The DaiGohonzon was inscribed on October 12, 1279.

In the Minobu area, during the 13th-century, there was a temple called Shijuku-in of the
Tendai sect. In his childhood Second High Priest Nikko Shonin studied and entered the
priesthood at this temple. Following his stay at Shijuku-in he became a disciple of
Nichiren
Daishonin and accompanied him into exile to Izu Peninsula and throughout his life. Once the
Daishonin retired to Minobu, Nikko Shonin spent much of his time converting his family and
friends, and priests he had studied with at Shijuku-in. He was so successful at propagation that
the number of people following the Daishonin's teachings grew rapidly. The Chief Priest of
Shijuku-in became very suspicious of Nikko Shonin's activities and appealed to the government
to have him stopped. Nothing was done, so Nikko Shonin moved on to the nearby village of
Atsuhara. Again, in and around Atsuhara Nikko Shonin very successfully converted large
numbers of farmers. These peasant folk firmly believed in the Daishonin's teaching. Despite
the efforts of the priest from the local temple to force these believers to refrain from practicing
the Daishonin's teachings and to return to
Nembutsu beliefs, the peasant farmers never
doubted and never recanted their faith even in the face of the menacing threats levied against
them.

Finally, on September 21, 1279 the persecution of the Atsuhara believers heightened when the
Shogunate government sent samurai into the area. Twenty peasant believers were arrested and
transported back to Kamakura where they were detained. Three brothers, Jinshiro, Yagoro and
Yarokuro became the spokesmen for these believers. They stood up to the Shogunate and
proclaimed that Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism is the only true Buddhism and the only way to
become enlightened. As a result of their bold stance, they were summarily decapitated. Despite
the execution of the three brothers, the remaining farmers held firm to their faith. And as a
result they were banished from Atsuhara and became homeless.

To state it clearly, martyrdom is not the purpose of Nichiren Daishonin's teachings. You should
carry out your faith in true Buddhism no matter what obstacles may confront you, even if you
should die as a result. This is most important. But you are not sacrificing your life for
the Law.
Should you die, you are dying for yourself. You must realize that your life, and all life, is
fundamentally
Namu-myoho-renge-kyo. That is why you must hold on to your belief in
Namu-myoho-renge-kyo no matter how difficult it is to do so. Even if you die in the process
you must hold steadfast to your faith, not for the sake of the Law, but for yourself.

Early Christian missionaries who came to Japan to convert the Japanese were put to death by
the government. Christians also murdered in the name of Christ. Notwithstanding, there were a
great number of Christian martyrs compared with only three martyrs in Nichiren Daishonin's
Buddhism. The important thing here is that these three brothers - Jinshiro, Yagoro and
Yarokuro - of Atsuhara did not forsake the Law when facing death. It is religious persecution
when one is put to death for his beliefs. But there is a great difference in meaning between one
dying for God, and one making use of his life for the true Law.

Nichiren Daishonin, recognizing how staunch the faith of these believers was, decided that the
time had arrived for him to manifest the supreme object of worship. So with the help of Nikko
Shonin, and another disciple, Nippo, he inscribed the DaiGohonzon.

If the meaning and spirit of anything is forgotten -- this includes the Dai-Gohonzon -- then it is
just a thing. If you only see the external aspect of the Dai-Gohonzon and forget that its spirit is
Namu-myoho-renge-kyo, then it is only an idol. Then, to worship this thing would be idol
worship.

At the present time, Taiseki-ji insists that wherever the Dai-Gohonzon resides is the true and
virtuous place. This is wrong. They forget the most important thing, which is how the
Daishonin described the heart and spirit of this Dai-Gohonzon. "The Real Aspect of the
Gohonzon" reads in part, "The Gohonzon exists only within the mortal flesh of us ordinary
people who embrace the Lotus Sutra and chant Namu-myoho-renge-kyo. The body is the
palace of the ninth consciousness, the unchanging reality which reigns over all life's functions.
To be 'endowed with the
Ten Worlds' means that all the Ten Worlds without exception are
contained in the one world of Buddhahood. That is why the Gohonzon is called a mandala.
Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning 'perfectly endowed' or 'cluster of blessings.' The
Gohonzon is found in faith alone."

Nikken Abe (the 67th chief priest of
Taisekiji) and the priests and lay believers who follow him
have all forgotten this spirit. Nikken and his followers cannot be saved for they are far
removed from the Daishonin's teachings.

The foregoing is my argument. My intention is to point out the erroneous views of Taiseki-ji,
and what the spirit of the Daishonin is.

Q: What is the function of the High Priest?

Rev. Hirota (RH): Above all it is for him to transmit the Daishonin's true teachings to
everyone, and to be the model for all of us to follow in the Daishonin's true teachings.

Q: Doesn't the Shoshin-kai need the High Priest in order to remain connected to
Myohorengekyo?
RH: No, because Nikken himself is wrong and, as a result of the power he has gained, he has
lost the heart of the Law; he has lost its spirit. It is a sad thing.

Q: If Nikken Abe apologizes, will the Shoshin-kai return to Taiseki-ji?

RH: He should not apologize to us. Nikken Abe thinks he is the Law. If he reevaluates and
reforms his own thinking, Taiseki-ji will change a lot. Enlightenment is the purpose of faith;
returning to Taiseki-ji is not. The most important thing is to return to the Daishonin's true
teachings. If we return to Taiseki-ji as it is today we will be smeared with slander.

Q: Is there hope for reconciliation between Shoshin-kai and Nichiren Shoshu, now that
Nichiren Shoshu has excommunicated the
Soka Gakkai? Would this mean the Shoshin-kai will
recognize the legitimacy of Nikken's succession to the High Priesthood?

RH: First of all, we do not recognize Nikken as having legitimately acceded to the position of
High Priest. We have always been ready to talk to Taiseki-ji - anytime anywhere. But
Taiseki-ji says if the Shoshin-kai does not agree to an absolute Gohonzon and absolute High
Priest they will not talk. It will be very difficult to talk to Taiseki-ji if they won't open their
eyes to the Daishonin's true teachings. The correct path of true faith is not through group
negotiations and bargaining. It is for each one of us to carefully consider whether Taiseki-ji's
assertions are true or not. The Shoshin-kai does not acknowledge Nikken's claim of succession
to the position of High Priest. There was no transfer ceremony for him to receive the position
from
Nittatsu Shonin, and no transfer document. From Nichiren Daishonin's point of view
Nikken is wrong. He deviates from the Daishonin's teachings.
Translated and edited by Udumbara Foundation volunteers
This is NOT an official site of
the Nichiren Shoshu Shoshin-kai
This is NOT an official site of
the Nichiren Shoshu Shoshin-kai
This is NOT an official site of
the Nichiren Shoshu Shoshin-kai
THE SPIRIT OF THE
DAI-GOHONZON
&
ROLE OF THE HIGH PRIEST
Reverend Raido Hirota