This week, we’re going to be talking about one of Japan’s most famous religious movements: Nichiren Buddhism, devoted to the veneration of the text know as the Lotus Sutra. We’ll discuss the life and education of Nichiren, as well as the legacy his teachings have for Japan and the world.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Sansom, George. A History of Japan to 1334.

Totman, Conrad. A History of Japan.

Images 

A roughly contemporary portrait of Nichiren late in life. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

A roughly contemporary portrait of Nichiren late in life. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

A portable shrine from China; the image depicted is Sakyamuni Buddha (the Budda) preaching the Lotus Sutra before his death. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

A portable shrine from China; the image depicted is Sakyamuni Buddha (the Budda) preaching the Lotus Sutra before his death. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

A copy of the Lotus Sutra. This version is from 13th century Goryeo Korea, but like all important texts of the time it is written in Classical Chinese; thus an educated Japanese would have been able to read it as well. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

A copy of the Lotus Sutra. This version is from 13th century Goryeo Korea, but like all important texts of the time it is written in Classical Chinese; thus an educated Japanese would have been able to read it as well. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

A fragment of the original text of the Rissho Ankokuron (The Treatise on Securing the Realm by Promoting Virtue). Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

A fragment of the original text of the Rissho Ankokuron (The Treatise on Securing the Realm by Promoting Virtue). Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Nichiren's first exile in 1261. The collapsed figure on the shore is Nichiro, one of his disciples, who attempted to join his master in exile but was forbidden by Nichiren to do so. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Nichiren’s first exile in 1261. The collapsed figure on the shore is Nichiro, one of his disciples, who attempted to join his master in exile but was forbidden by Nichiren to do so. Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Artists rendering of the bright flash of light saving Nichiren at the execution grounds. Courtesy of Nichiren Shoshu Myoshinji Temple.

Artists rendering of the bright flash of light saving Nichiren at the execution grounds. Courtesy of Nichiren Shoshu Myoshinji Temple.

A Gohonzon in the Nichiren-shu style. The central line of text is the "Namu Myoho Renge Kyo" chant.

A Gohonzon in the Nichiren-shu style. The central line of text is the “Namu Myoho Renge Kyo” chant.