Nichiryu Shonin was born as the son of Hisanori MOMOI, a samurai and Ume no kami (Captain of Umaryo, Right Division of Bureau of Horses) and Tomiko on October 14, 1385 (the fourteenth of the tenth month of the second year of Shitoku period) in Shimavillage, Imizu-Asai district (present Imizu city, Toyama prefecture). He entered the Buddhist priesthood at Onjoji temple in Asai district at his age of twelve and it was in the midst of the wars between the Northern and Southern Courts. Since his childhood, Nichiryu Shoninwas a bright boy and began to study Buddhist doctrine at his age of fourteen in the imperial capital, Kyoto. Then he perceived that the quintessence of Nichiren Shonin’s teachings is the Odaimoku, Namu-myohorengekyo that was revealed in Honmon Happon of the Lotus Sutra and handed down from the Primordial Buddha to Jogyo Boddhisattva.
However, the Odaimoku—the true intention of Nichiren Shonin was thoroughly fallen into decadence after more than a hundred years having passed since he died. Nichiryu Shonin decided to devote himself to persuade other Buddhist sects especially Hokke sect that was descended from Nichiren Shonin’s teaching to improve their doctrines that misunderstood Nichiren teachings. He built fourteen temples (include those converted anew from their original sect to his sect) from the whole Kinki region to Hokuriku region and Okayamaprefecture in Chugoku region including Honnoji that is a famous temple at which Nobunaga ODA was assassinated. The propagation through these areas was all by showing Gensho no Goriyaku (manifest evidence) that appeared by Kusho-gyo, the practice of chanting the Odaimoku. People who saw manifest evidences appeared under their eyes would never doubt the power of the Odaiomku and could not help believing in the faith in the Odaiomku. In his later years, Nichiryu Shonin entered Honkoji temple in Amagasaki, Hyogoprefecture, and engaged in writing activities and teaching his disciples to leave Nichiren Shonin’s teachings correctly to future generations until he died at eighty-one.
In Honmon Butsuryu Shu, we call Nichiryu Shoin with the title of Renshi-goshin, Honnin-geshu-saiko-shodo, Monso. Renshi-goshin literally means “reincarnation of Nichiren Shonin.” Over a period of 100 years, Nichiryu Shonin was born on October 14, 1385, the following day of Nichiren Shonin’s deathday, October 13, 1282 (the thirteenth of the tenth month of the fifth year of Koan period). The continuity of those two days makes Nichiryu Shonin recognized as a reincarnation of Nichiren Shonin. In addition, there are also a few more stories: The state of affairs in Japan when they were born was the same era of Gekokujo, in which the inferiors overthrew their superiors. The same Kizui (auspicious omen) that spring water came out of the garden occurred when they were born. The Buddhist teaching they spread was the same Honmon Happon shoken, Jogyo-shoden, Honnin-geshu no Namu-myohorengekyo. Both Nichiren and Nichiryu Shonin devoted their life to the Bodhisattva training of Kusho-gyo (the practice of chanting Odaimoku themselves) and Kyoke-Shakubuku (see Kyoke and Shakubuku).
Honnin-geshu-saiko-shodo means that he “revived” Honnin-geshu no Namu-myohorengekyo (see the article, Honnin-Geshu―sowing the seed of Buddhahood) handed down from Nichiren Shonin and “guided” us to the teaching correctly. After a hundred years having passed since Nichiren Shonin’s death, the clear water of Nichiren teachings was getting impurity year by year and a lot of branches appeared from the main stream and flowed in the wrong directions. Therefore, Nichiryu Shonin exerted himself to remove “mud” from the water and dam up the flow of those tributaries.
Mon in Monso literally means “a school of a Buddhist sect” and So means “a founder.” Nichiryu Shonin concluded that Honmon Happon shoken, Jogyo-shoden, Honnin-geshu no Namu-myohoregekyo is the quintessence of Nichiren teachings and founded the flow of Honmon Happon school of Nichiren Buddhism. Therefore, Monso is the title that praises Nichiryu Shonin for his revival of Honmon Happon teaching.