On honorifics: "o" "go" "dai" "sama"

Spiritual_living
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On honorifics: "o" "go" "dai" "sama"

Post by Spiritual_living » Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:08 pm

Split from Why doesn’t Ikeda inscribe his own gohonzon?
gohonzon wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 8:03 am
justsomeguy wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 12:50 am
Honestly, I wish he would, or that SG would come up with their own gohonzon. I don't mean it out of any animosity toward SG or its practitioners, but I think it's an important that the "divorce" be finalized. Given the importance of the gohonzon, this is an important step. I nearly turned away from Nichiren Buddhism because of all the negativity and bickering. Both sides would do well to "move on", at least for the sake of new practitioners.

~Bobby
I am so happy that you now finally have the Gohonzon-sama enshrined in your home. :twothumbsup: Please visit our main headquarters in Hodou-in Temple in Tokyo someday so you can also meet other international Hokkeko members who are living in Japan and practicing Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism.
What is gohonzon-sama?

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Re: Why doesn’t Ikeda inscribe his own gohonzon?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:18 pm

Spiritual_living wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:08 pm

What is gohonzon-sama?
Its "gohonzon" with the honorific "sama" added to it. This designation is usually for people, but sometimes Japanese append it to non-people, and even inanimate objects to convey at least two meanings - one, in the case where its appended to an inanimate object, it implies that the speaker views the object as animate; it also indicates the imputed relative station of honor of the objec in comparison to the speaker.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Why doesn’t Ikeda inscribe his own gohonzon?

Post by Spiritual_living » Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:11 am

Queequeg wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:18 pm
Spiritual_living wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:08 pm

What is gohonzon-sama?
Its "gohonzon" with the honorific "sama" added to it. This designation is usually for people, but sometimes Japanese append it to non-people, and even inanimate objects to convey at least two meanings - one, in the case where its appended to an inanimate object, it implies that the speaker views the object as animate; it also indicates the imputed relative station of honor of the objec in comparison to the speaker.
Sounds a little pretentious to me. LOL 😂 I remember you writing that whenever someone refers to “daimoku” as “o-daimoku” you get the sense that they are being pretentious, because unless you are Japanese from Japan, you really can’t appreciate the distinction….

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Re: Why doesn’t Ikeda inscribe his own gohonzon?

Post by Queequeg » Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:35 pm

Its kind of endearing when you hear an old Japanese lady say it. It's a casual and intimate way to speak.

The "Go" at the front is an honorific prefix so the honorific sense of "sama" is redundant.

The "O" in front of Daimoku is also an honorfic prefix. The honor or importance is already implied in "dai" which is literally the head or forehead. "O" emphasizes it.

These honorifics are culturally specific. I don't know if non-Japanese can appreciate the meaning.

We need to figure out how to express this reverence on our own terms.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Why doesn’t Ikeda inscribe his own gohonzon?

Post by Spiritual_living » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:44 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:35 pm
Its kind of endearing when you hear an old Japanese lady say it. It's a casual and intimate way to speak.

The "Go" at the front is an honorific prefix so the honorific sense of "sama" is redundant.

The "O" in front of Daimoku is also an honorfic prefix. The honor or importance is already implied in "dai" which is literally the head or forehead. "O" emphasizes it.

These honorifics are culturally specific. I don't know if non-Japanese can appreciate the meaning.

We need to figure out how to express this reverence on our own terms.
That’s exactly why it sounds pretentious to me. It’s overkill.

Incidentally, when I was in Japan sometimes people would called me Aaron-San. I knew a man whose last name was Ikeda, and sometimes people would call him Ikeda-San. Is “Sama” basically the same idea?

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Re: Why doesn’t Ikeda inscribe his own gohonzon?

Post by Queequeg » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:09 pm

Spiritual_living wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:44 pm
Incidentally, when I was in Japan sometimes people would called me Aaron-San. I knew a man whose last name was Ikeda, and sometimes people would call him Ikeda-San. Is “Sama” basically the same idea?
"San" is an ordinary form of address for relative social equals. "Sama" is an address for someone who is substantially superior in social standing and indicates formality. It may be used toward someone who is a relative social equal if one intends to convey deep respect. In commercial situations, customers may be addressed as "sama" because the relative social standing of business representative and customer implies a social hierarchy of patron/servant.

This is one of the reasons why exchanging business cards in Japanese settings is so important. People need to know how to address each other and adjust their language depending on whether they are equal, inferior or superior to the other. It is deeply embarrassing to use the wrong mode of speech.

