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First Thesis

Formation of the Myth That “The Successive Chief Administrators
Who Received the Specific Lifeblood of the Entity of the Law Are Absolute”

Introduction

“In terms of both one’s personal practice and the development of the worldwide propagation of the faith, priests and lay members of this sect must unreservedly believe in and carefully follow the instruction of the High Priest.” “On the contrary, however, the Soka Gakkai is slandering the article of faith through which we faithfully believe in and strictly follow the High Priest, heir to the Living Essence of the Law.” “In consequence, Nichiren Shoshu hereby notifies the religious corporation Soka Gakkai that it is excommunicated, and is an organization which, from hereon after, has no relation to Nichiren Shoshu.” These statements (translated by Nichiren Shoshu Temples [NST]) are parts of the “Notification of the Excommunication of the Soka Gakkai from Nichiren Shoshu” that Nichiren Shoshu sent to the Soka Gakkai on November 28, 1991.

Nichiren Shoshu notified the Soka Gakkai of its decision to excommunicate this lay organization chiefly because the latter committed a serious doctrinal error (great slander) through its negligence in following the direction of the chief administrator (high priest) with absolute obedience to and faith in him and in violating the sanctity of the heritage of the Law that the chief administrator alone allegedly possesses. Strangely enough, nothing is quoted in Nichiren Shoshu’s notification of excommunication from Nichiren’s writings in refuting the belief and behavior of the Soka Gakkai. Nichiren Shoshu abandoned the Soka Gakkai, not based upon the teachings of Nichiren but the direction of the chief administrator.

Nichiren Shoshu currently emphasizes before anything else the importance of the heritage transmitted through the office of chief administrator and puts the chief administrator on an absolute pedestal. It is common in the Buddhist world of Japan to see religious sects whose faith stems from the teachings of their founders. But it is rare to see religious sects whose faith derives from the direction of their chief administrator. Looking at the history of the Taiseki-ji School we don’t see among its early chief administrators (Nikko, Nichimoku, Nichido, etc.) views that support the authority of the office of chief administrator to the point where it is deified. Around what period did a tendency to deify the chief administrator appear and settle within this school? In writing this book, I would like to address this question first of all.

The transfer of the heritage of the Law from one chief administrator to another (yuiju ichinin no kechimyaku) refers to the fact that the ultimate teaching of Buddhism is transferred from a mentor to his one particular disciple in a manner that a family lineage is transferred from one generation to another.[1] Historically speaking, Buddhism has long valued the one-to-one transmission of the Law, and I have no intention of taking issue with the concept. Advocating the absoluteness of the heritage possessed solely by the chief administrator leads to justifying the absoluteness of the person involved in the exclusive transmission of the heritage. Contemporary Nichiren Shoshu teaches its believers that “The entity of the Law that is innate in the Dai-Gohonzon and the Living Essence of the True Buddha have been transferred from one high priest to another through bequeathing the Golden Utterance; therefore, the laity must follow the high priest with absolute faith in and obedience to him.” What this book questions is such a view of “the transfer of the heritage of the Law from one high priest to another” that opens the way to the absolute authority of the chief administrator.

A search for the origin of the theory of the chief administrator being absolute requires looking back to the situations that existed within the Taiseki-ji School close to seven hundred years ago and going over the ideological trends that emerged in various periods in its history. Needless to say, this is difficult challenge. As a matter of fact, little data that concerns chief administrators of the early days of Taiseki-ji have been philologically determined as authentic. Not many of biographies of the chief administrators of the early days of the school are available, either. The only existent document written in the Edo Era by the 17th general administrator, Nissei, and titled Biographies of Taiseki-ji School’s Chief Administrators (Fuji Monkechu Kenmon, or Kechu-Sho in abbreviation), has been severely disparaged by some scholars for the many erroneous statements in it. It seems impossible to have a philologically impeccable discussion about the formation of the Taiseki-ji doctrine.

However, it is now getting clearer (thanks to efforts by our predecessors) concerning when the idea of the absolutism of the chief administrator who inherited the heritage through the one-to-one transmission did actually emerge, take root in the Taiseki-ji School, and become a tradition. A closer, more detailed clarification of the history of the Taiseki-ji School in these domains may enable us to present a scholastically supported hypothetical theory.

The purpose of my first thesis is to attempt to form such a hypothetical theory. As I mentioned before, the authenticity of many literatures of the early days of Taiseki-ji is not yet confirmed. Accordingly, all the arguments that I present in this thesis cannot be final. I now turn to writing this thesis in hopes that other excellent scholars will give their constructive criticism to my thesis and will carry on by delving more deeply into the subject.

1. A Myth in the Current Nichiren Shoshu View of the Heritage of the Law Transmitted through the Office of the Chief Administrator That Causes Deviation from Nichiren’s Original Teachings

To begin with, let’s examine the Nichiren view of the transmission of the heritage of the Law. “The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life,” of which a copy by Nitcho exists today, gives guidance on the subject of the heritage or lifeblood of this Buddhism. This writing is regarded as a letter to Sairen-bo, a former priest of Tendai School who had become a disciple of Nichiren, in response to his question about the heritage of the ultimate law of life. In the very beginning of this letter, Nichiren writes, “The ultimate Law of life and death as transmitted from the Buddha to all living beings is Myoho-renge-kyo. The five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo were transferred from Shakyamuni and Many Treasures, the two Buddhas inside the treasure tower, to Bodhisattva Superior Practices, carrying on a heritage unbroken since the infinite past” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol. 1, p. 216). In this passage, Nichiren reveals that the secret Law that should be transmitted as the heritage of his Buddhism is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo received by Bodhisattva Superior Practices. From the standpoint that attaining Buddhahood by inheriting the heritage of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the heritage of the ultimate Law of life and death, Nichiren presents three vital elements in practicing his Buddhism; they are:

“Shakyamuni Buddha who attained enlightenment countless kalpas ago, the Lotus Sutra that leads all people to Buddhahood, and we ordinary human beings are in no way different or separate from one another. To chant Myoho-renge-kyo with this realization is to inherit the ultimate law of life and death” (WND-1, p. 216).

“All disciples and lay supporters of Nichiren should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the spirit of many in body but one in mind, transcending all differences among themselves to become as inseparable as fish and the water in which they swim. This spiritual bond is the basis for the universal transmission of the ultimate law of life and death. Herein lies the true goal of Nichiren’s propagation. When you are so united, even the great desire for widespread propagation can be fulfilled” (WND-1, p. 217). “Be resolved to summon forth the great power of faith, and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the prayer that your faith will be steadfast and correct at the moment of death. Never seek any other way to inherit the ultimate Law of life and death, and manifest it in your life. Only then will you realize that earthly desires are enlightenment and that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana. Even embracing the Lotus Sutra would be useless without the heritage of faith” (WND-1, p. 218).

In this writing Nichiren teaches us clearly that to attain Buddhahood, all people should inherit the Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo that was transmitted from Shakyamuni to Bodhisattva Superior Practices in the treasure tower. To realize this inheritance and attain Buddhahood, they should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. All Buddhist practitioners should understand that there is no distinction among the Buddha, the Law, and the people who chant daimoku with strong faith while aiming at achieving kosen-rufu of the Mystic Law in the unity of “many in body but one in mind.”

This is Nichiren’s view of the heritage of his Buddhism. From this perspective, Nichiren encouraged Sairen-bo; “The important point is to carry out your practice confident that Nam-myoho-renge-kyo alone is the heritage that was transferred from Shakyamuni and Many Treasures to Bodhisattva Superior Practices” (WND-1, p. 217).

Here Nichiren guarantees that the transmitted secret Law is none other than Nam-myoho-renge-kyo received by Bodhisattva Superior Practices and that all people can inherit this profound Mystic Law by practicing it with a correct frame of mind. This correct frame of mind is, as Nichiren concludes in this writing, the heritage of faith that is manifested in our determination to accomplish kosen-rufu while embracing faith in the Mystic Law, in the spirit of many in body one in mind and conviction in the oneness of mentor (the enlightened) and disciple (the unenlightened). Nichiu, the ninth general administrator of Taiseki-ji, teaches in Article 27 in his On Formalities (Kegi Sho), “We mean the same thing by “faith” or “heritage” or “the water of the Law” (Essential Writings of the Fuji School [Fuji Shugaku Yoshu], Vol. 1, p. 64). Presently, the Soka Gakkai shares the same view.

In contrast, Nichiren Shoshu strongly insists “The successive high priests of Nichiren Shoshu are the sole inheritors of the Law and teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. No other individuals can inherit them.” Therefore, all believers must absolutely follow the general administrator (high priest) of Taiseki-ji. The current Nichiren Shoshu thus holds that the entity of the Law received by Bodhisattva Superior Practices is located within the life of the general administrator, thus advocating the absolutism of the general administrator. However, this thought, which seems to have come from a doctrine advocated by Sakyo Ajari Nikkyo (which I will discuss later), must be regarded as a heretical idea that is opposed to the orthodox teaching of Taiseki-ji. Nichikan, the 26th general administrator, also states in The Meanings Hidden in the Depths (Montei Hichin Sho), “The one great secret Law of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, is the entity in the transfer of the essence of the Lotus Sutra (ketcho fuzoku). It is also the purpose of the advent of the founder Nichiren, and the ultimate entity of the Three Great Secret Laws. It denotes the true object of devotion of the essential teaching. It is the most profound, secret, and great Law, hidden since time without beginning in the heart of Shakyamuni Buddha. Therefore, it is called the One Great Secret Law” (EWFS, vol. 3, p. 93). As is shown by Nichikan here, the object of devotion of the essential teaching, which is the entity of the Law that Bodhisattva Superior Practices inherited and which all believers of Taiseki-ji should believe, is the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary. The woodblock Gohonzon transcribed by Nichikan, which contains the significance of the emanations of the Dai-Gohonzon, has been shared by the Soka Gakkai throughout the world. This indicates that the entity of the Law that Bodhisattva Superior Practices inherited is exposed to the eyes of millions of believers across the globe today.

As I will discuss later in my second thesis, I understand that the fact that the Soka Gakkai focuses on the heritage of faith is premised on the point that the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws that the Taiseki-ji School has been transmitting in the office of chief administrator for more than 700 years is widely publicized within the school.

In short, the entity and teaching of the Law that Bodhisattva Superior Practices received has been exposed to the world, which means that the chief administrator of Nichiren Shoshu cannot be the sole inheritor of the heritage of the ultimate Law of life and death.

Furthermore, I assert that the tradition of the absolutism of the general administrator that Nichiren Shoshu advocates emphatically today is no more than a myth created in the course of its history. Nichiren Shoshu’s current contention that “The high priest of Taiseki-ji is the only person who inherits the Law transmitted to Bodhisattva Superior Practices” is opposed to the intent of Nichiren who revealed the ultimate entity of the Law to all people in the form of the Gohonzon. How did such a myth or deviation come into existence? The answer to this question becomes clear as we look into the history of Taiseki-ji in terms of the formation of the idea that its chief administrators are the sole inheritors of the Law.

2. What Was Nikko’s View of the Idea That He Was the Only One Who Inherited Nichiren’s Teachings?

Nichiren Shoshu holds that it is the sole inheritor of the Nichiren–Nikko lineage based upon the “Two Transfer Documents,” that is, “The Minobu Transfer Document” and “The Ikegami Transfer Document,” which are said to have been given by Nichiren to Nikko at the time of his passing. The originals of these two transfer documents do not exist today. It is said that the copy created by Daion-bo Nichize was based upon another copy written in 1469 by Juhon-ji Nichiko, which was kept at the treasure house of Taiseki-ji. Scholars of other Nichiren sects have been doubtful of the authenticity of these transfer documents since ancient times.

I am not interested here in engaging myself in an argument about the authenticity of these two documents, but I would like to point out that there are no clear signs that indicate that Nichiren was concerned about the heritage of his Buddhism being transmitted through a one-to-one lineage that originates from him[2]. Nichiren’s true intent is manifested in his statement in “The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life,” which reads, “Nichiren has been trying to awaken all the people of Japan to faith in the Lotus Sutra so that they too can share the heritage and attain Buddhahood” (WND, Vol. 1, p. 217). Nichiren was the type of person who exerted himself to open the heritage of Buddhism to ordinary people, sharing his teachings through his lectures.

Nichiren shared his important teachings with his many disciples and lay believers. The teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws hidden in the depths of the “Life Span” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, which the Taiseki-ji School regards as the core of Nichiren’s lifetime teachings is touched upon here and there in his transfer teachings such as The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings (Ongi Kuden), “On the True Cause” (“Honnin-myo Sho”), and “One Hundred and Six Comparisons” (“Hyaku Rokka Sho”). While The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings is said to have been a collection of notes that Nikko took when Nichiren lectured on the Lotus Sutra at Mount Minobu, the Taiseki-ji side claims that “On the True Cause” and “One Hundred and Six Comparisons” were dictated by Nichiren to several disciples. Moreover, as is clear in Nikko’s “The Record of the Founder’s Passing,” Nichiren designated as six senior disciples on October 8, in 1282, five days before his passing: Nichiji, Nitcho, Niko, Nikko, Nichiro, and Nissho. In this vein, it seems unreal for the Nikko School to claim, “Nichiren Daishonin endowed only Nikko Shonin with the heritage of his Buddhism.”

However, there is a possibility that Nichiren secretly conferred upon Nikko the unheard-off, revolutionary teaching of Nichiren’s Gohonzon[3]. I say this because it is very mystic that Nikko alone expressed his religious worship of Nichiren. It may be possible that Nichiren, while choosing Nikko as his immediate successor, adopted a six-senior-priest system for the management of his order. The view that Nichiren chose Nikko as his successor may be allowed as a case of presumption.

However, the important point is that we do not perceive any sign of unilateral authoritarianism in the argument and behavior of Nikko. He is far from contending, “I am the only person who received the heritage of Nichiren Buddhism directly from Nichiren. Therefore, all disciples and believers of Nichiren should follow me unconditionally.” Nikko instead expressed his lamentation that “All the six senior priests of Nichiren should equally inherit the justice of our late mentor, but all of them except me opposed his correct teaching. As a result, I am the only one who sticks with and propagates his correct teaching.”

“Reply to Lord Hara,” which Nikko wrote in December 1288, one year before his departure from Mount Minobu and a copy of which was made in medieval times and is kept at Yobo-ji in Kyoto, reads in part, “All his disciples are now enemies of our mentor’s teachings. I, Nikko, alone am aware of our mentor’s correct teaching. And I know I am responsible to fulfill his objective. Therefore, I never forget his true intention” (Complete Works of Successive Chief Administrators of Nichiren Shoshu, Vol. 1, p. 172). What we can sense out of this passage is Nikko’s awareness that he alone became Nichiren’s correct successor as a result of the other five senior priests’ having fallen into slanderous thoughts that opposed their mentor’s teaching. In other words, he never put himself in a special place by insisting “Because I am the sole inheritor of the heritage of Nichiren Buddhism, I alone am absolutely correct.” Put another way, he proclaimed that he became solely responsible to continue to uphold Nichiren’s teaching because all the other senior priests became their mentor’s enemies.

There are a number of writings left by Nikko, which justify the point that I am making here. For instance, Article 1 of “The Twenty-Six Admonitions of Nikko” (a copy by Nichiga exists today) reads, “The doctrines of the Fuji School must not differ in the least from the teachings spread by the late master” (CWSCA, Vol. 1, p. 97). Article 2 also reads, “The doctrines of the five senior priests differ in every regard from the teachings of the late master” (ibid., p. 97).

Also, his On Refuting the Five Senior Priests (Gonin Shoha Sho) (copied by Nichidai first, and later Nichidai’s copy was copied by Nichiji) reads, “I have heard that the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai had three thousand disciples. Chang-an alone mastered a clear understanding of his teaching. The Great Teacher Dengyo had three thousand followers. No one was able to understand his teaching after Gishin was gone. Nichiren Daishonin designated six senior priests for the lasting protection of his teaching. However, his doctrine has already split into two and so has his school. Because of good karma, we were able to encounter a correct teacher, but it is now hard to tell who carries on his correct teaching. It will not be an easy thing for one to have a correct understanding of this Law even if one has a chance to hear it. It will be so sad if the correct teaching is lost. The correct teaching is hard to uphold exactly as predicted by the sutra and its commentaries. Sadness would be strong even in the case of the downfall of the theoretical teaching. Even stronger is our lamentation over the corruption of the essential teaching, Should we deviate from the late mentor’s teaching, we will lament over our short-sightedness. Viewed from the correct teaching of the Buddha, the five senior priests’ errors are indeed lamentable. I believe that the correct teaching will eventually prevail. You should ponder how wrong they are and clearly understand my point” (ibid., p. 35).

These statements by Nikko may be taken as an expression of humility from his sense of mission as Nichiren’s legitimate successor, which I don’t deny. In presuming who was Nichiren’s successor, we need to take into account the way of the Buddhist order in the medieval times when there was no system of putting local temples under their head temple. Regardless of the condition of the Buddhist institution in those days, being designated as a successor and professing that one is absolute as a successor are in essence two different things. They are on two different levels. It is no strange thing even if there were a chief administrator who, out of his sense of responsibility as a legitimate successor, humbly reflected upon himself while making sure to be in harmony with the mentor’s teaching and cherishing the opinions of his followers.

The important thing is the point that we can sense no sign of authoritarian self-absolutism in Nikko’s words and behavior. Nikko expressed that he was the sole legitimate successor simply because of the difference in the attitude of faith between himself and the other five priests. And even if we suppose that Nikko had a sense of legitimacy in his heart because of Nichiren’s designation as his immediate successor as described in the “Two Transfer Documents,” it can be said that Nikko did not uphold the theory of the chief administrator being absolute. He did not justify himself with the power of the authority that may have been given to him by Nichiren.

3. Contents of “Correct Teaching” Inherited Only by Nikko

What was the correct teaching of Nichiren that Nikko alone inherited? According to the Taiseki-ji School, the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws centering on the mandala Gohonzon is regarded as the correct teaching of Nichiren.

The Three Great Secret Laws mean the object of devotion of the essential teaching, the high sanctuary of the essential teaching, and the daimoku of the essential teaching. By comparing his views with that of the other five priests, Nikko made his position clear.

First, regarding the object of devotion of the essential teaching, Nikko values Nichiren’s mandala Gohonzon more than anything else. There is a document called The Guidelines for Believers of the Fuji School (Fuji Isseki Monto Zonchi no Koto) that is said to have been written in accord with Nikko’s intent (copied by Nichiyo).[4] In it there is the following description about the object of devotion:

“All the five senior priests insist: ‘In talking about the object of worship we should revere Shakyamuni Buddha. Therefore, we have already made his statutes. In the letters that our late mentor wrote to his disciples and believers, he praised their sincere act of creating Shakyamuni’s statues for paying homage.’ In the meantime, they energetically built temples and quarters, where they enshrined a statue of Shakyamuni or put the statues of Bodhisattvas Monju and Universal Worthy beside it. Therefore, they put the Gohonzon inscribed by the late sage behind these Buddhist statues. In some cases, they discarded his Gohonzon in the hallway of their temples or lodgings. In contrast, I, Nikko, insist: ‘In the teaching established by our sage, we do not make the pictures or statutes of the Buddha or bodhisattvas the object of devotion. As he explained in his writings, we should make the characters of Myoho-renge-kyo our object of devotion. In other words, the mandala Gohonzon he inscribed should be our object of devotion’” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 21).

According to this writing, the five senior priests adopted the statues of the Buddha or bodhisattvas as the object of devotion, disregarding Nichiren’s mandala written in Chinese characters. In the meantime, Nikko alone, rejecting the wooden statues or painted images of the Buddha or bodhisattvas, upheld Nichiren’s mandala of the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo as Nichiren taught in his writings.

Nikko further states about the object of devotion, “The Gohonzon inscribed by the sage has yet to be propagated throughout Jambudvipa. The object of devotion was never propagated in the Former and Middle Days. It has yet to be propagated in the Latter Day.” “We should profoundly and respectfully cherish this Gohonzon until the time of kosen-rufu when the leader of the nation inquires about its existence and meaning.” “Regarding the Gohonzon for Nikko’s disciples, I transcribed it for each of them even though I may have lowered the level of dignity of the Gohonzon inscribed with my mentor’s sacred calligraphy with that of my mediocre handwriting.” “Among my disciples, I confer the Gohonzon I transcribed especially upon those, whether they are priests or lay believers, who devoted themselves to faith unsparingly or those who had their bodies injured, those who were banished from their homes, or those who showed some sign of faith” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, pp. 21–22). Nikko stresses that the mandala Gohonzon that Nichiren inscribed should be most revered. Nikko’s emphasis on the significance of Nichiren’s Chinese character mandala hints that he placed the object of devotion of the essential teaching in the center of the Three Great Secret Laws.

It seems that Nikko also made a statue of Nichiren,[5] placing it in front of the mandala Gohonzon. The “Pledge” that Hakiri Kiyonaga, steward of Mount Minobu, in 1288, presented to Nikko when Nikko was still living there, reads, “Since I am practicing the teaching you taught me exactly as you taught, I, Kiyonaga, am deeply experiencing the same level of hatred from others that was aimed toward the Gohonzon and the statue of the sage” (EWFS, Vol. 8, p. 10) From this we can draw that the statue of Nichiren as well as the mandala Gohonzon were treated as the object of devotion in the Nikko School in those days.[6] In fact, Nikko most respectfully called Nichiren “the true teacher,” “the sage,” “the sage of the lotus,” “the sage of the sovereign of the Law,” “Sage Nichiren of the sutra,” “the Buddha,” and so forth.[7] This indicates that the Nikko School, from its beginning, had the idea that Nichiren himself is the object of devotion.

Furthermore, Nikko, in transcribing the mandala Gohonzon, never failed to put “Nichiren Zai-gohan (here is his signature)” right under the main title of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This point markedly distinguishes Nikko from priests of other Nichiren sects who tend to write down their own name under the main title of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. That Nikko always put “Nichiren Zai-gohan” under Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in the Gohonzon can be taken as indicative of his consciousness that Nichiren is the entity of the mandala Gohonzon. This position on the part of Nikko in transcribing the mandala Gohonzon is a harbinger of the teaching of the Gohonzon embodying the principle of the oneness of the Person and the Law that the Taiseki-ji School came to reveal later.

Moreover, Nikko contends that the sanctuary of the essential teaching, as opposed to the sanctuary of the theoretical teaching at Mount Hiei, should be constructed in the future. According to The Guidelines for Believers of the Fuji School, the five senior priests opposed Nikko’s idea of building a sanctuary of the essential teaching, stating “The teaching taught by the sage is that of the Tendai sect. Therefore, we became ordained priests at Mount Hiei, where we received the precepts” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 22). Nikko had to rebut their contention, stating “The precept conferred at Mount Hiei is based upon the theoretical teaching of the Lotus Sutra. It is only suitable for the time of the Middle Day. The precept taught by Nichiren Shonin was based upon the essential teaching of the Lotus Sutra. It is the correct precept that should be embraced for the time of the Latter Day of the Law” (ibid., p. 17). As a result of this discrepancy between his view and that of the five senior priests, Nikko declared that he would cut ties with them all (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 17).

With regard to a location for the construction of the Honmon-ji, the high sanctuary of the essential teaching, The Guidelines for Believers of the Fuji School reads, “In this context, Nikko insists: ‘It is a common practice in Buddhism to select a superior location for the construction of a temple. Mount Fuji in Suruga is the most wonderful mountain in Japan. I heard that the Honmon-ji should be built in the foothills of this mountain. Therefore, when the time of kosen-rufu has come and the leader of the nation uses this teaching, we should construct it at Mount Fuji without fail’” (ibid., p. 22).

While the five senior priests remarked that their late mentor, Nichiren, did not decide on the location for the construction of the high sanctuary of the essential teaching, Nikko strongly contended that the Honmon-ji should be built in the foothills of Mount Fuji. The construction of the Honmon-ji can be construed to mean the construction of the high sanctuary of the essential teaching. Namely, Nikko insisted on the construction of the high sanctuary at Mount Fuji. This idea of building the high sanctuary at Mount Fuji was later revealed in the Taiseki-ji School.

Lastly, as to the daimoku of the essential teaching, it was a common view among all Nichiren schools that the daimoku of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo should be chanted. However, Nikko was different from the other five priests and unique in that he distinguished the Lotus School of Nichiren from the Lotus School of Tendai, looking upon the former as the essential teaching and the latter as the theoretical teaching. With this perspective, Nikko strongly refuted the five priests who professed, “The teaching taught by the sage is that of the Tendai sect” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 16), “Our late mentor Nichiren Shonin’s School is a branch of the Tendai sect” (ibid., p. 16), and “Nichiren Shonin wanted to spread the Hokke sect while cherishing the ancient way at the times of Emperor Kanmu and carrying on the teaching of the Great Teacher Dengyo” (ibid., p. 16). As a result, Nikko concludes, “Because of these fundamental differences between them and me, I severed ties with the fiver senior priests” (ibid., p. 16).

Now we know that Nikko’s view of the daimoku of the essential teaching was so different from that of the five senior priests (who were heavily influenced by the Tendai sect) that Nikko had to choose to abandon them all.

Incidentally, “On the True Cause” (copied by Nichiji, whose copy was copied by Nisshin, and whose copy was then copied by Nichiga) reads in part, “What is hidden in the depths of the ‘Life Span’ chapter is the Mystic Law that Shakyamuni exclusively practiced to instantly attain Buddhahood in the remote past. The actual ichinen sanzen is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo itself” (Gosho Zenshu, p. 877). I quote this here only for reference since “On the True Cause,” which is said to have been given by Nichiren directly to Nikko, cannot be philologically proved as an authentic document.

I clarified from the viewpoint of the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws the contents of the correct teaching of Nichiren through Nikko’s comparison between his position and that of the other five priests. From this clarification we can say that Nikko’s sense of justice that would have been the basis of the consciousness that he might have had, the consciousness that “I am the sole inheritor of the heritage of Nichiren Buddhism,” was the type of consciousness that discriminated between the people of his school. We can also see that his understanding of the correct teaching of Nichiren was later organized into the doctrine of the Three Great Secret Laws, which became the core teaching of the Taiseki-ji School.

4. Nikko’s View of Being Chief Priest of Taiseki-ji

As discussed thus far, Nikko expressed his view of being the sole inheritor of the correct teachings of Nichiren as a result of the five senior priests’ betrayal of the founder’s teachings. At the same time, with Nikko’s doctrinal creed aside, it seems that Nikko was conscious about being the chief priest (betto) of Kuon-ji at Mount Minobu. The role of the chief priest was to administer all the businesses of the temple. Betto is almost synonymous with the word juji (that also means chief priest). In fact, Nikko, after Nichiren’s passing, was welcomed by Minobu Steward Hakiri to Mount Minobu, where Nikko dwelled at Kuon-ji until he chose to leave there in 1289.

Judging from historical data, the consciousness of the successive chief priests of Taiseki-ji in its early days was that they are its administrators rather than being the sole inheritor of Nichiren’s heritage. According to “The Twenty-Six Admonitions of Nikko,” Nikko views the successor of his school as the “chief administrator (kanzu).” According to Japanese Kojihan dictionary, the term kanzu of a temple is another expression of the general administrator, particularly in the Tendai sect. This dictionary also comments, “This term later became an honorable title of the high priest of various Buddhist sects’ head or major temples[8].” Namely, it seems that what the image that Nikko had about the role of his future successors was that they were chief priests or chief administrators of Taiseki-ji.

This point can be affirmed by what he wrote in Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death, a writing of November 1332, and whose original is stored at Taiseki-ji: “Nichimoku shall conduct gongyo and await the time of kosen-rufu while administering and repairing the temple at Oishi [Taiseki-ji] – both its halls and cemetery” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 96). A letter written by Nichimoku and titled “Reply on White Cloth” (whose original is stored at Myohon-ji in Hota) reads in part, “No chief priest now exists at Taiseki-ji.” We can take this as meaning that there was the position of chief priest at Taiseki-ji during the age of Nikko and Nichimoku.

There is no definite documentary data available with regard to the succession from Nichimoku to Nichido. It is known that there was a major strife between Nichido’s group and Nichigo’s believers about the property of Taiseki-ji. In the document that Nichimoku gave to Nichido in November 1327 (its original is stored at Taiseki-ji), Nichimoku wrote that he would give Nichido some rice fields and properties in Ohshu and Izu (ibid., p. 217). This story, which is on a level different from the transferring of the heritage of Taiseki-ji, is more about the granting of the position of chief priest of Taiseki-ji.

Nichiren Shoshu cites the Gohonzon that Nichido transcribed on June 15, 1339, as a historical reference to the succession of Taiseki-ji from fourth chief priest Nichido to fifth chief priest Nichigyo. On the right side of this Gohonzon is a note that reads, “I confer this Gohonzon upon Ajari (Senior Priest) Nichigyo of Kagano in Ohshu province. Nichigyo, who remonstrated with the emperor on my behalf, is my primary disciple” (EWFS, Vol. 8, p. 189).

The Chronology of the Fuji School determines that “Nichido transmitted the Law to Nichigyo”[9] based upon the transfer of this Gohonzon and a description in The Biographies of Fuji School’s Chief Administrators by Nissei, the 17th chief priest of Taiseki-ji. However, there is no note written on this Gohonzon that Nichido transferred the Law to Nichigyo. Nissei’s position about this matter in The Biographies of Fuji School’s Chief Administrators is not upheld by any existent historical data.

The question is what kind of view Nichido had about the lineage of his school. “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” (Goden Dodai), which is said to have been written by Nichido (its original is stored at Taiseki-ji), is a most trustworthy source material.[10] It has no mention of the specific transfer of the Law from Nichiren to Nikko. It only writes, “Nikko Shonin, after Nichiren Daishonin’s passing, propagated the Law at Mount Minobu, dwelling there for three years while remonstrating with the court (in Kyoto) and the government in Kanto” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 267). Nichido’s point here is that Nichiren entrusted Nikko with a responsibility to administer Kuon-ji at Mount Minobu as its chief priest. Perhaps because “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” was a draft, there was no mention of the relationship of Nikko and Nichimoku.

In other words, in “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” there is no reference to the idea of the sole transmission of the heritage of the Law from one chief priest to another in the lineage of the Taiseki-ji School. The only recognizable fact about the transfer from Nichiren to Nikko was no more than the granting of the position of chief priest of Kuon-ji at Mount Minobu. It is only natural to think that there should be some mention in “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” about the doctrinal transmission and mandala Gohonzon transfer from a mentor to his successor in the early days of Taiseki-ji, but the author of “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” made no mention of the transmission of the Law. “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” gives us the impression that Nikko’s position was as the chief priest of Kuon-ji rather than the successor of the Law.

Now let’s take a look at the transition from the fifth high priest, Nichigyo, to the sixth high priest, Nichiji. The Chronology of Nichiren Shoshu and the Fuji School presumes (based on the Gohonzon conferred by Nichigyo upon Nichiji and descriptions in The Biographies of Fuji School’s Chief Administrators) that “Nichigyo transferred the Law to Nichiji, conferring upon Nichiji the Gohonzon that Nichigyo transcribed on February 15, 1365.”[11] However, the note written on this Gohonzon only mentions, ‘I confer this Gohonzon on Senior Priest Nichiji of Nanjo’” (EWFS, Vol. 8, p. 190).

In contrast, however, there is historical data that indicates that the sixth chief administrator Nichiji was aware that he was the chief priest of Taiseki-ji. It is a draft of a petition that Nichiji is said to have written in July 1392. It reads in part, “I, Nichiji, chief priest of Taiseki-ji in Ueno village in Suruga province, most humbly submit this” and “It is true that this temple has been maintained for several generations, beginning with Founder Nichiren Shonin all the way down to myself, Nichiji” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 303). These statements show that Nichiji considered himself to be the chief priest of Taiseki-ji and that he was proud of the fact that the transmission of the office was carried out for several generations.

What about the transition from the sixth high priest, Nichiji to the eighth high priest, Nichiei? There is a note on the mandala Gohonzon given by Nichiji on May 1, 1404, to Nichiei. It reads, “I confer this upon Minobu Ajari Nichiei, chief priest of Taiseki-ji” (EWFS, Vol. 8, p. 193). Just as in some other cases, The Chronology of the Fuji School regards Nichiji’s conferral of this Gohonzon upon Nichiei as the transmission of the Law from Nichiji to Nichiei.[12] However, this note on the Gohonzon does not make the point that Nichiji transferred the Law to Nichiei.[13]

In contrast, there is a reliable data with regards to Nichiei’s awareness of being chief priest of Taiseki-ji. There is a description of “Nichiei, a responsible disciple of Taiseki-ji” on the mandala Gohonzon transcribed by Nichiei in August 1412. The expression “Nichiei, a responsible disciple of Taiseki-ji” gives the impression that Nichiei considered himself to be chief priest of Taiseki-ji.

I searched among the writings to discover the concept of the chief priest among the successive chief priests of Taiseki-ji in its early days, beginning with its founder, Nikko, to the eighth chief priest, Nichiei. What stands out in their statements are expressions such as “chief priest,” “administrator,” “successor,” “chief priest of Taiseki-ji,” “a responsible disciple of Taiseki-ji.” These give us the impression that they were all conscious about being chief priests of Taiseki-ji. Nothing appeared regarding the transmission of Buddhism teachings between Taiseki-ji chief priests in the early days of the Taiseki-ji School.

