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日蓮大聖人『御書』解説

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2020年 09月 05日

49. Explaining the Significance of the Construction of the Gohonzon

                  Japanese version


              

The handwriting of 'True Object of Worship'. The Nakayama Hokekyoji temple possesses. national treasure


What is Gohonzon? What kind of feature is it? Nichiren preaches and clarifies it.

“The appearance of the true object of worship is described as the treasure tower soaring in the air over the shaba world, where the master of the essence teachings resides. Shakyamuni Buddha and Tahō Buddha take their place on either side of Myoho-Renge-Kyo within the treasure tower, the four leaders such as Jogyo Bodhisattva attended with Shakyamuni Buddha. Manjushri, Maitreya, and other disciples, who are clans of the four Bodhisattvas, are seated below. There are big and small Bodhisattvas of the provisional or other lands on the ground where all the people are, and it looks like looking up to a noble and a court noble. All the Buddhas who gathered from the worlds in the ten directions remain on the ground because they are temporary manifestations of the eternal Buddha and their lands are transient, not eternal. The Gohonzon was not preached during the fifty-odd years of Shakyamuni's lifetime. Shakyamuni preached the Lotus Sutra over a period of eight years, moreover this Gohonzon was taught only through its eight chapters. During the two thousand years of the Shoho or Zoho days of the Law, Makakasho and Ananda were flanking the Shakyamuni Buddha of Hinayana. Also, Manjushri and Fugen Bodhisattva were flanking the Shakyamuni Buddha who had taught the provisional Mahayana, the Nirvana Sutra, the principle of the Lotus Sutra. Though these Buddhas were created and depicted during the periods of the Shoho or Zoho, the Buddha of the LifeSpan chapter was not made yet. This true object of worship shall appear for the first time in the Latter-Day of the Law.” ‘True Object of Worship’


Nichiren writes it at the end of "True Object of Worship".


“Showing profound compassion for those unable to comprehend the doctrine of the ichinen sanzen, the Buddha will wrap this gem into the five characters [Myoho-renge-kyo] , hanging it to the neck of ignorant people who live in the Latter-Days of the Law.”

The Gohonzon shown in this 'True Object of Worship' is a one and only present which Nichiren gave the all creatures, the ignorant people who have lost the concept of existence of the Latter-Days of the Law.

It is written in Nichiren's writing that a person hung the box of ashes of his parents to his neck and carried it when buried the ashes whom a person cremated in the graveyard as a then custom. It is thought that the then believer who read this sentence "hanging it to a neck" understood instantly how important the Gohonzon was.

“His son, Moritsuna Tokuro, succeeded his father as a wholehearted practitioner of the Lotus Sutra. Last year, on the second day of July, he had journeyed a thousand ri at mountains and seas with his father's ashes hung to his neck and climbed Mount Minobu of Hakiri Province of Kai, and deposited the ashes at the hall of the Lotus Sutra. And this year, on the first day of July, he climbed Mount Minobu again to pay respects at his father's grave. There is no treasure more precious than a child. There is no treasure more precious than a child. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.” ‘Reply to the Nun Sennichi’.


"There are not two mothers in this country. From now on, whom will you worship? Because of the grief you felt at this parting, you entered the ashes of the deceased in a container hung from your neck, and trusting to your feet, you went to the wide road, journeying all the way from Shimousa Province to this Province of Kai. The distance is 1000ri round trip. All the countries you passed through were beset by famine, and the mountains and plains were full of bandits. Where you put up each night, there was little food. You were frail, almost without servants, and never knew where you could obtain horses or oxen. Steep mountains towered before you and the wide and overflowed rivers you confronted were many. Climbing a high mountain, your head touches the heavens; descending into a deep valley, your feet tread upon clouds. It is difficult to get across if it is not a bird, is difficult to get over if it is not a deer, you are giddy, feet may freeze. There seems to be the vast mountain of the disciplinant of En and the Pamir of the monk Kumarajiva, now in front of the eyes. Then in time you visited a deep cave and saw a hermitage room where the sound of recited Lotus Sutra echoed to the blue sky and the voice discussing the only Law was heard among the mountains.

Following the guide, you entered the chamber and then, when you had safely placed the bones of your mother before Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, you bowed your limbs and body to the ground in obeisance, put your palms together, and opened your eyes to pay homage to her noble visage, your body was filled with joys and your sufferings at once vanished from your mind.

