“The Perfect Endowment of Life” (“Sozai
ichinen-sho”), Nichiren Daishonin states:
It is because each of us also possesses the three
thousand realms (ichinen sanzen) that
we are innately endowed with the Buddha entity. Because that is so, even people
in the hell of incessant suffering possess the three thousand realms and can,
without exception, become one with the Tathagata of mystic enlightenment.
Daishonin explains that the principle of ichinen
sanzen demonstrates that the lives of all living beings are innately and
perfectly endowed with the life of the Buddha, and that even people who
erroneously believe in a qualitative difference between Buddhas and ordinary
people can, without question, access the realm of the Buddha. He adds, however,
that one who wishes to manifest the Buddha realm must embrace the Gohonzon of
the Essential Teaching as his or her physical and spiritual object of faith.
his writing, “The Meanings Hidden in the Depths” (“Montei hitchin-sho”), Nichikan Shonin, the twenty-sixth High
Priest of Nichiren Shoshu, makes the following statement:
object of worship (honzon) is that
object with which a person fuses his life. If the object is correct, that
connection produces wisdom, which in turn guides the person’s actions in a
positive direction. But if the object is false, bonding with that object will
produce false wisdom.
Writings, [Rokkan-sho], p. 42)
faith in an object of worship produces beliefs that result in actions, forming
a bond with an incorrect object of worship will naturally result in erroneous
thinking and negative behavior. It is therefore vital that we distinguish true
objects of worship from false ones, and practice faith based on the correct
object of worship.
The One Great Secret Law—The Object of Worship of the Essential Teaching
Shonin goes on to say:
One Great Secret Law is the Object of Worship (honzon) of the Essential Teaching. The place where this Object of
Worship is enshrined is called the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching,
and our chanting of the mystic Law with faith in this Object of Worship is
called the Daimoku of the Essential Teaching. In this way, the One Great Secret
Law can be divided into Three Great Secret Laws….s…. These
Three Great Secret Laws are likewise contained within the One Great Secret Law,
the Object of Worship of the Essential Teaching. That is why the Object of
Worship of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching is also referred to as
the Object of Worship perfectly endowed with the Three Great Secret Laws.
(ibid., p. 82)
last article in this series, entitled “The Three Great Secret Laws” (Daibyakuho #649), clarified that the
High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching is the physical place where the Object
of Worship of the Essential Teaching is enshrined. The article also explained
that the Daimoku of the Essential Teaching is the chanting of
Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo with faith in the Object of Worship of the Essential
Teaching, and that all Three Great Secret Laws are incorporated within the One
Great Secret Law of the Object of Worship of the Essential Teaching.
all objects of worship enshrined at Nichiren Shoshu local temples and in
believers’ homes are imbued with the inner enlightenment of the Dai-Gohonzon of
the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching by the High Priests who transcribe
them. The High Priests inherit that profound ability as sole heirs to the
Heritage of the Lifeblood of the Law. We should note, however, that the
Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching is the perfect
embodiment of the True Buddha’s inner enlightenment, and is the source from
which all other Objects of Worship of the Essential Teaching originate.
no matter which of these Gohonzons we sit before when we perform Gongyo, we
recognize our profound debt and express our sincere gratitude to the
Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching during the second
prayer. All of the blessings that result from our practice of Gongyo and Shodai
are transmitted to and reside within the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of
the Essential Teaching.
must understand, however, that if our faith lacks reverence or longing for the
Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching or if we belittle
the Gohonzon in any way, we will experience no benefit from our practice,
because our practice will be no different from slander.
The Oneness of the Person and the Law
Shonin also demonstrates that there are two aspects to the Object of Worship of
the Essential Teaching, the Object of Worship in terms of the Person (ninhonzon) and the Object of Worship in
terms of the Law (hohonzon).
Object of Worship in terms of the Person is the True Buddha for the Latter Day
of the Law, Nichiren Daishonin. A passage from “The Teaching Affirmed by all
Buddhas of the Three Existences” (“Sokanmon-sho”)
In a time before the age of Five Hundred [myriad] Dust-particle
Kalpas ago, when Shakyamuni was a common mortal, he realized while sitting in meditation that his body consisted
of the five elements of earth, water, fire, wind, and space, and he instantly
passage puts forth a previously unknown doctrine revealing that the True
Buddha, the source of all other Buddhas, attained Buddhahood as a common mortal
at the stage of first hearing the name of the Law. That is, the Buddha of the
True Cause from the depths of the Juryo
chapter first attained Buddhahood as an ordinary man. The fact that the
characters “Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, Nichiren” appear down the center of the
Gohonzon signifies that the identity of that True Buddha is none other than
Nichiren Daishonin, the True Buddha for the Latter Day.
Object of Worship in terms of the Law is Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo of actual ichinen sanzen, which governs all
phenomena in the universe, and to which the True Buddha became enlightened in
the infinite past of kuon ganjo. The
physical embodiment of that Law is the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of
the Essential Teaching, which the Daishonin inscribed in 1279 (the second year
of the Koan Period). Through the power of the Dai-Gohonzon, the true entity of
actual ichinen sanzen, all life and
all lands, down to the smallest sub-atomic particle, both sentient and
insentient, can attain Buddhahood.
the “Orally Transmitted Teachings” (“Ongi
kuden”), the Daishonin explains that the Person and the Law that reside
within the Gohonzon are inseparable:
The Object of Worship is the true entity of the
life of the votary of the Lotus Sutra.
Object of Worship in terms of the Law could only be revealed after Nichiren
Daishonin, the Object of Worship in terms of the Person, made his advent on
object of worship can lead all people to Buddhahood, and possesses all of the
Buddha’s wisdom, compassion and virtues. The following passage from “The True
Entity of Life” (“Shoho jisso-sho”)
substantiates this truth:
Thus, all life in the universe is clearly
Myoho-Renge-Kyo. Even the two Buddhas, Shakyamuni and Taho, are the functions
of Myoho-Renge-Kyo who appeared to bestow its blessings upon mankind. They
manifested themselves as the two Buddhas and, seated together in the treasure
tower, nodded in mutual agreement…. The two Buddhas, Shakyamuni and
Taho, are merely functions of the True Buddha, while Myoho-Renge-Kyo actually
is the True Buddha.
p. 664-5; MW-1, p. 89-90)
Daishonin explains that Shakyamuni, who made his advent and expounded the Lotus
Sutra in India some three thousand years ago, as well as Taho Buddha, who
appeared during the Ceremony in the Air, and all of the other various Buddhas,
are expedient, provisional emanations of the True Buddha who are born from time
to time to lead humanity to Buddhahood. Each of these provisional Buddhas is
born to fulfill a portion of the True Buddha’s vow to free all living beings
from suffering. The Daishonin also states that the Gohonzon of
Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo that he revealed, which is the Object of Worship of the
oneness of the Person and the Law, is the true and supreme Buddha and the
source of all Buddhism.
born in the Latter Day of the Law have never encountered the teachings of
Buddhism in former incarnations and are therefore said to lack roots of good
fortune. For that reason, we can only attain Buddhahood by embracing the True
Object of Worship of the Essential Teaching with absolute conviction. Moreover,
we must be careful not to be swayed by ideas that are inconsistent with the
we prepare for the 750th anniversary of Nichiren Daishonin’s submission of the Rissho ankoku-ron in praise of the true
doctrine, let’s increase and intensify our chanting of Daimoku and do our best
to shakubuku others to repay the debt of gratitude we owe to the True Buddha
Nichiren Daishonin for his boundless compassion.