Instead, their view of the chief priest is very visible in historical documents. Their perspective was so different from that upheld by the current Nichiren Shoshu priesthood, which proclaims the very exclusive authority of the high priest (chief administrator) instead of the idea that the high priest of Nichiren Shoshu is no more than the chief priest of Taiseki-ji.

5. Questions Involving Article 2 of Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death

Let’s examine several historical documents that the current Nichiren Shoshu cites to justify the absolute authority of its chief administrator. First, I would like to examine various issues regarding Article 2 of Matters to Be Observed after Nikko’s Death. According to Complete Works of Successive Chief Administrators of Nichiren Shoshu, Article 2 reads, “Nikko shall bestow upon Nichimoku the Dai-Gohonzon of the second year of Koan [1279] that was conferred upon me. It should be enshrined at Honmon-ji.” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 96). Nichiren Shoshu today uses this document to profess that the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji inherits the entity of the Law, or the Dai-Gohonzon.[14]

It is necessary to examine the contents of this article philologically, and to examine what Nichiko Hori, the 59th general administrator, wrote about Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death: “Its draft and final version both exist at the head temple” (EWFS, Vol. 8, p. 17). What Nichiko meant was that this document has both a draft and an original and that both of them are stored at Taiseki-ji.

The chief priest of Taiseki-ji presents Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death on the occasion of the scroll-airing ceremony in spring every year. The Complete Works of Nikko Shonin published by Kofu Seminary carries a photo of Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death that seems to have been taken at one of the scroll-airing ceremonies.[15] According to this photo, this document, written rather informally by Nikko, carries his signature and seal. It is a little puzzling that the date is not indicated in this document, but the overall appearance seems to support its authenticity. Nikken Abe, former chief administrator of Nichiren Shoshu, remarked when he was Study Department Chief of Nichiren Shoshu, “The high priest presents the transfer document from Nikko Shonin to Nichimoku Shonin on the occasion of the scroll-airing ceremony every year. This transfer document reads in part, ‘Nikko shall bestow upon Nichimoku the Dai-Gohonzon of the second year of Koan [1279] that was conferred upon me. It should be enshrined at Honmon-ji.’”[16]

What are the exact contents of Article 2 of this legitimate document? The editor of Complete Works of Nikko Shonin (Nikko Shonin Zenshu), who used this photo as the source, printed the sentence that means “Nikko shall bestow upon Nichimoku the Dai-Gohonzon of the second year of Koan [1279] that was conferred upon me. It should be enshrined at Honmon-ji” [Nikko ga mi ni atete tamawaru tokoro no koan ninen no dai-gohonzon (here there are several questionable Chinese characters) nichimoku ni kore o juyosu. Honmon-ji ni kake tatematsuru beshi.]).[17] However, the actual sentence of this part in the original final document is much more complicated. Volume 2 of The Doctrinal History of the Nichiren Sect, which Nichiko Hori helped compile in the Taisho Era when he was called Jirin Hori, carried a photo of Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death based upon the original stored at Taiseki-ji. In it, there is a note regarding Article 2 of the final original document. It reads, “Four characters were intentionally erased (in Article 2) and ‘should be enshrined at Honmon-ji’ was later added by somebody.”[18] If this statement is correct, Article 2 of the existing final, original document should read, “Nikko shall bestow upon and transfer to Nichimoku the Dai-Gohonzon of the second year of Koan [1279] that was conferred upon me. … It should be enshrined at Honmon-ji.” And the portion “… transfer to …” and “It should be enshrined at Honmon-ji” is now regarded as somebody’s addition. Saichiro Matsumoto is confused about the difference between the final original document and its draft in this regard.[19]

The truth of Article 2 is getting clear, but we need to make a new correction, as we analyze a photo printed in The Complete Works of Nikko Shonin. This photo is very unclear, yet we can see three Chinese characters are written on top of another three Chinese characters, which means that the true sentence of Article 2 must read “Nikko shall bestow upon and transfer to Nichimoku the Dai-Gohonzon of the second year of Koan [1279] that was conferred upon me.” (The words “transfer to” are written over the words “bestow upon.”) “It should be enshrined at Honmon-ji.” The part “shall … transfer to … It should be enshrined at the Honmon-ji” can be concluded as an addition at a later time. As a result, we know that the original description of Article 2 of Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death was “Nikko shall bestow upon Nichimoku the Dai-Gohonzon of the second year of Koan [1279] that was conferred upon me. …” [Nikko ga mi ni atete tamawaru tokoro no koan ninen no dai-gohonzon (here there are several questionable Chinese characters) nichimoku ni kore o juyosu.]

The 65th general administrator Nichijun insisted that the part that reads “should be enshrined at Honmon-ji” was not somebody’s addition, contending that it was added by Nikko Shonin himself. Certainly, the photo of the original seemingly indicates that the part “should be enshrined at the Honmon-ji” was added later,[20] but the handwriting in this sentence and the handwriting in the original sentence are not so clearly different. Hence, Nichijun asserts that the added part was Nikko’s handwriting. Therefore, in Complete Works of Nikko Shonin, he printed the part “should be enshrined at the Honmon-ji,” regarding it as part of the original document.

If Nichijun’s theory is correct, the correct description of Article 2 of the original, final document should be changed to “Nikko shall transfer to Nichimoku the Dai-Gohonzon of the second year of Koan [1279] that was conferred upon me and … It should be enshrined at Honmon-ji.” I disagree with his theory, for it is very strange that the author had to add more characters after having made a clean original document. Once more words are added on top of other words, the document becomes a second draft. Since Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death is an official transfer document, it is very unnatural to add a phrase on top of an existing phrase. Therefore, I think it is reasonable to say that the part “shall transmit to … It should be enshrined at the Honmon-ji” was added by somebody other than Nikko.

If so, the draft of this document must not contain the phrase “to be transferred and enshrined at Honmon-ji,” either. Common sense tells us that the draft and its final, clean copy are supposed to be the same even though there could be minor differences between them in terms of their contents. Nichiko’s decision that the part “shall transfer to … It should be enshrined at the Honmon-ji” was added by somebody must have been based upon his intention to ensure oneness between the draft and the final copy in terms of content.

A priest at Taiseki-ji appraised both the draft and final, clean copy of Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death as Nikko’s own handwriting. Shukudo Takahashi, a priest of Nichiren Shoshu who specialized in reading and understanding old documents, determined after long study of both the draft and final copy of Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death that both of them were authentically handwritten by Nikko himself[21]. According to my personal experience, the draft can be considered to have been written by Nikko. It is inconceivable to forge a draft that would have been modified later. The reason why Taiseki-ji does not expose the draft to the public is that it lacks the expression “should be enshrined at the Honmon-ji.” By asserting that the draft of Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death was Nikko’s own personal handwriting, Nichiko may have attempted to cover the missing part in the final, clean copy by the contents of the draft.

In conclusion, based upon Nichiko’s view, I presume that the correct contents of the final original version of Article 2 of Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death should read, “Nikko shall bestow upon Nichimoku the Dai-Gohonzon of the second year of Koan [1279] that was conferred upon me and ….” [Nikko ga mi ni atete tamawaru tokoro no koan ninen no dai-gohonzon (here there are several questionable Chinese characters) nichimoku ni kore o juyosu.]

I would like to address the missing part in the original, final (not draft) document. There are two theories about this missing part. According to one theory, the missing part resulted because somebody intentionally erased what was originally written there. In other words, according to Nichiko Hori, there was in this missing part a description of “the letter of response from the emperor (on-kudashibumi) dated May 29 in the fifth year of Koan” (EWFS, Vol. 8, p. 18). Another theory holds that Nikko himself deleted something in the missing part.Complete Works of Successive Chief Administrators of Nichiren Shoshu seems supportive of this theory, which is very difficult to accept.

As I mentioned before, it is hard to assume that Nikko, the author of this official transfer document of Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death, deleted what he originally wrote. If we take as Nikko’s own intentional description the passage that reads, “Nikko shall bestow upon Nichimoku the Dai-Gohonzon of the second year of Koan [1279] that was conferred upon me. … It should be enshrined at Honmon-ji” [Nikko ga mi ni atete tamawaru tokoro no koan ninen no dai-gohonzon (here there are several questionable Chinese characters that Nikko allegedly erased) nichimoku ni kore o juyosu. Honmon-ji ni kake tatematsuru beshi], it will follow that Nikko intentionally left a transfer document with a few words deleted, knowing that it will generate a variety of speculations because of the deleted part. I do not think that Nikko left the type of transfer document whose authenticity is doubtful. It may more stand to reason to think that the deletion occurred to help the added part “shall transmit to … It should be enshrined at the Honmon-ji” fit in the document.

I will continue to discuss this subject based upon Nichiko’s theory that the deleted part should read “the letter of response from the emperor (on May 29) in the fifth year of Koan.” It seems that Nichiko tried to solve the problem in the final original copy. Nichiko put in the deleted part “the letter of response from the emperor (on May 29) in the fifth year of Koan” because he used the contents of the draft for reference. However, Nichiren Shoshu’s The Chronology of the Fuji School writes, “received Onjo-ji on-kudashibumi on February 29, in the fifth year of Koan (1282)” (its copy is stored at Taiseki-ji).[22] The Chronology of the Fuji School is a document of the accurate history of Nichiren Shoshu, which the school put an all-out effort to create. It is easy to imagine that this description in The Chronology of the Fuji School was ultimately based upon the examination of the draft of Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death. I don’t know the reason why Nichiko adopted the May 29 theory, but I use “the letter of response from the emperor (on February 29) in the fifth year of Koan” while trusting the description in The Chronology of the Fuji School.

But the problem still remains unresolved. The deleted part in the final copy of this document consists of four Chinese characters. We must say that it is very unreasonable to contend that there was “the letter of response from the emperor (on February 29) in the fifth year of Koan” in the same part of the original. Nichiko shared the same sentiment, and therefore, he must have put “May 29 (Nichiko somehow used May, not February)” in parenthesis, for he also must have felt that it did not stand to reason to believe the whole passage, “the letter of response from the emperor (on May 29) in the fifth year of Koan” would fit in the limited space of the deletion. The expression “the letter of response from the emperor in the fifth year of Koan” consists of seven Chinese characters, which are too many characters for the limited space of four characters. Therefore, recently, a researcher presumes the four Chinese characters (narabini go-kudashibumi, which means “and the letter of response from the emperor”) must have been written originally in the deleted part.[23]

I myself don’t see any problem in putting “and the letter of response from the emperor in the fifth year of Koan” in the erased part. Ever since The Doctrinal History of the Nichiren Sect, Vol. 2, determined that what was deleted were four Chinese characters, this determination has been upheld without any additional examination. But I have to say that this determination may be wrong. In examining a photo of the final copy of Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death, there is a part where characters are written in two lines in small characters in the space of one line. Article 3 of this document writes in part, “Nichiren Shonin stays for seven years at Mount Minobu in Koshu,” and that section that reads “at Mount Minobu in Koshu” is written in two lines in the space of one line. The photo of the final copy of Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death, printed in The Complete Works of Nikko Shonin, is unclear, and it seems that two lines are deleted in the very missing part.

In this context, two lines were deleted in the missing part, and it can be presumed that seven Chinese characters of “the letter of response from the emperor in the fifth year of Koan” were presumably written. Nichiko Hori, who played a central role in compiling volume 2 of The Doctrinal History of the Nichiren Sect, dared to put in the deleted section the seven Chinese characters meaning “the letter of response from the emperor in the fifth year of Koan.” This fact indicates that Nichiko was open to the idea that not only four Chinese characters but even seven characters (Koan gonen on-kudashibumi) could have fit there in two lines of small characters. Nichiko must have arrived at the conclusion, judging from the contents of the draft, that the missing words must have been “Koan gonen on-kudashibumi.”

Therefore, the final copy of Article 2 of Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death should read, “Nikko shall bestow upon Nichimoku the Dai-Gohonzon of the second year of Koan [1279] that was conferred upon me and the honorable letter of response written in the fifth year of Koan.” [Nikko ga mi ni atete tamawar tokoro no koan ninen dai-gohonzon koan gonen on-kudashibumi nichimoku ni kore o juyosu.] This is my opinion on this matter. Except the point that (May 29) was changed to (February 29) I am of the same opinion as Nichiko’s theory that is included in volume 8 of Essential Writings of the Fuji School (EWFS, Vol. 8, 18).

Incidentally, let me answer the question that “there is no reason why a person of the Taiseki-ji School would delete the description ‘Koan gonen on-kudashibumi (the honorable letter of response written in the fifth year of Koan).’” What is an on-kudashibumi? At this point, we don’t know exactly what it points to. In 1282, on behalf of Nichiren, Nikko wrote a remonstration letter to the emperor that is called an “Appeal of Onjo-ji” and in the following year, the emperor wrote a response, which was reportedly lost. This response from the emperor is the on-kudashibumi mentioned here, according to Nichiko’s presumption.[24] And if such a response from the emperor was a treasure of the Nikko School, it is rather strange to claim that the description of this emperor’s letter in the fifth year of Koan was deleted by a person of the Taiseki-ji School. It may generally make sense to think that they had to delete that part from the transfer document because the emperor’s precious letter had been lost. But it is presumable that the deletion in Article 2 of the final copy of this transfer document was done in order to insert the part “kore o sodden shi honmon-ji ni kake tatematsuru beshi” (shall transmit to … It should be enshrined at the Honmon-ji). The author of the added part seems to have planned to make the Dai-Gohonzon of the Second Year of Koan mean the Gohonzon that should be enshrined at Honmon-ji, that is, the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary. However, if the original document had read, “Nikko shall bestow upon Nichimoku the Dai-Gohonzon of the second year of Koan [1279] that was conferred upon me and the honorable letter of response written in the fifth year of Koan,” what would happen to his plan? In order to add “This should be enshrined at Honmon-ji” he needed to delete “the honorable letter of response written in the fifth year of Koan.” Because without deleting that part, the transfer document could not support his plan. Therefore, there is no doubt that this author is somebody who was within Taiseki-ji. It can be presumed that the description of “koan gonen on-kudashibumi” (the honorable letter of response written in the fifth year of Koan) was unnecessary, troublesome and should be deleted in the mind of the person who authored the added part.

With all this said, I would like to point out problematic areas in the current Nichiren Shoshu thought. Article 2 of Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death, which is contained in The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Heisei New Edition (compiled by Nikken Abe and published in 1994) reads, “Nikko shall transmit to Nichimoku the Dai-Gohonzon of the second year of Koan [1279] and conferred upon me. It should be enshrined at Honmon-ji” [Nikko ga mi ni atete tamawaru tokoro no koan ninen no dai-gohonzon wa nichimoku ni kore o sodensu. Honmon-ji ni kake tatematsuru beshi].[25]

Nikken Abe wants to claim on the basis of Article 2 of this transfer document that the entity of the Law innate in the Dai-Gohonzon was transferred from Nikko Shonin to Nichimoku Shonin. The expression “transfer” gives an impression of secrecy more than the expression “conferral.” The Biographer of the Founder (Soshi Den) written by Nisshin of Yobo-ji is the first place where the expression “to be transferred to Nichimoku” appeared. The Sacred Scriptures of Nichiren Shoshu published in 1952 takes the same position. However, the expression “to be conferred upon Nichimoku” has been adopted in the Taiseki-ji School by the 26th general administrator Nichikan (The Collection of Commentaries, pp. 225 and 718), the 48th general administrator Nichiryo (EWFS, Vol. 5, p. 327) and the 59th general administrator Nichiko (EWFS, Vol. 8, p. 18). However, Nikken made a change from “to be conferred upon” to ‘to be transferred to” while disregarding the common view held by noted scholars of Nichiren Buddhism in the Taiseki-ji School. With this change, Nikken has deviated from the time-honored mainstream tradition of the Taiseki-ji School. In any case, the original description in Article 2 of Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death was “to be conferred upon.” It follows that The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Heisei New Edition, that adopted the expression of “to be transferred to” based itself upon the added part, which was not there in Nikko’s original version.

In any case, philologically speaking, Article 2 of the final original of Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death should be understood as reading, “Nikko shall bestow upon Nichimoku the Gohonzon inscribed in the second year of Koan [1279] that was conferred upon me and the honorable letter of response written in the fifth year of Koan.” From this, we cannot draw the conclusion that the current Nichiren Shoshu advocates to deify the authority of the chief administrator of Nichiren Shoshu, claiming that the general administrator alone possesses the living essence of the True Buddha. According to this sound interpretation of Article 2, Nichimoku was conferred with the Dai-Gohonzon of the Second Year of Koan and the emperor’s document in the fifth year of Koan. The conferral of the Dai-Gohonzon from Nikko to Nichimoku should be understood in the same context as the conferral of the emperor’s document. Put another way, the Dai-Gohonzon was conferred upon Nichimoku as the Nikko School’s treasure. The conferral of the Dai-Gohonzon upon Nichimoku did not signify the mystic transmission of something like the Living Essence of the True Buddha, or the entity of the Law. When it comes to what is meant by the Dai-Gohonzon of the Second Year of Koan, no clear idea or view seems to have been established within the Taiseki-ji School until the time of the 17th general administrator Nissei.[26] It seems that the Dai-Gohonzon of the Second Year of Koan came to denote the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary in the Taiseki-ji School because the 26th general administrator Nichikan began to advocate it.[27]

Lastly, I would like to examine the possible theories that for some reason Nikko left the final copy of this transfer document with a deletion and an addition or that, aside from the existing final original, there was another true, final version, which has not survived today. Such theories are very improbable, but such hypotheses are not necessarily impossible. In this sense, the description in The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Heisei New Edition, which reads, “Nikko shall transmit to Nichimoku the Gohonzon of the second year of Koan [1279] that was conferred upon me. It should be enshrined at Honmon-ji.” may not be totally written off. Yet it is unreasonable to use this sentence as documentary proof to warrant the deification of the authority of the general administrator of Nichiren Shoshu. What can be enshrined at Honmon-ji is nothing but the Dai-Gohonzon in the sense that it is the school’s treasure. Premised on this, it is an overly expanded interpretation of this passage to use it to advocate the mystic transmission of the Living Essence of the True Buddha or entity of the Law (Dai-Gohonzon) between one general administrator and another.

6. Examination of Commentary on “On the True Cause” (Honnin-myo Kuketsu) and Commentary on “On Refuting the Five Priests” (Gonin Shoha Sho Kenmon)

It is reasonable to presume from the various data I cited and the various points I made that the idea that the successive general administrators who received the transmission of the heritage are absolute did not exist in the early days of the Taiseki-ji School. However, the current Nichiren Shoshu priesthood would not accept such a perspective. The priesthood’s attachment to its dogma is so overwhelming. There was a case in which one Nichiren Shoshu priest tried to rebut my perspective, quoting Commentary on “On the True Cause”compiled by Sanmi Nichijun (its copy by Nitto exists today) and Commentary on “On Refuting the Five Priests” (copied by Nittai and others) to introduce references to support the idea of the absolutism of the high priest (chief administrator) through their alleged inheritance of the entity of the Law.

In short, I think there are a number of philological problems in these two documents. I will give detailed explanations to the reasons why I think these documents are doubtful sources. Before I do so, let me go over the relationship between the Taiseki-ji School in its early days and the Tendai School in the medieval age.

(1) Relationship Between Taiseki-ji School in Its Early Days and T’ien-t’ai School in the Medieval Age
The so-called medieval Tendai sect is characterized by its theory of original enlightenment, which came into existence in the latter part of the Heian era. According to this idea of original enlightenment, all phenomena, which are manifestations of the eternal truth, are to be absolutely affirmed. Along this line, such ultimate principles as earthly desires are enlightenment (bon’no soku bodai) and ordinary people are Buddhas (shujo soku hotoke) were expounded with the awareness of their intrinsic inter-relative relationship. T’ien-t’ai’s philosophy of original enlightenment was transmitted orally or through pieces of paper until the time of the latter part of the Heian era. Soon after, these secret teachings began to be documented until they were systematized into the teachings of the fourfold rise and fall (shiju no kohai) and the threefold seven points (sanju hichika). As the times came to the ending part of the Kamakura era, and Nanboku-Muromachi eras, the systematization of the ideology of original enlightenment was completed while their interpretations became very popular.

Nichiren, who appeared in the middle part of the Kamakura era, was philosophically affected by the thought of the medieval Tendai sect. Nichiren thus adopted the format of conveying his teachings to his disciples through lectures and the method of categorizing Buddhist teachings. Different from the medieval Tendai sect that cherishes the mystic, direct transmission of the teaching from the Buddha of the Dharma Body, Nichiren valued the specific endowment upon Bodhisattva Superior Practices that was overtly expounded in the Lotus Sutra. Not only that, Nichiren went on to reveal as Nam-myoho-renge-kyo the Law that Bodhisattva Superior Practices received personally during the ceremony in the air, encouraging his believers to chant it, and eventually inscribing the mandala Gohonzon of the Mystic Law. Nichiren, while distancing himself from the meditative approach of the medieval Tendai sect that became aloof from the Lotus Sutra,[28] aimed at exposing to the public the entity of the Law that constituted the core of the heritage of his Buddhism. He eventually embodied the heritage in the form of the mandala Gohonzon. Nichiren’s view of the transmission of the heritage is characterized by his openness. It makes him so different from the medieval Tendai sect that valued the secret transmission of the teaching, the transmission done by sometime orally or at other times through written pieces of paper. We cannot see the adoption of the medieval Tendai’s secretive transmission of the heritage in Nichiren’s writings that are very trustworthy philologically.

Perhaps hoping to be in line with Nichiren, the chief priests of Taiseki-ji in its early days never took the attitude of secrecy, showing no sign that they had secretly received the heritage of the school from their predecessor. What they came from was their consciousness that they were merely a chief priest of Taiseki-ji or the sense of responsibility that they alone maintain Nichiren’s original teachings as a result of the five senior priests’ betrayal of the founder. On the other hand, documents that, though their authenticity cannot be proven, expound the authority of the transmitted heritage, gradually emerged and came into the Taiseki-ji School to the point where the successive chief priests of Taiseki-ji began to stress aggressively at the end of the 16th century the authority of their position with the heritage transmitted secretly from their predecessor.

Let us take an overall look at the relationship between the medieval Tendai sect and the Taiseki-ji School in its early days. Sanmi Nichijun, Nikko’s disciple who later became the second study head of his Omosu Seminary, spent a few years at Mount Hiei to study Buddhism. The Heritage of Senior Priest Nichijun (copied by Nisshin) reads, “Nichijun, when he was a child, studied at Taiseki-ji and grew up there under the bright tutorship of Nikko and Nitcho. Later in his youth, Nichijun went to Mount Hiei to study the ultimate doctrine in the four teachings of T’ien-t’ai” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 23). Also, On the Bottom of the Heart of the Essential Teaching (copied by Nichigen) reads, “In his childhood Nichijun visited Taiseki-ji and studied under the bright tutorship of the two teachers. After he grew up, he went to Mount Hiei to attend the three-lecture series. Since then, he devoted himself morning and evening to the practice and study of the Lotus Sutra” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 36).

An examination of the activities of the chief priests of Taiseki-ji in its early days reveals that the fifth general administrator Nichigyo and the sixth general administrator Nichiji might have studied at Tendai sect’s temples in the Kanto area. According to recent research, part of The Collection of Significant Teachings is said to be stored at Taiseki-ji. The Collection of Significant Teachings was written by Yukai, a disciple of Sonkai who was a noted scholar of the Tendai sect in Kanto. Nichigyo, the fifth general administrator of Taiseki-ji and Yukai’s contemporary, excerpted part of this writing and copied it. And his copy is now stored at Taiseki-ji. Nichiei, the 24th general administrator of Taiseki-ji, who lived in the Edo Era, excerpted Nichigyo’s copy of this work, and seemingly wrote part of The Collection of Significant Teachings, where Nichiei added his comments. At the beginning of this writing, Nichiei wrote, “Nichiji transferred part of The Collection of Significant Teachings to Nichigyo. Nichigyo copied this. The 24th general administrator Nichiei states, ‘I now saw Nichigyo’s copy, and he excerpts the core teaching of the Tendai sect. I read the entire work.’” In the afterword, Nichiei is said to have written, “Nichigyo Shonin, the fifth high priest of this school, copied these 65 articles. Since many of them are secret teachings of the Tendai sect, they should be studied in the future in view of the teachings of our school.” Part of The Collection of Significant Teachings is said to have been studied at various seminaries of the Tendai sect in Kanto.[29] Its contents consist of descriptions of oral teachings of the medieval Tendai sect. From this we can presume that Nichigyo enthusiastically studied the oral teachings of the medieval Tendai sect that were prevalent in his time.

As to the sixth high priest, Nichiji, the ninth high priest, Nichiu, mentions in On the Accounts of Teacher Nichiu, “The fundamental reason why Nichiju aroused his faith was because of Genmyo Hoin of Senba in Musashi province. When he became study head of Omiya in Fuji, he had a discussion with Nichia Shonin, a representative of Nichiji, at a residence of Jomyo, Taiseki-ji’s lay believer in Shibusawa. Through this discussion, Nichiju decided to convert to the Fuji School” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 210). From this we can see that Nichiji and Nichia were related to the Senba Seminary of the Tendai sect in Kanto.

Through these anecdotes we can say that those priests who studied at the seminary of the Tendai sect in Kanto or who studied the Buddhism of the Tendai sect at Mount Hiei took vital positions including the position of chief priest at Taiseki-ji in its early days.

(2) Theory of Sole Receiver of Heritage Seen in Commentary on “On the True Cause”
However, we cannot find in the attitude of Nichigyo and Nichiji who are included in the lineage of the successive chief priests of Taiseki-ji the influence from the medieval Tendai sect’s emphasis on “transmission” and “heritage.” Vivid in Nichiji’s words and behavior is his consciousness of just being a chief priest of Taiseki-ji.

In contrast, when it comes to Sanmi Nichijun, who served as study head at Omosu seminary after studying Mount Hiei, we need to examine whether or not he was influenced by the medieval Tendai sect’s way of thinking where it stressed the idea of “transmission.” This is because Commentary on “On the True Cause, which is believed to have been written by Nichijun, reads in its final part, “This heritage was given solely to Nikko Shonin, as evidenced in the document of October 11 in the fifth year of Koan” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 84). According to one theory, this document is the first one that referred to the Nichiren-Nikko transmission, a case of “transmission to one particular individual.”

Of course, we cannot go on to say only with this passage (“this heritage was given solely to Nikko Shonin”) that the idea of deifying the chief priest of Taiseki-ji is manifested inCommentary on “On the True Cause.” The idea of “sole inheritor” cannot be seen at all in any of Nikko’s existent writings. Regardless of whether or not he received the heritage directly from Nichiren on a one-to-one basis, Nikko never tried to authorize himself by stressing that he was the sole inheritor of the Law. In this vein, we may be able to say that the ending sentence of Commentary on “On the True Cause,” which positively praises the authority of sole inheritor, is a harbinger of the theory of the absolutism of the chief administrator where the transmission of the heritage is placed in the center.

However, there has been some doubt, since ancient times, about the authenticity of Commentary on “On the True Cause.” For instance, such expressions as “One Nichiren Sect” and Nichiren Shu (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 82) gives us a strange impression. The term “Hokke sect” is used in Nichiju’s other works such as The Heritage of Senior Priest Nichijun, On Refuting Erroneous Teachings and Establishing Correct Ones, and On Refuting the Teachings of Pure Land and True Word Schools. For instance, The Heritage of Senior Priest Nichijun reads, “Hundreds of people belong to the sect that is called the Hokke sect, and they all commit themselves to Teacher Nikko” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 22).

It is said that the name “Nichiren Sect” came to be used after a Nichiren order was banned from using the name of the Hokke sect after the Tenmon Hokke skirmish in 1536. Judging from this fact, it is hard to believe that Commentary on “On the True Cause,” where the expression “Nichiren sect” is frequently used, is a writing by Nichijun who lived in the 14th century. Nevertheless, we can see the words “Nichiren sect” in the data of the Fuji School such as The Comments by Nichigen and Record of “On the Accounts of Teacher Nichiu,” Part 1. Therefore, we cannot draw a quick conclusion in this argument. In writing a letter to Nisshin of Yobo-ji to refuse the opening of a relationship between Yobo-ji and Taiseki-ji in November 1558, the 13th general administrator Nichiin borrowed a portion of Commentary on “On the True Cause.” In Commentary on “On the True Cause,”  there is a part that reads,

“We should regard Nichiren Daishonin of the True Cause as the Original Buddha of limitless freedom. Since the Buddha is a teacher of the theoretical teaching, he expounds only the two teachings, that is, the teachings of maturing and harvesting that were suitable for those whose life capacity was inclined toward the theoretical teaching. This is what is meant by ‘the more provisional the teaching, the higher must be the stage [of those who embrace it in order to attain enlightenment].’ Those who receive the provisional teaching from the provisional Buddha can attain enlightenment on their own once they arrive at the stage of progressive awakening. Those who receive the teaching from our supreme founder are totally ignorant of Buddhism. Offering the eternal, ultimate Mystic Law to such people causes them to attain Buddhahood just as the stage of progressing awakening can suddenly change into the stage of enlightenment. Although our bodies are impure, we are born at the same time as our sage and can chant the selfless, original Law to our hearts’ content. Therefore, our tears of joy wet the sleeve of our clothes and excitement fills our hearts. We are much more fortunate than men of wisdom, saints, kings and ministers in the Former and Middle Days” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 450).

The exact same sentence is seen in Commentary on “On the True Cause”  (EWFS, p. 83). Nichiin’s letter that was sent from Taiseki-ji to Nisshin of Yobo-ji was naturally absent at Taiseki-ji for good, which meant that the author of Commentary on “On the True Cause” must have almost no chance to use the contents of Nichiin’s letter for reference. Rather, it seems that Nichiin used a portion of Commentary on “On the True Cause” as if it were his own theory.

Judging from this we can tell that Commentary on “On the True Cause” was written in the middle of the 16th century. Also, many copies of Commentary on “On the True Cause” were made in the Edo Era.

Next, I will examine the contents of Commentary on “On the True Cause.” According to Jijo Ohashi, Nichiko Hori once stated with regards to the contents of Commentary on “On the True Cause”: 

“What was written in that age was somehow tainted with the flavor of the Tendai sect. Therefore, the Nichiren Shu in general thinks that somebody wrote under the name of Nichijun Commentary on ‘On the True Cause’  that had the flavor of the Tendai sect. However, Nichiren Daishonin himself employed the theory of the medieval Tendai. It is not right to think that this was not written by Nichiju even if it smacked of the Tendai sect. At the same time, Nichiko stated, Commentary on “On the True Cause”  is also titled On the Principal Points (Senyo Sho). Its ending sentence is horrible.”[30]

I am not sure how much we can trust Ohashi’s record, but if we go by his record, the truth is that Nichiko, while regarding Commentary on “On the True Cause” as writing by Nichijun, expressed his doubt toward the authenticity of the ending sentence. Ohashi’s record does not help us so much to know what Nichiko referred to by the ending sentence, and how horrible it was. However, the sentence of the sole inheritor appears in the ending sentence of Commentary on “On the True Cause,” in the space that follows the title “On the Principal Points” was written. It is very probable that Nichiko was very skeptical for some reason of the authenticity of the ending sentence of Commentary on “On the True Cause.”

“The document of October 11 in the fifth year of Koan” in “In referring to ‘the transmission of the heritage just to one individual,’ this heritage was given solely to Nikko Shonin, as evidenced in the document of October 11 in the fifth year of Koan” points to “On the True Cause.” The ending sentence of “On the True Cause” reads, “This heritage and the significant matters of the object of devotion were what was transferred from Nichiren solely to his successive high priests. This heritage and the important points of the object of devotion were transmitted to the sole inheritors, the successive lords of the chair who succeed the lineage of Nichiren, just as (Bodhisattva Superior Practices) inherited the Law in the treasure tower” (GZ, p. 877). The author of Commentary on “On the True Cause” may have wanted to contend that the sole inheritor in this passage from “On the True Cause” indicated Nikko. The Doctrinal Research Committee of Nichiren Shoshu insists that what the “sole inheritor” in Commentary on “On the True Cause” points to should be determined based upon the ending sentence of “On the True Cause.”[31] However, Nichiko Hori judged that the ending sentence of “On the True Cause” was added later by somebody, which means Commentary on “On the True Cause” was written at a time that was after the final sentence was added.” In that case, it is very hard to regard the “sole inheritor” in Commentary on “On the True Cause” as a description made by Nichijun in the early days of the Nikko School.

