Many scholar monks of the Nichiren sect studied in dangisho (doctrinal studies centers or workshops within the Buddhist temple establishment) of the Tendai sect. Hence many of the documents copied at these centers of learning have been preserved at temples of Nichiren sect affiliation, to the extent that the learning conducted at Tendai dangisho can be gleaned from Nichiren sect temple documents.
This paper concerns the monk Nichii (1444-1519) who first took the tonsure in the Tendai sect under the name Taigei, studying at dangisho at Hieizan, Jôbodaiin temple, Kanasana temple, and elsewhere. He later converted to the Nichiren sect under the guidance of Nitchô, changing his name to Nichii, and eventually became the twelfth generation abbot of Kuonji Temple, the main temple of the Nichiren sect.
While still affiliated with the Tendai sect and using the name Taigei, Nichii was chosen to be the one monk initiated into the exclusive three stage transmission at the dangisho conducted by Eigen, seventh generation abbot of Kanasana Temple. Thus we can presume that he fully absorbed the learning conducted at Kanasana Temple, and, through studying the surviving documents that he copied as Taigei, we can discern the outlines of the scholarship transmitted there during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Many of these documents have been preserved at Kuonji Temple in the Minobu Archive, enabling scholars to identify the chronology, order, and content of initiation at Kanasana Temple. We can also see that the Lotus Sutra, documents related to The Three Great Treatises of the Tendai School (Sandaibu), works concerning doctrinal debate, and those concerning oral transmission were part of the “textbooks” that Nichii copied during his transmission studies.