ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin

Updated on April 3, 2012

 The Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin, also know as Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism is often touted in the media as the Buddhism of the stars, and almost denigrated as 'Buddhism Lite.' 

However, this is far from the case.  It is one school of what is known as the Pure Land form of Buddhism, which became prominent in China.

Pure Land schools of Buddhism offer would be followers simple methods that enable them to practice Buddhism, either meditation, chanting, or both.


The Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin

The Buddha

The Buddha, Prince Siddhartha of the Shakya clan was born into a noble household, where he wanted for nothing. However, as he grew he realised that life outside the palace gates was one of struggling and suffering for most people, so Siddhartha left the palace and spent many years researching the nature of suffering. He tried lots of methods to discover enlightenment, such as meditation, fasting, learning from other religious people.

Buddhist scriptures tell that Siddhartha sat under a large fig tree and vowed he would not move until he discovered full and complete enlightenment. The tree became known as the Bodhi tree (tree of enlightenment) and may still be visited. A Bodhi tree grows on the spot where Siddhartha, also known as Shakyamuni, received enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, Northeast India. It's not the original tree, but it is a descendent of.

The Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin

Nichiren Buddhism, founded by Nichiren Daishonin, 1222-1282 contains aspects of Pure Land Buddhism, and is a Japanese form of the teaching. It does not worship a person, or spiritual being, The Buddha, but rather one of his later teachings, The Lotus Sutra, a complex and all embracing sutra.

The Lotus flower lives in the swamp, and actually needs those murky conditions in order to produce the wonderful Lotus flower. Parallels can be drawn that it is our life experiences, challenges and suffering that will lead us to discover enlightenment.

Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism

As with all forms of Buddhism, there are splits and disagreements within each discipline; Nichiren Buddhism is no exception. After Nichiren died, splits within the philosophy led to the emergence of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism (Shoshu meaning true school). This branch of Nichiren Buddhism survived and in 1937 a convert to the religion founded a lay society called Soka Gakkai (for information on Soka Gakkai, click here to find the link).

Nichiren Buddhism holds that enlightenment is possible in this lifetime and for all people regardless of colour, gender, sexuality or any other trait that may see a person excluded by other religions. The only thing an individual needs to do is worship the lotus Sutra.

The Sutra does not need to be studied in depth, rather a person may reach enlightenment simply by reciting the name of the Sutra twice a day. Nichiren Buddhists focus on the Gohonzon (Honzon - object of worship; Go - worthy of respect). This is a diagram taken from the original drawn by Nichiren and whiich is said to embody all the terachings of The Lotus Sutra.

Chant a Simple Phrase to become Wealthy

 Several celebrities practice Nichiren Shoshu, which has often helped them turn their lives around and receive the success they deserve (one of the most famous being Tina Turner), thus the media's insistence that this is Buddhism of the stars.  It's funny how they never comment on how many celebrities are Christian.

The media also focus on the fact that Nichiren followers may chant for what they want in life, whether that's love, sex, money, success, new car, whatever, somehow suggesting that to want these things is shallow.

This is a somewhat Christian view of things, where access to Heaven comes at the expense of worldly goods.  Buddhism, however sees the material, physical world as part of the spiritual - people need both; they need food and money to survive in our society, just as much as prayer and enlightenment.  In fact, the Buddha looked for enlightenment in fasting, and found that he was mainly very hungry and unable to think correctly.

Nichiren chanting

Buddhism Isn't a Religion

 Well, it's not in the sense that it doesn't believe in an overarching deity looking down on us all and organising our lives for us.  Nor does it believe that there is a pre-ordained pattern for us to follow.  It does not worship a God or fate as such, however, it is a religion in the sense that it has scriptures, and a hierarchy which people follow, but many followers of Nichiren would also define themselves as having another religion also.

What Nichiren Buddhism does offer is a simple, easily practised method for improving your own life and the lives of others, and that can't be bad can it.

When Nichiren followers chant the name of the Lotus Sutra while focussing on the Gohonzon, what they are really trying to do is raise their life state (see the ten worlds), so that they are less buffeted around by the more basic human instincts and life's trials and tribulations. The theory is that if your life state is high, you have much more reserve when bad things hit you, so you are able to survive bad patches unscathed.

A person may begin by chanting for wealth, but through the Buddhist practice, their outlook may change, they may realise that the thing they thought they needed isn't right, and they need something entirely different. Each person is individual and receiving worldy wishes is no different than receiving spiritual ones.

Nipponzan Myohoji

Nipponzan Myohoji is a monastic order who also worship the Lotus Sutra; the monks of this order are fervently committed to world peace. They have erected peace Stupas (pagodas) in several countries all over the world. One of their most important Stupas is to be found on a hill, called Vulture's Peak, outside Rajgir, India. This is the site where The Buddha delivered many of his most prominent teachings, including The Lotus Sutra.

During their practice, the monks walk around the Stupa banging their tabla drums and chanting the title of the Lotus Sutra. The site has become a place of pilgrimage for Nichiren followers.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Joseph Dean profile image

      Joseph Dean 

      6 years ago from Macon, Georgia

      Great read and your reference of Tina Turner made it all the better!!!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for putting up all this information. Loved it

    • charu7_2000 profile image


      7 years ago from india

      great loved it

    • formosangirl profile image


      7 years ago from Los Angeles

      Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism split in the 90's. Soka Gakkai International is also Nichiren Daishonin-based Buddhism.

    • profile image

      Chanting Hub 

      8 years ago

      I really enjoyed reading this hub. Very interesting on this particular tradition of Buddhism. Thanks for creating.

    • Georgina_writes profile imageAUTHOR

      Georgina Crawford 

      8 years ago from Dartmoor


      That's the way Hubpages works, sometimes tio get more info you have to click through to another hub, hence bringing your articles more views. Thanks for your positive comments.

    • hEiDivaChocolate! profile image


      8 years ago from New York, NY

      This is a great hub. I was surprised though that you didn't actually express the wonderful daimoku ("the name of the Lotus Sutra" as you put it), Nam~Myoho~Renge~Kyo. It's said that having someone say it out loud, at least once, plants the seed of great benefits for all. :)

    • Georgina_writes profile imageAUTHOR

      Georgina Crawford 

      8 years ago from Dartmoor

      Thanks PWalker281 - I didn't realise Patrick Duffy practised too.

      Gurukee - In what way. This is how it is taught in the UK, but I'd love to learn more, so I'd be interested if you'd contact me with more info.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      you got the facts about Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism wrongly.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for this informative hub and increasing my understanding of this form of Buddhism. I remember it was very popular in the 80s, probably in part because of Tina Turner and Patrick Duffy.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)