Gaijin get a pass on this social hierarchy stuff. People are just impressed you don't wet your pants habitually.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Why doesn’t Ikeda inscribe his own gohonzon?

Post by Queequeg » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:31 pm

On the "o" prefix...

My wife who is fluent in Japanese but not a native speaker pointed out how I append that prefix to certain snack foods - o-senbe, o-dango. I picked that up from speaking Japanese at home. To her, its funny that such an honorific would be appended to such ordinary food items.

:shrug:

... come to think of it, the term for cooked rice, gohan 御飯, includes the same honorific go 御 as gohonzon 御本尊.

If you're familiar with Japanese culture, man they love their food. I suppose that love affair goes way way way back, especially for the staple, rice.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Why doesn’t Ikeda inscribe his own gohonzon?

Post by KanseCapon » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:32 pm

Spiritual_living wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:44 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:35 pm
Its kind of endearing when you hear an old Japanese lady say it. It's a casual and intimate way to speak.

The "Go" at the front is an honorific prefix so the honorific sense of "sama" is redundant.

The "O" in front of Daimoku is also an honorfic prefix. The honor or importance is already implied in "dai" which is literally the head or forehead. "O" emphasizes it.

These honorifics are culturally specific. I don't know if non-Japanese can appreciate the meaning.

We need to figure out how to express this reverence on our own terms.
That’s exactly why it sounds pretentious to me. It’s overkill.

Incidentally, when I was in Japan sometimes people would called me Aaron-San. I knew a man whose last name was Ikeda, and sometimes people would call him Ikeda-San. Is “Sama” basically the same idea?
I think that one reason why "Odaimoku" is used to refer to "Namu Myoho Renge Kyo" in japanese is because "Daimoku" actually occurs a lot in the Japanese language. For example, if you listen to the news in Japanese you will probably hear the word, and in that context it means something like "Main topic". So, because "Daimoku" is a common or familiar term, using "Odaimoku" to refer to "Namu Myoho Renge Kyo" distinguishes the Sacred Title of the Lotus Sutra further as something special.

The use of "Odaimoku" is common among practitioners of many Nichiren lineages/schools in Japan. People in the west who use it have simply inherited the custom from our Japanese teachers. Nothing pretentious about that.

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Re: Why doesn’t Ikeda inscribe his own gohonzon?

Post by Queequeg » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:43 pm

KanseCapon wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:32 pm
The use of "Odaimoku" is common among practitioners of many Nichiren lineages/schools in Japan. People in the west who use it have simply inherited the custom from our Japanese teachers. Nothing pretentious about that.
RIght - its just the adoption of common conventions.

In the bigger picture, maybe it makes sense to refer to it as "The Sacred Title" in the English speaking world. That would go along way in conveying what the Daimoku actually is.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Why doesn’t Ikeda inscribe his own gohonzon?

Post by gohonzon » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:07 pm

In Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist practice, we also use the terms "O-shikimi" and "Okyobon" among other things such as "Ojuzu" / "Onenju" and "O-mamori" since in Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist practice, since we strongly believe that Buddhist paraphernalias acquire very sacred properties when used in front of the Gohonzon-sama, therefore they deserve the same sacred terms when being mentioned. In fact, they are not to touch the ground nor to be used carelessly (wearing Juzu beads, displacing Gongyo books or re-using Shikimi for non-Buddhist purposes). It has nothing to do with being Japanese or half-Japanese, or being a foreigner by race. All Hokkeko practitioners regardless of cultural background are expected to abide by the same behavioral guidance accorded by the Nichiren Shoshu priest. For the non-believers and slanderers of the religion, no expectation is set.

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Re: Why doesn’t Ikeda inscribe his own gohonzon?

Post by Queequeg » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:39 pm

gohonzon wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:07 pm
In Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist practice, we also use the terms "O-shikimi" and "Okyobon" among other things such as "Ojuzu" / "Onenju" and "O-mamori" since in Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist practice, since we strongly believe that Buddhist paraphernalias acquire very sacred properties when used in front of the Gohonzon-sama, therefore they deserve the same sacred terms when being mentioned. In fact, they are not to touch the ground nor to be used carelessly (wearing Juzu beads, displacing Gongyo books or re-using Shikimi for non-Buddhist purposes). It has nothing to do with being Japanese or half-Japanese, or being a foreigner by race. All Hokkeko practitioners regardless of cultural background are expected to abide by the same behavioral guidance accorded by the Nichiren Shoshu priest. For the non-believers and slanderers of the religion, no expectation is set.
Right. It's convention. It has its cultural significance. It may be useful, it may not be.

Finding the prefixes and suffixes foreign or redundant is also cultural.

