Nichiren, a Japanese Buddhist monk (1222 – 1282), carried out an in-depth study and analysis of the Buddhist teachings. He concluded that the Lotus Sutra, which affirms the unlimited potential of all human beings, expresses the genuine intentions of Shakyamuni.
Basing himself upon this conclusion, in 1253 Nichiren established the chanting of “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo” (“Myoho Renge Kyo” is the title of the Lotus Sutra) as a concrete method of practice to allow all human beings to attain enlightenment. In this way he opened the path by which the ideals expressed by Shakyamuni in the Lotus Sutra could be put into practice.
Nichiren declared in one of his most important writings, “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land” (Rissho Ankoku Ron), “If the nation is destroyed and people’s homes are wiped out, then where can one flee for safety? If you care anything about your personal security, you should first of all pray for order and tranquility throughout the four quarters of the land, should you not?” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, Soka Gakkai, 1999, p. 24).
The teachings of Nichiren call for the establishment of a philosophy of the dignity of human life as a spiritual backbone for creating a peaceful world, in which human beings can give free expression to their capacities.
In spite of the serious persecutions he was subjected to, Nichiren continued, throughout his life, to encourage his disciples by writing numerous letters and several treatises, now compiled in a work referred to as the Gosho.