Nichiren Shōshū Buddhism (日蓮正宗) , with a growing number of believers worldwide, is a branch of Nichiren Buddhism based on the teachings of the 13th century Japanese Buddhist monk named Nichiren (1222-1282).
Nichiren Shoshu literally means "Nichiren True Faith". According to adherents of the faith, the documents Minobu sojo and Ikegami sojo state that Nichiren designated Nikko (1246-1333) as his sole successor and that Nichiren Shoshu is thus the true school of Nichiren Buddhism. This succession is disputed by other schools of Nichiren Buddhism.
The influential Japanese religious group Soka Gakkai is based on Nichiren Shoshu teachings. However, in 1991 the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood excommunicated the Soka Gakkai, and the two organizations are now completely separate.
According to the doctrines of Nichiren Shoshu, by revealing and propagating the Mystic Law of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, Nichiren Daishonin fulfilled the mission of his advent in accordance with the prediction of the Indian historical Buddha Sakyamuni (563?-483?BC), also known as Siddhartha Gautama, who foretold that, 2,500 years after his passing, there would appear a successor who would be the True Buddha for later ages. This is the primary doctrinal difference with Nichiren Shu, which contends that Nichiren was not a Buddha, but merely his priest.
Nichiren Shoshu Buddhists believe that personal enlightenment can be achieved in one's present lifetime. Central to their practice is chanting to a Gohonzon (see below) the phrase, "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo," also written and pronounced as "Namu Myoho Renge Kyo" which can be understood to mean "I am devoted to the Mystic Law of Cause and Effect." Simply put, through thoughts, words and deeds, every human being can create causes. Every cause has an effect; and good causes produce positive effects and bad causes produce negative effects (see karma). According to Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism, this law of causality is the universal principle underlying all visible and invisible phenomena and events in daily life. Consequently, Nichren Shoshu believers strive to elevate their life condition and attain enlightenment by acting in accordance with this law in their day-to-day life and by sharing with others their faith in this Mystic Law of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
In Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism, the fundamental Object of Worship is the Dai-Gohonzon, which was inscribed by Nichiren Daishonin on October 12, 1279. The Dai-Gohonzon, using Chinese characters, is revered as the very entity of Nichiren's Daishonin's enlightenment. Every individual Nichiren Shoshu worshipper or household possesses a smaller transcription of the Dai-Gohonzon that is produced and consecrated by each successive High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu, and is issued to each new believer by a Nichiren Shoshu priest upon initiation at local temples around the world. Taisekiji, the Head Temple of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism, is located near the foot of Mt. Fuji in Japan, and is visited each year or from time to time by believers, either individually or in groups.
Every morning and evening, Nichren Shoshu practitioners affirm and renew their faith by performing Gongyo, which consists of the recitation of certain chapters of the Lotus Sutra, held to be Sakyamuni Buddha's highest and most profound teaching, and the chanting of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo to the Gohonzon, while focusing on the Chinese character Myo. This practice, particularly when shared with others, is regarded as the True Cause for attaining the tranquil state of enlightened life that can allow believers to experience and enjoy more meaningfully fulfilled lives and to confidently confront and overcome the challenges of everyday life (or what Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism refers to as "changing poison into medicine").