Mixing the Worship of Statues and Images, Shinto, Hinayana or Theravada Practices With the Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra, part 2 of 3 +%

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Mixing the Worship of Statues and Images, Shinto, Hinayana or Theravada Practices With the Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra, part 2 of 3 +


________ Table of Contents, part 1 _______________

... The Issue At Hand

... Slanders of the True Aspect of All Phenomena

... Slanders of the eternal Buddha

... Slanders of the common mortal as true Buddha

... Slanders of the Gohonzon

... Slanders of the Daimoku

... The Slander of Gradualism

________ Table of Contents, part 2 _______________

... Slanders of the legacy of the Buddhas

... Mixing Extraneous Practices with
... the Practice of the Lotus Sutra

... The Next Issue At Hand

... The Costs and Benefits
... of Expedient Means

... The Emergence of the Gohonzon

________ Table of Contents, part 3 _______________

... Examining "Opening the Eyes" and
... "Eye-Opening" Gosho Letters, By Date

... One Foot on the Station
... and One Foot on the Train
__________________________________________________

part 2 of 3, continued from part 1 of 3:


________ Slanders of the legacy of the Buddhas ___

Finally once more, that quote from ARBN:

... "A Nichiren Buddhist priest that I recently met in Japan
.... said that there were around 50 Nikko sects and SGI and
.... Nichiren Shoshu are only 2 of them and there around 500
.... Nichiren Shu sects. I reckon he'd be right by the amount
.... of temples I visited. Some of the Nichiren Shu and Nikko
.... temples had Nichiren placed directly in front of the
.... Gohonzon. The deity's in the temple grounds and inside
.... their temples of the Pure land, Shingon, Shinto and Zen are
.... the same as the deity's we have in our Gohonzons but in 3D
.... up to about 20m in Height ..."

Nichiren Daishonin and Shakyamuni are not present to object to this innappropriate deification in the latter day of the Law, so I must.

Nowhere in the Lotus Sutra does Shakyamuni suggest that bowing down and worshiping images of himself as a deity or erecting towers to his memory is the appropriate practice for attaining enlightenment in the Latter Day of the Law: of manifesting the Buddha nature that the core of the Lotus Sutra makes clear that they already possess.

He does mention that people in different times have and will do this as part of the "Bodhisattva practice" of attaining Buddhahood over countless lifetimes in appreciation, not just of himself, but of other Buddhas as well:

In chapter 1, for all the Buddhas in other lands who have entered parinirvana:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Content/1#para-19

In chapter 2, after all the Buddhas have passed into extinction:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Content/2#para-377

In chapter 3, of the Buddha being followed by any son of the Buddha:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Content/3#para-154

In chapter 6, after the Buddhas have entered extinction:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Content/6#para-147

In chapter 10, after the Buddha has entered extinction:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Content/10#para-74

In chapter 12, after Heavenly King Thus Come One (Devadatta) has passed into extinction:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Content/12#para-35

In chapter 23, for buddha Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Content/23#para-22

If you want to believe that after countless lives you might attain the way by raising towers and worshiping relics in the traditional "Bodhisattva" practice, I would vehemently suggest against pursuing this disastrous practice in the Latter Day of the Law after Nichiren Daishonin has admonished that this is inappropriate and that the practice of the "core" of the Lotus Sutra is the correct practice for this time. That outdated and obsolete practice of statue-worshiping is a toxic poison in this time.

The core of the Lotus Sutra is the "one chapter and two halves" of the Lotus Sutra:

one chapter and two halves [一品二半] (Jpn ippon-nihan):
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/O/16
... The core of the Lotus Sutra, comprising the latter half of
... the "Emerging from the Earth" (fifteenth) chapter, the
... entire "Life Span" (sixteenth) chapter, and the first half
... of the "Distinctions in Benefits" (seventeenth) chapter.
... This section reveals Shakyamuni Buddha's original
... attainment of enlightenment.

This is the place in the Lotus Sutra where the truth, that Nichiren Daishonin bases his correct practice in the Latter Day of the Law on, is revealed.

In chapter 16, the Buddha observes that people will yearn for him and worship his relics, but he does not suggest that this is the correct practice for attaining enlightenment:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Content/16#para-46

... I make it so that living beings in their befuddlement
... do not see me even when close by.
>> WHEN THE MULTITUDE SEES THAT I HAVE PASSED INTO EXTINCTION,
>> FAR AND WIDE THEY OFFER ALMS TO MY RELICS.
... All harbor thoughts of yearning
... and in their minds thirst to gaze at me.

And in chapter 17, the Buddha actually preaches the correct practice for the Latter Day of the Law is not worshiping relics and erecting towers, but in reciting the sutra:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Content/17#para-174

>> "AJITA, THESE GOOD MEN AND GOOD WOMEN NEED NOT FOR MY SAKE
>> ERECT TOWERS AND TEMPLES OR BUILD MONKS' QUARTERS OR MAKE
>> THE FOUR KINDS OF OFFERINGS TO THE COMMUNITY OF MONKS. WHY?
>> BECAUSE THESE GOOD MEN AND GOOD WOMEN, IN RECEIVING,
>> EMBRACING, READING, AND RECITING THIS SUTRA, HAVE ALREADY
>> ERECTED TOWERS, CONSTRUCTED MONKS' QUARTERS, AND GIVEN ALMS
>> TO THE COMMUNITY OF MONKS. It should be considered
... that they have erected towers adorned with the seven
... treasures for the relics of the Buddha, broad at the base
... and tapering at the top, reaching to the Brahma heaven,
... hung with banners, canopies, and a multitude of jeweled
... bells, with flowers, incense, necklaces, powdered incense,
... paste incense, incense for burning, many kinds of drums,
... musical instruments, pipes, harps, and various types of
... dances and diversions, and with wonderful voices that sing
... and intone hymns of praise. It is as though they have
... already offered alms for immeasurable thousands, ten
... thousands, millions of kalpas.

The correct practice for this time, arising from the CORE of the Lotus Sutra, is none other than reciting Gongyo and chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo to the supreme object of devotion throughout Jambudvipa, the Gohonzon mirror that reflects the image of the ceremony in the air at core of the Lotus Sutra that resides inside each one of us. (Along with study and shakubuku, of course.)

It is not now erecting towers and statues and worshiping them as relics of the Buddhas.

As I said at the top, Nichiren Daishonin and Shakyamuni cannot object to this deification, so I must.

It would take an astonishing kind of preening arrogance to suggest that the erecting of towers and statues of themselves, and the practice of worshiping them through the images of their person after they have passed on, in the memory of what is an impermanent physical form of a Buddha: that this would be a correct practice of Buddhism.

In the core of the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni correctly admonishes that this is unnecessary, take him at his word!

