The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon - Causing the "Sun of Hope" to Rise in Our Lives

Since Nichiren’s disciples and lay supporters believe solely in the Lotus Sutra, honestly discarding expedient means (1) and not accepting even a single verse of the other sutras (2), exactly as the Lotus teaches, they can enter the treasure tower (3) of the Gohonzon. How reassuring! Make every possible effort for the sake of your next life. What is important is that, by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo alone, you can attain Buddhahood. It will no doubt depend on the strength of your faith. To have faith is the basis of Buddhism.

(The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Vol 1, p832)

This letter was written at Minobu in the eight month of 1277 when Nichiren Daishonin was 56 to Nichinyo.

This letter contains a description of the Gohonzon and the details of the figures represented therein and their significance. Hence, it is titled, “The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon”.

The exact identity and details of Nichinyo is unclear. However, judging from the two letters the Daishonin sent her in whom he offered a detailed explanation of the Lotus Sutra, she seemed to have been a woman of good education and strong faith.

This was a time of turmoil and great confusion in Japan after an attempted invasion by the Mongols. Against such social settings, Nichinyo maintained pure faith and sincerely made offerings to the Daishonin in appreciation for the Gohonzon, the object of devotion, bestowed upon her.

This letter was written in response to her sincere offerings.


Whether one can attain the life state of unsurpassed happiness depends on nothing else except one single factor – that is “on the strength of your faith”. This is the crucial message that the Daishonin was teaching in this passage.

The Daishonin stated here that if we believe solely in the teachings of the Mystic Law, we “can enter the treasure tower of the Gohonzon”. The “treasure tower” mentioned here refers to the massive treasure tower adorned with seven kinds of jewels that appeared at the assembly described in the Lotus Sutra.

Seated side by side inside the tower are Many Treasures Buddha and Shakyamuni Buddha and the emergence of this treasure tower marked the beginning of the “Ceremony in the Air” whereby the mission to propagate the teachings of the Mystic Law after the Buddha’s passing is entrusted to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth.

Based on this “Ceremony in the Air” described in the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren Daishonin manifested his life state of Buddhahood in the form of the mandala Gohonzon.

To “enter the treasure tower of the Gohonzon” means to fuse our lives with the Gohonzon, to become one with the Gohonzon.

By maintaining faith in and chanting to the Gohonzon, regarding it as a clear mirror that reveals the true entity of our lives, we can activate and manifest the life state of Buddhahood that we are inherently endowed with.

By believing solely in the Gohonzon without harbouring any doubts, we can bring forth and fuse our Buddhahood with the Buddhahood embodied in the Gohonzon and become one with the Gohonzon. The key to making this possible is none other than our “faith”.

Our lives are dignified Treasure Towers. Yet this is a truth that eludes us. To realize that such a truth is indeed what our life is, is to “see the Treasure Tower”. The ceremony that took place in the “Treasure Tower” chapter is a mirror that reveals the true entity of our lives.

The Gohonzon that Nichiren Daishonin established, based on the ceremony in the “Treasure Tower” chapter, is the “clear mirror” which enables us to perceive our true selves – our Buddha nature.

Despite experiencing successive life-threatening persecutions, Nichiren Daishonin continued to wage an intense struggle for the universal enlightenment of all people and kosen-rufu, to enable the “sun of hope” to rise in the heart of every single individual.

The Daishonin embodied his intense spirit, to fight for the happiness of all people and win against the greatest difficulties, in the Gohonzon.

For this reason, when we align our hearts with that of the Buddha’s and chant earnest daimoku based on profound faith and resolve to courageously take on all hardship for the sake of kosen-rufu, the magnificent life state of the Buddha will be manifested at each moment in our lives.

SGI President Ikeda said, “All of you, without a single exception, are noble individuals inherently endowed with the Gohonzon in your lives. This Gohonzon in your lives will lead you to happiness. This Gohonzon in your lives will cause the ‘sun of Buddhism’ to rise. For this reason, I would like to call forth to all of you: “Never, ever be defeated! Never, ever be fearful. The Daishonin is eternally by your side, and so are all fellow members in the world.”

Let us offer profound prayers based on faith dedicated to the cause of kosen-rufu and joyfully advance to score victories after victories in our lives.

Translated and adapted from the January 2011 issue of The Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.

Footnotes:1. “Honestly discarding expedient means”: A phrase from the “Expedient Means” (2nd) chapter of the Lotus Sutra. The phrase that follows reads: “will only preach the unsurpassed way”. (LSOC, p79) This is the portion where the Buddha declares that all teachings preached before the Lotus Sutra “expedient means” and that only the Lotus Sutra contains the truth. Hence, this is the portion whereby the Buddha states that the Lotus Sutra is the most supreme teaching.

2. “Not accepting even a single verse of the other sutras”: This phrase appears in the “Simile and Parable” (3rd) chapter of the Lotus Sutra. It teaches that one should only believe in the Lotus Sutra and not accept even a single verse of the other sutras.

3. Treasure tower: Refers to the treasure tower of Many Treasures Buddha adorned with seven kinds of jewels that appears in “The Emergence of the Treasure Tower” (11th) chapter of the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon based on the Ceremony in the Air which centred round the treasure tower as described in the Lotus Sutra.