(Life and Times)
General Conditions after the Death of St. Nichiren
General Conditions after the Death of Nichiren:
Translated by H.G. Lamont
Nichiren Shonin passed away on the morning of October 13th at about 8 AM (in 1282, called the fifth year of Koan in Japanese terminology ) at the residence of lkegami Munenaka at lkegami, in the province of Musashi (Tokyo). At that time, he was 61 calendar years old.
On October 8th, just before his death, the Shonin chose the leading six disciples who would take his place. They were thereafter known as the Six Senior Disciples (Rokuroso in Japanese). His intention was to continue the propagation of his teachings by his faithful followers, with these six senior disciples as their leaders, after his death. These six chief disciples, according to tradition, were:
1.) BenAjari (Yamato-ajari) Nissho
(62 years old at the time of Nichiren's death)
2.) Daikoku-ajari (Chikugo-ko) Nichiro
(40 years old at the time of Nichiren's death)
3.) Byakuren-ajari (Hoki-ko) Nikko
(37 years old at the time of Nichiren's death)
4.) Sado-ko (Mimbu-ajari) Niko
(30 years old at the time of Nichiren's death)
5.) lyo-ko (lyo-ajari) Nitcho
(31 years old at the time of Nichiren's death)
6.) Renge-ajari (Kai-ko) Nichi-ji
(33 years old at the time of Nichiren's death)
This list is traditionally compiled in the order of when each disciple
a follower of Nichiren.
Nichiren's funeral was held at noon on the 14th of October, according to the "Shuso Gosenge Kiroku" written by Nikko. In this record, the official seals of four of the six senior disciples, namely Nissho, Nichiro, Nikko and Nichi-ji, are affixed on the separations of the pages. These seals give the document a quasilegalstatus.
At the head of the funeral procession was a torch bearer, followed by bearers of flowers, flags and incense. Nichiren's coffin was the center of the procession. Nichiro led the front procession and Nissho led the rear procession in their capacity of the principal leaders, followed by other disciples and lay believers. Based on the record of Nikko, the order of the procession was written as follows:
Left Renge-ja (Nichi-ju)
Front Procession Daikoku-ajari (Nichiro)
Left Byakuren-ajari (Nikko)
Rear procession Ben-ajari (Nissho)
For some reason, Niko and Nitcho were not present at Nichiren Shonin's death or funeral. The probable reason for their absence was the difficulty, in those days, to easily and quickly communicate with outlying areas. Niko and Nitcho were propagating in far away districts hence they could not be notified in time of Nichiren's death and funeral. Nikko wrote about Nichiren's distribution of mementos to his disciples. They are quoted from Nikko's record as follows:
Distribution of the mementos:
The Lotus Sutra, (with notes in Nichiren's own hand), one set to Ben-ajari
(Nissho) (This annotated Lotus Sutra is called the "Chu Hokekyo").
Object of Worship, one figure, a statue of Shakyamuni, to Daikoku-ajari
One horse and one cloak to Sado-ko (Niko)
One horse, including saddle, a pair of tabi (socks), a hat and a cloak to Byakurenajari (Nikko)
A waist sash (obi), money in the amount of three yen to lyo-ajari (Nitcho)
One horse, one cloak, one staff to Renge-ajari (Nichi-ji)
(Gifts to the remaining recipients are omitted here for sake of brevity.)
The Shonin's mementos were given to the Six Senior Disciples and other believers, numbering about 35 people in all. According to the "Ganso kedo-ki" of Nitcho, Nichiren Shonin said before his death, "After I die, put my body in a cauldron and send it to Minobu." However, Nichiro answered him, "If we could make it to Minobu in a day or half a day, we could do as you say. But it's very far to Minobu. Please let us cremate you. We'll place your remains in Minobu without fail." To this, the Shonin replied, "You're absolutely right. Then, make it so, Nichiro." Thus, Nichiren Shonin was cremated at Ikegami on the 21st of October. His ashes, guarded and transported by his disciples, left lkegami and arrived at Minobu on the 25th of October.
According to the Shonin's last wishes, the disciples were to serve at Kuonji
Temple on Mt. Minobu in a monthly rotation system. They decided
to take turns in the following way: January (Nissho), February (Nichiro),
March (Echizen-ko and Awaji-ko), etc. But, when they tried to stick
to this schedule, the monthly rotation system didn't work well due to harsh
seasonal weather and the great distances that most disciples had to travel.
Their centers of propagation were located far from Mt. Minobu. In
the winters the snow at Minobu was so deep that Nichiren wrote on one occasion
that "for one or two hundred meters, the depth of the snow is
from about three to six or seven meters." And another time Nichiren
"This is a Place where snow is so deep that nobody visits." In the summer there was a heavy rainy season. Once again, Nichiren wrote: "The long and heavy rains cause manylandslides from the mountains into the valleys. Heavy stones would roll down the mountains and block the road." Both in summer and winter the roads would become damaged, the bridges would be swept away by floods and the way would become impassable, bringing the comings and going of people and goods to a halt.
