Part 2 (of 3) of my posts regarding the “Tenchi”, the sacred book of the hidden Christians of Japan, aka, the Kakure Kirishitan.
Book 5, The Tribulations of Santa Maruya, is quite long and begins with Maruya (Mary) arriving home to her parents and they find her pregnant. Being unmarried and pregnant, they are angry at her and cast her from the house. She leaves and stays at various homes of strangers until she wanders into Beren (Bethlehem) and gives birth to “The Holy One (Jesus).” An interesting part involving that cold night goes as follows:
On account of the intense cold in the stable, the Holy One's body was in danger of freezing. But the cows and horses that surrounded the mother and child breathed their warm breath on the newborn. Thanks to them the holy body was warmed and endured the winter cold. In a manger in that stable the new born also took his first bath. Because of the great compassion that the horses and cattle showed, we are not allowed to eat meat or poultry on Wednesdays.
This saying shares a little bit with the apocrypha text “the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew.” The next morning, the stable owners find Maruya and child in the stable and takes them in. This next part of the text is interesting because this will come back into play later on in the tenchi.
After three days had passed, Maruya requested a bath. When the bath was over she said to the lady of the house, "Please, let your son bathe in the same water." But the woman answered, "I am grateful for your thoughtfulness, but my son is diseased and his life is hanging by a thread. Excuse my rudeness if I refuse." But Maruya encouraged her, saying, "Please, let him get in." So the boy's mother put her sickly son in the bath and his disease vanished and he was cured instantly. The power of that water had restored his very life.
Another part of this book involves the three kings visit to the child. Interestingly enough, the book names the kings as: Menteo the King of Turkey, Gasuparu the King of Mexico and Bautozaru the king of France. After the kings leave, the king of Beren sends his two retainers Ponsha and Piroto to search and kill this child. Ponsha and Piroto is Pontius Pilate but split into two people. Maruya and the child escape this pursuit, which involves the “grain miracle” that pops up in medieval apocrypha. Following this incident, the Holy One receives his baptism in a river by San Jiwan, who was born just seven months prior. The text does not suggest San Jiwan is John the Baptist. At the fortieth day following the Holy One’s birth, he is summoned to heaven by Deusu and has a face-to-face chat and is giving a rank and crown. The fiftieth day involves the Holy One entering a sanctuary where he is taught by Sagaramento (who is from the heavenly realm) for seven days and nights. The fortieth and fiftieth days are special days that are celebrated among the KK.
Book 6 is rather short and titled The Five Mysteries of the Morning. This text really goes in on the combining of Christian and Buddhist mythologies. There is a re-telling of a pre-teen Jesus missing for three days and nights but rather in a temple, he was studying Buddhist scriptures with a teacher by the name of Gakujuran. During one of the lessons, Gakujuran speaks about what happens after death and the Holy One starts asking questions. This leads to Gakujuran stating that he (The Holy One) speaks quite a bit and would like him to explain his reasoning. Below is what the Holy One said:
The Holy One thus gave his sermon: "From the depth of the earth to the height of heaven measures more than 80,000 jo (jo = ~3 yards). As for the one you worship as Buddha, he is called Deusu, Lord of Heaven. He is the Buddha who introduced the salvation to help humankind in the world yet to come. This Buddha made heaven and earth, the sun and the moon, the heaven called Paraiso, the human creation, and everything else that exists. Indeed, there is nothing that this Buddha cannot make. What's more, at the time he made man he blew in his own breath and created humankind. But later people sighed so much that these sighs became an evil wind and these winds gathered together on the island into a typhoon that wrought destruction. Trees and plants were blown down and the human seed was near to extinction. But from heaven Buddha stopped it, althought its destruction had already covered an expanse of 75 ri (ri = 2.44 miles)."
From this sermon, the students at the sanctuary decided to follow the Holy One instead of Gakujuran, and thus we have the twelve disciples. Gakujuran would eventually turn to the disciple role and follow the Holy One to Roma (Rome).
A Nationwide Search is the seventh book and starts with King Yorotetsu of Beren commanding an infanticide of all children from newborns up to seven years of age. The number killed reached a total of 44,444. Once the Holy One received this news, he withdrew into the forest of Zeze-Maruya and there he received an oracle from Deusu that states:
Thousands of infants lost their lives on your account. I fear they may now forfeit the pleasure of Paraiso. For their sake in the next world, you must be tortured and trodden upon, suffer and give up your body.
Thus the reasoning for the Holy One’s eventual crucifixion. The story introduces Judatsu (Judas) who is suddenly possessed by an evil idea of turning in the Holy One for a reward. The way the Holy One announces who will betray him is quite…interesting:
"The person who eats his rice with soup every morning is the one who will betray me."
After Judatsu informs the King of the Holy One’s whereabouts, he is transformed by having his nose grow huge and his tongue long. He returns to the disciples and they scold him, even stating he is a “treacherous bastard.” This leads to Judatsu’s suicide by hanging.
Book 8, titled Yorotetsu Captures the Holy One, has the king sending Ponsha and Piroto, along with an army, to Rome to apprehend the Holy One. After the army surrounded the temple where the Holy One was at, the Holy One asked of Judatsu and was informed of his betrayal. He said:
As it was preordained that I suffer and give up my life tortured, how I regret Judatsu's end. Even though he betrayed me, I would have helped him if he had not killed himself first."
The army captures the Holy One with a rope around his neck and bounded his arms behind his back. They dragged him back to Beren. Once in front of the King, the Holy One was beaten by a bamboo stick that broke his bones. Bitter and spicy things were rammed down his throat and then a metal crown placed on his head that caused blood to run down his face. King Yorotetsu ordered the crucifixion of the Holy One upon Karuwaryu Hill.
Part 2 ends here. I really like the inclusion of some apocrypha mythology as well as Buddhist ideas. Fascinating stuff!