From the NST Dictionary of Terms and Concepts: "Five senior priests"
"Five of the six senior priests, excluding Nikko Shonin, designated by Nichiren Daishonin as his principle disciples shortly before his death"
Marc's comments: They have to grudgingly acknowledge their appointment because the transfer document referring to the Six Priests still exists and is fully corroborated by historical events. The Six Priests did in fact lead the Sangha after Nichiren's death.
"They are Nissho, Nichiro, Niko, Nitcho and Nichiji. While the Daishonin was alive, they devoted themselves earnestly to the propagation of his teachings, but after his death, they refused tofollow Nikko Shonin even though the Daishonin had formally appointed him as his successor"
This is Big Lie Number 1. Nikko was junior in rank within the group. The documents Taisekiji depends on are a "no sale." They are not existent in anything close to an original, and more important, have not the slightest bit of corroboration. Nikko would have showed up in the records and accounts of the time as taking a leading role if they were authentic but he never once did. He didn't even lead Nichiren's funeral but rather marched in the JUNIOR rank. He never once mentioned himself as some sort of spurned leader even though he was off Minobu for 36 years and had every opportunity to do so. Not a single person mentions him as leader nor mentions what would have amounted to a coup de tat in not following him. The claim that Nikko was heir has no standing among historians who know all the details of the matter.
"They gradually departed from the orthodoxy if the Daishonin's teachings, compromising with sects which he had considered heretical and neglecting the strict spirit of shakabuku"
These are lies number 2 and 3
Here we find the slander that they went over to other sects. In the individual bio's, this NST Dictionary names the Tendai Shu. This is untrue and hypocritical. Nissho, the leader of the group as it's most senior Priest, reissued the Rissho Ankoku Ron which excoriates the other sects in direct uncompromising terms, at great peril to his life. Hardly the act of a compromiser. It was Taisekiji who in later years sent their priests to Mt. Hiei, the home base of the Tendai, for instruction and to get magical Tendai transmissions.
As far as "neglecting Shakabuku" goes, Taisekiji failed to thrive and remained for centuries an extremely small clan temple. The Temples of the remaining Senior Priests grew at rates 10,000 times greater than Taisekiji, putting the lie to the NST slander that they other priests "neglected Shakabuku."
"The primary reason for this was that they apparently did not revere the
Daishonin as the Buddha of the Latter Day of the law"
And neither did Nikko. The "Nichiren as Eternal Buddha" heresy crept into Taisekiji dogma centuries later and is a backslide into common Japanese Founder Worship.
"....and simply regarded him as a follower of Tendai Buddhism."
And here we see the "Gone over to the Tendai Shu" slander repeated:
"Consequently they did not appreciate the significance of the Gohonzon which he had inscribed as the object of worship, discarding it ni favor of images of Shakyamuni"
Lie number four.
The preference by this or that group for the Paper Gohonzon or the Statue arrangement Gohonzon developed later mostly as a response to persecution (you can run out the back door with the Paper Gohonzon much easier than with a heavy statue). Nichiren himself used a statue as his personal Gohonzon. Nikko complained bitterly when he did not get it after Nichiren's death. This is just a sloppy backhanded insult tossed out by NST, secure in the knowledge that their members are neither inquisitive nor able to get good information about complicated issues.