In addition to this, Nissho and Nichiro had their bases of propagation in Kamakura, specifically the sections of town called Hamado and Matsubagaya-tsu. Niko and Nitcho carried out their propagation in Mobara and Nakayama respectively. Nikko and Nichiji had their base of operations in the Fuji and Suruga districts. Even if they climbedMt. Minobu to fulfill their duties of rotation, their individual time of service wasvery short-term. It seems that the system didn't last for more than half a year or so. Nikko had his base of propagation closest to Minobu. Since he had been responsible for converting Hakii Sanenaga, the jito of Minobu, during Nichiren's lifetime, it was natural that Nikko began to spend more and more time at Minobu to conduct the temple affairs.
In a letter from Nikko to Misaku-bo, dated October 18th, of the seventh year of Koan (1284), the former lamented, "Though this year is the third anniversary of the Shonin's death .... worst of all, the Shonin's grave by the creek of Minobu has become so badly dilapidated. If it were not for the footprints of deer and other animals, I could not even distinguish where it is." In just three short years after the Shonin's death, the conditions had deteriorated that much.
Because of these various conditions, the rotation system at Minobu had many problems. On the seventh anniversary of the Shonin's death, the jito, Hakii Sanenaga, proposed the following plan to the Six Senior Disciples:
"Though this is the will of the Daishonin, the rotation system is not working well. How about appointing a full-time temple priest...
Five of the six major disciples agreed with the jito but Nikko firmly opposed the idea because the rotation system had been the Shonin's dying wish.
Nevertheless, Nikko's opinion was rejected and Sado-bo Niko was chosen as the head priest of Minobu. Soon afterwards, Nikko departed from Mt. Minobu with his disciples. Relying on the support of Nanjo Tokumitsu in the Fuji area Nikko built Taisekiji temple in Ueno village. Shortly afterward, in an authentic letter to Lord Hara, Nikko wrote:
"I can hardly tell you how ashamed I was and how sorry I was for leaving Minobu creek [where Nichiren's tomb is located]. However, on further consideration of the matter, it's not important where I am ; it is important to accede to the teachings of Nichiren Shonin and to spread it all over the world. All of the [other] disciples are against the Master. They disobeyed the teacher [i.e. Nichiren Shonin]. I believe that only I, Nikko, am the one who protects the Shonin's doctrine and practices according to His original intention..."
Nikko's sorrow and regret at leaving Minobu moves our hearts when we read it, even now, after seven hundred years. In addition, it is honorable that he tried to keep the doctrine of Nichiren Shonin pure, no matter where he was. We should emulate his example.
Concerning these general conditions after Nichiren Shonin's death, I am relying on generally accepted historical information. However, the Komon Branch (Nikko School), and especially the Taisekiji faction, has its own very different viewpoints. Taisekiji claims that:
1.) On October 12th of the second year of Koan (1279), Nikko was given a special gohonzon (supposedly inscribed for "all the people of the world"--" [ichienbudai or all of "Jambudvipa"]) from Nichiren Daishonin. (This is widely known as the "Ita Honzon" or Plank Mandala, inscribed on a large piece of camphor wood. This "Ita Honzon" is actually a forged mandala made some hundred and fifty years after Nichiren's death).
2) Nikko was given the "Transmission Documents" [or "Transfer Documents"] from Nichiren Daishonin; the first document is supposedly dated September 12th in the fifth year of Koan (1282) at Minobu and the second document is dated October 13th , the day of the Shonin's death, at lkegami. They pride themselves on the possession of these so-called "Nika Sojo" [Two Transmissions]. Like the "Ita Honzon", these documents are also forgeries. These documents disgrace the virtue and integrity of Nikko.
Here are the reasons why these two "Transmission Documents" are consideredforgeries:
1) If Nikko was singled out by the Daishonin with so great an honor as these "Two Transmission" documents would impart, then Nikko should have been designated as the principal leader of the procession at the Shonin's funeral. But the fact is that, according to Nikko's own written testimony, the principal leader of the front procession was Nichiro; and Nissho was the principal leader of the rear procession.
2.) If the Two Transmission Documents are true, then would it not have been meaningless for Nichiren Shonin to designate the Six Senior Disciples as leaders after his death; in the designated order of senior disciples in the funeral cortege? Nikko should have been the most honored among the six. Though the Six Senior Disciples were not listed in any particular order, they were actually ranked according to the time when they became disciples of Nichiren.
3) The Two Transmission Documents say, "If the Lord [i.e. Emperor] of the country supports this teaching, build the Kaidan [Ordination Plafform] of Hommonji at Mt. Fuji." But according to the authentic record of Nikko, entitled "Fuji Itseki Mon to Zonchi-no-koto", Nikko writes, "The Master [i.e. Nichiren] who preceded me had not decided on any country or any particular place. It is customary, at least in Buddhism, to choose the most scenic spot and build a temple there. Then, Mt.Fuji in Sugaru (Shizuoka Prefecture) is the supreme mountain in Japan. We should build our temple there." As we can see, the Master, Nichiren, had not decided where to build the Kaidan of Hommonji. This indicates that the Two Transmission Documents are obviously forgeries.
4) If Nikko had the Two Transmission Documents in his possession when he left Mt. Minobu then he would have been delighted to go to Fuji because it would be fulfilling the designated mission of building the Kaidan of Hommonji at Fuji. But, in fact, as stated above in the authentic letter to Lord Hara, Nikko was disheartened to leave Minobu. For these reasons, the Two Transmission Documents are absolute forgeries. Even in the other temples of the Komon [Nikko] Branch apart from Taisekiji, thoughtful scholars deny the validity of the Two Transmission Documents. These documents are considered forgeries by everyone outside of the Taisekiji faction.
