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Nichiren Shōshū

Nichiren Shōshū. Japanese Buddhist religious movement. When Nichiren died, his followers agreed that the guardianship of his tomb should circulate among his six senior disciples. When the turn came of Nikō (1253–1314, priest of the Kuonji temple) he declared that he and his successors would take the responsibility permanently. Nichikō (1246–1332) broke away and founded the Daisekiji temple at the foot of Mount Fuji to defend the true teaching of Nichiren. Against the other five, he maintained that the two halves of the Lotus Sūtra are not equal in importance: the second half (the Honmon, fourteen chapters which reveal the eternal nature of the Buddha) are a superior wisdom to the first half (the Jakumon, fourteen chapters which deal with the form taken by the Buddha in order to accommodate himself to human understanding). The Nichiren Shōshū reveres Nichiren as the religious founder (shūso) but Nichikō as the true sect founder (haso). It believes that in the mappō (degenerate age), only Nichiren can provide any help (thus relegating the historical Buddha to second place), and that the government should endorse Nichiren Shōshū and establish it as the state religion—a principle known as ‘politics united with Buddhism’, ōbutsu myōgō. As with other Nichiren movements, the nembutsu is central and of paramount importance.

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