If so, can we say that the sentence that reads “This heritage was given solely to Nikko Shonin, as evidenced in the document of October 11 in the fifth year of Koan” signifies that Nikko solely received the transmission of “On the True Cause”? Commentary on “On the True Cause” further reads, “This essential, profound, ultimate teaching is the source of benefit in the Latter Day of the Law. A person with profound faith begs this old man to lecture on it” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 84). The author of Commentary on “On the True Cause” may have written it with an intention to lecture on the ultimate teachings disclosed in “On the True Cause.” However, this interpretation must not be beneficial to Nichiren Shoshu. Taiseki-ji’s 17th general administrator Nissei, and 56th general administrator Nichio did not look upon “One Hundred and Six Comparisons” and “On the True Cause” as the transfer documents of the sole transmission. Taiseki-ji’s way of thinking in modern times was to regard the transmission mentioned in these two documents is the general transmission of the teachings (“Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind”). In this context, the theory of the sole inheritor that appears in the ending sentence of Commentary on “On the True Cause” is concerned with the sole transmission on the level of the general transmission of the transfer teaching. In other words, this ending sentence of Commentary on “On the True Cause” cannot be treated as documentary proof to justify Nichiren Shoshu’s contention of the sole, exclusive transmission of the Law from one general administrator to another.

Let me point out one more point from another perspective. If we take Commentary on “On the True Cause” as written by Nichijun (as it is written under his name), it follows that this document was written by a person who was related to Omosu. This point is important. The Heritage of Senior Priest Nichijun reads, “Nikko Shonin is Nichiren Shonin’s successor. He is the leader who inherited the essential teaching” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 22). It also reads, “Priest Nitcho is Nikko Shonin’s disciple. He is a priest of great virtue who inherited the Law” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 22). The Heritage of Senior Priest Nichijun thus expounds the sole lineage in the transmission of the Law, that is, the lineage of Shakyamuni Buddha-Bodhisattva Superior Practices and his rebirth as Nichiren-Nikko-Nitcho-Nichiju. In this context, if we accept the idea that Commentary on “On the True Cause” was authored by Nichijun, the description that Nikko is the sole inheritor should be understood within the context of Nikko-Nitcho-Nichijun that was a lineage in Omosu in terms of the succession of the responsibility of its study leader. In this vein, Commentary on “On the True Cause” should not be regarded as documentary proof that justifies the origin of Taiseki-ji’s lineage of Nikko-Nichimoku-Nichido-Nichigyo.

(3) Remarks Advocating Faith in Chief Administrator’s Absolute Authority as Seen in Commentary on “On Refuting the Five Priests”
Commentary on “On Refuting the Five Priests” is said to have written by Nichigen of Myoren-ji in 1380, some one hundred years after Nichiren’s passing. There is an expression in this writing that seems to claim the sole transmission along the lineage of chief administrator, “Nikko too showed his demise and transferred the Law to his successors. Since the Lotus Sutra returns to and assembles around them, each hossu (lord of the chair or high priest) is the head of the Law” (EWFS, Vol. 4, p. 9). This passage expresses the view that the transmission of the Law in the lineage of the chief administrator is valid. It clearly shows the absolutism of the general administrator and the significance of the sole transmission of the heritage.

Nichigen’s original of Commentary on “On Refuting the Five Priests” is missing. According to Nichiko Hori, there are so many errors and misinformation in the copy, that it is difficult to read (EWFS, Vol. 4, 26). It is believed that this document was not written by Nichigen. Masahiro Kobayashi, in his “Formation of the Absolutism of High Priest and Its Criticism,” writes, while referring to Eishu Miyazaki’s theory, Commentary on “On Refuting the Five Priests” contains a description that can be made only after 1470. There is a serious doubt about the theory that Nichigen of Myoren-ji wrote this document.”[32] Also, Reido Ikeda, paying attention to the similarity in terms of the contents of Commentary on “On Refuting the Five Priests”and Nichiju’s (Sakyo Nikkyo’s former name)” One-Hundred-Fifty Articles and other works, argues that “One-Hundred-Fifty Articles” predates Commentary on “On Refuting the Five Priests.”[33]

Taking these philological issues into consideration, let’s examine some descriptions in Commentary on “On Refuting the Five Priests,” including the sentence that reads, “Nikko too showed his demise and transferred the Law to his successors. Since the Lotus Sutra returns to and assembles around them, each hossu (lord of the chair or high priest) is the head of the Law.”

First, the terms hossu, or “the lord of the Law,” and “the head of the Law” that are used in this passage present an issue. According to Nichiko Hori, Nichigen is the youngest son of Nanjo Tokimitsu. He is said to have been guided in faith by Taiseki-ji’s fourth general administrator, Nichido and fifth general administrator, Nichigyo.[34] However, as previously mentioned, we cannot identify with data related to Nichido and Nichigyo the absolutism of the chief priest of Taiseki-ji that stems from emphasis upon the sole transmission of the Law along the lineage of Taiseki-ji’s chief priests. Around 1380 when Commentary on “On Refuting the Five Priests” was allegedly written, the sixth general administrator Nichiji was leading Taiseki-ji. As I showed before, what we can observe from him is just his view that he is no more than the chief priest of Taiseki-ji. There is no record that shows that Nichiji attempted to assume authority as the lord of the Law, or the sole inheritor of the heritage. It is very unnatural under such circumstances that Nichiji of Myoren-ji alone stresses the transmission of the Lotus Sutra from Nikko to successive chief priests of Taiseki-ji. Not only that, the passage that precedes this very sentence that emphasizes the transmission of the Lotus Sutra along the lineage of chief priests of Taiseki-ji reads, “Nichiren Shonin transferred this on September 12, 1282. When he passed away on October 13, 1282, he warranted the transmission with his signature” (EWFS, Vol. 4, p. 8). What is disclosed here for the first time in the Nikko School is the existence of the “Two Transfer Documents.”

When Nikko, the founder of the Nikko School, used the expression “hossu (the lord of the Law)” he always referred to Nichiren, the founder of Nichiren Buddhism. Therefore, the chief priests of Taiseki-ji in its early days did not either call themselves the lord of the Law or allow others to call them the lord of the Law. However, Sakyo Nikkyo of Juhon-ji converted himself to Taiseki-ji in the later years of the ninth general administrator Nichiu, beginning to call the successive chief priests of Taiseki-ji the lord of the Law. Nikkyo also described the contents of the “Two Transfer Documents” for the first time, stressing their significance. Nikkyo is known as a learned priest of Taiseki-ji. Judging from this, it is not realistic to hold thatCommentary on “On Refuting the Five Priests,” which, after Nikko’s demise, calls the successive general administrators of Taiseki-ji the lord of the Law and also refers to the “Two Transfer Documents,” was written in the early days of Taiseki-ji. Most convincing in terms of its contents is the view that it was written under the influence of Sakyo Nikkyo.

Nevertheless, if we are to presume that Commentary on “On Refuting the Five Priests” was written by Nichigen of Myoren-ji, we should think that Nichigen was in one way or another under the influence of the medieval Tendai sect, whose inclination was to cherish the oral method to transmit the teaching, following a strong trend of the medieval days of Japan including the time of Nichiren. This trend naturally must have affected the Nikko School. Nichigen of Myoren-ji as a learned priest must have had enough knowledge of the teaching of the Tendai sect and its format to orally transfer its teachings. It is a possibility that Nichigen, absorbing from the Tendai sect the idea of transmitting the heritage along the lineage of its successful general administrators and its emphasis on the significance of the transfer of the teachings along the lineage of general administrator, adopted the idea of the transmission of the heritage of the Lotus Sutra in line with the lineage of the successive chief priests of Taiseki-ji in the Nikko School.

With that said, however, we need to understand that the idea expressed in the passage in the Commentary on “On Refuting the Five Priests” that “Nikko too showed his demise and transferred the Law to his successors. Since the Lotus Sutra returns to and assembles around them, each hossu (lord of the chair or high priest) is the head of the Law” was not a mainstream thought of Taiseki-ji in its early days.[35] I may sound like repeating myself, but we cannot identify in the documents written by Taiseki-ji’s chief priests in its early days the contention that its teaching should be based upon the transmission of the Law along the lineage of its chief priest.

In short, it is very probable that the Commentary on “On Refuting the Five Priests” that is allegedly written by Nichigen was written by somebody else who lived much later than he. And the idea that stresses faith in the authority of the successful general administrators was not a mainstream thought at Taiseki-ji. Needless to say, Nichigen was not a chief priest of Taiseki-ji. Therefore, Commentary on “On Refuting the Five Priests” that was allegedly written by Nichiren cannot be a source material that warrants the point that there was a thought in the early days of Taiseki-ji that the chief priest who inherited the heritage of the Law is absolute.

7. Non-Existence of Authoritarianism and Consciousness of Sole Inheritor of the Heritage of the Law in the Minds of Chief Administrators in Early Days of Taiseki-ji

I believe it has become clear that using Commentary on “On the True Cause” and Commentary on “On Refuting the Five Priests” is not a rational idea to warrant the absolutism of the general administrator in the current Nichiren Shoshu that is based upon the supremacy of the transmission of the heritage along the lineage of its successive general administrators. From another angle, I would like to confirm that the chief priests of Taiseki-ji in its early days did not possess the idea that they are absolute because of the authority they gained through the sole transmission of the heritage along their lineage.

As is well known, Nikko, following the example of Nichiren who designated six senior priests before he passed away, chose as his succeeding senior priests Nichimoku, Nikke, Nisshu, Nichizen, Nissen and Nichijo. After he moved to Omosu, Nikko designated a new set of six disciples, who were Nichidai, Nitcho, Nichido, Nichimyo, Nichigo and Nichijo.

Nikko seemed to have sort of a system where a group of selected disciples will work together after his death to manage the order. In Matters to Be Observed after Nikko’s Death, however, he called Nichimoku his successor, making it clear that he chose Nichimoku as his immediate successor among his six major disciples. As I mentioned before, at least the draft of Matters to Be Observed after Nikko’s Death seems to have been written by Nikko himself. Since it is clearly written in this document that Nikko designated Nichimoku as his successor, there is no doubt that Nikko had the intention to single out one disciple as his successor. It seems that Nikko followed Nichiren in choosing a successor. In this regard, it is easy to presume that Nichiren chose a single successor among his many disciples. Naturally, each of the chief priests of Taiseki-ji in the early days were devoted to spreading the Law for all eternity with his immediate successor designated.

However, such a system of choosing one specific successor that was adopted in the early days of Taiseki-ji should not be understood as on the same level as the idea of the absolute authority of the successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji that was later imported into the school.

It can be assumed that the school’s important doctrines were transferred from the chief priest of Taiseki-ji to his successor in the early days. However, this does not mean that Taiseki-ji’s new successors automatically received mystic life-conditions and obtain absolute authority from their predecessors simply because they became new chief priests of Taiseki-ji. As long as we base ourselves upon trustable data, Nikko and Nichimoku never intended to deify themselves by boasting of their authority as the sole successors of Nichiren’s order.

It is noteworthy that Nikko tried to put the authority of the successor of his school in a relative light following Nichiren’s admonition of “to rely on the Law and not upon persons” This attitude on the part of Nikko is manifested clearly in his “Twenty-six Admonitions,” which include such articles as: “Do not follow even the high priest if he goes against the Buddha’s law and propounds his own views” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 98) and “My disciples should conduct themselves as holy priests, patterning their behavior after that of the late master. However, even if a high priest or a priest of profound practice and understanding deviates from [the principle of] sexual abstinence, he may still be allowed to remain in the priesthood [as a common priest without rank]” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 99).

The fourth general administrator Nichido, who took over Taiseki-ji after Nikko and Nichimoku’s demise, did not criticize other schools of Nikko in a self-righteous authoritarian manner. Nichido sent a letter to Nichizon in 1335, two years after Nichimoku died on the way to Kyoto to remonstrate with the emperor of the time. In it Nichido writes, “After Nikko Shonin passed away, people began to expound their own teachings. Some accorded with Tenmon who advocated the theory that one should not recite the ‘Expedient Means’ chapter of the Lotus Sutra while others followed the contention advocated those in Kamakura that one can attain Buddhahood through the ‘Expedient Means’ chapter of the Lotus Sutra. I Nichido alone stood up with Nikko Shonin’s correct teaching, thus arousing many enemies against me” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 287). Through this letter Nichido informed Nichizon of the confusion within the Nikko School in terms of both doctrine and practice. In it Nichido discloses his awareness that he alone sticks with the correct teaching of the Nikko School, and it is clear according to the context of this statement that his awareness, just like that of Nikko, is coming from his sense of responsibility, not because of the authority he possesses as the chief priest of Taiseki-ji. If Nichido valued more than anything else his Nikko-Nichimoku-Nichido lineage and harbored the idea of the absolutism of the chief priest of Taiseki-ji, he would have written about the orthodoxy of the heritage he possessed from his predecessor.

Furthermore, after Nichido wrote this letter, some senior priests who belonged to the Nikko School transcribed the Gohonzon, which Nichido did not reprimand at all. There is no document that indicates Nichido’s criticism of other priests’ behavior.

According to the self-righteous doctrine that places absolute authority upon the transmission of the alleged heritage transmitted along the lineage of the successive general administrators that was established in the Taiseki-ji School at a later date, it is a grave slander to transcribe the Gohonzon without receiving the heritage of the Law in line with the official lineage of Taiseki-ji. It was Nichiren’s strict guidance that one should severely take to task any slanderous behavior by anybody whether he is outside or inside his order. Yet there is no historical document where Nichido reprimanded as a grave slander those senior priests’ actions to transcribe the Gohonzon on their own. From this we can be confident that the thought that the general administrator alone is qualified to transcribe the Gohonzon, the thought that came to stand out in Taiseki-ji around the time of the 17th, Nissei, did not actually exist in the minds of the chief priests in the early days of Taiseki-ji.

Let me cite an interesting document here. There is the following description in “The Oath” that Sanmi Nichijun wrote in 1324, nine years after Nikko’s passing: “After the passing of two sages (Nichiren and Nikko), the Nikko School came to harbor different teachings while developing attachment to their personal emotions regardless of their rank in the school. Although there is only one correct teaching and all other teachings are wrong, everybody is attached to their personal desires and shallow ideas. A sutra passage that reads, ‘In that evil age there will be monks with perverse wisdom and hearts that are fawning and crooked’ (WND, p. 310) is exactly what I am seeing in this school. From now on, if there should arise a serious matter among priests and believers in this school, we should all sign our names in front of the Gohonzon and discuss open-mindedly discarding our individual narrow-mindedness. Otherwise, our juniors will come to harbor wrong, personal views, causing both the Person and the Law to perish, bringing kosen-rufu to a halt” (EWFS, Vol. 2, pp. 2-28).

As we can tell from Sanmi Nichijun’s lamentation, it is so unreasonable to contend that the absolute authority of the chief administrator was prevalent in the Nikko School in those days. Nichijun is a very senior priest in the Nikko School who once served as head of study at Omosu Seminary. While showing no sign of being absolute as chief priest of Taiseki-ji, he is appealing to all priests and believers that they should discuss openly to uphold the school’s correct teaching and spread it for all eternity. Why did he have to say such a thing? The only convincing answer to this question is the presumption that in those days within the Nikko School nobody was having the idea that the chief administrator of the school is absolute and that the heritage of the Law he alone possessed was the absolute standard with which to distinguish right from wrong. There was no movement in the early days of the Nikko School for its chief priests to claim their absolute authority based upon their responsibility that they must have felt by receiving the core teaching of Nichiren Buddhism from their predecessors. This I would like to stress once again to conclude the first half of this thesis.

8. Ninth High Priest Nichiu’s Emphasis on the Heritage of Faith and His Theory of Chief Administrator Being Nichiren’s Representative

According to a document kept at Myoki-ji in Kanazawa, the ninth general administrator Nichiu was born on April 16, 1402. At that time Taiseki-ji was in an extremely destitute condition because of seven years of strife with the Nichigo School. Under such circumstances, Nichiu became a priest under his mentor, Nichiei, the eighth general administrator of Taiseki-ji, devoting himself to the study of Nichiren Buddhism. Nichiei passed away in 1419, and it is presumed that, though still young, Nichiu took charge of Taiseki-ji after Nichiei’s death.

We can see through Nichiu’s personal profile that he was in touch with Keishun of Kashihara Seminary and Teacher Bizenritsu of Senba Seminary. Just like other previous chief priests of Taiseki-ji, Nichiu is considered to have been versed in the teaching of the medieval Tendai sect. Most likely, Nichiu too must have studied the orally transferred teachings at these seminaries of the Tendai School in Kanto.

However, Nichiu did not dedicate himself to the teaching of the Tendai sect. He was rather critical of them. This we can tell from Renyo-bo’s record of Nichiu’s remarks. It reads in part, “If you say Buddhism is all about wisdom and talent, there are some wise people in the Tendai and other sects. What they preach is not Buddhism. What we call Buddhist practice or kosen-rufu is to practice Buddhism with wholehearted faith in it while following the way of (mentor and disciple)” (EWFS, Vol. 2, 146). It is obvious from this passage that Nichiu intended to enhance a faith-first position within the Taiseki-ji School while avoiding T’ien-t’ai-style theoretical pursuit of wisdom. By recognizing the orally transmitted teachings of the medieval Tendai sect, Nichiu became all the more aware of the difference between the Tendai sect and the Taiseki-ji School, thus attempted to establish the Buddhism of Sowing within Taiseki-ji and make its position very unique among various schools of the Lotus Sutra.

Other Nichiren schools held that Nichiren’s true intention lay in adhering to Shakyamuni Buddhism, the Buddhist of Harvesting. T’ien-t’ai of the Middle Day of the Law practiced meditation in pursuit of recognizing ichinen sanzen within his own mind. Since the Latter Day of the Law is an extremely defiled age dominated by the three poisons , people in the Latter Day cannot attain Buddhism through Shakyamuni’s Buddhism (“Notes Taken by Senior Priest Shimono,” EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 152). With this thought Nichiu stressed that people in the Latter Day of the Law whose foolishness and delusions occupy their minds should embrace the Mystic Law to reveal their innate Buddhahood with pure faith in it (ibid.).

If we follow this way of thinking on the part of Nichiu, it is hard to say that he was positive toward the Tendai orally transmitted teachings. In the next section of this thesis, I will discuss Nichiu’s view of the heritage of the Taiseki-ji School and the role of the school’s general administrator.

(1) Nichiu’s View of the Heritage — Upholding Faith in the Gohonzon of the Person and the Law Through the Mentor and Disciple Relationship
First of all, let me point out that among a number of notes taken out of Nichiu’s remarks there is no reference to the idea of the sole transmission of the heritage of the Law through the office of the successive general administrators of Taiseki-ji. What Nichiu repeatedly emphasized was the heritage of faith based upon the mentor-disciple relationship, which is synonymous with Nichiren’s guidance.

According to Nichiu, the mentor-disciple relationship is a necessary practice for ordinary people in the Latter Day of the Law to attain Buddhahood within their own lives. The three poisons of greed, anger, and foolishness abound in the lives of the people in the Latter Day of the Law. They can enlighten themselves only through faith in Myoho-renge-kyo. In this connection, people need a mentor in faith. One can attain Buddhahood in one’s present form through achieving oneness between mentor (Buddhahood) and disciple (the other nine worlds). This is an outline of Nichiu’s view of mentor and disciple.

Notably, Nichiu’s view is premised on the reality that both mentor and disciple are ordinary people whose three poisons are strong and rampant within their respective lives. Renyo-bo took notes of Nichiu’s discussions:

“Today in the Latter Day of the Law, only evil minds prevail, and good minds are scarce. The three poisons are strong and rampant in the lives of both mentor and disciple. When they pursue the way of mentor and disciple and embrace Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with wholehearted faith in it, it follows that they plant the seed of enlightenment in their lives through their faith.” “Today in the days of the fifth five hundred years, both mentor and disciple are foolish and deluded by the three poisons. In this regard, one should embrace Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with wholehearted faith, following the way of mentor and disciple. To believe means to sow the seed of enlightenment in one’s life. Because of the seed planted, they can obtain the harvest of enlightenment” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 147).

When Nichiu discussed the way of mentor and disciple, he saw the same possibility of enlightenment in their respective lives. Nichiu was of the opinion that both mentor and disciple equally needed to overcome their innate foolishness and delusion. Nichiu even looked upon Nichiren as a mentor with the possibility of delusions in his life while acknowledging him as a great mentor and the object of devotion of this school (“On Formalities,” EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 64).

Accordingly, Nichiu’s emphasis on the way of mentor and disciple and the significance of their awareness of their respective positions was not meant to deify Taiseki-ji’s general administrator and local temples’ chief priests who serve as believers’ mentors. Nichiu’s true intent in stressing the theory of mentor and disciple was to practice faith through the way of mentor and disciple to attain Buddhahood through faith and practice. Nichiu stated, “Faith is not easy to practice on one’s own. Therefore, we need a mentor to put faith into practice” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 165). “The entity of the Buddhism of Sowing and the practice of Myoho-renge-kyo lies in the way of mentor and disciple” (“On Formalities,” EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 64). “Sowing the seed of enlightenment is synonymous with the way of mentor and disciple” (“Notes Taken by Nittatsu”, EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 153). Through these comments, Nichiu stresses that ordinary people in the Latter Day of the Law sow the seed of enlightenment by arousing true faith in the Mystic Law and practicing it through the way of mentor and disciple.

Since Nichiu’s view of mentor and disciple comes from the recognition that both mentor and disciple are ordinary individuals filled with the three poisons, it is difficult for us to find signs of authoritarianism or discrimination between mentor and disciple. In his “On Formalities,” Nichiu writes, “Even a mentor needs to be courteous toward those who manifest Buddhahood with strong faith and behavior” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 70). Nichiu thus put faith as the basis of mentor and disciple. Viewed from this perspective, we can see that he was coming from faith-first spirit in referring to the heritage of the Taiseki-ji School in Article 27 of “On Formalities”:

“Faith, the heritage of the Law and the pure flow of the Law are identical. Continuous faith indicates the unbroken lineage and thus the correctly transmitted heritage of the Law and the uninterrupted pure flow of the Law. As a person shall not contradict his or her parents in the secular world, we in the religious world shall not go astray from what is in the heart of our teacher in order to receive the correct heritage and pure flow of the Law. When our faith does not differ from that of the noble founder, our body and mind manifest as the body and mind of Myoho-renge-kyo. When our faith differs [from that of the noble founder], however, we are ordinary mortals in body and mind. Then we do not possess the heritage of the Law that allows us to attain Buddhahood in our present forms” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 64).

Nichiu asserts that faith is the content of the water-flow of the Law that had been transferred from the founder Nichiren.

When Nichiu refers to faith, what does he mean? By faith he means doubt-free faith in Nichiren, the object of devotion in terms of the Person, and the mandala Gohonzon inscribed by Nichiren, in terms of the Law, the faith that had been maintained since the days of Nikko, the founder of Taiseki-ji. Nichiu refers to the Nikko School’s view of the object of devotion “The object of devotion in this school shall be limited to that of the sage Nichiren” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 65): “In the Hokke [Lotus] sect [i.e., the Fuji School], we must not regard [the images] of the Buddha and the bodhisattvas such as Kannon [Perceiver of the World’s Sound, Skt. Avalokiteshvara] or Myoon [Wonderful Sound, Skt. Gadgadasvara] as objects of devotion no matter how artfully they are painted. We shall make use only of the object of devotion in which Nichiren inscribed the Ten Worlds” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 70).

Nichiu clearly designated for the Taiseki-ji School’s believers the object of devotion in terms of both the Person and the Law. Therefore, the previous passage from Nichiu’s “On Formalities” signifies his exhortation that people in the Latter Day of the Law should attain Buddhahood by practicing with faith in the Gohonzon of the oneness of Person and Law through the way of mentor and disciple . Nichiren’s mandala Gohonzon of the oneness of the Person and the Law is exactly the entity of the Law transferred to Bodhisattva Superior Practices. Having faith in he Gohonzon means receiving the water of the heritage of the Law of Bodhisattva Superior Practices. Therefore, faith is synonymous with the heritage or flow of the Law.

The general administrator who teaches believers about faith in the Gohonzon of the Buddhism of Sowing may be justifiably and ultimately responsible for interpreting the school’s doctrines. However, the person who is responsible for interpreting the school’s doctrines cannot be authoritarian, for Nichiu puts faith before doctrines or the entity of the Law. Here I sense Nichiu’s solid position toward the significance of ordinary people’s faith. His point was: “People in the Latter Day of the Law cannot understand Nichiren Buddhism fully. They cannot attain Buddhahood only through their wisdom and talent. The same is true with the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji. Only through faith can we attain Buddhahood.”

Different from the effect of Buddhahood, faith is cause making. Hence it is changeable. It fluctuates. Therefore, Nichiu makes such statements as: “if your faith is solid,” “if you do not deviate from faith,” “when you do not veer off from faith,” and “when your faith differs.” From these statements, it is difficult to draw the view of the absolutism of the general administrator out of Nichiu’s position where he stresses the issue of faith, knowing that it is vulnerable to change. Some may say that when Nichiu refers to faith, he is not talking about faith on the part of the general administrator. However, Nichiu states, “Whether you abide by a precept or not, whether you have knowledge or not, you attain Buddhahood in your present form only with faith. … However, you should not put those who are ignorant and embracing no precept in a high position” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 146). In this way, Nichiu points out the significance of one’s attitude toward faith including the chief administrator like himself (who abides by the precept and finds himself in a high position with his knowledge of Buddhism).[36]

Let’s also examine Article 4 of “On Formalities” that Nikken and his cohorts use to contend that “Teacher Nichiu also expounded the absoluteness of the heritage transmitted solely through the lineage of the successive high priests of Taiseki-ji”:

“All Buddhas of the three existences and the successive high priests who inherit the lineage of our noble founder manifest themselves in the life of your ‘procedural’ mentor. Therefore, make sure to take faith in your immediate mentor. Our disciples, too, should take faith in me. Then, we all embody the body and mind of Myoho-renge-kyo. We are all one Buddha. This is called attaining Buddhahood in one’s present form” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 61).

“A ‘procedural’ mentor” means a mentor who confers Buddhism upon a disciple with his own hand. In this context, “A ‘procedural’ mentor” points to the chief priest of Taiseki-ji and chief priests of other temples that have disciples.[37] What does “to manifest themselves in the life of your ‘procedural’ mentor” mean in the above passage? The 66th general administrator Nittatsu explains, “‘Manifesting,’ which, in this context, literally means ‘casting off,’ indicates a phenomenon seen in the growth snakes, caterpillars and silkworms.”[38] If we follow Nittatsu’s explanation, the above passage is talking about the phenomenon where something continues to exist with its own identity while casting off its transient aspects in the lineage of Nichiren Daishonin and other successive general administrators.

Then, what is the entity that transforms from the Buddhas of the three existences to Nichiren, and from Nichiren to successive general administrators, one after another. In answering this question, Nittatsu states, “Ever since the Buddhas of the three existences and the Daishonin, the hearts of the successive high priests escape from their lives, now taking the form of the heart of the current mentor.”[39] In this way, Nittatsu holds that the “entity” flows just as the Buddha’s heart continues to exist while transforming its appearance or “casting off” its old aspect. This explanation by Nittatsu is very dubious. It is subject to all sorts of interpretations. For instance, Nikken and his cohorts claim that the entity that casts off an old aspect or self is nothing other than the Daishonin’s life. Thus they interpret Article 4 of “On Formalities”: “The Daishonin’s life was ‘cast off (from his life and therefore manifested)’ in the lives of the successive high priests. Since the Daishonin’s life dwells in the life of the current high priest, (Nikken Shonin gives the guidance that) we should take faith in him.”[40] They teach that the Daishonin’s life or the life of the True Buddha came out of the Daishonin’s body, flowed into the lives of the successive general administrators, and dwells in the life of the current general administrator. This is a philosophy that advocates the absolutism of the general administrator because of the heritage that allegedly dwells in his life.

However, Nikken and his cohorts’ concept of “the high priest where Nichiren’s life dwells” is not consistent with Nichiu’s other statements. According to Nisshu’s notes on Nichiu’s comments, Nichiu discussed, “Sage Nichiren, who is Bodhisattva Superior Practices’ reborn, manifests himself in the True Effect of Buddhahood that is atop the lower nine worlds. Nikko, who is the rebirth of Bodhisattva Boundless Practices, manifests himself in the True Cause of the lower nine worlds. Therefore, Nichiren, representing the True Effect, holds the sutra, and Nikko, representing the True Cause, put his palms together in respect. Showing the way of mentor and disciple, they display what it means to embrace this sutra with faith” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 409). In this comment, Nichiu takes Nichiren as the True Effect of Buddhahood that is atop the lower nine worlds while regarding Nikko as representing the True Cause of the lower nine worlds. While addressing the subject of formalities, Nichiu disclosed his view of the True Cause and Effect in light of the Buddhism of Sowing in the above comment. In other words, discussing the Nichiren-Nikko mentor and disciple in terms of the cause and effect of the ten worlds, he distinguished Nichiren, the True Effect in the Buddhism of Sowing, from his disciple Nikko, the True Cause in the Buddhism of Sowing.[41]

In no way does Nichiu, who holds such a view of mentor and disciple, expound the transition of the Daishonin’s life into the lives of the successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji. If Nikken and his priesthood claim that the Living Essence of the True Buddha will be transferred from the mentor to his disciple when faith based upon mentor and disciple is achieved, the same Living Essence of the True Buddha should be also transferred, logically speaking, to the lives of the ordinary people who carry on the same faith. It is impossible to draw from Nichiu’s view of mentor and disciple the idea of the absolutism of the chief administrator based upon his alleged inheritance of the Living Essence of the True Buddha. When Nichiu says that each general administrator is equal to Nichiren, he is only referring to an aspect of the formality of mentor and disciple where the chief administrator plays the Daishonin’s role on his behalf.

The entity that will be transferred from mentor to disciple, as referred to in Article 4 of “On Formalities,” is not the Living Essence of the True Buddha Nichiren. Here, we need to remember the fundamental spirit of faith that penetrates Nichiu’s theory of mentor and disciple. The way of mentor and disciple expounded by Nichiu does not lie in the relationship where the mentor will authoritatively confer something sacred upon his disciple. As I mentioned before, Nichiu had a strong confidence that both mentor and disciple are ordinary people under the strong influence of the three poisons. The formality or relationship of mentor and disciple drawn from Nichiu’s view is something where even the mentor who represents Buddhahood needs to believe in the Mystic Law as an ordinary individual and where the disciple carries on the mentor’s spirit for posterity. This is the right way of mentor and disciple in the teaching of the true cause and effect in the Buddhism of sowing. Therefore, Nichiu, in Article 27 of “On Formalities,” comments, “When our faith does not differ from that of the noble founder, our body and mind manifest as the body and mind of Myoho-renge-kyo. When our faith differs [from that of the noble founder], however, we are ordinary mortals in body and mind. Then we do not possess the heritage of the Law that allows us to attain Buddhahood in our present forms” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 64).

In it he advocates that the faith upheld by Nichiren and his successors is what we should inherit. In short, the phrase of Article 4 of “On Formalities,” which reads, “All Buddhas of the three existences and the successive high priests who inherit the lineage of our noble founder manifest themselves in the life of your ‘procedural’ mentor. Therefore, make sure to take faith in your immediate mentor” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 61), is Nichiu’s guidance whose point is: “Faith upheld by the Buddha of the three existences, Nichiren, and all the successive high priests, transforming its appearance, must be arriving at one’s ‘procedural’ mentor. So be sure to select the right mentor who possesses correct faith that has been upheld since the days of Nichiren.”

The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings reads, “It is through this single word ‘belief’ that the Buddhas of the three existences of past, present, and future attained their enlightenment” (GZ, p. 725). The Nikko School teaches that all the Buddhas attained Buddhahood with the power of faith. Nichiu’s remark that “when our faith does not differ from that of the noble founder” was his elaboration on the reality that faith in the Gohonzon of the oneness of the Person and the Law has been upheld ever since the days of Nichiren through the way of mentor and disciple along the lineage of the successive high priests of Taiseki-ji.

In the final analysis, Nichiu should be regarded as a high priest who stressed, just as Nichiren did, the significance of the heritage of faith. When Nichiu refers to faith, he means faith in the Gohonzon of the oneness of the Person and the Law, or the Gohonzon in the Buddhism of Sowing. Not only that, because Nichiu valued faith more than anything else, he put aside such issues that concern the chief administrator’s authority as the transmission of the doctrines and the acquisition of the entity of the Law. All Nichiu stressed was that both chief administrator and lay believers should cherish their own faith.

Getting back to the how the theory of absolutism of the high priest was formed in the Taiseki-ji School, it is inadequate to look upon Nichiu as an advocator of the absolute authority of the successive high priests of Taiseki-ji. Nichiu advocated the transmission of faith in the Gohonzon of the oneness of the Person and the Law, or the Gohonzon in the Buddhism of Sowing, along the lineage of the successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji, but because faith is not a fixed matter, or faith is changeable in every manner, faith is different than something that functions to deify the chief administrator in office. The fact that Nichiu put faith, which is in essence an unstable thing, at the core of the heritage based upon the way of mentor and disciple is a manifestation of Nichiu’s thought that the chief administrator cannot be a possessor of impeccable enlightenment. Among the notes taken about Nichiu’s discussions appear Nichiu’s own experiences of the mistakes he committed in faith.[42] Nichiu was far removed from the idea that the successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji possess absolute authority that stems from the transmission of the heritage along their lineage within Taiseki-ji.

