Photographing the Gohonzon

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dharmapdx
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Photographing the Gohonzon

Post by dharmapdx » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:08 pm

It seems that some branches of Nichiren Buddhism (SGI, Shoshu) have this big hangup about photographing the Gohonzon. And yet other branches (Nichiren Shu) have no problem with it. The divide here on this topic seems so great that it's hard to believe that it comes from people who ultimately practice the same religion. Why is this prohibited by some groups and not others? (My own personal opinion is that with the advent of social media where everything is photographed and then placed online this is a prohibition that is just going to go the way of the dodo.)

narhwal90
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Re: Photographing the Gohonzon

Post by narhwal90 » Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:15 pm

Its still the traditional view in SGI, back in the old NSA days it was pretty much proscribed, the theory told me being a concern over reproduction incorporating errors and practice to such gohonzon becoming deranged. I think Shoshu these days remains very strict. Note the only public photo of the Dai-Gohonzon I know of being a grainy black-and-white photo from circa 1910.

All that said I think the Gohonzon-shu site

http://nichirenscoffeehouse.net/GohonzonShu/001.html

is a tremendous service to all the Nichiren schools- these are the originals. I printed off a few I liked, though I would not enshrine one personally, the old habits die hard.

markatex
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Re: Photographing the Gohonzon

Post by markatex » Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:08 am

I think this prohibition is silly and exoticizes the Mandala Gohonzon. On the other hand, I sort of bristle at the idea of printing one off the Internet. There's a fine line.

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Minobu
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Re: Photographing the Gohonzon

Post by Minobu » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:30 am

markatex wrote:I think this prohibition is silly and exoticizes the Mandala Gohonzon. On the other hand, I sort of bristle at the idea of printing one off the Internet. There's a fine line.
but it's ok to print them off elsewhere. Like the various organizations do ..
it's like the internet finally affords the world to chant to the different Gohnzon inscribed by Nichiren Daishonin's very hand..

and then the various ones that afford one new avenues to explore spiritually like the one they call the Ichinen sanzen gohonzon ...it should more aptly called the gate way to Nichiren Shonin's mind. how to meld with that mind in the moment of shared Rigpa.
It's the key to a student to guru melding with the Daishonin.

it points to rigpa...ichinen sanzen is just the medium for the experience .

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Minobu
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Re: Photographing the Gohonzon

Post by Minobu » Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:37 pm

as per the opening of the eyes ceremony...is this process available online..i mean really now...if you are a person who is a strong believer..and very respectful of all things Nichiren dharma....could you not do the whole opening of the eyes ceremony by yourself...we chant and recite the sutra..we make sure our shrine is up to snuff each day...

why bother thinking only some guy you don't really know is the guy going to be responsable for your gohonzon to have a real authentic opening of the eyes ceremony...what if the guy was just doing it by rote..and worrying about some girl he wants to have sex with..or is thinking about some car he wants and just going through the motions...do you know if this is the case...what if your opening of the eyes ceremony was done by some guy that was doubting his faith whilst doing it...

wake up and smell the coffee...where we are at is exactly what Nichiren Shonin would want us to be...our own little ceremony machine...
narhwal90 wrote: is a tremendous service to all the Nichiren schools- these are the originals. I printed off a few I liked, though I would not enshrine one personally, the old habits die hard.
So you only would enshrine one that comes of the presses of the ...what is that printing organization Gakki uses...the one Toda owned...sekyo shinbun or something...are their printing presses holy or something> gakki no longer believes in the opening of the eyes ceremony so like what the worry for you?

.
what exactly are the prerequisites for you to have towards a printing system....a mass printing system ..?

we now have the availability to chant with a Gohonzon inscribed with The Daishonin's hand...no High priest signature that is being enshrined along with the Original Characters chosen by Nichiren Shonin.

We are taught that it is the meaning of the characters that spark our own corresponding functions, energies, qualities ,powers, inside us.

do you trust the additional signatures you are now taking in refuge in when you enshrine a gohonzon with some high priest's character signature as well...What if that high priest was some sort of perv...it's possible...or deranged power freak...do you want to absorb that into your being...

If i am wrong about Namu'ing to a different character than inscribed by Nichiren Shonin on Gohonzon tell me. you are the one wary of enshring a Gohonzon created by Nichiren....

if anything we all know we should be very careful what we believe in and Namu.....

I think Nichiren would be delighted at this vehicle for His Dharma to spread, that being the internet and little thing called a printer by your computer.

I do worry about the quality of the printer and the type of paper used though..
and i believe today you can even have one made into a scroll...of your choosing...

so cool!

markatex
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Re: Photographing the Gohonzon

Post by markatex » Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:54 pm

It's not the printing itself that I have an issue with. Someome who just prints one off the Internet does so with no connection to a teacher or a sangha. It's not a talisman. It doesn't have magic powers.

