Politics and Doctrine of Nichiren Buddhism#009【ミステリーな日蓮 〈番外編〉「日蓮と政治」英訳版】

Politics and Doctrine of Nichiren Buddhism#009

Hiroto Ema

Chapter 2

Political nature of Nichiren’s doctrine


4.The official acknowledgement of the shogunate and going to Mount Minobu

Nichirō and Hiki Yoshimoto built Myōhon temple at Hikigaya in Kamakura to receive Nichiren after he was pardoned and returned from Sado island. Since the era of Minamoto no Yoritomo, Hikigaya had been a place remembered in connection with the shogun family. Though the temple wasn’t built by the head family, the fact that the construction in this memorable place by Hiki clan was permitted should be equal to the acknowledgment of Nichiren by the shogunate. Later, as the result of lobbying by Adachi Yasumori, Nichiren was asked to offer a prayer, and judging from the timing, its purpose might have been to defeat enemy country(62). In those days, the request from the shogunate to offer a prayer meant the donation of dominions to the temple(63), so Nichiren as well must have been offered it(64). Thus it can be said that the sect, whose political position had been rather anti-establishment because of the connection with Nagoe clan, moved to the establishment side after winning the support of Yasumori.


In spite of this, why did Nichiren decide to leave Kamakura? The expulsion from Kamakura meant a political death, so Nichiren and Nikkō, a disciple of Nichiren, described his going to Mount Minobu as just “retirement”(6). Nichiren himself persisted in behaving “as having retired” consciously(65).


After obtaining new consciousness through the twice transportation, Nichiren completed a whole religious transformation, and what he demanded from the shogunate was nothing less than the treatment as a Master of State, the supreme priest in Japan. Especially, he must have demanded that he offer prayers as a Master of State. But the shogunate rejected his requests and continued to order the prayers by Esoteric Buddhism monks. On the other hand, the expansion of Nichiren’s sect was a big threat to the shogunate which aimed for the national unity in preparation for the invasion by Mongolia. Then, the shogunate showed special consideration for Nichiren by ordering him to offer prayers. It must have been because the shogunate tried to urge Nichiren to concede politically so that the political issues could be solved through concession. So, from the standpoint of the shogunate, it must have been the possible maximum concession.


Though, a treatment which placed Nichiren on the same level with Esoteric Buddhism monks was not what he could accept religiously. In this regard, it was clear that new rivalry would emerge if Nichiren remained in Kamakura without conceding to the shogunate. Because some of those who were in power recognized Nichiren officially and valued him to some extent, it might have been the best measure for Nichiren to leave Kamakura. And by doing so, he could compromise politically without compromising religiously. After that, Nichiren stopped remonstrating with the shogunate totally, and even forbade his disciples to talk about the second invasion by Mongolia(66). Thus securing his own safety by cutting his connection with the world of politics, Nichiren must have waited the next chance.



(62)”Daigaku Saburō gosyo.” ed. Rissyō University, op. cit., pp. 1619.

(63) Syōji Kawazoe. Hōjō Tokimune, ed. Nihon Rekisi Gakkai, Yoshikawa Kōbun Kan, 2001, pp. 153.

(64) Satō, op. cit., pp. 257.

(65)”Shimoyama goshōsoku: Letter to Shimoyama.” ed. Rissyo University, op. cit., pp. 1312; “Hō’on shō: On Repaying Debts of Gratitude.” ed. Rissyo University, op. cit., pp. 1240. According to “Dannotsu bō gohenji: Reply to a Believer.”, Nichiren said “Then this exile would be my third”, there is the expression going to Mount Minobu as the third transportation (ed. Rissyo University, op. cit., pp. 1493). “The next exile would be my third” is an intentional mistranslation.

(66)”Shōmōko gosho: Regarding the Little Mongol State.” ed. Rissyo University, op. cit., pp. 1871. In this point, Nichiren had already compared “the little Mongol” and “the great Japan”. The consciousness as the executor of the Lotus Sutra, that of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, is thought to have changed his view about the country only because he lived there.


December 1st 2020


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The Nichiren Buddhism


ミステリーな日蓮 〈番外編〉「日蓮と政治」#009


第2章 日蓮仏法の政治性












(63)川添昭二『北条時宗』(日本歴史学会編集 吉川弘文館、2001年)153頁









江間浩人 編著『鉛筆でなぞる『法華経』—-「方便品」と「如来寿量品」

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はじめに  ‥‥‥‥‥‥ 今、なぜ『法華経』か
第一部      ‥‥‥‥‥‥ 「方便品」   原典・訓読・現代語訳/万人の成仏を説いた「方便品」 
第二部   ‥‥‥‥‥‥ 「如来寿量品」 原典・訓読・現代語訳/永遠の仏を説いた「如来寿量品」
実践編(5回分)‥‥‥ 「方便品」「如来寿量品」



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