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, cont.

[Previous text]

Whether imagined as Dharma or as Buddha, Nichiren's "object of worship of the origin teacing" is perfectly inclusive. As Dharma, its all-encompassing nature has already been discussed: Myoho-renge-kyo contains all teachings, all phenomena, all merits. As Buddha, it is no less embracing:
Zentoku Buddha in the eastern quater, Dainichi in the center, the [other] Buddhas of the ten directions, the seven Buddhas of the past, the Buddhas of the three time periods, Superior Conduct and the other bodhisattvas, Manjusri and Sariputra, the great heavenly King Brahma, King Mara of the sixth heaven, King Indra, the sun god, the moon god, the gods of the stars, the seven stars of the Big Dipper, the twenty-eight constellations, the five stars, the seven stars, the eighty-four thousand countless stars, the asura kings, the kami of heaven, the kami of earth, the mountain kami, the kami of the seas, the kami of the clans, the kami of the villages, the persons who rule the various lands in all worlds--which of them is not the Lord Sakyamuni? Tensho Daijin and Hachiman Daibosatsu also have Sakyamuni, master of teachings, as their original ground (honji). Sakyamuni is like the single moon in the sky, while the various Buddhas and bodhisattvas are like its reflections in myriad bodies of water. One who makes an image of Sakyamuni [thereby] makes [images of] all Buddhas of the ten directions.
This passage appears to draw on the Lotus Sutra's representations of all Buddhas as emanations of Sakyamuni, as well as on Mikkyo concepts of an all-pervading Dharma-body Buddha. One notes not only that all Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and Buddhist tutelary deities emanate from Sakyamuni, but that the Japanese kami all have Sakyamuni as their original ground. This reflects Nichiren's distinctive, Lotus-centered honji-suijaku thought, in which all kami are seen as the local manifestations of Sakyamuni.

In accordance with traditional T'ien-t'ai thought, as well as that of medieval Japanese Tendai, Nichiren understood the Sakyamuni of the original teaching as eternal and possessing all three bodies. However, the "Tathagata of original enlightenment" seen in medieval Tendai texts, while nominally triple-bodied, tends to be described chiefly as an all-pervasive Dharma body. The passage just cited presents a similar view. Nichiren's writings as a whole, however, present a spectrum of concepts of the Buddha, drawing on the implications, not only of the Dharma body, but of the recompense and manifested bodies as well. Nichiren's Buddha is at once both immament and transcendent. He is "our blood and flesh"; his practices and resulting virtues are "our bones and marrow." Yet at the same time, he is "parent, teacher, and sovereign" to all beings of this, the Saha world. In this connection, Nichiren also stressed that Sakyamuni was only the Buddha who, out of compassion for its beings, had actually appeared in this world--a frequent point in Nichiren's criticism of devotion to Amida. Sakyamuni is lord of this threefold world; all lesser rulers hold their territories in fief from him. With this concept of the Buddha, Nichiren asserted the superior authority of the Lotus Sutra over that of worldly rule. Sakyamuni also presides over a pure land, the Pure Land of Eagle Peak (ryozen jodo), discussed below, and Nichiren often assured his followers that their deceased relatives were with Sakyamuni there. In short, Nichiren's concept of the object of worship not only posits a Buddha who encompasses all things, but itself attempts to encompass all views of the Buddha.

[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. 273-274.

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explanatory text

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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