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22.10.19

Nichiren

Nichiren (1222-1282) was a Japanese Buddhist monk who taught devotion to the Lotus Sutra as the means to enlightenment and established his own following. Nichiren was a vocal critic of the government officials and leaders of the Buddhist schools in Japan in his time. Many of his letters show empathy with the down-trodden of his day, and include letters to women believers who he encouraged to attain enlightenment in their lifetime. He also made a number of prophecies which have been interpreted in later centuries, eg.

When, at a certain future time, the union of the state law and the Buddhist Truth shall be established, and the harmony between the two completed, both sovereign and subjects will faithfully adhere to the Great Mysteries. Then the golden age, such as were the ages under the reign of the sage kings of old, will be realized in these days of degeneration and corruption, in the time of the Latter Law. Then the establishment of the Holy See will be completed, by imperial grant and the edict of the Dictator, at a spot comparable in its excellence with the Paradise of Vulture Peak. We have only to wait for the coming of the time. Then the moral law will be achieved in the actual life of mankind. The Holy See will be the seat where all men of the three countries [India, China and Japan] and the whole jambudvipa [world] will be initiated into the mysteries of confession and expiation; and even the great deities, Brahma and Indra, will come down into the sanctuary and participate in the initiation.













Bibliography
Selected writings of Nichiren, translated by Burton Watson and P.B.Yampolsky (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990);
Letters of Nichiren, translated by Burton Watson and P.B.Yampolsky (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996)
‘The major writings of Nichiren Daishonin’ http://nichiren.info/gosho.html
Masahara Anesaki, Nichiren, the Buddhist Prophet (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1916; reprint: Gloucester, Mass: Peter Smith, 1966)
Jacqueline I.Stone, Original enlightenment and the transformation of medieval Japanese Buddhism (Honolulu: University of Hawaii/Kuroda Institute, 1999), chapter 6
B.Petzold, The Buddhist prophet Nichiren – a lotus in the sun (Tokyo: Hokke Janaru, 1978)


from John Noyce, Saints, Sufis and Yogis, vol.2 (3rd ed., 2016)