Japanese Buddhism

Nichiren Buddhism


   Nichiren Buddhism was one of the key sects in medieval Japan. Nichiren (1222-1282) was a Tendai Buddhist monk who left the monastery and invented what was truly a Japanese version of Buddhism; rather than focus on the saving power of the Amida, Nichiren stressed that the Lotus Sutra, upon which Tendai doctrine was based, was the key to all enlightenment and fully embodied the truth of the Buddha Trinity (Vairochana, the Eternal Buddha (in Japanese: Dainichi); Amitabha, the Body of Bliss or Eternal Buddha (which is what the Amidists worshipped); Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha). Nichiren required that all boddhisattvas (those striving to become a Buddha) recite the Lotus sutra rather than the name of Amida; unlike Amidism, Nichiren Buddhism laid emphasis on individual effort rather than salvation through the action of the Buddha.

Author: Richard Hooker



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1996, Richard Hooker
Updated 6-28-97