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Minobu
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Re: Photographing the Gohonzon

Post by Minobu » Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:46 pm

markatex wrote:It's not the printing itself that I have an issue with. Someome who just prints one off the Internet does so with no connection to a teacher or a sangha. It's not a talisman. It doesn't have magic powers.
If there is anything i learned it is not to judge the motives, or the actions of anyone who interacts in any way to This Dharma.
People that touch any aspect of This Dharma in this Day and Age have a connection to it..
their karma might appear to obscure that connection and motive...but it is not for us to judge or deem wrong.

just my opinion..

I rejoice at how in this Latter Day of the Law somehow someone saw to it that IT be made available to everyone with an internet connection...

I chant to an image of a gohonzon on my computer propped up so as to make me feel somewhat that i have a butsudan in the proper eye level...and i light a candle and clear my desk of everything but a clock and candle...after the session i put back the pen and paper and lighter and kleenex..
i have had three gohonzon given to me and returned .plus butsudans and incense holders, vase and other stuff with the Crane logo.....lol..regrets i have a few...

i apologize for my misconstrued ideas that led me to doing really negative stuff with this Dharma..

talk about poisin drums..i got a huge drum kit baggage nightmare to work out...or is it working out for me...

regrets i have a few.
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narhwal90
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Re: Photographing the Gohonzon

Post by narhwal90 » Sat Jun 24, 2017 4:37 am

@minobu, at first was thinking I wasn't going to reply out of concern for provoking discord OTOH it is an interesting question so I beg forbearance in advance.

I said the old habits die hard and thats true OTOH thats not why I'm not considering enshrining a different gohonzon. I gave some thought to the list of issues you raised, some or all might be true but they aren't of concern to me; I don't view the gohonzon as having any particular power. Clearly there are variations & some are controversial between the schools I am not dismissing that, what I'm getting at is IMHO there are no magic powers in the gohonzon- all the human revolution and ichinen comes from the practitioner. I view the gohonzon as a mirror- I do indeed witness the good, bad and ugly of my own mind while chanting. I am not inclined to change gohonzon because I got the SGI issued one I have from my district leader's hand ~25 years ago there are many associated memories. If the schism hadn't happened I'd still have my original NSA gohonzon for similar reasons.

I have no doubt I could have a very pretty gohonzon done up with my choice of images from the gohonzon-shu; pay an art student to create the reproduction on fancy paper, clean up the contrast and tone & image. Add a professional matte job etc and it would be gorgeous; a higher quality product than anything the SGI produces. But the prospect doesn't interest me because my practice is involved with my life and my SGI gohonzon has been there the whole time. I've often not practiced well but its been there those times as well.

It may be that some gohonzon have different meanings and implications for different people, I'm fine with that and I would never act to deny or dissuade any practitioner their choice of gohonzon. A magnificent DIY job of an original Nichiren gohonzon does not bring the history of the one I have. I sure would enjoy looking at it, but from a gongyo perspective such a thing radiates a sort of emptiness compared to what I've practiced and lived with for so long. I am inclined to think similarly wrt an ebay gohonzon, no matter how impeccable the provenance.

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Minobu
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Re: Photographing the Gohonzon

Post by Minobu » Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:37 pm

narhwal90 wrote: what I'm getting at is IMHO there are no magic powers in the gohonzon- all the human revolution and ichinen comes from the practitioner. I view the gohonzon as a mirror-
A mirror? maybe? in the sense that there is nothing on gohonzon that one cannot develop , and put into balance. Point being why include some High Priest? One should be very careful in choosing what one Namu's to. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is a very powerful chant .
I have no doubt I could have a very pretty gohonzon done up with my choice of images from the gohonzon-shu; pay an art student to create the reproduction on fancy paper, clean up the contrast and tone & image. Add a professional matte job etc and it would be gorgeous; a higher quality product than anything the SGI produces. But the prospect doesn't interest me because my practice is involved with my life and my SGI gohonzon has been there the whole time. I've often not practiced well but its been there those times as well.
I do not know why you @minobu with that stuff. None of which is on my radar or am i inclined . Pretty shallow the person who turns gohonzon into an object as you describe.
It may be that some gohonzon have different meanings and implications for different people, I'm fine with that and I would never act to deny or dissuade any practitioner their choice of gohonzon.

I can only speak of the one they refer to as The Ichinen Sanzen Gohonzon, for it has a whole other implication for appearing here.
No study was done on , cannot find any study on why it was given to us, i guess it was meant for a personal experience, as of late it brings me to believe it is a gateway for producing some relationship with nichiren and his Mind...All of tibetan Buddhism prepares one for the experience pointed to on this gohonzon.
A magnificent DIY job of an original Nichiren gohonzon does not bring the history of the one I have. I sure would enjoy looking at it
wow i find the level of shallowness in regards to what i am excited about unnerving. I never considered the whole affair as a DYI job..A few gohonzon were cleaned up for printing and i guess that a DYI job..but to look at it solely as this and all the work that went into allowing this to be viewed and studied and USED...to be delegated to a viewing..a viewing????,
but from a gongyo perspective such a thing radiates a sort of emptiness compared to what I've practiced and lived with for so long.

How would gongyo as a perspective radiate an emptiness for you ....what does that even mean...

