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SOKA GAKKAI DICTIONARY OF BUDDHISM ON NICHIRENLIBRARY.ORG – LETTER ‘G’ TERMS AND THE DEFINITION OF ‘GOHONZON’

11 March 2015

Gadgadasvara[妙音菩薩] (Skt; Jpn Myō’on-bosatsu)
Gainer of Great Authority[得大勢菩薩] (Skt Mahāsthāmaprāpta; Jpn Tokudaisei-bosatsu)
Gakkō[月光] (Jpn)
gandha[香・乾陀] (Skt, Pali; Jpn kō or kenda)
Gandhara[ガンダーラ・健駄羅国] (Skt, Pali Gandhāra; Jpn Gandāra or Kendara-koku)
gandharva[乾闥婆] (Skt; Jpn kendatsuba)
Gangā[恒河・ガンジス河] (Skt, Pali; Jpn Gōga or Ganjisu-gawa)
Ganges River[恒河・ガンジス河] (Jpn Gōga or Ganjisu-gawa)
Ganges sands[恒河沙] (Jpn gōga-sha)
Gangō-ji[元興寺]
Ganjin[鑑真] (688–763) (Jpn; Chin Chien-chen)
garbhadhātu[胎蔵界] (Skt; Jpn taizō-kai)
garment-snatching demoness[奪衣婆] (Jpn datsueba)
garment-suspending demon[懸衣翁] (Jpn kenneō)
garuda[迦楼羅] (Skt; Jpn karura)
gāthā[偈・伽陀] (Skt, Pali; Jpn ge or kada)
gati[趣・道] (Skt, Pali; Jpn shu or dō)
Gautama[瞿曇] (Skt; Pali Gotama; Jpn Kudon)
Gautamī[憍曇弥] (Skt; Jpn Kyōdommi)
Gayā[伽耶城] (Skt, Pali; Jpn Gaya-jō)
Gayā Kāshyapa[伽耶迦葉] (Skt; Pali Gayā Kassapa; Jpn Gaya-kashō)
Gayāshīrsha, Mount[伽耶山・象頭山] (Skt; Pali Gayāsīsa; Jpn Gaya-sen or Zōzu-sen)
Gembō[玄昉] (d. 746)
general and specific viewpoints[総別の二義] (Jpn sōbetsu-no-nigi)
general transfer[総付嘱] (Jpn sō-fuzoku)
Genkō Era Biographies of Eminent Priests, The[元亨釈書] (Jpn Genkō-shakusho)
Genkū[源空]
Gennin[源仁] (818–887)
Genshin[源信] (942–1017)
geya[祇夜・重頌] (Skt; Jpn giya or jūju)
ghee[醍醐味] (Jpn daigo-mi)
Ghoshila[瞿師羅] (Skt; Pali Ghosita; Jpn Kushira)
Gien[義淵] (d. 728)
Gijō-bō[義浄房] (n.d.)
Girika[耆利柯・耆利] (n.d.) (Skt; Jpn Girika or Giri)
Gishin[義真] (781–833)
Gladly Seen[喜見菩薩] (Jpn Kiken-bosatsu)
Gladly Seen by All Living Beings(Skt Sarva-sattva-priyadarshana) (1) [一切衆生喜見如来] (Jpn Issai-shujō-kiken-nyorai); (2) [一切衆生喜見菩薩] (Jpn Issai-shujō-kiken-bosatsu)
Glorious Kalpa[荘厳劫] (Jpn Shōgon-kō)
Godānīya[瞿耶尼・牛貨洲] (Skt; Jpn Kuyani or Goke-shū)
god of fragrance[香神] (Jpn kōjin)
god of the moon[月天] (Jpn Gatten)
god of the sun[日天] (Jpn Nitten)
Gohonzon[御本尊] (Jpn)
Gokuraku-ji[極楽寺]
gold circle[金輪] (Skt kānchana-mandala; Jpn konrin)
Golden Color[金色王] (Jpn Konjiki-ō)
Golden Light Sutra[金光明経] (Skt Suvarnaprabhāsa-sūtra or Suvarnaprabhāsottama-sūtra; Chin Chin-kuang-ming-ching; Jpn Konkōmyō-kyō)
golden-winged bird[金翅鳥] (Jpn konji-chō)
gold-wheel treasure[金輪宝] (Jpn konrin-hō)
gold-wheel-turning king[金輪王・金輪聖王] (Jpn konrin-ō or konrin-jō’ō)
Gomyō[護命] (750–834)
gongyō[勤行] (Jpn)
Gonsō[勤操] (758–827)
Gon’yo[厳誉] (n.d.)
