Nichiren

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Nichiren

(nĭch`ərən) [Jap.,=sun lotus], 1222–82, Japanese Buddhist priest, founder of Nichiren Buddhism. Of humble birth, Nichiren (whose given name was Zennichimaro) early became a monk, and traveled to many temples in search of true Buddhism. In 1253, convinced that contemporary Buddhism was inadequate for a degenerate age, he proclaimed faith in the Lotus Sutra as the only means of salvation. Conflict with both religious and civil authorities marked the remainder of his life. He condemned Zen BuddhismZen Buddhism,
Buddhist sect of China and Japan. The name of the sect (Chin. Ch'an, Jap. Zen) derives from the Sanskrit dhyana [meditation]. In China the school early became known for making its central tenet the practice of meditation, rather than adherence
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 for stressing extrascriptural transmission, Pure Land BuddhismPure Land Buddhism
or Amidism,
devotional sect of Mahayana Buddhism in China and Japan, centering on worship of the Buddha Amitabha. According to the Pure Land Sutras, composed in India in the 2d cent. A.D.
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 for devaluing the present lifetime, and civil authorities for supporting "false religions." His uncompromising evangelism led to several periods in exile as well as great mass appeal, which continues to this day (see Soka GakkaiSoka Gakkai
[Jap.,=Value Creation Society], Japan-based independent lay Buddhist movement. A theological offshoot of Nichiren Buddhism, it was founded (1930) as the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai [Value Creation Educational Society] by Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, educator and follower of the
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).

Bibliography

See M. Kanko, The Nichiren Sect (1958); A. Masaharu, Nichiren the Buddhist Prophet (1966); T. Yutaka, Nichiren (1970); P. B. Yampolsky, ed., Selected Writings of Nichiren (1990).