Then we should consider the significance of the distribution of Nichiren's mementos. As stated in a previous section, Nissho was given the Chu Hokekyo [Nichiren's Annotated Lotus Sutra]; Nichiro was given Nichiren's own object of worship, a statue of Shakyamuni. In contrast, Nikko was only given one horse with a saddle, a pair of socks, a hat, a cloak, etc. We can sense that Nikko was displeased with this distribution of mementos by merely reading his letter to Lord Hara wherein he wrote:
"...instead of the statue of Buddha which Daikoku Ajari (Nichiro)
has deprived me of .... " [Hara dono gohenji] Nikko would hardly
have chosen the word "deprive" in referring to the division of
mementos if he had been satisfied and happy with the distribution. Certainly
if Nikko had the Two Transmission Documents in hispossession he would not
have grumbled about his allotment of mementos.
In the letter to Lord Hara [Hara dono gohenji] Nikko writes:
"The teaching of Nichiren is the one that states that if you
have abandoned ShakyamuniBuddha who is the Original Lord and Master of
the sentient beings
of the Triple World [Saha] and if you rely instead on Amida Buddha and give sole respect to Amida Buddha, then you will become a person who is guilty of the five deadly sins; you will fall into a hell of interminable suffering, [Avichi Hell] isn't that true?"
Thus, it is clear that Nikko worshipped Shakyamuni Buddha as the
Original Master; he states that Nichiren also regarded Shakyamuni Buddha
as the Original Master. Further on in the letter, Nikko also shows deference
to Shakyamuni Buddha, calling
"The original intention of the appearance of Nichiren Shonin in this world, the Master Shakyamuni Buddha of Namu-myo-ho-renge-kyo."
This is in sharp contradiction to the Taisekiji claim that Nichiren is the Original Buddha.
At present, the "Fuji-ha" [Taisekiji faction, otherwise known as "Nichiren Shoshu"] of the Komon Branch [Nikko School] asserts that Shakyamuni is merely the "Liberation Buddha" while Nichiren is the "Original [or True] Buddha". They claim that:
"Shakyamuni is like the cast-off shell of a cicada [Japanese beetle], while Nichiren is indeed the Original Buddha." The original cause for their claim lies in Nikko's disgruntled resentment over the distribution of mementos of Nichiren. The statue of Shakyamuni Buddha which Nichiren had cherished throughout his life had been given to Nichiro and his subsequent lineage. Nikko expressed such resentment over being "deprived" of this treasure that his future disciples at Taisekiji vindicated his sense of loss by tossing out the Eternal Shakyamuni Buddha altogether.
We should note that, after the death of Nichiren Daishonin, each "lineage" of the Six Senior Disciples lines propagated the teaching at the risk of their lives in various locations. A second or third echelon of the six schools often developed very quickly. However, as propagation progressed to later generations of disciples, each lineage fell into their own dogma. Claiming that they alone possessed the special teachings and the treasures of Nichiren Shonin, they each professed to be the only orthodox branch. Gradually each school started to advocate different viewpoints. Each school fell into disputes with one another. In response to this, one hundred years after the demise of Nichiren Daishonin, Nichi-ju Shonin rose to action with the rallying cry,
"Let's go back to Nichiren Daishonin"
The Life of Nichi-juu Shonin
The founder of the modern day [Jumonryu] Kempon Hokke Sect, Nichi-ju Shonin (from now on, I'll call him "the Master") was born on April 28th of the third year of Seiwa (1314), in the thirty-third year after the death of Nichiren Shonin. He was born at Kurokawa (Aizu-Wakamatsu), in the province of Aizu [Fukushima Prefecture], Oshu (north eastern region of Honshu). His childhood name was Tamachiyo-maru. His father was lshido Masatomo and his mother was Kiyotamahime, the daughter of the Lord of Aizu Castle, Ashina Shiro Mori-mune.
At the age of fifteen, he lost both of his parents. Sensing the impermanence
of life, he aspired to become a priest. At the age of 19, he
became a disciple of Jihen-sojo of Jochi-in Yokokawa at Mt. Hiei, and he
changed his name to Gemmyo. At the age of 38 (in the second year
of Kan'o) he was officially recognized as the most learned among all of
his fellow monks of Mt. Hiei. Later, at the age of 58 he returned
to his hometown of Aizu with the intention of retiring. At Aizu he
was welcomed by the lord of the Castle, Lord Ashina and he became the priest
of the Ashina family's prayer temple, Tokoji, at Mt. Haguro.
Many young students who admired his learning and virtue gathered from all
around, and he became famous as "Noke [Lecturer or Teacher]
Gemmyo of the Tendai Sect, the undisputed Grand Master of all Japan"
["Nichiju Shonin goyurai nokoto"].