good friend[善知識] (Skt kalyāna-mitra; Jpn zen-chishiki)
Good Kalpa[善劫] (Jpn Zen-kō)
Good Law Hall[善法堂] (Jpn Zembō-dō)
good man[善男子] (Skt kula-putra; Jpn zen-nanshi)
good root[善根] (Skt kushala-mūla; Jpn zengon or zenkon)
Good to See[善見城] (Jpn Zenken-jō)
Good Treasures[善財童子] (Skt Sudhana-shreshthi-dāraka or Sudhana; Jpn Zenzai-dōji)
good woman[善女人] (Skt kula-duhitri; Jpn zen-nyonin)
Gopikā[瞿夷] (Skt; Jpn Kui)
Gōsanze[降三世] (Jpn)
Gosho[御書] (Jpn)
Gotama[瞿曇] (Pali; Jpn Kudon)
Gotamī[憍曇弥] (Pali; Jpn Kyōdommi)
gradual teaching[漸教] (Jpn zen-kyō)
Great Adornment(1) [大荘厳仏] (Jpn Daishōgon-butsu); (2) [大荘厳菩薩] (Jpn Daishōgon-bosatsu)
Great Arrogant Brahman[大慢婆羅門] (n.d.) (Jpn Daiman-baramon)
Great Awesome Virtue[大威徳明王] (Skt Yamāntaka; Jpn Daiitoku-myō’ō)
Great Canon of Monastic Rules, The[摩訶僧祇律] (Chin Mo-ho-seng-chih-lü; Jpn Maka-sōgi-ritsu)
great citadel of the Avīchi hell[阿鼻大城] (Jpn Abi-daijō)
great citadel of the hell of incessant suffering[無間大城] (Jpn Muken-daijō)
Great Collection Sutra[大集経] (Chin Ta-chi-ching; Jpn Daijikkyō)
Great Commander[太元帥明王] (Skt Ātavaka; Jpn Taigensui-myō’ō, better known as Taigen-myō’ō)
Great Commentary on the Abhidharma, The[阿毘達磨大毘婆沙論] (Skt Abhidharma-mahāvibhāshā-shāstra; Chin A-p’i-ta-mo-ta-p’i-p’o-sha-lun; Jpn Abidatsuma-daibibasha-ron)
Great Compassion Sutra[大悲経] (Chin Ta-pei-ching; Jpn Daihi-kyō)
Great Concentration and Insight[摩訶止観] (Chin Mo-ho-chih-kuan; Jpn Maka-shikan)
Great Forest Monastery[大林精舎] (Skt Mahāvana-vihāra; Jpn Dairin-shōja)
great impartial wisdom[平等大慧] (Jpn byōdō-daie)
Greatly Enlightened World-Honored One[大覚世尊] (Jpn Daikaku-seson)
Great Ornament of Tales, The[大荘厳論経] (Skt Kalpanā-manditikā; Chin Ta-chuang-yen-lun-ching; Jpn Daishōgon-rongyō)
Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra(1) [摩訶般若波羅蜜経] (Skt Panchavimshatisāhasrikā-prajnāpāramitā; Chin Mo-ho-pan-jo-po-lo-mi-ching; Jpn Makahannya-haramitsu-kyō); (2) [摩訶般若波羅蜜経] (Skt Ashtasāhasrikā-prajnāpāramitā; Chin Mo-ho-pan-jo-po-lo-mi-ching; Jpn
Great Power[勢至菩薩] (Skt Mahāsthāmaprāpta; Jpn Seishi-bosatsu)
great pure Law[大白法] (Jpn daibyakuhō)
great south gate[南大門] (Jpn nandaimon)
Great T’ang Dynasty Catalog of Buddhist Scriptures, The[大唐内典録] (Chin Ta-t’ang-nei-tien-lu; Jpn Daitō-naiten-roku)
great teacher[大師] (Chin ta-shih; Jpn daishi)
Great Treasure Chamber[大宝坊] (Jpn Daihō-bō)
Great Universal Wisdom Excellence[大通智勝仏] (Skt Mahābhijnā-jnānābhibhū; Jpn Daitsūchishō-butsu)
great vehicle[大乗] (Jpn daijō)
great white ox cart[大白牛車] (Jpn daibyaku-gosha)
great wisdom of equality[平等大慧] (Jpn byōdō-daie)
Great Wisdom Sutra[大般若経] (Skt Mahāprajnāpāramitā-sūtra; Chin Ta-pan-jo-ching; Jpn Daihannya-kyō)
Great Yüeh-chih[大月氏] (Jpn Dai-gesshi)
greed[貪・貪欲・愛] (Skt, Pali rāga; Jpn ton, ton’yoku, or ai)
greed and stinginess[慳貪] (Jpn kendon)
Gridhrakūta[耆闍崛山・霊鷲山] (Skt; Pali Gijjhakūta; Jpn Gishakussen or Ryōju-sen)
griha-pati[居士] (Skt; Jpn koji)
Guidelines for Believers of the Fuji School, The[富士一跡門徒存知の事] (Jpn Fuji-isseki-monto-zonchi-no-koto)
Gunabhadra[求那跋陀羅] (394–468) (Skt; Jpn Gunabaddara)
Gunamati[徳慧] (n.d.) (Skt; Jpn Tokue)
Gunaprabha[徳光] (n.d.) (Skt; Jpn Tokukō)
Gunavarman[求那跋摩] (367–431) (Skt; Jpn Gunabatsuma)
Gurupādaka, Mount[尊足山] (Skt; Jpn Sonsoku-sen)
