Recalling the Buddhist Founder Nichiren & His Many Followers

Recalling the Buddhist Founder Nichiren & His Many Followers October 13, 2021





On the 13th of October, in 1282 the Japanese Buddhist priest, controversialist, and founder, Nichiren died.

In 1253 by our common reckoning Nichiren had his realization that the Lotus Sutra was the epitome of all Buddhist teachings. This was a commonly held view. But, he took it one step further, saying that simply calling upon the title of the Sutra can bring about liberation. He went one step beyond that as well, saying this was the sole way to liberation.

This would grow into one of the major schools of Japanese Buddhism. Today it counts numerous sub schools. And, thanks to the ministrations of the particularly aggressive evangelism of the lay led Soka Gakkai in the 1970s, this would be the first form of Buddhism to which many young Americans at that time would be introduced. SGI remains a significant Buddhist presence in the West.

Since that beginning most Nichiren schools have found some representation in the West. They range from the Rissho Kosei-kai who partner with the Unitarian Universalist Association and others to form the International Association for Religious Freedom to the Nipponzan Myohoji order, famous for building Peace Pagodas. I’m especially taken with the eldest of the organizations and their North American branch, which is currently led by an African American bishop, Myokei Caine-Barrett, Shonin.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is the chant believed to bring the great healing. You might check it out…

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