Nikken's End #6B: Hatred of Nichiren +^

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Disbasing Zen Stories

May 5, 2022, 4:04:48 AMMay 5
Nikken's End #6B: Hatred of Nichiren

Nikken's End ? or NIKKEN ZENned ? You be the judge ...

. "What distinguished the Indian system from that of the
. ancient Western world is the absence of slavery. The
. caste system made formal slavery unnecessary in ancient
. India."
. - from The Two Classes of the Four-Fold Caste System, by
. Sudheer Birodkar.

In Nikken's Threefold World, which is "the world of unenlightened beings who transmigrate within the Six Paths" ** [Hell, Hunger, Animality, Anger, Humanity and Heaven] ... the 6th chapter describes the structure of Nikken's World of Anger.

** Soka Gakkai Dictionary of Buddhism

____ Background for Toxic Zen Stories ____________

________ Table of Contents _______________________
. Asuras Attacking Nichiren
. Murderous Hatred of Nichiren
. Definition of Anger (Shura or Asuras)
. Getting Some Help
. The Survivor Gita

________ Asuras Attacking Nichiren _______________

How did the kind of Asuras who targetted Nichiren more than 700 years ago in Japan appear, and what were the results?

In the experiences of Nichiren, as written in the Gosho,

From the Gosho background on Tatsunokuchi Persecution ...

. Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter to his loyal
. samurai follower Shijo Kingo in 1271, in the ninth
. month, on the twenty-first day, only nine days after the
. Tatsunokuchi Persecution. The Daishonin had been
. sentenced to exile on Sado Island under the supervision
. of Hojo Nobutoki, the constable of Sado. Originally it
. was intended that the Daishonin be escorted to Echi, to
. the residence of Homma Shigetsura, Hojo Nobutoki's
. deputy; from here he was to be taken directly to Sado.
. But Hei no Saemon, a high government official and avowed
. enemy of the Daishonin, arbitrarily decided to have the
. Daishonin executed as he was being escorted to Homma's
. residence. An attempt was made to behead the Daishonin
. at Tatsunokuchi, but it was unsuccessful. The
. Daishonin's exile was later carried out as it had been
. originally planned. The Daishonin here reveals something
. about his true identity, which he later describes in
. greater detail in The Opening of the Eyes, also given to
. Shijo Kingo. Here he states, "Tatsunokuchi in Sagami
. Province is the place where Nichiren gave his life.
. Because he died there for the Lotus Sutra, how could it
. be anything less than the Buddha land?" Why is it that
. the Daishonin states, "he died," when in fact he
. survived the attempted execution?

Answering that question in his own words, Nichiren writes,

From: "The Opening of the Eyes", WND, p. 269-270 ...

. On the twelfth day of the ninth month of last year,
. between the hours of the rat and the ox (11:00 P.M. to
. 3:00 A.M.), this person named Nichiren was beheaded.
. [Note 185: This refers to the Tatsunokuchi Persecution,
. which occurred in 1271.] It is his soul that has come to
. this island of Sado and, in the second month of the
. following year, snowbound, is writing this to send to
. his close disciples. [The description of the evil age in
. the "Encouraging Devotion" chapter seems] terrible, but
. [one who cares nothing about oneself for the sake of the
. Law has] nothing to be frightened about. Others reading
. it will be terrified. This scriptural passage is the
. bright mirror that Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and the
. Buddhas of the ten directions left for the future of
. Japan, and in which the present state of the country is
. reflected. It may also be regarded as a keepsake from
. me.
. The "Encouraging Devotion" chapter states: "We beg you
. not to worry. After the Buddha has passed into
. extinction, in an age of fear and evil we will preach
. far and wide. There will be many ignorant people who
. will curse and speak ill of us and will attack us with
. swords and staves, but we will endure all these things.
. In that evil age there will be monks with perverse
. wisdom and hearts that are fawning and crooked who will
. suppose they have attained what they have not attained,
. being proud and boastful in heart. Or there will be
. forest-dwelling monks wearing clothing of patched rags
. and living in retirement, who will claim they are
. practicing the true way, despising and looking down on
. all humankind. Greedy for profit and support, they will
. preach the Law to white-robed laymen and will be
. respected and revered by the world as though they were
. arhats who possess the six transcendental powers. These
. men with evil in their hearts, constantly thinking of
. worldly affairs, will borrow the name of forest-dwelling
. monks and take delight in proclaiming our faults ...
. Because in the midst of the great assembly they
. constantly try to defame us, they will address the
. rulers, high ministers, Brahmans, and householders, as
. well as the other monks, slandering and speaking evil of
. us, saying, 'These are men of perverted views who preach
. non-Buddhist doctrines!' ... In a muddied kalpa, in an
. evil age there will be many things to fear. Evil demons
. will take possession of others and through them curse,
. revile, and heap shame on us. ... The evil monks of that
. muddied age, failing to understand the Buddha's
. expedient means, how he preaches the Law in accordance
. with what is appropriate, will confront us with foul
. language and angry frowns; again and again we will be
. banished."

Here is Nichiren's autobiographical account of the time of the Tatsunokuchi Persecution.

Note the repeating sequence ...

. 1. Upholding and propagating the Law by the
. votary of the Lotus Sutra.
. 2. Which is the external cause of raising the
. poison of Anger in the heart of the enemies
. of the Law, directed at the votary.
. 3. Which causes the action by the enemies of
. the Law: to publicly persecute the votary
. of the Lotus Sutra.
. 4. Which raises the poison of Doubt in the
. minds of the observers.
. 5. Which persecutions the votary overcomes
. through faith in the Lotus Sutra.
. 6. That victory over persecution by the
. enemies of the Law allows the poison of
. Doubt in the minds of the observers to be
. converted into the medicine of faith in the
. Lotus Sutra.

________ Murderous Hatred of Nichiren ____________

From "The Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra", WND pp. 763-779 ...

. On the eighteenth day of the intercalary first month of
. the fifth year of Bun'ei (1268), an official letter
. arrived from the great Mongol empire in which those
. barbarians of the west [Note 1: The "barbarians of the
. west" is the set phrase that the Chinese invented to
. describe the tribes in the west, and the Daishonin
. applied it to the Mongols.] declared their intention to
. attack Japan. My prediction in On Establishing the
. Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land, which I
. wrote in the first year of Bunno (1260), cyclical sign
. kanoe-saru, has been fulfilled to the letter. My
. admonitions have surpassed even those set forth in the
. yüeh-fu poems of Po Chüi, [Note 2: Po Chü-i (772–846)
. was a Chinese poet-official noted for his Hsin Yüeh-fu,
. "New Yüeh-fu," a series of poems in yüehfu or ballad
. form criticizing social and political ills of the time.]
. and my prophecies are not inferior to those of the
. Buddha. Can there be anything more wondrous in this
. latter age? If our land were governed by a worthy ruler
. or sage sovereign, then the highest honors in Japan
. would be bestowed upon me, and I would be awarded the
. title of Great Teacher while still alive. I had expected
. to be consulted about the Mongols, invited to the war
. council, and asked to defeat them through the power of
. prayer. Since that did not happen, however, I sent
. letters of warning to eleven of our country's leaders in
. the tenth month of the same year.
. If there were a worthy person in this country, he would
. immediately think, "What a wonder! This is surely no
. ordinary matter. The Sun Goddess and Great Bodhisattva
. Hachiman must be offering a way to save Japan through
. this priest." In actuality, however, priests of the
. other schools cursed and deceived my messengers. The
. government officials ignored or refused to reply to my
. letters, and even when they did reply, they deliberately
. neglected to report the content of my letters to the
. regent. Their behavior was highly irregular. Even if the
. letters concerned only some personal matter of mine, the
. government officials should nevertheless pass them on to
. the ruler for his due attention, this being the proper
. way of government. But in this case, the letters were a
. warning of dire things to come that would affect the
. destiny not only of the regent's government but of every
. other official as well. Even if the officials did not
. heed my warning, to slander my messengers was going too
. far. This came about because all Japanese, high and low,
. have for a long time now shown hostility toward the
. Lotus Sutra. Thus they have piled up great offenses and
. become possessed by demons. The official letter from the
. Mongols has deprived them of the last remnants of
. sanity. In ancient China, King Chou of the Yin dynasty
. refused to heed the admonitions of his loyal minister Pi
. Kan and instead cut out Pi Kan's heart. Later his
. dynasty was overthrown by the kings Wen and Wu of the
. Chou. King Fu-ch'a of the state of Wu, in- stead of
. listening to the remonstrances of his minister Wu Tzu-
. hsü, forced the latter to commit suicide. [Note 3: Fu-
. ch'a (d. 473 B.C.E.) was the twenty- fifth ruler of the
. state of Wu. His father was killed by Kou-chien, king of
. the state of Yüeh, and Fu-ch'a took revenge two years
. later by defeating him in battle. Kouchien proposed a
. peaceful settlement with Fu-ch'a, but really planned to
. attack the state of Wu again. Wu Tzu-hsü, a loyal
. minister of Fu-ch'a, discovered the plot and urged the
. king to kill Kou-chien, but the king would not listen.
. Instead, he compelled Wu Tzu-hsü to commit suicide in
. 485 B.C.E.] Eventually Fu-ch'a was killed by King Kou-
. chien of the state of Yüeh.
. Thinking how tragic it would be if our country were to
. meet with a similar fate, I risked my reputation and
. life to remonstrate with the authorities. But just as a
. high wind creates great waves, or a powerful dragon
. brings forth torrential rains, so my admonitions called
. forth increasing animosity. The regent's supreme council
. met to discuss whether to behead me or banish me from
. Kamakura, and whether to confiscate the estates of or
. execute my disciples and lay supporters, or to imprison
. or exile them to distant places. Hearing this, I
. rejoiced, saying that I had long expected it to come to
. this. In the past, the boy Snow Mountains offered his
. body for the sake of half a verse, Bodhisattva Ever
. Wailing sold his body, the boy Good Treasures threw
. himself into a fire, the ascetic Aspiration for the Law
. peeled off his own skin, Bodhisattva Medicine King
. burned his own arms, Bodhisattva Never Disparaging was
. beaten with sticks and staves, the Venerable Aryasimha
. was beheaded, and Bodhisattva Aryadeva was killed by a
. non-Buddhist, [all because of their devotion to
. Buddhism].
. These events should be considered in terms of the time
. in which they occurred. The Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai
. declared that practice "should be that which accords
. with the time." [Note 4: The Words and Phrases of the
. Lotus Sutra.] The Great Teacher Chang-an states, "You
. should let your choices be fitting and never adhere
. solely to one or the other." [Note 5: The Annotations on
. the Nirvana Sutra.] The Lotus Sutra represents a single
. truth, but the way of its practice varies greatly
. according to the people's capacity and the time.
. The Buddha made a prophecy, saying: "After my death,
. during the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law that
. follows the two millennia of the Former and Middle Days,
. a person will appear who will propagate only the heart
. of the Lotus Sutra, the five characters of the daimoku.
. At that time an evil ruler will be in power, and evil
. monks, more numerous than the dust particles of the
. land, will argue with one another over the various
. Mahayana and Hinayana sutras. When the votary of the
. daimoku challenges the monks, they will incite their lay
. supporters to abuse, beat, or imprison him, to
. confiscate his lands, to exile or behead him. In spite
. of such persecutions, he will continue his propagation
. without ceasing. Meanwhile the ruler who persecutes him
. will be beset by rebellion, and his subjects will devour
. each other like hungry spirits. Finally the land will be
. attacked by a foreign country, for Brahma, Shakra, the
. gods of the sun and moon, and the four heavenly kings
. have ordained that other countries shall assault a land
. that is hostile to the Lotus Sutra." [Note 6: This is
. not an actual quotation, but Nichiren Daishonin's view
. of what Shakyamuni must have believed, based on various
. passages in the Lotus Sutra and other sutras.]
. None of you who declare yourselves to be my disciples
. should ever give way to cowardice. Neither should you
. allow concern for your parents, wife, or children to
. hold you back, or be worried about your property. Since
. countless kalpas in the past you have thrown away your
. life more times than the number of dust particles of the
. land for the sake of your parents, your children, or
. your lands. But not once have you given up your life for
. the Lotus Sutra. You may have tried to practice its
. teachings to some extent, but whenever you were
. persecuted, you backslid and ceased to live by the
. sutra. That is like boiling water only to pour it into
. cold water, or like trying to strike fire but giving up
. halfway. Each and every one of you should be certain
. deep in your heart that sacrificing your life for the
. Lotus Sutra is like exchanging rocks for gold or dung
. for rice.
. Now, at the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law, I,
. Nichiren, am the first to embark on propagating,
. throughout Jambudvipa, the five characters of Myoho-
. renge-kyo, which are the heart of the Lotus Sutra and
. the eye of all Buddhas. During the 2,220 or more years
. since the Buddha's passing, not even Mahakashyapa,
. Ananda, Ashvaghosha, Nagarjuna, Nan-yüeh, T'ient'ai,
. Miao-lo, or Dengyo has propagated them. My disciples,
. form your ranks and follow me, and surpass even
. Mahakashyapa or Ananda, T'ien-t'ai or Dengyo! If you
. quail before the threats of the ruler of this little
. island country [and abandon your faith], how will you
. face the even more terrible anger of Yama, the lord of
. hell? If, while calling yourselves the Buddha's
. messengers, you give way to fear, you will be the most
. despicable of persons!
. [While the regent's government could not come to any
. conclusion,] the priests of the Nembutsu, the observers
. of the precepts, and the True Word priests, who realized
. they could not rival me in wisdom, sent petitions to the
. government. Finding their petitions were not accepted,
. they approached the wives and widows of high-ranking
. officials and slandered me in various ways. [The women
. reported the slander to the officials, saying:]
. "According to what some priests told us, Nichiren
. declared that the late lay priests of Saimyo-ji and
. Gokuraku-ji have fallen into the hell of incessant
. suffering. He said that the temples Kencho-ji, Jufukuji,
. Gokuraku-ji, Choraku-ji, and Daibutsu- ji should be
. burned down and the honorable priests Doryu and Ryokan
. beheaded." Under these circumstances, at the regent's
. supreme council my guilt could scarcely be denied. To
. confirm whether I had or had not made those statements,
. I was summoned to the court.
. At the court the magistrate said, "You have heard what
. the regent stated. Did you say these things or not?" I
. answered, "Every word is mine. However, the statement
. about the lay priests of Saimyo-ji and Gokuraku-ji
. falling into hell is a fabrication. I have been
. declaring this doctrine [that the schools they belonged
. to lead to hell] since before their deaths.
. "Everything I said was with the future of our country in
. mind. If you wish to maintain this land in peace and
. security, it is imperative that you summon the priests
. of the other schools for a debate in your presence. If
. you ignore this advice and punish me unreasonably on
. their behalf, the entire country will have cause to
. regret your decision. If you condemn me, you will be
. rejecting the Buddha's envoy. Then you will have to face
. the punishment of Brahma and Shakra, of the gods of the
. sun and moon, and of the four heavenly kings. Within one
. hundred days after my exile or execution, or within one,
. three, or seven years, there will occur what is called
. the calamity of internal strife, rebellion within the
. ruling clan. This will be followed by the calamity of
. foreign invasion, attack from all sides, particularly
. from the west. Then you will regret what you have done!"
. Hearing this, the magistrate Hei no Saemon, forgetting
. all the dignity of his rank, became wild with rage like
. the grand minister of state and lay priest [Taira no
. Kiyomori].
. On the twelfth day of the ninth month in the eighth year
. of Bun'ei (1271), cyclical sign kanoto-hitsuji, I was
. arrested in a manner that was extraordinary and
. unlawful, even more outrageous than the arrest of the
. priest Ryoko, who was actually guilty of treason, and
. the Discipline Master Ryoken, who sought to destroy the
. government. [Note 7: Ryoko and Ryoken plotted against
. the Kamakura government; their plots were discovered,
. and they were put to death. Ryoko was executed in 1251,
. and Ryoken in 1261.] Hei no Saemon led several hundreds
. of armor-clad warriors to take me. Wearing the headgear
. of a court noble, he glared in anger and spoke in a
. rough voice. These actions were in essence no different
. from those of the grand min- ister of state and lay
. priest, who seized power only to lead the country to
. destruction.
. Observing this, I realized it was no ordinary event and
. thought to myself, "Over the past months I have expected
. something like this to happen sooner or later. How
. fortunate that I can give my life for the Lotus Sutra!
. If I am to lose this worthless head [for Buddhahood], it
. will be like trading sand for gold or rocks for jewels."
. Sho-bo, Hei no Saemon's chief retainer, rushed up,
. snatched the scroll of the fifth volume of the Lotus
. Sutra [Note 8: The fifth volume includes chapters twelve
. to fifteen; the thirteenth, or "Encouraging Devotion,"
. chapter says the votary of the Lotus Sutra will be
. attacked with swords and staves. The "nine other scrolls
. of the sutra" that appears in the sentence after next
. indicates those of the other seven volumes of the Lotus
. Sutra, plus the Immeasurable Meanings Sutra in one
. volume and the Universal Worthy Sutra in one volume.
. These two sutras are regarded as, respectively, the
. prologue and epilogue to the Lotus Sutra.] from inside
. my robes, and struck me in the face with it three times.
. Then he threw it open on the floor. Warriors seized the
. nine other scrolls of the sutra, unrolled them, and
. trampled on them or wound them about their bodies,
. scattering the scrolls all over the matting and wooden
. floors until every corner of the house was strewn with
. them.
. I, Nichiren, said in a loud voice, "How amusing! Look at
. Hei no Saemon gone mad! You gentlemen have just toppled
. the pillar of Japan." Hearing this, the assembled troops
. were taken aback. When they saw me standing before the
. fierce arm of the law unafraid, they must have realized
. that they were in the wrong, for the color drained from
. their faces.
. Both on the tenth [when I was summoned], and on the
. twelfth, I fully described to Hei no Saemon the errors
. of the True Word, Zen, and Nembutsu schools, as well as
. Ryokan's failure in his prayers for rain. As his
. warriors listened, they would burst into laughter, and
. at other times become furious. But I will not go into
. the details here.
. Ryokan prayed for rain from the eighteenth day of the
. sixth month to the fourth day of the following month,
. but I blocked his prayers so that no rain came. Ryokan
