Yadoya (n.d.) Yadoya Mitsunori, an official of the Kamakura government through whose offices Nichiren Daishonin submitted On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land to Hōjō Tokiyori. He was often called “the lay priest Yadoya.” He served the regents Hōjō Tokiyori and Hōjō Tokimune. He is known as one of the seven persons who were permitted access to Hōjō Tokiyori when the latter was on his deathbed.
yaksha (Skt) One of the eight kinds of nonhuman beings. Originally, beings who served Kubera, the god of wealth in Indian mythology. Yakshas were incorporated into Buddhism as one of the eight kinds of nonhuman beings who work to protect Buddhism. Yakshas are regarded as followers of the heavenly king Vaishravana and are said to protect the north, though some sutras depict them as demons who torment and harm human beings.
Yama Often called King Yama. The lord of hell, who judges the dead for the deeds they did while alive and sentences them accordingly. In Vedic mythology, Yama was looked upon as the first dead human being and as the discoverer of the way to heaven, the paradisiacal abode of the dead over which he was king. Later he came to be thought of as the lord of hell and judge of the dead.
Yang Kuei-fei (719–756) A concubine of Emperor Hsüan-tsung, sixth emperor of the T’ang dynasty. Because of her beauty, intelligence, and talent at singing and dancing, she won great favor with Emperor Hsüan-tsung, who increasingly neglected affairs of government. A rebellion that broke out in 755 forced the emperor and his court to flee. The imperial troops, blaming the troubles of the empire upon the members of the Yang family, threatened to revolt if the emperor did not have Yang Kuei-fei executed. The emperor was thus forced to stand by while his favorite concubine was put to death.
Yao One of the Five Emperors, legendary sage emperors of ancient China highly respected by the people for their excellent rule. Yao abdicated his throne to Ch’ung-hua, or Emperor Shun.
Yashodharā Shakyamuni’s wife before he renounced secular life.
Yellow Springs In China and Japan, the land where the dead were thought to go.
yojana (Skt) A unit of measurement used in ancient India, equal to the distance that the royal army was thought to be able to march in a day. One yojana is considered equivalent to seven kilometers.
Yōkan (1032–1111) Also called Eikan. A precursor of the Pure Land school and superintendent of Tōdai-ji temple in Japan. He studied the doctrines of various schools such as the Three Treatises, Flower Garland, and Dharma Characteristics schools, but later took faith in the Pure Land teachings.
Yoritomo See Minamoto no Yoritomo.
Yoshiie (1039–1106) Minamoto no Yoshiie, a military leader of the late Heian period (794–1185) in Japan. When the Abe, a powerful family in northeastern Japan, turned against the imperial court, Minamoto no Yoshiie helped his father, Minamoto no Yoriyoshi, subdue the Abe family.
Yoshimori (1147–1213) Wada Yoshimori, a military leader, who helped Minamoto no Yoritomo defeat the Taira clan and found the Kamakura shogunate. Later, however, the Hōjō regents who headed the Kamakura government came to fear his influence and eventually provoked him to revolt. After Yoshimori was killed in battle against government forces, his entire family was also put to death.
Yoshinaka (1154–1184) Minamoto no Yoshinaka, a powerful commander of the Minamoto clan in Japan. He is also called Kiso Yoshinaka.
Yoshino A mountainous district in the southern part of Nara Prefecture in Japan, famous as a stronghold of the Shugendō, a religious order that combines elements of pre-Buddhist worship of mountains with those of esoteric Buddhism and engages in ascetic practices in the mountains. The Totsu River, which is referred to in Nichiren Daishonin’s writings, flows through the Yoshino district.
Yoshitoki (1163–1224) Hōjō Yoshitoki, the second regent of the Kamakura government. He is also called Ema Koshirō. In 1221, the Retired Emperor Gotoba issued a command to attack Yoshitoki, who instead defeated the imperial army. Known as the Jōkyū Disturbance, this battle solidified the rule of the Kamakura government as well as the regency. In Nichiren Daishonin’s writings, Hōjō Yoshitoki is often referred to by the title Acting Administrator. Hōjō Shigetoki, who is often referred to as the lay priest of Gokuraku-ji, was a son of Hōjō Yoshitoki. Ema Mitsutoki, also known as Hōjō Mitsutoki, who was the lord of Shijō Kingo, was a grandson of Hōjō Yoshitoki.
Yoshitomo (1123–1160) Minamoto no Yoshitomo, a military leader and the father of Minamoto no Yoritomo, the founder of the Kamakura shogunate. At the time of the Hogen Disturbance, a conflict arising from rivalries within the imperial family, he fought victoriously on the side of the reigning emperor Goshirakawa, while his father Tameyoshi backed the Retired Emperor Sutoku, who was defeated. Tameyoshi received a death sentence, which was carried out soon afterward by Yoshitomo.
Yüan-cheng (n.d.) A priest of the True Word school in T’ang China.
Yü Jang (n.d.) A native of the state of Chin in the fifth century b.c.e. Yü Jang first served the Fan and Chung-hang families but was not given an important position. He then became a retainer of Chih Po, who treated him with great favor. However, Chih Po was later destroyed by Hsiang-tzu. Intent on avenging his lord, Yü Jang disguised himself as a leper by lacquering his body and made himself mute by drinking lye. In this way he attempted to approach Hsiang-tzu. However, he failed in his assassination attempt and was captured. Hsiang-tzu, understanding his feeling of loyalty, gave his robe to Yü Jang, who stabbed it three times to show his enmity for the man who had killed his lord, and then turned his sword upon himself.