I am inclined to think similarly wrt an ebay gohonzon, no matter how impeccable the provenance.
I guess if the ebay gohonzon was indeed done in the hand of Nichiren Shonin i would enjoy a level of being able to share that with anyone who would wish fo chant with it....I think the idea of the Dai Gohonzon and it's special power concept would have to be wiped out of the person's mind..

a lot of what you are saying seems to point to that...i think somehow you might have got over that fable in SGI..fable?? not so much a fable but a misdirection of study...No gohonzon is a super gohonzon in the way they adore and protect the idea of a special gohonzon from which all other gohonzon getb their power or something the likes of......but if you cannot see what you wrote about your understanding of it being a mirror...and take it to what it is... a catalyst to produce something inside one's life that normally would be a missed opportunity ...

thats what this practice is...producing in one's life , and developing higher life force in one;s life, and producing qualities in one's life normally people don;t in their life time...it's not magic as you say...but very real...so be careful what you chant to...

i have no fear in chanting to anything Nichiren put in sumi ink...only wonder and gratitude...deep gratitude and a willingness to try....

as for high priest characters and stuff thought up by high priests and placed on gohonzon...maybe i got lucky in giving back certain gohonzon...

narhwal90
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Re: Photographing the Gohonzon

Post by narhwal90 » Sat Jun 24, 2017 4:37 pm

Minobu, I only used the @ symbol to indicate my reply was in response to your post. I did not intend to convey I would draw my own- I hope I did not give that impression. My thought is a gohonzon-shu image, cleaned up, printed and matted by a pro would be a very beautiful thing, avoiding concerns about mediocre paper and mounting issues etc.

I would not enshrine and chant to such a gohonzon, but not out of fear but because what I value is the face-time I continue to have with the people I joined practice with in the 80's, and my original gohonzon is part of that; that is the gohonzon I want to chant to. OTOH if I were a guest and my host had a DIY gohonzon I would chant to it without reservation, as I would if I were the guest of a Shoshu practicioner.

I think forensic study of all the original gohonzon is of great value, I suspect quite a lot may be and has been learned about Nichiren and how his practice actually developed as opposed to how it has evolved since.

dharmapdx
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Re: Photographing the Gohonzon

Post by dharmapdx » Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:17 am

Geez, i'm an idiot…. LOL. Sorry folks. I thought the title of this thread sounded oddly familiar…. Turns out there is already a thread on this topic, which I started under my previous user name: https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?t=17217 sorry, y'all.

dharmapdx
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Re: Photographing the Gohonzon

Post by dharmapdx » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:26 am

Is "Ken Mandara" from Instagram correct? Does the prohibition of photographing the Gohonzon actually stem from the desire to not have the Dai-Gohonzon exposed as a forgery?
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narhwal90
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Re: Photographing the Gohonzon

Post by narhwal90 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:16 am

Hard to say why N.Shoshu is so strict about photography since a couple photographs are already available online, one from the early 1900's, another by presumably illicit smartphone, presumably others exist. Apparently the Dai-gohonzon is also not available for physical inspection (for instance the back side) which would be of great interest. The topic is addressed in part by the Mandala Workshop folks;

https://nichirenmandala.weebly.com/uplo ... andala.pdf

their interpretation based on available photographic evidence and scholarship is that the Dai-gohonzon likely dates back to the early 1800's and is a synthesis of several other gohonzon which apparently was common practice in various lineages due to loss by fire or other misadventure. Copying, editing, retouching was not uncommon over the centuries sometimes done legitmately to maintain and recover gohonzon, forgery for the various reasons such things happen also occurred. As far as the Dai-Gohonzon, if it is synthesized from others I don't think that makes it any less of a gohonzon though it does lead to awkwardness wrt the usual account of its history.

dharmapdx
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Re: Photographing the Gohonzon

Post by dharmapdx » Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:28 am

Thanks for the interesting response.

Ken Mandara from Instagram is the writer/publisher of the article you linked.
narhwal90 wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:16 am
Hard to say why N.Shoshu is so strict about photography since a couple photographs are already available online, one from the early 1900's, another by presumably illicit smartphone, presumably others exist. Apparently the Dai-gohonzon is also not available for physical inspection (for instance the back side) which would be of great interest. The topic is addressed in part by the Mandala Workshop folks;

https://nichirenmandala.weebly.com/uplo ... andala.pdf

their interpretation based on available photographic evidence and scholarship is that the Dai-gohonzon likely dates back to the early 1800's and is a synthesis of several other gohonzon which apparently was common practice in various lineages due to loss by fire or other misadventure. Copying, editing, retouching was not uncommon over the centuries sometimes done legitmately to maintain and recover gohonzon, forgery for the various reasons such things happen also occurred. As far as the Dai-Gohonzon, if it is synthesized from others I don't think that makes it any less of a gohonzon though it does lead to awkwardness wrt the usual account of its history.

narhwal90
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Re: Photographing the Gohonzon

Post by narhwal90 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:51 am

Ah, indeed- I was wondering a bit... thanks!

illarraza
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Re: Photographing the Gohonzon

Post by illarraza » Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:23 am

More of Ken Mandara's work...

https://nichirenmandala.weebly.com/

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