Sunday, 1 April 2012

Nikko & Nichimoku Shonin

Every day during the second prayer we give praise and gratitude to two of Nichiren Daishonin's disciples, but who were they and why are we thankful to them?


Nikko Shonin met Nichiren Daishonin at Jisso-ji temple in 1258 when he was 12!  Nichiren was researching its sutra library while preparing for On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land.

Nikko Shonin started to devotedly serve Nichiren and joined him during his Izu Exile when he was 15, where he converted a priest of the Shingon school to Nichiren’s teachings.

Nikko Shonin recorded the lectures Nichiren gave on the Lotus Sutra and collected them together in The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings.

When Nichiren died, Nikko Shonin was the only one of the six senior priests who fulfilled the commitment to watch over his tomb.  They all denied they were followers of Nichiren’s teachings due to pressure from authorities and declared they were priests of the Tendai school.

Nikko Shonin's life was spent promoting Nichiren’s teachings, educating disciples and collecting together Nichiren’s writings, which he called the Gosho (honourable writings)


At 14 he witnessed a religious debate at Izu-san temple between the senior priests and Nichiren’s disciple Nikko.  He was so impressed he became Nikko’s disciple and served and supported Nichiren Daishonin.

Shortly before Nichiren’s death a Tendai priest challenged him to a debate.  Nichiren appointed Nichimoku to represent him, and Nichimoku beat the priest by winning every one of 10 rounds of doctrinal debate.

After Nichiren died, Nichimoku supported Nikko in keeping watch over the tomb and also devoted himself to propagating Nichiren’s teachings.

Nichimoku Shonin is remembered for his commitment to practice and propagate Nichiren’s Buddhism.  He also remonstrated more than forty-two times with the Kamakura government and the imperial court at Kyoto to encourage them to adopt Nichiren’s teachings.

I found some of this information and the pictures from another Buddhist website about 8 months ago, but since then that site seems to have closed.


  1. UC Davis Club: Buddhism in the Modern World17 July 2012 at 00:29

    Thank you, this was such a clear explanation! I googled both names today because I knew of Nikko Shonin, but did not have a clear picture on the role of Nichimoku Shonin. Its a nice dynamic of doctrinal mentor-disciple bonds that allowed this initial phase of Latter Day propagation to initiate. I truly understand why we thank them in our silent prayers.

    I can't wait to check out the rest of this blog! I'm an SGI member from UC Davis, and I truly cherish this practice and organization. Because of NMHRK, I am able to undergo a human revolution allowing myself to shed my previous insecure and self-pity lifestyle to fight for the happiness of humanity alongside our mentor, Daisaku Ikeda. What remarkable actual proof I am getting daily! Thank you for having this blog :)

  2. I'm an SGI member of 20 years, and do so appreciate the information. Lately I have made a commitment to connect with our prayers more completely - especially the second prayer. Thank you from Santa Cruz, California!

  3. Ayesha Waghani8 April 2015 at 06:18

    This is very well written. I am practicing since several yaers but i got this clarity today. Thank you :)

  4. Thank you!!! It was enlightening!

  5. Thanks! this is very clear.

  6. I am an SGI member from India and have been doing my prayers regularly ,,,,Tgerecis always a desire to know a little more about our mentors and founders .I watched a YouTube video on Nichiren,s life and it has hit embedded in my memory .Sensei keeps writing about JOsei Toda but I still wish to know more about Nikko and nachimukko shining both .

  7. This was fantastic, thank you!
    Someone also told me that Nichimoku was also in some way involved in getting a copy of the Gohonzon, but the explanation was very unclear and probably mistaken.

  8. This is Wrong, ahaha you tell lies. Nikko is evil