Gyōchi[行智] (n.d.)
Gyōhyō[行表] (724–797)
Gyōki[行基] (668–749)
Gyōnen[凝然] (1240–1321)
Gohonzon [御本尊] (Jpn): The object of devotion. The word go is an honorific prefix, and honzon means object of fundamental respect or devotion. In Nichiren’s (1222–1282) teaching, the object of devotion has two aspects: the object of devotion in terms of the Law and the object of devotion in terms of the Person. These may be described as follows: (1) The object of devotion in terms of the Law: Nichiren’s mandala that embodies the eternal and intrinsic Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. That Law is the source of all Buddhas and the seed of Buddhahood for all people. In other words, Nichiren identified Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as the ultimate Law permeating life and the universe, and embodied it in the form of a mandala. In his Questions and Answers on the Object of Devotion, Nichiren refers to the object of devotion for people in the Latter Day of the Law as “the title (daimoku) of the Lotus Sutra.” He further describes the title as the essence of the Lotus Sutra, or Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to be found only in the depths of the “Life Span” (sixteenth) chapter of the sutra. The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind reads, “Myoho-renge-kyo appears in the center of the [treasure] tower with the Buddhas Shakyamuni and Many Treasures seated to the right and left, and, flanking them, the four bodhisattvas, followers of Shakyamuni, led by Superior Practices. Manjushrī, Maitreya, and the other bodhisattvas, who are followers of the four bodhisattvas, are seated below” (366). In this passage, Nichiren clarifies the relationship between the Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the Buddhas Shakyamuni and Many Treasures, and the various bodhisattvas depicted on the Gohonzon. In this way he emphasizes Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as the fundamental object of devotion. The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon explains that all living beings of the Ten Worlds “display the dignified attributes that they inherently possess” (832) through the benefit of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Nichiren viewed the Dai-Gohonzon, the object of devotion he inscribed for all humanity on the twelfth day of the tenth month in 1279, as the purpose of his life. This can be gleaned from his statement in On Persecutions Befalling the Sage, written in the tenth month of 1279: “The Buddha fulfilled the purpose of his advent in a little over forty years, the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai took about thirty years, and the Great Teacher Dengyō, some twenty years. I have spoken repeatedly of the indescribable persecutions they suffered during those years. For me it took twenty-seven years, and the great persecutions I faced are well known to you all” (996). The object of devotion in terms of the Law is explained in greater detail in Nichiren’s writings such as The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind and The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon.
