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Major Writings II - Nichiren Daishounin

Bodhisattva Hachiman - Nichiren Daishounin

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A Comparison of the Lotus Sutra and Other Sutras
A Ship to Cross the Sea of Suffering
Earthly Desires Are Enlightenment
Clear Sake Gosho
Letter to Niike
Letter to Domyo Zemmon
Letter to Akimoto
Letter from Sado
Reply to Nichigon-ama
Roots of Good Fortune
Reply to Jibu-bo
No Safety in the Threefold World - Nichiren Daishounin
Letter to Horen - Nichiren Daishounin
King Rinda - Nichiren Daishounin
Jozo and Jogen - Nichiren Daishounin
Bodhisattva Hachiman - Nichiren Daishounin
On Prayer - Nichiren Daishounin
The Opening of the Eyes Part I
The Opening of the Eyes Part II
Conversation between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man
Conversation between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man Part II
Establishment of the Legitimate Teaching for the Protection of the Country
How Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood Through the Lotus Sutra
The Learned Doctor Shan-wu-wei
The Entity of the Mystic Law
The Pure and Far-reaching Voice
Reply to Takahashi Nyudo
The Teaching, Capacity, Time, and Country
The Doctrine of Attaining Buddhahood in One's Present Form
Encouragement to a Sick Person
The Essence of the Yakuo Chapter
The Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra
The Supreme Leader of the World
The Treasure of a Filial Child
The Supremacy of the Law
Reply to Nii-ama
The Workings of Bonten and Taishaku
The Story of Ohashi no Taro
The Teaching in Accordance with the Buddha's Own Mind
The Treatment of Illness and the Points of Difference between Mahayana and Hinayana and Provisional
Repaying Debts of Gratitude
On Practicing the Buddha's Teachings
On the Urabon
Letter to the Priests of Seicho-ji
Letter to Nichimyo Shonin
Letter to Shomitsu-bo
Questions and Answers on Embracing the Lotus Sutra
Reply to Sairen-bo
Rationale for Submitting the Rissho Ankoku Ron
Persecution by Sword and Staff
Rebuking Slander of the Law and Eradicating Sins
Recitation of the Hoben and Juryo Chapters
Reply to Lord Hakiri Saburo
Reply to Yasaburo
Letter to Ichinosawa Nyudo
Letter to Myomitsu Shonin
Reply to Hoshina Goro Taro
Wu-lung and I-lung
White Horses and White Swans
The Sutra of True Requital
The Kalpa of Decrease
The Farther the Source, the Longer the Stream
The Third Doctrine
The One-eyed Turtle and the Floating Sandalwood Log
Letter to Nakaoki Nyudo
General Stone Tiger
The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life
Lessening the Karmic Retribution
Letter to the Brothers
Hell is the Land of Tranquil Delight
On Prolonging Life
On the Buddha's Behavior
On the Buddha's Prophecy
On the Treasure Tower
Propagation by the Wise
The Embankments of Faith
The Dragon Gate
Strategy of the Lotus Sutra
Reply to Kyo-o
The Person and the Law
The One Essential Phrase
The Gift of Rice
The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon
Letter of Petition from Yorimoto
Introduction and Preface to the Ongi Kuden: Namu Myoho Renge Kyo [Devotion to the Lotus Sutra]
Muryogi Sutra [Sutra of Innumerable Meanings]
Chapter 3: Simile and Parable [Hiyu]
Chapter 4: Faith and Understanding [Shinge]
Chapter 6: Prediction [Juki]
Chapter 7: Phantom City [Kejoyu]
Chapter 8: Prophecy of Enlightenment for Five Hundred Disciples [Gohyaku Deshi Juki]

Bodhisattva Hachiman

I have received the white quilted robe and the ten ryo of cotton that you were kind enough to send. The year is drawing to a close, and here in the mountains where I live, the wind blows fiercely and my little dwelling is as full of holes as a wicker basket. I have the leaves of plants for my floor covering and wear clothes made of paper, so that my body becomes as cold as a stone, and the things I have to eat are like ice. When I received the quilted robe, I thought that I would put it on immediately and get warm, but you had written that it was for New Year’s Day of the coming year. I wonder if even the Venerable Mahakashyapa, who retired to Mount Kukkutapada to await the coming of the Honored One of Compassion 5,670 million years in the future, could feel as impatient as I do.

