Nichiren Shōnin (1222-1282), the founder of Nichiren Shū (the Nichiren School) was a Buddhist monk in 13th century Japan. Nichiren Shōnin sought to find the quintessence of the Buddha’s teachings. He was ordained at age 15, and studied greatly, travelling across Japan to read Buddhist scriptures, and learn from various teachers.
Having studied all the Buddhist schools in Japan at the time, Nichiren Shōnin came to the conclusion that the Lotus Sūtra was the teaching fully revealing the Buddha's highest teaching, or heart, and that by practicing the Lotus Sūtra, by chanting the Odaimoku (Namu-myōhō-renge-kyō or Devotion to the Wonderful Dharma of the Lotus Flower Sūtra), all people could attain enlightenment.
Throughout his life, Nichiren Shōnin worked for the happiness of all people, and many of his writings survive to this day. They include letters of encouragement to followers and disciples of his, and also remonstrations with the government at that time. He was a truly great reformer of Buddhism, bringing many people to the Lotus Sūtra.
Our school, Nichiren Shū, is a confederation of lineages descending from Nichiren Shōnin’s major disciples. The Head Temple of Nichiren Shū is Kuon-ji on Mt. Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan; where Nichiren Shōnin spent the last eight years of his life.
We believe that the Buddha is eternal and always present, as found in the teachings of the Lotus Sūtra, and that Buddhism is available and applicable to all people in any time period. We believe that Nichiren Shōnin was the messenger of the Buddha who can be a guide for us in cultivating our Buddha nature, a quality inherent in all beings. The path to true liberation and happiness is found and discovered through a deep level of faith in the Buddha’s message.
Nichiren Shu Buddhist Temple of UK