In the Gosho, Nichiren Daishonin declares that the supreme object of devotion throughout Jambudvipa is the Gohonzon and none other, take him at his word!

That is their true legacy, and not the deistic, narcissistic and numerous self-loving monuments that Stalin, Mao, Saddam Hussein, Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il, Kim Jong-Un, Putin or Trump might erect for themselves. The Buddhas are different from these exemplars.


________ Mixing Extraneous Practices with ________
________ the Practice of the Lotus Sutra _________

I have also inserted below, my friend Jeff's favorite passage from "Letter to Akimoto", which states Nichiren Daishonin's clear position against mixing the practice of the Lotus Sutra (primarily chanting Daimoku to the Gohonzon) with any other extraneous practice.

From "Letter to Akimoto", WND, p. 1014:
http://www.sgilibrary.org/view.php?page=1014&m=0&q=

>> A VESSEL IS A KIND OF UTENSIL. Because the great earth
... is hollowed out, water collects on it; and because the
... blue sky is pure, the moon shines in it. When the moon
... rises, the water glows with a pure light; and when the
... rain falls, the plants and trees flourish.

... A vessel is hollowed out like the earth, and water can
... be collected in it the way water is stored in a pond.
... And the reflection of the moon floats on the surface of
... the water in the same way that the Lotus Sutra pervades
... our being.

>> BUT A VESSEL IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO FOUR FAULTS. The first is
... being upset or covered, which means that the vessel can
... be overturned or covered with a lid. The second is
... leaking, which means that the water leaks out. The third
... is being defiled, which means that the contents can be
... contaminated. Though the water itself may be pure, if
... filth is dumped into it, then the water in the vessel
... ceases to be of any use. THE FOURTH IS BEING MIXED. If
... rice is mixed with filth or pebbles or sand or dirt,
... then it is no longer fit for human consumption.

>> THE VESSEL HERE STANDS FOR OUR BODIES AND MINDS. Our
... minds are a kind of vessel, and our mouths too are
... vessels, as are our ears. The Lotus Sutra is the Dharma
... water of the Buddha's wisdom. But when this water is
... poured into our minds, then we may jar and upset it. Or
... we may shut it out by placing our hands over our ears,
... determined not to listen to it. Or we may spit it out of
... our mouths, determined not to let our mouths chant it.
... In such cases, we are like a vessel that has overturned
... or has had a lid placed on it.

>> Again, ALTHOUGH WE MAY HAVE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF FAITH,
>> WE MAY ENCOUNTER EVIL INFLUENCES AND FIND OUR FAITH
>> WEAKENING. Then we will deliberately abandon our faith,
... or, even though we maintain our faith for a day, we will
... set it aside for a month. IN SUCH CASES, WE ARE LIKE
>> VESSELS THAT LET THE WATER LEAK OUT.

>> OR WE MAY BE THE KIND OF PRACTITIONERS OF THE LOTUS
>> SUTRA WHOSE MOUTHS ARE RECITING NAM-MYOHORENGE- KYO ONE
>> MOMENT, BUT NAMU AMIDA BUTSU THE NEXT. THIS IS LIKE
>> MIXING FILTH WITH ONE'S RICE, OR PUTTING SAND OR PEBBLES
>> IN IT. THIS IS WHAT THE LOTUS SUTRA IS WARNING AGAINST
>> WHEN IT SAYS, "DESIRING ONLY TO ACCEPT AND EMBRACE THE
>> SUTRA OF THE GREAT VEHICLE AND NOT ACCEPTING A SINGLE
>> VERSE OF THE OTHER SUTRAS." [NOTE 1: LOTUS SUTRA, CHAP.
>> 3.]

>> THE LEARNED AUTHORITIES IN THE WORLD TODAY SUPPOSE THAT
>> THERE IS NO HARM IN MIXING EXTRANEOUS PRACTICES WITH THE
>> PRACTICE OF THE LOTUS SUTRA, AND I, NICHIREN, WAS ONCE
>> OF THAT OPINION MYSELF. BUT THE PASSAGE FROM THE SUTRA
>> [THAT I HAVE JUST QUOTED] DOES NOT PERMIT SUCH A VIEW.
... Suppose that a woman who had been the consort of a great
... king and had become pregnant with his seed should then
... turn round and marry a man of common stature. In such a
... case, the seed of the king and the seed of the commoner
... would become mixed together, and as a result, the aid
... and assistance of heaven and the protection of the
... patron deities [Note 2: "The patron deities" refers to
... the tutelary god of a clan. The Minamoto clan, for
... example, revered Great Bodhisattva Hachiman as their
... tutelary deity.] would be withdrawn, and the kingdom
... would face ruin. The child born from two such fathers
... would be neither a king nor a commoner, but someone who
... belongs not to the human realm.

... This is one of the most important points in the Lotus
... Sutra. The doctrine of the sowing of the seed and its
... maturing and harvesting [Note 3: Reference is to the
... three phases of the process by which a Buddha leads
... people to Buddhahood, corresponding to the growth and
... development of a plant. First the Buddha plants the
... seeds of Buddhahood in people's lives, then he nurtures
... them by helping them practice the Law, and finally he
... enables them to fully manifest Buddhahood.] is the very
... heart and core of the Lotus Sutra. All the Buddhas of
... the three existences and the ten directions have
... invariably attained Buddhahood through the seeds
... represented by the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo.
... The words Namu Amida Butsu are not the seeds of
... Buddhahood, nor can the mantras or the five precepts act
... as such seeds. One must be perfectly clear about this
... point, because this is the fault referred to as being
... mixed.

>> IF A VESSEL IS FREE OF THESE FOUR FAULTS OF OVERTURNING,
>> LEAKING, BEING DEFILED, AND BEING MIXED, THEN IT CAN BE
>> CALLED A PERFECT VESSEL. IF THE EMBANKMENTS AROUND A
>> MOAT DO NOT LEAK, THEN THE WATER WILL NEVER ESCAPE FROM
>> THE MOAT. AND IF THE MIND OF FAITH IS PERFECT, THEN THE
>> WATER OF WISDOM, THE GREAT IMPARTIAL WISDOM, WILL NEVER
>> DRY UP.

Hence, mixing any practice of Shinto, Hinayana, Theravada or any Shinto-derived funeral Buddhist school practicing gradualism such as Nembutsu, Shingon/Tantric, Zen, Tendai, Nichiren Shu and Nichiren Shoshu in any form with the Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra is a direct slander of the text of the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism.


