The Creed of Half Japan, by Arthur Lloyd, , at sacred-texts.com
The Buddhism of the Gempei Period 1
It is very difficult to describe in a short paragraph, or even in one long chapter, the complicated period of Japanese history which has for its central point of interest the fierce wars waged with such relentless bitterness between the rival families of the Taira and Minamoto and their respective factions. It would be beyond the scope of the present work to try to do so. We must content ourselves with a brief mention of some of the leading features of the period, so far as they are concerned with the history of Japanese religion.
During the ninth and tenth centuries the supreme power in Japan lay practically in the hands of the great family of the Fujiwaras, who, under one title or another, monopolized all the great offices of State, and kept the emperors, always their creatures, and very often connected with them by ties of marriage and affinity, in a state of absolute subjection. Occasional attempts were made to destroy the Fujiwara monopoly. Sugawara Michizane, 2
now worshipped as Tenjin, and famous alike for book-learning, political science, archery, and loyal devotion, made such an attempt in the reigns of Uda Tennō (887897) and his successor Daigo (898–930). A few years later (933), Taira Masakado, aided by one of the Sumitomo branch of the Fujiwara themselves, tried to break through the tyranny of the regent, and raised a rebellion which it took some time and energy to quell, and which has a special significance from the fact that its leader aimed at the Imperial Crown for himself. But such attempts always proved abortive, and, during the whole of the period in question, the ship which bore the fortunes of the Fujiwaras rode triumphantly over all waves and came through all storms.
The nominal captain of the Fujiwara vessel was always the Emperor. But it was never forgotten in practice that his command was merely nominal. The real power lay in the hands of the first lieutenant, and for fear the captain should seek to assert his authority, or in any way interfere with the working of the ship, it was necessary to keep him happy and amused in many harmless
and innocent ways. The luxury which the Fujiwaras encouraged was no mere wanton display, no simple seeking after pleasure. It was adopted with a view to a practical end, and besides succeeding in its immediate purpose, led to other and far-reaching results. The Fujiwaras became the liberal patrons of arts and letters. The pictures for which Japan is so justly famous; her music, poetry, and dramatic art, those creations which are held so vividly to portray the character of the sentimental yet strangely matter-of-fact Japanese people;—all owe their development mainly to the artistic instincts of this gifted and powerful family, and for these things, at least, Japan owes them a lasting debt of gratitude. 1
It is to be noted here that the arts and letters of early medieval Japan are all Buddhist, or, at least, are so thoroughly impregnated and saturated with the spirit of that religion that it is impossible to understand their inner beauties without some knowledge of the Faith which inspired the artists. The Emperor Kwammu had moved his capital from Nara to Kyōto to be free from the intervention of the meddling priesthood in matters of State, and Dengyō had founded his monastery upon Hieizan in the hopes of finding a quiet spot where he might be free from "earth's many voices." The event was quite the opposite of what either of these men expected. 2 The Tendai reforms turned Japanese Buddhism into a wide-spreading organization with far-reaching ramifications. The Fujiwaras knew how to use that organization for their own ends, and the Buddhist
priesthood in their hands became a political machine. The monks were the votaries of art and science; they composed the songs, painted the pictures, laid out the gardens, and designed the palaces in which the luxuriously trained court found its pleasures and forgot its feebleness, and when the captain of the ship, as sometimes happened, began to know too much, and to stir about on his soft cushions, some monastery would furnish a convenient desert island upon which the restless skipper might be marooned. 1
Sometimes a skipper, more long-headed than the rest, did not wait to be marooned, but shut himself up voluntarily in his own cabin, as it were, and continued to direct the ship of State, from the safe shelter of some monastery, through the person of some infant son or grandson, whom he put on the throne instead of himself, and for whom he acted as guardian or regent. Such was the course adopted, e.g., by the Emperors Shirakawa and Toba, 2 and it seemed quite natural in a country like Japan, where the "power behind the throne" has always been so potent a reality. An ex-Emperor, living in a monastery, and from thence directing the affairs of State in the name of his immature son or grandson, would seem to be an ideal state of things from the point of view of an ambitious priesthood. But the Fujiwaras understood the principle of divide et impera. The Nara
monasteries were jealous of the new-fangled growths on the slopes of Mount Hiei; the Hieizan household was encouraged to go in for domestic feuds. The appointment of a Zashū, or Archbishop, of the Tendai community, chosen not from the monks of the Mother House of Hieizan, but from the inmates of the daughter institution at Ōtsu—the Onjōji, or Miidera—gave the signal for a strange civil war within the fold of the Tendai itself. Hieizan and Miidera became the headquarters of two warring armies, with a military organization of tera-samurai, or temple knights, and train bands of fighting men. The other large temples followed suit, and the lay people of Japan had the undesirable privilege, several times during these centuries, of beholding armies of "religious" persons engaging in fratricidal strife, killing, burning, and laying waste.