This whole issue is a hop skip away from the whole Nam Namu inanity. When insistence on particular conventions become an end in itself and gets unhinged from the actual point, we've lost.

Personally, I'm basically indifferent to it, except that I am sensitive to the animation of the Gohonzon by adding the "sama". I get it. Sort of. I also think it might exhibit a particular form of animism that you often find in Japanese convention which I am not sure was intended by Nichiren. I may be wrong.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Why doesn’t Ikeda inscribe his own gohonzon?

Post by Spiritual_living » Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:09 am

I just feel like American-born English speakers who used these terms (tacking on “sama” at the end, etc.) may be trying too hard to prove how seriously they take their practice — and that’s not what such terms are about. That’s not their purpose.

On the other hand, it’s possible that they are simply mimicking a teacher or a school they belong to. But if they are American-born, and English is their first language, I still get a sense that they likely don’t grasp the subtlety of it. It’s just another syllable to us.

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Re: Why doesn’t Ikeda inscribe his own gohonzon?

Post by gohonzon » Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:09 am

The import of Japanese religious terminology on Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist practice is an integral part in respecting both the religion and its daily behavioral practice upon the believer. It is not done to superficially impress others or create a false sense of pretentiosity as if it’s a standard of a superior practice than other Hokkeko members or to impress Soka Gakkai members as if it’s a method of showing off to others. It is taught and practiced because Nichiren Shoshu is an orthodox, orthoprax, traditionalist, religiosity centered Buddhist practice.

According to the repositories of Taisekiji Head Temple, even Nikko Byakuren Ajari Shonin, the Second High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu, always gave the greatest deference to Nichiren Daishonin by always addressing him as “O-so-sama” as his Master. According to the doctrines of Nichiren Shoshu, the Daishonin is the calligraphic embodiment of the Nichiren Shoshu Gohonzon that is legitimately transcribed by each and every successive High Priest of the Head Temple.

If that’s pretentious to call the Gohonzon it’s cultural honorific prefix (as if one can really just superficially assume or judge others), based on their karmic life existence today as a non-Japanese, what better standard is there than to always show the greatest respect to the Nichiren Shōshū object of worship, the Gohonzon in any manner possible. Then again, you are not a registered Hokkeko member so the standard of religious and behavioral expectation does not apply. 😂

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Re: Why doesn’t Ikeda inscribe his own gohonzon?

Post by justsomeguy » Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:41 am

On the other hand, though, our temple priests never use these honorific additions when referring to the Gohonzon, etc. That's not to say they never use them, but at least when addressing us I don't hear it or read it in their letters. It could be that they know they are addressing a largely American crowd and that tacking on these supplements would, as Q stated, not be appreciated or worse would cause confusion. Or maybe they don't deem it necessary. The only additional honorary qualifier I have noted is the obvious Dai-Gohonzon. Perhaps temples have distinct cultures amongst themselves, but Myosenji makes every effort to balance the religious nature of Nichiren Shoshu with the needs and attitudes of its Hokkeko and thus avoids potential overkill in formality.

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Re: Why doesn’t Ikeda inscribe his own gohonzon?

Post by Bois de Santal » Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:57 am

According to the doctrines of Nichiren Shoshu, the Daishonin is the calligraphic embodiment of the Nichiren Shoshu Gohonzon that is legitimately transcribed by each and every successive High Priest of the Head Temple
I presume you meant to say:

"According to the doctrines of Nichiren Shoshu, the Nichiren Shoshu Gohonzon is the calligraphic embodiment of Nichiren Daishonin...."

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Re: Why doesn’t Ikeda inscribe his own gohonzon?

Post by narhwal90 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:04 pm

Post-NSA, in SGI there is a much decreased emphasis on the "sacred object" behavior, though the norms of altar design still apply and the gohonzon is enshrined as the object of devotion. Beads are not to be worn and gongyo books are kept in front of the altar not on the floor and so on. That said, I have seen variation in the design of the home altar that would never have been countenanced in NSA- butsudans mounted to walls etc. Even the old days things like hand-made objects were accepted on the home altars; incense burners made of stained glass for instance, or the butsudans themselves. Many people in SGI put photos or other memorabilia related to Mr Ikeda, Mr Toda etc on/near the altar but not within the butsudan enclosure.

The perception of gohonzon as animate is much reduced from the NSA days though I occasionally hear it from old-timers, There is still the form of intercessionary prayer to the gohonzon OTOH I'm inclined to think that practice goes all the way back to Nichiren.

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Re: Why doesn’t Ikeda inscribe his own gohonzon?