The head of yours is the one of your parents, feet of yours are their feet, ten fingers of yours are their ten fingers, your mouth is their mouth. It is like a seed and fruit and the body and a shadow for example. When Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, attained Buddhahood, his father, Shuddodana, and his mother, Maya, attained salvation likewise. The father Kissen Shishi and mother Shodai-Nyo and the priest Mokuren, parent and child, attained Buddhahood at the same time.

When we consider these examples, the past impediments that have been accumulated from the remotest old days will quickly be extinguished and the wonderful lotus flower that is the nature of mind will quickly open its petals. Thereafter you engaged very much in Buddhist services and then safely returned home.” Forget a Sutra’.


 It is clear from examples such as a letter, paper money, the contract document that the thing which is written by a letter of an alphabet on paper has power.

But proof to become the grounds for something is necessary. In addition, they must possess the ability to understand the written meaning.

The false letter is useless. The counterfeit bill is punished. We become the offender if we make false contract documents.

Conversely, genuine paper money has a national guarantee. However, even if the people who still hunt life in a forest of the heart of a mountain without the custom of the monetary economy, received a bunch of dollars, they will only put it on a bonfire. The letter which a person thinks for a partner and wrote may become the writing changing lifetime if the other party had the ability receiving the thought. The reason why a person believes a thing written on paper is because the thought of the person who created it, or the intentions such as organizations do so-called transfer changing to paper.

The soul of the fundamental Buddha of the Latter-Days of the Law, in other words, the life of mercy concretely transfers to the Gohonzon which Nichiren revealed. The person can express the nature of Buddha being hidden in own soul for the first time by chanting a title to this Gohonzon.

Nichiren likens this hidden Buddha's nature to a bird of the basket and likens a chanting title to a bird flying in the sky.


Therefore, when once we chant Myoho-renge-kyo, with just that single sound manifest the Buddha nature of all Buddhas, all bodhisattvas; and all hearers of voice; all the deities such as Brahmā, Teishaku, and King Yama; the sun and moon, and the myriad stars; the gods of heaven and earth, and all living beings in the worlds of hell, hunger, beast, anger, humanity, and rapture. The merit is immeasurable and infinitesimal. If we worship Myoho-renge-kyo in our mind as the Gohonzon, the nature of Buddha in our mind is called Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This condition to call each other is called Buddha. For example, when a caged bird sings, birds who are flying in the sky are thereby called and gather around, and when the birds flying in the sky gather around, the bird in the cage tries to get out together. When with our mouths we chant the marvelous Law, our inner Buddha's nature, being called, will appear by all means. The Buddha's natures of Brahma and Teishaku, being called, will protect us, and Buddha's natures of Buddha and bodhisattvas, being summoned, will rejoice. Therefore, 'If a person has this Lotus Sutra even for a little, I will delight, all the Buddha is the same too'. It is this meaning that preached so. All the Buddha of the three existences, past, the present and future, too, had attained Buddhahood by the five words of Myoho-renge-kyo. Five characters are the purpose why all the Buddha of the three existences appeared in the world, it is the marvelous Law where all living beings can attain the Buddhahood. You understand these meanings well really and, on this road for becoming Buddha, should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo without arrogance or bias.” About Becoming Buddha at the Beginning Stage of Religious Life of the Lotus Sutra’


Nichiren preaches that chanting the title of Nam-Myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon is all of training to become a Buddha. Nichiren expressed this Gohonzon for the first time in Sado island.

It is said that the letter conveys the mind of the person and the voice does for Buddha.

If a person chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon where Nichiren dyed his soul in the sumi and wrote, the practice of Buddhism of the Latter-Day of the Law will reach the final point of arrival.

Nichiren wanted to convey that method of attaining Buddhahood to all people of the Latter-Days of the Law, by any means.

He talks about the magnificence of this Gohonzon himself.

