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Q: Why do we chant to the Gohonzon?

Photo by Dave Goodman.

A: The literal meaning of honzon is object of devotion. Go is an honorific. Even people who declare that they are not religious will surely have something that they value or esteem most highly. Whatever people cherish most dearly—that is their object of fundamental respect, or object of devotion. … 

What you make the object of your greatest veneration will have a profound influence on your life. Nichiren Buddhism takes as its object of fundamental respect the life of the Buddha—the eternal essence of life at one with the universe. (Discussions on Youth, pp. 234–35)

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Nichiren Daishonin revealed the object of fundamental respect, the Gohonzon, in the form of a mandala so that we could tap and manifest the power of the Mystic Law in our own lives. …

When we recite the sutra and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon, the microcosm of our individual lives harmonizes seamlessly with the macrocosm of the universe.

The universe and our lives are manifestations of the Mystic Law, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. The Gohonzon is also an embodiment of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Since all are entities of the Mystic Law, they are essentially one and indivisible. Therefore, when we focus on the Gohonzon while chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, our lives and the universe merge like cogs in a great machine meshing together with perfect precision, and we begin to move in the direction of happiness and fulfillment. (Discussions on Youth, p. 218)

Winning Over Myself Every Day

White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire