True Intention of Nichiren – PART 2

Nichiren criticized all the other sects of Buddhism, denouncing them to be evil sects that keep dead souls from resting in peace. His influence was so strong that he was arrested by the government which approved the other sects. He received sentence of death by decapitation.

  • criticize  批判する
  • denounce 糾弾する
  • arrest 逮捕する
  • decapitation 斬首

It is said that when an executioner was about to cut off Nichiren’s head, “a shining ball” appeared from nowhere and prevented the executioner from carrying it out. According to my spiritual reading, the executioner tried to do it three times in all. The shining ball flew around the executioner, making a buzz sound, which made him so scared that he stopped the execution two times.

  • executioner 執行人
  • prevent 妨げる
  • in all 全部で
  • buzz sound ブーンという音
  • scare 怖がらせる

But he, as a master of decapitation, couldn’t give it up. So after a while he tried to do it again. But this time, when he raised his sword, he was paralyzed suddenly and just couldn’t do it somehow. The government officials present there were at a loss, when the order to suspend the execution was conveyed by the government. It seems that when the shining ball appeared, the same kind of strange ball was witnessed at the site of the Kamakura shogunate, too.

  • after a while しばらくすると
  • paralyze 麻痺させる
  • at a loss 途方にくれて
  • suspend 中止する
  • witness 目撃する

I feel that the words Nichiren said when he was about to be killed were “Namu Kanze On Bosatsu(南無観世音菩薩), Amaterasu-o-ho-mi-kami(天照太御神).” He said these words over and over because he knew the Lotus Sutra specifies that those who call the name of Kannon cannot be killed by any sword due to the power of Kannon. He was convinced without doubt that they can never kill him because he was trying to help Amaterasu-o-ho-mi-kami. It was his strong conviction that summoned the shining ball.

  • be about to~   今にも〜するところだ
  • over and over 何度も
  • specify はっきりと述べる
  • due to A  Aのために
  • without doubt 疑いなく
  • summon 召喚する

Exempted from the execution, he was sent to Sado Island as banishment, where he devoted himself to writing letters and papers. Staying at Sado Island was a good opportunity for him to reflect on his life. During this term of imprisonment, he began to write Hokke Mandala(法華曼荼羅). In July, 1273, he also wrote the Great Mandala Honzon(大曼荼羅本尊), which became the principal object of a certain religious organization related to Nichiren which appeared in later years.

  • exempt 免させる
  • banishment 流刑
  • reflect 振り返る
  • object 対象
  • related 関係した

The Great Mandala Honzon is not the image of Buddha but the hanging roll with “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo(南妙法蓮華経)” written large on its center. Around this words, names of various Buddhas and bodhisattvas were written, including Amaterasu-o-ho-mi-kami, a goddess of shintoism. It is here that Nichiren’s true intention is hidden. I feel that the mandala he wrote in an early stage had the name of Amaterasu-o-ho-mi-kami written small at the lower part of the mandala. But as his religious community expanded, the words were written larger and larger at the upper part. Even then, he didn’t explain to any of his disciples his love for Amaterasu-o-ho-mi-kami.

  • image of Buddha 仏像
  • hanging roll 掛け軸
  • goddess 女神
  • expand 拡大する
  • disciple 弟子

When he established his religious organization and major disciples and a sufficient number of believers gathered, he secretly wrote a mandala that he had long wanted to express at last. In it, the words of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo were reduced and written small in a large number like the leaves of a lotus flower at the lower part and the words of Amaterasu-o-ho-mi-kami was written the largest at the center of the upper side. In my head it looks like Amaterasu-o-ho-mi-kami were standing on the pedestal of a lotus flower.

  • establish 確立する
  • major 主要な
  • gather 集まる
  • pedestal 台座

He showed this new mandala to two attendant disciples. They were stunned to see it. They had faith in Nichiren, thinking that believing in him was the greatest Buddhist training, and they were enjoying their positions as the leaders of the group. The two leading disciples, however, did something unexpected against Nichiren.

To be continued.

  • attendant 付き人の
  • stun 驚愕させる
  • faith 信仰
  • unexpected 意外な

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