Nanjo Tokimitsu was the steward of the Ueno District,
Fuji region. In the spring of 1289 (the second year of Sho’o), Tokimitsu
invited Nikko Shonin, who had left Mt. Minobu, to stay on his property at the
Jibutsudo, which is the current day Shimonobo Temple. Tokimitsu protected and
took care of Nikko Shonin for some time. Furthermore, he donated a vast tract
of land to Nikko Shonin called “Oishigahara.” There, on Oct. 12, 1290 (the
third year of Sho’o), Taisekiji was formally established. The strong faith and
practice of Tokimitsu, who served Nikko Shonin, enabled the present day
Taisekiji to be built. We must follow the example of the faith and practice of
Tokimitsu, who made utmost efforts for kosen-rufu.
This is the reason why all the priests at the Head
Temple, led by the High Priest, who is the Master of the Seat of the Law, conduct
a memorial on the 1st of May every year for Nanjo Tokimitsu.
Ueno the Wise
The members of the Nanjo family originally lived in
Nanjo, which was located in Izu Province. Later, they moved to Ueno at Mt.
Fuji, the neighborhood of Head Temple Taisekiji. Thus, Tokimitsu is called both
“Lord Nanjo” and “Lord Ueno.” Tokimitsu’s father, Nanjo Hyoe Shichiro,
practiced sincerely; however, he passed away from an illness when Tokimitsu was
seven years old. The Daishonin made a long journey to visit his grave in Ueno
Nine years later, in May of the 11th year of Bunei,
Nichiren Daishonin returned from Sado Island and took up residence at Mt. Minobu.
Upon hearing this, the Nanjo family brought clothes and food to Minobu and made
sincere offerings to the Daishonin many times.
On New Year’s Day of the following year, the
Daishonin sent Nikko Shonin to visit the grave of Hyoe Shichiro in Ueno, where the
Nanjo family resided. From this period, Tokimitsu developed a strong
relationship with Nikko Shonin and started to receive frequent guidance from
him. He also started to become extremely active in doing shakubuku in the Fuji
district. As a result, many priests and local farmers discarded their erroneous
teachings and took faith in the Daishonin’s true teaching.
There were influential heretical priests and others
in the area who did not like what was transpiring. They persuaded the
government officials to threaten the farmers who were propagating true
Buddhism. In response to this persecution, the Daishonin’s followers never
stopped chanting and as a result, three leaders of the farmers who followed the
Daishonin, Jinshiro, Yagoro, and Yarokuro, were beheaded cruelly without
reason. This incident is known as the Atsuhara persecution. Receiving guidance
from the Daishonin and Nikko Shonin, Tokimitsu fought with all his might to
protect the farmers who were faced with such a dire situation. The Daishonin honored
Tokimitsu with the title, “Ueno the Wise,” since he clearly was impressed by
Receiving Many Letters
During the fifth year of Koan, when Tokimitsu was 24
years old, he suddenly fell critically ill. Upon hearing this, the Daishonin
immediately prayed for his recovery and sent letters to Tokimitsu
instructing him, “Never yield to your illness and strive in your faith and
practice.” Tokimitsu, who upheld sincere faith and practice throughout his
life, received many letters from the Daishonin. These letters were handed down
to us in the present day as precious words of the Daishonin, which serve to
encourage our faith and practice.
On Oct. 13, 1282 (the fifth year of Koan), the Daishonin
passed away at the Ikegami residence. Tokimitsu rushed to his side and later
attended the Daishonin’s funeral. After the Daishonin passed away, Tokimitsu
served Nikko Shonin, who received the transmission of the Heritage of the Law
from the Daishonin and became his successor.
Seven years later, in the second year of Sho’o,
Tokimitsu welcomed Nikko Shonin to his estate. Nikko Shonin stayed at
Tokimitsu’s residence after leaving Minobu, carrying the Daishonin’s ashes,
because of the deep karmic relationship they had.
After Taisekiji was built, Tokimitsu protected Nikko
Shonin and the Third High Priest Nichimoku Shonin. He continued to strive in
his faith and practice. He passed away peacefully on May 1, 1332 (the first
year of Shokyo), at the age of 74.
The Spirit of Protecting the
In order to propagate the Daishonin’s Buddhism
correctly, it is crucial to protect from within and without. To protect from
within signifies protecting the Law from within Nichiren Shoshu. This means that,
following the High Priest, all the priests must uphold and transmit the true
Law correctly. To protect from without signifies protecting the true Law from
the outside. This means that lay believers must protect and propagate the true
Law through various kinds of offerings for kosen-rufu while they work and live
in society. Lord Nanjo Tokimitsu strove to do shakubuku, following the guidance
of Nichiren Daishonin and Nikko Shonin. He offered the land for Head Temple
Taisekiji, which is the center of kosen-rufu. His life was dedicated to protecting
the Law from without.
Nanjo Tokimitsu serves as a great example for our
faith and practice. Let us strive to do shakubuku, protect the Head Temple and
local temples in order to accomplish kosen-rufu.