I've now shown that every argument currently in the various threads discussing the validity or lack therefore of the Dai Gohonzon rely upon well known tricks of logical fallacy to hold them together.
In response to this, one correspondent (I think Cody) replies that he doesn't care, they would start Kosen Rufu without me. Roy's reply is to start a new thread titled "the fallacy of being a pedantic little cunt". I can understand the frustration and anger. It's certainly a difficult thing indeed when someone shows your belief system to be fundamentally invalid. I feel your pain.
In a message to Roy, I promised that I would lay out my reasons for believing the Dai Gohonzon to be an invalid artifact, at least according to the descriptions given by Nichiren Shoshu. (I do admit however, that it is in fact a perfectly valid piece of wood, having all of the necessary and sufficient conditions of being wood-like.)
Some of the following will seem familiar, because they are extracted from previous posts to arbn. It's my intention to show how the Dai Gohonzon is invalid only by using statements made by Nichiren Shoshu and statements made in the Gosho, most of which were translated under Nichiren Shoshu auspices. There are two arguments being made here: (1) The Gosho does not support the NST description of the significance of the Dai Gohonzon and in fact directly refutes it; and (2) Nichiren Shoshu statements on the subject are contradictory and mutually exclusive, nullifying the legitimacy of their description of history.
We'll turn to (1), the fact that Nichiren Daishi's Gosho, penned in his own hand, specifically refutes Nichiren Shoshu's description of the significance of the Dai Gohonzon. Let's first establish what that description is.
In "The High Sanctuary of the Essential Teachings", a Nichiren Shoshu backgrounder found on Craig Bratcher's site here, the Dai Gohonzon is described:
"Although daishi inscribed many Gohonzons after the Tatsunokuchi persecution, the ultimate purpose of His appearance in the world was to establish the Dai-Gohonzon, which He inscribed on October 12, 1279. All the other Gohonzons He inscribed may be viewed as reflections of the Dai-Gohonzon. Therefore, the Dai-Gohonzon is the ultimate realization of the Object of Worship of the Essential Teachings."
Then it describes the High Sanctuary, concluding:
"the True High Sanctuary is the place where the Dai-Gohonzon is enshrined. This is called the True High Sanctuary because the Dai-Gohonzon of Namu-Myoho-Renge-Kyo manifested by Nichiren Daishi is the only object of worship that actually has the power to enable one to attain Buddhahood in one's present form."
"Second, the High Sanctuary may be viewed in terms of its overall significance. All other Gohonzons other than the Dai-Gohonzon are like leaves and branches in relation to their source, the Dai-Gohonzon. Their power also all flows from the Dai-Gohonzon. Therefore, the meaning of our exertions in faith and practice to the Gohonzon at our temple, community center, or home derives directly from the True High Sanctuary. Thus, the places where other Gohonzons are enshrined are said to possess the significance of the True High Sanctuary. One should never forget that if one's faith becomes cut off from the Dai-Gohonzon, then one has cut oneself off from the source of power for the attainment of Buddhahood. If this happens, faith and practice to the Gohonzon in one's own home has no
relation to the True High Sanctuary." This view is echoed by The Significance of the Heritage: the Ultimate Matter of Kechimyaku, by Reverend Jun'ei Anzawa and Reverend Hakudo Mori , found on the NST website here:
"Nichiren Daishi, the Original Buddha who appeared in the world in the defiled, evil age of the Latter Day of the Law, established the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teachings as the source for all people to attain enlightenment."
"Thus the Lifeblood of faith in Nichiren Shoshu lies in the Dai- Gohonzon of
the High Sanctuary and in Nichiren Daishi's Heritage of the Law in the care of each of the successive High Priest. No matter how earnestly people practice Buddhism, if they err on this ultimate matter, not only will their practice bring no benefit, but they will ac***ulate "bad karma," that is, hindrances that occur due to slander of Buddhism. "
So here we have the argument established that the Dai-Gohonzon is unique in that it is the central Object of Worship in Mappo, and all other valid Gohonzon derive their power or ability to enlighten directly and exclusively from the Dai Gohonzon. The Dai Gohonzon is the singularly unique "source of power for the attainment of Buddhahood."