In the mean time there was growing up in Japan an upper middle class, closely connected with the aristocracy, and yet independent of them, and corresponding very nearly to our English gentry.
It had been the practice, both of the Fujiwara and also, from time to time, of the Emperors themselves, to raise money for political or religious purposes by the sale of certain patents (not unlike the baronetcies of King James I.), known as shō-en, which conferred upon their holders the privilege of possessing their estates free from Imperial taxation and exempt from the jurisdiction of the provincial governors. Some of the Emperors, e.g. Gosanjo (1069), had set their faces against this practice; but needy and religious-minded rulers, such as Shirakawa (1073) and Toba (1108), had been very lavish in the granting of these patents, and the holders of these privileges became an important element in the State. They formed the main support of the rival factions of Taira and
[paragraph continues] Minamoto, and even after Yoritomo's formal and successful organization of their scattered members, continued to be, as samurai, down to our own times, the true backbone of the Japanese nation. 1
Independent, freedom-loving, fairly educated, addicted to martial exercises and the outdoor sports which have been the pastime of the country gentleman in all ages and climes, these men had absolutely nothing but contempt for the sickly sentimentalism of the fashionable priests, with their legends and repetitions, and their somewhat hypocritical prohibitions against hunting and fighting. That they were not devoid of religious feeling we shall see in another chapter. For the present let us note merely that they were coming into prominence as a social and religious element, qualified to exercise a determining influence on the destinies of their country.
I have already, in a previous chapter, referred to the social miseries of the country during the period of which many writers speak as though it had been the golden age of Japanese history. With equal justice might we speak of the reign of King Stephen, or the long-protracted miseries of the Wars of the Roses, as having been the golden age of our English history. The miseries of the people, naturally passed over by chroniclers whose eyes were concentrated upon the precincts of the Imperial Palace, were truly great. They cannot have been anything else.
I have also spoken, in my last chapter, of the pathetic figure of the Odori-nembutsu, the poor, half-witted, princely priest, dancing his way through the country, with the monotonous nembutsu constantly upon his lips, in the hope
of thus awakening in the hearts of the people that sense of belief in a Power higher than ourselves, which is man's strongest rock of confidence in the hour of misery and sorrow. This is the place for me to stop my narration, and to give my readers a digression (I fear it may be a long one) on the subject of the nembutsu.
Nembutsu means "thinking of Buddha"; the Nembutsu to which I refer is the popular Japanese contraction for the phrase Namu-Amida-butsu, which is half Sanskrit and half Chinese, and means "Glory to the Buddha Amitābha," the Buddha to whom I have already so often referred in the course of this present work.
Amitābha, "the Buddha of Infinite Light," or Amitayus, "the Buddha of Infinite Life" (the two are identical in Japan, though, I believe, treated as distinct personages in Thibet), is preached in certain Sūtras 1 of
the Mahāyāna, to which I have already had occasion to refer, as the Supreme Being of a certain section of Buddhists. Amida is without beginning and without end, all love, wisdom, benevolence, and power. He is the Father 1 of all the world and of all sentient beings. In
ages incalculably remote he appeared in various forms among men, all his incarnations being to bring salvation to mankind. In his last incarnation he appeared as the Bhikshu Hōzo (Dharmakāra), and as such registered a vow that should the Perfect Consummation of the Buddhahood ever be in his power, he would not accept deliverance unless such deliverance should also mean the salvation of suffering mankind. In fulfilment of that vow he endured much suffering and many agonies, but he triumphed in the end, and the fruit of his labours has been the opening of a Paradise in a Pure Land, into which all may enter who call upon his name with Faith. 1 Other Buddhas also have spoken of Paradise; 2 Amida alone can speak of it as my Paradise.
