Rikkyo Kaishu-e or Risshu-e
Life and legends of Nichiren

Most of the accounts I have seen and heard place Zesho-bo Rencho returning to Awa Province in March of 1253. Photobucket - Video and Image HostingPhotobucket - Video and Image Hosting It is unclear if he ascended Mt. Kiyosumi on the 22nd of March or April 22. It is possible that he first visited his parents at their home in Kominato. It looks like there is no definitive time line. Some scholars say he returned home in 1252. What we have are various legends and Gosho accounts. These have been assembled into narratives; so the sequence of events varies with the source.


Let us say, for now, that he first visited his parents at his parents at home in Kominato, arriving there on March 22 1253. That sets up a tidier, less convoluted time line. While there, he may have had various discussions with his Mother and Father, as well as close allies like Gijo-bo, Joken-bo, and Joen-bo. During these visits, he to outlined his basic teachings and plans.
Photobucket - Video and Image HostingMeanwhile, Rencho’s Sensei, Master Do-zen-bo, the Chief Instructor of Seicho-ji, was delighted that his star pupil had returned. He planned a welcome home banquet, to include a sumptuous vegetarian feast. To this day, the Kitchen at Seicho-ji is famous for world class vegetarian meals.
All of the important clerics and lay supporters were invited. Guests would likely include Oama, aka the Lay Nun of Ryoke, who was the hereditary estate {shoen} proprietor; the Hojo Clan’s appointed estate Steward, Tojo Kagenobu; the Temple Abbot Enchi-bo; and Master Dozen-bo’s elder brother Dogi-bo Gisho; as well as the monastics Jitsujo, Kanchi-bo, Joken-bo, and Gijo-bo. Also Joen-bo, a cleric at Renge-ji temple of Hanabusa.
Rencho would, I suspect, be expected to deliver a Sermon or Lecture, Photobucket - Video and Image Hostingexplaining what he had learned at places like Heiezan Enryaku-ji and Miidera Onjoji; which were the Head Temples of the two main branches of Tendai Shu. He also toured major centers of learning and culture at Kyoto City, Nara, Mt. Koya, and Osaka.
This would be Rencho’s chance to expose the errors of various schools and proclaim the supremacy of the Lotus Sutra. It is thought that his parents asked that he reconsider this approach. Perhaps they feared his views would antagonize the authorities, thus bringing harm upon himself and his family.
At this point, Rencho may have been at a crossroads. He could tell the audience what they wanted to hear, and settle into a comfortable life as a country minister; perhaps become the Temple Abbot someday. Or, he could tell the truth and offend some powerful people. He decided to set out for the nearby Seichoji Temple a week early, around April 22, to spend time in meditation and prayer.
Posted by rbeck at October 24, 2006 08:03 AM