________ The Next Issue At Hand __________________

The issue at hand can be summed up by this response to a quote from ARBN:

https://groups.google.com/d/msg/alt.religion.buddhism.nichiren/vNSvr65jxPI/At-0WV0SAwAJ

||>>"Do you see anywhere in the Gosho, or anywhere else where
|| Nichiren Daishonin says to place statues of Shakyamuni or
|| anyone or anything else on the altar where they chant and
|| pray? No, you don't. "<<
||
|| There are at least 3 Gosho referencing *opening the eyes*
|| of images of Shakyamuni Buddha-- and think you are
|| conspicuously dismissing the standing statue of the Buddha
|| that Nichiren kept with him. There are NO admonitions
|| against owning a statue of the Buddha, you nut cake!!
||
||>>"Yours is an "extraneous practice" and not of the Lotus
|| Sutra, either. <<"
||
|| YOURS is a practice of abandoning the Buddha - that
|| includes abandoning the Buddha's golden words, his mind,
|| his intent-- Nichiren states that the Lotus Sutra is
|| Shakyamuni Buddha himself !!
||
|| You Chas, cannot provide a single passage from Nichiren's
|| writings to support your delusional idea that he is the
|| original buddha-- and won't find a single passage that
|| disparages images of Shakyamuni either!!
||
|| In other words, Chas-- your practice is so error ridden
|| that there is really nothing you can say about anyone
|| else's that won't be as full of crap as your pompous
|| Sensei's guidance!!

First off, they did not answer my question and blatantly misstated my positions: I have repeatedly informed everyone and sundry that Nichiren Daishonin in "The Entity of the Mystic Law" Gosho makes it clear that the actual name of the original Buddha of Kuon Ganjo, the eternal Buddha is in reality "Myoho-Renge", and not Nichiren Daishonin, nor Shakyamuni, nor Sensei, and not any other name, image or aspect of a temporal entity.

Only the entity of the Mystic Law has the true aspect of all phenomena, which means "without having aspect" from the "Sutra of Immeasurable Meanings," which was preached DURING the first chapter of the Lotus Sutra (not once, but twice):
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/47#para-31

From the "Immeasurable Meanings Sutra: 2, Preaching the Law", LSOC, p. 13:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/lsoc/Prologue/2#para-9
.. These immeasurable meanings are born from a single Law, and
.. this Law is without aspect. WHAT IS WITHOUT ASPECT IS
.. DEVOID OF ASPECT AND DOES NOT TAKE ON ASPECT. Not taking on
.. aspect, being without aspect, it is called the true aspect.

Hence, the Buddha in the Lotus Sutra preaches this sutra to make it clear what a proper object of devotion WILL NOT BE, but not what it would eventually come to be, because that was Nichiren Daishonin's problem to solve: and it is also NOT THE PROBLEM of the Buddhists of the the Former and Middle Day of the Law, who fell into chanting to statues out of despairing for the appearance of Jogyo, AKA Nichiren Daishonin. I feel their pain, but would avoid their result, and everyone else should avoid it, too.

The further dodging of my question is obvious in that "opening the eyes" of statues and things made of plant or inorganic materials has NOTHING AT ALL to do with the practice of placing those statues, idols and images in front of, or in another position to upstage or compete with the supremacy of the Gohonzon, or entirely replacing the Gohonzon in the butsudan.

Assuming that question WILL NEVER BE ANSWERED HONESTLY (because of not being able to face that question honestly), I will answer it for everyone. The practice of worshiping statues upstaging the Gohonzon in front of it, or in place of the Gohonzon, IS NOT a practice ever espoused by Nichiren Daishonin, who spent a large chunk of his life trying to figure out what was the proper object of devotion, and finally inscribing the Gohonzon with his life in sumi ink, and then declaring the Gohonzon the "supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvīpa," which implies everywhere in the physical universe, being that there is no Mt. Sumeru as described on this planet to be in the south of. Nichiren Daishonin spent that very same lifetime fighting the very evils and distortions of Buddhism that are espoused now by Nichiren Shu temples, which recently included Jodo Shinshu Nembutsu in their pantheon of acceptable practices.

Calling the Gohonzon the "supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvīpa" means that those other objects of devotion are vastly inferior and placing the vastly inferior side-by-side or even retaining them in the same room with what is infinitely superior is an act expressing your open or secret disdain for the Gohonzon. Those who practice this way will pay a high price for that open or sneaky disdain for the Gohonzon.

We shall proceed to discuss in detail all of the 11 Gosho passages discussing the topic of "opening the eyes" of statues and images, or discussing "eye-opening" ceremonies and practices of that time. We will discuss these Gosho passages by strict date order and compare them to the dates of the emergence of the Gohonzon as "the supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvīpa."

We shall proceed fearlessly to follow Nichiren Daishonin exactly, because Sensei has instructed me to do so. This is made difficult, because Nichiren Daishonin is, at many times in his life, in the midst of battle with profoundly twisting and distorting devilish forces that give him very bad choices to make, requiring what we fondly call in Buddhism, "expedient means." Another, perhaps more painful way to view expedient means, is like an untreated open wound incurred in battle with no time to treat it, without leaving the battle to be lost, such that the wound doesn't heal quickly, or never heals during one's life (the leg wound of England's King Henry the VIII that eventually took his life comes to mind.)


________ The Costs and Benefits __________________
________ of Expedient Means ______________________

When Shakyamuni Buddha employed expedient means, this resulted in a loyal core who followed him to the end of preaching the Lotus Sutra, and a much more vast and varied group practicing provisional or distorted teachings and practices, as the followers of Nichiren Shu do. They are the collateral damage of building a large and devoted Sangha to proceed after the death of the founder. They are the much more voluminous human chaff created in bringing in the wheat grain, which has been called in agriculture "the leading source of vegetal protein in human food." The human race mostly survives to this day, on the wheat grain protein content of 13%. So, Shakyamuni's Buddhism was the Buddhism of harvest.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheat

In the Lotus Sutra tradition of the Latter Day of the Law we have the Buddhism of sowing the seed. Because we have the one essential phrase of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, we can sow the seed expeditiously and guarantee the enlightenment of everyone who hears it immediately, from "The Unanimous Declaration by the Buddhas", WND II, p. 859:

http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-2/Content/315#para-180

.. Heaven, earth, water, fire, and wind are the five wisdom
.. Thus Come Ones. They reside WITHIN THE BODY AND MIND OF ALL
.. LIVING BEINGS AND ARE NEVER SEPARATED FROM THEM EVEN FOR AN
.. INSTANT. Therefore worldly affairs and affairs relating to
.. enlightenment blend together in harmony within the mind of
.. the individual; outside of the mind, there is absolutely no
.. other thing that exists. THEREFORE, WHEN ONE HEARS THIS
.. TRUTH, ONE CAN AT THAT POINT IMMEDIATELY ATTAIN THE GOAL OF
.. BUDDHAHOOD WITHOUT A MOMENT’S DELAY, for it is a principle
.. of the utmost profundity.

