QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON NICHIREN SHOSHU BASICS OF PRACTICE
OCTOBER 2016, PP. 18-21
A Journey to Propagate
The Ninth High Priest Nichiu Shonin was born in April of 1402 (the ninth year of Oei) at the Nanjo residence in Ueno near Taisekiji. When he was young, he became a disciple of the Eighth High Priest Nichiei Shonin. Later, he received the transmission of the Lifeblood Heritage of the Law from Nichiei Shonin and in 1419 (the 26th year of O'ei), Nichiu Shonin became the Ninth High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu.
After becoming High Priest, Nichiu Shonin went on a journey to propagate true Buddhism. He traveled from Oshu to Kyoto, and then to Echigo. Since trains and cars didn't exist at that time, we can assume that there must have been continual challenges during this lengthy propagation trip. Furthermore, in March of 1432, Nichiu Shonin endeavored to shakubuku the nation's leaders by sending a letter of remonstration, as the successive High Priests did, to the Shogun, Yoshinori Ashikaga.
Making Efforts to Develop Nichiren Shoshu
Nichiu Shonin poured his efforts into developing Taisekiji and local temples. In 1424, he rebuilt damaged structures at Taisekiji. In February that year, he remodeled the Treasure Storehouse (Gohozo, and in March built the Kyakuden (Reception Hall).
Not only did he make efforts to repair buildings within Taisekiji. Nichiu Shonin also conducted construction projects in local areas as well. He built a Hokkedo in Suruga. This later became Honkoji Temple and Yogyoji Temple. He also built a Hokkedo in Kai which later became Umyoji Temple. He repaired many temples in the Tohoku region during his propagation visits. Nichiu Shonin contributed greatly to the development of Nichiren Shoshu.
Nichiu Shonin cultivated many disciples and systematized the doctrine and formalities that had been handed down from the Daishonin and Nikko Shonin, in order for people to be able to practice true Buddhism correctly and attain enlightenment. The writing, On Formalities (Kegi-sho was based on the Daishonin's Buddhism handed down at Taisekiji. In this text, various important formalities and items for our attention in faith and practice are pointed out carefully. On Formalities is a teaching that includes various rules and regulations of the Head Temple.
In 1467 Nichiu Shonin transferred the Lifeblood Heritage of the Law to the Tenth High Priest, Nichijo Shonin. He then moved to the Hokkedo in Kai.
However, Nichijo Shonin and the Eleventh High Priest, Nittei Shonin passed away in succession, and Nichiu Shonin became the High Priest again. He transferred the Heritage of the Law to the Twelfth High Priest, Nicchin Shonin, in 1482. Later that year, on September 29th, he passed away in Sugiyama at the age of 81.
Together with Twenty-sixth High Priest Nichikan Shonin, Nichiu Shonin is revered as a "great restorer" for his respect-worthy leadership of Nichiren Shoshu for more than 60 years.
Legends of Nichiu Shonin
There are many legends that describe the great virtue of Nichiu Shonin. For example, once he stayed with a big family that was routinely short of food Nichiu Shonin felt sorry for them and wanted to make them happy. He took a pan from his luggage and got some rice from a bag. A maid who was watching started to laugh. She said, "Since we have a big family, this little bit of rice won't be enough." Nichiu Shonin calmly said to her, "Make a fire." While the rice was cooking, strangely enough it started overflowing out of the pot. The big family could eat rice to their hearts' content for the first time and thanked Nichiu Shonin.
"The Remonstration of Nichiu Shonin' is read during the Oeshiki Ceremony”
At the Oeshiki Ceremony, the chief priest and six priests read the Rissho ankoku-ron and the letters of remonstration called moshijo. The first letter is the "Remonstration of Nichiu Shonin." It states, "If everyone practices the Daishonin's Buddhism, the country will become peaceful and people will be able to lead happy and tranquil lives."
Presently, many tragic incidents are happening around the globe. The only way to establish a world where everyone can live happily is through practicing and propagating the Daishonin's true Buddhism.