Nichiren (1222–1282) wrote the Shūku jisshō-shō 秀句十勝抄 (Ten Superior Doctrines Described in the Outstanding Principles of the Lotus Sūtra; Showa Teihon Nichiren Shonin Ibun, pp. 2359–2383) in some eight years, from around 1271, when he was exiled to Sado Island, to 1278, the fifth year of his seclusion on Mt. Minobu.
In the Shūku jisshō-shō, Nichiren quoted from the Hokke Shūku 法華秀句 of Saichō (767–822), and offered his critical comments on Saichō’s interpretations.
The Shūku Jisshō-shō was written in the period when Nichiren’s life was threatened under the oppression by the Kamakura Shogunate. Few studies have been carried out on this work, although it was written during this most important period in Nichiren’s life.
During this period he produced several works, including the Kaimoku-shō 開目抄,Kanjin Honzon-shō 觀心本尊抄,and Kembutsu-miraiki 顕仏未來記,and it was also during this time that he attained the awakening that “he is ‘the No.1 practictioner of the Lotus Sūtra’, and that “he is ‘the disciple of the eternal Śākyamuni Buddha,’” in other words, that he was the reincarnation of a bodhisattva who emerged from the earth, as stated in the Lotus Sūtra.
The present paper offers a basic hypothesis on the question why it took a full eight years for Nichiren to finish this work.