The Nichiren Buddhism【ミステリーな日蓮 英訳版】16. Nichiren, a monk of Tendai school, attacks Tendai school

16. Nichiren, a monk of Tendai school, attacks Tendai school

 

Hiroto Ema

 

For Nichiren, the battle with Esoteric Buddhism was very hard and required careful preparation. Why?

 

Nichiren belonged to the mainstream faction of authentic Buddhism. They were the monks who had experienced 12 years of training done in the form of Sange Gakusyo Shiki (山家学生式) in Enryaku temple in Mt. Hieizan (Tendai school) as Saityo (Dengyo Daishi 766-822) had mandated. At first, such a training was permitted to only two students each year, and those who finished it were given the official rank of a high priest “Ajari” from their masters. Though recently some refer to the fact that Nichiren also experienced such a training,  formerly it has been seen unrelated to him.

 

During the 12 years in Enryaku temple, Nichiren memorized and repeated the sutras of defending the country such as the Lotus Sutra, Golden Light Sutra, Benevolent Kings Sutra, and the books for reference of them thoroughly. The first and most important of the training is memorization. Before entering Enryaku temple, Nichiren was said to have prayed to The bodhisattva Space Treasury, the idol of Seicho temple, to make him “the first philosopher of Japan”, and seemed to train up his ability of memorization. From this fact we can understand the importance of memorization in those days. In letters to his disciples, Nichiren cited the sentences of the sutras of defending the country many times and used them freely. And during the early days of the transportation to Sado Island, he cited the sentences of sutras as before, even though main sutras had been scattered and lost. These facts tell that Nichiren memorized the sentences of sutras, and it is due to his training in Enryaku temple.

 

Given the commandment and the official rank of a high priest “Ajari” in Enryaku temple, he began his tasks as an authentic monk who was descended from Chigi (Tendai Daishi 538-597) of China and Saityo of Japan. But within Tendai school of Enryaku temple, the center of Japanese Buddhism, the third chief priest En-nin (Jikaku Daishi 794-864) had put Esoteric Buddhism above the Lotus Sutra and made Tendai school a sect of Esoteric Buddhism. For Nichiren, the battle with the Pure Land sect entailed little difficulty both on the point of doctrine and the position of him because Tendai school also urged the prohibition of the extreme Nenbutsu, but it is not the case with the battle against Esoteric Buddhism.

 

When Nichiren submitted “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the peace of the Land” to the shogunate, he wrote “天台沙門日蓮撰”, which means “the author of this work is Nichiren, a monk of Tendai school”. So it was a rebellion against Tendai school for Nichiren, who called himself a monk of Tendai school, to criticize Esoteric Buddhism.

 

*Shigeru Nishiyama, an Emeritus Professor of Toyo University, has proposed “In the essence of the doctrine by Nichiren exists practice. So let us study both the doctrine and practice, and recompose the study of Nichiren doctrines in the modern society”. To revive the doctrine of Nichiren, the same struggle is required and it is indivisible from reading the Lotus Sutra personally. Thus, a revival without struggle cannot be possible. A disciple of Nichiren must have preparedness.

 

October 1st 2019

 

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16.天台僧の日蓮が、天台宗を撃つ

 

江間浩人

 日蓮にとって、密教との対決は、とても難題で周到な準備が必要でした。それは、なぜでしょうか。

 

 日蓮は、仏教界では正統な主流派にいます。当時の主流派は、最澄(伝教大師)の定めた通り、比叡山(天台宗)で山家学生式に則った12年に及ぶ山籠もりの修行を経た者です。当初は、毎年、わずか2名の試験合格者にしか許されない修行で、無事に終了すれば、師匠から阿闍梨(あじゃり)号が授けられます。最近でこそ、日蓮の籠山行に言及する人も現れていますが、以前は、日蓮とは無縁の修行だと思われていました。

 

日蓮は、叡山での12年間、法華経をはじめ金光明経、仁王経などの護国経と呼ばれる経典と、その解説書などを、徹底して暗記・暗唱し、学んでいきました。修養の第一は、何と言っても暗記です。日蓮は叡山に登る前、清澄寺の本尊であった虚空蔵菩薩に「日本第一の智者となしたまえ」と祈ったとされていますが、この時、日蓮は記憶力増進の修養を行ったようです。当時、暗記がいかに大事であったかが分かります。日蓮は門下に宛てた手紙の中で、護国経の経文を数多く引用し、それらを縦横無尽に活用しています。また、佐渡流罪の当初、主要な経典が散逸していたにもかかわらず、日蓮の経典の引用に特段の違いはありません。いずれも日蓮が経文を暗記していたからで、叡山での修養のたまものと言えるでしょう。

 

 叡山で授戒され、阿闍梨号を受けた日蓮は、中国の智顗(天台大師)、日本の最澄の流れを汲む正統派の法華経者として、活動を始めます。ところが、日本仏教の総本山とでもいうべき比叡山の天台宗は、すでに9世紀、第三祖の円仁(慈覚大師)が密教を法華経の上位に置き、密教化していたのです。日蓮が浄土宗と争うことは、天台宗も専修念仏の禁止を求めていたので、教義上も日蓮の立場からも難しいことではありませんでしたが、相手が密教となれば話は別です。

 

 日蓮は、幕府に「立正安国論」を提出する際、次のように記しました。「天台沙門日蓮撰」――天台宗の僧である日蓮が著述した、という意味です。密教批判は、天台僧を名乗る日蓮が、総本山の天台宗に弓を引く行為になるわけです。

*西山茂東洋大学名誉教授は、「日蓮教学の根本には実践がある。教学と実践の両方を学び、日蓮教学を現代社会で再歴史化しよう」と提案しています。日蓮の教えの蘇生には、日蓮と同じ闘争が必要です。日蓮の教説は、法華経身読と不可分のものです。したがって、闘争なき蘇生は成立しようがありません。日蓮の門下には、覚悟が必要なのです。

 

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