The Nichiren Buddhism【ミステリーな日蓮 英訳版】21. Nichiren dreamed of becoming a Master of State as early as he was twelve years old.

21. Nichiren dreamed of becoming a Master of State as early as he was twelve years old.

 

Hiroto Ema

 

When did Nichiren begin to aim at becoming a Master of State? There is a sentence which gives the hint.

 

“As you are well aware, from the time I was young I have had my heart set on learning, and in addition I prayed before the statue of Bodhisattva Space Treasury that I might become the wisest philosopher in all Japan. I was twelve then, and had various reasons for offering such a prayer, but I will not go into them here” (Refuting Ryokan and the Others)

 

It is said that Nichiren went to Seichou Temple in Awa (Now a part of Chiba Prefecture) when he was twelve years old. And a philosopher mentioned here refers to a monk who has completed the study in the doctrine of Buddhism. So it can be understood easily that the wisest philosopher in all Japan means a Master of State, who receives devotion from those in power and guides the country rightly.

 

Nichiren wrote “What can we say, then, of persons who are devoting themselves to Buddhism? Surely they should not forget the debts of gratitude they owe to their parents, their teachers, and their country. But if one intends to repay these great debts of gratitude, one can hope to do so only if one learns and masters Buddhism, becoming a philosopher of wisdom” (On Repaying Debts of Gratitude, and lamented the attitude of the shogunate which wouldn’t hear of Nichiren’s wish. “All I have done is try to repay the debt I owe to the country of my birth by endeavoring to save it from disaster. That my advice was not heeded was certainly a cause of great regret to me.” The Selection of the Time From the first, Nichiren hoped and pledged to become the Master of State to help the country and bring peace to it.

 

Also in “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land”, Nichiren wrote this as a word by a guest, who symbolizes the regent. “I (the regent) will judge each sect by guessing its depth and worship the most distinguished monk” Thus, it was the hope of Nichiren that the regent judge various sects and select the Master of State among them.

 

Though, Nichiren’s hope from his childhood never came true in his lifetime. Why?

 

Certainly, if Nichiren was just one of many obscure monks, it seems natural that his hope didn’t come true. But if so, why did the shogunate transport him twice? It must be because of his influence. On the other hand, Nichiren didn’t change his religious assertion even during these transportations. Then, why did the shogunate pardoned him twice? If these transportations were to contain influence of Nichiren, it seems meaningless for the shogunate to pardon him.

 

Why did the treatment by the shogunate vary so much? The reason of it relates to the political position of his sect, including his pedigree, and the view of the shogunate toward him. We will discuss this mystery in part II.

March 1st 2020

 

From next time, we will post the extra edition “Politics and Doctrine of Nichiren Buddhism”.

 

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21.なんと、国師は十二歳からの夢だった!

 

江間浩人

 

 日蓮が、国師を自身の目標としたのは、いつごろのことだったのでしょう。ここに、その時期を示すと思われる一文があります。

 

 「大虚空蔵菩薩の御宝前に願いを立て日本第一の智者となし給え、十二の歳よりこの願いを立つ。その所願に子細あり。いま詳しくのせがたし」(破良観等御書)

 

 十二歳というのは、日蓮が生まれ育った安房の清澄寺に登った時とされています。ここでいう智者は、仏法を習い極めた僧を指します。日本第一の智者というのは、端的に国の最高権力者からの帰依を受け、国を正しく導く国師を指していることは、ご理解頂けると思います。

 

 日蓮は、「仏教を習わん者、父母・師匠・国の恩を忘するべしや。此の大恩を報ぜんには、必ず仏法を習い極め、智者とならで叶うべきか」(報恩抄)と述べるとともに、日蓮の願いを聞き入れない幕府に対して、「ただ国をたすけんがため、生国の恩を報ぜんと申せしを、御用いなからんこそ本意にあらざる」(撰時抄)と嘆いています。国師となって国を救う、安穏にする、これが当初からの日蓮の願いであり、誓いでした。

 

 「立正安国論」においても、執権に見立てた客の言葉に託して、次のように記します。

 

 「(執権である私は)諸宗の浅深を推し量って判定し、もっとも優れた僧を重く崇拝するであろう」――執権が諸宗を裁定して国師を選ぶ、これが日蓮の願いなのです。

 

 ところが、少年時代からの日蓮の願いは、終生、かなうことはありませんでした。それはどのような理由によるのでしょう。

 

 もちろん、日蓮が名もない一介の僧なら、かなわなくて当然に思えます。しかし、日蓮が一介の僧なら、果たして幕府は二度までも流罪にする必要があったでしょうか。その影響力が侮れないからこその流罪だったと考える方が自然です。一方で、日蓮は流罪によって宗教上の主張を変えてはいません。にもかかわらず、幕府は、なぜ、流罪を二度とも赦しているのでしょう。流罪が宗教上の影響力を封じるためであるなら、赦免にした理由が分からないのです。

 

 幕府にとって日蓮はどのような存在であったのか、日蓮の出自を含む教団の立ち位置に、実はその処遇が振幅した理由があります。この謎については、機会を改めて第二部で考察したいと思います。

 

 次回より番外編「日蓮と政治」を掲載いたします。

 

—ご感想はお問い合わせメールまで(次回は2020・4・1予定)—

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