In various letters, Nichiren makes it clear that the Object of Worship in the Latter Day of the Law is the Gohonzon. In the Gosho “On Offering Prayers to the Mandala of the Mystic Law,” the Daishonin wrote:
“I have offered prayers to the Gohonzon of Myoho-renge-kyo. Though this mandala has but five or seven characters, it is the teacher of all Buddhas throughout the three existences and the seal that guarantees the enlightenment of all women. It will be a lamp in the darkness of the road to the next world and a fine horse to carry you over the mountains of death. It is like the sun and the moon in the heavens or Mount Sumeru on earth. It is a ship to ferry people over the sea of suffering of birth and death. It is the teacher who leads all people to Buddhahood.”In "The True Aspect of All Phenomena," the Daishonin stated:
"Therefore, the two Buddhas, Shakyamuni and Many Treasures, are Buddhas who are functions [of Myoho-renge-kyo]. It is Myoho-renge-kyo that is the True Buddha."In the Gosho "The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind," Nichiren Daishonin wrote:
"The true object of devotion is described as follows:After such a repeated confirmation, there can be no doubt that the Gohonzon, and not any statue, is regarded by Nichiren as the correct Object of Veneration. According to Nichiren’s teachings then, a "Gohonzon for all people" is the valid Object of Veneration for all humanity,
But this teaching undermines the doctrines of the Buddhist schools where the practice is based on Shakyamuni’s statue worship.
As the above quote and other passages
from the Gosho indicate, Nichiren’s Buddhism teaches that the Gohonzon
of Nam Myoho-Renge-Kyo is the teacher of all Buddhas in the Universe, including
Shakyamuni Buddha. In reality, using a statue of Shakyamuni as an object
of worship is widely practiced in various schools of Buddhism, but this
practice is not the correct practice for this age. And it contradicts the
Daishonin’s obvious indication that the correct Object of Veneration in
this time is the Gohonzon.
This work has been compiled by individual SGI members and is solely our personal opinion, based on years of practice and study.