Yūseiji, the head temple of Honmon Butsuryū Shū, is the oldest temple of all Nichiren Buddhism sects in the Kansai region (south-western half of Japan, including Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe). Originally, it was called Seiryu Zushi (the “green willow shrine”) Honmonji temple and established by Nichiben Shonin in 1308 (the first year of the Enkei era) who was one of Nichiren Shonin’s direct disciples. The temple is said to originate from the home of a descendent of Lord Sadaie Fujiwara who was converted by Nichiben Shonin, and it was first located in Nijo-Aoyagi in Kyoto. The temple later moved to Onmae-dori, Ichijo-sagaru, and its name was changed to Seiryūzan Yūseiji Temple. In 1869 (the second year of the Meiji era), Nissen Shonin borrowed Yuseiji, which was almost in ruin at the time, and started using it as a place for studying Buddhist doctrines. As his missionary work conducted actively, Yuseiji was newly built in 1931 (the sixth year of Showa era) in response to both priests’ and lay followers’ demand and it is the recent building that is sublime and splendid. Yuseiji is now the only head temple where all HBS priests and followers respect and worship.
Among these historical characteristics, it is notable that the statue of Nichiren Shōnin) that has been worshiped in Yuseiji is one of three statues that Nippō Shōnin, a direct disciple of Nichiren Shōnin, carved from one piece of wood when Nichiren Shonin was in life. The statue underwent “Kaigen” (“Opening the Spiritual Eyes” ceremony) by Nichiren Shōnin himself. This Statue is called “Tejikaigen,” which means Nichiren Shōnin conducted the Kaigen ceremony himself. Recently, It was scientifically recognized through research that the statue had been carved in the Kamakura period and it is the oldest Nichiren Shōnin statue among those enshrined in all temples of Nichiren Buddhism sects. Nissen Shōnin, the founder of HBS, sincerely rejoiced that the Tejikaigen statue had been invited into Yuseiji and he could “directly” serve Nichiren Shonin everyday. It is our honor for serving the most admirable Nichiren Shōnin statue.