Amida is Ichi-butsu, the One Buddha, and besides Him there is none, for all the other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and gods, in whom men trust, are but temporary and partial manifestations of the Great Father, whose Vow (a Christian might call it his Will) is that all mankind should be saved—saved from the miseries of existence, from all those universals of misery which S’akyamuni disclosed to a suffering world, and placed in that Paradise where there is nothing to hinder or to hurt the soul ou its upward path to that Perfection which comes from the Beatific Vision of Amida Himself. 3
Amida is One and Indivisible, but He has several names, and two of the names by which He is known amongst men have become personified with a quasi-separate existence as His Sons, and sit, the one on His right, the other on His left, in His Kingdom. The right represents His Wisdom, the left His Mercy; the latter is occupied by His Son Avalokites’vara, or Kwannon, "the Lord that looked down," incarnate again and again for man and his salvation; the former, personified as Mahāsthāmaprāpta, or Seishi, whose gift to man is, significantly, not salvation, but life. 1
To grasp this salvation, wrought out for man by Amida, and brought to him by Kwannon and Seishi, nothing is needed but Faith—no works of the Law, no austerities, penances, or devotions, no resolutions of amendment, no futile strivings, no repentance—nothing but Faith. It sounds an immoral doctrine, a kind of antinomianism, yet it is not exactly immoral as expounded, at least by its latest preachers, the school of Shinran and his disciples. For faith brings salvation, the realization of salvation arouses the gratitude of the heart, and the grateful heart, knowing what it is by nature and what it has become by grace, becomes so filled with the expansive power of a deep love that it turns the good deeds, the austerities, the devotions, from being fruitless attempts at obtaining a salvation which is practically beyond man's attainment into the joyful formulæ through which the new life imparted to the soul finds its expression.
Shinran Shōnin (A.D. 1174 to 1268), the founder of the
[paragraph continues] Shinshu sect, who claimed for his teachings the authority of a Vision of Avalokites’vara himself, 1 has left behind him, amongst other works, a poem entitled the "Shōshinge," which is even now in common use in the family devotions of pious Shinshu households. A writer to whom I am very much indebted for the insight which he has given me into the thoughts and aspirations of the band of Buddhist reformers who owe their inspiration to the life and teachings of the late Mr. Kyōzawa, 2 has written a commentary on the poem, which, while being up to date, as coming from a modern scholar, yet represents the very thoughts of Shinran, the last great patriarch of mediæval Amidaism in Japan.
Mr. Tada's book, following the lines of Shinran's poem, gives us, first, a series of chapters on the Doctrine of Amida; on the connection between Amida and S’akyamuni, on the history, authenticity, and genuineness of the Sūtras on which the Amidaists build their Faith (he considers them genuine records of S’akyamuni's teachings secretly and unofficially handed down in South India during the five centuries of silence which followed S’akyamuni's death, but brings no proof for his statements), and then proceeds to treat, in several chapters, of the Invocation of Amida's Sacred Name and of the New Life of courage, enthusiasm, and hope which comes to us through prayer and adoration.
[paragraph continues] He then devotes another series of chapters to the consideration of seven great names which Shinran had selected as embracing the whole history of Amidaism from its first inception to Shinran's time, and, having thus surveyed the whole of the ground covered by the Shōshinge, proceeds to base thereon a concluding exhortation to his readers on present duties and prospects.
