Festival of St. Nichiren's Pardon

St. Nichiren's Pardon, Festival of

September 11-13
At the Botamochi Temple in Kamakura, Japan, this festival honors St. Nichiren (1222-1282), considered to be Japan's most fervent Buddhist priest. Born the son of a poor fisherman, Nichiren established Kamakura as the homebase for his extensive and energetic missionary efforts. But the energy and self-confidence with which he devoted himself to political and social events soon aroused the distrust of the government and other Buddhist sects. He was banished to the peninsula of Izu in 1261, but later pardoned. This only increased his attacks on the other sects and he was finally exiled to the island of Sado in the Sea of Japan in 1271. After four years there, he returned and spent the rest of his life on Mount Minobu, now the site of the main Nichiren temple. Nichiren spent the remainder of his life teaching the monks of his sect and continuing his missionary work.
Today there are several million Nichiren Buddhists. The Festival of St. Nichiren's Pardon is observed by members of the Nichiren sect with massive demonstrations and the loud chanting of prayers attributed to Nichiren, accompanied by the beating of drums. At Kamakura, people make offerings of botamochi, rice balls covered with sweet bean paste, in his honor.
SOURCES:
JapanFest-1965, p. 187
WrldBuddhism-1984, p. 225
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