Sensei has referred to the "secret mystic expedient" of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, that all entities are the true entity, which renders the common mortal as the true Buddha.

Practically, precisely WHEN those hearers of the daimoku actually take up Nichiren Daishonin's practice of the Lotus Sutra as part of the Sangha doing Kosen-Rufu is another matter, and that crucial timing is COMPLETELY out of our control. We mostly only sometimes get to pursue "damage control," after their life decisions have become clear to us.

This is because each person's mission is an unknown, even to them: and therefore their future is unknowable, with the exception of Nichiren Daishonin's guarantee of the final result of indestructible Buddhahood in this life or some other, perhaps uncountable kalpas later. This makes the untreated open wound of expedient means somewhat more tolerable, but there will always be immediate collateral damage in the process of assembling a loyal core of determined followers of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism of the Lotus Sutra. There will be much human chaff produced and some will become enemies of the Lotus Sutra and the Gohonzon as the followers of Nichiren Shu and their current validating embrace of Jodo Shinshu Nembutsu has demonstrated.

So, how have the Buddhas managed the cost and benefit analysis of the use of expedient means? Clearly not by example, because there are no historic examples to statistically analyze and weigh the results of to come up with a strategy with a definable probability of success versus failure. All of these circumstances and critical events are unique with no precedent whatsoever. No time for experimental trials and the scientific method to inform and develop a strategy.

Bayesian statistical methods purport to allow the solution of these unprecedented kinds of problems: the excellent skeptic, mathematician and physicist John Horgan takes those allusions apart here:
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/bayes-s-theorem-what-s-the-big-deal/

His general statement of the principle: "The plausibility of your belief depends on the degree to which your belief--and only your belief--explains the evidence for it. The more alternative explanations there are for the evidence, the less plausible your belief is," shows that evidence of some kind and a belief regarding the circumstances is still necessary. There is no evidence available in the cases where expedient means are employed by the Buddhas in building their Sangha, only gut feel. And that is what the Buddhas depend on: gut feel, which is a communication from their true entity giving them an idea how to proceed on faith, in spite of how the circumstances on the ground indicate that something else entirely should be done, something "practical". The Buddhas always seem to proceed impractically in critical moments of change and peril, and get away with it, over and over again. Their record of successful decision-making cannot be simply ascribed to luck. There is unconscious fore-knowledge active here, being activated through "gut-feel" timely signals delivered by their entity of the mystic Law.

When Shakyamuni preaches the Flower Garland Sutra at the first blush of his youthful enlightenment (describing the enlightenment, but not the true means of it,) and thereupon experiencing the confusion of his early followers, he perceives that some kind of expedient means must be employed. Shakyamuni then starts on a path step by step, that takes four decades to complete: so that in the end he has a sufficient Sangha to take the Lotus Sutra and its nascent Sangha to the next unforeseeable stages. In that first blush, however, none of those following steps, circumstances and decisive events can be known to him, he is receiving signals from the entity and he proceeds on faith in that true entity, on that "gut feel," which is precisely how all common mortals navigate through the troubled seas of the four sufferings of their lives.


________ The Emergence of the Gohonzon ___________

The emergence of Nichiren Daishonin's Gohonzon as the "supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvīpa" took some time.

In 1273, Nichiren writes about the Gohonzon to Sairen-bo Nichijo in "The True Aspect of All Phenomena", stating "Believe in the Gohonzon, the supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvīpa." In the same year he says the same to Gijo-bo (who with Joken-bo, were the Daishonin’s seniors at Seicho-ji temple, under Dozen-bo).
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/40#para-16

In 1273, Nichiren writes about the Gohonzon to lay nun Sennichi, the wife of Abutsu-bo, in "On Offering Prayers to the Mandala of the Mystic Law."
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/46

In 1273, Nichiren write to Niiama about deciding not to bestow Gohonzon upon Oama, and that he is bestowing upon Niiama instead, so she can chant with her. This decision was related to Oama not having consistent faith, in "Reply to Niiama."
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/55

In 1273, Nichiren talks about the Gohonzon given for the protection of Kyo'o (one-year-old baby) in "Reply to Kyo'o." In the Background to "Reply to Kyo'o" (1273) it states:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/45

.. The Daishonin explains the significance of the Gohonzon,
.. the object of devotion. At the Tatsunokuchi Persecution
.. in 1271, the Daishonin revealed his identity as the
.. Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law. Only after this did
.. he begin to inscribe the Gohonzon and bestow it on his
.. followers, particularly those who had staunch faith in
.. his teachings.

In 1275, Nichiren gives the Gohonzon to lay nun Myoshin in "On Upholding Faith in the Gohonzon."
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/73

Later, he bestows Gohonzon upon Joken-bo in 1276 at the death of Dozen-bo in "On Repaying Debts of Gratitude."
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/88

Clearly, there was no Gohonzon before 1271 and Tatsunokuchi, although he was thinking about the issues requiring it as far back as 1264 because of the mishaps of some of his followers (members do teach us by their struggles and sufferings, if we pay attention to them.) In the Gosho letter 'The Recitation of the “Expedient Means” and “Life Span” Chapters', WRITTEN IN 1264, WND I, p. 71:

.. Also in your letter, you say that three times each day
.. you bow in reverence to the seven characters of the
.. daimoku, [Note 11: That is, the Gohonzon.] and that each
.. day you repeat the words Namu-ichijo-myoten [Note 12:
.. Namu-ichijo-myoten means "devotion to the wonderful
.. sutra of the one vehicle." It was an expression of
.. devotion to the Lotus Sutra that was chanted as an
.. invocation.] ten thousand times. At times of
.. menstruation, however, you refrain from reading the
.. sutra. You ask if it is unseemly to bow in reverence to
.. the seven characters or to recite Namu-ichijo-myoten
.. without facing [the Gohonzon], or if you should refrain
.. from doing even that during your menstrual period. You
.. also ask how many days following the end of your period
.. you should wait before resuming recitation of the
.. sutra.

Note, that this text was from an earlier publication of the WND I and has been corrected in later publication, below.

Where it says in Note 11 "That is, the Gohonzon.", and later in the paragraph "without facing [the Gohonzon],", this is an erroneous notation and that should say something else, which I pointed out some years ago (and probably many others,) and that notation has been changed online as well.