. prayed himself into a sweat, but nothing fell except his
. own tears. There was no rain in Kamakura, but on the
. contrary, strong gales blew continually.
. At this news I sent a messenger to him three times,
. saying: "If a person cannot manage to cross a moat ten
. feet wide, how can he cross one that is a hundred or two
. hundred feet? Izumi Shikibu, [Note 9: Izumi Shikibu (b.
. c. 976) was a poet of the Heian period, noted for her
. passionate love affairs. Noin (b. 988), who appears in
. the following sentence, was a poet-priest who lived in
. Kyoto. The works of Izumi Shikibu and Noin both include
. poems praying for rain.] a licentious woman, violated
. one of the eight precepts by writing poetry, but still
. she made it rain with a poem. The priest Noin, although
. he broke the precepts, was successful in bringing
. rainfall with a poem. How is it possible then that
. hundreds and thousands of priests, all of whom observe
. the two hundred and fifty precepts, gather to pray for
. rain and can do no more than raise a gale, even after
. one or two weeks of prayer? It should be clear from this
. that none of you will be able to attain rebirth in the
. Pure Land." Ryokan read the message and wept in
. vexation, and to others he reviled me.
. When I reported what had happened with Ryokan, Hei no
. Saemon attempted to defend him, but it was hopeless. In
. the end he was unable to utter a word. I will not record
. all of our conversation as it was too detailed.
. That night of the twelfth, I was placed under the
. custody of the lord of the province of Musashi [Note 10:
. The lord of the province of Musashi refers to Hojo
. Nobutoki, the governor of Musashi Province (1267–1273)
. and concurrently the constable of Sado Province. He is
. also referred to as "the former governor of Musashi" in
. this letter.] and around midnight was taken out of
. Kamakura to be executed. As we set out on Wakamiya
. Avenue, [Note 11: The main street in Kamakura, running
. from north to south. Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine stands
. along the street, where Nichiren Daishonin reprimanded
. Great Bodhisattva Hachiman.] I looked at the crowd of
. warriors surrounding me and said, "Don't make a fuss. I
. won't cause any trouble. I merely wish to say my last
. words to Great Bodhisattva Hachiman." I got down from my
. horse and called out in a loud voice, "Great Bodhisattva
. Hachiman, are you truly a god? When Wake no Kiyomaro
. [Note 12: Wake no Kiyomaro (733–799) was a high-ranking
. court official who thwarted the attempt of the priest
. Dokyo to usurp the throne and suffered persecution as a
. result.] was about to be beheaded, you appeared as a
. moon ten feet wide. When the Great Teacher Dengyo
. lectured on the Lotus Sutra, you bestowed upon him a
. purple surplice as an offering. Now I, Nichiren, am the
. foremost votary of the Lotus Sutra in all of Japan, and
. am entirely without guilt. I have expounded the doctrine
. to save all the people of Japan from falling into the
. great citadel of the hell of incessant suffering for
. slandering the Lotus Sutra. Moreover, if the forces of
. the great Mongol empire attack this country, can even
. the Sun Goddess and Great Bodhisattva Hachiman remain
. safe and unharmed? When Shakyamuni Buddha expounded the
. Lotus Sutra, Many Treasures Buddha and the Buddhas and
. bodhisattvas of the ten directions gathered, shining
. like so many suns and moons, stars and mirrors. In the
. presence of the countless heavenly gods as well as the
. benevolent deities and sages of India, China, and Japan,
. Shakyamuni Buddha urged each one to submit a written
. pledge to protect the votary of the Lotus Sutra at all
. times. Each and every one of you gods made this pledge.
. I should not have to remind you. Why do you not appear
. at once to fulfill your solemn oath?" Finally I called
. out: "If I am executed tonight and go to the pure land
. of Eagle Peak, I will dare to report to Shakyamuni
. Buddha, the lord of teachings, that the Sun Goddess and
. Great Bodhisattva Hachiman are the deities who have
. broken their oath to him. If you feel this will go hard
. with you, you had better do something about it right
. away!" Then I remounted my horse.
. Out on Yui Beach as the party passed the shrine there, I
. spoke again. "Stop a minute, gentlemen. I have a message
. for someone living near here," I said. I sent a boy
. called Kumao to Nakatsukasa Saburo Saemon-no-jo [Shijo
. Kingo], who rushed to meet me. I told him, "Tonight, I
. will be beheaded. This is something I have wished for
. many years. In this saha world, I have been born as a
. pheasant only to be caught by hawks, born a mouse only
. to be eaten by cats, and born human only to be killed
. attempting to defend my wife and children from enemies.
. Such things have befallen me more times than the dust
. particles of the land. But until now, I have never given
. up my life for the sake of the Lotus Sutra. In this
. life, I was born to become a humble priest, unable to
. adequately discharge my filial duty to my parents or
. fully repay the debt of gratitude I owe to my country.
. Now is the time when I will offer my head to the Lotus
. Sutra and share the blessings therefrom with my deceased
. parents, and with my disciples and lay supporters, just
. as I have promised you." Then the four men, Saemon-no-jo
. and his brothers, holding on to my horse's reins, went
. with me to Tatsunokuchi at Koshigoe.
. Finally we came to a place that I knew must be the site
. of my execution. Indeed, the soldiers stopped and began
. to mill around in excitement. Saemonno- jo, in tears,
. said, "These are your last moments!" I replied, "You
. don't understand! What greater joy could there be? Don't
. you remember what you have promised?" I had no sooner
. said this when a brilliant orb as bright as the moon
. burst forth from the direction of Enoshima, shooting
. across the sky from southeast to northwest. It was
. shortly before dawn and still too dark to see anyone's
. face, but the radiant object clearly illuminated
. everyone like bright moonlight. The executioner fell on
. his face, his eyes blinded. The soldiers were filled
. with panic. Some ran off into the distance, some jumped
. down from their horses and huddled on the ground, while
. others crouched in their saddles. I called out, "Here,
. why do you shrink from this vile prisoner? Come closer!
. Come closer!" But no one would approach me. "What if the
. dawn should come? You must hurry up and execute me--once
. the day breaks, it will be too ugly a job." I urged them
. on, but they made no response.
. They waited a short while, and then I was told to
. proceed to Echi in the same province of Sagami. I
. replied that, since none of us knew the way, someone
. would have to guide us there. No one was willing to take
. the lead, but after we had waited for some time, one
. soldier finally said, "That's the road you should take."
. Setting off, we followed the road and around noon
. reached Echi. We then proceeded to the residence of
. Homma Rokuro Saemon. There I ordered sake for the
. soldiers. When the time came for them to leave, some
. bowed their heads, joined their palms, and said in a
. most respectful manner: "We did not realize what kind of
. a man you are. We hated you because we had been told
. that you slandered Amida Buddha, the one we worship. But
. now that we have seen with our own eyes what has
. happened to you, we understand how worthy a person you
. are, and will discard the Nembutsu that we have
. practiced for so long." Some of them even took their
. prayer beads out of their tinder bags and flung them
. away. Others pledged that they would never again chant
. the Nembutsu. After they left, Rokuro Saemon's retainers
. took over the guard. Then Saemon-no-jo and his brothers
. took their leave.
. That evening, at the hour of the dog (7:00–9:00 P.M.), a
. messenger from Kamakura arrived with an order from the
. regent. The soldiers were sure that it would be an
. official letter to behead me, but Uma-no-jo, Homma's
. deputy, came running with the letter, knelt, and said:
. "We were afraid that you would be executed tonight, but
. now the letter has brought wonderful news. The messenger
. said that, since the lord of Musashi had left for a spa
. in Atami this morning at the hour of the hare (5:00–7:00
. A.M.), he set off at once and rode for four hours to get
. here because he feared that something might happen to
. you. The messenger has left immediately to take news to
. the lord in Atami tonight." The accompanying letter
. read, "This person is not really guilty. He will shortly
. be pardoned. If you execute him you will have cause to
. regret."
. Now it was the night of the thirteenth. There were
. scores of warriors stationed around my lodging and in
. the main garden. Because it was the middle of the ninth
. month, the moon was very round and full. I went out into
. the garden and there, turning toward the moon, recited
. the verse portion of the "Life Span" chapter. Then I
. spoke briefly about the faults of the various schools,
. citing passages from the Lotus Sutra. I said: "You, the
. god of the moon, are Rare Moon, the son of a god, who
. participated in the ceremony of the Lotus Sutra. When
. the Buddha expounded the 'Treasure Tower' chapter, you
. received his order, and in the 'Entrustment' chapter,
. when the Buddha patted your head with his hand, in your
. vow you said, 'We will respectfully carry out all these
. things just as the World-Honored One has commanded.' You
. are that very god. Would you have an opportunity to
. fulfill the vow you made in the Buddha's presence if it
. were not for me? Now that you see me in this situation,
. you should rush forward joyfully to receive the
. sufferings of the votary of the Lotus Sutra in his
. stead, thereby carrying out the Buddha's command and
. also fulfilling your vow. It is strange indeed that you
. have not yet done anything. If nothing is done to set
. this country to rights, I will never return to Kamakura.
. Even if you do not intend to do anything for me, how can
. you go on shining with such a complacent face? The Great
. Collection Sutra says, 'The sun and moon no longer shed
. their light.' The Benevolent Kings Sutra says, 'The sun
. and moon depart from their regular courses.' The
. Sovereign Kings Sutra says, 'The thirty-three heavenly
. gods become furious.' What about these passages, moon
. god? What is your answer?"
. Then, as though in reply, a large star bright as the
. Morning Star fell from the sky and hung in a branch of
. the plum tree in front of me. The soldiers, astounded,
. jumped down from the veranda, fell on their faces in the
. garden, or ran behind the house. Immediately the sky
. clouded over, and a fierce wind started up, raging so
. violently that the whole island of Enoshima seemed to
. roar. The sky shook, echoing with a sound like pounding
. drums.
. The day dawned, and on the fourteenth day, at the hour
. of the hare, a man called the lay priest Juro came and
. said to me: "Last night there was a huge commotion in
. the regent's residence at the hour of the dog. They
. summoned a diviner, who said, 'The country is going to
. erupt in turmoil because you punished that priest. If
. you do not call him back to Kamakura immediately, there
. is no telling what will happen to this land.' At that
. some said, 'Let's pardon him!' Others said, 'Since he
. predicted that war would break out within a hundred
. days, why don't we wait and see what happens.' "
. I was kept at Echi for more than twenty days. During
. that period seven or eight cases of arson and an endless
. succession of murders took place in Kamakura. Slanderers
. went around saying that Nichiren's disciples were
. setting the fires. The government officials thought this
. might be true and made up a list of over 260 of my
. followers who they believed should be expelled from
. Kamakura. Word spread that these persons were all to be
. exiled to remote islands, and that those disciples
. already in prison would be beheaded. It turned out,
. however, that the fires were set by the observers of the
. precepts and the Nembutsu believers in an attempt to
. implicate my disciples. There were other things that
. happened, but they are too numerous to mention here.
. I left Echi on the tenth day of the tenth month (1271)
. and arrived in the province of Sado on the twenty-eighth
. day of the same month. On the first day of the eleventh
. month, I was taken to a small hut that stood in a field
. called Tsukahara behind Homma Rokuro Saemon's residence
. in Sado. One room with four posts, it stood on some land
. where corpses were abandoned, a place like Rendaino in
. Kyoto. Not a single statue of the Buddha was enshrined
. there; the boards of the roof did not meet, and the
. walls were full of holes. The snow fell and piled up,
. never melting away. I spent my days there, sitting in a
. straw coat or lying on a fur skin. At night it hailed
. and snowed, and there were continual flashes of
. lightning. Even in the daytime the sun hardly shone. It
. was a wretched place to live.
. I felt like Li Ling, [Note 13: Li Ling (d. 74 B.C.E.)
. was a military commander who led the Chinese forces in
. an attack on the nomadic Hsiung-nu tribes living north
. of China and was taken prisoner by them.] who was
. imprisoned in a rocky cave in the land of the northern
. barbarians, or the Tripitaka Master Fa-tao, who was
. branded on the face and exiled to the area south of the
. Yangtze by Emperor Hui-tsung. Nevertheless, King Suzudan
. received severe training under the seer Asita to obtain
. the blessings of the Lotus Sutra, and even though
. Bodhisattva Never Disparaging was beaten by the staves
. of arrogant monks and others, he achieved honor as
. votary of the one vehicle. [Note 14: The one vehicle
. here means the teaching of the Lotus Sutra.] Therefore,
. nothing is more joyful to me than to have been born in
. the Latter Day of the Law and to suffer persecutions
. because I propagate the five characters of Myoho-renge-
