five senior priests ［五老僧］ ( go-rōsō): Five of the six senior priests, excluding Nikkō (1246–1333), designated by Nichiren shortly before his death as his principal disciples. They are Nisshō (1221–1323), Nichirō (1245–1320), Nikō (1253–1314), Nitchō (1252–1317), and Nichiji (b. 1250). On the eighth day of the tenth month, 1282, at the residence of his lay follower and supporter Ikegami Munenaka in Musashi Province, Nichiren named six senior priests whom he entrusted with the responsibility of propagation in their respective areas after his death. He selected them because of the outstanding efforts and contributions they had made to the dissemination of his teachings. Among them, he formally designated Nikkō as his successor. After Nichiren’s death, however, the other five refused to follow Nikkō. They gradually departed from Nichiren’s teachings, compromising with schools their teacher had refuted as erroneous and misleading. On Refuting the Five Priests, completed in 1328 by Nichijun, the second chief instructor of Omosu Seminary, describes the differences between Nikkō and the five senior priests from six viewpoints: (1) While the five officially declared themselves to be priests of the Tendai school, Nikkō identified himself as a disciple of Nichiren, whom he regarded as the reincarnation of the bodhisattva Superior Practices. (2) While the five belittled those letters of Nichiren that were written in a mixture of Chinese characters and Japanese kana syllabary, Nikkō treasured them, calling them Gosho, honorable writings. In those days formal documents were written in classical Chinese. (3) While the five regarded the theoretical teaching (first half) and the essential teaching (latter half) of the Lotus Sutra as equal in merit, Nikkō held that the former is inferior to the latter. (4) While the five revered images of Shakyamuni Buddha as the object of devotion, Nikkō revered Nichiren’s mandala (i.e., Gohonzon). (5) While the five read the entire Lotus Sutra in their practice, Nikkō recited only the key chapters (i.e., the “Expedient Means” and the “Life Span” chapters). (6) While the five worshiped at Shinto shrines, Nikkō prohibited such worship. See also Guidelines for Believers of the Fuji School, The; On Refuting the Five Priests.