Then one day a disciple of his decided to return to his hometown; he came to see Gemmyo and said, "Please open this bookcase if I don't return after three months." Although three months, and then half a year passed, the disciple didn't return. So, the Master [Gemmyo] opened the bookcase. In the bookcase were books written by Nichiren, entitled "Kaimoku Sho" [Essay on Opening the Eyes] and "Nyosetsu Shugyo Sho" [True Way of Practicing the Teaching of the Buddha]. Gemmyo read them; every word and each phrase touched his heart deeply. What joy and delight he felt! The wonderful impressions and the holy ecstasy which enveloped him from reading these works convinced him that this was the teaching that he had been searching for, all of these years. For the period of Mappo [Latter day of the Law], the Tendai doctrines were too difficult for most believers to grasp or practice. In this age of Mappo, Gemmyo realized that the teaching of Nichiren is indeed the one teaching which makes the correct use of the spirit of T'ien- t'ai and Dengyo; it should be considered the "Great Good Law". This realization of deep spiritual conviction brought tears to Nichiju's eyes.
In a conversation with Jihen, a fellow priest, he said:
"According to the Sutra, now is the time for the Bodhisattva Jogyo of the teaching of the Original Buddha to appear in this world."
Gemmyo was convinced that Nichiren Shonin himself was Bodhisattva jogyo.
"I will immediately convert to the Nichiren Hokke Sect," he declared with determination and he changed his name to Nichi-ju. Immediately he went to Jitsujoji Temple, a branch temple of Taisekiji, and asked about the teachings of Nichiren Shonin. The priests at Jitsujoji couldn't answer Nichi-ju's questions and they directed him to Guhoji Temple at Mama in Shimosa (Chiba Prefecture) where many of the Shonin's writings were kept.
In the meantime, a large number of Tendai monks of Tokoji Temple were afraid that if the news got out that the famous Gemmyo had converted, it would bring dishonor to the Tendai Sect; Mt. Haguro's fortunes would certainly decline. Rather than let that happen, they tried to kill Nichi-ju, planning to announce that he had suddenly died of old age. One of the monks, named Jennyo-bo, secretly told the Master of the plot.
"Just by planning to convert, such demonic obstacles have occurred. Now I can understand the difficulties which the Daishonin endured," the Master thought.
He felt that it was important to protect himself so that he could further propagate the Great Law, and so he crossed the mountain under cover of darkness, accompanied by Jennyo-bo. They hid out in the house of Hijiya Matjiro, a faithful believer of the Master.
The Master and Jennyo-bo left for Shimosa where many of the Shonin's writings were housed. When they reached the post station town in Tochigi, five of his closest and most devoted disciples caught up with them. Jennyo-bo Nichinin [as he was now called] and these five other disciples are collectively called the "Six Elders of Aizu". The five other disciples are named Nichiboku, Nichikin, Nichigi, Nichizen and Nichimyo. The Master and his six disciples arrived at Guhoji Temple at Mama and met the chief priest, Nisso. The Master said to him:
"My name is Nichi-ju and once I used to be Gemmyo of Tokoji Temple in Aizu. I read the writings of the Daishonin and I converted to the Daishonin's teachings.. Pleaselet me study the Daishonin's writings."
The chief priest could hardly believe that the famous priest Gemmyo had converted. To demonstrate his resolve the Master wrote a statement of resignation from the Tendai Sect and a declaration of faith in the Nichiren Hokke Sect; thus he was finally allowed to study the Daishonin's teachings.
Nisso said, "I've become old. I want you to teach the doctrines of the Tendai Sect and the doctrines of our own sect to my disciple Nichiman in my place." The Master taught the doctrines of the Tendai Sect and the Nichiren Sect as Nisso had asked for about three years. People called him "Mama Noke" [ lecturer of Mama ]. The Master also went to Nakayama to study the writings of Nichiren. He was already 67 years old in the second year of Koryaku  when he had first read Nichiren Shonin's writings and converted. (Nittai-ki says that it was at the age of 66.)
In February of the first year of Eitoku , at the age of 68, the Master carried out "shakubuku" propagation in Chiba Village. The Master made a great vow, saying that he would go to Kyoto to present a petition to the Imperial court and remonstrate with the warrior [samurai] class in order to fulfill the Daishonin's dying wish. Early in April he left Shimosa and arrived in Kyoto on the 27th of the same month. While in Kyoto he stayed at the house of Tennoji Tsumyo. On June 23rd, through the formal introduction of Takatsuka Chujyo dono, he was presented before Nijo Kanpaku [imperial Regent] Yoshimoto-ko at lzumidono. The Imperial Regent ["Kanpaku"] asked him:
"From which part of the country and from which sect do you hail? What are you going to tell us?
Offering the "Rissho Ankoku Ron" and a report, the Master said, "I am a priest of Mama Guhoji Temple in Shimosa. I have something to say about spreading the teaching of the Hokke Sect. The details of my proposal are presented in this report." The Kanpaku [imperial Regent] read the two writings and then asked various questions of the Master.
"My, what a strong petitions he exclaimed; he repeated this exclamation three times, in commemoration of the famous lament of Shirakawa-in who had said, "There are three things which we can not control: the water of the Kamo River, the roll of the dice, and the Yamahishi (the mountain monks of Mt. Hieizan)." Now, Nichi-ju was suggesting that the monks of Mt. Hieizan be defeated through debate. The shock of such a petition was beyond imagination. This was the so-called "First Petition to the Imperial Court."