. kyo. For more than twenty-two hundred years after the
. passing of the Buddha, no one, not even the Great
. Teacher T'ien-t'ai Chih-che, experienced the truth of
. the passage in the sutra that says, "It [the Lotus
. Sutra] will face much hostility in the world and be
. difficult to believe." [Note 15: Lotus Sutra, chap. 14.]
. Only I have fulfilled the prophecy from the sutra,
. "again and again we will be banished." [Note 16: Lotus
. Sutra, chap. 13.] The Bud- dha says, in reference to
. those who "listen to one verse or one phrase [of the
. Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law]," that "I will bestow
. on all of them a prophecy [that they will attain supreme
. perfect enlightenment]." [Note 17: Lotus Sutra, chap.
. 10.] Thus there can be no doubt that I will reach
. supreme perfect enlightenment. It is the lord of Sagami
. above all who has been a good friend to me. Hei no
. Saemon is to me what Devadatta was to Shakyamuni Buddha.
. The Nembutsu priests are comparable to the Venerable
. Kokalika, and the observers of the precepts to the monk
. Sunakshatra. The age of the Buddha is none other than
. today, and our present age is none other than that of
. the Buddha. This is what the Lotus Sutra describes as
. the "true aspect of all phenomena" and as "consistency
. from beginning to end." [Note 18: Here "the true aspect"
. refers to the principle that the votaries of the Lotus
. Sutra meet with persecutions, and "all phenomena" to the
. fact that persecutions befell both Shakyamuni and
. Nichiren Daishonin. In the phrase "consistency from
. beginning to end," "beginning" refers to Shakyamuni's
. age and "end" to the Daishonin's age.]
. The fifth volume of Great Concentration and Insight
. states, "As practice progresses and understanding grows,
. the three obstacles and four devils emerge in confusing
. form, vying with one another to interfere." It also
. states, "It will only be like a boar rubbing against the
. golden mountain; like the various rivers flowing into
. the sea; like logs making a fire burn more briskly; or
. like the wind swelling the body of the kalakula insect."
. These passages mean that, if one understands and
. practices the Lotus Sutra just as it teaches, in
. accordance with the people's capacity and at the right
. time, then these seven obstacles and devils will
. confront one. Among them, the devil king of the sixth
. heaven [is the most powerful. He] will possess one's
. sovereign, parents, wife or children, lay supporters, or
. evil persons, and through them will attempt in a
. friendly manner to divert one from one's practice of the
. Lotus Sutra, or will oppose one outright. The practice
. of Buddhism is always accompanied by persecutions and
. difficulties corresponding in severity to whichever
. sutra one may uphold. To practice the Lotus Sutra will
. provoke particularly harsh persecutions. To practice as
. it teaches, and in accordance with the time and the
. people's capacity, will incite truly agonizing ordeals.
. The eighth volume of The Annotations on "Great
. Concentration and Insight" states, "So long as a person
. does not try to depart from the sufferings of birth and
. death and aspire to the Buddha vehicle, the devil will
. watch over him like a parent." This passage means that,
. even though a person may cultivate roots of goodness, so
. long as he practices Nembutsu, True Word, Zen, Precepts,
. or any teaching other than the Lotus Sutra, he will have
. the devil king for a parent. The devil king will possess
. and cause other persons to respect him and give him
. alms, and people will be deluded into believing that he
. is a truly enlightened priest. If he is honored by the
. sovereign, for instance, the people are sure to offer
. him alms. On the other hand, a priest who incurs the
. enmity of the ruler and others [because of the Lotus
. Sutra] is surely practicing the correct teaching.
. Devadatta was the foremost good friend to the Thus Come
. One Shakyamuni. In this age as well, it is not one's
. allies but one's powerful enemies who assist one's
. progress. We find examples before our very eyes. The
. Hojo clan in Kamakura could not have firmly established
. itself as the ruler of Japan had it not been for the
. challenges posed by Yoshimori and the Retired Emperor of
. Oki. [Note 19: Wada Yoshimori (1147–1213) and the
. Retired Emperor Gotoba (1180–1239). Yoshimori was the
. chief of military police under Minamoto no Yoritomo, the
. founder of the Kamakura regime, but in 1213 turned
. against the Hojo clan only to be defeated and killed.
. Gotoba attempted to overthrow the Kamakura regime in
. 1221, but was defeated and exiled to Oki (the Jokyu
. Disturbance). Hence he was called the Retired Emperor of
. Oki. Clashes such as these established the power of the
. Hojo regents.] In this sense these men were the best
. allies the ruling clan could have. For me, Nichiren, my
. best allies in attaining Buddhahood are Kagenobu, the
. priests Ryokan, Doryu, and Doamidabutsu, and Hei no
. Saemon and the lord of Sagami. I am grateful when I
. think that without them I could not have proved myself
. to be the votary of the Lotus Sutra.
. In the yard around the hut the snow piled deeper and
. deeper. No one came to see me; my only visitor was the
. piercing wind. Great Concentration and Insight and the
. Lotus Sutra lay open before my eyes, and Nam-myoho-
. rengekyo flowed from my lips. My evenings passed in
. discourse to the moon and stars on the fallacies of the
. various schools and the profound meaning of the Lotus
. Sutra. Thus, one year gave way to the next.
. One finds people of mean spirit wherever one goes. The
. rumor reached me that the observers of the precepts and
. the Nembutsu priests on the island of Sado, including
. Yuiamidabutsu, Shoyu-bo, Insho-bo, Jido-bo, and their
. followers--several hundred of them-- had met to decide
. what to do about me. One said: "Nichiren, the notorious
. enemy of Amida Buddha and an evil teacher to all people,
. has been exiled to our province. As we all know, exiles
. to this island seldom manage to survive. Even if they
. do, they never return home. So no one is going to be
. punished for killing an exile. Nichiren lives all alone
. at a place called Tsukahara. No matter how strong and
. powerful he is, if there's no one around, what can he
. do? Let's go together and shoot him with arrows!"
. Another said, "He was supposed to be beheaded, but his
. execution has been postponed for a while because the
. wife of the lord of Sagami is about to have a child. The
. postponement is merely temporary, though. I hear he is
. eventually going to be executed." A third said, "Let's
. ask Lord Rokuro Saemon to behead him. If he refuses, we
. can plan something ourselves." There were many proposals
. about what to do with me, but the third proposal
. [mentioned above] was decided on. Eventually several
. hundred people gathered at the constable's office. [Note
. 20: The constable of Sado Province was Hojo Nobutoki,
. the lord of Musashi Province, who lived in Kamakura.
. Homma Rokuro Saemon, the steward of Niiho in Sado,
. served in the office as the deputy constable of the
. province.]
. Rokuro Saemon addressed them, saying: "An official
. letter from the regent directs that the priest shall not
. be executed. This is no ordinary, contemptible criminal,
. and if anything happens to him, I, Shigetsura, will be
. guilty of grave dereliction. Instead of killing him, why
. don't you confront him in religious debate?" Following
. this suggestion, the Nembutsu and other priests,
. accompanied by apprentice priests carrying the three
. Pure Land sutras, Great Concentration and Insight, the
. True Word sutras, and other literature under their arms
. or hanging from their necks, gathered at Tsukahara on
. the sixteenth day of the first month [in 1272]. They
. came not only from the province of Sado but also from
. the provinces of Echigo, Etchu, Dewa, Mutsu, and
. Shinano. Several hundred priests and others gathered in
. the spacious yard of the hut and in the adjacent field.
. Rokuro Saemon, his brothers, and his entire clan came,
. as well as lay priest farmers, [Note 21: Lay priest
. farmers were individuals who, though they take religious
. vows, do not enter a temple but continue to farm and
. live in their own homes.] all in great numbers. The
. Nembutsu priests uttered streams of abuse, the True Word
. priests turned pale, and the Tendai priests called
. loudly to vanquish the opponent. The lay believers cried
. out in hatred, "There he is--the notorious enemy of our
. Amida Buddha!" The uproar and jeering resounded like
. thunder and seemed to shake the earth. I let them clamor
. for a while and then said, "Silence, all of you! You are
. here for a religious debate. This is no time for abuse."
. At this, Rokuro Saemon and others voiced their accord,
. and some of them grabbed the abusive Nembutsu followers
. by the neck and pushed them back.
. The priests proceeded to cite the doctrines of Great
. Concentration and Insight and the True Word and the
. Nembutsu teachings. I responded to each, establishing
. the exact meaning of what had been said, then coming
. back with questions. However, I needed to ask only one
. or two at most before they were completely silenced.
. They were far inferior even to the True Word, Zen,
. Nembutsu, and Tendai priests in Kamakura, so you can
. imagine how the debate went. I overturned them as easily
. as a sharp sword cutting through a melon or a gale
. bending the grass. They not only were poorly versed in
. the Buddhist teachings but contradicted themselves. They
. confused sutras with treatises or commentaries with
. treatises. I discredited the Nembutsu by telling how
. Shan-tao fell out of the willow tree, and refuted the
. story about the Great Teacher Kobo's threepronged
. diamond-pounder and of how he transformed himself into
. the Thus Come One Mahavairochana. [Note 22: The Chinese
. Pure Land leader Shantao (613–681) was said to have so
. earnestly desired rebirth in the Pure Land that he
. attempted to hang himself on a willow tree, but instead
. fell out of the tree and mortally injured himself.
. According to legend, when Kobo was about to leave China
. to return to Japan, he threw his three-pronged
. diamondpounder in the air; it was later found on top of
. Mount Koya in Japan. On another occasion, when he was
. debating with eminent Buddhist leaders at court, he is
. said to have transformed himself into Mahavairochana
. Buddha, the Buddha revered by the True Word school.] As
. I demonstrated each falsity and aberration, some of the
. priests swore, some were struck dumb, while others
. turned pale. There were Nembutsu adherents who admitted
. the error of their school; some threw away their robes
. and beads on the spot and pledged never to chant the
. Nembutsu again.
. The members of the group all began to leave, as did
. Rokuro Saemon and his men. As they were walking across
. the yard, I called the lord back to make a prophecy. I
. first asked him when he was departing for Kamakura, and
. he answered that it would be around the seventh month,
. after his farmers had finished their work in his fields.
. Then I said: "For a warrior, 'work in the fields' means
. assisting his lord in times of peril and receiving fiefs
. in recognition of his service. Fighting is about to
. break out in Kamakura. You should hasten there to
. distinguish yourself in battle, and then you will be
. rewarded with fiefs. Since your warriors are renowned
. throughout the province of Sagami, if you remain here in
. the countryside tending to your farms and arrive too
. late for the battle, your name will be disgraced." I do
. not know what he thought of this, but Homma,
. dumbfounded, did not utter a word. The Nembutsu priests
. and the observers of the precepts and lay believers
. looked bewildered, not comprehending what I had said.
. After everyone had gone, I began to put into shape a
. work in two volumes called The Opening of the Eyes,
. which I had been working on since the eleventh month of
. the previous year. I wanted to record the wonder of
. Nichiren, in case I should be beheaded. The essential
. message in this work is that the destiny of Japan
. depends solely upon Nichiren. A house without pillars
. collapses, and a person without a soul is dead. Nichiren
. is the soul of the people of this country. Hei no Saemon
. has already toppled the pillar of Japan, and the country
. grows turbulent as unfounded rumors and speculation rise
. up like phantoms to cause dissention in the ruling clan.
. Further, Japan is about to be attacked by a foreign
. country, as I described in my On Establishing the
. Correct Teaching. Having written to this effect, I
. entrusted the manuscript to Nakatsukasa Saburo Saemon-
. no-jo's messenger. The disciples around me thought that
. what I had written was too provocative, but they could
. not stop me.
. Just then a ship arrived at the island on the eighteenth
. day of the second month. It carried the news that
. fighting had broken out in Kamakura and then in Kyoto,
. causing indescribable suffering. Rokuro Saemon, leading
. his men, left on fast ships that night for Kamakura.
. Before departing, he humbly begged for my assistance
. with palms joined.
. He said: "I have been doubting the truth of the words
. you spoke on the sixteenth day of last month, but they
. have come true in less than thirty days. I see now that
. the Mongols will surely attack us, and it is equally
. certain that believers in Nembutsu are doomed to the
. hell of incessant suffering. I will never chant the
. Nembutsu again."
. To this I replied: "Whatever I may say, unless the lord
. of Sagami heeds my words, the people of Japan will not
. heed them either, and in that case our country will
. surely be ruined. Although I myself may be
. insignificant, I propagate the Lotus Sutra and therefore
. am the envoy of Shakyamuni Buddha. The Sun Goddess and
. Great Bodhisattva Hachiman, who are insignificant, are
. treated with great respect in this country, but they are