But enough of that. Shiiji Shiro told me that you have been discussing the Buddhist teachings in the presence of your lord, which delights me no end. In reward, I will write to you now about a very important doctrine.

Most people, both the wise and the ignorant, will tell you that Great Bodhisattva Hachiman is a manifestation of Amida Buddha, and this claim is not without reason. In the documents of middle antiquity and in oracles from Hachiman himself, there have been a few instances when he was identified with Amida Buddha. This has come about because people have each at heart become Nembutsu believers, so that they are like someone who mistakes a red stone for a lump of gold or who sees a stump in the field and thinks it is a hare.

The truth is that Hachiman is a manifestation of Shakyamuni Buddha. I say this because in the province of Osumi there is an inscription on a stone to that effect. That stone is now broken into two. On one part are written the two characters that comprise the name Hachiman. The other part bears this inscription: "Long ago on Eagle Peak he preached the Lotus Sutra. Now he has manifested himself as the Great Bodhisattva and resides in the main shrine." This is the first proof that Hachiman is Shakyamuni Buddha.

But there is even more definite proof Great Bodhisattva Hachiman’s father was Emperor Chuai, the fourteenth human sovereign of Japan, and his mother was Empress Jingu, the fifteenth sovereign. [Their son,] Emperor Ojin, the sixteenth sovereign, was the one now known as Great Bodhisattva Hachiman.

His father, Emperor Chuai, being commanded by the Sun Goddess, was about to cross the ocean to attack the kingdom of Silla [on the Korean Peninsula]. But the king of Silla put a curse on him, and as a result Emperor Chuai passed away at Hakata. At that time his consort, Empress Jingu, was already pregnant with the prince. But in order to avenge the late emperor, she amassed a force of several tens of thousands of horsemen and crossed the sea to the kingdom of Silla.

While the ship was still on the waves, she could feel that the hour had come for her child to be born. At that time Empress Jingu addressed the babe in her womb, saying, "Are you a prince, or are you a girl child? If you are a prince, then listen well to what I say. I am crossing over to the land of Silla in order to attack the enemy of your father, Emperor Chuai. Since I am only a woman, I want you to act as my commander in chief. If you are destined to be the sovereign of Japan, then you must not be born just now, but must remain in my womb during the time of battle and from there serve as commander in chief to my tens of thousands of horsemen and carry out the attack on your father’s enemy. But if you do not heed my words and instead insist upon being born at once, then I will cast you into the sea. You must not bear a grudge against me!"

The child accordingly remained in the womb as before. At that time the empress donned a belt made of stones in order to chill her womb and proceeded on her way to Silla where she subjugated the kingdom. When she returned to Japan, she went to the Usa Shrine in the province of Buzen, and there her child was born. He had been in the womb for three years, six months and three days, and was born on the eighth day of the fourth month of a year with the cyclical sign kinoe-tora. This was the child who was later to be known as Emperor Ojin. At the age of eighty, he passed away on the fifteenth day of the second month of a year with the sign mizunoe-saru. He is the chief god of Mount Otoko, a guardian deity to the dynasty that rules our country. His enshrined form is not particularly unusual, but he is nevertheless revered for his mysterious powers. He is the deity now known as Great Bodhisattva Hachiman.

