Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Major Writings II - Nichiren Daishounin

The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon
Home
A Comparison of the Lotus Sutra and Other Sutras
A Ship to Cross the Sea of Suffering
Earthly Desires Are Enlightenment
Clear Sake Gosho
Letter to Niike
Letter to Domyo Zemmon
Letter to Akimoto
Letter from Sado
Reply to Nichigon-ama
Roots of Good Fortune
Reply to Jibu-bo
No Safety in the Threefold World - Nichiren Daishounin
Letter to Horen - Nichiren Daishounin
King Rinda - Nichiren Daishounin
Jozo and Jogen - Nichiren Daishounin
Bodhisattva Hachiman - Nichiren Daishounin
On Prayer - Nichiren Daishounin
The Opening of the Eyes Part I
The Opening of the Eyes Part II
Conversation between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man
Conversation between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man Part II
Establishment of the Legitimate Teaching for the Protection of the Country
How Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood Through the Lotus Sutra
The Learned Doctor Shan-wu-wei
The Entity of the Mystic Law
The Pure and Far-reaching Voice
Reply to Takahashi Nyudo
The Teaching, Capacity, Time, and Country
The Doctrine of Attaining Buddhahood in One's Present Form
Encouragement to a Sick Person
The Essence of the Yakuo Chapter
The Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra
The Supreme Leader of the World
The Treasure of a Filial Child
The Supremacy of the Law
Reply to Nii-ama
The Workings of Bonten and Taishaku
The Story of Ohashi no Taro
The Teaching in Accordance with the Buddha's Own Mind
The Treatment of Illness and the Points of Difference between Mahayana and Hinayana and Provisional
Repaying Debts of Gratitude
On Practicing the Buddha's Teachings
On the Urabon
Letter to the Priests of Seicho-ji
Letter to Nichimyo Shonin
Letter to Shomitsu-bo
Questions and Answers on Embracing the Lotus Sutra
Reply to Sairen-bo
Rationale for Submitting the Rissho Ankoku Ron
Persecution by Sword and Staff
Rebuking Slander of the Law and Eradicating Sins
Recitation of the Hoben and Juryo Chapters
Reply to Lord Hakiri Saburo
Reply to Yasaburo
Letter to Ichinosawa Nyudo
Letter to Myomitsu Shonin
Reply to Hoshina Goro Taro
Wu-lung and I-lung
White Horses and White Swans
The Sutra of True Requital
The Kalpa of Decrease
The Farther the Source, the Longer the Stream
The Third Doctrine
The One-eyed Turtle and the Floating Sandalwood Log
Letter to Nakaoki Nyudo
General Stone Tiger
The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life
Lessening the Karmic Retribution
Letter to the Brothers
Hell is the Land of Tranquil Delight
On Prolonging Life
On the Buddha's Behavior
On the Buddha's Prophecy
On the Treasure Tower
Propagation by the Wise
The Embankments of Faith
The Dragon Gate
Strategy of the Lotus Sutra
Reply to Kyo-o
The Person and the Law
The One Essential Phrase
The Gift of Rice
The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon
Letter of Petition from Yorimoto
Introduction and Preface to the Ongi Kuden: Namu Myoho Renge Kyo [Devotion to the Lotus Sutra]
Muryogi Sutra [Sutra of Innumerable Meanings]
Chapter 3: Simile and Parable [Hiyu]
Chapter 4: Faith and Understanding [Shinge]
Chapter 6: Prediction [Juki]
Chapter 7: Phantom City [Kejoyu]
Chapter 8: Prophecy of Enlightenment for Five Hundred Disciples [Gohyaku Deshi Juki]

The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon
- Nichinyo Gozen Gohenji -

I have received your offerings to the Gohonzon of five kan of coins, one horse-load of rice, and fruit. Of the fifty years of teachings in the Buddha's lifetime, only during his last eight was this teaching revealed. The Lotus Sutra, which was expounded during that period, explains the Gohonzon in the eight chapters from the Yujutsu through the Zokurui chapter. After the Buddha's death, in the two thousand years of the Former and Middle Days of the Law, not even the term "object of worship of the essential teaching" was mentioned, let alone the object itself being inscribed. Nor was there anyone capable of inscribing it. T'ien-t'ai, Miao-lo and Dengyo perceived it in their hearts but for some reason never expounded it, just as Yen Hui realized the true meaning of Confucius' teaching but kept it secret. Yet the sutra itself as well as T'ien-t'ai and Miao-lo's annotations explicitly state that the Gohonzon will appear in the first five hundred years of the Latter Day of the Law, a little more than two thousand years after the Buddha's death.

