street leads to the temple starts at Sobu-sen Shimousa Nakayama-station
and had created a town alongside over the years. The compound
is consist of many buildings such as Daido (Great Hall), Shodo,
Shoto, and it is always filled with the followers paying their
respect. In other words, this is the temple well-supported
by both priests and congregations.
Nichiren Shonin avoided the Matsubagayatsu Persecution by
running away to Shimousa and he relied upon Jonin Toki, the
head of Gozoku (prominent family) in Wakamiya as well as a
devoted follower. In August of 1260, the Hokke-do (later it
became Hokke-ji) was built within Toki's residence. Nichiren
Shonin had offered his 100-day sit-in lecture there between
the end of the year and spring. Accordingly this temple is
regarded as the sacred site of Honge Shoten Borin (Nichiren
Shonin's first preaching the Dharma). Soon another Gozoku
in near by area of Nakayama, Jomyo Ohta built Jibutsu-do (later
became Honmyo-ji) on his property. Jibutsu-do was blessed
by Nichiren Shonin when its construction was completed.
(Engi): Hokekyou-ji was founded in August
of 1260. Jonin Toki became a priest after Nichiren Shonin
passed away in 1282 and changed his name to Nichijo. The following
year he entered Honmyo-ji when Jomyo deceased. In 1297, Nichijo
made a rule to keep all documents left by Nichiren Shonin
at the temple in order to protect them from getting lost.
All the documents have been kept safely at Shogyo-den until
this day. When Nichijo passed away, the son of Jomyo, Nichiko
became the second priest of Hokke-ji and established Honmyo-ji
as well. Thus from this point on, the main priest oversee
both temples together. This system is called, Ryozan Isshusei
(one head priest for the two temples). After Nichiko passed
away, Nichiyu became the third priest of Hokke-ji and Honmyo-ji
and he invited another Gozoku, Tanesada Chiba to head the
congregation. Tanesada generously contributed a large land
to the temple to secure the temple's financial situation.
Nichiyu vigorously spread the mission, chanting of the Lotus
Sutra, copying the Sutra as well as built a Shoja (a dwelling
place for diligent practitioners.) He also made many pilgrimages
to Mt. Minobu. These visits resulted that his disciple, Nikka
(originally from Gozoku family in Musashinokuni Mutsuura)
to make finanical contributions to Mt. Minobu. He also gathered
the documents written by Nichiren Shonin and created the index
of them. He established some systems within the organization
such as Shiinkasei and Doshishokusei.
This line of Nakayama-monryu (the linage
of Nakayama) has contributed to the Nichiren-shu from Nanboku-cho
era to Muromachi-era by sending extraordinary priests: Haniya
Myosen Nichiei, Kenpon Hokke-shu Nichiju, Honpo-ji Nabekamuri
Nisshin, Chomyo-ji Nisshuku. Hokke-ji and Honmyo-ji were united
during Sengoku-era and formed Hokekyo-ji. The eleventh priest
of Nichiden was exiled to Hagi (current Yamaguchi) by Toyotomi
Hideyoshi, and this caused to form Sanzan Rinban Sei (the
system to take turn of taking care by the three temples) among
Kyoto Komyo-ji, Honpo-ji, and Sakai Myokoku-ji. During early
Meiji-era in 19th centuary, the Buddhism in Japan was prosecuted
as a result of Haibutsu Kishaku (the anti-Buddhist movement
that led to the destruction of Buddhist temples and images).
After the World War II Hokekyo-ji establised Nakayama Myoshu
and rejoined Nichiren-shu in 1973.
The temple is also well-known all over
Japan as Kito Reijo (a sacred site of Kito blessing) for three
Hiho (esoteric methods of practice.) First people visit here
to pray at Kishimo-jin (the Buddhist goddess, who is beautiful
and blessed with many children, to help people with childbirths
and child care.) It is said that Nichiren Shonin came over
this place to avoid Komatsubara Persecution; carved the statue
of Kishimo-jin, and taught Toki Jonin about hidden teaching
of this goddess. In Edo era, this statue was called Nakayama
Kishimo-jin and worshiped by many people who wished to have
Genze Riyaku (benefits in this life such as good health, child
rearing and so on.)
Second this temple is the place for Aragyo
( 100days ascetic practice.) In order to become a Shuhosshi
(certified priest to perform Kito blessing) of Nichiren-shu,
one must complete one-hundred-day training starting on November
1 at Nichiren-shu Kegyosho to receive hidden teaching. This
training includes a famously difficult session called Kanchu
Suigyo, practice of cold water purification in winter.
Finally there is a hidden teaching of
Bokken Kaji (Kito blessing with wooden sward). This method
of Kito blessing is allowed to be practiced by only Shuhosshi
completed the Aragyo training. The prayer summons up the Kishimo-jin;
apply the juzu to a bokken (wooden sword); chant the prayer;
pray to rid of all evil. Consequently this prayer brings people
to rest their minds and pray for the Rissho Ankoku, establishing
peaceful country with right teaching.
The current condition:
The temple holds various historically significant structures.
Soshi-do (founder's hall), designated as Juyo Bunka-zai (a
national cultural treasure) was rebuilt in Enpo-era (1673-81).
Other national cultural treasures are Hokke-do, built in Muromachi-era
and Shisoku-mon. Hokke-do is the oldest structure and believed
to be the main structure of Honmyo-ji. Goju-no-to(the five
story pagota,) built in 1622, is also the national treasure.
There is a substantial addition, Shogyo-den built in 1931.
Others worth being mentioned are: Kishimojin-do, Aragyo-do,
and Joshuden (the guest house.)
The temple maintains numerous sacred treasures
as well: Kokuho(national treasure) "Rissho Ankoku Ron,"
Kokuho "Kanjin Honzon-sho," and national cultural
treasure, Nichiren Shonin's document in 56 volumes and others.
These are shown to public only once a year on November 3.
Countless numbers of historical documents, the statue of Nichiren
Shonin, all other priests' statues, statues of the Buddha,
pictures all date back to the Middle Ages.
The temple holds many annual events: Senbu-e
(April 15-20,) opening of Shogyo-den (November 3,) Oeshiki
(November 15-18,) Nyugyo-e (the beginning of the Aragyo training.
November 1,) and Shutugyo-e (the end of Aragyo. February 10.)
The eighth day of every month is the Kishimo-jin day (especially
the special prayer is held on the eighth of January, May and
September) and many people gather at the temple.
Kuonji Temple | Kominato-Zan
Tanjoji Temple | Senko-Zan
Jissoji Temple | Shochu-Zan
Hokekyoji Temple | Kaiko-Zan
Kyoninji Temple | Jakko-Zan