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Nichiren, praying in the rain; work by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861)
Nichiren (1885); Woodcut by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)

Nichiren (16th February 1222-13th October 1282) was a Buddhist priest who lived in Japan. He is often called Nichiren Daishonin. "Nichi" means "sun" and "ren" means "lotus." "Daishonin" means "Great Sage." The type of Buddhism he founded is known as Nichiren Buddhism. Nichiren's actions and writings are the basis of the modern Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai International (SGI). According to SGI's interpretation of Buddhism, it is through faith, practice and study that people can tap into their Buddha nature, become truly happy, and build a peaceful society. Faith refers to the belief in the concept known as "the mystic law of the universe." Practice means to chant every day the phrase "Nam-myo-ho-renge-kyo" and sections from the Lotus Sutra while sitting in front of the Gohonzon, a sacred scroll that hangs in the butsudan (an altar). Practice also entails telling other people about Nichiren Buddhism. Study means reading the writings of Nichren Daishonin and discussing the readings with other people.