(2) The object of devotion in terms of the Person: In his Reply to Kyō’ō, Nichiren writes, “I, Nichiren, have inscribed my life in sumi ink, so believe in the Gohonzon with your whole heart. The Buddha’s will is the Lotus Sutra, but the soul of Nichiren is nothing other than Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” (412). Nichiren here expresses his realization that Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the origin and basis of his life, which he embodied in sumi ink in the form of the mandala he calls the Gohonzon. In The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, he says, “The object of devotion is thus the entity of the entire body of the votary of the Lotus Sutra.” “The votary” here refers to Nichiren himself. He also says, “The Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law is an ordinary person and an ordinary priest.” “An ordinary priest” here refers to Nichiren. Because Nichiren revealed and spread Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which is manifest as the Person and the Law, he is regarded by his disciple and designated successor Nikkō and his followers as the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law. Nichiren himself writes in The Opening of the Eyes: “On the twelfth day of the ninth month of last year [1271], between the hours of the rat and the ox [11:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.], this person named Nichiren was beheaded. It is his soul that has come to this island of Sado and, in the second month of the following year, snowbound, is writing this to send to his close disciples” (269). He states that he “was beheaded,” though actually he survived the execution at Tatsunokuchi, implying that the ordinary person Nichiren ceased to exist. In this context, the passage “It is his soul that has come to this island of Sado [his place of exile] “ means that Nichiren described himself as having revealed a deeper, true identity in the course of his attempted execution. Again Nikkō and his followers equate that identity with the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law.
(3) The oneness of the Person and the Law: This means that the object of devotion in terms of the Person and the object of devotion in terms of the Law are one in their essence. The Law is inseparable from the Person, and vice versa. The object of devotion in terms of the Law is the physical embodiment, as a mandala (the Gohonzon), of the eternal and intrinsic Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Nichiren writes in his Reply to Kyō’ō “I, Nichiren, have inscribed my life in sumi ink, so believe in the Gohonzon with your whole heart” (412). This passage indicates that Nichiren embodied in the Gohonzon the state of life he enjoyed as the eternal Buddha who personified the Law, so that people could attain the same state of enlightenment. The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings reads: “The ‘body that is freely received and used [also, the Buddha of limitless joy] ‘ is none other than the principle of three thousand realms in a single moment of life. The Great Teacher Dengyō says: ‘A single moment of life comprising the three thousand realms is itself the “body that is freely received and used”; this Buddha has forsaken august appearances. The Buddha who has forsaken august appearances is the Buddha eternally endowed with the three bodies.’ Now Nichiren and his followers who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo are just this.” “The Buddha who has forsaken august appearances” means a Buddha who is no different from an ordinary person in form and appearance.
