Hello, as I have read in one of Nichiren's writing, ushi is the ox & tora is tiger, hence ushitora is called the hour of ox & tiger which correspond to the time between 2am-4am of the day, during which time all the Buddhas in the past attained enlightenment. Hence, my personal view on this is that among the hours of a day, the best & most conducive time to attain enlightenment is between 2am-4am given that at such time, it is peaceful & quiet [this too depends on our environment], it is much easier for us to focus ourselves in chanting strong daimoku to the Gohonzon and manifest the highest life condition of Buddhahood from within our lives, certainly when we can achieve this stage, benefits will be tremendous [...the Buddha wisdom cannot even fathom how great is the benefits gained]. However, it is a great challenge for most of us I guess to do it since we need to rest and sleep at such hours of the day. Anyway, it's definitely advantage to strive to do it & feel the great effect! Good Luck!
I have heard people do it when they are challenging extremely tough situations....I dont think its recommended for all times besides its really what u do when u feel like it....Buddhism is common sense and having proper sleep is always common sense. Also , Daimoku is daimoku, done at any time in the day with sincerity, it will bear fruit.
I believe where ever it originated that this is a powerful time to chant - not for regular issues but when facing the unsurmountable obstacles - in fact glad I came on the site - I usually don't look at this site - not much time to - but I have been feeling deadlocked - so this weekend I will do ushitori gongyo and chant to have a breakthrough - not expecting necessarily that it will be immediate - but will make a goal for myself to do this over a period of time for to break this deadlock.
Thanks for the discussion and by the way I will research the gosho for this to see if there is in fact some reference - if not by name "Ushitori" if referred in some other way - as Nichiren has in many other instances.
There's an interesting dramatised video about witnesssed incidences of abuse by priesthood of formal Ushitora gongyo ceremonies, when children or acolytes fall asleep or caught drowsing (video of punishment of acolytes). It's in Japanese.