The names are selected from India, China, and Japan. The Indian patriarchs are Nāgārjuna and Vasubandhu; those from China, Donran, Dōshaku, and Zendō; those from Japan, Genshin and Genkū. Each name has two chapters devoted to it, one biographical and one doctrinal, and the author has cleverly constructed his doctrinal chapters in such a way as to show that there has been a regular and consistent development all the way from Nāgārjuna to Shinran, who brought the system to its perfection. 1
Thus in Nāgārjuna the doctrine is vague: no mention is made of the Sūtras which tell of Amida, but Nāgārjuna dies with his face set to the Western Paradise, and there are passages in his works which foreshadow the doctrine. In Vasubandhu, we get a step further: the mystic teacher knows of the book which contains the description of Paradise, and, whilst not giving himself up wholly, to the exclusion of every other cult, to the worship of Amitābha, still puts Amitābha at the top of the Buddhist pantheon. In the chapters on the Chinese Patriarchs we are shown how one of them was attracted to Amidaism by its simplicity. The multiplicity of the doctrines in the other books had confused his mind; here was something easy and intelligible and within his reach. The other had been long seeking for the Elixir of Life, had dabbled in
medicine and in magic, and had several times imagined himself to be on the point of discovering the formula wherewith to cheat death, yet his search had been in vain. In a moment of despondency arising from one of his numerous failures he came across Bodhiruci, a Buddhist priest of fame. "What?" said Bodhiruci, "you are seeking for eternal life? I will give you the secret." And handing him the books which contained the descriptions of Amida's Paradise and of salvation through faith in His Name, he bade him read and believe. The man did so, and in due course became one of the most successful of the Apostles of Amida in China.
In Japan, the Shinshuist notes with pride that the first image sent over by the King of Kudara in the sixth century was one of Amida, with his satellites, Kwannon and Seishi. The first Japanese patriarch on Shinran's list, Genshin, 1 was attracted, as had been one of his Chinese predecessors, by the simplicity of the doctrine and its adaptability to the needs of simple persons. Ere Genshin died the troubles of Japan had begun, and in the midst of those troubles the sound of Nembutsu from many a troubled heart was a cry of pathetic and half-despairing faith. Such was the cry of the Odorinembutsu, to whom we have already alluded, and that of Ryonen Shōnin, 2 to whom Amida appeared in a vision
and bade him leave the Hieizan monastery, as being a den of thieves. Ryonen and the Odori-nembutsu 1 both became founders of small sects, which, however, never succeeded in winning a very large amount of popularity. It is the merit of Genkū, better known as Hōnen Shōnin, to have successfully established a definite sect of the Pure Land in Japan; of Shinran, his greater disciple, to have brought the system to its perfection.
Genkū was converted by a death-scene. It was in the time of the Civil Wars; and Genkū's father was attacked by bandits in his house, and after a brave defence, mortally wounded. The mother and her child escaped to a place of safety, and when the bandits had cleared off, returned to the house, where they found the father dying. "You must forgive your enemies, my son," said the dying man; "there is no end to vengeance and vendetta, for wrath begets wrath, and only forgiveness can heal it." The lesson sank into the boy's mind; he became a monk, and might have risen to high honour in the wealthy and purse-proud Tendai sect, had he not preferred the simplicity of his Amida faith to the noisy worldliness of Hieizan. 2 He suffered for his convictions, yet succeeded in establishing a sect known as the Jōdo, 3
which still reveres him as its founder. The memory of his father's death seems to have remained with him all his life, for the Amidaism which he taught was ars moriendi rather than ars vivendi. "At the hour of death, … good Lord deliver us" is practically the cry of the Jōdo believer, and if at that solemn hour his faith in Amida is pure and clear, and the Nembutsu rises to his lips, he believes that Amida will come to save him, 1 no matter what may have been the character of his previous life. In the meanwhile, the Jōdoist, if he is sincere and earnest, does not neglect the spiritual duties of his religion. They cannot save him (no more can any good works), but they help to create and keep alive in him that faith in Amida which is of such prime importance to him at the psychological moment. But after all, when the hour of death comes, the centurion Cornelius would be no better off than the dying thief, in Genkū's teaching.
