真實救度的世界 (5):關東地區的弘法

12111117日,親鸞聖人39歲,在被流放五年之後,法然上人和親鸞聖人獲得赦免。親鸞聖人很可能打算盡快返回京都,在來年初等冬雪開始融化時,趕回去和法然上人重逢。

法然上人獲赦之後,已經返回京都。據說他在128日時已經下榻在攝津國勝尾寺的二樓。但不幸的是,法然上人於隔年(1212)年125日往生,得年80歲。

聖人得到法然上人的噩耗時,仍在越後國。一直到1214年,聖人在42歲時,決定搬往關東的邊埵一帶。在關東地區時,聖人以稻田(位於今日的茨城縣)為主要落腳處,開始弘揚教法。

聖人在關東地區待了二十年,有了不少的弟子和門徒,正式的僧團弟子大約有八十名,在家信徒約數萬人。

聖人在關東地區時,發生了許多事蹟,其中一件有名的事件,就是板敷山的弁円想對聖人行刺。弁円是稻田板敷山的一位苦行者,他看到聖人的門徒眾多,因為眼紅,想把聖人除掉。他最後來到聖人位於稻田的茅舍,準備行刺,卻被聖人安詳沉著的態度所感化,最後還成了聖人的弟子,號明法房。以下這首詩,據聞是弁円在板敷山所作:

 

青山依舊,山路如昔

整個改變的,是吾心

 

昔日的弁円回到板敷山,舊地如昔,但因為自己的心境改變了,眼前的一切亦不復以往。他以前想暗殺親鸞聖人,最後卻成了聖人的弟子,如今歡喜地沐浴在彌陀本願攝取的光明中。

因為親鸞聖人的教化而改宗的事蹟很多,但在《嘆異鈔》第六條中,親鸞聖人卻說:《嘆異抄》(第六條)所言:「我親鸞,一個弟子也沒有。如果人們念佛,是因為我個人的力量所使然,那麼才可以說他們是我的弟子。但是人們念佛,是阿彌陀佛的本願力所使然,所以如果說那些念佛的人是我的弟子,那就太荒謬了。」反之,親鸞聖人稱大家為御同朋或御同行。


 

When the Venerable Master was 39 years of age – on the 17th day of the 11th lunar month during the year 1211 (Kenryaku 1 建暦), five years after being exiledhe and Master Honen were pardoned. I believe the Venerable Master wished to return to Kyoto as soon as possible and be reunited with his revered teacher, Master Honen, and planned to do so soon after the new year began and the deep snows of Echigo Province had melted.

Master Honen had already returned to Kyoto by then. It is said that he had found a place to stay on the second floor of Katsuo Temple in Settsu 摂津勝尾寺 by the 8th day of the 12th lunar month of the year he was pardoned. Unfortunately, he passed away on the 25th day of the 1st lunar month of 1212 (Kenryaku 2).

The Venerable Master remained in Echigo Province after learning of Master Honen’s passing. About the year 1214 (Kempo 2), however, when he was 42 years of age, the Venerable Master decided to move to the then frontier area of the Kanto 關東 (general area around modern Tokyo).

In the Kanto area, he made the town of Inada 稻田(in modern Ibaraki Prefecture茨城縣) his headquarters, and began spreading the Nembutsu teaching.

The Venerable Master spent some twenty years in the Kanto area, during which time many disciples and followers gathered around him. About eighty of his direct disciples were said to have been formally initiated as monks. The followers of his direct disciples were said to number in the tens of thousands.

Many stories are told about the Venerable Master while he was in the Kanto area. Among them is the story of Bennen 弁円 (later Myoho-bo 明法房) of Mt. Inada. Bennen was a mountain ascetic who became jealous of the following that was gathering around the Venerable Master, and determined to kill him. He forced his way into the Venerable Master’s hut in Inada. The moment Bennen saw the Venerable Master’s serene and composed attitude, however, he dropped his weapons and became the Venerable Master’s disciple.

The following is a poem that Myoho-bo (the former Bennen) is said to have composed on Mt. Itajiki:

The mountains are the same, 

And the roads are 

just as they were in the past. 

All that has changed 

Is my heart…

After returning to Mt. Itajiki where he had formerly practiced asceticism, Myoho-bo realized with a start that nothing had changed – neither the mountains nor the roads – and yet everything had changed because of the change in his heart. Although he had harbored thoughts of killing the Venerable Master, now that he was the Venerable Master’s disciple and able to take joy in basking in the light of Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow, he was no longer the same Bennen. That was why he changed his name to Myoho-bo.

Although there are many other stories of dramatic conversions to his teaching, in Article Six of “Notes Lamenting Differences” (Tannisho), the Venerable Master is quoted as saying:

I do not have even a single disciple. Perhaps I might say they are my disciples if they recite the Nembutsu through my personal efforts. But how preposterous it is to refer to others as “my disciples” when they say the Nembutsu because they have personally experienced the power of Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow!

Buddha’s disciples. He considered those who followed him to be “fellow followers” (ondobo御同朋) who “follow the same path” (ondogyo 同行).

 

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