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Founder NIkkyo Niwano giving a Dharma Talk at the Great Sacred Hall
Founder NIkkyo Niwano giving a Dharma Talk at the Great Sacred Hall.

The Founder of Rissho Kosei-kai, Nikkyo Niwano, was born in 1906 in northern Japan. Growing up in a simple and rustic village, he was deeply impressed by his grandfather's and parents' kindness to others. Their good example instilled in him a love of peace, harmony, and service to others. 

As a young adult, Founder always sought the Way: "There must be a Law somewhere that can save human beings--not something magical or mystical, but something that can be understood logically, with a clear logic and system." He met Rev. Sukenobu Arai of Reiyukai,

listened to his lectures on the Lotus Sutra,

and confirmed that "the Lotus Sutra is a teaching capable of saving all people."

In 1938, he founded our lay Buddhist organization with Mrs. Myoko Naganuma. With thirty members in Tokyo, their purpose was to liberate people from suffering and disseminate the true spirit of the Lotus Sutra to establish a peaceful world.   

They believed that all religions derive from the same source and that world peace is possible. Founder Niwano dialogued with worldwide religious leaders for world peace. In 1970, he held the first World Conference on Religions and Peace (WCRP/RfP). He was also an advocate of disarmament. At the United Nations, he called to abolish nuclear weapons.   

In 1979, Founder Niwano received the Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion. In 1992, he received Knight Commander of the Silver Star of the Order of St. Gregory the Great by the Vatican.    

Founder Niwano passed away on Oct 4, 1999, at 92. The Founder's posthumous title is "Founder Niwano, Great Teacher of the One Vehicle."    

His English publications include Buddhism for Today: A Modern Interpretation of the Threefold Lotus Sutra; Lifetime Beginner; Buddhism for Everyday Life; Shakyamuni Buddha: A Narrative Biography; Invisible Eyelashes; and A Buddhist Approach to Peace.

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