Nichiren Shonin
Gohonzon Shu

O'Mandalas by St. Nichiren
[1222-1282]




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Early Gohonzon inscribed by Nichiren, formal style.


Dr. Jacquie Stone on the Object of Worship

Nichiren uses the term "object of worship" or honzon to mean not only a physical icon used for ritual, contemplative, or devotional purposes--the common meaning of the word in his time--but also the principle or reality which that object is said to embody. His various writings explain the object of worship in this latter sense from two perspectives. From one view, it is the original Buddha. For example:
[The people of] Japan as well as of Jambudvipa should as one take Sakyamuni, master of teachings, of the origin teaching as their object of worship--that is to say, Sakyamuni and Many Jewels within the jeweled stupa along with all the other Buddhas, flanked by Superior Conduct and the others of the four bodhisattvas.
In other writings, the object of worship is said to be the Lotus Sutra, or Myoho-renge-kyo, itself:
Question: What should ordinary worldlings in the evil days of the last age take as their object of worship?

Answer: They should make the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra their object of worship....

Question: ...Why do you not take Sakyamuni as the object of worship, but instead, the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra?

Answer: ...This is not my interpretation. Lord Sakymuni and T'ien-t'ai [Chih-i] both established the Lotus Sutra as the object of worship.... The reason is that the Lotus Sutra is the father and mother of Sakyamuni and the eye of all Buddhas. Sakyamuni, Dainichi, and the Buddhas of the ten directions were all born of the Lotus Sutra. Therefore I now take as object of worship that which gives birth [to the Buddhas].
These two views at first seem contradictory. However, if "Sakyamuni" in the passage first cited is understood to be the eternal Buddha, the apparent contradiction dissolves. The eternal Sakyamuni and the Dharma (i.e., the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra) are two aspects of an identity; the "three thousand worlds in one thought-moment as actuality" for Nichiren described both the insight of the original Buddha and the truth by which that Buddha is awakened.

[Click here to learn more from Dr. Stone]

Source: Original Enlightenment and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism. A Kuroda Institute Book by Jacqueline Ilyse Stone. University of Hawai'i Press: Honolulu. 1999. pp. 272-273.

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Gohonzonsh»u (129 halographs)
Published by Rissho Ankokukai. 1947, 1999.
1 | 2 | 3A | 3B | 3C | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32A | 32B | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68A | 68B | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105 | 106 | 107 | 108 | 109 | 110 | 111 | 112 | 113 | 114 | 115 | 116 | 117 | 118 | 119 | 120 | 121 | 122 | 123 | 124 | 125

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