. only petty gods as compared with Brahma, Shakra, the
. gods of the sun and moon, and the four heavenly kings.
. It is said, however, that to kill someone who serves
. these two gods is equal to the sin of killing seven and
. a half ordinary persons. The grand minister of state and
. lay priest and the Retired Emperor of Oki perished
. because they did so. Thus, persecuting me is
. incomparably worse than molesting the servants of those
. two gods. As I am the envoy of Shakyamuni Buddha, the
. lord of teachings, the Sun Goddess and Great Bodhisattva
. Hachiman should bow their heads before me, press their
. palms together, and prostrate themselves. The votary of
. the Lotus Sutra is attended by Brahma and Shakra on
. either side, and the gods of the sun and moon light his
. path before and behind. Even if my counsel is heeded, if
. I am not given due respect as the votary of the Lotus
. Sutra, then the country will perish. How ominous that
. the authorities have turned hundreds of persons against
. me and have even banished me twice! This country is
. surely doomed, but since I have asked the gods to
. withhold their punishment on our land, it has survived
. until now. However, that punishment has finally
. descended because these unreasonable actions continued.
. And if my counsel is not heeded on this occasion, the
. gods will cause the Mongol empire to send its forces to
. destroy Japan. That would seem to be the kind of
. disaster that Hei no Saemon is intent upon calling
. forth. When it happens, I doubt that you and your
. followers can find any safety even on this island."
. After I had finished speaking, Homma, looking deeply
. perplexed, set off on his way.
. The lay believers, hearing of this, said to one another,
. "Perhaps this priest has some kind of transcendental
. powers. How terrifying! From now on, we had better cease
. giving any alms or support to the Nembutsu priests and
. the observers of the precepts." The observers of the
. precepts, who were followers of Ryokan, and the Nembutsu
. priests said, "[Since this priest predicted the outbreak
. of rebellion in our country,] perhaps he is one of the
. conspirators." After this things grew somewhat quieter.
. Then the Nembutsu priests gathered again in council. "If
. things go on this way," they said, "we will die of
. starvation. By all means, let's rid ourselves of this
. priest! Already more than half the people in the
. province have gone over to his side. What are we to do?"
. Yuiamidabutsu, the leader of the Nembutsu priests, along
. with Dokan, a disciple of Ryokan, and Shoyu-bo, who were
. leaders of the observers of the precepts, journeyed in
. haste to Kamakura. There they reported to the lord of
. the province of Musashi: "If this priest remains on the
. island of Sado, there will soon be not a single Buddhist
. hall left standing or a single priest remaining. He
. takes the statues of Amida Buddha and throws them in the
. fire or casts them into the river. Day and night he
. climbs the high mountains, bellows to the sun and moon,
. and curses the regent. The sound of his voice can be
. heard throughout the entire province."
. When the former governor of Musashi heard this, he
. decided there was no need to report it to the regent.
. Instead he sent private orders that any followers of
. Nichiren in the province of Sado should be driven out of
. the province or imprisoned. He also sent official
. letters containing similar instructions. He did so three
. times. I will not attempt to describe what happened
. during this period--you can probably imagine. Some
. people were thrown into prison because they were said to
. have walked past my hut, others were exiled because they
. were reported to have given me donations, or their wives
. and children were taken into custody. The former
. governor of Musashi then reported what he had done to
. the regent. But quite contrary to his expectations, the
. regent issued a letter of pardon on the fourteenth day
. of the second month in the eleventh year of Bun'ei
. (1274), which reached Sado on the eighth day of the
. third month.
. The Nembutsu priests held another council. "This man,
. the archenemy of the Buddha Amida and slanderer of the
. Reverend Shan-tao and the Honorable Honen, has incurred
. the wrath of the authorities and happened to be banished
. to this island. How can we bear to see him pardoned and
. allowed to return home alive!"
. While they were engaged in various plots, for some
. reason there was an unexpected change in the weather. A
. favorable wind began to blow, and I was able to leave
. the island. The strait can be crossed in three days with
. a favorable wind, but not even in fifty or a hundred
. days when the weather is bad. I crossed over in no time
. at all. Thereupon the Nembutsu priests, observers of the
. precepts, and True Word priests of the provincial
. capital of Echigo and Zenko-ji temple in Shinano
. gathered from all directions to hold a meeting. "What a
. shame that the Sado priests should have allowed Nichiren
. to return alive! Whatever we do, we must not let this
. priest make his way past the living body of the Buddha
. Amida." [Note 23: The living body of the Buddha Amida
. indicates the statue of Amida Buddha enshrined at Zenko-
. ji temple in the province of Shinano (present-day Nagano
. Prefecture).]
. But in spite of their machinations, a number of warriors
. from the provincial government office in Echigo were
. dispatched to escort me. Thus I was able to pass safely
. by Zenko-ji, and the Nembutsu priests were powerless to
. stop me. I left the island of Sado on the thirteenth day
. of the third month, and arrived in Kamakura on the
. twentysixth day of the same month.
. On the eighth day of the fourth month, I met with Hei no
. Saemon. In contrast to his behavior on previous
. occasions, his manner was quite mild, and he treated me
. with courtesy. An accompanying lay priest asked me about
. the Nembutsu, a layman asked about the True Word school,
. and another person asked about Zen, while Hei no Saemon
. himself inquired whether it was possible to attain the
. way through any of the sutras preached before the Lotus
. Sutra. I replied to each of these questions by citing
. passages from the sutras.
. Then Hei no Saemon, apparently acting on behalf of the
. regent, asked when the Mongol forces would invade Japan.
. I replied: "They will surely come within this year. I
. have already expressed my opinion on this matter, but it
. has not been heeded. If you try to treat someone's
. illness without knowing its cause, you will only make
. the person sicker than before. In the same way, if the
. True Word priests are permitted to try to overcome the
. Mongols with their prayers and imprecations, they will
. only bring about the country's military defeat. Under no
. circumstances whatever should the True Word priests, or
. the priests of any other schools for that matter, be
. allowed to offer up prayers. If each of you has a real
. understanding of Buddhism, you will understand this
. matter on hearing me explain it to you.
. "Also, I notice that, although advice from others is
. heeded, when I offer advice, it is for some strange
. reason invariably ignored. Nevertheless, I would like to
. state certain facts here so that you may think them over
. later. The Retired Emperor of Oki was the sovereign of
. the nation, and the acting administrator [Hojo
. Yoshitoki] was his subject, [and yet the latter attacked
. and defeated the retired emperor]. Why would the Sun
. Goddess permit a subject to attack a sovereign, who
. should be like a father to him? Why would Great
. Bodhisattva Hachiman allow a vassal to attack the lord
. with impunity? And yet, as we know, the sovereign and
. the courtiers supporting him were defeated by Hojo
. Yoshitoki. That defeat was no mere accident. It came
. about because they put their faith in the misleading
. teachings of the Great Teacher Kobo and the biased views
. of the great teachers Jikaku and Chisho, and because the
. priests of Mount Hiei, To-ji, and Onjo-ji, in their
. opposition to the Kamakura shogunate, offered prayers
. for its defeat. Thus their curses 'rebounded upon the
. originator,' [Note 24: Lotus Sutra, chap. 25. In the
. sutra, the sentence reads in the future tense. It was
. changed here to fit the context of this letter.] and as
. a consequence the sovereign and his courtiers were
. forced to suffer defeat. The military leaders in
. Kamakura knew nothing of such rituals, so no prayers to
. subdue the enemy were offered; thus they were able to
. win. But if they now depend on such prayers, they will
. meet the same fate as the courtiers.
. "The Ezo people of northern Japan have no understanding
. of the principles of birth and death. Ando Goro [Note
. 25: Ando Goro (n.d.) was a magistrate who exercised
. jurisdiction over the northern part of Japan in the time
. of the regent Hojo Yoshitoki (1163–1224).] was a pious
. man who knew the law of cause and effect and erected
. many Buddhist halls and pagodas. How could it happen,
. then, that the Ezo beheaded him? In view of these
. events, I have no doubt that, if these priests are
. allowed to go on offering prayers for victory, Your
. Lordship will meet with some untoward event. And when
. that happens, you must not under any circumstances say
. that I failed to warn you." Such was the stern manner in
. which I addressed him.
. When I returned home, I heard that the Dharma Seal of the
. Amida Hall [Note 26: The Dharma Seal of the Amida Hall
. refers to the True Word priest Kaga Josho, who was the
. superintendent of the Amida Hall in Kamakura.] had been
. asked to pray for rain from the tenth day of the fourth
. month. This Dharma Seal is the most learned priest of
. To-ji and the teacher of the prelate of Omuro. [Note 27:
. The prelate of Omuro refers to Prince Dojo (n.d.), a son
. of Emperor Gotoba who had entered the priesthood. This
. generally means the title of a retired emperor or prince
. who entered the priesthood and lived at Ninna-ji, a True
. Word temple in Kyoto. Omuro is another name for Ninna-
. ji.] He has mastered the True Word esoteric teachings of
. the great teachers Kobo, Jikaku, and Chisho, and has
. memorized all the doctrines of the various schools such
. as Tendai and Flower Garland. He began praying for rain
. on the tenth day, and on the eleventh a heavy rain fell.
. There was no wind, but only a gentle rain that fell for
. a day and a night. The regent, the lord of Sagami, was
. said to have been so deeply impressed that he presented
. the Dharma Seal with thirty ryo in gold, a horse, and
. other gifts as a reward.
. When the people of Kamakura heard this, eminent and
. humble alike clapped their hands, pursed their lips, and
. laughed with derision, saying: "That Nichiren preached a
. false kind of Buddhism and came near to getting his head
. cut off. He was finally pardoned, but instead of
. learning his lesson, he goes on slandering the Nembutsu
. and Zen schools, and even dares to speak ill of the
. esoteric teachings of True Word. How fortunate that we
. have had this rain to serve as proof of the power of
. True Word prayers!"
. Faced with such criticisms, my disciples became quite
. downcast and complained that I had been too provocative
. in my attacks on the True Word school. But I said to
. them, "Just wait a while. If the evil teachings of the
. Great Teacher Kobo could be correct and in fact produce
. effective prayers for the welfare of the nation, then
. the Retired Emperor of Oki would surely have been
. victorious in his struggle with the Kamakura shogunate,
. and Setaka, [Note 28: Setaka (d. 1221) was the sixth son
. of Sasaki Hirotsuna, a warrior who supported Emperor
. Gotoba. He was the cherished favorite of the prince-
. priest Dojo at Ninnaji, and was beheaded in 1221 at the
. time of the Jokyu Disturbance.] the favorite boy
. attendant of the prelate of Omuro, would not have had
. his head cut off. Kobo in his Treatise on the Ten Stages
. of the Mind states that the Lotus Sutra is inferior to
. the Flower Garland Sutra. In his Precious Key to the
. Secret Treasury he claims that the Shakyamuni Buddha of
. the 'Life Span' chapter of the Lotus Sutra is an
. ordinary person, and in his Comparison of Exoteric and
. Esoteric Buddhism he calls the Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai
. a thief. Moreover, Shokakubo [Note 29: Shokaku-bo
. (1095–1143), also called Kakuban, was the precursor of
. the New Doctrine branch of the True Word school.] in his
. Rules of Rites for Revering the Buddha's Relics states
. that the Buddha who preached the one vehicle of the
. Lotus Sutra is not even worthy to tend the sandals of a
. True Word master. The Dharma Seal of the Amida Hall is a
. follower of the men who taught these perverse doctrines.
. If such a man could show himself superior to me, then
. the dragon kings who send down the rain must be the
. enemies of the Lotus Sutra, and they will surely be
. chastised by the gods Brahma and Shakra and the four
. heavenly kings. There must be more to this than meets
. the eye!"
. "What do you mean by 'more than meets the eye'?" my
. disciples asked with a scornful smile.
. I replied: "Shan-wu-wei and Puk'ung both caused rain to
. fall in answer to their prayers, but it is recorded that
. they also brought about high winds. When Kobo prayed for
. rain, it fell after twenty-one days had passed. But
. under such circumstances, it is the same as though he
. had not caused it to rain at all, since some rain is
. naturally bound to fall in the course of a twenty-oneday
. interval. The fact that it happened to rain while he was
. praying for it is in no way remarkable. What is really
. impressive is to cause it to fall through a single
. ceremony, the way T'ien-t'ai and Senkan [Note 30: Senkan
. (918–983) was a priest of the Tendai school. In the
. summer of 962, when Japan was suffering from drought,
. the emperor ordered him to offer prayers for rain. It is
. said that, immediately after the impe- rial envoy
