The Women in Nichiren’s Sangha: Female Devotees of the Lotus Sutra in Medieval Japan

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Although the women in Nichiren’s sangha did not have a leading role, it is obvious that without their active support, his movement could not develop through the centuries. The Lotus Sūtra, which predicts enlightenment to women in their present form, was already particularly popular with women since the Heian period. In the twelfth chapter, the eight-year-old daughter of the dragon king becomes a Buddha by hearing the Lotus, thus making it the most popular among female believers. Their importance in the group transpares from the frequent and numerous letters as well as the mandala bestowed to them. A small Gohonzon was only bestowed to the most faithful, but a large scroll inscribed in formal style with a personal name on it, indicated a leading role. Since quite a few of these Gohonzon are actually extant, it denotes that among the early daimoku-kō there were in fact women in leadership positions.
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First edition
March 3, 2019
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2.89 MB
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