As far as Nichiu is concerned, the successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji are worthy of respect as mentors of the heritage only when they uphold correct faith. In other words, Nichiu respects the successive chief administrators only when they embrace correct faith. In this respect, the chief administrator takes the position of mentor as a great model of faith to believers. The chief administrator who received the heritage of the Law should never error in presenting the doctrines of Nichiren Buddhism, but, at the same time, it can be said that he is fallible in interpreting the teachings.

(2) Theory of the High Priest Representing Nichiren
Next, I would like to go over the question of whether or not the belief that the successive high priests are equal to Nichiren, is supported in Nichiu’s “On Formalities.”

Since Nichiu sees the formality of mentor and disciple between Nichiren, the True Effect, and Nikko, the True Cause, the formality of the successive chief administrators’ being equal to Nichiren is nothing but an idea that should be denied in the final analysis. However, Nichiu adopts three different views of mentor and disciple. The first kind is a relationship between Nichiren (mentor) and all other disciples including chief administrators (disciples). The second kind of is the one between the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji (mentor) and other priests and believers (disciples). The third kind is the one between local chief priests (mentors) and the believers (disciples) who follow them. Looking at the second kind, the idea of each successive chief administrator being Nichiren comes into the picture.

Let me take some specific examples.

Article 24 of “On Formalities” reads, “If an officer priest receives an offering from a disciple or believer, he should first show it to the chief administrator, who should report this offering to the Buddha while ringing a bell. Because our predecessors already passed away, the current chief administrator represents them. The offerings the current high priest see is what all Buddhas and Sage Buddha [Nichiren] see” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 63).

According to Nichiko Hori’s interpretation of this passage, this article teaches that when a senior priest of Taiseki-ji has received offerings from believers, he should first receive direction from the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji. Nichiu cites the reason for this, “Because the chief priest of Taiseki-ji represents the sage (Nichiren Daishonin), the founder (Nikko Shonin) and the third high priest (Nichimoku Shonin), the offerings that the current chief priest sees are what the Sage Buddha (Nichiren) sees” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 146).

When Nichiu states, “The offerings the current chief priest see is what all Buddhas and Sage Buddha (Nichiren) see,” he sounds like he is saying the chief administrator is equal to Nichiren. However, his guidance in this regard is just one aspect of the formality. By the above statement, he is not advocating at all faith in the absolutism of the chief administrator. Moreover, the current chief administrator is instructed to give to the Buddha through the ritual of ringing the bell, the offerings made by believers and delivered to him by a senior priest. This instruction to the chief administrator signifies that even the current high priest is no more than a “procedural” priest who serves the Buddha and his disciples. Accordingly, as Nichiko interpreted, the high priest of Taiseki-ji is a representative of Nichiren, Nikko and Nichimoku and a “procedural” priest for believers. With this definition of the role he plays, Nichiu teaches that the chief administrator is equal to Nichiren. In other words, the current chief administrator acts on behalf of Nichiren in terms of formality, according to Nichiu’s understanding of the nature of the role of the chief administrator.

Article 14 of “On Formalities” reads, “The offering of sake made by a believer or priest should be first presented to the chief administrator of this temple [Taiseki-ji]. When it comes to viewing the moon or flowers, children first start doing so. This is because all the Buddhas of the three existences, the sage (Nichiren) and the founder (Nikko) all manifest themselves in the life of the current chief administrator. In other words, the sage, the founder of Taiseki-ji and Nichimoku Shonin are all receiving this offering through the current chief administrator” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 62).

It is no easy matter to correctly understand the line “When it comes to viewing the moon or flowers, children first start doing so.” Even Nichiko shows several interpretations of this passage. However, Nichiko has a clear, definitive opinion of the passage from Nichiu’s comment that reads, “All the Buddhas of the three existences, the sage (Nichiren) and the founder (Nikko) all manifest themselves in the life of the current chief administrator. In other words, the sage, the founder of Taiseki-ji and Nichimoku Shonin are all receiving this sincere offering through the current chief administrator” Nichiko states in this regard, “Since the chief priest of this temple (and all other branch temples) is the sole representative of all the Buddhas of the three existences, the sage (Nichiren) and the founder (Nikko) and because the Buddha respects and values the current chief priest, the chief priest of this temple should naturally be the first to taste all of the offered sake. His drinking sake signifies that this offering is being received by the founder of this Buddhism, the founder of Taiseki-ji and Nichimoku” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 145).

As I examined before, the entity that will be “coming out from the mentor” or “manifested in the life of the disciple,” according to Nichiu’s “On Formalities”, is faith in the Buddhism of Sowing. Premised on this, the current chief administrator of Taiseki-ji, into whom faith in the Buddhism of Sowing on the part of the Buddhas of the three existences, Nichiren, Nikko and Nichimoku is “coming,” should be qualified to receive offerings from believers, according to the ramification of the above passage. Herein, too, we can see Nichiu’s thought that the chief administrator should act on behalf of Nichiren in the implementation of formalities.

Nichiu’s “On Formalities” refers here and there to the notion that the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji should handle formalities on behalf of the Buddhas of the three existences, Nichiren, Nikko and Nichimoku. Nichiu, based upon his theory of the chief administrator’s representing Nichiren in dealing with formalities, expounded the theory of the chief administrator being equal to Nichiren in one aspect of the way of mentor and disciple.

There is an article within “On Formalities” that clearly stipulates that the current chief administrator should be regarded as a representative of the Buddha. Article 61 of “On Formalities” reads, “Priests of this temple or priests located afar should share the same resolve in faith. Therefore, distance should not matter in terms of their acting on behalf of the Buddha of boundless compassion” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 69). Nichiko explains about the act of representing the Buddha that is mentioned in this passage, “Those priests at Taiseki-ji and those priests who live afar share the same strong faith, and, therefore, the chief administrator should treat them equally with compassion on behalf of the Buddha” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 118). From this, we can clearly see that Nichiu had the thought that the current chief administrator of Taiseki-ji is the Buddha’s representative who is in a position to act on behalf of Nichiren Daishonin.

When we review Nichiu’s idea of the current chief administrator’s being equal to Nichiren with our awareness to Nichiu’s theory of the current chief administrator representing Nichiren, we can see these ideas on the part of Nichiu do not mean that the chief administrator possesses the absolute authority as the chief administrator because of the transmission of the heritage into his life. Even if Nichiu discusses the principle of the chief administrator being equal to Nichiren in “On Formalities,” we should not discuss this equality in terms of the inner life-condition of the chief administrator.

9. Formative Stage of Taiseki-ji’s Myth of Its Heritage — Sakyo Ajari Nikkyo’s Emergence

I already mentioned that there was contact with the doctrine of the medieval Tendai sect in the early days of the Nikko School. However, in those days, no chief priests of Taiseki-ji advocated the doctrinal transmission along the lineage of chief priest that was common in the medieval Tendai sect. Nichiu, the ninth high priest, taught Nichiren’s original view of the heritage: that is, the heritage of faith, as opposed to the oral transmission of the heritage. In so doing, Nichiu established the formalities to administrate the Nikko School, viewing Nichiren as represented by the current chief priest of Taiseki-ji who is responsible to carry on the heritage of faith.

However, toward the end of Nichiu’s life, a learned priest who belonged to another Buddhist school converted to Taiseki-ji, bringing into the Taiseki-ji School the idea of the doctrinal transmission along the lineage of high priest, an idea that was typical in the medieval Tendai sect. The name of this learned priest was Sakyo Ajari Nikkyo. Originally, Nikkyo came from the Tamano Taiu Ajari Nichizon School. While he belonged to the Nichizon School, Nikkyo is said to have been strongly influenced by the study of the Tendai School.[43] Nikkyo was the first chief priest of the Umaki lodging (Anyo-ji) in Izumo, which was classified as a head temple within the Juhon-ji faction of the Nichizon School. In those days, his name was Honze-in Nichiju. It is said that he was a very influential priest at that time.

“One-Hundred-Fifty Articles” was authored by Nikkyo under his old name, Nichiju. This book was written before Nikkyo converted himself to Taiseki-ji. Since he was a learned priest, Nikkyo wrote down in this book the teaching of the Nichizon School. Nikkyo spent a majority of space in this book to describe the difference between the Tendai sect and the Nichizon School in terms of the three-fold seven teachings. From this fact we learn that how seriously Nichiju (Nikkyo) regarded the orally transmitted teachings of the medieval Tendai sect.

One of the main purposes of this work was to distinguish between the Tendai Sect and the Nichiren School. Therefore, in this book, Nichiju was critical of the orally transmitted teachings of the medieval Tendai sect. For instance, Article 9 of “One-Hundred-Fifty Articles” reads, “It is regrettable that the orally transmitted teachings of the Tendai School undermine the brilliant writings of Teacher Nichiren who propagated the essential teachings of the Lotus Sutra” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 179). “One will get inconspicuous punishment by interpreting Teacher Nichiren’s writings based upon faith in the orally transmitted teachings of the Tendai sect” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 180). What Nichiju is strongly lamenting is the fact that there were people in those days who interpreted Nichiren’s teaching based upon the Tendai’s sect’s orally transmitted teachings that took the position of the oneness of the essential and theoretical teachings. Nichiju was consistently critical of the contents of the orally transmitted teachings of the Tendai sect.

On the other hand, however, Nichiju maintained an affirmative attitude toward the format of oral transmission adopted by the medieval Tendai sect. In Article 10 of “One-Hundred-Fifty Articles,” Nichiju states, “Nikko was the lord of the chair in this school ever since the days of the Daishonin. … It has been orally transmitted that the hossu (lord of the chair) should be a leader of the heritage. There is an orally transmitted teaching of “the sole lineage between Nichiren and Nikko” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 182). In this way, Nichiju points out that Nikko alone is qualified to be the lord of the chair among the six senior priests that Nichiren designated. In Article 11, he quotes the whole of the “Two Transfer Documents” (ibid.). There, Nichiju contends that Nikko should be respected as the lord of the chair, claiming that there was the orally transmitted, secret teaching from Nichiren to Nikko.

In addition, Nichiju writes in Article 148, “There have been two lines of transmission or lineage (konshi sojo [literally the transmission of golden mentorship] and konku sojo [literally transmission by golden utterance]) in the Tendai School. These two lines of lineage based upon the transmission of the heritage have been in existence in this school as well. Bodhisattva Superior Practices alone received the heritage of the Law from Shakyamuni in the treasure tower. …” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 248).

Based upon the preface to Great Concentration and Insight, the Tendai sect teaches two lines of lineage (konku sojo and konshi sojo). Konku sojo refers to the lineage from Shakyamuni to Kashyapa, from Kashyapa to Ananda, all the way down to Shishi Biku, consisting of a total of twenty-three teachers. Konshi sojo refers to the lineage that T’ien-t’ai, the current teacher, received the heritage from his mentor, Nan-yueh, who inherited it from his predecessor, Hui-wen, all the way back to Nagarjuna, the 13th teacher in the lineage of Shakyamuni’s konku sojo. In other words, through these two lineages, the Tendai sect claims that it is the inheritor of the mainstream teaching of Shakyamuni Buddhism. These two lines of lineage were taken seriously in the medieval Tendai sect.

Nichiju expounds a noteworthy theory of the lineage of konku sojo in terms of the lineage of the Nichiren School. He contends that even within the Nichiren School there is such a lineage that comprises the legitimate stream of Shakyamuni Buddhism in India after his passing. According to Nichiju’s explanation, first there was a transmission of the heritage through a golden utterance from Shakyamuni to Bodhisattva Superior Practices in the treasure tower during the ceremony in the air that was expounded in the essential teachings of the Lotus Sutra. Nichiju further teaches that Bodhisattva Superior Practices was reborn as Nichiren, who transferred the golden heritage directly to Nikko. In this way, Nichiju presented the golden lineage of “Shakyamuni-Bodhisattva Superior Practices-Nichiren-Nikko” as the Nikko School. Because of this lineage of the golden utterance, Nichiju insisted that Nikko should be respected as an enlightened teacher.

It is not clear whether this contention by Nichiju is his original thought or not. One thing we notice is the fact that while the Tendai sect points out the oral transmission of the heritage from Shakyamuni to Bodhisattva Medicine King at Eagle Peak, Nichiren schools in Kyoto, from their early days, upheld the oral transmission of the heritage from Shakyamuni to Bodhisattva Superior Practices in the treasure tower, regarding this transmission to Bodhisattva Superior Practices as the origin of their lineage. Nichiju is connected to the faction of Nichidai of Juhon-ji, and Nichidai contends that the oral transmission in the treasure tower from Shakyamuni to Bodhisattva Superior Practices, which was expounded in the “Supernatural Powers” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, should be put in the center.[44] On the other hand, Daigaku, the mentor of Nichizon who was the founder of the Myoken-ji of the Nichiro School, wrote in his letter to Rogen in reference to fifteen items there, “Transmission of the heritage in three countries: This is a theoretical lineage. The true lineage stems of the transmission in the treasure tower. It is the direct transmission from Shakyamuni Buddha to Bodhisattva Superior Practices, who was reborn as Teacher Nichiren.”[45] There he points out the legitimacy of the lineage of Nichiren that stems from Shakyamuni’s transmission of the heritage to Bodhisattva Superior Practices. It is said that the lineage chart of the Nichizon School, that is, “Shakyamuni Buddha who attained enlightenment in the remote past-four leaders of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth-Nichiren Shonin-Bodhisattva Nichiro-Bodhisattva Nichizo” at the end of the transfer document that was given in 1414 to Nichimei and Nichigu by Getsumyo of Myoken-ji.[46]

It seems that, after Nichiren’s passing, Nichiren schools in Kyoto created their own lineage chart, originating from the transmission of the heritage from Shakyamuni to Bodhisattva Superior Practices, to justify their legitimacy. They may have had a strong desire to justify themselves in the lineage of Buddhism to the point where the authenticity of their lineage is as great as that of other Buddhist sects. One thing we can clearly say is that the “Shakyamuni-Bodhisattva Superior Practices-Nichiren-Nikko” lineage that is mentioned in Nichiju’s “One-Hundred-Fifty Articles” was nothing particular in Nichiren schools in Kyoto.

It seems that Nichiju, out of his competitive mind toward T’ien-t’ai’s transmission teaching, was very much inclined to insist on the existence of a legitimate lineage even within the Nichiren School. Not only that, Nichiju inherited from his mentor, Nichiyo, Nichiren’s transfer documents such as “On the True Cause,” “One Hundred Six Comparisons” and “Transfer Teachings on First Bath (Ubuyu Sojo).” In this context, Honzenin Nichiju positioned himself in line with the time-honored “Shakyamuni-Bodhisattva Superior Practices-Nichiren” lineage, which was common in Nichiren schools in Kyoto, advocating the Nikko School’s lineage of “Shakyamuni-Bodhisattva Superior Practices-Nichiren-Nikko” while adopting the oral transmission concept of the Tendai sect.

With these facts in the background, Nichiju became Nichiu’s student at Taiseki-ji. Under his new name, Sakyo Ajari Ken’o Nikkyo, he began to advocate and spread his own theory within Taiseki-ji. I have to point out that the activities that Nikkyo carried out after converting to Taiseki-ji became a major steppingstone toward the formation of the myth of “the absolute authority of the successive high priests of Taiseki-ji based upon the heritage received through oral transmission along the lineage of the school” in the history of the Taiseki-ji doctrine. Within the theory of Sakyo Nikkyo, we can perceive the origin of the absolutism of the high priest that, stemming from the sanctity of the oral transmission in the lineage of high priests, grew to become legendary in the Taiseki-ji School, especially in modern times.

After Nichiu’s passing, Nikkyo left the Fuji area, visiting Sakai in Settsu first, and moving on to Mukasain Naizan in the province of Hyuga. Spending the New Year’s days of 1484 there, he wrote an annotation. He was 57. This annotation did not have a title. Nichiko Hori, in modern times, named this document Mukasa Sho after the location where Nikkyo wrote it. After penning “In Mukasa” (Mukasa Sho), Nikkyo wrote a number of documents one after another to advocate his own doctrine. They are: “Commentary on ‘On the Four States of Faith and the Five Stages of Practice’” (Shishin Gobon Sho Kenmon), Godan Koryo, “My Personal Views” (Ruiju Kanshushi), and The Personal Account of the Teachings of the Six Senior Priests (Rokunin Ritsugi Haryu Sho Shiki). These writings by Nikkyo, while copied by successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji, exerted profound influence upon the mentality of the Taiseki-ji School. Here I am going to cite a number of examples to show how his words and doctrine formed the basis of Nichiren Shoshu’s mythological pattern of thought, the idea that the high priest who inherited the heritage through oral transmission along the lineage of the successive high priests of Taiseki-ji is absolute.

(1) Insisting on Righteousness of Nikko’s Lineage Based on “Two Transfer Documents” (Nika Sojo)
The whole of the “Two Transfer Documents” were already cited in “One-Hundred-Fifty Articles” that is said to have been written by Nikkyo before he converted to Taiseki-ji (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 182). Naturally, Nikkyo, after committing himself to Taiseki-ji, turned to enhancing the authority of the “Two Transfer Documents.” Nikkyo, in the work “In Mukasa”, writes, “Nichiren Shonin’s fifty years of teaching was transferred to Nikko Shonin, which is eminent in the transfer document dated October 13 in the fifth year of Koan. This lineage is vital for bringing prosperity to this school” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 2). In “My Personal Views” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 314) and “The Personal Account of the Teachings of the Six Senior Priests” (EWFS, Vol. 4, p. 44), Nikkyo introduces the entirety of the “Two Transfer Documents,” basing Nikko’s legitimacy as the successor of Nichiren upon the “Two Transfer Documents,” which Nikkyo asserted that only the Nikko School possessed.

Commentary on “On Refuting the Five Priests,” which is said to have been written by Nichigen of Myoren-ji, is the first document in the history of the Taiseki-ji School that mentions the existence of the “Two Transfer Documents.” However, as I mentioned before, we cannot philologically confirm that this document was written by Nichigen. Not only that, its description of the “Two Transfer Documents” is pretty simple: “Nichiren Shonin transferred his teaching on September 12 in the fifth year of Koan, and then, on October 13 in the same year at the time of his passing with his signature placed clearly upon these transfer documents” (EWFS, Vol. 4, p. 8).

Therefore, “My Personal Views” that Sakyo Nikkyo wrote in 1488 (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 314) is the first document in the Taiseki-ji School that extensively took up “Two Transfer Documents” given by Nichiren to Nikko, stressing Nikko’s legitimacy by citing their entirety.[47] There was no such phenomenon within the Taiseki-ji School before Nikkyo converted to Taiseki-ji as stressing the righteousness of Nikko while making a full use of the authority of the “Two Transfer Documents.” Judging from the contents of the “Two Transfer Documents,” Nikko was the chief priest of Kuon-ji at Mount Minobu for a little more than six years. However, “The Biographies of the Three Teachers,” which is regarded as the oldest biography of the three founding teachers, reads, “Nikko Shonin propagated the Law at Mount Minobu after Nichiren Daishonin passed away. Remonstrating with the court nobles and government in Kanto, he resided at Mount Minobu for three years” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 267). Regarding the three years mentioned in this document, one theory says that they signify the three years when Nikko resided at Mount Minobu after sending an official remonstration letter to the government in 1285. This interpretation of the “three years” seems inappropriate because it seems to be out of context. Importantly, the author of “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” did not refer to the “Two Transfer Documents” at all, which means he, most likely, was not aware of the existence of these documents. Even Nichiu, who appeared much later, left no sign of emphasis on the authority of the “Two Transfer Documents.”

It is true that Sakyo Nikkyo is the initiator in the Taiseki-ji School of the enhancement of the various theories of the legitimacy of Nikko through the citation of the “Two Transfer Documents.” The successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji who appeared after the time of Nikkyo copied and transferred Nikkyo’s writings, receiving tremendous influence from his thought. Along this line, the belief that “Nikko is the only legitimate successor because of the existence of the ‘Two Transfer Documents’” steadily established itself within the Taiseki-ji School as its new tradition.

(2) A View of Heritage Centering on Buddhist Endowment
Nikkyo strongly stressed the idea that the heritage of Nichiren Buddhism had been transferred along the lineage of the successive chief priests of Taiseki-ji, sinking this thought deeply in the Taiseki-ji School. While stressing the heritage of faith upheld since the time of Nichiren along the lineage of the chief priests of Taiseki-ji, Nichiu, the ninth chief priest, rather refrained from exposing the transmission of the heritage of Nichiren Buddhism through the succession of Taiseki-ji’s chief priests. No successive high priests of Taiseki-ji who predated Nichiu, the ninth chief priest, as far as reliable data go, made any reference to the enhancement of the transmission of the heritage along the lineage of the successive high priests of their own school.

It is also true that “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” refers to the transmission from Shakyamuni to Bodhisattva Superior Practices, that is, Nichiren (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 271), but it does not refer to the transmission of Buddhism along the lineage of the chief priests of Taiseki-ji. If legitimate successors of Nichiren Buddhism held the belief that “Every individual in the Latter Day of the Law is a common mortal and the chief administrator is no exception” they must have had no urge to advocate the exclusive transmission of the heritage through the succession of the chief priests of Taiseki-ji.

In contrast, we can see all over Sakyo Nikkyo’s writings his emphatic descriptions of the significance of the legitimacy of the transmission of Buddhism through the lineage of the successive chief priests of Taiseki-ji. We can see the following statements of “In Mukasa”:

“Both mentor and disciple can fulfill their actual practice by establishing faith in the sage (Nichiren) who devoted himself to the heritage that he alone had received in his pure, undisturbed lineage that began with Shakyamuni. This is the teaching of this school” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 262). “There is no doubt that there has been the heritage in this school, the heritage of the Law that originated from Nichiren Shonin and transmitted along the lineage of its successive high priests” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 274).

“This Gohonzon has been conferred by the successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji who inherited the heritage from the noble founder. No one except them should transcribe it on his own volition” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 283).

All these passages declare that Taiseki-ji alone is the legitimate school that inherited the heritage of Buddhism along the Shakyamuni-Nichiren lineage.

Also, in “My Personal Views,” Nikkyo writes, “Nichiren Shonin designated his successor at the time of his passing. Since then, his successive successors transferred the heritage to their next successor. The entity of the Gohonzon is now embodied by the current high priest of Taiseki-ji” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 309).

The heritage that Nichiu referred to was that of faith while the heritage that Nikkyo meant was the transmission of Buddhism along the lineage of the successive chief administrators. This point is obvious in his works, which read,

“The chief administrator who inherited the heritage of Buddhism from the noble founder” (“In Mukasa”, EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 309). “The successive high priests who inherited the heritage without disruption” (The Personal Account of the Teachings of the Six Senior Priests, Vol. 4, p. 29).

“There is no Buddhism where there is no straightforward transmission of the Law along the lineage” (“Commentary on ‘On the Four States of Faith and the Five Stages of Practice,’” EWFS, Vol. 4, p. 29).

The Nichizon School that Nikkyo came from seems to have valued since its inception the transmission of the heritage along the lineage of the high priest. In 1344, Nichizon gave Nichiin a transfer document of the Gohonzon and Nichiren’s statue (the original one is stored at Yobo-ji). In it Nichizon wrote, “I hereby transfer these to my disciple mentioned above” (EWFS, Vol. 8, p. 101). According to Nichidai’s record, Nichizon is said to have instructed his disciple to transcribe the Gohonzon for another disciple of his. These data show that the transmission of the teaching along the succession of the chief administrators was cherished in the Nichizon School from its early days. This leads us to understand why Nikkyo, who came from the Nichizon School, was serious about the transmission of the teaching along the lineage of the high priests.

Nichiren taught his disciples the importance of the heritage of faith in contrast to the significance of the lineage as seen in the medieval Tendai sect that boasted of the oral transmission of their teachings. Nikko and Taiseki-ji chief priests in its early days faithfully carried on Nichiren’s emphasis on faith. During the time of the ninth chief priest Nichiu, the view of the heritage of faith was presented with a renewed emphasis, as he wrote “Faith, the heritage of the law and the pure flow of the Law are identical” and “When we maintain the same faith that has been cherished from the days of the noble founder, our body and mind displays that of Myoho-renge-kyo” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 64). The position displayed in the emphasis on the heritage of faith was an attitude to embrace the five characters of the Mystic Law that was conferred upon Bodhisattva Superior Practices, not to become the inheritor of the orally transmitted teaching. However, Sakyo Nikkyo engaged himself in spreading within the Taiseki-ji School his view of the transmission of the heritage that the school’s successive high priests confer Buddhism upon their successor as inheritor of enlightenment. Thus, he wrote a variety of writings to support his own belief, as I mentioned before. Because of this influence from Nikkyo, Taiseki-ji’s original view of the heritage of Nichiren Buddhism altered its nature to the point where it was replaced by Nikkyo’s teaching that valued more than anything else the orally transmitted heritage along the lineage of the school’s successive chief administrators.

Nitchin, the 12th high priest, who is said to have learned Nichiren Buddhism under the guidance of Nikkyo,[48] wrote a document in 1526, stating to all the people of Taiseki-ji that when Ryoo (later, Nichiin, the 13th) reaches adulthood, “he should be in charge of Buddhism and all administrative matters of this temple” (“To My Disciples [Futeijo],” whose original copy is stored at Taiseki-ji, CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 443). This document is good enough for us to know that Nitchin, at the final stage of his life, had a view of the transmission of the heritage that was similar to Nikkyo’s. Nichiin, the 13th chief priest, who received the heritage from Nitchin, related to Nisshin of Yobo-ji that there were the three great secret laws that were transmitted along the lineage of the successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji. [“Report of Nisshin of Yobo-ji” (Yobo-ji Nisshin Gosho), CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 451]. From this we learn that Nichiin, too, had a Nikkyo type of view with regards to the transmission of the heritage.

When the time came that Taiseki-ji developed an intimate relationship with Yobo-ji, Nisshu, the 14th high priest, taught without reservation the significance of the transmission of Buddhism along the lineage of the successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji. Nisshu gave “The Certificate of the Transfer” (the original is kept at Taiseki-ji) to Nissho that came from Yobo-ji. In it he wrote, “I, Nisshu, have transferred the entire heritage, which was transmitted to me through Nichiin’s golden utterance along the lineage of Nikko-Nichimoku-Nichido, without missing any part of it” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 463). In this manner, Nisshu consciously stressed the transmission of the heritage along the lineage of the successive high priests of Taiseki-ji. Since his was the first where the high priest of Taiseki-ji was succeeded by a priest from Yobo-ji, we can consider various background matters behind this transmission, but it can be said that through the case of this Nisshu-Nissho transmission Taiseki-ji formally became a sect that advocates more than anything else the transmission of the heritage along the lineage of its successful chief administrators.

Nissei, the 17th high priest appeared in the early part of the Edo Era, stressing the transmission of the heritage along the lineage of the chief administrators of Taiseki-ji to the point that he wrote The Biographies of Fuji School’s Chief Administrators where he compiled the biographies of the successive high priests of Taiseki-ji based upon his view of the history of the transmission of the heritage. In three volumes of The Biographies of Fuji School’s Chief Administrators, Nissei, quoting the “Two Transfer Documents,” first talked about the legitimacy of Nikko, covering the history of the transmission of the heritage of Buddhism within the Taiseki-ji School with both true stories and false information.

The Biographies of Fuji School’s Chief Administrators is the only systematized record of the history of the Taiseki-ji School. Therefore, this book became basic material to study the biographies of the successive high priests of Taiseki-ji. The view of the transmission of the heritage that is described in this writing was handed down to the posterity, all the way to the priesthood its modern days.

The view of the transmission of the heritage along the lineage of the successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji took the place of the original perspective of the heritage whose core was the transmission of faith, the orthodox perspective that existed at Taiseki-ji before the time of Nichiu. The tradition of the 700-year transmission of the heritage that the current Nichiren Shoshu boasts of originate, as a matter of fact and importantly, from Sakyo Nikkyo’s words and theories.

(3) Spread of the Idea That “I Am the Only One” and “Transferring to Only One Person”
Nikkyo repeatedly taught in his writings, “The heritage transmitted at Taiseki-ji should be on a one-to-one basis from one high priest to another.” What was behind this belief of Nikkyo’s was, for one thing, his competitive mind against the Tendai sect’s view of oral transmission, and for another, the fact that Nikkyo himself inherited the transfer documents of the Nikko School. In the 15th century when Nikkyo was very active, the orally transmitted teachings of the medieval Tendai sect were at their prime. Concerning the doctrinal exchange between the Eshin School and the Taiseki-ji School, there was such a statement in Commentary by Tokai as “This is the most profound, orally transmitted teaching that only one person within the lineage of this school should be aware of.”[49] One scholar claims that such a remark was brought into Taiseki-ji with the intent to stress “sole transmission of the heritage only from one high priest to another.” Such a claim needs to be further examined in detail. If the above claim had been correct, it must be said that Nikkyo was playing a major role in such a new development in the arena of Taiseki-ji’s doctrine. Incidentally, Nikkyo touched upon the teaching of the Eshin School in “In Mukasa” and “Commentary on ‘On the Four States of Faith and the Five Stages of Practice.’”

What kind of teaching was Nikkyo’s theory of “the transmission of the heritage only from one high pries to another on a one-to-one basis?” First, he paid special attention to a passage in the “Simile and Parable” chapter of the Lotus Sutra that reads, “I am the only person who can rescue and protect others” (WND, p. 60). Quoting it at the very beginning of “My Personal Views” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 304), he touches in Article 16 upon the point that he is the only savior, concluding that “Nichiren Daishonin is the only teacher of the Latter Day of the Law” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 342). Thus, Nikkyo advocated his view of the exclusive transmission of the heritage from one high priest to another along the lineage of Taiseki-ji, as he wrote, “The Daishonin is the one and only person in the Latter Day of the Law” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 342). “The teacher (Nichiren) is only one person during or after the time of the Buddha” (“In Mukasa”, EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 250). “Buddhism is the teaching that should be taught by only one person. It was so during Shakyamuni’s time. It was also so after his passing. It was and will be spread in that manner in the Former, Middle and Latter Days of the Law. It cannot happen that all of the six designated disciples simultaneous took office as the lords of the chair after the sage’s passing” (ibid., EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 273).

Secondly, Nikkyo took notice of the fact that the transmission from Shakyamuni to Bodhisattva Superior Practices during the ceremony in the air of the Lotus Sutra was very exclusive. In “In Mukasa,” there is a description that reads, “Shakyamuni was the one and only teacher, and so was his transmission of the heritage that was done solely for (Bodhisattva Superior Practices). Daimoku is something that will be chanted and transferred in succession from one high priest to another throughout the three existences. All the seeds (of enlightenment) throughout the universe will blossom as flowers of the ‘Law of sowing’” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 257).

Nikkyo seems to have thought that since the transmission of the Law from Shakyamuni to Bodhisattva Superior Practices was a one-to-one transmission, the order of Nichiren, the rebirth of Bodhisattva Superior Practices, should carry on the same principle in transferring the Law from one person to another in ceaseless succession. This point can be confirmed by the following statement “In Mukasa,” “Actual practice on the part of both mentor and disciple can be established when they both achieve the type of faith that the sage, who devotedly and correctly practiced the heritage of the Law that had been handed down from Shakyamuni on to the sole successor of Buddhism, mastered. This type of faith and practice suits this school” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 262). “The teacher always should be one person that shall appear in the endless future” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 271).

Thirdly, Nikkyo strongly appealed that the transmission of the heritage should be done from one high priest to another from the viewpoint of the administration of the Buddhist order.

In “In Mukasa,” he asserted, “In this honorable school of Nichiren Daishonin, at one time there should not be two high priests that received the transmission of the Law” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 286). In “Commentary on ‘On the Four States of Faith and the Five Stages of Practice,’” he expounded, “The transmission of the heritage should be transferred to just one individual. If the heritage were given to two persons, it would cause an argument to arise in Buddhism. Buddhism will eventually perish since both of them are erroneous as ordinary, narrow-minded, unenlightened individuals” (EWFS, Vol. 4, p. 49). In The Personal Account of the Teachings of the Six Senior Priests, he states, “If there are two successors in one Buddhist school, the school will certainly perish. There should not be two Buddhas at one time. There should be no two sovereigns in one country” (EWFS, Vol. 4, p. 44). In this fashion, Nikkyo contends, “An argument will surely arise if there were two inheritors of the Law in one Buddhism. Therefore, the Law should be transmitted only to one individual.”[50] Nikkyo came from the school of Nichizon, who taught, “In the Fuji School, only one person who has received the heritage should transcribe the Gohonzon. This is Nikko Shonin’s admonition. This is so because we should praise the flame of the Law and thereby secure the basis of the teaching.”[51] There is a possibility that Nikkyo was influenced by Nichizon’s idea of “transmission only to one individual.”

