they would regret it.

 

Similar letters were sent to the key persons of the shogunate and the high priests of various sects which were respected highly by those in power. And also in them, the true intention of Nichiren was clearly expressed. How was it spoken out? We will discuss it in the next section.

January 1st 2020

 

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(Next section will be released on February 1st)

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19.私の祈祷でなければ、叶わないのだ!

 

江間浩人

 

 文永5年、蒙古からの国書が届き、その来襲が眼前に迫ると、日蓮は執権の北条時宗に次のような書状を送りました。少し長くなりますが、御容赦ください。

 

 「先年、日蓮が諸経の要文を集めて論じたことは立正安国論の通り、少しも間違えることなく的中した。日蓮は聖人の一人であると言える。未来を知ることができるからである。今また、重ねてこのことを広く申し上げる。急いで建長寺、寿福寺、極楽寺、多宝寺、浄光明寺、大仏殿等への御帰依を止めなさい。そうしなければ、重ねてまた、四方から敵が攻めてくることになる。すみやかに蒙古国の人を祈祷によって抑え鎮め(調伏)、我が国を安泰にして頂きたい。蒙古の調伏は日蓮でなければ叶えることができない。……日蓮が述べていることを用いないならば、必ずや後悔することになる。このことを広く幕府要人に伝えたので、皆を一ヶ所に集めて評議の上、通知頂きたい。とにかく、すべての祈祷を停止して、諸宗を御前に召し合わせて仏法の正邪を決定して欲しい。……インド・中国・日本の三国における仏法の判定は、王の面前で行われてきた。いわゆるアジャセ王の時代、陳・隋の時代、そして桓武天皇の時である。こう述べるのは日蓮の曲がった私心からではない。ただひとえに大忠を抱いているからである。我が身のためにこれを述べているのではない。神のため、君のため、国のため、一切衆生のために申し上げているのである」

 

 これほど端的に日蓮の目標、本音が語られた書簡はないように思います。これは、日蓮が佐渡に流される前ですから、日蓮には真実の法華経の行者といえる覚悟はまだありません。それでも、幕府・執権が主宰した討論によって、誰が正しい仏法を説いているか、白黒をハッキリさせるべきだ、と求めます。しかも、日蓮を国師としない祈祷では、国はさらに攻撃されることになる、と述べ、後悔しても知らないぞ、と執権を脅しているのです。

 

 同様の書簡は、幕府の要人とともに、政権の帰依が厚い諸宗の高僧にも送られました。そこにも、日蓮の本音が表だって語られます。いったい、どのように語ったのでしょう。続きは次回に。

 

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