The Four Dictums
(2) “Zen is the invention of the devil of the 6th Heaven.

The Rinzai Zen of Eisai already had an unofficial presence in Kamakura City, since the late 12th Century, well before Nichiren’s time. We shall hopefully look more closely at that in a separate entry, one on Nichiren’s years as a student at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu-ji Shrine-Temple in Kamakura, from 1239 to 1242.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Nichiren was most likely familiar with the older Tendai-Shingon Rinzai Zen Temples; Jufukuji, Jomyoji, and Jorakuji, which were established by Eisai Myoan {(Eisai Zenji, Yosai) (1141-1215)} and Gyoyu Taiko (1163-1241)’; with Masako Hojo and her relatives as sponsors.

Rencho/Nichiren probably studied at those temples. But, as far as I know, he does not mention this experience directly. However, if I understand correctly, Eisai stressed the use of the Zen riddles called Koans, as meditation tools. The following humorous passages, from “Shogu Mondo Sho {Conversation between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man},” might be a satire of Rinzai:

There was a mendicant priest who drifted about from province to province like floating grass, who rolled on from district to district like tumbleweed. Before anyone realized it he appeared on the scene and stood leaning on the pillar of the gate, smiling but saying nothing.

The unenlightened man, wondering at this, asked what he wanted. At first the priest made no reply, but after the question was repeated he said, “The moon is dim and distant, the wind brisk and blustery.” His appearance was quite out of the ordinary and his words made no sense, but when the unenlightened man inquired about the ultimate principle behind them he found that they represented the Zen teachings as they are expounded in the world today.

This, from the same Gosho, might merit some investigation:

There are three types of Zen, known respectively as Tathagata Zen, doctrinal Zen, and patriarchal Zen …

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I looked into this a little, and got more confused.

From MW footnotes:
Thus Come One Zen’ [Tathagata Zen] refers to the Buddha’s meditation as described in the sutras. According to the Lankavatara Sutra, this meditation gives rise to the mystic powers with which the Buddha saves the people. ‘Doctrinal Zen’ refers to the methods of meditation formulated on the basis of the sutras, and ‘patriarchal Zen,’ the Zen teaching deriving from Bodhidharma, in which enlightenment is said to be transmitted wordlessly from master to disciple.

Nichiren discusses his take on Zen in some detail in “Shogu Mondo Sho {Conversation between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man}, especially Part II. The emphasis appears to be on refuting Patriarchal Zen:

This is why I say that patriarchal Zen is a gravely erroneous affair. — Nichiren Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

At any rate, Masako Hojo (1157-1225) was willing to fund Eisai because Rinzai was compatible with Martial Arts training, and attractive to the Samurai warrior class. Apparently, after Eisai’s death, his Zendos were pretty much gradually converted to Martial Arts Dojos. This hi-jacking process would become complete after Hojo Tokiyori became the Regent in 1246.