Nichiren Buddhism(Japanese: 日蓮宗) is a branch of Mahayana Buddhism based on the teachings of the 13th-century Japanese Buddhist priest Nichiren (1222–1282) and is one of the Kamakura Buddhism schools. Its teachings derive from some 300–400 extant letters and treatises attributed to Nichiren. With the advent, and proselytizing efforts, of the Soka Gakkai International, called "the most prominent Japanese 'export' religion to draw significant numbers of non-Japanese converts, Nichiren Buddhism has spread throughout the world. Within Nichiren Buddhism there are two major divisions which fundamentally differ over whether Nichiren should be regarded as a bodhisattva of the earth, a saint, great teacher—or the actual Buddha of the third age of Buddhism. Several Japanese new religions are Nichiren-inspired lay groups. It is practiced worldwide, with practitioners throughout the United States, Brazil and Europe, as well as in South Korea and southeast Asia. The largest sects are the Soka Gakkai/(Soka Gakkai International), Nichiren Shu, and Nichiren Shoshu. Nichiren Buddhism focuses on the Lotus Sutra doctrine that all people have an innate Buddha-nature and are therefore inherently capable of attaining enlightenment in their current form and present lifetime. Nichiren proposed a classification system that ranks the quality of religions and various Nichiren schools can be either accommodating or vigorously opposed to any other forms of Buddhism or religious beliefs. There are three essential aspects to Nichiren Buddhism: The undertaking of faith. The practice of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo accompanied by selected recitations of the Lotus Sutra and teaching others to do the same. The study of Nichiren's scriptural writings called Gosho. The Nichiren Gohonzon is a calligraphic image which is prominently displayed in the home or temple buildings of its believers. The Gohonzon used in Nichiren Buddhism is composed of the names of key bodhisattvas and Buddhas in the Lotus Sutra as well as Namu-Myoho-Renge-Kyo written in large characters down the center. After his death, Nichiren left to his followers the mandate to widely propagate the Gohonzon and Daimoku in order to secure the peace and prosperity of society. Traditional Nichiren Buddhist temple groups are commonly associated with Nichiren Shoshu and varying Nichiren Shu schools. There are also modern 21st-century lay groups not affiliated with temples such as Soka Gakkai, Kenshokai, Shoshinkai, Risshō Kōsei Kai, and Honmon Butsuryū-shū.
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