What is the Gohonzon?
The object of worship of Nichiren Shoshu is the life of the
True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin. In order to save his disciples and believers
who would take faith after his passing, the Daishonin inscribed his enlightened
life in the form of a mandala as the object of worship. It is called the
Dai-Gohonzon. By inscribing the Dai-Gohonzon, Nichiren Daishonin established
the cause for the universal propagation of true Buddhism and the securing of
peace throughout the world. All Gohonzons enshrined in temples and homes of
believers are transcriptions of the Dai-Gohonzon and derive their power from
When we are seated before the Gohonzon, we should realize
that we are in the presence of the True Buddha.
Our devotion to the Buddha, expressed through our sincere
chanting of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, is the means by which we can fuse our lives
with the life of the Buddha. While in this state of fusion, the powers of the
Buddha and the Law permeate our existence, purifying our minds, extinguishing our
evil karma, and planting seeds of wisdom, compassion, and virtue in our lives.
Having established the correct object of worship and the
correct way of faith and practice to manifest the Gohonzon’s beneficial power
within the lives of believers, the Daishonin transferred the living entity of
his inner enlightenment to his sole successor, the Second High Priest, Nikko
Shonin. This transmission, entrusted to a single person, is the basis upon
which each successive High Priest transcribes the Gohonzons that are bestowed
upon disciples and believers of succeeding generations. This unbroken flow of
the Buddha’s life between master and disciple is the means by which the
Daishonin’s enlightenment will remain in the world to save all mankind
All believers of Nichiren Shoshu are granted a Gohonzon that
is loaned to them by the Head Temple, so they can worship in their own homes.
The Gohonzon is transcribed only by the High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu. The
chief priest of the local temple bestows the Gohonzon to believers who are
ready to receive.