Fourthly, there are references to the idea of “transmission only to one disciple” here and there in the transfer documents such as “On the True Cause,” “One Hundred and Six Comparisons” and “Transfer Teachings on First Bath” that Nikkyo inherited from his mentor Nichiyo before his conversion to Taiseki-ji. Probably, Nikkyo’s exposure to these documents formed the basis of his contention that “only one disciple should receive the heritage of the Law.” Nikkyo cites the entirety of “Transfer Teachings on First Bath” in “My Personal Views” (EWFS, Vol. 2. pp. 315–316). Its ending sentence reads, “This heritage shall be orally transmitted solely from one individual to another along the lineage of Nichiren. Stating that ‘This is very profound,’ the sage concluded his transmission” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 316). One sentence that was added to “On the True Cause,” though Nikkyo did not quote it in his writings, reads, “This heritage of the Law and the important points of the object of devotion were transmitted only to the successive lords of the chair who follow the lineage of Nichiren. This transmission of the heritage from one individual to another is the same as the transmission of the Law that took place in the treasure tower. Be sure to keep this a secret. This heritage should be transmitted. With that said, the transmission of the heritage in the Hokke School of the essential teaching is now concluded” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 20) and “The only one person receives the transmission of the heritage of the Law. Making Byakuren Ajari Nikko the general administrator of this school, I, Nichiren, have transmitted the whole of my correct teachings to him. Just as the days I lived, senior priests and all my disciples should respect in the long future as the general administrator of this school the successive high priests who received the heritage of the Law in the lineage of this school” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 24). Provided that these sentences were later added to these transfer documents by the Nichizon-Nichidai School in Kyoto, it is only natural that Nikkyo, who inherited the vital transfer documents of “On the True Cause” and “One Hundred Six Comparisons,” valued the idea of “transmission only to one disciple.”

Nikkyo thus spread the concepts of “transmission only to one individual” and “I am the only person.”[52] As I mentioned before, it seems that singling out just one individual occurred in the Taiseki-ji School in its early days as well. However, there was no movement in the early Taiseki-ji School, the type of movement where its selected chief priest is mystified and deified by the use of the expressions such as “transmission only one individual” and “I am the only legitimate person.” In contrast, Nikkyo planted in the Taiseki-ji School the concept “I am the only legitimate person,” causing the absolutism of the chief administrator to spread it within the Taiseki-ji School, as he wrote, “In Ikegami, Nichiren Daishonin transferred the heritage of his order only to Niidakyo Nichimoku in Ohshu. It was the transmission only to one individual, who thus became the teacher of this school” (“My Personal Views”, EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 313) and “The Three Secret Laws were transferred only to one individual” (“Commentary on ‘On the Four States of Faith and the Five Stages of Practice,’” EWFS, Vol. 4, p. 52).

(4) Application of Term Hossu (the Lord of the Law) to Chief Priest of Taiseki-ji
The term hossu appears in The Dharma Analysis Treasury. It means the “the lord of the law,” which means the Buddha. Also in Jogu Yuima Jo, it means “a person that is enlightened to the Law (truth) or the person who expounds the Law.”[53] In the Accumulate Great Treasure Sutra, it means the person who controls the Buddha land. In short, it means the Buddha who expounds the Law based on his own volition.

In the Nikko School, the term hossu was used as an honorary title of its founder, Nichiren. “Ryusen-ji Petition” is a petition written in 1279 and submitted to the government under the names of Nisshu and Nichiben who practiced Nichiren Buddhism under the guidance of Nikko. In it there is one particular description of Nichiren, where they called Nichiren hossu shonin (the sage who is the lord of the Law) (GZ, p. 850). As a matter of fact, the very portion where Nichiren is called the sage who is the lord of Law was penned by Nichiren himself on their behalf. Probably, around Nikko there may have been disciples who respectfully called Nichiren hossu (the lord of the Law). After Nichiren’s passing, Nikko himself called Nichiren hossu shonin (“Reply on Seasonal Occasion,” whose original is stored in Nishiyama Honmon-ji, CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 197). Sanmi Nichijun, Nikko’s immediate disciple, called Nichiren hossu shonin in On the Bottom of the Heart of the Essential Teaching and On Refuting Erroneous Teachings and Establishing Correct Ones.

Yet it was very rare that people in the Nikko School called Nichiren hossu. Nikko seems to have used in his letters such titles for Nichiren as shonin (sage), hotoke (Buddha), hokke shonin (sage of the Lotus Sutra), hotoke shonin (Buddha sage).

In short, the term hossu was not a familiar term in the Nikko School. This term was used very rarely. In the original Nikko School, there was no tradition like that of the current Nichiren Shoshu, where they gave the respectful title of hossu to the head priest. According to his “Twenty-Six Admonitions,” Nikko called his school’s head priest kanzu (chief administrator) (CWSHP, Vol. 1, pp. 98-99). In Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death, he designated the position Nichimoku will assume at the time of the construction of Honmon-ji as zasu(lord of the chair) (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 96).

There was no case where the kanzu (chief administrator) was named hossu (lord of the Law) in the early days of the Nikko School after his demise. Not only that, no chief priests (chief administrators) after Nichimoku called Founder Nichiren hossu. They almost always gave Nichiren the honorable title shonin (sage), distinguishing him from other chief administrators (kanzu) of Taiseki-ji. In On Nikko Shonin’s History (Nikko Shonin Goiseki no Koto, original stored at Taiseki-ji, CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 213), Nichimoku called Nichiren shonin (sage), and called Nikko shonin (superior person), using another Chinese character to distinguish them. The same distinction in terms of honorary titles given to Nichiren and Nikko, is made in “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” that is said to have been authored by Nichido, the fourth high priest. In this writing, Nichimoku too is given the same title as Nikko’s. In his “Petition” (copy by Nisshun, CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 297), Nichigyo, the fifth chief priest, calls Nichiren shonin (sage), and calls Nikko, Nichimoku, and Nichido shonin (superior ones) respectively. In a draft of a petition penned by Nichiji, the sixth chief priest, Nichiren is called shonin (superior one). It is also noteworthy that Nichiji called himself the betto (chief administrator) of Taiseki-ji. Nichiu, the ninth chief priest, called Nichiren koso (noble founder) and shonin (sage), calling Nikko kaisan (founder of the Taiseki-ji School) and Taiseki-ji’s successive chief priests shonin (superior one), daidai shonin (successive superior ones), honji no shonin (superior one of this temple) and honji juji (chief priest of this temple).

As is clear from these facts, the successive chief priests of Taiseki-ji, spanning from Nichimoku, the third chief priest, to Nichiu, the ninth chief priest, did not use the term hossu (lord of the Law) to describe themselves. They seem to have been strongly conscious about the distinction between Nichiren and all other chief administrators of Taiseki-ji including Nikko.

Under such circumstances, there appeared one individual in the Taiseki-ji School, who took the term hossu seriously and intended to apply it to all successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji. His name was Sakyo Nikkyo. There is a line in “On the True Cause” that was cherished as a major transfer document in the Nichizon School, which reads, “I am the hossu of the Buddhism of Sowing” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 5). Nikkyo loved to use the term hossu since he was a senior priest of the Juhon-ji faction. In “One-Hundred-Fifty Articles,” Nikkyo called Nichiren hossu shonin (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 45), and wrote, “In this school, Nikko was regarded as hossu after the passing of the Daishonin,” “Any school has a kanzu or hossu,” “It has been orally taught that within the context of the general and the specific the hossu alone is, in a specific sense, a true teacher who is involved in the transmission of the heritage,” and “Now Nichiren Shonin designates six senior priests for the protection of his Buddhism for ten thousand years to come. Yet there must be one hossu at one time in his lineage. You should ask the other senior priests where in the world they have a document that, signed by Nichiren Daishonin himself, proves their legitimacy” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 182). Nikkyo thus stressed that Nikko was the only person who received the position of hossu from Nichiren.

This theory of Nichiju (Nikkyo) that Nichiren conferred the title of hossu upon Nikko had a new development after Nikkyo converted to Taiseki-ji. Nikkyo went on to insist that the position of hossu was continuously carried on from Nikko to all the successive chief priests of Taiseki-ji. Now I would like to introduce a number of Nikkyo’s statements where he regarded the successive chief priests of Taiseki-ji as hossu.

“In Mukasa” reads:

“When one can believe that in the final analysis there is no object of devotion in the essential teaching except in the life of the current high priest, the lord of the teaching, in other words, when one can believe that all Shakyamuni Buddha’s practices of many paramitas and the virtues and benefits he consequently achieved are all contained with the life of the current high priest, one should believe that one’s belief is complete” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 253).“[Encountering the Buddha] in the Latter Day of the Law means that the believers of the Lotus Sutra encounter its hossu” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 261).

“My Personal Views” reads,

“Sage Nichiren designated his successor when he passed away. His Buddhism was transmitted from one hossu to another all the way down to the current hossu whose life embodies the entity of the object of devotion. It is so fortunate to meet the hossu of this time who is a rebirth of the sage.” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 309).“Those who embrace the sutra encounter the True Buddha when he meets the hossu of this time” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 329).

In the first quote from “In Mukasa,” according to the context where it is written, Nikkyo refers to Nichiren as kyoshu (lord of the teaching), hoo (king of the law) and hossu (the lord of the Law), but there is a high possibility, in view of his other remarks, that Nikkyo referred to not only Nichiren but also all the successive chief priests of Taiseki-ji when he used these terms. Nikkyo called all the successive chief priests of Taiseki-ji as well as Nichiren hossu. Nikkyo’s view of hossu, which view all the high priests of Taiseki-ji as equal to Nichiren is deeply related to his utmost regard of the high priest. Originally, the term hossu was one of the honorary titles of the Buddha, but when it was applied to the successive chief priests of Taiseki-ji, they became not only legitimate teachers but also became the object of worship as the possessor of the entity of the object of devotion.

Until recently, such a view by Nikkyo where the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji is, under the name of hossu, is regarded as the entity of the object of worship, seems to have been unacceptable in the Taiseki-ji School. No one actually followed Nikkyo’s theory before the Meiji Era. This is mainly because of the power of the influence from the study of Nichikan who, while absorbing Nikkyo’s teaching to some degree, discarded the part where Nikkyo insisted on absolute faith in the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji.

In the Taiseki-ji School in the Meiji Era (the late 19th century), there arose a trend where the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji was named hossu because of influence that came from other than Nikkyo. Myoko Nikkai of Koizumi Kuon-ji contributed an article titled “The Title of Dai-hossu (great lord of the Law)” to the December 1888 issue of the Komon Shodoki Magazine. In it Nikkai introduced a discussion in the Nichiren Shu Itchi School about the proposed abolition of the title kancho (chief administrator) and the proposed adoption of the title dai-hossu, stating, “Other sects or schools use expressions dai-hossu, dai-shonin (great sage) or the Buddha as they like. … In ‘On the True Cause,’ we see a passage that reads, ‘The Buddha is the teacher of the Buddhism of Harvesting and I am the hossu of the Buddhism of Sowing.’ ‘On the Toba Tablet’ (Toba Sho) writes that Founder Nichiren alone should use the title hossu. Even other schools refrain from using the title hossu for their high priests. If so, our school should be even more careful about using the term hossu for other priests than Nichiren Daishonin. The term hossu is in essence an awesome one. The term dai-hossu is too presumptuous to be used for the title of the chief administrator of this school.”[54] What is known from this quote is the historical fact that the title of hossu was given neither to the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji nor to the chief administrator of other Nikko schools.

However, in September 1900, Taiseki-ji was allowed to separate itself from other Nikko schools and become an independent entity. Taiseki-ji began to call itself Nichiren Shu Fuji School. Article 6 of the Religious Law (approved on September 18, 1900) that Taiseki-ji came up with as an independent religious school, reads, “We now have the 56th hossu through the transmission of the heritage of Buddhism along the lineage of the successive high priests.”[55] At that point, Taiseki-ji people began to call their chief administrator hossu.

Since then, this title rapidly settled down within the Taiseki-ji School. For instance, an advertisement of the newly printed Six-Volume Writings was placed at the ending part of July 1903 issue of The Way of the Law, a magazine published by Hodokai. It reads, “Authored by the 26th hossu of the head temple and prefaced by the 56th hossu of the head temple.”[56] Also, in the same magazine published in October of the same year, there is an article that reports the holding of the scroll-airing ceremony. The expression hossu shonin(lord of the Law and sage) is repeatedly used in this article.[57] The Taiseki-ji School, influenced by the way of other Nichiren Shu sects, began to call its chief administrator hossu shonin.

In modern times, beginning in the Meiji Era, the Taiseki-ji School thus developed a custom to call its chief administrator hossu. This practice seemingly developed at the Taiseki-ji perhaps in parallel with Sakyo Nikkyo’s view that hossu means both Nichiren and successive high priests. In recent years when Nikken Abe proclaimed he was the 67th high priest and eventually excommunicated the Soka Gakkai, the current Nichiren Shoshu is using Nikkyo’s hossu theory and advocates that “It is Nichiren Shoshu’s tradition to regard Taiseki-ji successive chief administrators as hossu who is on the same level as Nichiren.” Nikken and his priesthood abruptly brought up Nikkyo’s hossu theory to suit their needs.

In this manner, there appeared a new contention that “Nikkyo’s hossu theory has been a tradition since the ancient times of the Taiseki-ji School.” The time has come that the Taiseki-ji School should reexamine the meaning of the term hossu. As I mentioned before, Nikkyo’s theory of “kanzu equals hossu” was not an original, time-honored tradition in the Taiseki-ji School. This idea was, as it were, a foreign idea to Taiseki-ji, an idea that came into Taiseki-ji from outside. This idea was not accepted in Taiseki-ji in the medieval time or before the Meiji Era. Yet, even today Nikkyo’s theory of “kanzu equals hossu” maintains influential power within Nichiren Shoshu with the potential to change into a legitimate, time-honored, original tradition of Nichiren Shoshu.

(5) Enhancement of Three Great Secret Laws
In “On Taking the Essence of the Lotus Sutra,” Nichiren referred to the object of devotion of the essential teaching, the sanctuary of the essential teaching and the daimoku of the essential teaching. In “On Repaying Debts of Gratitude,” he revealed their concrete contents. We can also come across the term “on the Receiving of the Three Great Secret Laws” in “Letter to Gijo-bo” and “On the Three Great Secret Laws.”

An examination of writings written by Taiseki-ji’s successive chief administrators reveals that no high priest before Nichiu, the ninth high priest, used the term that signifies the Three Great Secret Laws.

As I mentioned before, Nikko showed some signs of recognition that the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws, which Taiseki-ji later mentions in its doctrine, was Nichiren’s ultimate teaching. However, Nikko neither conceptualized the Three Great Secret Laws nor defined them as the basis of his school’s doctrine. On the other hand, in going over what senior priests other than the successive high priests of Taiseki-ji wrote, we know that Sanmi Nichiju and Nichigen of Myoren-ji respectively cited “On the Receiving of the Three Great Secret Law” in their respective works of “Commentary on ‘On the True Cause’” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 72) and “Comments by Nichigen” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 135). However, it is more reasonable to regard “Commentary on ‘On the True Cause’” as a document written by somebody else at a later time in view of its contents. Also, it is not clear when “Comments by Nichigen” came into existence. Even if we should look upon both of them as actual works by Nichiju and Nichigen respectively, the ideas mentioned in these works obviously came from other Nikko schools than Taiseki-ji, and these thoughts were not harbored by the successive high priests of Taiseki-ji. The line of “On Receiving of the Three Great Secret Laws” that both of them cite, which reads, “The term ‘daimoku’ has two meanings” (WND, p. 986) does not directly reveal and enhance the meaning of the Three Great Secret Laws.

We can presume from these points that Taiseki-ji, from its early days to the time of the ninth high priest Nichiu, did not view the Three Great Secret Laws as the foundation of its doctrines. Then who was the first to make a conscious decision to put the Three Great Secret Laws in the center of the school’s doctrine? Philologically speaking, it was Sakyo Nikkyo who did so.

Nikkyo vigorously advocated that the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws is the core of Nichiren’s teaching and that the sanctuary of the essential teachings should be constructed in the future, citing “On the Receiving of the Three Great Secret Laws” three times in both “My Personal Views” (EWFS, Vol. 2, pp. 312, 349, 350) and “Commentary on ‘On the Four States of Faith and the Five Stages of Practice’” (EWFS, Vol. 4, pp. 37, 53, 65).

We cannot overlook the fact that Nikkyo, who used to be a priest of the Juhon-ji faction of the Nichizon School, combined An Outline of Three Important Things of the medieval Tendai sect and Nichiren’s Three Great Secret Laws. Nikkyo, in “My Personal Views,” discusses the difference between the three important things of the medieval Tendai sect and the Three Great Secret Laws of the Taiseki-ji School, “The Tendai sect teaches the three important things of the three bodies of the round teaching (enkyo sanshin), the teaching of the land of eternal, tranquil light (jojakkodo no gi), and the cause and effect of the lotus (renge inga) while this school expounds the three great secret laws of Shakyamuni Buddha of the essential teaching, the high sanctuary of the essential teaching, and the kosen-rufu of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 320). I believe that Nikkyo was strongly attracted by such teachings of the medieval Tendai sect and he found there his doctrinal basis for the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws. It seems that as he studied Buddhism at various places before he converted to Taiseki-ji, Nikkyo, just as Nichiryo of the Eight Chapter School did, learned the way of enhancing the Three Great Secret Laws by contrasting them with the doctrines of the Medieval Tendai sect.

Nikkyo was convinced even before converting to Taiseki-ji that the Three Great Secret Laws are the foundation of Nichiren’s doctrines, and he came to insist on this particular viewpoint within the Fuji School after converting to it.

What was the reason Nikkyo insisted that the Three Great Secret Laws are the unique teaching of the Taiseki-ji School? In order to answer this question, we should know that Nikkyo had a firm belief in the legend that Nichiren personally transferred the Three Great Secret Laws only to Nichimoku at the time of his passing in Ikegami. It is a story called “the ear-pulling teaching.” The story goes, “At the time of his passing at the Ikegami residence Nichiren personally invited Nichimoku to his side, and transferred the Three Great Secret Laws only to Nichimoku, ordering Nichimoku to murmur them to the ears of Nikko at the time of Nikko’s passing. Hearing of this in jealousy, Nichiro forcefully pulled Nichimoku’s ears.” This is an outline of the “ear-pulling teaching” that Nikkyo shared. He introduces this anecdote in “In Mukasa” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 257), in “My Personal Views” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 318), and “Commentary on ‘On the Four States of Faith and the Five Stages of Practice’” (EWFS, Vol. 4, p. 52).

Nikkyo’s description is a little different from what Nichikan wrote down about this anecdote. Nichiko, a great scholar of the modern Taiseki-ji School, refers to this story, “This is an exaggerated story in one of the Nichimoku schools out of its zealous reverence of Nichimoku.”[58] The schools of Nichimoku denote Hota Myoho-ji and other temples. It is unknown how Nikkyo came to know about this anecdote. In any case, from a philological viewpoint, Sakyo Nikkyo was the first in the Taiseki-ji School who minutely described the story of the ear-pulling teaching. Because of his interest in the oral transmission of the teaching and the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws, Nikkyo was attracted very much to the legend of the ear-pulling teaching, insisting, “The Three Great Secret Laws are the teaching transmitted to only one person. Nichiro pulled Nichimoku Shonin’s ear wanting to know about them. Later, this anecdote became the source of Nichimoku’s ear-pulling teaching (“Commentary on ‘On the Four States of Faith and the Five Stages of Practice,’” EWFS, Vol. 4, p. 52). [59]

Let us approach from a different angle to understand why Nikkyo regarded the Three Great Secret Laws as the unique, secret teaching of Taiseki-ji. When he was a priest of the Juhon-ji faction of the Nichizon School, Nikkyo inherited various transfer documents of the Nikko School. In them Nikkyo discovered the teaching of the construction of the high sanctuary in the Fuji area. After converting himself to Nichiu of Taiseki-ji, he developed the conviction that the Three Great Secret Laws had been purely taught in the Fuji School. “One Hundred and Six Comparisons” reads, “The supreme location for the construction of the Three Great Secret Laws is the main temple of Honmon-ji at Mount Fuji” (GZ, p. 867). “The Minobu Transfer Document,” which is part of the “Two Transfer Documents,” reads, “When the lord of the nation accepts this Law, the High Sanctuary of Honmon-ji shall be built at Mount Fuji” (GZ, p. 1600). Furthermore, “Transfer Teachings on First Bath” reads, “The name ‘Nichiren’ is part of Mount Fuji’s original name. Fuji is the area’s name. Its real name is Mount Dai-Nichirenge” (GZ, p. 879). In these documents, it is suggested that the site where the high sanctuary should be constructed is the Fuji area. The passage from “One Hundred and Six Comparisons” reads, “The supreme location for the construction of the Three Great Secret Laws is the main temple of Honmon-ji at Mount Fuji,” and it was repeatedly quoted by Nikkyo after he converted to Taiseki-ji in both “My Personal Views” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 323) and The Personal Account of the Teachings of the Six Senior Priests (EWFS, Vol. 4, p. 43). We can tell that this passage of “One Hundred Six Comparisons” gravely influenced Nikkyo. Perhaps for this reason, Nikkyo, in “My Personal Views,” remarks, “The best place that resembles the Eagle Peak is the mountain of Dai-Nichiren (Fuji) in Fuji area in Sushu province, the greatest mountain in the southern continent. This mountain contains the name of our founder. The sixty thousand lodgings should be constructed in Tenshihara in the foothills of this mountain” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 350). After he converted to Taiseki-ji, he became an earnest advocator of the construction of the Fuji sanctuary.

It can be said that Nikkyo’s enhancement of the Three Great Secret Laws had strong influence upon the successive high priests’ study of the doctrine of the Fuji School. Nichiin, the 13th high priest answered to Nisshin of Yobo-ji who proposed to develop the relationship between Taiseki-ji and his temple, saying, “I am waiting for the time when the four sages will appear while keeping in mind the orally transmitted teaching, the heritage transferred from mentor to disciple, and the Three Great Secret Laws” (“Report by Nisshin of Yobo-ji,”CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 451). He thus chose to disclose the Three Great Secret Laws that other schools were not aware of. Nisshu, the 14th high priest, copied documents written by Nikkyo as a result of the transmission he received from Nitten of the Rikyo-bo lodging temple of Taiseki-ji.

In the Edo Era, what became an issue at Taiseki-ji was the importation of different teachings from other schools such as the erection of the Buddhist statues and the recitation of the whole sutra that the priests that came from Yobo-ji such as Nissei, the 17th high priest brought into the Taiseki-ji School. Those chief administrators who, rooted in Taiseki-ji from the outset of their lives, aimed at restoring the traditional study of the Taiseki-ji School. They assiduously turned to copying Sakyo Nikkyo’s documents. For instance, Nichikan, the 26th high priest, excerpted from “In Mukasa” and “My Personal Views.” In this context, the following contention made by Nisshun, the 22nd high priest became a legitimate thought within the Taiseki-ji School: “What are these Three Great Secret Laws? Isn’t the object of devotion the wooden Gohonzon of the high sanctuary possessed by this temple? Doesn’t the place where this object of devotion of the high sanctuary exists signify the land of the high sanctuary while kosen-rufu has to yet be achieved?” (“First Sermon” by Nisshun, the 22nd high priest, CWSHP, Vol. 3, p. 404). “The Daishonin makes the Three Great Secret Laws the object of devotion” (“Meaning of Two Characters Nichiren” by Nichiu, the 25th chief priest,CWSHP, Vol. 3, p. 404). By the end of the 17th century, the Three Great Secret Laws became the solid foundation of the Taiseki-ji doctrine.

Taiseki-ji’s unique view of the Three Great Secret Laws, as a matter of fact, existed at the time of Nikko and Nichimoku as a doctrinal creed. However, the theory that the Three Great Secret Laws are the core of Nichiren Buddhism’s doctrine was first advocated by Sakyo Nikkyo who came from the Nichizon School at the beginning of the Warring States Era. With the lapse of two hundred years, Nikkyo’s theory thoroughly became the solid mainstream thought of the Taiseki-ji School. It still is even today.

(6) Transfer of Three Great Secret Laws Through Bequeathing Golden Utterance
Sakyo Nikkyo not only spread the significance of the Three Great Secret Laws in the Fuji School but also advocated that they were transferred to the hossu of Taiseki-ji through the oral transmission from one high priest to another.

As I mentioned before, Nikkyo (Nichiju), in “One-Hundred-Fifty Articles,” touched upon T’ien-t’ai’s oral transmission theory, contending that there is the lineage of mentorship in the Nikko School as well through the oral transmission of the heritage. After converting to Taiseki-ji, Nikkyo produced a theory that “There was an oral transmission from Nichiren to Nichimoku, in which the former secretly conveyed the Three Great Secret Laws to the latter.” This point is mentioned in “My Personal Views,” which reads, “It stands to reason that other schools are ignorant of these Three Great Secret Laws. Sage Nichiren, ordering others to leave the room, orally transmitted the teaching (of the Three Great Secret Laws) only to Oshu Niidakyo Ajari Nichimoku in Ikegami for the sake of transmitting the correct teaching along the mainstream Buddhist lineage of Shakyamuni and T’ien-t’ai. It was a case of one-to-one transmission of the Law through golden utterance” (EWFS, Vol. 21, p. 313). Using Nichiro’s “ear-pulling” anecdote, Nikkyo insists that Nichiren transferred the Three Great Secret Laws solely to Nichimoku at the time of his passing. Incidentally, Nikkyo refers to the Nichiren-Nikko transmission lineage in “One-Hundred-Fifty Articles.”

Nikkyo was eager to adopt into the Taiseki-ji School the Tendai School’s oral transmission of the heritage along the lineage of its successive high priests. In “Commentary on ‘On the Four States of Faith and the Five Stages of Practice,’” he elaborates in great length on the Tendai School’s oral transmission, lineage of its successive high priests, and the transfer of the heritage of the study and meditation. He reveals the unique meaning of the transmission of the heritage in the Nichiren School, “The true teaching of this school is to attain Buddhahood in actuality” (EWFS, Vol. 4, p. 52).

In short, it seems that Nikkyo was of the opinion that there was oral transmission of the Three Great Secret Laws along the lineage of Shakyamuni in the Treasure Tower to Bodhisattva Superior Practices to Nichiren-Nikko/Nichimoku. Philologically speaking, he may have, most likely, based himself upon “On the Receiving of the Three Great Secret Laws,” for there is a passage in this writing, which reads, “These Three Great Secret Laws were unquestionably received by me, Nichiren, some two thousand and more years ago, when I was the leader of the Bodhisattva of the Earth; they were passed on to me by oral transmission from the lord of teachings, the World-Honored One of Great Enlightenment. And these actions that I now take embody what I received in transmission on Eagle Peak, without the slightest deviation or alteration in form, the three great matters of the Law of the ‘Life Span’ chapter” (WND p. 987). It is possible to come up with a theory like Nikkyo’s based upon this passage. In fact, Nikkyo quotes this passage in “My Personal Views” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 349). There is no doubt that Nikkyo thought highly of this passage from “On the Receiving of the Three Great Secret Laws.”

The idea of the transfer of the Three Great Secret Laws through the oral transmission through the lineage of the successive high priests, which is based upon Sakyo Nikkyo’s personal view of the transmission of the heritage, was carried on by the successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji. Before Nikkyo converted to Taiseki-ji, no priests advocated such a theory or view of the transmission of the heritage in the Fuji School. However, after the time of Nikkyo, Nichiin, the 13th high priest, wrote, “We wait for the time of the emergence of the four leaders of Bodhisattvas of the Earth while keeping in mind the Three Great Secret Laws that have been orally transmitted along the mainstream Buddhist lineage of T’ien-t’ai and Shakyamuni” (“Report by Nisshin of Yobo-ji,” CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 451). Nichiin thus began to boast of the transmission of the Three Great Secret Laws through the oral transmission along the lineage of the successive high priests.

In the ensuing time-period when Taiseki-ji and Yobo-ji were in contact with each other, the transmission of the heritage dating back to the founder was buried and only the concept of the oral transmission of the heritage to the current high priest alone came to be stressed. In reading “The Biography of Nichido” in The Biographies of Fuji School’s Chief Administrators that was written by Nissei, the 17th high priest who established an official view of the history of the Taiseki-ji School based upon emphasis on the transmission of the heritage, we come across a statement, which reads, “On the way to Kyoto, (Nichimoku Shonin) transmitted the Law to Nichido. … It was a case of oral transmission of the heritage that comes from Shakyamuni. Specifically, there are twelve transmitted, profound teachings. These teachings are transferred only to the person who is capable of receiving them correctly” (EWFS, Vol. 5, p. 216). Here, Nissei refers to the oral transmission of the heritage from Nichimoku to Nichido, but he is not referring to the subject of the transmission of the heritage in the orientation toward the founder. Judging from this, it seems that Nissei thought of the transmission of the heritage in the Taiseki-ji School only in terms of the oral transmission to the current high priest, not necessarily from the standpoint of the transmission that stems from the founder. At the end of the 17th century when Nichiei, the 24th high priest who came from Taiseki-ji, took office after the days of the high priests who came from Yobo-ji were over, there appeared a theory in which the oral transmission alone represents the transmission of the heritage within Taiseki-ji. In 1699 when Nichiei was chief administrator of Taiseki-ji, Kakushin Nichinyo, who later became Nichikan, the 26th high priest expounds, “Ever since the time of Teacher Nichimoku all the way down to the current high priest, the oral transmission, in the span of the past twenty-four high priests, took place to transfer the Three Great Secret Laws just as water is transferred from one vessel to another. Thus the heritage of these secret Laws is kept only at Taiseki-ji” (The Discussion About the “Life Span” Chapter, Vol. 10, p. 131).

Incidentally, in Personal Comment on “The Selection of the Time,” that he authored a few years before he took office as the 26th chief administrator of Taiseki-ji, Nichikan writes, “This sutra is hard to understand without the knowledge of the heritage that was transferred from Shakyamuni to Nichiren (Bodhisattva Superior Practices) in the treasure tower, then to Nikko, and then, to Nichimoku” (The Collection of Commentaries, p. 271). In it, Nichikan seems to be referring to the theory of oral transmission in the Taiseki-ji School that stems from Sakyo Nikkyo.

In those days, the theory of the oral transmission of the heritage, as described by Nichikan, must have been officially adopted in the Taiseki-ji School. In “Comment on ‘The Object of Devotion for Observing One’s Mind,’” Nichiu, the 25th high priest writes, “The orally transmitted teachings are no more than the mystic meaning of the object of devotion of the Three Great Secret Laws that are described in the five major writings” (CWSHP, Vol. 3, p. 369).

In the Taiseki-ji School after the 18th century, the view of the transfer of the heritage through oral transmission and the transmission along the lineage of the successive high priests (which originated from Nikkyo), was upheld except the point that the idea of konshi sojo (the orientation of going back to the origin of the transmission) was dropped off. And today in modern times, Nikkyo’s view of the transfer of the heritage is a common belief in the Taiseki-ji School.

(7) Origin of Transmitted Doctrines
Nikkyo, who advocated the transmission of the heritage, is the person who created a particular tradition in study in the Taiseki-ji School, an orientation where transmitted teachings are most significant. Nikkyo’s writings, without describing their sources, quote here and there such vital transfer documents as the “Two Transfer Documents,” “On the True Cause,” “One Hundred Six Comparisons,” “Transfer Teachings on First Bath,” and The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings. These transfer documents were not cited in various documents of Taiseki-ji written before the time of Nichiu, the ninth high priest. They are not quoted either in various notes taken based upon Nichiu’s remarks.[60] When it comes to “On the True Cause,” it has commonly been believed that its oldest copy was made by Nichiji, the sixth high priest. However, this alleged copy by Nichiji does not have his signature and seal. It also lacks the date when it was copied. In addition, the calligraphy on this copy needs further inspection to be determined as Nichiji’s.[61] As Nichiko Hori states, “It seems that our predecessors in the early days of Taiseki-ji did not cherish so much these two transfer documents (‘On the True Cause’ and ‘One Hundred and Six Comparisons’).”[62] It appears that these two transfer documents, which later in modern times became the foundation of the legitimacy of the Taiseki-ji School, were not valued so much in the early days of Taiseki-ji.

The majority of the transfer documents that Nikkyo quoted were transferred to him from his mentor, Nichiyo, when the former used to belong to the Juhon-ji faction of the Nichizon School. After converting to Taiseki-ji, Nikkyo, time and again, quoted these transfer documents, striving to enhance them. As a result, the study based upon the transmission of the doctrines blossomed during the time of Nichikan, the 26th high priest, at Taiseki-ji. We can define the meaning of Nichikan’s teachings from various perspectives, but it is most suitable to name his teachings the “transmission teachings,” for he systematized the secret transfer teachings of the Nikko School such as the “Two Transfer Documents,” “On the True Cause,” “One Hundred Six Comparisons,” “Transfer Teachings on First Bath,” and The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings while employing Nichiren’s writings and the study of the Tendai sect in this endeavor. It can be said that Sakyo Nikkyo’s teachings gave grave influence to Nichikan in his endeavor to establish the formation of the transmission teachings in Taiseki-ji. Nichikan did not live in the days of Nikkyo, but Nichikan studied Nikkyo’s writings. It can be presumed that Nichikan’s study of Nikkyo’s writings was one of the reasons why Nichikan took the transfer documents seriously.

It is not the purpose of this thesis to make a detailed examination of the relationship between Sakyo Nikkyo and Nichikan’s teachings. However, let me cite some examples where Nichikan elaborated on his teachings using Sakyo Nikkyo’s writings as reference.

