AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PIONEERS OF KOSEN RUFU
I'm sure that some of you are puzzled or disturbed by Soka Gakkai President Harada's announcement on November 8, 2014:
" The Soka Gakkai does NOT regard the Gohonzon that was inscribed in the second year of Koan , and is located at Taiseki-ji, now a center of slander of the Law, as the object to be accepted and upheld in terms of actual practice...All Gohonzon-script or character mandalas of the ten worlds- inscribed by the Daishonin himself for humanity, as well as transcriptions thereof, are equally the object of devotion of the essential teaching..”. [emphasis added] (World Tribune, Dec. 12, 2014)
The doctrine of the Dai-Gohonzon simply does not exist in the Daishonin's writings. Nichiren Shoshu's claim of the superiority of the Dai-Gohonzon is based on three myths manufactured over centuries by Taiseki-ji.
MYTH 1: The Daigohonzon is the only Gohonzon "to be enshrined in the High Sanctuary of the essential teaching."
It is indeed true that this is the only Gohonzon inscribed with the words "Honmon Kaidan" (High Sanctuary of the essential teaching). However, the actual inscription reads "Bestowed upon Yashiro Kunishige, petitioner for the sanctuary of the essential teaching, and members of the lay society."(Human Revolution, book 2, pg 1061) This Gohonzon honored a person who did-or would-petition the sovereign for the creation of the High Sanctuary-and it was bestowed upon the lay society, not the priesthood. The actual identity of Yashiro Kunishige is unknown, although we DO know from the Gosho that a believer from Atsuhara named Yashiro was decapitated in April, 1279. High priest Nichiko Hori, a man of integrity who helped Toda compile the Gosho, stated "I do not know the basis for the matter of Yashiro Kunishige" There is no inscription stating that the Dai-Gohonzon is "to be enshrined in the High Sanctuary of the essential teaching". That is an opportunistic mistranslation of the inscription on that Gohonzon used to the priests' advantage (Confirmed by SGI-USA Study Department.)
MYTH 2. The Daigohonzon is the only one "bestowed upon the entire world".
The second myth is that this Gohonzon contains the inscription "Ichienbudai soyo"-"bestowed upon the entire world".This was used by the priests to make the claim that this Gohonzon alone was the one bestowed upon the entire world. In fact, there is NO such inscription. The actual inscription reads " Never in 2,230-some years since the passing of the Buddha has this great mandala appeared in the world." This is the exact inscription Nichiren inscribed on no less than half of the 130 or more Gohonzon in his own hand which are still extant. It is correct to say that ALL of Nichiren's Gohonzon were inscribed for the entire world. There is no inscription on this Gohonzon which says “Ichienbudai soyo”. (Confirmed by SGI-USA Study Department)
MYTH 3: Nichiren said the Daigohonzon was the“reason for his advent in this world.”
Actually, Nichiren called the inscription of the Gohonzon to Abutsu-bo "the reason for my advent" in march, 1272 ("On the Treasure Tower",v.1, pg 299)...more than seven years earlier. The priests interpreted a passage from “On Persecutions Befalling the Sage” in a self-serving and devious way in order to claim that their Gohonzon had special power. High Priest Nichiko stated, in 1939 :” The purpose of the Buddha’s advent can be said to have been achieved only when those guided by the Buddha establish the same life-condition as the Buddha’s. It can be said that the Atsuhara Incident, which took place in the second year of Koan (1279), and where the farmers displayed death-defying faith, signifies the accomplishment of the purpose of Founder Nichiren’s advent." Here Nichiko himself refuted a centuries old Taiseki-ji myth.(Confirmed by SGI-USA Study material for 2009 Study Exam))