Shinran, on the contrary, saw that the dying thief was an exception to the rule of salvation. Like his master, Genkū, he made Faith in Amida's Vow the absolute and only essential to salvation, but the Faith requisite is not of the death-bed variety. It must be the Faith of a lifetime, and where that Faith exists nothing more is necessary. 2 Penances, austerities, abstinence from flesh
or marriage, works of piety and charity—none of these things will save a man, but the man who has realized the truth of his salvation through the mercies of Amida, will, out of joy and gratefulness, do more than he would ever have done merely as a means to gaining salvation for himself. To this doctrine of salvation by Faith the Shinshu sect bas remained constantly faithful. I have often been told that Shinran was acquainted with Christian doctrines when he framed the system of Jōdo Shinshū. From what I have been able to put before my readers in the course of this history, I think we may say that the probabilities are that he was. 1
259:1 Gempei is the name given to the period of the great Civil Wars between the families of Minamoto (in Sinico-Japanese Gen) and Taira (Hei). In this chapter I mean the term to include, roughly, the period between the outbreak of the so-called Hōgen war (1156) and the establishment of the Hōjō Regents at Kamakura about 1200. But the term must be treated as very elastic.
259:2 Sugawara Michizane (845–903), the son of an obscure but talented family, exercised a very great influence over the Emperor Uda (889–897), and laboured with great diligence to break the power of the p. 260 Fujiwaras and raise the prestige of the Imperial Family. He persuaded his master to abdicate in favour of his son, Daigo (898–930), under whose reign he continued his political designs, being much aided therein by the ex-Emperor, who had abdicated on purpose to be able to work with more freedom for the attainment of his aims. The Fujiwara, however, contrived, in 901, to poison the Emperor Daigo's mind by false charges against Michizane, who was banished to Izu in spite of all the efforts made on his behalf by the ex-Emperor. He died two years later, constant in his faithfulness to the master who had treated him so ungratefully. He has since been deified, and is worshipped in various localities as Kan Shōjō, Tenjin, Temmangū, etc. He was a celebrated archer. Her Majesty the Empress has a very pretty poem which tells how he rose straight from his writing-table, took a bow, and hit a difficult mark to show that, book-worm though he was accused of being, he was still able to do manly service for his master.
261:1 Articles in the Hansei Zasshi, vol. xii., on the luxury of the Fujiwara period.
261:2 Nichiren, however, represented the almost simultaneous foundations of Kyōto and Hieizan as having been the result of a conspiracy between Dengyō and the Emperor for bringing the Buddhist Church into political dependence upon the Crown.
262:1 The list of Japanese emperors during this period shows a majority of names of sovereigns who came to the throne as infants in succession to deposed predecessors, and who were forced in their turn to abdicate as soon as they reached manhood or wanted to exert their powers.
262:2 Shirakawa reigned A.D. 1078 to 1086; Toba, 1108 to 1123. Shirakawa did not, however, die until 1129, and Toba lived until 1156. There was a time when three ex-Emperors were all alive at the same time, eating out their hearts in early retirement, whilst one of their number helped to pull the wires for their baby kinsman on the throne.
264:1 Minamoto Yoritomo, the first of the Minamoto Shōguns (11471199), organized the Kamakura Bakufu, round which he gathered the military elements of the country, away from the influence of the Court and priesthood. He is often spoken of as Kamakura dono. See next chapter.
265:1 These Sūtras are known in Sanskrit as the greater and Lesser Sukhūvati Vyūha, and the Amitāyur-dhyāni Sūtra, the two former extant both in Sanskrit and Chinese, the last in Chinese only. All three claim to be Sūtras spoken by the Buddha himself, but no trace of them can be found prior to A.D. 147, when Anshikao and his associates took one of them to China—not from India, but from Central Asia—nor is there any written evidence of a belief in Amida before the times of As’vaghosha and Nāgārjuna, say about the latter end of the first century A.D. Shortly after commencing this chapter I had an interview with a Buddhist priest, now deceased, whose conversation on this subject was extremely interesting. According to him, no Buddhist Sūtras, whether Mahāyāna or Hīnayāna, were reduced to writing for the first five centuries after Buddha's death. (There is some support for this view in Singhalese tradition, though it does not quite agree with the evidence of As’oka's inscriptions.) From the beginning of the sixth Buddhist century began the writing down of the various Sūtras, which had till then been traditional only. Oral tradition is, however, extremely liable to corruption and change, and thus there had arisen discrepancies, between North and South in general, and between different parts of the North in particular. In this way, he said, had been framed the two Vehicles; but it could not be affirmed that either of them was older than the other. The literary forms in which both Vehicles are enshrined are coeval, and both are late, as late as the p. 266 Christian era. No Christian controversialist could ask for more generous concessions than these.
