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Template:Sketch Template:Infobox religious biography Nichiren (日蓮; born as Zennichimaro (善日麿), Dharma name: Rencho - 16 February 1222[1][2] – 13 October 1282) was a Japanese Buddhist priest who lived during the Kamakura period (1185–1333) and developed the teachings that are now considered Nichiren Buddhism.[3][4][5]

Nichiren was highly controversial in his day [6]Template:Rp[7]Template:Rp and was known for preaching that the Lotus Sutra alone contains the highest truth of Buddhist teachings and represents the effective teaching for the Third Age of Buddhism. He declared that social and political peace are dependent on the quality of the belief system that is upheld in a nation. He advocated the repeated recitation of the Sutra's title, Nam(u)-myoho-renge-kyo. In addition, he held that the historical Shakyamuni Buddha was the manifestation of a Buddha-nature that is equally accessible to all. He insisted that those who claim to be believers of the Sutra must propagate it even in the face of persecution.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14]

Nichiren was a prolific writer and his biography, temperament, and the evolution of his thinking has been primarily gleaned from his own writings.[15]Template:Rp[16]Template:Rp He launched his teachings in 1253, advocating an exclusive return to the Lotus Sutra as based on its original Tendai interpretations. His 1260 treatise Risshō Ankoku Ron (Template:Nihongo) (On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land) argued that a nation that embraces the Lotus Sutra will experience peace and prosperity whereas rulers who support inferior religious teachings invite disorder and disaster into their realms.[6]Template:Rp[17] In a 1264 essay he stated that the title of the Lotus Sutra, "Nam(u)-myoho-renge-kyo," encompasses all Buddhist teachings and its recitation leads to enlightenment.[8]Template:Rp As a result of his adamant stance he experienced severe persecution imposed by the Kamakura Shogunate and consequently began to see himself as "bodily reading the Lotus Sutra (Jpn. Hokke shikidoku)."[16]Template:Rp[18]Template:Rp In some of his writings during a second exile (1271-1274) he began to identify himself with the key Lotus Sutra characters Sadāparibhūta and Visistacaritra[6]Template:Rp and saw himself in the role of leading a vast outpouring of Bodhisattvas of the Earth.[19]

In 1274, after his two predictions of foreign invasion and political strife were seemingly actualized by the first attempted Mongol invasion of Japan along with an unsuccessful coup within the Hōjō clan, Nichiren was pardoned by the Shogunate authorities and his advice was sought but not heeded.[20]Template:Rp The Risshō Ankoku Ron in which he first predicted foreign invasion and civil disorder is now considered by Japanese historians to be a literary classic illustrating the apprehensions of that period. In 1358 he was bestowed the title Nichiren Dai-Bosatsu (Template:Nihongo) (Great Bodhisattva Nichiren) by Emperor Go-Kōgon[21] and in 1922 the title Risshō Daishi (Template:Nihongo) (Great Teacher of Rectification) was conferred posthumously by imperial edict.[22]

Nichiren remains a controversial figure among scholars who cast him as either a fervent nationalist or a social reformer with a transnational religious vision.[23] Critical scholars have used words such as intolerant, nationalistic, militaristic, and self-righteous to portray him.[24] On the other hand, Nichiren has been presented as a revolutionary,[25] a classic reformer,[26]Template:Rp and as a prophet.[26][27]Template:Rp[28] Nichiren is often compared to other religious figures who shared similar rebellious and revolutionary drives to reform degeneration in their respective societies or schools.[29][30][31][32]


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  9. Jack Arden Christensen, Nichiren: Leader of Buddhist Reformation in Japan, Jain Pub, page 48, Template:ISBN
  10. Jacqueline Stone, "The Final Word: An Interview with Jacqueline Stone", Tricycle, Spring 2006
  11. Stone, Jaqueline (2003). Nichiren, in: Buswell, Robert E. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Buddhism vol. II, New York: Macmillan Reference Lib. Template:ISBN, p. 594
  12. Shuxian Liu,Robert Elliott Allinson, Harmony and Strife: Contemporary Perspectives, East & West, The Chinese University Press, Template:ISBN
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  16. 16.0 16.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Stone1999a
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