Nichiren Shoshu points to the particular Gosho "Opening the Eyes of Wooden and Painted Images" as the main justification for their point that only mandalas sanctioned by the current High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu are valid "Objects of Worship" or "Gohonzon". (Need a reference? It's frequently mentioned in that 100 Questions and Answers tract - I'll dig it up for you if you require it...)
Using the Nichiren Shoshu sanctioned and supervised translation of that particular Gosho we find a specific refutation of the notion of an uber-Gohonzon like the Ita Mandala.
In that Gosho, daishi tells us "The Buddha possesses thirty-two features. All
of them represent the physical aspect. Thirty-one of them, from the lowest, the markings of the thousand-spoked wheel on the sole of each foot, up to the unseen crown of his head, belong to the category of visible and non-coextensive physical existences. They can therefore be depicted in tangible form, such as pictures or statues. The remaining feature, the pure and far-reaching voice, belongs to the category of invisible and coextensive physical existences. It therefore cannot be captured either in a painting or in a wooden image. "
Yet Daishi also explains: "When the Lotus Sutra is placed before an image possessing thirty-one features, the image never fails to become the Buddha of the pure and perfect teaching." He then teaches that "The written words of the Lotus Sutra express in visible and non-coextensive form the Buddha’s pure and far-reaching voice, which is itself invisible and coextensive, and so possess the two physical aspects of color and form. The Buddha’s pure and far-reaching voice, which once vanished, has reappeared in the visible form of written words to benefit the people." Nichiren Daishi elaborates to make sure we get it:
"A person gives utterance to speech on two occasions. On one occasion, he does so to tell other people what he himself does not believe, in an effort to deceive them. His voice in this case "accords with others' minds." On the other, the person gives voice to what he truly has in mind. Thus his thoughts are expressed in his voice. The mind represents the spiritual aspect, and the voice, the physical aspect. The spiritual aspect manifests itself in the physical. A person can know another's mind by listening to his voice. This is because the physical aspect reveals the spiritual aspect. The physical and spiritual which are one in essence, manifest themselves as two distinct aspects; thus the Buddha's mind found expression as the written words of the Lotus Sutra. These written words are the Buddha's mind in a different form. Therefore, those who read the Lotus Sutra must not regard it as consisting of mere written words, for those words are in themselves the
Buddha's mind. "
Daishi reiterates: "Because the Lotus Sutra manifests the Buddha's spiritual
aspect, when one embodies that spiritual aspect in a wooden or painted image possessing thirty-one features, the image in its entirety becomes the living Buddha. "
You can fill that 32nd characteristic in different ways to obtain different results: "When one places a sutra in front of a wooden or painted image of the Buddha, the image becomes endowed with all thirty-two features. Yet, even though it has thirty-two, without the spiritual aspect it is no way equal to a Buddha, for even the being in the world of Humanity or Heaven may possess the thirty-two features. When the Gokai Sutra is placed before a wooden or painted image having thirty-one features, the image becomes equal to wheel-turning king. When the Juzen Ron is placed before it, the image becomes equal to Taishaku. When the Shutsuyoku Ron is placed before it, the image becomes equal to Bonten. But in none of these cases does it in any way become equal to a Buddha.
When an Agon sutra is placed in front of a wooden or painted image, the image becomes equal to a man of Learning. When one of the common prajna teachings, which were preached at the various ceremonies held during the Hodo and Hannya periods, is placed before it, the image becomes equal to a man of Realization. When one of the specific or perfect teachings preached during the Kegon, Hodo or Hannya period is placed before it, the image becomes equal to a bodhisattva. Yet in none of these cases either does it in any way become equal to a Buddha. "
Let's review this mathematically, where W=wooden image; P=painted image; L=Lotus Sutra read in to the image; A=Agon Sutra read into the image, B=the living Buddha and M=Man of learning. By the above, we know that:
W*A=M, a wooden image with the Agon Sutra read into it becomes equal to a man of learning.