It may be of interest to some of my readers to know that since the end of 1910, I have been engaged, together with some Buddhist friends in Tokyo, on a work of translation of early Buddhist documents which may lead to some interesting developments. Our present immediate objective is to work out a translation into some European language of all the Indian books translated into Chinese during the Han period, i.e. A.D. 147 and A.D. 220. When these have been translated (it will take several years to accomplish), we hope that we shall be able to give to the world a tolerably complete picture of what Buddhism was like when first introduced into China. We also hope that we may be able to throw some light on Gnosticism and the developments of Christian heresy during the second and third centuries.
But more interesting matter for translation will probably be found in the works of Japanese theologians of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries, a field as yet untouched by European research. We are learning to-day to see that Christ's work was far larger than anything that our forefathers of even a century ago ever dreamt of, and to comprehend that each nation will contribute and is contributing its quota to the Perfect Temple of the Future, and that no Spiritual Building can be expected to be final which does not make adequate allowance for the glory and honour of all nations to be brought in.
266:1 Mr. Tada Kanae, in his excellent volume of "Lectures on the Shōshinge" (pp. 54, 56), says that Amida may also be called the Creator, inasmuch as he established the Law of Cause and Effect through which the Universe came into existence. Some Buddhists, however, are not willing to grant this. They say that the law came into action automatically from the very nature of Shinnyo, and that in no case are we justified in considering Amida as a Creator. That he is the Father is freely admitted by all Shinshuists. A Japanese theologian (I think I may give Dr. Anezaki that title, though he is a Buddhist) pointed out to me a short time ago that the first draft of the Nicene Creed ran, πιστεύω εἰς ἕνα Θεὸν Πατέρα παντοκράτορα πάντων ὁρατῶν τε καὶ ἀοράτων: "I believe in one God, the Father, Almighty Ruler of all things visible and invisible," and, according to Rufinus, there was a similar omission of p. 267 an expression of belief in a Creator in the Creed of the Church of Aquileia ("Lib. post-Nicene Fathers," vol. iii. p. 541).
267:1 See "S.B.E.," vol. xlix., and my "Praises of Amida," Introd., pp. 1, 2.
267:2 E.g. Yakushi (Bhaishajyarāja).
267:3 According to the Pure Land books, there is a nine-graded Vision of Amida vouchsafed to the soul in Paradise, and the Vision itself, as it grows in intensity, has a purifying effect on the soul. I may point out that the eighty-one previous Buddhas in the Sukhāvati Vyūha are but an amplification of this ninefold Amida, which again is an amplification of a Trinity.
268:1 I learned this in conversation with a Buddhist priest. I can but repeat here what I have said elsewhere, that the Ophite Gnostics who appeared in the same localities and at the same time as the original Amida Buddhists, held identical language about Christ.
269:1 It is said that two points in the Buddhist discipline caused Shinran a great deal of anxious reflection—celibacy, and the abstinence from flesh. He claimed that Avalokites’vara had appeared to him in a vision, and had taught him that these points were not of the Essence of religion. Shinshu believers all eat meat, and the Shinshu clergy are free to marry.
269:2 Kyōzawa, a Shinshu priest, who died but a few years ago, may be said to have given Shinshuism a new impetus, in a direction almost Christian. His memory is still venerated by a group of very earnest Shinshu priests. I give a translation of the Shōshinge in my "Shinran and His Work."
270:1 Mr. Tada gives the dates of the seven as follows; (1) Nāgārjuna, about A.D. 150; (2) Vasubandhu, circ. A.D. 440; (3) Donran, circ. A.D. 356; (4) Dōshaku, A.D. 553; (5) Zendō, A.D. 614; (6) Genshin, A.D. 943; and finally Genkū (Hōnen), A.D. 1130–1213.