First, in revealing “comparison between the Buddhism of Sowing and the Buddhist of Harvesting (shudatsu sotai) and the three thousand realms in a moment of life (ichinen sanzen)” in “The Three Threefold Secret Teaching,” Nichikan cites from “On the True Cause” as a profound, secret transferred teaching of this school, “What is the One Great Secret Law in the depths of the ‘Life Span’ chapter? Answer: It is the one secret true Law. You should keep it strictly to yourself. Since the teaching expounded by the Buddha in this lifetime (in India) is theoretical, his entire Lotus Sutra just reveals the theoretical ichinen sanzen. When you view his essential teaching of the ‘Life Span’ chapter as the teaching based upon the theoretical teaching, you are referring to Shakyamuni’s Lotus Sutra as Buddhism of Harvesting. What is hidden in the depths of the ‘Life Span’ chapter is the Mystic Law that Shakyamuni exclusively practiced to attain Buddhahood instantly in the remote past. The actual ichinen sanzen is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo itself” (GZ, p. 877, EWFS, Vol. 3, p. 50). He also quotes “On the True Cause” in showing both actual and theoretical ichinen sanzen, “The entire teaching expounded by the Buddha of the theoretical teaching is no more than the theoreticalichinen sanzen” (EWFS, Vol. 3, p. 53). The passage from “On the True Cause” that Nichikan quoted was the very passage that Sakyo Nikkyo quoted a number of times in The Personal Account of the Teachings of the Six Senior Priests. Namely, Nikkyo, in that writing, first mentions, “This ultimately teaches faith,” and then refers to the very passage, “What is the secret law hidden in the depths of the ‘Life Span’ chapter? To answer: It is the correct and secret teaching, which should not be revealed. The entire teaching expounded by the Buddha of the theoretical teaching … ” (EWFS, Vol. 4, p. 36). Also in “My Personal Views”, Nikkyo first insists that “The Three Great Secret Laws of the essential teaching are hidden in the depths of the ‘Life Span’ chapter.” He then cites a portion of the very passage from “On the True Cause,” “What is hidden in the depths of the ‘Life Span’ chapter is the Mystic Law that Shakyamuni exclusively practiced to attain Buddhahood instantly in the remote past. The actual ichinen sanzen is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo itself” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 313).

Secondly, in discussing the object of devotion in terms of the Person in “The Meanings Hidden in the Depths,” Nichikan cites three passages from “One Hundred and Six Comparisons” to reveal the oneness of the Buddha of limitless joy (jijuyushin) and Nichiren in terms of practice and status. The passage that reads “Nichiren’s practice today is exactly the same as the Buddha’s behavior at the stage of hearing the name and words of the truth at the beginningless time of kuon” is quoted by Nikkyo in “My Personal Views” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 314). In “The Meanings Hidden in the Depths,”, Nichikan, to prove that the teacher of the true cause is Nichiren, also cites a passage from “One Hundred Six Comparisons” that reads, “The ‘Life Span’ chapter of our inner enlightenment is the teaching of the True Cause hidden in the ‘Life Span’ chapter of the Buddhism of Harvesting. Its teacher is myself” (GZ, p. 863,EWFS, Vol. 3, p. 80). This sentence is also quoted by Nikkyo in “My Personal Views” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 314).

Thirdly, in discussing the construction of the high sanctuary at Mount Fuji in “The Meanings Hidden in the Depths,” Nichikan cites as Nichiren’s transfer documents “On the Three Great Secret Laws,” The Minobu Transfer Document, and “One Hundred Six Comparisons.” The significance of all these documents came to be known within the Taiseki-ji School because of Sakyo Nikkyo’s influence. Especially, I would like to point out that the added sentence in “One Hundred Six Comparisons,” which reads, “The mandala that Nikko personally inherited from Sage Nichiren and transmitted to his successive successors should be enshrined at the main temple as the correct object of worship” (EWFS, Vol. 3, p. 96) and which Nichikan quotes, is cited by Nikkyo in The Personal Account of the Teachings of the Six Senior Priests (EWFS, Vol. 4, p. 43) for insisting on the exclusive transmission of the heritage from Nichiren to Nikko.

Fourthly, the segment of the daimoku of the essential teaching in “The Meanings Hidden in the Depths” is concluded with a passage from “On the True Cause” (GZ, p. 877). In the segment of the chanting of daimoku in “The Practices of This School,” Nichikan introduces the meaning of this passage, proclaiming, “This is the most profound, secret and significant teaching of Founder Nichiren and this school” (EWFS, Vol. 3, p. 212). As I mentioned before, the passage from “On the True Cause” is taken up in Sakyo Nikkyo’s “My Personal Views” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 313). Nichikan, who took up the contents of My Personal View as On the Principle (Gohosoku Sho) authored anonymously, seems to have come to value this passage through viewing or copying it.

Fifthly, in discussing the recitation of the “Expedient Means” chapter in “The Practices of This School,” Nichikan takes up Sakyo Nikkyo’s theory in “My Personal Views”, referring to On the Principle states it while using it to warrant his own theory:

“Question: The quote from On the Principle reads, ‘Here and there the sage writes that we should discard the theoretical teaching. However, by the theoretical teaching, the sage points out, he does not mean the theoretical teaching within his own Buddhism. The ‘Life Span’ chapter in the teaching of Buddhism of Harvesting becomes the theoretical teaching within the context of the sage’s teaching. Therefore, even though the words belong to the theoretical teaching, their meaning belongs to the essential teaching.’ Why does the sage call the ‘Life Span” chapter the ‘Expedient Means” chapter while naming the ‘Life Span” chapter the theoretical teaching that he recites? Answer: This statement stems from the anecdote that Kyoshin-bo and others refused to recite the theoretical teaching after encountering in ‘The Object of Devotion for Observing One’s Mind’ the passage where the sage points out that one cannot attain Buddhahood through the theoretical teaching. Therefore, the founder did not mean the theoretical teaching that he reads by the ‘Life Span’ chapter. Therefore, what the sentence from On the Principle referred to was the theoretical teaching in the family of the ‘Life Span” chapter. In this context, the ‘Life Span’ chapter (of Shakyamuni’s Buddhism) was called the ‘Expedient Means’ chapter (in Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism). It is just like the case in ‘Transfer Teachings on First Bath’ where the ‘Simile and Parable’ chapter is called the ‘Life Span’ chapter. It reads in part, ‘The “Life Span” chapter refers to the ‘”three-fold world”’ [that actually appears in the ‘Simile and Parable’ chapter]. As mentioned in the ensuing part of ‘Transfer Teachings on First Bath,’ the words appear in the theoretical teaching while their meaning exists in the essential teaching.” (EWFS, Vol. 3, p. 185).

The sentence quoted here from On the Principle is nothing but a condensed version of Nikkyo’s theory in “My Personal Views” that reads, “Here and there the sage writes that we should discard the theoretical teaching. However, by the theoretical teaching, the sage points out, he does not mean the theoretical teaching within his Buddhism. The “Life Span” chapter in the teaching of Buddhism of Harvesting becomes the theoretical teaching within the Sage’s teaching” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 353). Out of Nikkyo’s “My Personal Views” Nichikan quoted the part that reads, “The sage says, ‘It is written here and there that “You should discard the theoretical teaching.” What is meant by the theoretical teaching in this case does not mean the theoretical teaching I read. The theoretical teaching that I am refuting is the theoretical teaching of T’ien-t’ai. This ‘Life Span’ chapter in the realm of T’ien-t’ai’s Buddhism corresponds to the theoretical teaching of the sage. Hence the statements that ‘Words belong to the theoretical teaching while their meaning exists in the essential teaching’ and ‘No benefit arises from the theoretical teaching while benefit arises from the essential teaching.’ He thus interpreted “this ‘Life Span’ chapter” as the ‘Expedient Means’ chapter in the context of the ‘Life Span’ chapter.” By so doing, Nichikan attempted to justify the recitation of the “Expedient Means” chapter as an auxiliary practice for the main practice of the chanting of daimoku. The notion of “literally, the theoretical teaching but in terms of significance, the essential teaching” appears in a part that seems added later to “On the True Cause” (GZ, p. 861).

Nichikan, the 26th high priest thus developed his theory with regards to each aspect of the teachings of the Three Great Secret Laws, the core teaching of the entity of the Law, and the recitation of the ‘Expedient Means’ chapter, a focal point in the discussion of the practice of the Nikko School, while referring heavily to Sakyo Nikkyo’s writings that quote the transfer documents such as “On the True Cause” and “One Hundred and Six Comparisons.” This is the reason why it has been said that the teachings of Nichikan was organized based upon the transfer documents that uniquely characterize the Nikko School.[63]

Of course, among Nichikan’s teachings there are a number of teachings such as the teaching of oneness of the Person and the Law, which Nikkyo did not expound. With this fact aside, it is still valid to say that one of the major sources of the systematized, transfer-oriented teachings of Nichikan was the writings of Nikkyo that heavily quoted the transfer documents of the Nikko School.

(8) Chief Administrator’s Exclusive Right to Transcribe Gohonzon
Sakyo Nikkyo thought that transcribing the Gohonzon in the Taiseki-ji School was an exclusive right that belonged only to its successive chief administrators. Nichiu, the ninth high priest writes in “On Formalities,” “Those at branch temples who have disciples and lay patrons may transcribe the amulet [i.e., the Gohonzon]. However, they should not place their seal on it. The chief administrator of this temple alone is allowed to place a seal on the Gohonzon he transcribes” and “Those at branch temples who have disciples and lay patrons may transcribe the mandala yet may not place their seal on it. However, the chief administrator of this temple places his seal on the Gohonzon transcribed by another faithful priest and received by a sincerely devoted believer. This rarely happens” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 71). As is obvious from these statements, Nichiu approved for local chief priests to transcribe the Gohonzon on condition that they should not place their names on the Gohonzon.

In contrast to Nichiu who approved ordinary priests’ conditional but free transcription of the Gohonzon, Nikkyo, who became his disciple in his latter days, strongly insisted that the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji alone was eligible to transcribe the Gohonzon. Before he became a priest of Taiseki-ji, Nikkyo was a priest of the Juhon-ji faction of the Nichizon School in Kyoto. In The Record of Teacher Nichizon, Nichidai, who founded the Juhon-ji faction, writes, “Nikko Shonin willed that the chief administrator of the Fuji School alone should transcribe the Gohonzon.”[64] Originally, the Nichizon School had the thought that the successful chief administrator who received the heritage of the Law alone should transcribe the Gohonzon. Nikkyo seems to have inherited this thought from the Nichizon School.

Nikkyo strongly insisted that only the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji who received the heritage of the school is allowed to transcribe the Gohonzon, writing in “In Mukasa,” “No one should transcribe the Gohonzon on his own volition except the successive chief administrators who received the heritage of the Law along the lineage of the noble founder” (EWFS, Vol. 283) and “Regarding the Transcription of the Gohonzon: There should not be two chief administrators at one time in receiving the heritage of the Law in the honorable school of the Sage. … There should be only one leader that is qualified to transcribe the Gohonzon based upon the heritage of the Law that he possesses” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 286). Nikkyo’s contention that the right to transcribe the Gohonzon should be limited to the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji who inherited the heritage of the Law is diametrically opposed to the article in “On Formalities” where Nichiu permitted ordinary priests’ conditional yet free transcription of the Gohonzon.

Nikkyo did not belong to Taiseki-ji at first. In terms of the lineage of the school, Taiseki-ji should have carried on Nichiu’s view of the conditional but free transcription of the Gohonzon. However, the successful high priests after Nitchin, the 12th high priest, were greatly swayed by Nikkyo’s philosophy that expounded the supreme authority of the chief administrator of the Taiseki-ji school. Because of that, Nikkyo’s thought that the chief administrator alone was eligible to transcribe the Gohonzon became the school’s mainstream thought in modern times.

Let me show some examples. Nissei, the 17th high priest writes in The Profound Heritage of This School (its original copy is stored at Taiseki-ji), “Because the chief administrator of this school is the only person who received the heritage to transcribe the Gohonzon, no other priests other than the chief administrator have the right to transcribe the Gohonzon” (CWSHP, Vol. 2, p. 314). Nissei asserts, “It is the agreement of the Taiseki-ji School that the chief administrator alone is eligible to transcribe the Gohonzon.” From this statement by Nissei, we come to know that Nikkyo’s philosophy that the chief administrator alone is eligible to transcribe the Gohonzon became a new tradition in the Taiseki-ji School in the 17th century.

Nikkyo’s view regarding the transcription of the Gohonzon came to be regarded in the Edo Era as a time-honored, orthodox tradition in the Taiseki-ji School. This understanding is maintained at Taiseki-ji even today. For instance, Nichio Oishi, the 56th high priest, contends, “No one without receiving the heritage of the Law through oral transmission along the lineage of the successive chief administrators of this school is eligible to transcribe the Gohonzon.”[65] Jirin Hori, who later became the 59th high priest Nichiko, also states, “The great authority to transcribe the mandala is possessed only by the chief administrator of this school who inherited the heritage of the Law through the oral transmission of the ultimate teaching of this school” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 112). The thought that originated from Nikkyo completely settled down in the Taiseki-ji School in the time-period from Meiji Era to Taisho Era. Because of the establishment of this new tradition, the permission Nichiu gave to ordinary priests for them to transcribe the Gohonzon in “On Formalities,” that is, the conditional freedom for ordinary priests to transcribe the Gohonzon came to be understood as a special, exceptional and circumstantial case within the Taiseki-ji. Thus Nichiu’s stipulation became a dead clause in the Taiseki-ji School in modern times.

Let me make one thing clear here. I am not saying which view (Nichiu’s regulatory one or Nikkyo’s authoritarian one) is right or wrong. What I would like to point out is the fact that the regulation of the formality of the transcription of the Gohonzon is a changeable one and that Nikkyo’s thought that only the chief administrator of the Taiseki-ji is eligible to transcribe developed into a mainstream thought of the Taiseki-ji School in modern times.

If what is written in The Record of Teacher Nichizon is correct, it follows that Nikko, the founder of Taiseki-ji, not Nikkyo, was the one who first emphasized the chief administrator’s sole right to transcribe the Gohonzon. However, there is no record whatsoever where the Taiseki-ji School had a strong attachment to the notion that only its chief administrator should transcribe the Gohonzon after Nikko’s passing all the way to the time of Nichiu. It was after Sakyo Nikkyo came to Taiseki-ji that the idea that only the chief administrator of the school should transcribe the Gohonzon became a conspicuous mandate within the school. The Record of Teacher Nichizon was a record of hearsays, and Nikkyo’s “In Mukasa” was the first document that touched upon the precept that the right to transcribe the Gohonzon should be limited to the chief administrator of the Taiseki-ji School. In this connection, we should know that the current mainstream thought of the Taiseki-ji School that only the chief administrator of the Taiseki-ji School is eligible to transcribe the Gohonzon is derived from Sakyo Nikkyo.

(9) Faith in Absolute Authority of Chief Administrator
The biggest influence that Sakyo Nikkyo exerted over the teaching of the Taiseki-ji School stems from his robust emphasis upon faith in the absoluteness of the chief administrator of the Taiseki-ji School. Nikkyo’s faith in the absolute authority of the chief administrator comes from his particular view of the object of devotion. In “In Mukasa”, he writes, “What does this Gohonzon represent? The function of the leader of the Latter Day of the Law is manifested in the Gohonzon” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 284). As is clear from this statement, Nikkyo saw the entity of the Gohonzon within Nichiren, the leader of the Latter Day of the Law. He defined the mandala Gohonzon as his “function.”

Nikkyo’s view of the Gohonzon produced the thought that the successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji who follow the lineage of Buddhism that originates from Nichiren represent the entity of the Gohonzon. Nikkyo writes:

“Shakyamuni passed away at 80 to benefit people in the Latter Day. As promised in the ‘Life Span’ chapter, our noble sage practiced Buddhism without sparing anything out of his life. Accomplished faith brings about good circumstances in future existences. Hence the joy of peace and security in this present existence. Function characterizes the true aspect of the Gohonzon that is foremost in Jambudvipa” (“In Mukasa”, EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 253).

He also wrote, “Therefore, we can encounter and develop connection with the living sage in this lifetime. We chant daimoku simultaneously in unison with the same faith as mentor and disciple. Why should we need to meet the Buddha with the twenty-eight features in the Latter Day? The absolute faith of the current sage is where the living Gohonzon exists” (“My Personal Views”, EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 309).

In both sentences, Nikkyo teaches that the object of devotion of the essential teaching and the entity of the object of devotion both lies in one’s faith in the contemporary chief administrator of Taiseki-ji that inherited the heritage of Nichiren Buddhism. In “In Mukasa,” he wrote, “The Gohonzon that is foremost in Jambudvipa is no more than a function.” He defined as a function all the Gohonzon inscribed by Nichiren himself and transcribed by the successive chief administrators. In short, Nikkyo’s view of the Gohonzon was “Faith in Nichiren and successive chief administrators is the entity of the object of devotion while the mandala Gohonzon itself is the function of the object of devotion.

Nikkyo may have emphasized faith in the chief administrator because of the influence he received from his mentor, Nichiu. In “My Personal Views”, he writes, “I came to this temple of late, and as I learned about the way of faith, my faith arose to the point where I was so excited that all hairs on my body stood up” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 305). When he came to Taiseki-ji, Nikkyo encountered Nichiu’s teaching that was based upon emphasis on faith, which seemingly prompted Nikkyo to deeply reflect upon his attitude toward faith. Presumably, Nikkyo’s somewhat contradicting teaching that he sees within the inner world of the chief administrator both faith (cause) and enlightenment (effect) resulted from a mixture of his original belief in the legitimacy of the transmitted teaching and his new experience of Nichiu’s faith-first position.

By the way, when you are based upon the view that the succession of faith leads to the inheritance of inner enlightenment, theoretically speaking, the faith possessed by the disciples and believers of the successive high priests represent the entity of the object of devotion. However, when it comes to Nikkyo’s teaching, he sees in the inner enlightenment of the contemporary chief administrator, not in the mandala Gohonzon, the fundamental location of the entity of the object of devotion. Therefore, all the disciples and believers must have absolute faith in the contemporary chief administrator in order to embody the entity of the object of devotion.[66]

According to a theory, Nikkyo is said to have established the view of the transmission of the inner enlightenment from chief administrator to another to protect Nitchin, the 12th high priest who was a juvenile chief administrator. Whether this theory was true or not, Nikkyo’s view centering on the inner enlightenment of the chief administrator cannot be seen in the teaching of his mentor, Nichiu.

In “Selected Notes,” Nichiu is quoted, “Nichiu Shonin states, ‘There is a sutra passage that reads, “One who embraces this sutra and chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo wholeheartedly and constantly with pure faith in it can achieve Buddhahood in one’s present form, manifesting oneself as Bodhisattva Superior Practices. The ‘Supernatural Powers’ chapter states, ‘At that time Bodhisattva Superior Practices…’ This passage exactly means what I am speaking about” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 422).

“Nichiu Shonin also states, ‘The noble founder and sage Nichiren mentioned that he was a parent to the entire people of Japan. (But now that he is deceased), the virtue of parent manifests itself in one’s life. Whether one is a current mentor, a lay believer, a priest, a nun, or a lay priest, one who chants and propagates Myoho-renge-kyo fulfills the roles of sovereign, teacher and parent. You should bear this deep in mind” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 426).

As mentioned above, Nichiu thought that anybody with absolute faith, whether he is a priest or a lay believer, is Bodhisattva Superior Practices and a Buddha possessing the three virtues of sovereign, teacher and parent. Nichiu, while cherishing the way of mentor and disciple based upon faith, did not expound the view that put utmost priority on the inner enlightenment of the chief administrator who inherited the heritage of the school through the transmitted teaching from one chief administrator to another.

Essentially, Nikkyo’s particular view of the Gohonzon is opposed to the teaching of oneness of the Person and the Law that Nichikan, the 26th high priest, taught at a later time in establishing the teaching of Taiseki-ji. Nikkyo’s view was not accepted as part of the orthodox teaching of Taiseki-ji. On the other hand, however, it is undeniable that in the Edo Era Taiseki-ji School developed a new trend where absolute faith in the chief administrator of the school, as expounded by Nikkyo, came to be regarded as the orthodox, traditional doctrine of Taiseki-ji.

It was Nikkan, a powerful priest who originally came from Yobo-ji, who first advocated absolute faith in the chief administrator within the Taiseki-ji School after the passing of Nikkyo. In the middle of the 17th century when Nisshun, the 19th high priest, came to Taiseki-ji under very complicated circumstances, there arose a situation where Nisshun, a new chief administrator, was slighted by both priests and lay believers at Taiseki-ji. Nikkan, who was influential in the Taiseki-ji School, wrote a letter to the head of the lay group of Taiseki-ji to protect Nisshun. According to Kechu Sho, Second Part, written by Nichiryo, Nikkan is said to have written in his letter, “At Taiseki-ji there is an exclusive tradition called the transmission of golden utterance. Believing that the person who received the heritage through oral transmission embodies the living Shakyamuni and Nichiren, regardless of his level of knowledge of Buddhism, causes the people of the Latter Day to sow the seed of enlightenment” and “The water of the Law, which flows through the lineage of Shakyamuni, Nichiren and the successive high priests of this school, remains intact in any age. With faith in this point, Buddhism will prosper for a long time like a pine or oak tree while both priests and lay believers continue to sow the seed of enlightenment in their lives. There is no doubt that Buddhism will spread widely and forever while protected by the dignity of the three treasures.” (EWFS, Vol. 5, p. 271).

Nikkan taught, “The chief administrator of Taiseki-ji who received the heritage of the school, whether he is learned or not, and whether he is talented or not, is the living Shakyamuni and the living Nichiren. The true intent of Nikko, founder of Taiseki-ji, is to encourage his future disciples and believers to place absolute faith in his successor. So believing is the essence of the faith of the Taiseki-ji School. So expounding, Nikkan tried to put under his control the dissatisfied disciples and believers of Taiseki-ji. Nikkan’s emphasis on absolute faith in the chief administrator, compared to that of Sakyo Nikkyo who saw the entity of the object of devotion in one’s faith in the chief administrator, gives us a stronger impression of his authoritarianism. It must be said, however, that their views of absolute faith in the chief administrator are the same in that they preach that the chief administrator is equal to Nichiren based upon the transmission of the heritage they received.

In the middle of the 18th century, Nichiin, the 31sthigh priest expounded faith in the chief administrator based on the teaching of the three treasures. Nichiin teaches in Record of “On the Accounts of Teacher Nichiu,” Part 1, that he wrote in 1575, “The entity of the (high) priest of this school equals the three treasures of the Buddha, the Law and the Priest” and “If you make offerings to the treasure of the Priest, you are making offerings to your own Buddhahood” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 12). By the priest, here, Nichiin means the successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji. Nichiin’s fundamental understanding seems to have been that the Buddha means the inner enlightenment of the chief administrator who is equal to the treasure of the Priest. This point can be proven in the guidance he gave in October 1754 to a believer in Kanazawa, “The successive chief administrators including Nikko Shonin possess the inner enlightenment, representing the treasure of the Buddha. They represent the treasure of the Priest in terms of appearance. In front of the noble Buddha, Nichiren Shonin who is the great teacher of Buddhism of Sowing in the Latter Day of the Law, they all become treasures of the Priest.”[67]

Nichiin’s thought was that the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji equals the treasure of the Priest, whose inner enlightenment is the Buddha. It is possible that Nichiin based himself upon the premise that Nichiren’s inner enlightenment is transmitted to the successive chief administrator of Taiseki-ji through the oral transmission of the heritage along the lineage of the school.

In essence, Buddhist enlightenment is achieved only through the power of one’s daily practice. Thinking that Nichiren’s enlightenment can be transferred mystically from one chief administrator to another is very contradictory and superstitious in terms of the law of causality. This type of thinking could lead to the theory that no practice of Buddhism is needed to attain Buddhahood.

When did the mysticism of the transmission of enlightenment appear within the Taiseki-ji School? We may have no alternative but to say from the perspective of written data available that it stemmed from Nikkyo’s doctrine that the contemporary chief administrator of Taiseki-ji possesses the Living Essence of the Gohonzon because of the heritage he received through the orally transmitted teaching.

In any case, Nichiin, one of the successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji, publicly advocated the doctrine that the Buddha means the inner enlightenment of the chief administrator. It can be said that the absolute faith in the chief administrator, whose seeds were sown by Nikkyo some three hundred years ago in the Taiseki-ji School, inserted itself into the core of the school’s teaching. In fact, one chief administrator after another appeared in the 18th century and at the beginning of the 19th century who expounded absolute faith in the chief administrator in the same way Nikkyo did.

In 1765, Nichigen, the 33rd high priest transferred the heritage to Nichion, the 35th high priest, with Nichiin, the 33rd high priest, present. The record of this transfer ceremony exists today. According to this record, Nichigen first remarked, “Please let it known that in front of the Gohonzon, Nichiren Daishonin and Nikko Shonin, I just now transmitted to Nichinon, the 35th high priest of this school, the entirety of the ultimate, secret Law that Nichiren Daishonin possessed within his body.” He then transferred the vital, secret Law to Nichion. Then, Nichigen transferred to Nichion all the teachings of Nichiren and all successive chief administrators, stating, “Now that this secret Law is kept in the heart of Nichion, Nichion is one with Nichiren, Nikko, Nichimoku, all the successive high priests including Nichiin. Nichion, now as the chief administrator of this school in the Latter Day who is equipped with the three virtues of sovereign, teacher and parent, should know that all the daimoku that is chanted in the Taiseki-ji School is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo that he possesses within his life in the form of his inner enlightenment.”[68] What is obvious here is that Nichigen treated the successive chief administrators who received the heritage of the vital, secret Law on the same level as Nichiren and Nikko. Not only that, Nichigen looked upon Nichion who received the orally transmitted heritage as the Buddha, or a great leader with the three virtues of sovereign, teacher and parent. In other words, Nichigen declared that Nichion, the new administrator, who received the vital, secret Law, which denotes the inner enlightenment of Nichiren, became a Buddha with the three virtues of sovereign, teacher and parent.

Nichion, who was placed on a pedestal as a Buddha and assumed the most responsible position to guide the entire school, through the mystic ceremony of the transmission of the heritage, seemed to have followed suit, becoming an advocator of absolute faith in the chief administrator based upon Nikkyo’s view of the transmission of the heritage. In the next year after he received the heritage from Nichigen, Nichion, in his guidance to Taiseki-ji believers in Kanazawa, defined Nichimoku as “foremost in converting people to Nichiren Buddhism” and Nichion himself as the “sovereign who benefit others.”[69]

Among chief administrators after Nichion, Nisso, the 43rd high priest, also seems to have advocated absolute faith in the chief administrator. It was in November 1799 that Nisso received the heritage from Nisshin, the 37th. At an equinox ceremony[70] that Nisso conducted with Nisshin in attendance probably before he transferred the heritage to Nichiho, Nisso praised Nichiho as representing “the entirety of Nichiren Daishonin in the Latter Day of the Law,” while repeating his remark, which indicates his position toward absolute faith in the chief administrator, as follows.

“In terms of this school’s faith, the entire body of Nichiho Shonin represents the inner enlightenment within a scroll of the Gohonzon. He embodies the whole of Nichiren Daishonin.”[71]

“Now that Nichiho Shonin possesses the one vital, secret Law that has been transmitted along the lineage of the Daishonin, Nikko Shonin and all the successive high priests, Nichiho Shonin’s heart is where the Daishonin dwells. His tongue is where the Daishonin preaches. His throat is where the Daishonin was born. And his mouth is where the Daishonin’s enlightenment exists. Since this is the place where such a wondrous Nichio Shonin preaches, it is no different from the land of tranquil light that is not inferior to Eagle Peak in India. Within his life lies the Dai-Gohonzon of the Three Great Secret Laws. Since the Law is wonderful, the person is worthy of respect; since the person is worthy of respect, the land is sacred.”[72]

Nisso’s statement that “Now that Nichiho Shonin possesses the one vital, secret Law that has been transmitted along the lineage of the Daishonin, Nikko Shonin and all the successive high priests, Nichiho Shonin’s heart is where the Daishonin dwells” is identical with the remark made by Nichigen, the 33rd in his endorsement of faith in the chief administrator, as I previously mentioned. Not only that, Nichiho himself, who was placed on the pedestal by Nisso, was present at this equinox memorial service. In other words, knowing that his statement would reach Nichiho, Nisso made the above statement. It is considered that soon after, Nichiho officially received the heritage from Nisso. It appears that this type of faith in the chief administrator was dominant in the Taiseki-ji School of the latter half of the 18th century.

Nisso also commented at a Nichiren Daishonin’s birthday ceremony (the year when he made this comment is not known), “Even if one’s life was born out of one’s father and mother, when one chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo without much knowledge of it, one becomes identical with the Gohonzon of the oneness of the Person and the Law, benefiting the ten worlds without a doubt.”[73] His teaching shows that both ordinary priests and lay believers of the Taiseki-ji School experience the entity of the object of devotion through the means of faith. This way of thinking on the part of Nisso is similar to the thought harbored by Nikkyo who endorsed the transmission of inner enlightenment to ordinary believers. Or Nisso may have been influenced by Nichikan’s thought that everybody can manifest himself or herself as Nichiren and experience the enlightenment manifested in the object of devotion.

Lastly, let me cite another example that professed absolute faith in the chief administrator toward the end of the Edo Era. Kuzein Nitto, who was the study head of Taiseki-ji around that time, made a statement that supports absolute faith in the chief administrator. Nitto authored On Refuting Heretical Teachings in 1844 to guide a priest who was in the lineage of Kenju Nichiko. In it he wrote, “What a grave slander it is to criticize the chief administrator of this school! Nichiren Daishonin states in ‘The Transmission of Seven Teachings on the Gohonzon,’ ‘You should write ‘Nichiren Zai-gohan’ (here is his signature).’ What does this statement mean? The mentor states, ‘It means that the successive high priests of this school are Nichiren himself.’ Accordingly, Nichiko’s criticism of this school is no different from slandering the Daishonin. He should bite his tongue and kill himself. No offense is greater than his. How formidable his sin is!” (Kenkyu Kyogaku Sho, Vol. 23, 563).

In this statement, Nitto is vehement in attacking Nichiko who was critical of Taiseki-ji while resorting to the authority of the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji who inherits the correct teaching of the three secret laws. At the same time, Nitto insists the mysticism that the chief administrator is equal to Nichiren by quoting added articles in “The Transmission of Seven Teachings on the Gohonzon.”[74]

As I explored the history of Taiseki-ji with various examples, we can say that Sakyo Nikkyo’s theory of absolute faith in the chief administrator exerted grave influence over the mentality of the Taiseki-ji School during the Edo Era. Especially, from the middle of the 18th century onward, the chief administrators of Taiseki-ji themselves began to advocate absolute supremacy of their authority. The source of such a teaching, the teaching that the chief administrator alone possesses the living proof of the Gohonzon within and that the chief administrator alone possesses the living proof of the Buddha within, is found only in the writings of Nikkyo who expounded the transmission of the entity of the Gohonzon from one chief administrator to another. It seems that Nikkyo’s elucidation of his own teaching became the origin of absolute faith in the chief administration that arose in the Taiseki-ji School in pre-modern times.

However, while Nikkyo praised the chief administrator’s supreme faith because of the influence from his mentor, Nichiu, those who expounded absolute faith in the chief administrators in and after the pre-modern times tended to fall into authoritarianism that was not rooted in correct faith. The current Taiseki-ji School is under the influence of the extreme faith in the absolute authority of the chief administrator. We cannot ignore this plight of the Taiseki-ji School.

10. 56th Chief Administrator Nichio Established Nichiren Shoshu’s Modern View of Heritage Transmission

Thus far I have been discussing the process of the formation of the transmission of the heritage of the Law from one chief administrator to another in the Taiseki-ji School. It was Sakyo Nikkyo that came to Taiseki-ji from the Nichizon School in Kyoto, who imported the idea of yuiju ichinen kechimyaku sojo (the transmission of the heritage of the Law from one chief administrator to another) and had the mythological thought that the chief administrator of the heritage is absolute permeate throughout the Taiseki-ji School. Yuiju ichinen kechimyaku sojo is an idea that came from outside into the Taiseki-ji School. However, this imported thought gradually constituted the foundation of Taiseki-ji’s teachings, giving absolute, religious authority to its successive chief administrators. It came to be regarded as a fundamental, time-honored traditional doctrine of the Taiseki-ji School at the end of the Edo Era. When the Meiji Era started, the Taiseki-ji School was forced to be incorporated into the Nikko School of Nichiren Shu (that was later renamed Honmon Shu) because of the religious policy of the Japanese government.

In those days, Taiseki-ji was making efforts to become independent as early as possible from the joint Nikko School that was a hodgepodge of different doctrines advocated by different Nikko schools. The doctrine of yuiju ichinin kechimyaku sojo was strongly advocated within the Taiseki-ji School to stress the righteousness of its own doctrine. It was Nichio Oishi who was in the center of this movement for independence.

