1885 – 1985
Who was Nichidatsu Fujii?
Nichidatsu Fujii was a Japanese Buddhist monk, and founder of the Nipponzan-Myōhōji order of Buddhism. He is best known world-wide for his decision in 1947, to begin constructing Peace Pagodas in many locations around the world, as shrines to world peace.
Fujii was born into a peasant family in the wilderness of the Aso caldera. At the age of 19, he was ordained a monk in the unusually ascetic and intellectual tradition of Hōon-ji in Usuki, Ōita. He started missionary activities in Manchuria in 1917 but the great Kanto earthquake made him return to Japan in 1923. Reading of Nichiren's declaration that the Lotus Sutra would one day be preached in India, he decided to go there. He arrived in Calcutta in January 1931 and walked throughout the town chanting the daimoku and beating a drum, a practice known as gyakku shōdai.
In 1933 he met Mahatma Gandhi at his ashram in Wardha. Gandhi was honored by his presence, and added the daimoku to his ashram's prayers. During WWII and despite the dangers to himself he declared himself in favour of pacifism and went round Japan actively promoting it. He later recollected: “The Pacific war raged ever more brutally. I could no longer...keep silent about the war, in which people were killing one another. Thus I traveled through the whole of Japan and preached resistance against the war and [advocated] the prayer for peace. It was a time in which any person who only spoke about resistance to the war, would go to prison because of that alone”.
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- Jan 1, 1985
on July 23, 2013
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