271:1 Genshin (942–1017), born in Yamato, of the Urabe family, became a member of the Hieizan community, being a disciple of Ryōgen, from whom he learned something about Amitābha, which he afterwards made into the principle of his life and teaching.
271:2 Ryonen Shōnin (1072–1132), founder of the so-called Yūdzūnembutsu sect, which is still in existence. He was a monk of Hieizan; was warned by a stranger, whom he took to be Amida, to flee from the "den of thieves" in which he was living, and to turn the Nembutsu into an intercessory prayer. Ichinin, issainin, issainin, ichinin, ichigyō, issaigyō; issaigyō, ichigyō, "One man for all men, all men summarized in One; one devotion for all, all devotions summed up in one."
272:1 Kūya, the Odori-nembutsu, is looked upon as the founder of the small sect of Ji, which is, however, more generally identified with the name of Ippen-Oshō (1239–1289). Ippen, like Kūya, was an itinerant preacher, and to this day the head of the Ji sect, which has its chief temple at Fujisawa on the Tokaido, is supposed to spend all his time in itineracy. Cf. the Nestorian institution of the periodeutes, or itinerant preacher.
272:2 For a sympathetic account of the "Buddhist St. Francis," as Hōnen has been called, see Prof. Anezaki's paper in the Transactions of the International Congress of the History of Religions (Oxford: 1908). When Hōnen was first sent to Hieizan, his parish priest wrote of him to the Abbot of the monastery, "I am sending you a miniature of Manjuśri."
272:3 His chosen place of retirement was Kurodani, near Kyoto.
273:1 In Jōdo circles, when a believer lies dying, a picture of Amida is hung up on the wall in some conspicuous place where the patient can easily see it. From the picture a cord is taken to the bed and fastened to the dying man's wrist, so that when the supreme agony comes he may take fast hold of Amida and not let go till he stands in safety on the other side. The practice is quite analogous to that of holding the crucifix before the eyes of the dying.
273:2 There is a well-known scene in the life of Shinran. Whilst still one of Hōnen's disciples, there was a dispute as to Salvation. Shinran maintained that Faith was necessary as well as the Invocation of the Name; the others maintained that Invocation alone sufficed. All sided against Shinran except one layman. During the discussion Hōnen entered the room, and at once declared himself on the side of Shinran.
274:1 We have seen how close was the contact between Amidaism and Christianity in the China of the Tang period, when Zendō and Olopen worked side by side in Singanfu, and again later, when Prajṇā and the Deacon Adam were collaborators in the translations of religious works. We can hardly say of Zendō and Prâjnā that they were ignorant of Christianity. Neither can we say it of the Nara Court at the time when the Nestorian physician Rimitsu came over and was honoured with official rank. Nor again can we say it of Kōbō Daishi, or of Dengyo, the Japanese founders of the Shingon and Tendai. The former was at Singanfu and was a friend of Prajnā the collaborator; the latter had been at Singanfu, where he must have seen the celebrated Singanfu monument. The greater part of his time in China he spent on Mount Tendai as a student of religion, and the Chinese Tendai had been amongst the great instigators of the persecution against Zendō and the Nestorians. Zendō's books came over to Japan more than once between 796 and 858, and Zendō's books contain some very striking Pauline echoes. And what are we to say of Kūya's answer, when questioned of the glory of the life to come, "What I shall be I know not now: I shall know hereafter"? Or of Genshin's metal mirror, "in which he could see his face darkly"? Or of Kakuhan's definition of Butsu ( ), "He is higher than the territorial prince, higher than the Emperor, higher than the Brahma, and He is a Trinity"? Or of Myōe's refusal of an offer of wealth, "I have food and raiment; I am content"? The Spirit of Christianity breathes in these men; there was spiritual affinity if even there was no physical contact. The whole of Shinran's system, his permission of clerical marriage, his hereditary episcopates, savours strongly of Nestorianism.