Kibi Nisshu, the former chief priest of Yobo-ji that belonged to the same Nikko School as Taiseki-ji in those days, authored “On Observing One’s Mind in the Latter Day” in May 1892, fiercely attacking the teachings of Nichikan, the 26th chief administrator of Taiseki-ji. At that time, Nichio Oishi, the then chief administrator of Taiseki-ji, made a repeated protest in vain to Nichiju Sakamoto, chief priest of Yobo-ji. In 1893 when Myoko Nikkai of Koizumi Kuon-ji took office as the chief administrator of the joint Nikko School, an action was taken to ban the publication and distribution of “On Observing One’s Mind in the Latter Day.” Under such circumstances, Nichio began to write a thesis of rebuttal against “On Observing One’s Mind in the Latter Day” and published “Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind” (Bennaku Kanjin Sho) in June 1894. In “Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind,” Nichio focused on the refutation of Nisshu’s contention against the teachings of Nichikan while enhancing the doctrine of yuiju ichinin kechimyaku sojo of Taiseki-ji throughout this writing. In those days, Nichio was pressured not only to advocate the righteousness of Nichikan’s teachings but also to prove that Taiseki-ji is the only legitimate school in the joint Nikko School. The following two points in “Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind” characterize Nichio’s view of the transmission doctrine.

(1) Theory of Transmission of the Law Based on a Mixture of Taiseki-ji and Yobo-ji’s Views
The Taiseki-ji School’s view of the transmission of the heritage whose core part was the transfer of the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws through oral transmission from one chief administrator to another was first presented in its primitive form by Sakyo Nikkyo in the latter half of the 15th century and solidified in the early part of the 18th century when Nichikan, the 26th high priest, was in command of the doctrines of Taiseki-ji. Carrying on this view of the transmission of the heritage in the Meiji Era, Nichio remarked, “The teaching of these Three Great Secret Laws is the Great Law that was directly transmitted from Founder Nichiren to Nikko Shonin, the founder of Taiseki-ji.”[75]

In the meantime, Nichio characteristically advocated the sole transmission of the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary. In Article 6 of “Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind,” Nichio states in the section where he discussed the transmission of the heritage in this school, “The mentor who has exclusively inherited the heritage of the Law should be regarded as the only true leader in the legitimate succession of this school.”[76] Regarding the entity of the Law, he explains, “The entity of the Law that was exclusively transmitted successively to each chief administrator is the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the essential teaching that has been privately kept at our temple.”[77] Nichio’s contention was that the transmission of the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary, the entity of the Law that had been kept at Taiseki-ji is exactly what is meant by yuiju ichinin kechimyaku sojo. In this sense, he identifies the transmission of the heritage with the transmission of the entity of the Law. The term hottai sojo, or the transmission of the entity of the Law, is Nichio’s creation. But this concept is closely related to the view, held by the Taiseki-ji School of the pre-modern time, of the transmission of the Three Great Secret Laws through oral transmission from one chief administrator to another. The Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary, as its name indicates, corresponds to the object of devotion of the essential teaching. As Nichikan states in “The Meanings Hidden in the Depths,” “The object of devotion of the essential teaching, foremost in the Three Great Laws” (EWFS, Vol. 3, p. 93), the entity of the Three Great Laws corresponds to the object of devotion in the doctrine of Taiseki-ji. Accordingly, the transmission of the Three Great Secret Laws means, in view of the entity of the Law, the transmission of the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary that is the object of devotion of the essential teaching.

The oral transmission of the Three Great Secret Laws in the Taiseki-ji School signifies the transmission of its doctrine. This point can be known through such cases as Sakyo Nikkyo, through the anecdote of the “ear-pulling teaching,” expounded the konshi and konku transmission (the transmission of the heritage where the possession of the heritage by the current chief administrator is stressed and the transmission of the heritage where the connection of the founder is emphasized, respectively) of the Three Great Secret Laws, or Nissei, the 17th high priest, in The Biographies of Fuji School’s Chief Administrators, referred to the konku transmission, or Nichiu, the 25th high priest, professed in Comment on “The Object of Devotion for Observing One’s Mind,” “The contents of the transmission of the heritage by golden utterance is no more than the mystic meaning of the Gohonzon of the Three Great Secret Laws that is revealed in the five major writings” (CWSHP, Vol. 3, p. 369).

Then, Nichio argued in “Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind,” “The practice of transferring the heritage of the Law through golden utterance from one high priest to another exists in this school.”[78] As a matter of fact, the teaching of yuiju ichinin kechimyaku sojo on the level of the transfer of the entity of the Law existed in the pre-modern Taiseki-ji as well. Nisshu, the 14th high priest, wrote On Matters to Be Observed after Nikko’s Death. 

In it he writes, “The Gohonzon concerns the transfer matters of Taiseki-ji, which denotes the exclusive transfer of the entity of the Law from one high priest to another. The Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the essential teaching, which Nikko Shonin inherited from the Daishonin and transferred to Nichimoku Shonin in the era of Shoan, is exactly and changelessly the whole entity of the heritage transferred along the Nichiren-Nikko-Nichimoku lineage in the Latter Day of the Law” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 459).

According to Nisshu, Matters to Be Observed after Nikko’s Death shows the entity of the Law that Bodhisattva Superior Practices were endowed with. It is just as the “Life Span” chapter of the Lotus Sutra that serves as documentary proof of the entity of the Law. He argues that the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the essential teaching and the Heritage-Transfer Gohonzon, the Gohonzon Nikko transferred to Nichimoku when the latter succeeded the former, are the true heritage of Taiseki-ji. Therefore, in this document, Nisshu explains that the transfer of the mandala Gohonzon from one chief administrator to another is called the endowment of the entity of the Law.

It seems that Nisshu, inheriting the documents of Sakyo Nikkyo, was gravely influenced by Nikkyo’s view in the study of Nichiren Buddhism. Nikkyo’s theory that the transmission of the mandala Gohonzon is central in Taiseki-ji’s yuiju ichinin kechimyaku sojo is a mixture of faith in the mandala Gohonzon that was stressed since the early days of Taiseki-ji and Nikkyo’s new teaching of absolute emphasis on the transmission of the heritage through the succession of the chief administrators. Nikkyo’s emphasis on the transmission of the heritage came from the Nichizon School in Kyoto that valued the succession of the transfer of the heritage along the lineage of chief administrator. In that sense, Nisshu’s theory of the endowment of the entity of the Law is nothing but a mixture of Taiseki-ji and Yobo-ji’s respective positions. It was Nichio in modern times that enhanced the meaning of the transmission of the entity of the Law while making it the basis of Taiseki-ji’s yuiju ichinin kechimyaku sojo. Nisshu’s theory of the endowment of the entity of the Law was indeed a product of a mixture of Taiseki-ji and Yobo-ji’s doctrines. Nisshu’s theory of the endowment of the entity of the Law regards the two Gohonzon — the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary and the Heritage-Transfer Gohonzon (Gohonzon transferred from Nikko to Nichimoku) as the entity of the Law. Nichio, however, in his theory of the entity of the Law, views the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary alone as the entity of the Law. Despite this difference between Nisshu’s view and Nichio’s view, they take the same position in terms of the point that they look upon the transmission of the mandala Gohonzon as the exclusive transmission of the heritage along the lineage of the successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji

In any case, Nichio’s theory of the transmission of the entity of the Law is grounded in the mixed doctrines of Taiseki-ji and Yobo-ji.

(2) Identifying the Teaching of Bequeathing Golden Utterance with Nichikan’s Study of Nichiren Buddhism
In “Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind,” Nichio elucidates that Taiseki-ji’s transmission of the heritage consists of three kinds of transmissions — the transmission of the entity of the Law, the oral transmission and the transmission of the teaching. He did not, however, give a clear definition to each transmission. Especially there was no clear distinction between the transmission of the entity of the Law and the oral transmission. He only states in this regard, “In receiving the transmission of the entity of the law, there is also the oral transmission of the heritage solely along the lineage of the successive chief administrators.”[79]

However, as I discussed previously, we can, on one level, distinguish the transmission of the entity of the Law, or the succession of the Gohonzon as the endowment of the entity of the Law, from the oral transmission of the doctrine of the Three Great Secret Laws when we use as reference the history of the formation of the two concepts, that is, the transmission of the entity of the Law and the oral transmission. However, in “Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind,” Nichio uses the expression “the oral teaching in the transmission of the entity of the Law.” Therefore, it seems that the transmission of the entity of the Law is an overarching concept that embraces the idea of the oral transmission. Namely, the transmission of the entity of the Law (the endowment of the entity of the Law) can be construed to mean the transmission of the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary that is accompanied by the transmission of the doctrine of the Three Great Secret Laws. The current Nichiren Shoshu, advocating that the chief administrator’s possession of the inner enlightenment based upon Nichio’s theory of the transmission of the entity of the Law, is nothing but a case of ignoring the importance of the means of historical examination and descriptions in “Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind.” The current Nichiren Shoshu claims that the transmission of inner enlightenment from one chief administrator to another is implied in Nichio’s theory of the transmission of the entity of the Law. Such an argument is nothing but an attempt to escape from a rational argument.

In explaining the transmission of the entity of the Law in “Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind,” Nichio cites only Article 2 of Matters to Be Observed after Nikko’s Death without referring to any of those documents that were citied in the Taiseki-ji School in the Edo Era to justify the necessity of absolute faith in the chief administrator. It reads, “Nikko shall bestow upon Nichimoku the Dai-Gohonzon of the second year of Koan. It should be enshrined at the Honmon-ji” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 96). Nichio, quoting the above famous part without referring to “It should be enshrined at the Honmon-ji,”[80] used it as a document that upholds the transmission of the entity of the Law in the succession of Taiseki-ji’s chief administrator. To tell the truth, the part that Nichio did not quote out of Article 2 is the key to understanding his notion of the transmission of the entity of the Law. Nichio’s understanding was that “Nikko transferred the Dai-Gohonzon of October 12 in the second year of Koan to Nichimoku, ordering him to enshrine at the Honmon-ji.” Needless to say, the inner enlightenment of the chief administrator cannot be “enshrined at the Honmon-ji.” The only thing that can be enshrined there is the Dai-Gohonzon of the second year of Koan that exists in reality as the treasure of the school.

In the final analysis, the core of Nichio’s teaching of the transmission of the entity of the Law is the inheritance of the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary as the treasure of the school, that is, the inheritance that is accompanied by the oral transmission of the doctrine. This means that the current mysterious way of interpretation that the current Nichiren Shoshu employs with regards to the oral transmission of the heritage is impermissible. When we regard the essence of the transmission of the entity of the Law as the transmission of the inner enlightenment, the oral transmission of the doctrine becomes a mysterious event for the purpose of the transference and inheritance of the True Buddha’s enlightenment. But when we know that the core of the transmission of the entity of the Law, which Nichio talks about, is the transmission of the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary, the mysticism of the oral transmission of the doctrine, which accompanies as a supplement to the transmission of the entity of the Law, becomes meaningless. Then what is the doctrine that is orally transmitted, according to Nichio? It is outside of the boundary of the teachings of Nichikan that lay believers have close access to in their daily study. I am going to explain this in detail in my second thesis, but Nichikan theoretically disclosed the doctrine of the Three Great Secret Laws that had been regarded as the doctrinal content of the heritage transmitted orally along the lineage of the successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji ever since the days of Sakyo Nikkyo. In Nichikan’s teachings, the theory of Nichiren being the True Buddha and the theory of the oneness of the Person and the Law are the core of Taiseki-ji’s doctrine of the Three Great Secret Laws. These are the teachings that Nichio suggested as the contents of the heritage transmitted orally from one high priest to another.

For instance, there is the following description in “Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind.”

“This heritage transmitted through golden utterance enables the chief administrator of this school to copy the founder’s Living Essence of the Law and to convey the ultimate meaning of the object of worship. This is what is called the transmission of the Law bestowed upon only one individual. How can you justify that you possess the heritage of the founder when you offer your own interpretation of his teaching, add your own teachings to his teaching, or insist on the creation of the Buddha’s statue, looking upon the founder as a mere common mortal, and regarding the Original Buddha of the beginningless time of kuon as an ephemeral figure of Bodhisattva Superior Practices? How can your commentaries be correct in this regard? I assert that your school has no heritage, no lifeblood of Buddhism. You should deeply reflect upon yourself.”[81]

This description starts with a sentence that gives its readers an impression that the orally transmitted heritage is something mystical. In the following part, Nichio cites the teaching of making a statue of Shakyamuni that is seen in Yobo-ji’s practice, a view that regards Nichiren as an ordinary individual, and a view that looks upon the Original Buddha of kuon as an ephemeral figure of Bodhisattva Superior Practices. He then asserts, “How can your commentaries be correct in this regard? I assert that your school has no heritage, no lifeblood of Buddhism.” “This transmission” points to the “oral transmission.” This is an area that we need to ponder more.

Nichio’s argument was “Because the Yobo-ji people have no orally transmitted heritage, they advocate the wrong teaching of making a statue of Shakyamuni and they regard the founder Nichiren, the Original Buddha of Kuon, as an ordinary individual or a mere ephemeral figure of Bodhisattva Superior Practices. Conversely speaking, his contention also implies “The person who has received the orally transmitted heritage do not build a statue of the shining Buddha, looking upon Nichiren as the True Buddha of kuon. In other words, Nichio’s view of the doctrine of the oral transmission is deeply related to the Nichiren-True Buddha theory, prompting us to presume that its contents overlap with the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws in the world of Nichikan study.

To justify these points, let me quote several passages from “Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind”:

“Nisshu and others who are slanderous are ignorant of the fact that our founder is the True Buddha. Therefore, they are ignorant of the Buddha that was expounded in the ‘Life Span’ chapter. This proves that they are out of the lineage of the True Buddha and that they are not the Buddha’s disciples.”[82]“In fact, our founder is the original Buddha of limitless freedom and wisdom. There is no doubt about this point as he mentioned it in ‘The Opening of the Eyes’ and ‘The Selection of the Time.’ Therefore, our school respects his inner enlightenment, revering him as Nichiren Daishonin, the teacher of the Law of the True Cause with the three virtues of sovereign, teacher and parent, who is the original Buddha of limitless freedom and wisdom with a relevant connection with the Latter Day of the Law. This is an ultimate teaching that this school alone is aware of. It is a teaching that those who are out of his lineage can never know.”[83]

“You, slanderous people, mistake Shakyamuni Buddha for the original Buddha of limitless freedom. Therefore, you revere the ostentatious statute of Shakyamuni. This is a clear indication that you are out of the lineage of the True Buddha.”[84]

We can learn from these passages that Nichio considered the Nichiren-True Buddha theory as the essence of Taiseki-ji’s transmitted teaching, or the secret transfer teachings within the school.

Nichio also regards the teaching of the oneness of the Person and the Law as the ultimate teaching of Taiseki-ji’s oral transmission. According to Nichio, “the teaching of the oneness of the Person and the Law” is the “oral exhortation from Nichiren to his successor, Nikko, at the time of his passing,” not “the teaching that this school created on is own.”[85] Nichio defines Nichikan’s teaching of the oneness of the Person and the Law as “the teaching that concerns ultimate enlightenment and therefore cannot be understood unless orally transmitted.”

In this way, Nichio, in “Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind,” showed that the Nichiren-True Buddha theory and the teaching of the oneness of the Person and the Law, which Nichikan discussed as the core teaching behind the Three Great Secret Laws in The Six-Volume Writings and The Commentary on the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, are Taiseki-ji’s unique, ultimate teachings that are orally transmitted along the lineage of its successive chief administrators.[86]

Yes, “Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind” has such passages as “The secret teaching that is transmitted to only one person through golden utterance is not something that is to spread among ordinary people. It is the secret heritage between a Buddha and another Buddha. It is something that only the chief administrator of this school should know at any given time” and “Even if the time of kosen-rufu has arrived, the heritage that was transmitted exclusively along the lineage of this school should not be disclosed to others” But through these passages, we should not simply think, “Taiseki-ji’s orally transmitted heritage is the secret teaching that has never been exposed.”[87] “Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind” also has such a passage as “The heritage transmitted through golden utterance enables the chief administrator to copy the founder’s soul of the Law and convey the ultimate meaning of the object of worship.”[88] This kind of passage should be understood as meaning that “The Gohonzon can be transcribed correctly as a copy of Founder Nichiren’s soul of the Law only when it is transcribed based upon the ultimate meaning of the object of devotion such as the Nichiren-True Buddha theory and the teaching of the oneness of the Person and the Law.

As I discuss in my second thesis, the Nichiren-True Buddha theory and the teaching of the oneness of the Person and the Law, which Nichio regards as “the ultimate secret that has been orally transmitted only along the lineage of the successive chief administrators,” was theoretically disclosed by Nichikan and is now known widely to all priests and lay believers of the Taiseki-ji School. Nichio hinted that there were several items that concerned the heritage transmitted orally only along the succession of the chief administrators.[89] However, even if these several items remain undisclosed and known only to the successive chief administrators, their core teachings were all disclosed by Nichikan on a theoretical level. Nichio himself inadvertently mentions in “Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind” that the core teaching of the orally transmitted heritage is nothing other than the Nichikan doctrine. The theory that Nichio advocated before the beginning of the 19th century, claiming that the orally transmitted heritage of Taiseki-ji should never be disclosed, is no longer applicable under the current circumstances.

As I articulated thus far, the orally transmitted heritage and the teaching of the oneness of the Person and the Law that Nichio speaks about are deeply related to each other, but I would like to point out one more thing here. It is the fact that Nichio excludes “On the True Cause” and “One Hundred and Six Comparisons” out of the orally transmitted heritage.[90] These two writings were highly valued in the Nichizon School. Nichio, who wanted to point out Taiseki-ji’s superiority to the Yobo-ji School, repeatedly pointed out that these two transfer documents are not vital transfer documents in the transmission of the heritage within Taiseki-ji. Even if these documents were not cherished in the orally transmitted heritage of Taiseki-ji, their contents are extremely important to the transmission of the heritage in the Taiseki-ji School.[91] These two transfer documents came to be cherished even within Taiseki-ji because of Sakyo Nikkyo’s enhancement of them. They played a major role in Nichikan’s construction of his doctrines. The orally transmitted teaching only through the succession of the chief administrators does not go beyond the boundary of the Nichikan doctrine. Therefore, these two transfer documents provide a philological basis for Taiseki-ji’s orally transmitted heritage.

It has been said that the transfer box that is presented at the transfer ceremony between one chief administrator and another at Taiseki-ji contains “On the True Cause” and “One Hundred and Six Comparisons.” Whether this is true or not, the orally transmitted heritage of Taiseki-ji is not anything secret and unheard-off, not anything that is more than the contents of “On the True Cause” and “One Hundred and Six Comparisons.” It is nothing other than what was reconstructed with the contents of “On the True Cause” and “One Hundred and Six Comparisons” based upon Taiseki-ji doctrinal creeds of “Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary being in the center,” “the Nichiren-True Buddha theory,” and “the teaching of oneness of the Person and the Law.” In this sense as well, Taiseki-ji’s yuiju ichinin kechimyaku sojo (the transfer of the heritage from one high priest to another) is nothing other than a mixed result of Taiseki-ji and Yobo-ji’s thought.

I thus made two points with regards to the orally transmitted heritage expounded by Nichio, the 52nd chief administrator of Taiseki-ji. Nichio guided the Taiseki-ji School in the era when it was incorporated into the joint Nikko School of Nichiren Shu, and he had to confront a noted scholar of the Yobo-ji School. Nichio was intent on exposing the doctrinal uniqueness of the Taiseki-ji School within the mixed-up Nikko School. In this context, Nichio attempted to disintegrate Taiseki-ji’s orally transmitted heritage into the heritage of the entity of the Law, the orally transmitted teaching, the transmission of the doctrine. Thus Nichio established Taiseki-ji’s view of the orally transmitted heritage in modern times. The current Nichiren Shoshu’s official view of the orally transmitted heritage is basically a copy of Nichio’s contention.

In view of the author’s examination, the argument made in “Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind” presents a complicated structure where the Nichio side (that places emphasis on the transmission of the heritage in the mixed form of Taiseki-ji and Yobo-ji teachings) attacks the Nisshu side (that puts emphasis on the transmission of the heritage advocated in the style of the Yobo-ji School). Both Nichio and other Taiseki-ji followers are not conscious about this infrastructure of their argument. The current Nichiren Shoshu priesthood does not understand that the transfer doctrine that Nichio established is just a mixture of Taiseki-ji and Yobo-ji doctrines. The priesthood of the current Nichiren Shoshu should be aware of the fact that the absolutism of its chief administrator is not a time-honored, legitimate tradition that originated from the days of its founder, Nikko.

Conclusion

The Taiseki-ji School, which boasts of the legitimate lineage that directly stems from Nikko, had faith in the chanting of the daimoku of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, faith in the object of devotion (the Person-Founder Nichiren and the Law [the written mandala]), and the purpose to construct the High Sanctuary of the essential teaching in the foothills of Mount Fuji. In short, it had faith in the Three Great Laws, a particular teaching within the Taiseki-ji School. Judging from the fact that Taiseki-ji’s chief administrators in the early days followed the style of writing down the center “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo Nichiren” in transcribing the Gohonzon, the Taiseki-ji School already had in its formative stage the view of the oneness of the Person and the Law, or the oneness of the object of worship in terms of the Person (Nichiren) and the object of devotion in terms of the Law (written mandala). However, this doctrinal creed of Taiseki-ji was not powerful enough to establish legitimacy in the vehement conflicts for legitimacy within diversified Nikko Schools. Until the time of the ninth chief administrator, Nichiu, the Taiseki-ji School was vulnerable in presenting its own doctrinal system that could have been looked upon as its own transmitted doctrine.

Under such ambiguous circumstances, a learned priest named Nichiju came to Taiseki-ji from the Yobo-ji School in Kyoto, and became a disciple of Nichiu, the ninth chief administrator. His new name was Sakyo Nikkyo. Under this new name, Nikkyo wrote doctrinal writings one after another. It is said that in those days the Nichizon School was behind in terms of the systematization of study in comparison with other Nikko Schools in Kanto.[92] Already in those days, the idea of the true cause was expounded by Nichiu at Taiseki-ji and by Nichiyo at Myohon-ji respectively. There was a tradition within the Nichizon School, where they cherished the transfer documents of the Nikko School such as “On the True Cause,” “One Hundred and Six Comparisons,” “Transfer Teachings on First Bath” and The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings. It seems that Nikkyo, encountering Taiseki-ji School’s ideas of the true cause, turned to combining the transfer documents cherished in the Nichizon School with Taiseki-ji own doctrine and creed.

Based upon the Shakyamuni-Bodhisattva Superior Practices-Nichiren theory of the lineage of enlightenment, which was advocated in Nichiren Schools in Kyoto, Nikkyo presented a lineage of the orally transmitted heritage for the Nikko School, and combined it with Taiseki-ji’s unique teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws. As a result, there appeared a new doctrine and creed that “The Three Great Secret Laws have been orally transmitted solely along the lineage of the successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji that started with the endowment of the heritage at the enlightened land upon Bodhisattva Superior Practices, who was reborn as Nichiren that was succeeded by Nikko. Many transfer documents that were popular in the Nichizon School were fully utilized to justify his new doctrine within the Taiseki-ji School.

In those days, the Taiseki-ji School, while boasting of its legitimacy within the Nikko School, did not have a clear, doctrinal system that was capable of justifying its own doctrine. Therefore, it was naturally drawn into Nikkyo’s doctrinal slant. It has been pointed out that the Taiseki-ji doctrine was formed with Sakyo Nikkyo’s transfer teachings where the Nikko School’s transfer documents and orally transmitted teachings are frequently cited.[93] In this process, however, the idea of the absolutism of the successive chief administrators took root in the Taiseki-ji School. This new idea brought about a deviation from Taiseki-ji’s traditional view of faith. In those days, the Taiseki-ji School adopted without so much resistance to Nikkyo’s transmission-oriented teaching because the chief administrators and learned priests of the early days were familiar with the oral teachings of the medieval Tendai sect, and ninth high priest Nichiu had started stressing the transmission of the heritage along the lineage of the successive chief administrators while maintaining the faith-first position.

In conclusion, I consider that Nichiren Shoshu’s myth of the absolutism of its chief administrator based upon the heritage of the Law, which was initiated by the transmission-oriented teaching of Sakyo Nikkyo, was formed in the mixture of both the Taiseki-ji School’s traditional religious beliefs and the Nichizon (later, Yobo-ji) School’s emphasis on transmitted teachings and transfer documents.[94] The fact is that the Taiseki-ji School’s emphasis upon its own heritage in pre-modern times and today is a product of Taiseki-ji’s traditional doctrine and the Yobo-ji School’s position is most eloquently reflected in the view Nichio, the 56th high priest, had toward the transmission of the heritage. In “Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind,” a document that he wrote to rebut a learned priest of the Yobo-ji School, Nichio classified the orally transmitted heritage of Taiseki-ji into the heritage of the entity of the Law, the orally transmitted heritage, the heritage of the doctrine. Though Nichio himself was not aware, he had to classify the heritage of Taiseki-ji in that way, for Taiseki-ji’s view of the transmission of the heritage was a mixture of Taiseki-ji’s traditional doctrine and Yobo-ji’s imported teaching. In order for Nichio to insist on the superiority of Taiseki-ji’s transmitted heritage, Nichio had to distinguish the heritage of the entity of the Law (and the orally transmitted heritage, that is, a combination of Taiseki-ji’s traditional doctrine and the transfer documents that Yobo-ji cherished and Nikkyo’s transmission-oriented views) from the transmission of the doctrine (the transfer documents themselves that the Yobo-ji School valued).

Absolute faith in the chief administrator that is based upon the theory of the inheritor of the entity of the object of devotion that Nikkyo spread is manifested continually in the history of the Taiseki-ji School in pre-modern times and today. Nichikan, the 26th high priest who theoretically revealed faith in the Three Great Secret Laws, the unique teaching of Taiseki-ji, completely put aside faith in the chief administrator from the teaching of the Three Great Secret Laws. Thus Nichikan avoided the intrusion into Taiseki-ji’s imported doctrine, the doctrine that, stemming from Nikkyo, placed absolute faith in the chief administrator. Though heretical, faith in the absolute authority of the chief administrator is now an established thought within the Taiseki-ji School. Historically, there were a number of chief administrators and senior priests who expounded the absolute authority of the successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji.

Today, Nikken Abe, who claims that he is the 67th high priest, is such a priest. The task to take off the mask of tradition from Taiseki-ji’s faith in the absolute authority of the chief administrator has just gotten under way. Clarifying objectively the origin of faith in the absolute authority of the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji is a vital task that researchers of the Fuji School have to take on from now on.

In closing the first thesis, let’s have a clear understanding of various views of the role of the chief administrator in the history of the Taiseki-ji School. Roughly speaking, I think that there are three kinds of positions in the Taiseki-ji School toward its chief administrator: 1) the view that the chief administrator should be in the center; 2) the view that the chief administrator is absolutely worthy of respect; and 3) the view that the chief administrator is absolute. In reality, however, these three viewpoints are often mixed-up in one’s attitude toward the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji.

Regarding the first view that the chief administrator should be in the center, it emphasizes the view of the chief administrator as a central figure to guide the organization of the school. The chief administrator is the central figure of the Buddhist order, but he does not possess absolute authority. While the chief administrator has the ultimate responsibility to decide on the policy of the order and the interpretation of the order’s doctrines, he needs to obtain support from the School’s priests and lay believers. In other words, the authority of the chief administrator is subordinate to the absolute authority of Buddhism. In this case, when the chief administrator has an opinion that is opposed to the rules of the order, he will be rejected by the masses of the school. This view of the chief administrator is clearly reflected in “The Twenty-six Admonitions of Nikko.” He writes, “Do not follow even the high priest if he goes against the Buddha’s Law and propounds his own views” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 98).

Concerning the second view that the chief administrator is absolutely worthy of respect, the chief’s administrator’s inheritance of the heritage of faith is stressed, and the formality that “the chief administrator is equal to Nichiren” is justified. In this case, the source of the chief administrator’s dignity lies in his faith, and, in general, all the priests and believers of the school can be equal to Nichiren depending on the strength of their faith. In this case, if the chief administrator’s faith is regarded as having gone astray from the correct course of faith, which should not be the case, there is room for his loss of respect. In that case, the clause of “The Twenty-six Admonitions of Nikko,” which reads, “Even if a view is set forth unanimously by a conference [of believers], the high priest should repudiate it if it goes against the Buddha’s Law” can be said to be functioning properly. Examples of this second view are seen in the ninth high priest Nichiu’s view of the relativity between mentor and disciple or the chief administrator’s representation of Nichiren.

The third view that the chief administrator is absolute is very self-explanatory. The chief administrator, by becoming the sole inheritor of the heritage becomes equal to Nichiren not only in terms of formality but also in terms of inner enlightenment. Because he is now at one with the True Buddha in terms of inner enlightenment, his religious authority is enormous and absolute, and all the priests and believers of the school are required to follow the inner enlightenment of the chief administrator with absolute obedience. In this case, the clause of “The Twenty-six Admonitions of Nikko,” which reads, “Do not follow even the high priest if he goes against the Buddha’s Law and propounds his own views” is interpreted within the context of the chief administrator’s absolutism and presented to mean, “It is the chief administrator himself who determines whether he is opposed to Buddhism or not.” However, if such an interpretation is allowed, this clause of the admonitions stops functioning, and this particular admonition by Nikko will become meaningless.

As I reviewed in this thesis, the origin of Taiseki-ji School’s absolutism of the chief administrator is Sakyo Nikkyo’s particular interpretation of Nichiren Buddhism. However, Nikkyo’s thought leads to the above second view, too, when he teaches that the chief administrator’s supreme faith taps the inner enlightenment of the object of devotion and that all the school’s priests and lay believers, by striving in faith under the mentorship of the chief administrator, can achieve the enlightened life-condition depicted in the object of devotion. This view of the conditional absolutism of the chief administrator that is premised upon the chief administrator’s supreme faith seem applicable to the position taken by Nichiin, the 31st high priest, Nichigen, 33rd high priest, Nichion, 35th high priest, Nisso, the 43rd high priest, and so forth.

On the other hand, we can cite the cases of Nichikan of Hossho-ji in the Edo Era and Nikken Abe in contemporary times. They don’t pay attention to the faith and practice of the chief administrator, simply advocating in an authoritarian manner the teachings of “the chief administrator is equal to Nichiren” and “the chief administrator is equal to the entity of the Gohonzon.” They elucidate enin feho (to rely on persons and not upon the Law) that is diametrically opposed to eho fuenin (to rely on the Law and not upon persons) that Nichiren taught. There is no alternative but to say that the current Nichiren Shoshu’s position is totally opposed to the teachings of Nichiren and Nikko.

As mentioned above, there are a variety of thoughts with regards to the special, authoritative position of the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji. Historically speaking, the second view that the chief administrator is absolutely worthy of respect was born out of the first view that the chief administrator should be in the center. The conditional or unconditional absolutism of the chief administrator was born with the background of the second view that the chief administrator is absolutely worthy of respect. One thing I have to point out here, however, is that these three different views were not necessarily put into practice in this numerical order.

The important point is the fact that these three different definitions were often mixed up in the discussion of the role of the chief administrator. For instance, the current Nichiren Shoshu often rebuts the view held by the anti-Nichiren Shoshu group that denies the current unconditional absolutism of the chief administrator, by using the data that expound these three views of the role of the chief administrator.

By the way, though this is my personal view, the first viewpoint that the chief administrator should be in the center is effective to avoid confusion with regards to the historical definition of the position of the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji. For instance, in discussing the oneness of the three treasures in terms of inner enlightenment, what becomes an issue is whether or not we should include the successive high priests of Taiseki-ji in this discussion. Absolutists of the chief administrator claim, “The inner enlightenment of every chief administrator is one with the treasures of the Buddha and the Law.” This claim, however, is opposed to the historical fact that there were chief administrators who were opposed to the Law. In contrast, if we employ the viewpoint where we worship the chief administrator and say that “Since the chief administrator whose faith and practice is in accord with the Law, we admit the oneness of the three treasures in terms of inner enlightenment.” It is only natural that anybody, whether he is a chief administrator or not, has the same inner enlightenment as that of the True Buddha and that of the Law, as long as he or she has carried out correct faith and attained Buddhahood in this lifetime. At the same time, however, the person who is opposed to the Law cannot be included in the treasure of the Priest even if he is a chief administrator. Such a distinction in terms of the evaluation of a chief administrator becomes possible only after his passing. Applying it to the living chief administrator who is now in the process of practicing faith the oneness of the three treasures in terms of inner enlightenment is too hasty an attempt. Moreover, the current chief administrator of Taiseki-ji is so obviously engaged in slanderous activities. If one should hold that he is embodying the inner enlightenment of the three treasures, one will be criticized for one’s decision to abandon the first legitimate view of the definition of the position of the chief administrator. As a matter of fact, one is not respecting the chief administrator if one follows the unconditional absolutism of the chief administrator. We need to be aware of the paradox innate in the claim of the necessity of absolute faith in the chief administrator.

Precisely speaking, I hypothetically presented the four (three plus one) different views of the position of the chief administrator. I will conclude my first thesis here in hopes that a more strict and proper classification of the definition of the position of the chief administrator be done and that the historical progress of the view of the definition of the position of the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji will be clarified.


