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阿仏房 (d. 1279)
Also known as Abutsu-bo Nittoku. A lay follower of Nichiren who lived in the province of Sado, an island in the Sea of Japan. His secular name was EndoTamemori. Tradition has it that Abutsu-bo was once a samurai who served the Retired Emperor Juntoku in Kyoto and accompanied him to Sado Island when Juntoku was banished there after an abortive attempt by the imperial court to overthrow the Kamakura shogunate in what is known as the Jokyu Disturbance of 1221. According to recent studies, however, it seems more probable that he was actually a native of Sado. When Nichiren was exiled to Sado in late 1271, Abutsu-bo, an ardent Pure Land believer, visited him at Tsukahara to confront him in debate. Bested in debate by Nichiren, who refuted the Pure Land teachings, Abutsu-bo converted to Nichiren's teachings together with his wife, the lay nun Sennichi. The couple sincerely assisted Nichiren during his exile, supplying him with food and other necessities for more than two years until he was pardoned and left the island in 1274. After Nichiren went to live at the foot of Mount Minobu, Abutsu-bo, despite his advanced age, made at least three journeys to visit him with offerings. Abutsu-bo is said to have died on the twenty-first day of the third month, 1279, at age ninety-one. In 1279 his son, Tokuro Moritsuna, traveled to Minobu with Abutsu-bo's ashes and there laid them to rest. Moritsuna continued to uphold Nichiren's teachings, and his grandson, known by his priestly name Nyojaku Nichiman, went as a child to Fuji where he became a disciple of Nikko, Nichiren's immediate successor.