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Gosho Study

The Banner of Kosen-rufu

Members and friends at the March Youth Peace Festival, Brooklyn, New York, March 2024.

How wondrous it is that, around two hundred years and more into the Latter Day of the Law, I was the first to reveal as the banner of propagation of the Lotus Sutra this great mandala [the Gohonzon] that even those such as [the learned Indian Buddhist monks] Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu [and the Great Teachers of China] T’ien-t’ai and Miao-lo were unable to express. This mandala is in no way my invention. It is the object of devotion that depicts Shakyamuni Buddha, the World-Honored One, seated in the treasure tower of Many Treasures Buddha, and the Buddhas who were Shakyamuni’s emanations as perfectly as a print matches its woodblock. 

—“The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 831

It is worth noting again that Nichiren Daishonin says he revealed the Gohonzon as “the banner of propagation of the Lotus Sutra,” indicating that the widespread propagation of the Law, or kosen-rufu, was his guiding purpose in doing so. He inscribed the Gohonzon in the form of a mandala so that all the people of the Latter Day of the Law could attain enlightenment. His aim was to enable as many people as possible to chant before the Gohonzon and savor its benefit; it was to facilitate the propagation of the Mystic Law to as many people as possible. In that respect, the Gohonzon is truly the banner of kosen-rufu. 

Through our efforts to share Nichiren Buddhism with others, we hand the banner of human revolution and karmic transformation to one person after another. To raise high the banner of the propagation of the Mystic Law in every area and region is to advance kosen-rufu. That proud, hopeful, all-encompassing banner is the Gohonzon. …

The Gohonzon enables us to build what Mr. Toda described as “a joyful, pure, and sunny realm of friends living together in harmony and peace.”

In such a realm, everyone—no matter their circumstances or whether they are still in the process of transforming their karma—shines with the “dignified attributes that they inherently possess.” Those in the world of hell, for instance, manifest the world of hell contained within the world of Buddhahood. Though there may still be suffering, it is not the hopeless suffering of wandering lost in eternal darkness. They can bring forth the courage to face difficult realities head-on, the wisdom to surmount the obstacles arising from within and from without, and the powerful life force to make new strides forward. Sufferings become challenges that aid one’s personal transformation and growth, a springboard to great development.  (The Teachings for Victory, vol. 4, pp. 6–8)

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