On the Gohonzon:  
  • The Large Kanji
  • Taho Nyorai
  • The Top Row of Chinese Characters
  • The Second Row of Chinese Characters
  • The Third Row of Chinese Characters
  • The Fourth Row of Chinese Characters

    The Central Buddha of the Gohonzon (Great Mandala): 

    An Overview on Mandalas 

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    The Imagery of Nichiren's Lotus Sutra: The Gohonzon - The Great Mandala of the True Dharma 
    Gohonzon Translation Nichiren in Chinese  
    "Names are important for all things...Giving myself the name Nichiren signifies that I attained enlightenment by myself."  
    Major Writings, Vol. 1, p. 236
    Nichi is Jeh in Chinese. It looks like a box with a horizontal line in the middle and means sun. Jeh also indicates time. 
    "Just as the light of the sun and moon illuminates all obscurity, this person will practice among the people..."  
    Major Writings, Vol. 1, p. 236, quoting the Lotus Sutra, Chap. 21
    Nichiren uses this explanation for the Nichi part of his name in the "Letter to Jakunichi-bo" in Major Writings, Vol. 1: 
    "So this person as he passes through the world can wipe out the darkness of living beings..."  
    Lotus Sutra, p. 276
    Ren is the lotus discussed elsewhere (see Ren in Chinese): 
    "... unsoiled by worldly things 
    like the lotus flower in the water. 
    Emerging from the earth..." 
    Lotus Sutra, p. 222
    The name Nichiren signifies the oneness of the Person (Nichi) and the Law (Ren).  This relationship is amplified by the large Chinese characters in the center of the Gohonzon. 

    Nichi is the central character of the Dai-Nichi-Kyo, which is a sutra that explains the compassionate character of a Buddha. Ren is the central character of the Myoho-Renge-Kyo, which explains the Law to which all Buddhas are enlightened. 

    "The Buddha who is the entity of Myoho-renge-kyo, of the Juryo Chapter of the essential teaching ... is to be found in the disciples and followers of Nichiren. Such persons embody the true entity of Myoho-renge-kyo..."
    Major Writings, Vol. 7, p. 64 

    Updated 6/7/06 
    Copyright 2002 Imagery of Nichiren's Lotus Sutra website