On the next day, the 29th of April, the Master appealed to the Shogunal Deputy, urging the warrior [samurai] class to put their faith in the Hokke Sect. Then, on the 6th of July, he was given a document that granted him the title of "nu-no-sozu". To this the Master replied:
"Unless the Lord [Emperor] converts to our Sect, I can't accept an official rank." Takatsukasa Chujyo said:
"If you plan to submit petitions in the future, it won't be easy to meet the Kanpaku without an official rank. Why would you refuse the rank?" Hearing the logic in this, the Master reconsidered and finally accepted the official rank for the sake of future propagation.
On the 7th of July, he left Kyoto and on the 19th of the same month he climbed Mt. Minobu to meet the head priest of the temple. Then, on the 20th, he left Minobu and propagated at Matsuno. Later, on this spot, Myoshoji Temple was built. On the 27th, he returned to Guhoji Temple in Mama.
At the age of 69, the Master met Ashikaga Ujimitsu, a shogunal deputy of the Kamakura Shogunate; he urged him to take faith in the doctrine of the Nichiren Sect. In 1382, the Master founded Honkoji Temple at Umorebashi in Kamakura. Then he went back to Kyoto, met the Kanpaku Nijo Yoshimoto again and urged him to take faith in the Lotus Sutra. This was the so-called "Second Petition to the Imperial Court."
By now the Master had turned 70 years old. He journeyed for a third time to Kyoto  and, with the help of Tennoji Tsumyo, he erected a small hermitage on the west side of Rokujobomon in Muromachi [in Kyoto]. This hermitage was later enlarged and made into Myomanji Temple, which is today the head temple of the [Jumonryu sect] Kenpon Hokke Sect. Again he met with the Kanpaku Yoshimoto and urged him to take faith in the Lotus Sutra. This time the Kanpaku, holding a gohonzon written by Nichiren Shonin himself, chanted the daimoku and declared:
"I hereby become a member of the Hokke [Lotus Sutra] faith." The Master immediately said:
"As you have now converted to the Hokke Sect, you must bring righteousness to the whole country, eliminate many heretical sects, and make the whole land take faith exclusively in the Lotus Sutra."
To this, the Kanpaku Yoshimoto answered:
"I'm just a straw man figure for the whole country [i.e. a puppet head of state]. In recent years Muromachi dono [Ashikaga Shogunate- the military rulers who seized power from the Hojo clan in 1333] have dominated the country. Please present your petitions to them."
Hearing this, Master Nichi-ju replied:
"Because the Lord and ministers of government didn't believe in the Lotus Sutra which is the king of Sutras; this country has become one of the "gekoku-jo" [a country where those who are below, overcome those who are above, i.e. the ruler is dominated by a lower rank] and the political power has slipped to the warrior class. Please put your faith in the Hokke Sect as Nichiren teaches it, and then correct the situation as soon as possible."
Kanpaku Yoshimoto's response was:
"If I could move this world as I please, then I would do as you say. But we are in a period of "ge-koku-jo" and I can't do anything."
Upon hearing these words of the Kanpaku, the Master left in sorrow. This was the so-called "Third Petition to the Imperial Court."
In all, Nichi-ju made three trips to Kyoto in four years, all for the purpose of admonishing the authorities and urging the Emperor to convert to the teachings of the Lotus Sutra as taught by Nichiren.
At the age of 71, in the first year of Shitoku , Nichi-ju appealed to the Commissioner Matsuda Tanbanokami to take faith in the doctrine of the Nichiren sect. He also appealed to the shogunate deputy, Hosokawa Musashinokami. This was all done in the spirit of attempting to convert the military leaders to the correct faith in the Lotus Sutra so that peace could be established in the country.
At age 72, Nichi-ju journeyed to Totomi (Shizuoka Prefecture) to present a petition to the provincial constable, lmagawa Echigonokami. Thereafter, he established Gemmyoji Temple in Mitsuke (now lwata City) and inscribed the Gohonzon for the temple. In Shinagawa [Kamakura] he built Honkoji Temple in 1382. [ It was in this the same year that he made the above mentioned second trip to Kyoto for the purpose of beseeching the Emperor to convert to the true teachings. The following year, i.e. 1383, was the third trip to Kyoto.]
In December of 1382, he gave the precept of the Original Doctrine (Hommon Kai) at Honkoji in Kamakura. When Nichi-ju was 73 years old, he founded Myoryuji Temple in Kibi (Kasai City) and Funame Honryuji Temple in Kazusa (Mariya, Kisarazu City).
In the first year of Kakei (1387), Nichi-ju was 74 years old. It was in this year that the warrior monks (sohei) of Mt. Hiei, who had grown increasingly jealous and resentful of Nichiren Buddhism, destroyed the Nichiren Sect's Myokenji Temple in Kyoto. Nissei, the head priest of Myokenji, had escaped to Kohama [Fukui Prefecture]. Upon hearing the news of Nissei's forced departure, the Master sent his disciple Saifu-bo to aid Nissei. On December 27th of the same year, his favorite disciple, Nichimyo, of Gemmyoji Temple, died. Losing Nichimyo, his faithful disciple since the days of Aizu, made Nichi-ju feel very discouraged and sorrowful.
When Nichi-ju was 75, he sent his disciple Nichi-boku to the neighboring temples with the following message:
"Myokenji Temple has been destroyed. We should go together to Kyoto by next year and present a petition of remonstration; we should also petition to spread the doctrine of the Hokke [Lotus Sutra] Sect."