That notation error is what is known as a prochronism "in which the object or idea has not yet been invented when the situation takes place, and therefore could not have possibly existed at the time"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anachronism#Prochronism

Here's the corrected current version (ibid.):
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/9#para-19
.. Also in your letter, you say that three times each day
.. you bow in reverence to the seven characters of the
.. title, and that each day you repeat the words
.. Namu-ichijō-myōten ten thousand times. At times of
.. menstruation, however, you refrain from reading the
.. sutra. You ask if it is unseemly to bow in reverence to
.. the seven characters or to recite Namu-ichijō-myōten
.. without facing [the Lotus Sutra], or if you should
.. refrain from doing even that during your menstrual
.. period. You also ask how many days following the end of
.. your period you should wait before resuming recitation
.. of the sutra.

Later in the text of the same Gosho, Nichiren affirms that she should not chant Namu-ichijo-myoten .. and need not bow facing the "sutra".

In the same Gosho, 'The Recitation of the “Expedient Means” and “Life Span” Chapters', WND I, p. 72:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/9#para-26

.. On this basis, even if your menstrual period should
.. last as long as seven days, if you feel so inclined,
.. dispense with the reading of the sutra and simply recite
.. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Also, when making your devotions,
.. you need not bow facing the sutra.

This implies that she was using the sutra cover itself as a honzon, and bowing to it while she chanted the wrong invocation.

THREE TIMES A DAY, FOR 2 1/2 HOURS, makes 7 1/2 hours a day chanting the wrong thing to the wrong object of devotion.

Gosh.

This Gosho letter, written in 1264, was prior to the emergence of the Gohonzon, and these events may indeed have been part of what made the Daishonin realize the necessity of the supreme object of devotion throughout Jambudvīpa, to save people from chanting to the wrong object of devotion and slandering the Law inadvertently, through their point of focus.

However that conjecture plays out, the reference to her having received the Gohonzon this early on in the history of Nichiren's Buddhism, and chanting the wrong invocation to it, and then Nichiren telling her it's OK to not face the Gohonzon while chanting the daimoku correctly was incorrect on its face. Hence the notation was wrong or at least misleading.

However, I am profoundly grateful for this prochronation error, because it allowed me to find this reference, many years ago, which I would not have been able to find today, except by pure luck.

And we should all be immeasurably grateful to the wife of Hiki Daigaku Saburō Yoshimoto, for her great desire for "the supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvīpa," I believe. And that she had the courage, not widely available at that time in Japan, to share EXACTLY what she was doing with the Daishonin: being completely open with someone who might rebuke her. That courage is rare even in this time (except from my corrupted friends in Nichiren Shu who share their distortions openly with me so that I might rebuke them sternly in long form: my gratitude towards them is immeasurable.)

I would deduce that actual proof of the appropriate amount of respect for the wife of Hiki Daigaku Saburō Yoshimoto (and those unfortunates following the Nichiren Shu) and their sufferings MEANS NOT REPEATING THEM. There is a larger point related to expedient means and provisional practices, which should be obvious on its face, and Nichiren Daishonin has made that clear: NOT REPEATING THEM AND GOING THROUGH THAT SUFFERING AGAIN. Humanity has now suffered sufficiently from these practices and distorted teachings and there is no purpose with further suffering of this sort:

From "The Embankments of Faith", WND I, p. 74:
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/74#para-10

.. Now you should make a great vow and pray for your next
.. life. If you are disbelieving or slander the correct
.. teaching even in the slightest, you will certainly fall
.. into the great citadel of the hell of incessant suffering.
.. Suppose there is a ship that sails on the open sea. Though
.. the ship is stoutly built, if it is flooded by a leak,
.. those on the ship are sure to drown together. Though the
.. embankment between rice fields is firm, if there is an ant
.. hole in it, then surely, in the long run, it will not
.. remain full of water. BAIL THE SEAWATER OF SLANDER AND
.. DISBELIEF OUT OF THE SHIP OF YOUR LIFE, AND SOLIDIFY THE
.. EMBANKMENTS OF YOUR FAITH. If a believer’s offense is
.. slight, overlook it, and lead that person to obtain
.. benefits. If it is serious, encourage him to strengthen his
.. faith so that he can expiate the sin.

This was posted in ARBN, from a question, which I mentioned should be directed to someone knowledgable in the SGI:

.. This from Soka Spirit.
..
.. 3) They claim There are Missing Characters on Nichikan
.. Gohonzon
..
.. There are characters on the Nikken and Nittatsu transcribed
.. Gohonzon that are not on the Nichikan Gohonzon. The essence
.. of the Gohonzon is the inscription that embodies the power
.. of the Law and the power of the Buddha, or
.. “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.” This inscription represents the
.. enlightened life of Nichiren Daishonin; this is the heart
.. of the Gohonzon.
..
.. The surrounding names which represent the mutual possession
.. of the Ten Worlds are secondary and have varied since
.. Nichiren began inscribing Gohonzon. Not all of the Gohonzon
.. inscribed by Nichiren are the same by any means. For
.. example, of the 120 extant Nichiren inscribed Gohonzon,
.. only about a third contain the name Devadatta representing
.. the world of Hell; only 65 contain Shariputra and
.. Maudgalayana representing people of the two vehicles, and
.. so on.
..
.. After the Daishonin’s death, successive high priests
.. exercised their own judgment in how to represent the
.. principle of the Ten Worlds.
..
.. As usual with this practice, if one has enough seeking
.. spirit, one finds the answers one is looking for.