Post by Spiritual_living » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:55 pm

I’m an SGI member.

Sounds to me like you use the honorary prefixes because your teacher does. Nothing wrong with that. The argument I’m making is that as Americans who only recently learned these terms, it doesn’t have the same meaning for us. If, on the other hand, you referred to the gohonzon as “my beloved gohonzon that I cherish,” I would trust that you fully understood the nuance of what you were saying and weren’t trying to be pretentious.

More succinctly, I get the impression that some American Buddhist converts are just trying to impress others that they know Japanese words — because, you know, it’s so exotic. Smart, cultured people know exotic things. 😂
gohonzon wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:09 am
The import of Japanese religious terminology on Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist practice is an integral part in respecting both the religion and its daily behavioral practice upon the believer. It is not done to superficially impress others or create a false sense of pretentiosity as if it’s a standard of a superior practice than other Hokkeko members or to impress Soka Gakkai members as if it’s a method of showing off to others. It is taught and practiced because Nichiren Shoshu is an orthodox, orthoprax, traditionalist, religiosity centered Buddhist practice.

According to the repositories of Taisekiji Head Temple, even Nikko Byakuren Ajari Shonin, the Second High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu, always gave the greatest deference to Nichiren Daishonin by always addressing him as “O-so-sama” as his Master. According to the doctrines of Nichiren Shoshu, the Daishonin is the calligraphic embodiment of the Nichiren Shoshu Gohonzon that is legitimately transcribed by each and every successive High Priest of the Head Temple.

If that’s pretentious to call the Gohonzon it’s cultural honorific prefix (as if one can really just superficially assume or judge others), based on their karmic life existence today as a non-Japanese, what better standard is there than to always show the greatest respect to the Nichiren Shōshū object of worship, the Gohonzon in any manner possible. Then again, you are not a registered Hokkeko member so the standard of religious and behavioral expectation does not apply. 😂

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Re: On honorifics: "o" "go" "dai" "sama"

Post by Queequeg » Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:41 pm

gohonzon wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:09 am
The import of Japanese religious terminology on Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist practice is an integral part in respecting both the religion and its daily behavioral practice upon the believer. It is not done to superficially impress others or create a false sense of pretentiosity as if it’s a standard of a superior practice than other Hokkeko members or to impress Soka Gakkai members as if it’s a method of showing off to others. It is taught and practiced because Nichiren Shoshu is an orthodox, orthoprax, traditionalist, religiosity centered Buddhist practice.

According to the repositories of Taisekiji Head Temple, even Nikko Byakuren Ajari Shonin, the Second High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu, always gave the greatest deference to Nichiren Daishonin by always addressing him as “O-so-sama” as his Master. According to the doctrines of Nichiren Shoshu, the Daishonin is the calligraphic embodiment of the Nichiren Shoshu Gohonzon that is legitimately transcribed by each and every successive High Priest of the Head Temple.

If that’s pretentious to call the Gohonzon it’s cultural honorific prefix (as if one can really just superficially assume or judge others), based on their karmic life existence today as a non-Japanese, what better standard is there than to always show the greatest respect to the Nichiren Shōshū object of worship, the Gohonzon in any manner possible. Then again, you are not a registered Hokkeko member so the standard of religious and behavioral expectation does not apply. 😂
For me the issue of pretension is beside the point. I very much understand the formality of ritual in Nichiren Shoshu practice. Being bilingual and bicultural, I also understand how particular modes of behavior/practice are uniquely "Japanese". I've reflected on how so many of the minor details of practice, expectations of deportment, etc. are cultural. The robes that priests wear, the aesthetics and motifs on the altars and ritual implements, the modes of movement and posture. Sitting in seiza, for instance. Most Buddhists, certainly Buddhists outside Japan, don't sit seiza. More common are crossed legs or even lotus posture.

I'm not particularly interested in preserving uniquely Japanese norms. The Saddharma transcends Japan, the Japanese, and any particular sect. If Nichiren's teachings are consistent with Saddharma, they are the heritage of humanity, not just a group of people living on an island at the edge of the world. Indeed, if you consider the actual teaching - ichinen sanzen, for instance - no conditioned thoughts, words or actions can fully capture it. Nichiren said this about himself:
I, Nichiren, am not the founder of any school, nor am I a latter-day follower of any older school. I am a priest without precepts, neither keeping the precepts nor breaking them. I am an ordinary creature like an ox or a sheep, who is neither particularly wise nor ignorant.
Those are not the words of someone hung up on just keeping up forms. He continues:
Why did I first begin to chant as I do? Bodhisattva Superior Practices is the one destined to make his advent in this world to propagate the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo. But before he had even appeared, I began, as though speaking in a dream, hardly aware of what I was doing, to utter the words Namu-myoho-renge-kyo, and so I chant them now. In the end, is this a good thing I do, or a bad thing? I do not know, nor can anyone else tell for certain.
This teaching welled up spontaneously from the depths of his life. They found expression in the particular nexus of causes and conditions, the architectures of meaning, into which Zennichimaro was born.