(4) The core of the Three Great Secret Laws: The Gohonzon, or the object of devotion of the essential teaching, is the core of the Three Great Secret Laws in Nichiren’s doctrine and represents the purpose of his life. The Three Great Secret Laws are the object of devotion of the essential teaching, the invocation, or daimoku, of the essential teaching, and the sanctuary of the essential teaching. Here, “essential teaching” refers to the teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, not to the essential teaching (latter half) of the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren expressed the Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo he realized within his own life in these three forms, which correspond to the three types of learning in Buddhism—precepts, meditation, and wisdom. The object of devotion corresponds to meditation, the invocation to wisdom, and the sanctuary to precepts. Sanctuary is a translation of the Japanese word kaidan, which is also translated as “ordination platform.” This is a platform where practitioners vow to uphold the Buddhist precepts. In Nichiren’s teaching, to embrace the object of devotion is the only precept, and the place where one enshrines the object of devotion and chants the daimoku is called the sanctuary. Again to keep faith in the object of devotion and chant the daimoku while teaching others to chant it is called the invocation. Both the sanctuary and the invocation derive from the object of devotion. Hence the object of devotion is the core of all three. For this reason the Gohonzon, or object of devotion, is also referred to as the One Great Secret Law.
(5) The inscriptions on the Gohonzon: In the center of the Gohonzon are written the Chinese characters “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo Nichiren.” This indicates the oneness of the Person and the Law. On either side there are characters for the names of beings representing each of the Ten Worlds. At the top of the Gohonzon, the names of Shakyamuni Buddha and Many Treasures Buddha appear respectively to the immediate left and right (when facing the Gohonzon) of these central characters. They represent the realm or world of Buddhahood. The four bodhisattvas—Superior Practices, Boundless Practices, Pure Practices, and Firmly Established Practices—who lead the other Bodhisattvas of the Earth are positioned to the left and right of the two Buddhas. They, along with other bodhisattvas in the second row from the top such as Universal Worthy and Manjushrī, represent the realm of bodhisattvas. Also in the second row are persons of the two vehicles—voice-hearers and cause-awakened ones, such as Shāriputra and Mahākāshyapa—and flanking them are representatives of the realm of heavenly beings, such as Brahmā, Shakra, the devil king of the sixth heaven, and the gods of the sun and moon. In the third row appear a wheel-turning king, representing the realm of human beings; an asura king, representing the realm of asuras; a dragon king, representing the realm of animals; Mother of Demon Children and the ten demon daughters, representing the realm of hungry spirits; and Devadatta, representing the realm of hell. Moreover, the four heavenly kings are positioned in the four corners of the Gohonzon: (again, when facing the Gohonzon) Vaishravana in the upper left, Upholder of the Nation in the upper right, Wide-Eyed in the lower right, and Increase and Growth in the lower left. While all other figures on the Gohonzon are represented in Chinese characters, the names of the wisdom king Craving-Filled and the wisdom king Immovable are written below Vaishravana and Upholder of the Nation respectively in Siddham, a medieval Sanskrit script. Here the wisdom king Craving-Filled represents the principle that earthly desires are enlightenment, and the wisdom king Immovable, the principle that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana. Other characters on the Gohonzon include the names of Great Bodhisattva Hachiman and the Sun Goddess. All these names express the principles that the Ten Worlds exist within the eternal Buddha’s life, and that living beings of the Ten Worlds can attain Buddhahood. Not all of the above names appear on every Gohonzon that is transcribed from the Dai-Gohonzon, but whichever ones do appear represent all of the Ten Worlds.
The names of the Great Teacher T’ien-t’ai and the Great Teacher Dengyō are inscribed in the lower part of the Gohonzon representing those who transmitted the true lineage of Buddhism. There are two inscriptions gleaned from Miao-lo’s Annotations on “The Words and Phrases of the Lotus Sutra,” which Nichiren used to describe the power of the Gohonzon and the Law it embodies. One, placed in the upper right (facing the Gohonzon), reads, “Those who vex or trouble [the practitioners of the Law] will have their heads split into seven pieces.” The other, in the upper left, reads, “Those who give alms [to them] will enjoy good fortune surpassing the ten honorable titles.” The ten honorable titles are epithets applied to the Buddha expressing his virtue, wisdom, and compassion. In the lower right is Nichiren’s declaration that “This is the great mandala never before known in the entire land of Jambudvīpa in the more than 2,230 years since the Buddha’s passing.”

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