国宝

5月21日(日曜日)9時半に親鸞聖人のご誕生を祝う降誕会(ごたんえ)を行います。降誕会とは、1173年5月21日にお生まれになられた親鸞聖人とその生涯をしのぶため、毎年5月に行われる法要です。親鸞聖人は9歳の時に慈円和尚のもとで得度(出家)をなされ、それから20年間、天台宗の僧侶として比叡山にて勉学と修行に励まれました。29歳の時に比叡山を降りましたが、後の著書に比叡山で行われた勉学の影響がうかがえます。

日本の天台宗は伝教大師最澄(767~822)によって開かれました。最澄は804年に唐に派遣された団体に加わっており、そこで中国の天台宗を学びました。日本へ帰ると京都の東北にある比叡山にて大乗仏教の僧を育てるために、比叡山寺(後に延暦寺と呼ばれる)を開かれました。

大乗の菩薩僧を育てる寺院の方針として、最澄は「山家学生式」を著して次のように仏道を歩む人は国の真の宝であると述べています。

国宝とは何でありましょうか。宝とは道心であります。道心ある人をこそ、国宝というのであります。故に(支那の)古人は言ったものです、「(戦車の前後を明らかに照らしだす)径寸〈直径3cmの大きな宝玉〉十個があったとしても、それは国宝ではない。千里を照らす一隅を守る者、これがすなわち国宝なのである」と。また、古の哲人は古のようにも言っています、「よく語ることが出来ても、よく行うことが出来ない者は、国師である。よく行うことが出来ても、語ることが出来ない者は、国用である。よく行ってよく語り得る者は国宝である。これら三種三様の人があるが、しかし、ただ語ることも行うことも出来ないような者は、国賊である」と。

すなわち、道心ある仏教者をして、西(の印度)では菩薩と称し、東(の支那)では君子と号すのです。悪しき事柄は自らに向かわし、好ましき事柄を他者にあたえ、己を忘れて他を利することは、慈悲の極みというものです。

(http://www.horakuji.hello-net.info/lecture/nippon/sankegakushoushiki/version.htm)

親鸞聖人は比叡山での修行の間、最澄が述べられた上記の理想な僧侶を目指していたことでしょう。聖人が比叡山を降りた理由については当時の書物などに明らかにされていませんが、親鸞聖人がおられた平安時代末期頃は比叡山に貴族の僧侶が多く、世俗的なことや政治に巻き込まれることが多かったようです。その当時は、比叡山の「僧兵」の武力も強く、都にも多くの影響を与えました。

そういった時代背景により、最澄によって定められた僧侶の心得が重んじられなくなっていったことに気を落とした親鸞聖人は、比叡山を降り、法然上人の門下に入ることを選んだのかもしれません。親鸞聖人の『正像末和讃』に次のように述べてあります「今の世で本寺・本山におられる高位の僧といっても、法師といっても、嘆かわしいばかりである。」(『浄土真宗聖典 三帖和讃 現代語訳 190頁』そして、法然聖人(源空)の出会いについて次のような喜びの言葉が『高僧和讃』にあります。

善導・源信すすむとも 本師源空ひろめずは

片州濁世のともがらは いかでか真宗とさとらまし

 

善導大師や源信和尚が勧められても、源空聖人が説き広めてくださらなかったなら、インドから遠く離れた日本で、さまざまな濁りに満ちた世に生きるものたちは、どうして真実の教えを知ることができたであろう。

『浄土真宗聖典 三帖和讃 現代語訳 122頁』

 

南無阿弥陀仏


Treasure of the Nation

We will be observing our annual Gotan-e Service on May 21, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. Gotan-e celebrates the birth of Shinran Shonin, the founder of our Jodo Shinshu Buddhist tradition, in the year 1173. As we celebrate Shinran’s birthday, we take time this month to recall the events of his life. Shinran was ordained as a Buddhist monk of the Tendai school at the age of nine under the guidance of the eminent monk Jien. Shinran spent the next twenty years studying the Tendai teachingsand practicing monastic discipline on Mount Hiei. Although he departed from Mount Hiei at the age of 29, his later writings show the lifelong impact that the Buddhist education he received in the Tendai tradition had on his understanding of the Dharma.

The Tendai School was established in Japan, bythe monk Saicho (767-822) who in 804 joined an official delegation to China, where he studied with the leading monks of the Tiantai (Jpn. Tendai) school. Upon his return to Japan he worked to establish a dedicated site for monastic practice at Mount Hiei, just northeast of the capital. Saicho envisioned the Mount Hiei monastic complex as a site for Mahayana Buddhist practice based on the model of Bodhisattva Vows and self-realization through working for the benefit of others.

As he petitioned for support to establish an officially sanctioned ceremonial platform for ordaining monks in the Mahayana tradition, Saicho emphasized the benefit that his mountain Buddhist community would bring to the nation of Japan.

 

What is the treasure of the nation? The religious nature is a treasure, and he who possesses this nature is the treasure of the nation. That is why it was said of old that ten pearls big as pigeon’s eggs do not constitute the treasure of a nation, but only when a person casts his light over a part of the country can one speak of a treasure of the nation. A philosopher of old once said that [he who is capable in speech, but not action should be a teacher of the nation]; he who is capable in action but not in speech should be of service to the nation; but he who is capable both in action and speech is the treasure of the nation. Apart from these three groups, there are those who are capable neither of speech nor action: these are the betrayers of the nation.

Buddhists who possess the religious nature are called in the west bodhisattvas; in the east they are known as superior men. They hold themselves responsible for all bad things while they credit others with all good things. Forgetful of themselves, they benefit others. This represents the epitome of compassion.

(Sources of Japanese Tradition, Volume One: From Earliest Times to 1600, edited by Wm. Theodore de Bary, et. al., p. 145-146)

 

As a student on Mount Hiei, Shinran would have aspired to these lofty ideals set forth in the writings of Saicho and other great teachers of the Tendai tradition. While the specific reasons for Shinran’s departure from Mount Hiei are not recorded in his writings or other contemporary documents, we do know that by Shinran’s time the monasteries of Mount Hiei had come to be dominated by monks from aristocratic backgrounds who were regularly embroiled in secular and political affairs. There was even a standing army of “warrior monks” based on Mount Hiei, who would periodically march on the capital to influence matters of the state.

Perhaps exasperation with how far monastic life on Mount Hiei had diverged from the ideals set forth by Saicho was a contributing factor in Shinran’s decision to leave Mount Hiei and join Honen’s Nembutsu community on the outskirts of Kyoto. In his Hymns on the Dharma Ages, Shinran writes, “It is saddening to see the behavior of the monks of the major temples and monastic complexes at present, whether high-ranking monks or ‘teachers of dharma.’” (Collected Works of Shinran, p. 424) In contrast, Shinran expresses his joy in encountering his teacher Honen (Genku) in the following verse from the Hymns on the Pure Land Masters:

Though Shan-tao and Genshin urged all to enter the true Pure Land way,

If our teacher Genku had not spread it among us

On these isolated islands in this defiled age,

How could we ever have awakened to it?

(Collected Works of Shinran, p. 387)