P*A=M, a painted image with the Agon Sutra read into it becomes equal to a man of learning.
and we know that...
W*L=B, a wooden image with the Lotus Sutra read into it becomes equal to the living Buddha.
P*L=B, a painted image with the Lotus Sutra read into it becomes equal to the living Buddha.
From this it follows that W*L=P*L, since they both equal B. Thus it follows that W=P, that wooden and or painted images are of equal value, because in every case, when the Lotus Sutra is read into any such image, "IT NEVER FAILS" to become a living Buddha.
Finally, we also know that W*L does NOT = W*A, because of direct instruction by daishi.
From these we have conclusively proven that the physical characteristics of an object are irrelevant to that object equalling a "living Buddha" capable of being an Object of Worship. This mathematically contradicts the notion that one physical object, the Dai-Gohonzon of Taisekiji, is in any way different than any other mandala eye-opened in the same manner.
Now, Nichiren Daishi also had strict instructions as to HOW and by WHOM the Lotus Sutra is to be read into the physical object to "open it's eyes". Nichiren Shoshu accepts these instructions as valid, for they use them as justification for their argument that SGI gohonzons are invalid. Daishi instructs: "Unless one who has grasped the essence of the Lotus Sutra conducts the eye-opening ceremony for a wooden or painted image, it will be as if a masterless house were to be occupied by a thief or as if, upon a person's death, a demon were to enter his body. "
For Nichiren Shoshu to be said to have "grasped the essence of the Lotus Sutra", they of course would have had to understand the instructions of Nichiren Daishi.
Nichiren Shoshu contradicts daishi's teaching, even as they attempt to proclaim it, when they teach that the particularly large wooden plank Gohonzon housed at Taisekiji is something special and unique. To argue such, as we see clearly from the above, is to argue with daishi's own "math". Therefore the only conclusion possible is that Nichiren Shoshu does NOT "grasp the essence of the Lotus Sutra", because they are proving they do not understand Daishi's instructions.
Therefore I would conclude that the DaiGohonzon is NOT what it is sold to us to be by the priesthood of Nichiren Shoshu. Instead, it appears to be a mandala that was eye opened by someone NOT "grasping the essence of the Lotus Sutra".
Therefore those who genuflect towards this particular object (small "o") of worship are, in daishi's own words: "as if a masterless house were to be occupied by a thief or as if, upon a person's death, a demon were to enter his body."
THIS, by the way, is why we are here on ARBN to put out the warning to you and others. We care about you.
Now I understand you will have to try to refute these conclusions. To attempt to do so be warned. To refute this conclusion, you would either have to:
(1) Attempt to refute the legitimacy of this Gosho or argue that it is somehow rendered invalid by the advent of the DaiGohonzon. This argument has never been put forth by Nichiren Shoshu - in fact quite the opposite, so you would be arguing against your own priesthood.
(2) Attempt to argue that the DaiGohonzon was eye-opened by Nichiren Daishi himself, making the "pure and far reaching voice", the 32nd characteristic of the Buddha, a uniquely powerful thing worthy of singular devotion. There are two problems with doing this:
(a) Nichiren Shoshu has no record, nor does it claim that this has been done.
(b) There are specific mandalas known to have been inscribed by Nichiren Daishi and eye opened by him in existence today. Each of these would be in every way identical in importance and characteristic to the DaiGohonzon if the latter was in fact eye opened by Nichiren himself. (Remember daishi's own math on that point). However, Taisekiji has strenuously argued that even such mandalas are also without merit, because they aren't sanctioned by themselves.
In other words, to argue this point means contradicting Daishi's own instructions.
So there you have it. No historical assumptions one way or another, except reliance on the Gosho, translated by your sect and touted by your sect as supporting their doctrines.
Subsequent posts will explore other Gosho that contradict the notion of Taisekiji's uberplank as well as Taisekiji's dissembling contradictions in the mythology of the DaiGohonzon.
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