But neither Minobu nor Taisekiji (at Fuji) nor Nissei, formerly of Myokenji were willing to go along with Nichi-ju's requests for fear of reprisals from the Tendai Sect on Mt. Hiei. On the 21st of August, the Master held the first anniversary service commemorating Nichimyo's death, and he read aloud a eulogy . On the back of the eulogy, he wrote a will (okibumi) and tore up the statement of resignation, his pledge to Nisso, that he had written years before. Here is the text of the (okibumi) will:
The Will (known as the Will of the Reverse Side)
A. A Reminder for the Nichi-ju Congregation or Others
1. The Nichi-ju congregation should be reminded of this: the branches of the Six Senior Disciples of the Daishonin and others such as Tenmoku all have deviated from the doctrine of the Daishonin both in the way of propagation and in their particular teachings. They don't agree with each other.
Nichi-ju is the one who directly worships the Daishonin and takes refuge in his teachings. My disciples should remember this well. Yet, at Mama in Shimosa, there exists my declaration of faith and a document of prayer. However, as the way of propagation and the teachings have deviated from the doctrine of the Dashonin, I will throw them away. This is the way of departing from evil friends. Nichi-ju's disciples should remember what I say. The one who goes against my will shall commit the sin of attacking the Law and will fall into hell. So, in the days to come, this shall be my will.
Second Year of Kakei, tsuchinoe tatsu, August 25th  Nu-sozu Nichi-ju seals
This actually is the declaration of independence of the school of Nichi-ju. In those days, each branch of the Six Disciples of Nichiren was proud of having received certain teachings from the Daishonin; they emphasized that theirs was the true orthodoxy. They also kept busy debatingthe ltchi-Shoretsu dispute, which pitted the Shakumon (Manifestation) Doctrine against the Honmon (Original) Doctrine. In the meantime, the true mission of shakubuku and propagation of the Law was forgotten. Leaving these branches to argue amongst themselves about orthodoxy and the ltchi-Shoretsu theories, the Master Nichi-ju took refuge directly in theteachings of Nichiren Daishonin. Nichi-ju advocated the principle of "receiving the teachings from the Sutra scrolls" (Kyogan Sojo) and "Direct receiving from Nichiren" in order to actualize the Shonin's true intention (gonaisho).
At the age of 76, the Master named his hermitage at Rokumonjon in Muromachi at Kyoto "Myotozan Myomanji" and he propagated in that vicinity. At the age of 77, when lmagawa Kingo, the Provincial Constable of Enshu came to Kyoto, the Master presented a petition to him. At the age of 78 (second year of Meitoku) on March 7th, when the Shogun Yoshimitsu visited Toji-ji Temple, Nichiju made a direct appeal (Teichu) to him.(Teichu means to present oneself at the gate of a residence without permission of an officer and to make a direct appeal.) But his strong petition, insisting on the elimination of other sects and establishing exclusive faith in the HokkeSect only, was not accepted.
The teachings of the sages of old stated that:
"If your remonstrations aren't accepted after three attempts, then withdraw."
With this in mind, the Master felt compelled to return home. After giving sermons during the summer, Nichi-ju left Kyoto on July 25th; he arrived at Myoritsuji Temple in Enshuon August 3rd. At Myoritsuji Temple he preached for seven days. He also preached during the autumn equinox (o-higan) for seven days at Gemmyoji Temple. On September 8th, he arrived at Kochoji Temple in Okamiya (Numazu city). The Master discussed the doctrine of the Nichiren Sect with Nishinobo Nissho. On the 16th, he left Kochoji Temple and, when he crossed Mt.Ashigara, he wrote:
"Urging my horse to speed on, crossing Mt. Ashigara, I see Mt. Fuji behind me."
It was late in his life that Nichi-ju took exclusive faith in the Lotus Sutra; upon taking faith, he presented petitions and remonstrations at the risk of his life, and had been kept busy with propagation in Kyoto and Kamakura for twelve or thirteen years. Having debated with all of his strength, the heart of the Master was now filled with indescribable emotion. Since he was already 78 years old, he felt that this was his last chance to see Mt.Fuji; his impressions must have been very deep indeed.
Arriving at Aizu on October 9th, he thanked Mr. Hijiya for his long and continuous support. The Lord of the castle, Lord Ashina, built Myohoji Temple and had the Master consecrate it. At the age of 79 (third year of Meitoku, 1392), on January 15th, Nichi-ju commemorated the thirty-third anniversary of his parents' death. On January 20th, he wrote "The Conditions After the passing of Nichi-ju" as his will and decided on the conditions after his death. Thus he wrote:
Resolved Conditions after Nichi-ju
"Among the disciples of the school of Nichi-ju, nobody should be chosen, directly or indirectly, as an heir disciple. However, anybody among the priests or the laymen of my congregation who spreads the teaching in Kyoto and who swears that other sects are the root ofall evils and that only the Lotus Sutra leads to Buddhahood, only these people can be my disciples. And if candidates are equally gifted, they should propagate during the summer,practicing in turns. You should consider a person who spreads the teaching in this manner as the true disciple of Nichi-ju. So, in the days to come, this shall be my will."
