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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The real Nichiren Transfer Documents researched by Robin Beck

Revised 5-3-2006

On the Events After Nichiren’s Passing

The “Shuso Gosenge Kiroku” {Record of the Passing of the Founder} exists in the original at Nishiyama Honmon-ji, a Nikko lineage temple said to be the Head Temple of the Honmon Shu. The Kiroku is a detailed record of Nichiren’s last days. It was recorded, signed, & sealed by Nikko. It also bears the co-signatures & seals of Nissho, Nichiro, and Nichiji. We know a lot of what is in there, but have no complete or definitive translation. We do not even have a full outline. I know it does include:

The “Rokuroso” {6 Senior Successors}.
Details of the funeral & procession at Ikegami
The “Go-yui-gon” {Nichiren’s Last Will & Testament
“If the steward Hakiri turns his back to the Law, my spirit will cease to reside in Minobu.” — Nichiren

I know the “Shuso Gosenge Kiroku” does not include:

The “Go-ibutsu-haibun-cho” {Distribution of the Mementos} kept at Ikegami.
The “Minobusan-shuban-cho” {Minobusan Guard Rotation} kept at Ikegami.

I do not know if the Shuso Gosenge Kiroku includes the story that Nichiren commissioned the then 14 year old Nichizo, who was Nichiro’s half brother, with the task of converting the emperor in Kyoto.

A related document, the “Hakasho Mamorubeki Bancho no Koto” {The Shift for Protecting His Mausoleum} also exists in the original at Nishiyama. Of it, Rev. Shoshin Kawabe of Nichiren Shoshu wrote:

“In the 1st month of the next year, Nikko Shonin and disciples of the Daishonin enacted “The Shift for Protecting His Mausoleum.” … This enactment was ordained based on the Daishonin’s last will. On the back of this document are the signatures of four of the Six Major Disciples: Nissho, Nichiro, Nikko and Nichiji. Due to circumstances, Niko and Nitcho could not attend both the Daishonin’s funeral and the conference in Kuon-ji Temple.”

Also: Hakiri Dono Goho {Report to Lord Hakiri}, Sep 1282, Nichiren’s last recorded Gosho, recorded by Nikko, kept at Ikegami.

“I eventually plan to return to Mt. Minobu, but since I am now ill, nothing is certain about what may happen to me at any given time and place. No words can ever describe the magnitude of your kind support over a period of nine years, when people all over the nation of Japan hated and persecuted me. Thus, wherever I may meet my demise, I would like to be buried in the valley of Minobu. ”

“No matter where I die, please erect my tombstone at Mt. Minobu, where I chanted the Lotus Sutra in peace for nine years. My heart will go on to stay on Mt. Minobu forever.”

There are also three ‘thought to be authentic’ letters that provide us with useful information about the succession and the schism.

Mimasaka-bo Gohenji witten by Nikko October 12 1284. Download file
Here is another excerpt from that letter, translated by Murano:

“There is a serious incident (in Kamakura)…. Our friends in Kamakura are investigated…. Here we are not troubled…. The tomb at Minobu is trampled by deer. It is too miserable to look at. I do not mean to say that I ignore the duty of the other Senior Disciples ……”

A letter dated February 19th, 1285 written by Hakiri Sanenaga to Nikko, the original of which is kept at Nishiyama Honmon-ji Temple

“I have heard that the Lotus Sutra has prospered in Kuon-ji Temple. It is great. I am glad about this. I feel that by your living there, the late Sage is iving there.”


Finally, there is a draft of an internal Nikko lineage document called “Fuji Isseki Monto Zonchi no Koto” {Things for followers of Fuji to know aka Guidelines for Believers of the Fuji School. This was started in 1309 by Jakusen-bo Nitcho (1262-1310); first CP of Omosu Seminary. He never finished it. Nikko added notations after Jakusen-bo died. IIRC, the manuscript, with Nikko’s annotations, survives.