“How mysterious it is for Nichiren. During two hundred years from the Latter-Days of the Law, Nichiren had revealed this marvelous mandala that even those such as Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu, Tendai and Myolaku were unable to express it, as the flag mark of propagation of the Lotus Sutra for the first time. This mandala is in no way my invention. This is the Gohonzon which the supreme Shakyamuni Buddha and all incarnations of him printed to a wood block in the tower of Taho Nyorai. Therefore, the five letters of the title are placed in the center, while the four kings of Heaven are seated at the four corners of the treasure tower. Shakyamuni, Nyorai Taho, and the four leaders of the Bodhisattvas who appeared from the ground are side by side at the summit. Seated below them are the bodhisattvas, including Fugen and Manjushri, and the hearers of voice including Shariputra and Mokuren. The gods of the sun and moon, the devil king of the sixth Heaven, the dragon king, an asura, and also King Fudo and King Aizen are in their territories of the south and north. The evil and treacherous Devadatta and the ignorant dragon king's daughter form a group. Also, there are the goddess of ogre, and her ten daughters who usurp the lives of people of the three thousand worlds. In addition, there are the God of the sun, the great bodhisattva Hachiman, Heaven god of the seven generations, the land deities of five generations, all of the small and big gods of Heaven and land, are the guardian deity of Japan. The body of gods are ranged in rows. There are all the temporary gods that originated from the actual gods. The chapter of treasure tower states, 'Buddha adjoined all the people, pulling up them. Therefore, every member was in the sky.' Without exception, all these Buddhas, bodhisattvas, saints, and all the miscellaneous crowd of the two worlds and the eight groups who appear in the 'Introduction' chapter of the Lotus Sutra reside in this Gohonzon and illuminated by the light of five characters of the marvelous Law, they become the venerable form that they inherently possess. Gohonzon means this.” 'Reply to Lady Nichinyo' or 'About the Feature of the Gohonzon.'

Furthermore, Nichiren answers a person doubting the legitimacy of this Gohonzon.

“Question: Is there the prediction of a Buddha? Answer, The Buddha states, ‘In the five-hundred-year of the latter this will spread widely throughout the whole world.' The Great Teacher Tientai predicts, ‘In the five-hundred-year of the latter, the world will flourish by the exquisite Law for a long'. Myolaku predicts, ‘The profit received from sowing the seed of Buddhahood is absolutely at the beginning of the Latter-Days of the Law.' The Great Teacher Dengyo says, 'The former days and middle days of the Law are almost over, and the Latter-Days are near at hand.' ‘The Latter Days of the Law are near at hand', this quotation means that his times were not becoming the times of propagation. The Great Teacher Dengyo, in Japan, foresaw the beginning of the Latter-Days of the Law and says, 'If saying times, the end of the Zoho or the beginning of the Latter-Day. If regarding the land, it will be the east of Tang and the west of Katsu. As for the person, he will be born from the five pollutions in the times of struggle.' The scripture says; ‘Hatred and jealousy toward this sutra had abounded even when was the Tathagata was in the world. Needless to say after the death of Tathagata.' This explanation is to the point really'. ‘The times of struggle' of this commentary. These refer to the two disasters that are occurring at present, the internal strife and the invasion from the western sea. At this time the countless bodhisattvas (note) will appear from the ground, and the Gohonzon, the holiest in the world, will be erected in this country with the essential Shakyamuni Buddha playing a subordinate role.” ‘True Object of Worship’.

(note)

The countless Bodhisattvas who appeared from the earth.

They are the Bodhisattvas preached in the 15th chapter of 'appearing from the ground' of the Lotus Sutra. They are expressed with "the Bodhisattvas of numbers such as particle dusts of 1000 worlds emerging from the ground" in the chapter of the 21st 'divine power'. Also, they are said to emerge from the ground with the number of sand of 60000 Ganges. The leaders of bodhisattvas emerging from the ground are four people including Jogyo.

“My disciples! Consider this deeply in your minds! The countless Bodhisattvas of the earth were the disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha from the time first he taught it and they had been attaining Buddhahood in the remote past. But they did not come to his place when Shakyamuni first attained Buddhahood in this world, nor did they come to a grove of sal trees when the Buddha entered nirvana. There is a fault of the unfilial there. Because they did not appear also when the Buddha preached the first fourteen chapters of the Lotus Sutra, the theoretical teachings, and they left the assembly when the Buddha preached the last six chapters of the essential teachings. They only attended the Buddha during the first eight chapters of the essential teachings. These truly noble bodhisattvas made a solemn oath to Shakyamuni Buddha, Taho Tathagata, and all the Buddha of the ten directions. Is it possible that they will not come out at the beginning of the Latter-Days of the Law? You must know it, in the times for the practice of shakubuku the four bodhisattvas appear as wise kings who admonish ignorant kings, and in the times for the practice of shōju they appear as priests to embrace and spread the correct teachings!” True Object of Worship’



Continued


Second volume table of Contents.



by johsei1129 | 2020-09-05 11:42 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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