Now Shakyamuni Buddha was born in the kalpa of continuance in the ninth period of decrease, when the human life span measured a hundred years. His father was King Shuddhodana and his mother, Lady Maya. He was born in the state of Kapilavastu in central India, in a place called the Lumbini Gardens, on the eighth day of the fourth month of a year with the sign kinoe-tora. After living for eighty years, he passed away on the banks of the Ajitavati River at Kushinagara in eastern India on the fifteenth day of the second month of a year with the sign mizunoe-saru. It was the same with the present Great Bodhisattva Hachiman. Though one was born in India and the other in Japan, and though they had different fathers and mothers, both were born on the eighth day of the fourth month of a year with the sign kinoe-tora and died on the fifteenth day of the second month of a year with the sign mizunoe-saru.

During the 2,220 and more years since the Buddha passed away, whether in India, China, Japan or anywhere else in the entire land of Jambudvipa, those born as sages and worthy men are all said to have been manifestations of Shakyamuni Buddha. But no one has ever heard of such a coincidence as the one I have just pointed out.

In addition to this strange coincidence, there is the matter of Great Bodhisattva Hachiman’s vow. When he preached the Lotus Sutra [as Shakyamuni Buddha] in India, he said, "Honestly discarding expedient means... ," and in Japan he vowed that he would make his residence on the heads of honest persons. Nevertheless, on the fourteenth day of last month, the eleventh month, at the Hour of the Rat (around 12:00 P.M.), he burned down his sacred shrine and ascended to the heavens. if we consider the reason, we Will see that, though this deity had vowed to reside on the heads of honest persons, there were no longer any honest persons on whose heads he might reside. Being thus left without a dwelling place, he ascended to the heavens.

But the strangest thing of all in this country of Japan is the fact that, although its people have been born in a land related to Shakyamuni Buddha, they have discarded this Buddha, and all, every one of them alike, have become followers of Amida Buddha. They have cast aside Shakyamuni, with whom they have a deep bond, and pay reverence to Amida Buddha, with whom they have no connection at all.

In addition, they have taken the day when Shakyamuni Buddha, their father, passed away, and assigned it to Amida Buddha, and taken the day when he was born, and assigned it to Yakushi [Buddha]. And though they appear to pay reverence to Great Bodhisattva Hachiman, they claim that his true identity is Amida Buddha. Not only have they discarded both true identity and manifestation, but they treat as an enemy anyone who tries to point out their error. That is no doubt the reason why this deity, Hachiman, being powerless to correct the situation, has ascended to the heavens.

The moon will cast its image on water, but its reflection will not dwell in muddy water. However, it will be mirrored even in the drops of dew on the trees above and on the leaves of the grass, if the dew is clear and pure. And in the same way, Hachiman will undoubtedly take up his residence on the head of an honest person, even though that person may not be the ruler of the nation.

Hachiman has vowed to take up residence on the heads of a hundred rulers. And yet he did not reside on the heads of the five rulers of our nation, namely, the eighty-first sovereign, Emperor Antoku; the eighty-second sovereign, the Retired Emperor of Oki; the eighty-third sovereign, the Retired Emperor of Awa; the eighty-fourth sovereign, the Retired Emperor of Sado; and the eighty-fifth sovereign, the Emperor of Higashi Ichijo. He declined to do so because they had the heads of men who are fawning and crooked. Instead, he took up residence on the heads of Yoritomo and Yoshitoki, though these men were mere servants of the throne. This was no doubt because they were honest men.

On considering this, we can see that because persons who put their faith in the Lotus Sutra are following an honest doctrine, Shakyamuni Buddha himself will protect them. How then could it happen that Great Bodhisattva Hachiman, who is his manifestation, would fail to protect them?

Though water may be pure at the outset, if it becomes muddied, the moon will not shine in it. But even though night soil is filthy, when it clears, the moon will not begrudge its reflection. The muddied water may be pure in nature, yet the moon will not shine in it. But the night soil, though impure in nature, will reflect the moon’s rays if it clears.

