Glossary (Phrase list) >> Nichiren

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Nichiren 日蓮

 

 When reading the introduction of Kamakura temples, we often see the name of Nichiren日蓮.  More than a few roads, water wells and bridges also have some episodes related to Nichiren.

 

Exhibit at

Kamakura Museum of History and Culture

 

  Nichiren is a Buddhist priest who opened Nichiren sect in the 13th century.  He preached Hokke-kyo (法華経, Lotus Sutra) as the only-one teaching by walking around Kamakura, then submitted his writing named Risho-Ankoku-Ron 立正安国論 to the Hojos of the Kamakura Shogunate.

 

  However, his theory was not accepted because it was a radical criticism of the other Buddhist sects and the government.  His cottages were soon attacked by thousands of people and burned down.

 He escaped to a cave in the backyard and survived the rush.  That cave can be seen in Ankokuronji Temple, Omachi even now.

 

  Nichiren continued to propaganda after he had gained a narrow escape, but was caught by the Shogunate next time.

  Although Nichiren was sentenced to death and taken to the execution place that was near the current Enoshima, it was canceled just before the execution.  He was sent away to the far place instead of the death penalty.

 

  There are some lore about the cancelation of the execution;

1) An intense light fell from the direction of Enoshima and the sword in the executioner's hand was broken.

2) A nun gave some rice cakes to Nichiren on the way he was taken to the execution site and it called that miracle.  Her house was remodeled later as Joeiji Temple called the Rice Cake Temple.

 

  Even though Nichiren faced the crisis of losing his life and experienced banishment many times in this way, he did not stop his missionary works until he ended his 60-year life. 

  His disciples also suffered persecution such as torture and confinement.  There are some temples also related to them, such as Myoryuji and Kosokuji etc.

 

= Nichiren related temples =

Ankokuronji 安国論寺

Myohoji 妙法寺

Myohonji 妙本寺

Joeiji 常栄寺

Choshoji 長勝寺

 

 

 

 

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