The Life of Nichiren Daishonin
The Reincarnation of Bodhisattva Jogyo and the Establishment of
After having visited many temples and institutions throughout
Kamakura, in research of the causes of the many disasters and
calamities occurring in Japan, Rencho went back to his native
province of Awa during Spring in the fifth year of Kencho (1253). He
was greeted by his master Dozen-bo, mother and father, and fellow
disciples (of Dozen-bo) at Seicho-ji.
From the time he was twelve until he turned thirty-two, Rencho
strived to master the fundamental truth of Buddhism so that he
could accomplish his conviction to save all living beings. He learned,
as stated in the Daijuku Sutra, that:
…the first five hundred years after the Buddha’s passing will be the
age of enlightenment, and the next five hundred years, the age of
meditation (making one thousand years). The next five hundred
years will be an age of reading, reciting and listening, and the next
five hundred years, the age of building temples and stupas (making
two thousand years). Concerning the next five hundred years after
that, he says, “Quarrels and disputes will arise among the adherents
to my teachings, and the Pure Law will become obscured and lost.”
(“The Selection of Time”, M.W., Vol. 3, p. 85)
He also became convinced that the “the Lotus Sutra is the greatest of
all the Buddha’s teachings” as stated in the Hosshi (tenth) chapter of
the Lotus Sutra.
Also Rencho realized that of all the teachings of Buddhism, the Law
that should be propagated throughout Mappo is the five characters of
Myoho-Renge-Kyo, the heart of the Lotus Sutra. These facts were
clearly predicted and proven in the Lotus Sutra.
It is through the propagation of this vital Law of Myoho-Renge-Kyo,
where the mission of the True and Original Buddha and the leader of
the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, Bodhisattva Jogyo, rests. Realizing that
he had to save this corrupt world, he became convinced that he,
himself, was Bodhisattva Jogyo. From this, at the age of 32, Rencho
realized that for him to accomplish his mission as the reincarnation
of Bodhisattva Jogyo, he would have to propagate the Lotus Sutra
even though it may mean persecution and variety of severe
Starting on March 22nd until daybreak of the 28th of that month, in
the fifth year of Kencho (1253), Rencho shut himself up in a room
within Seichoji temple. As the leader of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth,
he contemplated how the practice of shakubuku should be carried
out. After Rencho fortifed his determination to establish the great
Law, one month later on April 28th, he took the first step towards
the propagation and establishment of True Buddhism .
Before dawn on the twenty-eighth of April in the fifth year of
Kencho (1253), Rencho climbed to the peak of Kasagamori on top of
Mt. Kiyosumi that still lay fast asleep and bathed in morning dew. He
quietly awaited for the sun to arise from above the horizon on the
other side of the Pacific Ocean. Then, at the very instant the morning
sun began to shine above the dark blue waters of the sea and rays of
sunlight colored his entire body in gold, Rencho solemnly chanted the
“Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, Nam-Myoho-
He first faced the rising sun and then the entire realm of life
throughout the cosmos.
Just as Nichiren Daishonin wrote in “Repaying Debts of
If Nichiren’s compassion is truly great and encompassing, Nam-
Myoho-Renge-Kyo will spread for ten thousand years and more, for
all eternity…. (Shinpen, p. 1036; M.W., Vol. 4, p. 272)
The Daimoku of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo he chanted is the great Law
that saves all beings and illuminates the fundamentally innate
darkness of Mappo. Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is the sole Daimoku of
the Essential Teachings of the Lotus Sutra, unprecedented in ancient
and modern times, which will spread over the entire earth. This fact
is further declared in the “The Divining Power of Tathagata”(Nyorai
Jinriki ) chapter of the Lotus Sutra which states,
This person who carries out the Buddhist practice in this world will
disperse the fundamentally innate darkness of all living beings.
(Kaisetsu, p. 584)
The physical appearance of Rencho, who chanted the seven Chinese
characters of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, is that of a common mortal.
However, concealed deep within his heart, he was confident that he
is “the True and Original Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law born
into this world in the form of a common mortal.”
Nichiren Daishonin’s advent was to establish the Three Great Secret
Laws of the Object of Worship of the Essential Teachings, The
Sanctuary of the Essential Teachings and the Daimoku of the Essential
Teachings of Buddhism. Nichiren Daishonin’s declaring the
establishment of True Buddhism was the first step towards revealing
the one true teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws.
The sun that started its ascent above the horizon began to illuminate
Rencho, Kasagamori and all of Mt. Kiyosumi, releasing its powerful
rays as a beautiful blue sky began to unfold, just as if it were
sweeping away the fundamental innate darkness of Mappo, the
Latter Day of the Law.
1. Senji Sho (“On the Selection of Time”), Shinpen, p. 834-872; M.W.,
Vol. 3, pp. 79-184.
2. Myoho-Renge-Kyo Narabini Kaisetsu, Taisekiji Edition, p.584.
3. The Threefold Lotus Sutra, Chapter XXI, Divine Power of the
Tathagata, p. 300, Kosei Publishing Co.
4. A Dictionary of Buddhist Terms and Concepts, Nichiren Shoshu
5. A Dictionary of Japanese Buddhist Terms with Supplement, Heian
6 Bukkyo Tetsugaku Daijiten (“Comprehensive Dictionary of
Buddhism and Philosophy”), Vols. I-V, Soka Gakkai Study Dept.
7. Dictionary of Oriental Literature – East Asia Edition, Tuttle.
©1995 Nichiren Shoshu Monthly