Of this, Kawai Kazuo wrote:

“In “Fuji isseki monto zonchi no koto” (Things for followers of Fuji to know”, you can read a piece of story about the images of Sage Nichiren. This document … “was written by Nitcho, the first chief instructor of Omosu Seminary, under Nikko’s direction, in the second year of Enkyo (1309) but was not completed because of Nitcho’s death.

I don’t know if there is an English translation of the document or not, but it seems to be important for people who are interested in the early history of NST. The document shows us how Nikko and his followers understood Nichiren’s teachings without adornment added after ages. It tells us about the disciples, the writings of Nichiren which Nikko collected, honzons, the ordination platform etc. But this document will draw attentions with what was not written there. For example, it tells about the ordination platform but not about the two famous transfer documents. It tells about honzons but not about the Dai Gohonzon of the second year of Ko-an.
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For your convenience here are translations of segments of “The Record of the Passing of the Founder”, as well as “The Shift for Protecting His Mausoleum.”

The Rokuroso {6 Senior Successors}:

“I hereby determine that the following six disciples: Renge Ajari Nichiji, Iyo-ko Nitcho, Sado-ko Niko, Byakuren Ajari Nikko, Daikoku Ajari Nichiro, Ben Ajari Nissho, in no order/at random , are my major disciples. Accordingly, I have selected them to carry out my matters into the future. Recorder, Nikko.“– Seiten, p.581)

2. {Summary?}

“Nichiren’s funeral was held at noon on the 14th of October. … At the head of the funeral procession was a torch bearer, followed by bearers of flowers, flags and incense. Nichiren’s coffin was the center of the procession.

Front Procession: Daikoku-ajari (Nichiro)

Jiju-bo, Shimotsuke-bo (Nisshu)Left: Renge-ajari (Nichiji)

Right: Dewa-bo
lzumi-bo {Nippo}, Tajima-bo [Nichijitsu?], Kyo-bo {Nichimoku}, Shinano-bo, Iza-ko, Setsu-bo.

Rear procession: Ben-ajari (Nissho),
Left: Byakuren-ajari (Nikko),
Tamba-bo, Dayu-bo Chikuzen-bo, Suke-bo

3. Go-yui-gon {Nichiren’s Last Will & Testament}.

“The Honorable testament dictates: Of the Buddha; the standing statue of Shakya, must be placed beside [My] grave. Of the Sutra; My most essential writings, namely, the explanatory notes to the Hokkekyo, [Chu Hokekyo] are to be placed together, in the mausoleum. The six disciples as one, at the time of their watch, must read these. [literally: "Shakya standing statue grave beside must placed. My collection most essential writings namely explanatory notes Hokkekyo same basket place mausoleum. Six persons fragrant flower take turns read these."]

Other sacred teachings are not restricted in this manner. In accord with [his] last will, it is wholly recorded as above. The fifth year of Koan, the tenth month, the sixteenth day.” — Recorder, Nikko. 

“Hakasho Mamorubeki Bancho no Koto {The Shift for Protecting His Mausoleum}

The Enactment: No rank is observed.

The Shift for Protecting His Grave:

The 1st month: Ben-Ajari {Nissho}; The 2nd month: Daikoku-Ajari {Nichiro}; The 3rd month: Echizen-ko and Awaji-ko; The 4th month: Iyo-ko {Nitcho}: The 5th month: Renge-Ajari {Nichiji}, The 6th month: Echigo-ko {Nichiben} and Shimotsuke-ko { Nisshu};

The 7th month: Iga-ko and Chikuzen-ko; The 8th month: Izumi-ko {Nippo} and Jibu-ko {Kenshu Nichi’i}; The 9th month: Byakuren-Ajari { Nikko}; The 10th month: Tajima-ko and Kyo-ko {Nichimoku}; The 11th month: Sado-ko {Niko}. The 12th month: Tanba-ko and Jakunichi-bo {Nikke}.

The order of the shift above must be kept and served without negligence. The 1st month of the 6th year of Koan — (“Hakasho Mamorubeki Bancho no Koto” Complete Works of Successive High Priests of Nichiren Shoshu, Vol. I, pp. 86-87)

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