. reached him, he caused rain to fall.] did. That is why I
. say there must be something peculiar about this rain."
. I had not even finished speaking when a great gale began
. to blow. Houses of every size, Buddhist halls and
. pagodas, old trees, and government buildings all were
. swept up into the air or toppled to the ground. A huge
. shining object flew through the sky, and the earth was
. strewn with beams and rafters. Men and women were blown
. to their death, and many cattle and horses were struck
. down. One might have excused such an evil wind if it had
. come in autumn, the typhoon season, but this was only
. the fourth month, the beginning of summer. Moreover,
. this wind did not blow throughout the country, but
. struck only the eight provinces of the Kanto region, and
. in fact only the two provinces of Musashi and Sagami. It
. blew strongest in Sagami; and within Sagami, it blew
. strongest in Kamakura; and within Kamakura, it blew
. strongest at the government headquarters, Wakamiya, and
. the temples Kencho-ji and Gokuraku-ji. It was apparent
. that it was no ordinary wind, but rather the result of
. the Dharma Seal's prayers alone. The people who had
. earlier pursed their lips and laughed at me suddenly
. turned sober, and my disciples too were astonished and
. expressed their wonder.
. I had been determined all along that, if after three
. attempts to warn the rulers of the nation my advice
. still went unheeded, I would leave the country. With
. that thought in mind, I accordingly left Kamakura on the
. twelfth day of the fifth month and came here to Mount
. Minobu.
. In the tenth month of the same year (1274), the Mongols
. launched their attack. Not only were the islands of Iki
. and Tsushima [Note 31: Iki and Tsushima are islands off
. the coast of Kyushu in southern Japan. The Dazaifu
. office was the administrative center of Kyushu, Iki, and
. Tsushima, and served as a foreign affairs conduit as
. well as a rallying point in the case of foreign
. invasion. During the Mongol attack of 1274, it was a
. focal point of defense against the Mongols.] assaulted
. and captured, but the forces of the Dazaifu government
. office in Kyushu were defeated as well. When the
. military leaders, the lay priest Shoni and Otomo, [Note
. 32: Shoni is Shoni Sukeyoshi (1198– 1281), the constable
. of Chikuzen. Otomo is Otomo Yoriyasu (1222–1300), the
. constable of Bungo.] received word of this, they fled,
. and the remaining warriors were struck down without
. difficulty. [Though the Mongol forces withdrew,] it was
. apparent just how weak Japan's defenses would be if they
. should launch another attack in the future.
. The Benevolent Kings Sutra says, "Once the sages have
. departed, then the seven disasters are certain to
. arise." The Sovereign Kings Sutra states, "Because evil
. people are respected and favored and good people are
. subjected to punishment, marauders will appear from
. other regions, and the people of the country will meet
. with death and disorder." If these pronouncements of the
. Buddha are true, then evil men certainly exist in our
. country, and the ruler favors and respects such men
. while treating good men with enmity.
. The Great Collection Sutra states, "The sun and moon no
. longer shed their light. All the four directions will be
. afflicted by drought. . . . The wicked rulers and monks
. who perform these ten evil acts will curse and destroy
. my correct teaching." In the Benevolent Kings Sutra we
. read, "Evil monks, hoping to gain fame and profit, in
. many cases appear before the ruler, the crown prince, or
. the other princes, and take it upon themselves to preach
. doctrines that lead to the violation of the Buddhist Law
. and the destruction of the nation. The ruler, failing to
. perceive the truth of the situation, listens to and puts
. faith in such doctrines. . . . In this way he brings
. about the destruction of Buddhism and of the nation."
. And the Lotus Sutra speaks of the "evil monks of that
. muddied age." [Note 33: Lotus Sutra, chap. 13.] If these
. passages in the sutras are true, then there must
. unquestionably be evil monks in this country. The
. crooked trees are destined to be cut down on a treasure
. mountain, and dead bodies are rejected by the great sea.
. Though the great sea of the Buddhist Law and the
. treasure mountain of the one vehicle may admit the
. shards and rubble of the five cardinal sins or the dirty
. water of the four major offenses, [Note 34: The four
. major offenses are precepts for monks, dealing with
. killing, theft, sexual misconduct, and lying.] they have
. no room for the "dead bodies" of those who slander the
. Law, or for the "crooked trees" who are icchantikas,
. persons of incorrigible disbelief. Therefore, those who
. endeavor to practice the Buddhist Law and who care about
. what happens to them in future lives should know what a
. fearful thing it is to slander the Lotus Sutra.
. Many people wonder why anyone should pay heed to a
. person like myself who speaks ill of Kobo, Jikaku, and
. others of their group. I do not know about other
. regions, but I know that the people everywhere in the
. province of Awa have good reason to believe what I say.
. They have seen the proof right before their eyes. Endon-
. bo of Inomori, Saigyo-bo and Dogi-bo of Kiyosumi, and
. Jitchi-bo of Kataumi were all eminent priests; but one
. should inquire what kind of deaths they met with.
. However, I will say no more of them. Enchi-bo spent
. three years in the great hall of Seicho-ji copying the
. text of the Lotus Sutra in a laborious fashion, bowing
. three times as he copied each character. He had
. memorized all ten volumes, and every day and night
. recited the entire sutra twice for a period of fifty
. years. Everyone said that he would surely become a
. Buddha. But I alone said that he, along with Dogibo, was
. even more certain to fall into the depths of the hell of
. incessant suffering than were the Nembutsu priests. You
. would do well to inquire carefully just how these men
. met death. If it had not been for me, people would have
. believed that these priests had attained Buddhahood.
. You should realize from this that the manner of the
. death of Kobo, Jikaku, and the others indicated that a
. truly miserable fate was in store for them. But their
. disciples contrived to keep the matter secret, so that
. even the members of the imperial court never learned of
. it. Hence these men have been looked up to with
. increasing reverence in later times. And if there had
. been no one like me to reveal the truth, they would have
. gone on being honored in that manner for endless ages to
. come. The non-Buddhist teacher Uluka [turned to stone at
. his death], but eight hundred years later [his errors
. were brought to light and] the stone melted and turned
. to water. And in the case of another non-Buddhist
. teacher Kapila, a thousand years passed before his
. faults were brought to light. [Note 35: Kapila was the
. founder of the Samkhya school, one of the six main
. schools of Brahmanism in India. According to The
. Annotations on "Great Concentration and Insight," he
. transformed himself into a stone because he was afraid
. of death. But when Bodhisattva Dignaga wrote a verse of
. admiration on the stone, it cracked into pieces, thereby
. revealing the falsity of Kapila's teachings a thousand
. years after his death.]
. People are able to be born in human form because they
. have observed the five precepts in a previous existence.
. And if they continue to observe the five precepts in
. this life, then the twenty- five benevolent deities will
. protect them, and Same Birth and Same Name, the two
. heavenly messengers who have been with each of them
. since birth on their shoulders, will guard them. So long
. as they commit no fault, the demons will have no chance
. to do them harm. And yet in this country of Japan, there
. are countless people who cry out in misery. We know,
. too, that the people on the islands of Iki and Tsushima
. had to suffer at the hands of the Mongols, and what
. befell the defenders of the Dazaifu in Kyushu. What
. fault were the people of this country guilty of that
. they should meet with such a fate? One would surely like
. to know the answer. One or two of the persons there may
. have been guilty of evil, but is it possible that all of
. them could have been?
. The blame lies entirely in the fact that this country is
. filled with the disciples of those who despised the
. Lotus Sutra--True Word priests who follow the doctrines
. handed down from Kobo, Jikaku, and Chisho; Nembutsu
. priests who are latter-day disciples of Shan-tao and
. Honen; and the followers of Bodhidharma and the other
. patriarchs of the Zen school. That is why Brahma,
. Shakra, the four heavenly kings, and the other deities,
. true to the vows they took when the Lotus Sutra was
. expounded to split into seven pieces the head [of anyone
. who troubles a preacher of the sutra], [Note 36: Lotus
. Sutra, chap. 26. It states, "If there are those who fail
. to heed our spells and trouble and disrupt the preachers
. of the Law, their heads will split into seven pieces."]
. have sent down this punishment.
. Some people may be perplexed at this point and object
. that, although those who do harm to the votary of the
. Lotus Sutra are supposed to have their heads split into
. seven pieces, there are people who slander the priest
. Nichiren and yet do not have broken heads. Are we to
. conclude, they may ask, that the priest Nichiren is not
. a true votary of the Lotus Sutra?
. I would reply by saying that, if Nichiren is not a
. votary of the Lotus Sutra, then who is? Is Honen a
. votary, who in his writings ordered people to throw the
. Lotus Sutra away? Is the Great Teacher Kobo a votary,
. who said that Shakyamuni Buddha was still in the region
. of darkness? Or are Shanwu- wei and Jikaku votaries, who
. taught that, although the Lotus Sutra and the
. Mahavairochana Sutra are equal in terms of principle,
. the latter is superior in practice?
. Again, this matter of the head being split into seven
. pieces--one need not imagine the kind of split made by a
. sharp sword. On the contrary, the Lotus Sutra says that
. the split is like that of the "branches of the arjaka
. tree." [Note 37: Lotus Sutra, chap. 26. The arjaka tree
. grows in India and other tropical places. It is said
. that, when a branch of this tree falls to the ground, it
. splits into seven pieces.] In a person's head there are
. seven drops of liquid, and outside there are seven
. demons. If the demons drink one drop, the person's head
. begins to ache. If they drink three drops, his life will
. be endangered, and if they drink all seven drops, he
. will die. People in the world today all have heads that
. have split apart like the branches of the arjaka tree,
. but they are so steeped in evil karma that they are not
. even aware of the fact. They are like persons who have
. been injured while they were asleep or in a state of
. drunkenness, and have not yet become conscious of their
. injury.
. Rather than saying that the head is split into seven
. pieces, we sometimes say that the mind is split into
. seven pieces. The skull bone under the scalp cracks or
. even breaks apart at the time of death. Many people of
. our own period had their heads split open in the great
. earthquake of the Shoka era (1257) or at the time of the
. appearance of the great comet in the Bun'ei era (1264).
. At the time their heads split open, they had a severe
. coughing condition, and when their five solid internal
. organs [Note 38: The lungs, heart, spleen, liver, and
. kidneys.] failed to function correctly, they suffered
. from dysentery. How could they have failed to realize
. that they were being punished because they slandered the
. votary of the Lotus Sutra!
. Because venison is tasty, the deer is hunted and killed;
. because oil can be obtained from the turtle, the turtle
. loses its life. If a woman is beautiful, there will be
. many who envy her. The ruler of a nation has much to
. fear from other nations, and the life of a man with
. great wealth is constantly in danger. One who abides by
. the Lotus Sutra will inevitably attain Buddhahood.
. Therefore, the devil king of the sixth heaven, the lord
. of this threefold world, will become intensely jealous
. of anyone who abides by the sutra. This devil king, we
. are told, attaches himself like a plague demon to people
. in a way that cannot be detected by the eye. Thereafter,
. like persons who gradually become drunk on fine old
. wine, rulers, fathers and mothers, wives and children
. gradually become possessed by him and are filled with
. jealousy toward the votary of the Lotus Sutra. And that
. is precisely the situation we face today in the world
. around us. Because I chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, I have
. for over twenty years been driven from place to place.
. Twice I have incurred the wrath of the authorities, and
. in the end I have retired to this mountain.
. Here I am surrounded by four mountains, Shichimen to the
. west, Tenshi to the east, Minobu to the north, and
. Takatori to the south. Each is high enough to touch the
. sky, and so steep that even flying birds have trouble
. crossing them. In their midst are four rivers called
. Fuji, Haya, Oshira, and Minobu. In the middle, in a
. ravine some hundred yards or so across, I have built my
. hut. I cannot see the sun in the daytime or the moon at
. night. In winter there is deep snow, and in summer the
. grass grows thick. Because so few people come to see me,
. the trail is very hard to travel. This year, especially,
. the snow is so deep that I have no visitors at all.
. Knowing that my life may end at any time, I put all my
. trust in the Lotus Sutra. In these circumstances, your
. letter was particularly welcome. It seemed almost like a
. message from Shakyamuni Buddha or from my departed
. parents, and I cannot tell you how grateful I was. Nam-
. myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myohorenge- kyo.

