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The Imagery of Nichiren's Lotus Sutra: The Gohonzon - The Great Mandala of the True Dharma 
Ren in Chinese 

"The lotus plant resembles the principle of Myoho-renge in that it simultaneously contains both cause and effect." 

Major Writings, Vol. 7, p. 66

 Ren is composed of three elemental characters Hua, Chuan, and Cho. 
Hua is a radical indicating vegetation. It is composed of a horizontal line, with two smaller vertical lines crossing it. The horizontal line is the surface from which the plant emerges. In the case of the lotus, that surface is swampy water. The two vertical lines are contractions of a primitive that was an offering made with both hands. It is now construed as the plant itself emerging from the ground. 
Chuan in its primitive form is a yoke, meaning mastery. It is now a carriage. The carriage delivers riches, medicine, and honored persons. It is a treasure vehicle.
Cho is footprints, one after the other. It looks like a large "Z" with two dots above it. 

Cho combines with Chuan, becoming carriages in a row, one after the other, or a succession. In a Buddhist sense, causality. Combining hua, cho, and chuan results in a plant that expresses causality the Lotus. 


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