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Sunday, May 7, 2017

The reason SGI Gohonzons are not valid

"From the "Myoho Mandara Kuyo Ji" by Nichiren Daishonin to a female believer, "I have written the Myoho Renge Kyo Gohonzon and consecrated it for you" (translated by Senchu Murano) 

In the Gosho The Selection of the Time, Nichiren says of the conditions of his day, "And in the ceremony carried out at the consecration of Buddhist images or paintings, the 'opening of the eyes,' the priests of all the eight sects of Buddhism now use the mudras and mantras associated with the eyes of the Buddha Dainichi!' (The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 3, p. 156) 

In his collected writings, the Daishonin refers to the eye-opening ceremony or to offerings for the eye-opening, in seventeen places. 

In most of these instances, he raises the issue for the purpose of refuting the validity of eye-opening ceremonies conducted with Shingon rites, teaching instead that the eye-opening ceremony should be conducted with the Lotus Sutra.  

For instance, he says: "In performing the eye-opening ceremony for painted or wooden Buddha images, the only authority to rely on is the Lotus Sutra and the Tendai sect.... It is the power of the Lotus Sutra that makes it possible to infuse such paintings and statues with a -soul- or spiritual property. This was the realization of the Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai. In the case of living beings, this doctrine is known as attaining Buddhahood in one's present form; in the case of painted and wooden images, it is known as the enlightenment of plants and trees." (MW-6, 161-2) 

The principle of the enlightenment of plants and trees makes it possible for statues or paintings made of trees or plants to become infused with the life of the Buddha; and this principle is clarified only by the doctrine of ichinen sanzen, which is contained in the Lotus Sutra and must be performed by a believer of the Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni.

The Daishonin states that images of the Buddha whose eyes have been 'opened' by the heretical Shingon teaching 'have been rendered soulless and sightless' (MW-2, p. 265) and, worse still, 'have been possessed by the Devil of the Sixth Heaven, bringing ruin upon their own worshipers' (ibid). He further states, 'Demons occupy [such Buddha images] and deprive people of their lives....Moreover, devils enter those images and deprive people of benefits' (MW-4, p. 35) 

If your Gohonzon has had it's eyes opened not by a believer in the Eternal Buddha, but by a believer in the false-premise of the Eternal Nichiren, then your Gohonzon is not valid. 

The Daishonin says that eye-opening ceremonies conducted by priests who do not follow the Lotus Sutra actually summons demons and the devil king to inhabit the Buddha images. Elsewhere in the Gosho (in 'On The Enlightenment of Trees and Plants'), the Daishonin discusses eye-opening ceremonies for memorial tablets (toba). There, too, he teaches that unless ceremonies are based on the Lotus Sutra and the doctrine of ichinen sanzen, neither will any trees and plants attain Buddhahood, nor will any true opening of the eyes take place. 

Our Gohonzons are made one at a time, not mass produced as other sects do. These are mounted by hand, and are printed on rice or parchment paper, and mounted in a high quality frame. You may choose a Nichiren Gohonzon inscribed after 1278 such as the Gohonzon for the Transmission of the Dharma (1280) or the White Lotus Gohonzon. 

To receive the Gohonzon, whether full sized or small Omamori you first of all must be a believer in Nichiren Daishonin. Second, you fill out the "declaration of faith". 

Nichiren says in the Nanjo-hyoe-shichiro-dono-gosho, "Shakyamuni is our father our teacher and our lord. Only Shakyamuni Buddha has three attributes concurrently. No other Buddha does." 

Lotus Sutra Chapter 5: "I see all living beings equally. I have no partiality for them. There is neither `this one' not `that one' to me. I transcend love and hatred. I am attached to nothing. I am hindered by nothing. I always expound the Dharma to all living beings equally. I expound the Dharma to many in the same way as I do to one."

Lotus Sutra Chapter 2: "I once vowed that I would cause all living beings to be as I am. That old vow of mine has now been fulfilled. I lead all living beings into the Way to Buddhahood." 

It can be said that the Gohonzon is also the "spirit," "nature," or "heart" of the Lotus Sutra. As Bodhisattvas we have a kind of spiritually efficacious response, "A penetration effected, everywhere there is a response." I believe that is what is meant by this passage from the Opening of the Eyes: 

"One should consider the fact that, if the Buddha had not attained enlightenment in the distant past, there could not have been so many disciples who were converted and instructed by him. The moon is not selfish with its reflection, but if there is no water, then its reflection will not be seen. The Buddha may be very anxious to convert all people, but if the connection he shares with them is not strong enough, then he cannot exhibit the eight phases of a Buddha’s existence..."

He also writes,

"The three bodies are as follows: first, the Dharma body of a Thus Come One; second, the reward body of a Thus Come One; and third, the manifested body of a Thus Come One. These three types of bodies of a Thus Come One are invariably possessed by all Buddhas. If we use the moon as an illustration, we may say that the moon itself is comparable to the Dharma body, its light to the reward body, and its reflection to the manifested body. Just as a single moon has these three different aspects, so a single Buddha possesses the virtues of these three different bodies."

Similarly, the Buddha stated:

"A thousand pools of water, 
Moons in a thousand pools; 

A moon can be reflected in as many pools of water as there are; if there are ten thousand pools, there are as many moons. The moon in the pool represents the "spiritual" being of Buddha. It is also nature and thoughts. Although there is the appearances of a thousand moons reflected in a thousand pools, there is only one moon. 

The Gohonzon does not exist except in response to the circumstances created by us living beings. Nichiren's Gohonzon is identical with the Original Eternal World of Buddha. When the Buddha sees a Hell Realm, for example, no matter where in the universe of the many trillion of quadrillions of worlds, he dispatches a transformation body to teach and relieve the suffering of the living beings there. With these words, “Living beings are numberless. I vow to save them all,” and “At the start I took a vow, hoping to make all persons equal to me, without any distinction between us, and what I long ago hoped for has now been fulfilled.”, the Buddha has fulfilled his vows.

The number of worlds that the Eternal Buddha returns to is completely beyond calculation or comprehension, because his reduplicated bodies exist for the sake of the limitless beings who are drowning again and again in the sea of suffering. 

From the Jeta Grove, Shakyamuni said: "You know only what can be found within eighty thousand great aeons, but beyond that you know nothing. You are like people inside a house who are able to see everything within the walls but nothing outside of them. Over eighty thousand aeons ago, this old man was a firewood-gatherer who met a tiger in the mountain wilds one day. Frightened, he exclaimed `Namo Buddha' and as a result he was able to return home ." If we had not recited many Namo Buddha's or Namu Myoho Renge Kyo's in the past, we would not be here now, able to attain Buddhahood in our present body. 

Nichiren teaches:

"When water is clear, the moon is reflected. When the wind blows, the trees shake. Our minds are like the water. Faith that is weak is like muddy water, while faith that is brave is like clear water. Understand that the trees are like principles, and the wind that shakes them is like the recitation of the sutra."

Our Gohonzon too is like a clear pool of water that reflects the World of Buddha. When we gaze at the Gohonzon with strong faith, our eyes fixed, we see the world as the Buddha sees it, the land of eternally tranquil light.

The prime focus is to have a pool of water that does not distort the World of the Eternal Buddha. 

When we chant to our Gohonzon, the Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni manifests in our body, and he encourages us because we have firmly resolved to attain Buddhahood.

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