So, for Nichiren, overcoming the Asuras directed at him was necessary to prove the validity of his Third Doctrine: that the Buddhism of the Mystic Law is embodied in the correct practice of chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo to the Gohonzon, and acting for the widespread propagation of the Law with the Buddhist Order that he left to Nikko on the day of his death ... and all of that is the highest and only correct practice of Buddhism in the Latter Day of the Law.

Without the poison of doubt, raised by the attacks of the powerful Priesthoods in Kamakura (Nembutsu, Jodo Precepts, Shingon, Zen, and Tendai) and their agents in the Shogunate (Hae No Saemon) against Nichiren and his followers, there would have been no way to create the medicine of faith in the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren's Third Doctrine in the hearts of the people of that time. And then Nichiren's practice of Buddhism would have faded away.

The Buddha IS the Buddha, because of his victory over the impossible odds created by endless waves of persecution from all quarters. Another name for the Buddha is "Victorious One".

During his life, Nichiren Daishonin protected the Lotus Sutra, which he received from Dengyo, Miao-lo, T'ien-T'ai, and the Lord of Teachings Shakyamuni, and his own Third Doctrine of the practice of Lotus Sutra Buddhism ... shielding that Buddhism with his own life by becoming the focus of asuras himself. After his death, this mission is left to his followers.

