The Nichiren Buddhism【ミステリーな日蓮 英訳版】18.Nichiren aimed to be a Master of State

18.Nichiren aimed to be a Master of State

 

Hiroto Ema

 

Nichiren criticized Esoteric Buddhism when the whole circles of Buddhism adopted the prayer of Esoteric Buddhism and became so, and the state protected, accepted, and exploited it. For Nichiren, the ruler of the state, the king, was the Kamakura shogunate and its regent. The aim of him was to bring peace to the state. In order to achieve it, Nichiren thought, the regent must respect Lotus Sutra. So he asserted that unless the shogunate and its regent, who continued to order the prayer of Esoteric Buddhism to prepare for the invasion of Mongolia, changed their mind, Japan would be destroyed completely. Thus, he urged the shogunate to halt the prayer of Esoteric Buddhism, which had denied the Lotus Sutra.

 

Moreover, Nichiren urged that the regent should believe in Lotus Sutra, and this belief wasn’t traditional one. The doctrine of Shakyamuni had already been in the era of Latter Day of the Law and lost power needed to guide the state and save people. And Nichiren thought that no belief other than the new belief in Lotus Sutra established by Nichiren had such power. Then, how did he try to achieve such a change of policies?

 

Nichiren regarded the era of Chigi (the Great Teacher Tendai) and Saityo (the Great Teacher Dengyo) as ideal. Both Chigi and Saityo were criticized bitterly by the circles of Buddhism when they tried to popularize the Lotus Sutra. Then, the king and Emperor entered in the stage. The rulers hosted public debate between Chigi, Saityo, and various sects. As a result, Chigi and Saityo, who won in this debate, were given the title of Great Teacher, which was the most prestigious in the circles of Buddhism, and the rulers established a new structure of state where Tendai school was on the top of it. Furthermore, according to Nichiren, Chigi and Saityo were ordered to pray for the protection of state and succeeded in raining by their prayer.

 

In “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the peace of the Land”, Nichiren prophesied that if they didn’t halt the devotion to Nenbutsu, the state would be in turmoil and invaded by other countries. Then, when the official letter of Mongolia arrived and one of his prophecies was proved right, Nichiren hoped the shogunate would give him four rewards, so to say, 1. The highest honors in Japan would be bestowed upon me, 2. Awarded the title of Great Teacher while still alive, 3. Consulted about the Mongols, invited to the war council, and 4. Asked to defeat them through the power of prayer. Chigi was given the title of Great Teacher while he was still alive, but Saityo was given it after he had passed away. So Nichiren insisted that he should be given more prestige than the Great Teacher Dengyo and received as a Master of State. In fact, this is the real intention of Nichiren and his true aim. We will discuss it further in the next section.

December 1st 2019

 

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18.日蓮は国師を目指した

 

江間浩人

 仏教界全体が祈祷を取り入れ密教化し、これを国家が庇護し受容し、活用した時代に、日蓮は密教批判を行いました。日蓮にとって国家の主体、王は、鎌倉幕府であり、執権でした。日蓮の目的は、国家の安穏です。そのために、執権が法華経を尊重しなければならない、と日蓮は考えました。蒙古の来襲に備えて密教での祈祷を命じ続ける幕府、執権が改心しなければ、日本は滅びると日蓮は主張します。そのために、とにかく法華経を否定した密教による祈祷の停止を日蓮は求めたのです。

 

 さらに日蓮は、執権による法華経信仰も求めます。しかもその法華経信仰は従来のものではありません。釈迦の仏法はすでに末法に入っており、国を導き、人々を救う力はなくなっています。この時代に国を導き、人々を救う力は、日蓮が興した新たな法華経の信仰以外にはない。日蓮は、そう考えています。では日蓮は、そのような政策の転換をどのように成し遂げようとしたのでしょうか。

 

 日蓮は、その理想を、智顗(天台大師)、最澄(伝教大師)の時代に求めています。智顗も最澄も、法華経を宣揚しようとした際、仏教界から激しい批判を浴びます。ここで登場するのが、王であり、天皇です。最高権力者は、智顗、最澄と諸宗との公開討論を主催します。そしてこの討論で勝利した智顗と最澄に、やがて仏教界の最高位である大師号を与え、天台宗を頂点とした新たな国家体制を敷くのです。また、智顗や最澄は、王と天皇から護国のための祈祷を命じられ、祈雨も見事に成就したと日蓮は述べます。

 

 日蓮は「立正安国論」で、もし念仏への帰依を停止しなければ、国乱に見舞われ、他国から攻められるだろう、と二つの予言を残しましたが、蒙古からの国書が届き、予言の一つが的中した際、日蓮は幕府に次の4点の処遇を期待しています。①国からの褒章、②存命中の大師号の授与、③軍議への招聘、④敵国退治の祈祷の要請です。大師の称号は、智顗は存命中に受けていますが、最澄に贈られたのは死後のことでした。日蓮は、伝教大師を超える厚遇で自分を国師として迎えるべきだ、と主張しているのです。実は、これが日蓮の本音です。そして目標だったのです。続きは次回に。

 

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