The Third Year of Meitoku Mizunoe Saru January 29th  Seal of Nichi-ju
He wrote three copies of this document and left one each at the following places: in Aizu at Myohoji Temple, in Endhu at Gemmyoji Temple, and in Kyoto at Myomanji. So these documents are called the Will of the Three Letters. Now, only one of the original documents survives at Myoritsuji Temple in Kibi. In the will, the Master gave orders to do shakubuku propagation in Kyoto (the capital, the city of the Emperor).
At the beginning of February , he developed signs of a slight sickness. Around eight in the morning of the 28th, surrounded by his disciples, the Master entered Nirvana peacefully. As was in the case of the Daishonin's death, a smal earthquake occurred. This was because the earth was greatly moved by the death of the great saint. At that time he was 79 calendar years old. Sixty one years had passed since he had entered the priesthood.
We often say, "It's never too late!" Truly it is noteworthy that the Master fervently advocated, "Go back to the original founder, Nichiren!"
In addition, he participated in shakubuku propagation till the end of his life, after taking faith in the Lotus Sutra at the age of 67, late in his life. I sincerely adore his example of devoting his life to propagation of the true teachings, without wasting even a minute or a second until his very last moment. Nichi-ju Shonin's branch is called the Jumon Branch, which is the present day (Kempon Hokke Sect).
Reputed to have been written by Master Nichi-ju:
Hearing the Voice of a beggar at your gate, If you give him nothing, at least have pity. No matter where my old body finally rests, Pure is my mind like the water of a moat.
Nichijuu Shonin's Fujusho
(Recitation Text for Nichiju's young disciple, Nichimyo, who died at the age of eighteen)
Here I reverently state.
A Matter of requesting to recite [the following text]:
Various offerings have been prepared for the Three Jewels and for the priests:
I faintly hear that the Wonderful Law of the One Vehicle has a strong fragrance which permeates the Ancient Garden of the Three Lands, and that the moon of Clear Light of Original Enlightenment shines brightly in the blue sky of Tranquil Light. But, the profound meaning of the Real Teaching, can it be measured?
As I contemplate it now, it is already one year since the death of Reverend Nichimyo; in spite of this, our mournful tears have not yet ceased to flow. Stopping our sorrowful tears, we hereby perform some small religious rites for the nourishment of his Bodhi [Buddhahood]. That is to say, we respectfully make a copy of the Precious Stupa Dai-mandala respectfully recite the entire Lotus Sutra once, the Chapter of Expedient Means twelve times, the Chapter of the Measure of Life of the Tathagata one hundred and twenty times, the Ten Suchnesses twelve hundred times, the JI-ga Verses twelve thousand times, the Daimoku one hundred and twenty thousand times; we respectfully write "Namu-Myoho-Renge-Kyo" twelve thousand times, and we respectfully erect one Tablet Stupa. In this case, the Dai-mandala is the one that was respectfully transcribed before his death. We offer it here to perform some small rites as a memorial service for him.
Although this Dai-mandala generally represents the phases of teachings of "the Three Meetings at the Two Places", it particularly represents, "the One Ceremony of the Meeting in the Sky." Actually, the "Precious Stupa" means the palace where the Wonderful Law lies, the castle in the heart where the Buddhas abide eternally, the location where the Bodhisattvas assemble, the whole original aspect of the five constituent elements (earth, water, fire, wind and the void).
Taho (Tathagata Abundant Treasures) within the Stupa bears witness [to the Lotus Sutra]; Shakyamuni Buddha assembles the Buddhas who have emanated from Him and he opens the door of the Stupa- Sitting side by side [with Taho] within the Stupa, He [Shakyamuni Buddha] declares that He desires to bequeath the Lotus Sutra in order to make it remain existing. Then He invites the Guiding Teacher in the Age of the Latter Dharma, enumerating the Six Hard [Tasks] and the Nine Easy Tasks. Shakyamuni Buddha encourages the propagation of the Wonderful Law of the One Vehicle, showing that even Devadatta and the Dragon King's Daughter obtained Buddhahood. The Bodhisattvas who were cultivated by the Manifestation Buddhas earnestly volunteer to propagate, expressing how they will cope in the Evil Age.
Manjusri asks a question of how to propagate the Law, then the World-honored One, preaching the Four Methods, recommends to start the practice. These are exactly relating to the circulation of the Shakumon (Manifestation Doctrine). Then, Shakyamuni Buddha turns down the offer of these bodhisattva-mahasattvas, in numbers of the sands of eight Ganges rivers, to propagate, and [instead] invites the tranquilly beaming bodhisattva-mahasattvas welling up out of the Earth, who were converted by the Original Buddha.
Upon the question of Maitreya, Shakyamuni Buddha reveals the Distant Origin of His Attainment of Enlightenment in the Eternal Past. Preaching the responding activities of the Three-Bodies-in-One, Shakyamuni Buddha reveals His Great Compassion from the Eternal Past; [this Eternal Past] is compared to dust-motes of innumerable atoms. Measuring the merits of A Single Moment of Faith and Understanding, Shakyamuni Buddha praises the excellent merits of the Chain of Acceptance with Joy. Then, He reveals the excellent merits of the versatile use of the Six Organs. And, referring to an old anecdote about Bodhisattva Never Despise (Fukyo), He shows how one should dare to forcedly infuse the Hokekyo into those beings who have a Rebellious Attitude, and Shakyamuni Buddha reveals the circular meaning that a Rebellious Attitude (Gyaku-en) toward the Hokekyo is, ultimately, nothing but an Obedient Attitude (Jun-en).