This is all consistent with the Lotus Sutra - there's the emptiness of symbols, there are the particular expedients in symbols (the Relative Myo) and then there is the True Aspect (absolute Myo). There are the provisional teachings, the theoretical teachings, and the essential teaching. The provisional and theoretical teachings are taught in accord with the minds of others. The essential teaching alone is the direct revelation of the Buddha.

The way I have come to see it, and the way that I understand what Nichiren taught, he taught the direct revelation of Buddha. The rest is for us to bring our selves into conformity with that. For us to figure out how to bring expression to the essential teaching for ourselves and for others. If conforming to established modes of expression does that for a person then they should do that. If conforming to legacy expressions doesn't do that, then figure out what does.

That's all. No need to shade.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: On honorifics: "o" "go" "dai" "sama"

Post by Queequeg » Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:20 pm

gohonzon wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:09 am
According to the repositories of Taisekiji Head Temple, even Nikko Byakuren Ajari Shonin, the Second High Priest of Nichiren Shoshu, always gave the greatest deference to Nichiren Daishonin by always addressing him as “O-so-sama” as his Master. According to the doctrines of Nichiren Shoshu, the Daishonin is the calligraphic embodiment of the Nichiren Shoshu Gohonzon that is legitimately transcribed by each and every successive High Priest of the Head Temple.
The idea that the Gohonzon is a calligraphic embodiment of Nichiren is in large part based on Kyo o dono gohenji (Reply to Kyo'o).
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 Namu-myoho-renge-kyo. Miao-lo states in his commentary that the heart of this sutra is the revelation of the Buddha’s original enlightenment and his immeasurable life span.
This is a disputed work.

That said, maybe its worth breaking down.

First, addressing the way Nikko addressed Nichiren. That manner of address accords with convention expressing the deepest reverence.

What seems to be argued is that taking two propositions -

a) the example of the way Nikko addressed Nichiren

b) the Gohonzon is a calligraphic embodiment of Nichiren

and synthesizing them into an explanation for referring to the Gohonzon, the calligraphic version, as "Gohonzon-sama."

There are a few things going on here that lead me to the conclusion that this passage does not mean what people often say it means.

The full context of the letter is Nichiren writing to a lay supporter who's daughter is ill. Nichiren inscribed a Gohonzon for her as an omamori, a protective amulet. He assures her that her daughter is protected by the guardians of the Lotus Sutra.

Further, unpacking what Nichiren actually says here - he explains his "soul" (I believe the actual word is tamashi 魂). This is not "soul" in the non-Buddhist sense, but rather refers to the deepest level beyond the gross conditions. Its referring more or less to what we call the amala-vijnana or the tathagatagarbha - the seed of Buddhahood, the Buddha Nature. And what does Nichiren say that identity is? It Namu-myohorengekyo. He doesn't say its myohorengekyo itself, so we have to look at the significance of "Namu". Namu indicates that its the practice of faith, or shin 信of the compound shinge 信解 or adhimukti. Adhimukti is described in the Abhidharma as an occasional cetasika - the disposition of conviction. When Nichiren says he's putting his soul in ink, he's identifying himself with this state of mind.

When you understand it this way, the Gohonzon starts to make sense as a mandala.

The naive notion that what Nichiren is talking about is the personality, or the personality as the eminent characteristic, doesn't make sense, especially in light of everything else he wrote about himself, the Gohonzon, the Three Great Secret Laws, etc. etc. To posit that the Gohonzon is Nichiren in his personality makes the Gohonzon into dualistically conditioned object. It doesn't make sense to say that the Gohonzon is not found outside of our mind if what we are talking about is Nichiren as the person. If that's the case, we should just carve statues of Nichiren and worship those. That's not what he was doing.

These are, of course, sectarian doctrines, and unique to only some Fuji school sects.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Queequeg
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Re: On honorifics: "o" "go" "dai" "sama"

Post by Queequeg » Sat Oct 06, 2018 1:19 am

I consulted a little on this...

When Nichiren refers to tamashi it's a subjective way to refer to ichinen of ichinen sanzen emphasizing the conviction of namumyohorengekyo
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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