1) Nichiren

Japanese Buddhist reformer. Born 1222, died 1282.

Born into poverty, Nichiren searched for years through the existing branches of Buddhism in Japan, until he finally concluded (in 1253) that the supreme Buddhist religious text was the Lotus sutra. In particular, he placed great weight on the ritually repeated phrase Namu-Myoho-renge-kyo ("Praise to the Lotus sutra") as basis for enlightenment.

Because of his controversial behaviour, and his intolerance towards other Buddhist sects, he was exiled to the remote island of Sado in 1271. He claimed that the Mongol invasions, which he had foretold, were retribution for failure to recognise his teachings as the truth.

2) Nichiren Buddhism

A number of Japanese Buddhist sects, influenced by the teachings of Nichiren (1, above). Nichiren Buddhism counts several established/traditional faiths, as well as a number of neoreligious movements.

Common to the Nichiren sects is a devotion to the Lotus sutra above all other Buddhist religious texts, a tendency towards religious intolerance, and the assertion that Japan is destined to be the center of a coming world-wide Buddhist faith.

The main sects within Nichiren are Nichiren-shu and Nichiren-Sho-shu; the latter was the source of the Soka Gakkai movement, but a breach has since occurred between the two.