The muddy water may be likened to learned priests and eminent scholars who keep the precepts but turn their backs on the Lotus Sutra. The night soil may be likened to ignorant people without precepts whose greed is profound and whose anger is intense, but who put undivided faith in the Lotus Sutra alone.

The scripture known as the Nirvana Sutra lists the beings that have been able to attain the way through the Lotus Sutra, and the list includes such filthy creatures as dung beetles, vipers and scorpions. To express the wonderful power of the Lotus Sutra, Bodhisattva Nagarjuna. says that it enables "even such creatures as dung beetles to attain Buddhahood."

The Nirvana Sutra also refers to persons who cannot become Buddhas even through the Lotus Sutra, defining them as icchantika, or those of incorrigible disbelief, who appear to be like arhats or like great bodhisattvas. They are like the muddy water that, though originally pure, will not reflect the moonlight. Thus Great Bodhisattva Hachiman, because he hates dishonesty, has ascended to the heavens. But when he sees the votaries of the Lotus Sutra, how could he begrudge shedding his light on them?

My followers should believe the truth of this matter firmly. Great Bodhisattva Hachiman dwells with us here. Have no doubt about it! Have no doubt about it!

With my deep respect,

Nichiren

The sixteenth day of the twelfth month


Reply to the wife of Shijo Kingo

  

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The True Entity of Life
The One Essential Phrase
The Essence of the Juryo Chapter
The True Object of Worship
The Selection of the Time
The Problem to Be Pondered Night and Day
Reply to the Mother of Lord Ueno
The Bodies and Minds of Ordinary Beings
Teaching, Practice, and Proof
On Omens
On Persecutions Befalling the Buddha
The Votary of the Lotus Sutra Will Meet Persecution
Thus I Heard
The Izu Exile
The Origin of the Urabon
The Royal Palace
The Meaning of Faith
The Third Day of the New Year
Reply to the Followers
The Causal Law of Life
The Swords of Good and Evil
The Teaching for the Latter Day
The Unmatched Fortune of the Law
Easy Delivery of a Fortune Child
Letter to Konichi-bo
Letter to Misawa
An Outline of the Zokurui and Other Chapters
Consecrating an Image of Shakyamuni Buddha Made by Shijo Kingo
Curing Karmic Disease
Admonitions Against Slander
Bestowal of the Mandala of the Mystic Law
The Receipt of New Fiefs
The Unity of Husband and Wife
Letter to Ko-no-ama Gozen
Winter Always Turns to Spring
On Filial and Unfilial Conduct
A Father Takes Faith
A Warning against Begrudging One's Fief
The Mongol Envoys
Reply to Tokimitsu
Reply to Myoho Bikuni Gozen
Beneficial Medicine for All Ills
A Sage Perceives the Three Existences of Life
The Proof of the Lotus Sutra
Letter to Jakunichi-bo
Aspiration for the Buddha Land
Reply to Lord Shijo Kingo
The Universal Salty Taste
Good Fortune in This Life
The Wealthy Man Sudatta
Letter to Gijo-bo
New Year's Gosho
Persecution at Tatsunokuchi
Easy Delivery of a Fortune Child
Reply to Lord Matsuno's Wife
The Birth of Tsukimaro
Banishment to Sado
Great Evil and Great Good
Happiness In This World
Letter from Echi
Letter to Endo Saemon-no-jo
Letter to Priest Nichiro in Prison
On Flowers and Seeds
On Itai Doshin
Postscript to the Rissho Ankoku Ron
Reply to a Believer
Reply to Ko Nyudo
Reply to Lady Onichi-nyo
Reply to Lord Matsuno
Rissho Ankoku Ron
The Difficulty of Sustaining Faith
The Offering of a Summer Robe
The Property of Rice
The Wonderful Means of Surmounting Obstacles
Unseen Virtue and Visible Reward
Upholding Faith in the Gohonzon
The Drum at the Gate of Thunder

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