In response to that dialog, came a posting and a chain of responses that may become deleted out of embarrassment (my comments are preceded by dots .. theirs by bars ||, It is lengthy, and I have enclosed it in double underlines so you can see it's extent):
https://groups.google.com/d/msg/alt.religion.buddhism.nichiren/uW7dASM3NC4/hiHPMhCuCQAJ
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
.. There we go. When the people following Nichiren Shu parade
.. around their stolen Gohonzon obtained there, proclaiming
.. that they have a true ten-world Gohonzon, they are like a
.. Matador holding up the ears of the bull that they have just
.. killed to the roar of the crowd. The prostrate forms of the
.. Buddhas in the ten direction that they have slain are
.. literally everywhere.
..
.. What they will never perceive with a stolen Gohonzon, due
.. to the slander involved in receiving it, is what was heard
.. from the SGI: Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo Nichiren down the middle
.. is all you need to manifest the ten worlds and all the
.. other jewels in the treasure tower of your life, mirrored
.. in the Gohonzon. The cause for that is chanting with faith,
.. and in the early going, hope substitutes for that faith
.. (because one hopes it might just work.)
..
.. It's not just an image in black and white, Gohonzon has
.. dimensions in the realm of faith that you cannot perceive
.. optically.
..
.. I have seven questions for those minions of darkness at
.. Nichiren Shu waving around their stolen "authentic Nichiren
.. ten-world Gohonzon":
..
.. 1. For all those other Nichiren Gohonzon missing one or
.. another secondary items: are all those Gohonzon faked, like
.. the Gosho letters you call faked?
..
.. 2. Do those authentic Nichiren non-ten-world Gohonzon work,
.. or not?
..
.. 3. Did Nichiren Daishonin actually give his followers
.. Gohonzon that were non-functional, or did he chant to them
.. and see that they worked?
..
.. 4. Do you believe Nichiren Daishonin could be so
.. intentionally cruel to his devoted followers?
..
.. 5. Do you believe Nichiren Daishonin to be so irresponsibly
.. lazy and careless to neglect to chant to those few hundred
.. Gohonzon that he just spent much careful time inscribing
.. for his followers: to quality assure that the most
.. important product of his life might function properly?
..
.. 6. Do you really believe Nichiren Daishonin is that stupid?
.. Or do you just hate him that much?
..
.. 7. And, by the way, do you think that your "authentic
.. Nichiren ten-world Gohonzon" has EVERY SINGLE SOLITARY
.. secondary item inscribed on it from all the Gohonzon
.. Nichiren Daishonin ever inscribed? What are YOU missing on
.. your "authentic Nichiren ten-world Gohonzon"?
..
.. Actually, I can answer that one for you: you have missed
.. entirely everything and all the points of Nichiren
.. Daishonin's practice of Lotus Sutra Buddhism. What you have
.. found is a pointed, utter hatred of Nichiren Daishonin, his
.. followers and the Lotus Sutra, by chanting to a Gohonzon
.. received from the traitors and murderers of Nichiren Shu
.. that now worship statues and chant to stolen Gohonzon
.. copied from those that should only belong to Nichiren
.. Daishonin's true followers pursuing his Kosen Rufu movement.
..
.. I would suggest that Nichiren Daishonin inscribed secondary
.. items on some Gohonzon to personalize the Gohonzon in areas
.. of concern, for those followers who needed a leg up to get
.. on their horse and ride. Those who distort that act of deep
.. and thoughtful compassion have turned Nichiren Daishonin's
.. concern for an individual follower and their family, into a
.. weapon of mass destruction to attack his Kosen Rufu
.. movement. Some serious batsu, there!

||... Its not just an image in black and white, the Gohonzon
||... has dimensions in the realm of faith that you cannot
||... perceive optically.
|| Then you can chant to Shakyamuni's or Nichiren's statue and
|| percieve the Gohonzon with your kind of faith that doesn't
|| need optical representations better still all you have to
|| do is think it as it already exists the unseen dimension

.. No, I said the GOHONZON has unseen dimensions, not my mind
.. or some statues. I perceive them when I chant. They only
.. appear in the GOHONZON.
..
.. You have a real problem parsing an English sentence. Maybe
.. some remedial reading classes? Glasses?

|| The true aspect and all phenomena have to be present to be
|| a holistic presentation of our life,in other words they
|| have to be side by side because the true aspect doesn't
|| exist by itself. If you have to look into unseen dimensions
|| of the Gohonzon to complete the 10 worlds every time you do
|| gongyo you would have to be visualizing the 5 worlds that
|| are not there so you could transform them.
||
|| Since the oneness of true aspect and all phenomena are
|| already present in Nichirens 10 world Gohonzons I don't
|| have to stress about remembering the missing worlds each
|| time I do gongyo or wishfully believe that they are there
|| just so I can justify having a five world Gohonzon as you do
||
|| We perceive whatever we like in our mind games and Buddhism
|| is a mind game that your really bad at playing because of
|| your narrow perception of Buddhism. The Gohonzon exists in
|| the seen and unseen to the minutest material phenomena to
|| that which is beyond matter as an infinite potential to the
|| manifestation of that potential that is in my room as a
|| copy of an original 10 world Nichiren inscribed Gohonzon
|| that is missing in your practice and why your practice is
|| only a partial truth that slanders the higher truth...Namu
|| Myoho Renge Kyo

.. What you just said, reveals a lot that you did not intend
.. about what you have not perceived, that any person chanting
.. to a Gohonzon ... that was NOT stolen AND NOT received
.. from traitors that turned away from Nichiren Daishonin the
.. moment that he died and actually a long time before that ...
.. will actually perceive. And that's probably why all the
.. worlds are inscribed onto that Gohonzon for you.

|| Answers to your questions are in my responses you just need
|| to percieve them through the dimensions of my responses as
|| you pecieve through faith the 10 worlds in the dimensions
|| of your Gohonzon

.. What an utter pile of crap that rhetorical nightmare of a
.. statement is!
..
.. That was straight from the heart of your Tenji Ma (upper
.. right, runs down from the same level as Myo on your
.. Gohonzon.) His illogical output is as twisted as the traps
.. he has laid for you.
..
.. Even though you are a seeker and a Bodhisattva this does
.. not automatically confer success in reaching your goal, at
.. least not in this kalpa: to enter the the Lotus Sutra path
.. is to attain enlightenment and gain those benefits in the
.. three existences of past, present and future (sometime.) To
.. gather the inconspicuous benefits of practice, you must
.. follow Nichiren Daishonin's admonitions EXACTLY.
..
.. In your case, your Tenji-Ma (the greatest enemy of all is
.. the most knowledgeable of you: yourself) has laid an
.. impossible trap for you to exit from. Your own theoretical
.. knowledge has made it impossible to escape this trap. Note
.. that I never make the mistake of entering the deep hole
.. with you Nichiren Shu followers in attempting to extract
.. you (I don't visit your temples, read your books, click on
.. your URLs, view your altar and Gohonzon images and if they
.. appear on my web access of a browser inadvertently, I
.. delete all browser history immediately.)
..
.. But at least you are close enough to hear, if not believe,
.. the truth about what you are doing: so that there might be
.. a chance to do something some years down the line, in the
.. exhaustion of your failed efforts to do the impossible
.. (since you have bollixed up all avenues of escape from your
.. maze.)
..
.. I will not give you the answers to what you will perceive
.. (those are rewards bestowed by the entity of the mystic law
.. alone), however, there are hints available from some
.. classical sources, and I can share an observation related
.. to scale.