Now, over two hundred years have passed since the beginning of the Latter Day of the Law. How awesome that Nichiren was the first to inscribe this great mandala as the banner of propagation of the Lotus Sutra, when even such great masters as Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, T'ien-t'ai and Miao-lo were unable to do so! This mandala is in no way Nichiren's invention. It is the object of worship which perfectly depicts Lord Shakyamuni in the Treasure Tower and all the other Buddhas who were present, as accurately as the print matches the woodblock. The five characters of the Lotus Sutra's title are inscribed in the center of the Treasure Tower, while the Four Heavenly Kings are seated at the four corners. Shakyamuni and Taho Buddhas, as well as the four leaders of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth, are lined across the top. Seated below them are the Bodhisattvas Fugen and Monju, and men of Learning, including Shariputra and Maudgalyayana. Beside them are posted the gods of the sun and the moon, the Devil of the Sixth Heaven, the Dragon King and ashura; Fudo and Aizen take up their stations to the south and north, respectively. The devilishly treacherous Devadatta and the Dragon King's ignorant daughter attend, too. The demon Kishimojin appears with her ten daughters, who sap the lives of people throughout the universe. Also present are the guardian deities of Japan: Tensho Daijin and Bodhisattva Hachiman, representing the seven ranks of heavenly gods, the five ranks of earthly gods, and all other major and minor gods in general. As all the gods appear in their essence, so must they appear in their manifestations. The Hoto chapter states, "All the assembly were lifted and present in the air." Dwelling in the Gohonzon are all the Buddhas, bodhisattvas and great saints, as well as the eight groups of sentient beings of the two realms who appear in the first chapter of the Lotus Sutra. Illuminated by the five characters of the Mystic Law, they display the enlightened nature they inherently possess. This is the true object of worship.

This manifestation is what the sutra means by "all phenomena reveal the true entity." Miao-lo states, "The true entity is invariably revealed in all phenomena, and all phenomena invariably possess the Ten Factors. The Ten Factors invariably function within the Ten Worlds, and the Ten Worlds invariably entail both life and its environment." T'ien-t'ai states, "The profound principle of 'true entity' is the original Law of Myoho-renge-kyo." The Great Teacher Dengyo wrote, "The entity of ichinen sanzen is the Buddha who obtained enlightenment for himself, and that Buddha assumes no august attributes." Therefore this Gohonzon is the supreme mandala never before known, for it has not appeared until more than twenty-two hundred and twenty years after the Buddha's death.

A woman who devotes herself to the Gohonzon invites happiness in this life; and in the next, the Gohonzon will be with her and protect her always. Like a lantern in the dark, like a strong supporting arm on a treacherous path, the Gohonzon will protect you, Lady Nichinyo, wherever you go. Therefore you should ward off slanderers as you would prevent a courtesan from entering your house. That is the meaning of "Part with bad friends and seek out good ones."

Never seek this Gohonzon outside yourself. The Gohonzon exists only within the mortal flesh of us ordinary people who embrace the Lotus Sutra and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. The body is the palace of the ninth consciousness, the unchanging reality which reigns over all life's functions. To be "endowed with the Ten Worlds" means that all the Ten Worlds without exception are contained in the one world of Buddhahood. That is why the Gohonzon is called a mandala. Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning "perfectly endowed" or "cluster of blessings." The Gohonzon is found in faith alone. As the sutra states, "Only with faith can one enter Buddhahood."

