Printing a Gohonzon

Printing a Gohonzon

Postby ananda » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:54 pm

I am considering printing out a gohonzon because it could help me focus during my daily chanting. Is this permissible ?
I have been sticking to Nichiren's teaching in the gosho that the gohonzon is inside of you and that when we chant that it is not to something outside of ourselves. If that is the case then why is the gohonzon used at all ?
I think it was Soka Gakkai that said that when you chant you are chanting to your life itself (I'm not a member of SGI)

I also have an additional question
What are the ritual items that are used during gongyo and what do you do with those items ?
Last edited by ananda on Sat Aug 06, 2011 12:13 am, edited 3 times in total.
"Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life, and continue chanting Namu-myoho-renge-kyo. no matter what happens. How could this be anything other than the boundless joy of the Law? Strengthen your power of faith more than ever." - Nichiren Daishonin
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Re: Printing a Gohonzon

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:59 pm

I always took that to mean that there is no difference between inside/outside.
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Re: Printing a Gohonzon

Postby ananda » Sat Aug 06, 2011 12:07 am

Hi :smile:
The Daishonin wrote in his letter titled 'The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon' :

"Never seek this Gohonzon outside yourself. The Gohonzon exists only within the mortal flesh of us ordinary people who embrace the Lotus Sutra and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo."
This makes me wonder why then a gohonzon inscribed on paper would be used
"Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life, and continue chanting Namu-myoho-renge-kyo. no matter what happens. How could this be anything other than the boundless joy of the Law? Strengthen your power of faith more than ever." - Nichiren Daishonin
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Re: Printing a Gohonzon

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Aug 06, 2011 5:24 am

The printed Gohonzon is a representation. It is a kind of mandara (mandala). The statement means to seek the essence, inseparable from the Gohonzon within yourself, and this transcends any perceived distinction between inside yourself and outside yourself.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Printing a Gohonzon

Postby ananda » Sat Aug 06, 2011 5:39 am

I see thank you !
But the question still remains if printing the gohonzon off of the internet for personal practice is permissible instead of receiving one from an organization. That and my question about gongyo.
In other words does a gohonzon have to be received from organizations like Nichiren Shu and Soka Gakkai in order for it to be valid for practice or can one just print out a gohonzon from the internet without receiving one from an organization or going through any rituals to bless it ?
"Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life, and continue chanting Namu-myoho-renge-kyo. no matter what happens. How could this be anything other than the boundless joy of the Law? Strengthen your power of faith more than ever." - Nichiren Daishonin
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Re: Printing a Gohonzon

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Aug 06, 2011 12:44 pm

I think you should try printing one off yourself and then see what happens.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Printing a Gohonzon

Postby Mr. G » Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:10 pm

ananda wrote:I see thank you !
But the question still remains if printing the gohonzon off of the internet for personal practice is permissible instead of receiving one from an organization. That and my question about gongyo.
In other words does a gohonzon have to be received from organizations like Nichiren Shu and Soka Gakkai in order for it to be valid for practice or can one just print out a gohonzon from the internet without receiving one from an organization or going through any rituals to bless it ?


Traditional Nichiren Buddhists believe you should not use a printed Gohonzon, but chant in front of an image or statue of Shakyamuni Buddha until you are sure you will stick with the practice. At that stage you should look into the various Nichiren sects and acquire a Gohonzon through your chosen lineage. However, independent Nichiren Buddhists have printed theirs out.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Printing a Gohonzon

Postby Tatsuo » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:17 am

If you would have been born in a family that belongs to traditional Nichiren Buddhism (that is Nichirenshu), you would use the gohonzon a priest presented to one your ancestors, not one you got by yourself. This thing about recieving a gohonzon after some time of dedicated practice is only needed in groups, which depend on conversion of new members (like Nichiren Shoshu or Soka Gakkai for example) and which have a strong sense of community (even to the point of exclusion of non-members as is happens in both those organisations).
In traditional Nichiren Buddhism you would probably never need to prove, that you are "worthy" of recieving your gohonzon. The regular member of a Nichirenshu temple would have a gohonzon at home, which he inherited from his parents and would even do the daily practice at home. The only community-related practice would be the new year celebrations and the death of family members. I don't see, why people in the west have to be a part of a community and are told not to print out a gohonzon. You can develop a regular and authentic practice with a printed gohonzon, which is just as good as the daily practice of traditional Nichiren Buddhists, who got their gohonzon from their parents. Of course there would probably haven been an eye-opening ceremony before a traditional Buddhist would use a printed gohonzon, but as there are not many qualified persons in the west, who could do that, I think one can omit this ceremony.
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Re: Printing a Gohonzon

Postby noisemonkey » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:38 pm

Nichiren Daishonin states in the Gosho : "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. "
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Re: Printing a Gohonzon

Postby rory » Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:34 am

I belong to a traditional sect, Kempon Hokke (14th cent) , when I started to practice, a dharma friend printed out a gohonzon for me, and I used this as an altar, along with a statue of Shakyamuni Buddha that I had. When I decided to join KHS I sent the gohonzon for the eye-opening ceremony (kaigen).

The gohonzon is a mandala, no two doubts about it, representing the 10 worlds. You don't have to use a Mandala, you can use statues representing the Buddha and the 4 bodhisattvas or you can use a Lotus Sutra. Nichiren described it in an authentic letter. In fact he used a statue of Shakyamuni Buddha as his personal honzon. Whatever you use, you must have kaigen, as Nichiren Daishonin states.

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Re: Printing a Gohonzon

Postby markp » Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:33 pm

My organization, the Independent Organization of Nichiren Lotus Dharma Buddhism (ION), will be doing woodblock printing of the Nichiren original Gohonzon #52 very soon. We got the woodblock made for free on a laser engraver because my daughters boyfriend just happens to operate one for a University, and I have some blank scrolls coming in a few days.

However, we don't feel that you need to eye open a Gohonzon with the Lotus Sutra because it is the Lotus Sutra. Just chanting the title of the Lotus Sutra to it eye opens it, and the Daimoku is the heart of the LS, so anyone who chants is a person that understands the heart of the Lotus Sutra.
The observer and that which is observed are everywhere produced by the matrix of causality and conditions. In all that is produced by causality and conditions, there is emptiness of self.
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