.. 1. There is satirical, political and mathematical book
.. written by a school teacher named Edwin A. Abbott in the
.. 1884 called Flatland (here's the Wikipedia summary,) it
.. serves as a poor analogy to that which we discuss:
..
.... The story describes a two-dimensional world occupied by
.... geometric figures, whereof women are simple
.... line-segments, while men are polygons with various
.... numbers of sides. The narrator is a square named A
.... Square, a member of the caste of gentlemen and
.... professionals, who guides the readers through some of
.... the implications of life in two dimensions. The first
.... half of the story goes through the practicalities of
.... existing in a two-dimensional universe as well as a
.... history leading up to the year 1999 on the eve of the
.... 3rd Millennium.
....
.... On New Year's Eve, the Square dreams about a visit to a
.... one-dimensional world (Lineland) inhabited by "lustrous
.... points", in which he attempts to convince the realm's
.... monarch of a second dimension; but is unable to do so.
.... In the end, the monarch of Lineland tries to kill A
.... Square rather than tolerate his nonsense any further.
....
.... Following this vision, he is himself visited by a
.... three-dimensional sphere named A Sphere, which he
.... cannot comprehend until he sees Spaceland (a
.... tridimensional world) for himself. This Sphere visits
.... Flatland at the turn of each millennium to introduce a
.... new apostle to the idea of a third dimension in the
.... hopes of eventually educating the population of
.... Flatland. From the safety of Spaceland, they are able
.... to observe the leaders of Flatland secretly
.... acknowledging the existence of the sphere and
.... prescribing the silencing of anyone found preaching the
.... truth of Spaceland and the third dimension. After this
.... proclamation is made, many witnesses are massacred or
.... imprisoned (according to caste), including A Square's
.... brother, B.
....
.... After the Square's mind is opened to new dimensions, he
.... tries to convince the Sphere of the theoretical
.... possibility of the existence of a fourth (and fifth,
.... and sixth ...) spatial dimension; but the Sphere
.... returns his student to Flatland in disgrace.
....
.... The Square then has a dream in which the Sphere visits
.... him again, this time to introduce him to Pointland,
.... whereof the point (sole inhabitant, monarch, and
.... universe in one) perceives any communication as a
.... thought originating in his own mind (cf. Solipsism):
....
.... "You see," said my Teacher, "how little your words have
.... done. So far as the Monarch understands them at all, he
.... accepts them as his own – for he cannot conceive of any
.... other except himself – and plumes himself upon the
.... variety of Its Thought as an instance of creative
.... Power. Let us leave this God of Pointland to the
.... ignorant fruition of his omnipresence and omniscience:
.... nothing that you or I can do can rescue him from his
.... self-satisfaction." — the Sphere
....
.... The Square recognizes the identity of the ignorance of
.... the monarchs of Pointland and Lineland with his own
.... (and the Sphere's) previous ignorance of the existence
.... of higher dimensions. Once returned to Flatland, the
.... Square cannot convince anyone of Spaceland's existence,
.... especially after official decrees are announced that
.... anyone preaching the existence of three dimensions will
.... be imprisoned (or executed, depending on caste).
.... Eventually the Square himself is imprisoned for just
.... this reason, with only occasional contact with his
.... brother who is imprisoned in the same facility. He does
.... not manage to convince his brother, even after all they
.... have both seen. Seven years after being imprisoned, A
.... Square writes out the book Flatland in the form of a
.... memoir, hoping to keep it as posterity for a future
.... generation that can see beyond their two-dimensional
.... existence.
..
.. In all dimensions (2D flatland, 1D lineland, 3D spaceland,
.. etc.) the way that higher dimensional beings and things
.. come into view is by entering the "plane" (called a
.. hyperplane, "a subspace of one dimension less than its
.. ambient space." - Wikipedia) of their higher dimensionality
.. that is created by holding one of their dimensions (or
.. rotated dimensions) as a constant, and positioning their
.. locus to include that constant value.
..
.. When a higher three-dimensional object in flatland is
.. perceived by a resident of that "plane" it is perceived as
.. linear slices that start as nothing, and then as it passes
.. orthogonally through the "plane" (holding x and y
.. coordinates and rotation constant) it grows and then
.. shrinks back down to nothing again.
..
.. This poor analogy will serve you well enough, although it
.. is clearly inadequate to explain the appearance of actual
.. ichinen sanzen in the mirror of the Gohonzon, that mandala
.. being received properly from a legitimate source, in an
.. environment of minimal slander of the Law and lots of
.. daimoku and aggressive practice (mainly shakubuku) in the
.. SGI.
..
.. It is my opinion that both educators, the
.. philosopher-historian Mr. Makiguchi and the advanced
.. algebraist Mr Toda (author of the most popular Algebra book
.. in Japan at the time) were aware of that work and found
.. this experience incredibly compelling actual proof of the
.. Gohonzon, and that the Law itself is the source of
.. Mathematics and Logic. [I love Math precisely because, as
.. in its source, it is unforgiving of even the tiniest
.. critical error in reasoning and execution. This is what
.. makes me a better person, that firm requirement that I
.. actually BE a better person, not just have the NOBLE
.. APPEARANCE of someone attempting to be one.]
..
.. 2. My observation of actual ichinen sanzen has an
.. interesting constant. (a.) Some of the SGI Buddhist centers
.. have ENORMOUS Nichikan Gohonzon installed. One I visit only
.. occasionally has a very large secondary Gohonzon, and a
.. truly gigantic primary Gohonzon in the main hall (almost as
.. big as a door), and I like to sit up close when I'm there
.. and chant to it. The one at the FNCC is that size, but the
.. front row of the seats is back a ways. (b.) When I sit at
.. the Gajokai desk doing Men's Division Toban at the local
.. SGI Buddhist center, I can see the Gohonzon at the end of
.. the main hall and I do chant to it under my breath,
.. whenever possible while not being obtuse or detached from
.. the the members and guests coming in and out or activities
.. I need to attend to (that keeps me sharp and on my game.)
..
.. In all cases when I chant to the Gohonzon, the view of
.. actual ichinen sanzen is both dynamic and most
.. interestingly, completely at the scale of and collocated
.. with the rotational and spatial coordinates of the Gohonzon
.. that I am chanting to, near or far, independent of my
.. viewing angle, or even the positioning of my eyes. The
.. universal spacetime implications of this observation must
.. have brought home the truth of Nichiren Buddhism,
.. especially to Mr. Toda, who undoubtedly knows advanced
.. algebra, and its applications in analytic geometry and the
.. various forms of the calculus, a whole lot better than I do.
..
.. So, take heart. Your time will come.
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

Next, let's pin down the date when the supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvīpa, the Gohonzon, has appeared according to Nichiren Daishonin: we know it has to be after the decade of the 1260s, and after 1271 and Tatsunokuchi. This means Sado could be the location where the Gohonzon emerged.

Here is the real question: When does Nichiren Daishonin think the Gohonzon has appeared?

A hint is inscribed on all Gohonzon. From the SGI Dictionary definition for Gohonzon, it describes what Nichiren Daishonin himself inscribed on the Gohonzon and what it says on other Gohonzon, including the Nichikan Gohonzon I chant to:

http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/G/44
.. 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.”

Now, the SGI Dictionary also lists various dates, some clearly wrong, on when the Buddha passed.