Since Nichiren's disciples, both priests and laymen, believe in the supremacy of the Lotus Sutra, which states, "...honestly discarding the provisional teachings" and "Never accept even a single phrase from other sutras," they can enter the Treasure Tower of the Gohonzon. How reassuring! Make every possible effort for the sake of your next life. The most important thing is to chant only Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and attain enlightenment. All depends on the strength of your faith. To have faith is the basis of Buddhism. That is why the fourth volume of the Maka Shikan states, "Buddhism is a vast ocean, but only those with faith can enter." In interpreting this passage, Miao-lo writes in the fourth volume of his Guketsu, "Even Confucius teaches that faith is first and foremost. This is all the more true with the profound doctrines of Buddhism! Without faith, how can one possibly approach them? That is why the Kegon Sutra defines faith as the basis of practice and the mother of blessings." The first volume of the Maka Shikan further states, "How does one hear, believe in and practice the perfect teaching to attain perfect enlightenment?" Volume One of the Guketsu interprets this: "To 'believe in the perfect teaching' means to awaken faith through doctrine and make faith the basis of practice." A classical document tells of the Emperor of Han, who so implicitly believed his aide's report that he found the river actually frozen. Another relates how Li Kuang, eager to revenge his father, pierced with his arrow a boulder hidden in the grass. T'ien-t'ai and Miao-lo's annotations make it absolutely clear that faith is the cornerstone. Because the Han emperor believed without doubt in his retainer's words, the river froze over. And Li Kuang was able to pierce a rock with his arrow because he fully believed it to be the tiger which had killed his father. Faith is still more powerful in the world of Buddhism.

Embracing the Lotus Sutra and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo encompass all five practices which the Great Teacher Dengyo personally inherited from Priest Tao-sui when he journeyed to China. This is the primary teaching for Nichiren's disciples and believers. It is the practice which appears in the Jinriki chapter. I will give you more details later.

Respectfully,
Nichiren

The twenty-third day of the eighth month in the third year of Kenji (1277)
 

  

Home
The True Entity of Life
The One Essential Phrase
The Essence of the Juryo Chapter
The True Object of Worship
The Selection of the Time
The Problem to Be Pondered Night and Day
Reply to the Mother of Lord Ueno
The Bodies and Minds of Ordinary Beings
Teaching, Practice, and Proof
On Omens
On Persecutions Befalling the Buddha
The Votary of the Lotus Sutra Will Meet Persecution
Thus I Heard
The Izu Exile
The Origin of the Urabon
The Royal Palace
The Meaning of Faith
The Third Day of the New Year
Reply to the Followers
The Causal Law of Life
The Swords of Good and Evil
The Teaching for the Latter Day
The Unmatched Fortune of the Law
Easy Delivery of a Fortune Child
Letter to Konichi-bo
Letter to Misawa
An Outline of the Zokurui and Other Chapters
Consecrating an Image of Shakyamuni Buddha Made by Shijo Kingo
Curing Karmic Disease
Admonitions Against Slander
Bestowal of the Mandala of the Mystic Law
The Receipt of New Fiefs
The Unity of Husband and Wife
Letter to Ko-no-ama Gozen
Winter Always Turns to Spring
On Filial and Unfilial Conduct
A Father Takes Faith
A Warning against Begrudging One's Fief
The Mongol Envoys
Reply to Tokimitsu
Reply to Myoho Bikuni Gozen
Beneficial Medicine for All Ills
A Sage Perceives the Three Existences of Life
The Proof of the Lotus Sutra
Letter to Jakunichi-bo
Aspiration for the Buddha Land
Reply to Lord Shijo Kingo
The Universal Salty Taste
Good Fortune in This Life
The Wealthy Man Sudatta
Letter to Gijo-bo
New Year's Gosho
Persecution at Tatsunokuchi
Easy Delivery of a Fortune Child
Reply to Lord Matsuno's Wife
The Birth of Tsukimaro
Banishment to Sado
Great Evil and Great Good
Happiness In This World
Letter from Echi
Letter to Endo Saemon-no-jo
Letter to Priest Nichiro in Prison
On Flowers and Seeds
On Itai Doshin
Postscript to the Rissho Ankoku Ron
Reply to a Believer
Reply to Ko Nyudo
Reply to Lady Onichi-nyo
Reply to Lord Matsuno
Rissho Ankoku Ron
The Difficulty of Sustaining Faith
The Offering of a Summer Robe
The Property of Rice
The Wonderful Means of Surmounting Obstacles
Unseen Virtue and Visible Reward
Upholding Faith in the Gohonzon
The Drum at the Gate of Thunder

Home
http://gokase.tripod.com/
http://gokase.tripod.com/