Demonstrating the Ten Kinds of Miraculous Powers, Shakyamuni Buddha entrust [to these Originally Converted Bodhisattvas who had welled up out of the earth] the Essential Dharma which should be propagated in the Age of the Latter Dharma, and that is the great Dharma in the Honmon (Original Doctrine), which is to be circulated. This Essential Dharma is embodied in the Five Characters of the Daimoku. Therefore, this "Myoho-Renge-Kyo" is the Dharma- body of circular harmonization of the Three Truths (emptiness, provisional existence and the Middle Way); [it is the] inner enlightenment of the Ocean of Dharma Nature, in the phase of fruition; the general term of all practices of the various virtues; the most profound treasure in the Original Land. This is the substance of the Honzon (Object of Worship). Then, with regard to the [significance] of the two Buddhas, Shakya and Taho; first, in the meaning of Shakumon, the presence of the two Buddhas within the one Stupa signifies the non-duality of objective things and subjective perception. And the emanated Buddhas, seated under the jeweled trees signify the universality of compassion [benevolence]. So, the revelation of the virtuous bodies of these three Buddhas (Shakya, Taho and the emanated Buddhas) stands for the state of Buddhahood attained by the Manifestation Buddha.
Next, the meaning of Honmon is the clearing away of the Shigaku (attainment of enlightenment for the first time) and the revelation of the Hongaku (original enlightenment); the tearing down of the Manifestation Buddha and the establishment of the Original Buddha, [in other words] the objective entity, subjective perception and activity of the imponderable original state; that is, the body, spirit and conduct of the natural triple bodies [of the Tathagata]. Staying in the empty sky stands for the equality of the Saha-world and the Pure Land, which is called the Land of Eternal Tranquil Light. Revealing the origin in the distant past stands, for the self-enjoyment-and exercise of the body possessing the Three-Bodies-in-One. The activity spreads vertically and widely over the three time periods, and the benefit spreads horizontally and widely throughout the ten directions. Then, the four leaders of Jogyo, etc. are the disciples from the time of [Shakya's] Actual Attainment of Enlightenment in the measureless past. They are the Bodhisattvas who attained enlightenment at that time in the infinite past; they are the Bodhisattvas who were entrusted with the quintessence of the Hokekyo, and they are the leaders of its propagation. Basically, this Great Mandala is the mandala that represents non-duality of the subject and its surroundings; unity of the Buddha and the Dharma, oneness of all living beings and the Buddha, and the inter-possession of each of the Ten Realms; Therefore, since those who reverently listen to its name will eradicate the three persistent delusions (Kenji, Jinja and Mumyo) in an instant, and those who reverently gaze upon it, even once, will attain Sambodhi (perfect enlightenment); then this Great Mandala is a secret means of immediate enlightenment and a model of attaining Buddhahood in this very body. And, this sutra is the real Purpose for the advent of the Buddhas, and the direct way to Buddhahood for all living beings. Reading or reciting [this sutra] is the practice that is suitable for the organ of hearing, and these are the roots of goodness that have a connection with this [Saha] world. Copying [this sutra] is the root of making the life of the teachings ever-abiding, and is the great goodness of committing them to memory or keeping them in mind.
Next, the Daimoku is the real name (essence) of the Realms (ten realms), the Suchnesses (ten suchnesses) and the Three Thousand (the universe), and it is the inner comprehension of the triple-bodied Tathagata of complete enlightenment; it is the Heart of the two Doctrines of Manifestation (Shakumon] and Original [Honmon], and it is the genuine sutra that our teacher (Nichiren) propagated.
Hence, the Tablet Stupa is a manifestation of the all-sided transcendent power of the ultimate Dharma Body, and it is a symbol of the omnipresence of the triple-bodied Tathagata. With the power of the Buddha, the power of the Dharma and the uniting power of our faith, the noble soul [of Nichimyo] must enhance its Bodhi without doubt. If this is the case, in reward for the blessed karma of his having practiced the One Vehicle, Nichimyo's soul will open the flower of enlightenment of the Bodhi of the one sole Truth. Also, as a reward for the excellent karma of having practiced the Five characters of the Daimoku, his soul will enjoy the moon of enlightenment of the integrated Five Wisdoms (wisdom of the nature and the essence of the Dharma Realm, wisdom of the great circle mirror, wisdom of the nature of equality, wisdom of wonderful observation, and wisdom of concrete [actual] conduct).
May the rain of the Dharma universally pour down on the teachers of generation after generation to whom we are indebted, on the mothers and fathers of life after life, on the people who are interconnected, irrespective of closeness or not, and the danapati of the past and the present, so that they can accomplish the Wonderful cause, and that [all beings of] the Dharma Realm be equally benefitted.
Now, ringing a small bell three times, I reverently make the sound heard by the triple-bodied Tathagata. And, what I have requested to be recited is as stated above. This I respectfully stated.
The twenty-first day of the eighth month, in the second year of Kakei (1388)
Chief Head Priest Nichiju
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