The Nichiren Buddhism【ミステリーな日蓮 英訳版】9.Nichiren urges conversion on the rulers first.

9.Nichiren urges conversion on the rulers first.

Hiroto Ema

Nichiren began to fight with the monks of Nenbutsu to restore the belief in the Lotus Sutra. But, those fights were not limited to the domain of religion, and his object was the rulers. Nichiren believed that if the rulers stopped Chanting Nenbutsu and the belief in the Lotus Sutra was restored through Chanting Daimoku, the world would regain peace.

 

For Nichiren, the relationship between the rulers and the doctrine of Buddhism was as follows.

 

“As for good and evil, the nation should follow the king. Such is the way of the world. And such, too, is the way of Buddhism. And the Buddha has already made the doctrine subject to the law of king. If so, unless they follow the law of king, even wise men who are also saints and philosophers cannot spread the doctrine of Buddhism. And even if it should later be propagated, at the beginning it will without fail meet with great obstacles” (Reply to Shijo Kingo “The Pure and Far-Reaching Voice”)

 

For Nichiren to restore the belief in the Lotus Sutra, it was needed for the rulers to believe in it first. Such a thought would not be accepted easily by us who live in the modern democratic society, but since the doctrine of Buddhism had aimed the peace of the nation from the first, it was natural that the faith of the rulers was given the priority. So in this context should we understand the fact that one of the main works of Nichiren was “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the peace of the Land (Rissyo Ankoku Ron)”, and a letter of opinion which he submitted to the supreme ruler of the shogunate.

 

On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the peace of the Land was written in Shiroku Benrei Tai (四六駢儷体), which is considered one of the most luxuriant styles in classical Chinese writing. The knowledge of Nichiren who used the style in those days is surprising. It was written as a dialogue between a master and his guest, and first the guest grieves for the death caused by abnormal weather, famine, and plague, then he questions to the master what misfortune and error has caused the misery of the nation.

 

The guest is representing the supreme ruler of the shogunate, and the master Nichiren himself, it shows the way to restore the peace and justice of the world answering to the question by the guest. And here, we are surprised at the relationship between the two. In writing On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the peace of the Land, Nichiren regarded it just natural that he was a guide to the shogunate. And the shogunate didn’t seem to protest against it. So this fact seems to tell the fact that it was rather natural for monks to guide the policies of the shogunate from the upper position, and the political position of monks in those days was much more superior to that of the present.

March 1st 2019

 

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9.日蓮は、まず為政者に改宗を迫った

 

江間浩人

 日蓮は、法華経信仰の再興を目指し、念仏僧との闘争を開始します。しかし、その闘争は決して宗教の枠内に収まるものではありませんでした。日蓮の意識は、為政者に向けられています。日蓮は、為政者が称名念仏を止め、唱題による法華経信仰を再興することで、世は安穏になると信じたのです。

 

 日蓮における為政者と仏法の関係は、次のようなものでした。

 

 「善悪に付いて国は必ず王に随うものなるべし。世間此くの如し仏法も又然なり、仏陀すでに仏法を王法に付し給う。しかればたとひ聖人・賢人なる智者なれども王にしたがはざれば仏法流布せず、或は後には流布すれども始めには必ず大難来る」(四條金吾殿御返事)

 

 日蓮が目指す法華経信仰の再興には、まず為政者による法華経信仰が必要だったのです。ここの感覚が、現代の民主社会に生きる私たちには、すんなりとは納得できないところですが、仏法が、そもそも国家の安穏を目指したものである以上、為政者の信仰を最優先したのは当たり前のことでした。日蓮の主著が「立正安国論」であり、為政者に提出した建白書だったのも、この文脈から理解する必要があります。

 

 「立正安国論」は、漢文の中でも特に華麗な文体とされる四六駢儷体(しろくべんれいたい)で書かれています。当時、この文体を使いこなした日蓮の知力の高さには驚かされます。内容は、客と主人の問答形式で書かれ、はじめに客が、天変や飢饉・疫病による死者で、骸骨が道に溢れている様子を嘆き、この国の衰えは、何の禍によるもので、何の誤りによるのか、と主人に尋ねるところから問答が始まります。

 

 客を幕府の最高権力者に見立て、日蓮が主人となって、客の質問に答えながら、世の乱れを正す方途を主人が授けていきます。ここで驚くのは、主客の立ち位置です。日蓮は、幕政に対する指南者であることを当然として、これを書いています。そして、受け取る幕府側にも、その構図に異議を唱えた形跡は見られません。当時、僧侶が上位の立場から幕政を指南することが、それほど不自然なものではなく、僧侶の立場が現代よりも格段と政治的に上位だったことが伺えます。

 

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