________ Definition of Anger (Shura or Asuras) ___

From the SGI Dictionary:

world of asuras [修羅界] (Jpn shura-kai): Also, realm of asuras, world of animosity, or world of anger. The fourth of the Ten Worlds and one of the four evil paths. When viewed as a state of life, the world of asuras is a condition dominated by egoistic pride. Persons in this state are compelled by the need to be superior to others in all things, valuing themselves and devaluing others. Asuras, belligerent spirits or demons in Indian mythology, were regarded as typifying this condition of life. In The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind, Nichiren defines the characteristic of this world as "perverse," or more literally, "fawning and crooked." Out of extreme pride or a sense of superiority, people in this condition tend to conceal their real motives and flatter others to win praise. While outwardly courteous, however, they inwardly look down on others. Such a person's self-image is distorted and unbalanced, colored by extreme pride or a sense of superiority; the self is perceived as extremely large and important, and others as small and unimportant. Those who remain in this state ultimately do harm to themselves through their own conceit. See also four evil paths; three good paths.

________ Getting Some Help _______________________

If you are a Nichiren Shoshu Priest, or a Hokkeko member from anywhere in the world, and are thinking about switching to the SGI call (310) 260-8900 or contact the Headquarters at SGI Plaza:,-118.4979288,17z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x80c2a4c8ce37f2e7:0x918d68e31aa2b5e4!2s606+Wilshire+Blvd,+Santa+Monica,+CA+90401!3b1!8m2!3d34.0205589!4d-118.4957401!3m4!1s0x80c2a4c8bc1aaae7:0x8b8af06c5597de63!8m2!3d34.0208086!4d-118.4958896?hl=en

Tell them that you are a Nichiren Shoshu Priest or Hokkeko member, and wish to speak to someone about the SGI, and what to do.

________ The Survivor Gita _______________________

Who will replace the "Sen'ou Nezumi" ?

Nikken, the Usurper King of the Rats at Taisekiji, has been replaced by Nichinyo, who is an angry member of the elite, due to too many blows to the head. A little punchy, and brief in his rule, since Nikken has plans for his son to take over.

One thing that is known for certain: There will be a new Rat King. And quickly there will be another.

Another thing that is known for certain: All the alliances will change, and more than once. Anyone that has watched Survivor knows this.

Rule Number Zero:

The War of the Rodents can only be won by ... King Rat.

More to come ... These questions will be answered !!!



LS Chap. 16 .....

All harbor thoughts of yearning
and in their minds thirst to gaze at me.
When living beings have become truly faithful,
honest and upright, gentle in intent,
single-mindedly desiring to see the Buddha
not hesitating even if it costs them their lives,
then I and the assembly of monks
appear together on Holy Eagle Peak.
At that time I tell the living beings
that I am always here, never entering extinction,
but that because of the power of an expedient means
at times I appear to be extinct, at other times not,
and that if there are living beings in other lands
who are reverent and sincere in their wish to believe,
then among them too
I will preach the unsurpassed Law.
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