Shakyamuni, date of passing 949 BCE
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/dic/Content/S/110
.. Shakyamuni [釈尊・釈迦牟尼] (Skt; Jpn Shakuson or Shakamuni):
.. Also known as Gautama Buddha. The founder of Buddhism.
.. “Shakyamuni” means “sage of the Shākyas,” Shākya being the
.. name of the tribe or clan to which his family belonged.
.. Opinions differ concerning the dates of his birth and
.. death. According to Buddhist tradition in China and Japan,
.. he was born on the eighth day of the fourth month of 1029
.. b.c.e. and died on the fifteenth day of the second month of
.. 949 b.c.e., but recent studies have him living nearly five
.. hundred years later. The view prevalent among scholars is
.. that Shakyamuni lived from about 560 to about 480 b.c.e.,
.. though some scholars hold that he lived from about 460 to
.. about 380 b.c.e.

I say the more recent dates are wrong, from precise dating by AMS and other methods in recent years, from the remnants of small bits of the ropes that were used in transporting the carved images to the Great Stupa and other stupa sites that put their ages back well beyond 500 BCE, and since hemp rope ages and breaks in a few years those dates are solid. Those stupa sites were only started during and after the reign of King Ashoka, who convened the Third Council of Buddhism.

The First Council was convened in the year of the Buddha's death, the Second Council was a hundred years after the First and concluded with the schism, over the Vinaya or monastic discipline, which resulted in the Theravada/Hinayana Southern Canon and the development of the Mahayana and the Northern Canon (summarized for brevity.) The Third Council was convened by King Ashoka, who reigned for 37 years, took up Buddhism 7 years after becoming King and after establishing it as the state religion of India. The Pali Canon reports that it was convened 236 years after the Buddha's death. This would be around the same time as the Great Stupas were constructed, and their adornment with carvings of images of the Buddha's life went on for a century. 236 years plus 500 BCE puts us back farther than 736 BCE for the date of the Buddha's death, closer to what Vasubandhu, Nāgārjuna, Vasubandhu, Nan-yüeh, T’ien-t’ai, Dengyō and Nichiren Daishonin thought was his date from the Northern School, which is around 949 BCE listed above. I have no doubt that more precise dating of the relics of King Ashoka will eventually prove them right and the scholars wrong. [Scholars, being believers in academic consensus, are conservative and almost always wrong in their estimates, until precise scientific measurement points out the facts. Being conservative in your estimation is a good thing. Clinging to those educated guesses after science has proven them objectively wrong is NOT a good thing.]

However, even that Northern date puts the Gohonzon as never having been seen until 2230 minus 949 equals 1282, the year of Nichiren Daishonin's passing, so that's off by a now smaller error.

What really matters is when Nichiren Daishonin thought that the Buddha passed away giving a relative offset for when Nichiren Daishonin felt the Gohonzon appeared, and we can get that from the seven Goshos mentioning that duration and the dates of their writing. Relative dating may get us closer to what he thought.

1. "Some 2,230 years have now passed since Shakyamuni Buddha passed away." (written in 1277, but opinions vary from 1271 to 1282) from "How Those Initially Aspiring to the Way Can Attain Buddhahood through the Lotus Sutra", WND I, p. 877.
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/110#para-31

2. "Already, over 2,230 years have passed since the demise of the Buddha." (written in 1278, the twenty-eighth day of the seventh month of the first year of Kōan) from "The Sutra of True Requital", WND I, p. 929.
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/123#para-9

3. "Now we have seen huge comets of a magnitude never known before in the 2,230 or more years since the Buddha’s passing," (written in 1275, at Minobu in the first year of Kenji) "The Selection of the Time", WND I, p. 574.
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/66#para-219

4. "It is now some 2,230 years since the Buddha’s passing." (written in 1278, The fifteenth day of the ninth month in the first year of Kōan) "The Farther the Source, the Longer the Stream", WND I, p. 941.
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/125#para-8

5. "In the 2,230 and more years since the Buddha’s passing," (written in 1279, the first day of the tenth month of the second year of Kōan) "On Persecutions Befalling the Sage", WND I, p. 997.
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-1/Content/138#para-3

6. "In the more than 2,230 years since the World-Honored One expounded this object of devotion," (written in 1278, written in the ninth month in the first year of Kōan), WND II, p. 798.
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-2/Content/302#para-102

7. "From that time on [referring to the day of Shakyamuni's birth], for a period of over 2,230 years," (written in 1282, the seventh day of the first month) "The Eighth Day", WND II, p. 980.
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/wnd-2/Content/351#para-1

We can throw out the dating from number one (opinions vary as to when it was written) and number seven (The Buddha's birth, not his passing). The rest of the data cluster around 1278 and "more than" and "or more years", which places 1278 as an upper bound by a handful of years.

This affirms the dates we had from the Gosho letters discussing the Gohonzon conferred to followers, WHICH CLUSTER AROUND 1273, when the Gohonzon has emerged (past tense) in form and appeared as "the supreme object of devotion in all of Jambudvīpa," according to Nichiren Daishonin's own views on timing and in the Gosho letters he wrote to followers receiving some Gohonzon.

Hence, the best date I have for the emergence of the Gohonzon, from Nichiren Daishonin's published viewpoint, is objectively the year 1272. And EVERY Gohonzon inscribed by Nichiren Daishonin in that decade until his death in 1282 was a perfectly functioning Gohonzon, if we are to think of ourselves as followers of Nichiren Daishonin. ALL OF THOSE GOHONZON ARE COLLECTIVELY AND INDIVIDUALLY "THE SUPREME OBJECT OF DEVOTION IN ALL OF JAMBUDVĪPA." Thinking otherwise, would be hating and damning Nichiren Daishonin to hell.

__________________________________________________

end of part 2 of 3, continued in part 3 of 3 ...

. The full 28 Chapters of the Lotus Sutra,
. Nichiren Daishonin's Gosho volumes I and II,
. the Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings
. (Gosho Zenshu, including the Ongi Kuden) and the
. SGI Dictionary of Buddhism are located at:
.
http://www.nichirenlibrary.org/en/
.
. To find an SGI Community Center:
.
http://www.sgi-usa.org/sgilocations/

LS Chap. 16 .....

At that time the World-Honored One, wishing to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

Since I attained Buddhahood
the number of kalpas that have passed
is an immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands,
millions, trillions, asamkhyas.
Constantly I have preached the Law, teaching, converting
countless millions of living beings,
causing them to enter the Buddha way,
all this for immeasurable kalpas.
In order to save living beings,
as an expedient means I appear to enter nirvana
but in truth I do not pass into extinction.
I am always here preaching the Law.
I am always here,
but through my transcendental powers
I make it so that living beings in their befuddlement
do not see me even when close by.
When the multitude see that I have passed into extinction,
far and wide they offer alms to my relics.
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