Notes

1. The term “yuiju ichinin” is not a common term in Buddhist dictionaries. The Great Dictionary of the Esoteric Teaching has an entry on yuiju ichinin. According to this dictionary, yuiju ichinin means, “Because the esoteric teaching cherishes the transmission of the teaching along the lineage of mentor and disciple, the esoteric teaching is very strict with who will inherit the heritage. Only a legitimate disciple receives the transmission of the profound law, and it is not endowed with many others (The Great Dictionary of the Esoteric Teaching, revised version, Vol. 5, published by Hozokan in 1931, p. 1189). Also, according to “Section Study” in The Dictionary of the Writings of Nichiren Shonin, the term yuiju ichinin sojomeans “to transmit the teaching from a mentor only to one particular disciple.” This dictionary further states, “Because of this tradition, the heritage begins to be transferred in secrecy to only one particular disciple, causing the birth of the transmitted secret teaching, the production of many commentaries on the orally transmitted doctrine, and the justification of one particular sect (Fuji School).” (“Section Study” in The Dictionary of the Writings of Nichiren Shonin, compiled by Rissho University Nichiren Study Research Center, published by Mount Minobu Kuon-ji, 2003, p. 1237).

2. This viewpoint is often rebutted by the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood based upon the quotation of transfer documents of the Nikko School. However, all the documents they cite cannot be philologically determined as Nichiren’s authentic originals. For instance, there is a passage at the end of “One Hundred and Six Comparisons” that is said to have been endowed upon Nikko by Nichiren, reading, “As I mentioned before, I designated the six senior priests. However, when it comes to the transmission of the ultimate teaching, I endow it only upon one disciple. I appoint Byakuren Ajari Nikko as the general administrator of my order, transmitting to him all my correct teachings without missing any part of them. All the senior priests and my future disciples shall, just as you did while I was alive, respect the successive high priests along Nikko’s lineage as the general administrator of my order (GZ, p. 869). The current Nichiren Shoshu, basing itself upon this passage, takes it as Nichiren’s original teaching, thus insisting upon the absolute holiness of the heritage transmitted solely along the lineage of the successive high priests of the Taiseki-ji School. Nichiko Hori, the 59th high priest included “One Hundred and Six Comparisons” in The Complete Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Soka Gakkai edition, with a conditional statement that “Although the passage seems to have been added later to this writing, it is included here because it may not cause much trouble to the faith of current Taiseki-ji believers because this type of added sentences may not interfere with the contemporary position of our school” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 125). In any case, an addition is no more than an addition. Unless Nichiren Shoshu can reverse Nichiko’s theory that this particular sentence was later added by somebody to “One Hundred and Six Comparisons”, the priesthood cannot use it as an orthodox document to justify the absolute authority of the high priest of Taiseki-ji as the sole inheritor of the heritage of the Law.

3. According to Nisshin Toyotani, Mount Minobu kept a Gohonzon inscribed by Nichiren on August 13 in the second year of Koan (1279) with a side note that reads “Nikko, my disciple of utmost wisdom and virtue who has inherited the heritage of the Law” (Outline of This Sect, published by head temple Yobo-ji, 1994, p. 37). If this mandala is actually an original one inscribed by Nichiren, it can serve as a documentary proof of the transmission of the Law from Nichiren to Nikko. Since this Gohonzon does not exist today, Nisshin Toyotani statement is not good enough to warrant this transmission. It is said that Yobo-ji in Kyoto keeps an original mandala inscribed by Nichiren himself in the 7th year of Bun’ei with a side note that reads, “This shall be endowed upon Nikko, my disciple who, foremost in debate, thorough in practice, precept-upholding, and equipped with wisdom and virtue, received the transmission of the heritage of the Law” (EWFS, Vol. 8, p. 207). However, this mandala is not included in Nichiren’s original Gohonzon collection books, and therefore, it is not easy to determine whether this very Gohonzon was a true one or not.

4. Kaishu Shikko presumes that On Refuting the Five Senior Priests was written by somebody in the Omosu faction of the Nikko School and that The Guidelines for Believers of the Fuji School was written by somebody in the Taiseki-ji School. He also states based upon this presumption, “These two documents convey Nikko’s thought pretty well. (The Study of the Nikko School, published by Kaishusha in 1984, p. 100)

5. In Nichijun’s Teaching of the Biography of Taiseki-ji Founder Nikko, there is a description that reads, “Nichiren Shonin stayed at Mount Minobu for nine years while Nikko Shonin, after his passing, stayed there for six years. While the Sage was alive, there was no temple there. However, after his death, Nikko Shonin turned the Sage’s quarters into a temple. Nikko Shonin also constructed his statue” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 95). When this document was written is not known, but I cite it here for reference to the early days of the Nikko School, especially to the fact that Nikko built a statue of Nichiren and enshrined it in the temple he built at Mount Minobu.

6. There is a fact that is now known to many people with regards to the Taiseki-ji School’s view of the statue of Nichiren. According to what I observed, the statue of Nichiren possessed by the Taiseki-ji School usually contains a mandala Gohonzon within its body or a mandala Gohonzon is written on its back. However, I understand that no mandala is contained within the body of the legitimate statue of Nichiren that exists at Hota Myohon-ji. Taiseki-ji’s formality of its faith in the Daishonin’s statue that is one with the mandala Gohonzon is presumed to have been established at a later time with a seeming close relationship with the teaching of the oneness of the Person and the Law. In this context, the Taiseki-ji School has two kinds of Gohonzon of the oneness of the Person and the Law, one called the mandala Gohonzon and the other called the statue Gohonzon. It must be pointed out that this reality presents a problem in terms of the formality of the object of worship. A thorough study of the history of the Taiseki-ji School’s view of the statue of Nichiren is in order

7. Concerning the question as to titles for Nichiren Daishonin, there is a scholar who, studying the Fuji School, claims that Nikko simply used the expression “Buddha” for Nichiren following a custom where a deceased person is called a Buddha. This argument seems to stem from his inconsideration toward the facts that Nikko faithfully followed the mandala inscription style that Nichiren adopted, the style where Nichiren put Nam-myoho-renge-kyo Nichiren in bold stroke in the center while keeping the name “Namu Shakyamuni Buddha” in small characters away from the center and that Nikko called Nichiren Hossu Shonin (Lord of the Law and Sage) or Onkyo Nichiren Shonin (Honorable Sutra Nichiren Shonin). The point that Nikko called Nichiren Hossu with due respect to him and Nikko identified Nichiren with the sutra presents a powerful proof that Nikko respected Nichiren as the Buddha who constitutes the object of devotion.

8. Kojihan, published by Iwanami Shoten in 1998, p. 83.

9. The Chronology of Nichiren Shoshu and the Fuji School, revised version, published by Fuji Gakurin in 1990, p. 3.

10. In a thesis he recently wrote, Reido Ikeda advocates a new theory that Nichiji, the sixth high priest, wrote “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” (Goden Dodai). In the version of “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” that is said to have been written by Nichido, the fourth high priest is attached a draft of Nichido’s appeal after the biographies of the three founding teachers. The appeal ends with the date of September 22 in the tenth year of Oei. The tenth year of Oei corresponds to the time of the sixth chief administrator, Nichiji. Nichiko Hori judged that the last two lines of the petition together with this date were added by Nichiji but that the rest of the petition was all written by Nichido. In the meantime, Reido Ikeda pointed out, using a photocopy of “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” whose original is kept at Taiseki-ji and which is now owned by the Tokyo University Historical Data Center, that the calligraphy in the last three lines including the description of the date and that in the main text of the petition look very similar to each other. Thus Reido Ikeda came up with a hypothesis that Nichiko’s theory was wrong and that the author of “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” must be somebody that was alive in the tenth year of Oei, thus advocating that Nichiji should be its author. Furthermore, Ikeda, using a photocopy of a draft of Nichiji’s appeal that is kept also at the Tokyo University Historical Data Center, made a comparison between its calligraphy and that of “The Biographies of the Three Teachers,” confirming the strong similarity between them. Thus he came up with the conclusion that the author of “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” is the sixth chief administrator, Nichiji (Reido Ikeda, “About the Author of ‘The Biographies of the Three Teachers,’ Kofu,” Vol. 16, published by Kofu Seminary, in 2004, p. 423–455). Because of this new thesis by Ikeda, it seems that there are some people who uphold his position. But I would like to remain undecided about the legitimacy of Ikeda’s new theory. Certainly, as Ikeda points out, the photocopy kept at the Tokyo University Historical Data Center is very close to its original. I myself visited the Tokyo University Historical Data Center and examined the actual photocopy of “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” that is said to have been photocopied in March 1921. But I have two questions concerning the new Ikeda theory. The first question is “Should we truly regard Nichiji as the author of “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” that is kept at Taiseki-ji. Ikeda made it clear that the calligraphy of the text of “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” is very similar to that of Nichiji’s draft of the appeal. I wonder, however, how Ikeda confirmed that a draft of the appeal is kept at Taiseki-ji, even if its contents were created by Nichiji, were written by Nichiji himself. It is true that Nichiko Hori wrote that an original draft of the appeal was kept at Taiseki-ji (EWFS, Vol. 9, p. 47). However, there is no mention of “the original is kept at Taiseki-ji” at the very beginning of this draft of the appeal that was included in the volume one of Complete Works of Successive Chief Administrators of Nichiren Shoshu that was published by Taiseki-ji in 1972. This means that Nichiji’s calligraphy in the photocopy of the draft of the appeal, which has never been published, needs to be compared with that of any other document that was certainly written by Nichiji himself. But there is no sign that Ikeda made such a comparison. In this context, the calligraphy in the Gohonzon that Nichiji transcribed seems to be a good choice that Ikeda would use to make a calligraphy comparison, but Ikeda did not use Nichiji’s Gohonzon for this purpose. There must be several Gohonzon that Nichiji transcribed in the tenth year of Oei. Yusuke Azuma points out on the Internet that there is a fundamental difference between the calligraphy in Nichiji’s Gohonzon and the calligraphy in the photocopy of “The Biographies of the Three Teachers.” The second question that I harbor is that the contents of The Biographies of the Three Teachers must have been authored by Nichido himself even if somebody else who was living in the tenth year of Oei may have written it. We can see the expression “Mount Fuji (Nikko) states” several times in a draft of the biography of Nikko within “The Biographies of the Three Teachers.” Here, Mount Fuji in this context means Nikko. The author of “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” must have been somebody who was very close to Nikko. Since Nichido was not Nikko’s contemporary, it is much more natural in this regard that Nichido authored “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” because he received training and education in faith directly from Nikko. In addition, the five articles that refute erroneous views held by the five senior priests and Tenmoku are shown in the draft of the biography of Nikko in “The Biographies of the Three Teachers.” They read “Nichido writes ‘The Admonitions of Nikko Shonin’ on January 12 in the fourth year of Shotoku (EWFS, Vol. 5, p. 9). In this respect, Ikeda holds that the five articles were cited by Nichiji from “Admonitions by Nikko Shonin” in Record by Nichido. His view in this respect seems a little far-fetched. If Nichiji had quoted directly from Record by Nichido, I wonder if he would abruptly have inserted it within the text of “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” without any explanation. It seems more natural to me to think that Nichido, in making a draft of the biography of Nikko, cited the five articles out of “The Admonitions of Nikko Shonin” that Nichido wrote before Nikko’s passing with his seventeen admonitions. The same thing can be pointed out about Nichido’s draft of the petition that is included at the end of “The Biographies of the Three Teachers.” In case we do not take the position that “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” was not written by Nichido, what exists today may be somebody’s copy of Nichido’s draft of “The Biographies of the Three Teachers.” At this point, this idea cannot be written off completely. In the final analysis, there is some room for the further examination of the accuracy of the Ikeda theory. While keeping the Ikeda theory in mind, I wrote this thesis based upon the conventional theory that “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” was written by Nichido. It seems that “The Biographies of the Three Teachers” needs to be further examined from various perspectives.

11. The Chronology of Nichiren Shoshu and the Fuji School, p. 96.

12. Ibid., p. 115.

13. Incidentally, in transcribing the Gohonzon, the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji writes down his name and his succession number on the Gohonzon. This practice seems to have started in the middle of the Edo Era. According to Kodo Yanagisawa’s Study of Taiseki-ji School’s Gohonzon (Hachisu Bunko, published in 1997) Nichikan, the 26th high priest did not write down his succession number on the Gohonzon that he transcribed. But Nichigen, the 33rd high priest, put his succession number on the Gohonzon, and all chief administrators who appeared after him made it a practice to write down their respective succession numbers on the Gohonzon.

14. To cite an example, Guide for Shakubukuing Soka Gakkai Members (Soka Gakkaiin eno Shakubuku Kyohon) that was recently published by Nichiren Shoshu reads, “It is clearly mentioned in Matters to Be Observed after Nikko’s Death that Nikko Shonin transmitted the entity of the Law only to Nichimoku Shonin (Guide for Shakubukuing Soka Gakkai Members, published by Nichiren Shoshu Administrative Office in 2004, p. 272). The point made here is based upon the passage in Matters to Be Observed after Nikko’s Death that reads, “Nikko shall bestow upon Nichimoku the Dai-Gohonzon of the second year of Koan [1279].” What is contended in the point made in Guide for Shakubukuing Soka Gakkai Members is that the entity of the Law that is innate in the Dai-Gohonzon, which is equal to the inner enlightenment of the True Buddha, has been inherited by the successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji.

15. Complete Works of Nikko Shonin, published by Kofu Seminary in 1996, p. 492.

16. Shin’no Abe, “The True Meaning of the Actual High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching,” Collection of Lectures, published by Daibyakuho Editorial Office in 1976, p. 138.

17. Complete Works of Nikko Shonin, published by Kofu Seminary, p. 130.

18. The Doctrinal History of the Nichiren Sect, compiled by Rissho University Nichiren Study Research Center, Vol. 2 and published in 1959, p. 134.

19. The History and Doctrine of the Fuji School, written by Saichiro Matsumoto and published by Taisei Shuppansha in 1968, p. 59.

20. Complete Works of Nichijun Shonin, published by Nichiren Shoshu Bussho Kanko Kai in 1960, p. 1462.

21. Shukudo Takahashi, “A Study of Matters to Be Observed after Nikko’s Death,” Doshin, Vol. 19, published in 2000, p. 3.

22. The Chronology of Nichiren Shoshu and the Fuji School, p. 51.

23. Shukudo Takahashi, “A Study of Matters to Be Observed after Nikko’s Death,” Doshin, Vol. 19, published in 2000, p. 11. Yusuke Azuma, Research of Taiseki-ji Doctrines, published by Heiraku-ji in 2004, p. 59.

24. Nichiko Hori, Detailed Accounts of Nikko Shonin of the Fuji School, published by the Soka Gakkai in 1964, pp. 126–127.

25. The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Heisei New Edition, published by Taiseki-ji in 1994, p. 1883.

26. According to Nichiko Hori, there is a description in the 17th chief administrator Nissei’s draft manuscript of The Biographies of Fuji School’s Chief Administrators that shows that Nissei understood that the Dai-Gohonzon that Nikko referred to in Matters to Be Observed after Nikko’s Death meant Mannen Kugo no Gohonzon (“Gohonzon for Eternal Protection”) that was kept at Myoho-ji in Hota. However, in the final document of the volume two of The Biographies of Fuji School’s Chief Administrators, there is a description that Nissei understood that the Dai-Gohonzon that Nikko referred to in Matters to Be Observed after Nikko’s Death denoted the wooden Gohonzon of Taiseki-ji. However, in the volume one of The Biographies of Fuji School’s Chief Administrators, Nissei still maintained the position that the Dai-Gohonzon that Nikko referred to in Matters to Be Observed after Nikko’s Death meant Mannen Kugo no Gohonzon that was kept at Myoho-ji in Hota. What do we know from the ambivalence of Nissei’s view in this regard? One thing we can tell is that Taiseki-ji did not have a clear idea of what the Dai-Gohonzon mentioned in Matters to Be Observed after Nikko’s Death pointed to in the Taiseki-ji School in the early part of the Edo Era.

27. Nichikan’s “The Meanings Hidden in the Depths” reads, “The mandala that has been transmitted from one high priest to another along the lineage of the Taiseki-ji School is the Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the essential teaching. Therefore, Nikko Shonin states in Matters to Be Observed after Nikko’s Death ‘Nikko shall bestow upon Nichimoku the Dai-Gohonzon of the second year of Koan. It should be enshrined at the Honmon-ji’” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 96).

28. In “Establishing the Correct Method of Contemplation,” Nichiren severely criticizes the view that prioritizes the oral transmission of the Law as “The crux of the teachings received by the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai and handed on by him is this doctrine of the wonderful Law expressed in a single word” (WND, Vol. 2, p. 517).

29. The Dictionary of the Nikko School in Its Early Days, compiled by Kido Daikoku. Published by Kofu Seminary in 2000, p. 117).

30. “Explanation of Essential Writings of the Fuji School, No. 10,” Daibyakurenge, No. 102, November 1959, p. 2.

31. Refuting the Soka Gakkai’s View of the History of Nichiren Shoshu –– Refuting Masahiro Kobayashi’s “The Formation of Hossu Absolutism in Nichiren Shoshu and Criticism of This View,” compiled by Study Committee of the Doctrines of Nichiren Shoshu and published by the Internal Affairs Department of Taiseki-ji in 1997, p. 68.

32. “The Formation of the Theory of the Absolutism of Hossu,” written by Masahiro Kobayashi for The Journal of Oriental Studies, Vol. 32, No. 2, 1993, p. 115. In this article, Kobayashi adopted Eishu Miyazaki’s theory, but Shukudo Takahashi wrote a small article to rebut each of Miyazaki’s points. However, Takahashi’s contention, lacking decisive evidences, is no more than a biased, subjective presumption.

33. “A Study of Commentary on “On Refuting the Five Priests,’” written by Reido Ikeda, Kofu, Vol. 12 published by Kofudansho in 1998, pp. 29–98. Reido Ikeda’s “A Study of Commentary on ‘On Refuting the Five Priests’” is very detailed. This commentary takes a position that is different from the Fuji School’s understanding in terms of Nikko’s departure from Mount Minobu. According to this commentary, not only Nikko but Nissho, Nichiro, Nitcho and Nichiji left Mount Minobu. This theory of the five senior priests’ abandonment of Mount Minobu comes from the Nichizon School and it is mentioned in “One-Hundred-Fifty Articles” written by Nichiju (Sakyo Nikkyo) who originally belonged to the Nichizon School. Both Commentary on ‘On Refuting the Five Priests and “One-Hundred-Fifty Articles” were under the influence of “One Hundred and Six Comparisons,” incorporating “On the True Cause” into it. There are a number of noteworthy points that this article by Reido Ikeda is making.

34. Detailed Accounts of Nikko Shonin of the Fuji School, written by Nichiko Hori, p. 282.

35. I consider two streams among the documents written in the early days of the Fuji School. Some constitute the mainstream of the Fuji School’s documents while others the branches of the Fuji School’s documents. Jijo Ohashi, who received education directly from Nichiko, comments in his “Commentary on Essential Writings of the Fuji School, Part 1,” “People misunderstand that all the documents in Essential Writings of the Fuji School are correct ones of this school. Using them as absolutely correct documents of this school goes against its author’s (Nichiko’s) intention (Daibyakurenge, Vol. 93, February 1959, p. 22).

36. “One who breaks precepts and has no wisdom shall not be appointed to a high position of this school.” Nichiko elaborated on this guidance by Nichiu, the ninth high priest: “A high position means the head of a school. It means the chief administrator at the head temple and the chief priest at a local temple.” “One with shallow faith, little wisdom and weak practice shall not be appointed as the head of the priesthood” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 148). According to this statement by Nichiu, the head of the priest should be strong in faith, wise and strong in practice. Nichiu’s thought was even the chief administrator of wisdom and strong practice attains Buddhahood in his present form simply because of his incomparable faith regardless of whether they uphold precepts or regardless of the level of their wisdom.

37. The pronunciation monukeraretaru was adopted in Complete Works of Successive Chief Administrators of Nichiren Shoshu that was published by Taiseki-ji (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 341).

38. “General Comments on The Twenty-six Admonitions of Nikko and On Formalities by Teacher Nichiu,” published by Nichiren Shoshu Gakurin, in 1972, p. 25.

39. Ibid., p. 265.

40. Refuting Former Nichiren Shoshu Priest Yumo Matsuoka’s Slanderous Remark of the Heritage of Nichiren Shoshu That Has Been Transmitted Solely along the Lineage of the Successive High Priests of This School, compiled by Nichiren Shoshu Administrative Office, written by Youthful Priests’ Group Formed to Refute Slanderous Views, and published by Nichiren Shoshu Administrative Office in 2005, p. 183.

42. There may be no problem in determining the part I quoted is a comment by Nichiu. The entire comments except one portion that states, “Nichiyo remarked …” seems to have been made by Nichiu. One article within “On Formalities” defines the chief administrator as Buddhahood while other priests and lay believers are defined as the lower nine worlds in terms of the transcription of the object of devotion (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 77).

41. This anecdote is seen in On the Accounts of Teacher Nichiu. In this anecdote Nichiu inadvertently helped an old priest to make a bamboo instrument for the practice of the Zen Buddhism by mistake. As a result, Nichiu was annoyed by the devilish power within his life for two nights in a row. Nichiin, the 31st high priest comments on this incident, “Nichiu Shonin, citing his own mistake, admonishes his disciples not to commit slanderous acts” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 198).

42. Nichiko Hori comments on Nichizon’s attitude toward faith, “Teacher Nichizon tended to base his action upon T’ien-t’ai’s unification teaching” (Detailed Accounts of Nikko Shonin of the Fuji School, p. 512).

43. “Account of Questions and Answers with Nichidai” (The Doctrinal History of the Nichiren Sect, Vol. 2, p. 431).

44. “A Secret Document of Dragon Flowers” (The Doctrinal History of the Nichiren Sect, Vol. 19, published by Sankibo Busshorin in 1960, p. 54).

45. A Study of the History of Nichiren Schools in Kyoto, written by Hoken Itohisa and published by Heiraku-ji Shoten in 1990, p. 17.

46. According to Jijo Ohashi’s record, Nichiko Hori states, “Sakyo Nikkyo was the first who quoted the “Two Transfer Documents.” Nichigen of Myoren-ji also referred to them, but all he mentioned about them is the fifth year of Koan, the year that they were written. Sakyo Nikkyo was the first who cited their contents” (“Comment on Essential Writings of the Fuji School,” final installment, Daibyakurenge, No. 107, April 1960, p. 80).

47. Historical data confirm that Sakyo Nikkyo, after Nichiu’s death, went to Sakai in Kansai and to the province of Hyuga in Kyushu. Some claim that Nikkyo could not have visited various parts of Japan after Nitchin took office in the wake of Nichiu’s passing should he had been a teacher of Nitchin. However, it is a historical fact that Nikkyo visited Sakai and Hyuga after Nichiu’s death. At the same time, however, it is highly possible that Nikkyo stayed with Nitchin at Taiseki-ji to guide him. According to a statement at the beginning of My Personal Account of Refutation of Six Senior Priests’ Doctrines, it seems that Nikkyo wrote this document to teach Nitchin the teachings of the Taiseki-ji School.

48. Not much is known about how Nikkyo lived after Nichiu’s death. It is Nichiko Hori who knew most about the historical facts of Nikkyo because he was the one who dug out Nikkyo who was buried in history. Nichiko mentioned, “Sakyo Nikkyo was the adviser of Nitchin Shonin toward the end of Nichiu’s life. Nikkyo was devoted to his service at the head temple four or five years before Nichiu passed away. Because he was good at the doctrines of Buddhism, he educated Nitchin Shonin in terms of study after Nichiu Shonin’s death” (“Interviewing Hori Shonin on the History of the Fuji School,” Daibyakurenge, No. 66, November 1956, p. 14).

49. Complete Writings of the Tendai School, Vol. 9, published by Daiichi Shobo in 1973, p. 481.

50. A similar way of thinking is found in “Miscellaneous Records” that is said to be a compilation of the ninth Nichiu’s comments, which reads in part, “It should be transmitted that the chief administrator of this school alone should be eligible to transcribe the Gohonzon. No other priests should transcribe the Gohonzon because two Buddhas are not supposed to appear at the same time” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 413). If this statement had truly been made by Nichiu, Nikkyo could have advocated that the sole transmission of the heritage only to one individual is necessary to avoid the splitting of the school under the influence of Nichiu’s admonition against the simultaneous appearance of two Buddhas. At this point, however, we are not in a position to create a theory based upon the above statement in “Miscellaneous Records.”

51. The Doctrinal History of the Nichiren Sect, Vol. 2, p. 418.

52. Nichiu, who was Nikkyo’s mentor in the latter’s later days, is said to have stated, as recorded in “The Accounts of Teacher Nichiu”: “Sage Nichiren was in a supreme position, the position that he alone could take, as he possessed the three virtues of sovereign, teacher and parent for our sake” (EWFS, Vol. 2, p. 159). In this context, “he alone” means only Nichiren, not the successive chief administrators of Taiseki-ji. Therefore, Nichiu, unlike Sakyo Nikkyo, did not expound the teaching of the transmission of the heritage along the lineage of the successive high priests of Taiseki-ji.

53. The Great Dictionary of Buddhist Terms, written by Hajime Nakamura, published by Tokyo Shoseki in 1981, p. 1232.

54. Nikko School Shodokai Magazine, December 1888, p. 59.

55. Religious Regulations of Fuji School of Nichiren Sect, established on September 18, 1900, p. 5.

56. The Way of the Law, published in July 1903, p. 23.

57. The Way of the Law, published in October 1903, pp. 24–25.

58. “Comment on Essential Writings of the Fuji School,” Part 14, Daibyakurenge, No. 106, March 1960, p. 22.

59. As to the “ear-pulling” doctrine, “Miscellaneous Records,” which is said to have been a complication of Nichiu’s comments, reads in part, “There is a doctrine called ‘Nichimoku’s ear-pulling.’ This doctrine concerns the object of devotion. It is related to the Three Great Secret Laws” (CWSHP, Vol. 1, p. 413). However, it is not known when and who wrote it. It needs to be further examined, philologically speaking. What is quoted in this document cannot be said to have been uttered by Nichiu alone, for it obviously contains remarks by various individuals. In the final analysis, we cannot identify who actually first referred to “Nichimoku’s ear-pulling doctrine.” Even if the statement has been made by Nichiu, it does not refer to the contents of “Nichimoku’s ear-pulling doctrine.” In this regard, we have no choice but to say that it was Sakyo Nikkyo who first expounded “Nichimoku’s ear-pulling doctrine” within the Taiseki-ji School. Incidentally, Nichikan, the 26th high priest, in On the Principle of This School, regards “Nichimoku’s ear-pulling doctrine” as Nichiyo’s theory, as I explained in the text of this thesis.

60. However, Nichiu’s seems to have had a thought similar to the contents of these transfer documents. Kaishu Shiko shared his view in this regard, “The idea contained in “On the True Cause” is already seen in Nichiu’s philosophy. Nichiu was the first to incorporate ideas within “On the True Cause” into the teachings of the Taiseki-ji School. However, Nichiu did not either cite the names of or quote the contents of “On the True Cause” and “One Hundred and Six Comparisons.” Therefore, we cannot readily assert that Nichiu had a chance to read both of the transfer documents. (A Study of the Teachings of the Nikko School, p. 149). Some point out that there is something common between Nichiu’s remarks and the contents of these two transfer documents. However, it is no more than an assumption. If Nichiu had had access to “On the True Cause” and “One Hundred and Six Comparisons,” two vital transfer documents of the Nikko Schools, he could have quoted both of them in his works just as Sakyo Nikkyo did. There are still many unclear points with regards to the formation of the philosophy of the true cause on the part of Nichiu.

61. Based upon an calligraphy examination he conducted, Kido Daikoku contends that the copy of “On the True Cause” that is kept at Taiseki-ji was not actually copied by Nichiji (“A Note of the Formation of the Philosophy of the True Cause in the Nikko School,” Part 1, pp. 213–215).

62. Lectures by Nichiko Shonin, recorded by Kodo Sugitani, and published by Nichimoku Shonin Hosan Kai in 2001, p. 145.

63. A Study of the Teachings of the Nikko School, written by Kaishu Shikko, p. 15.

64. The Doctrinal History of the Nichiren Sect, Vol. 2, p. 418.

65. “ClarifyingIllusion and Observing One’s Mind,” written by Nichio Oishi and published by Dai-Nichiren Editorial Office in 1971 (first edition in 1894), p. 212.

66. According to Nikkyo, only when guided by the Gohonzon with the life of the successive high priests of the Taiseki-ji School, we can become the Gohonzon itself. This type of thought where emphasis is upon inheriting the inner enlightenment of the chief administrator is derived from the view where one sees the entity of the Gohonzon not within the mandala Gohonzon but within the inner enlightenment of the successive high priests.

67. Various Records, compiled by Jundo Nose, Part 5, (Private Version), not known when it was published, p. 301.

68. The History and Doctrines of the Fuji School, written by Saichiro Matsumoto, p. 95.

69. These words by Nichion are found in the document that, titled as History of Nichiu Shonin’s Attainment of Enlightenment, is stored in the civic library of Kanazawa City.

70. Judging from the contents of Nisso’s lecture at an equinox service, Nisso does not seem to have been in the position of the chief administrator of Taiseki-ji. In addition, it is shown in his lecture that Nichiho was reappointed as chief priest of Taiseki-ji. In this respect, the equinox service mentioned in the text seems to have happened in between 1797 when Nichiho was reappointed as chief priest of Taiseki-ji and 1799 when Nisso took office as chief administrator of Taiseki-ji.

71. Collection of Lectures by Chief Priest of Shodo-in, published by Chugokuho Editorial Office of Butsudo-ji in 1990, p. 41.

72. Ibid., p. 45.

73. Ibid., p. 62

74. The added article that Nitto cited from “The Transmission of Seven Teachings on the Gohonzon” reads, “’Nichiren Zai-gohan (here is his signature).’ What does this statement mean? The mentor states, ‘It means that the successive high priests of this school are Nichiren himself’” (EWFS, Vol. 1, p. 32). This added article seems, as Nichikan points out, to be part of the transfer document called “Important Points for Transcribing the Gohonzon.” It is not known when and who wrote this document.

75. “Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind,” written by Nicho Oishi, p. 206.

76. Ibid., p. 211.

77. Ibid., p. 212.

78. Ibid., p. 212.

79. Ibid., p. 212.

80. In this thesis I presumed the contents of Article 2 of Matters to Be Observed After Nikko’s Death as “Nikko shall bestow upon Nichimoku the Dai-Gohonzon of the second year of Koan [1279] that was conferred upon me and the honorable letter of response written in the fifth year of Koan.” However, Nichio Oishi seems to have understood that the description that “It should be enshrined at Honmon-ji” was part of the sentence.

81. “Clarifying Illusion and Observing One’s Mind,” written by Nichio Oishi, pp. 219–220.

82. Ibid., p. 51.

83. Ibid., p. 64.

84. Ibid., p. 88.

85. Ibid., p. 140.

86. Ibid., p. 158.

87. Ibid., p. 9, p. 212.

88. Ibid., p. 219.

89. Ibid., p. 9.

90. Ibid., p. 212.

91. In “The Biography of Nikko” within The Biographies of Fuji School’s Chief Administrators, Nissei writes, “He transmitted the two transfer documents (“On the True Cause” and “One Hundred and Six Comparisons”) to Nichizon on October 10 in the first year of Showa. … These transfer documents are the secret teachings that Nikko transmitted to nobody but Nichimoku, Nichidai, Nichijun and Nichizon” (EWFS, Vol. 5, p. 170). Nissei looked upon the contents of the teaching of the two transfer documents as the core of the orally transmitted teaching of the Taiseki-ji School.

92. According to Kaishu Shikko, the Nichizon School of the time when Sakyo Nikko converted to the Taiseki-ji School was “inferior to Nikko School in Kanto even in terms of study” (Study of the Teachings of the Nikko Schools, p. 197),

93. Study of the Teachings of Nikko Schools, written by Kaishu Shikko, p. 197.

94. The core of Taiseki-ji’s doctrine is found in the very unique doctrine and creed that was formed since the time of Nikko. A number of transfer documents that Nikkyo brought into Taiseki-ji functioned only as documentary proof to theorize Taiseki-ji’s original doctrine and creed. The doctrine of comparisons between essential teaching and theoretical teaching that is expounded in “One Hundred and Six Comparisons” and “On the True Cause” does not lead directly to the Nichiren-True Buddha theory that constitutes the identity of the Taiseki-ji study. The Nichizon School that was the source of the transfer documents that Nikkyo brought into the Taiseki-ji School has a doctrinal line that is different from that of Taiseki-ji. In this sense, I don’t say narrow-mindedly that the Taiseki-ji study, which was formed with Nikkyo’s transfer-documents-oriented study, is not unrelated to the doctrines of Nichiren and Nikko. The philosophy of “On the True Cause” within the Taiseki-ji School began to unfold around the time of the ninth high priestNichiu. It should be said that the two transfer documents were used as a philosophical tool to systematize the doctrines and creed of the Taiseki-ji School that originated from Nikko.

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