The Ita-Dai-Go-Honzon Issue
Memoranda & Dedications Lower Right Side Dedication
Great Mandala Dedication
August 21, 2005 Update 01-29-2006

All Gohonzon that are based on this DaiGohonzon have the following inscription in the lower right corner. “Never in the two thousand two hundred and thirty-some years since the passing of the Buddha has this Great [Dai] Mandala appeared in the world.” — Terry Ruby
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On the majority of the extant Great Mandalas inscribed by Nichiren, there are two side entries on the bottom. The entry on the lower right side {facing} is usually a general dedication of sorts. For the sake of convenience, I shall call this the “Great Mandala Dedication.” This appears to be the same on most of them, maybe 3/4 of those extant, and states that this “Dai Mandara” had never before appeared in “Ichienbudai”. The exact words are:
Butsumetsugo ni-sen ni-hyaku san-ju yo nen no aida ichienbudai no uchi mizou no daimandara nari
Here are five translations:
“This Great Mandara was for the first time revealed in the Jambudvipa 2,220 and some years after the extinction of the Buddha.” — Ryuei
“The Mandala that has never been in Jambudvipa for the more than 2230 years after the Buddha’s Extinction.” — Nichiren Shu
“Never in 2,230-some years since the passing of the Buddha has this great mandala appeared in the world.” — SGI
“This is the Great Unprecedented Mandala [Japanese: Mandara], never yet been in the whole of Jambudvipa for the more than 2220 years after the Buddha’s extinction. [Japanese: Enbudai (Jambudvipa); the world in which we are living.]“ — Stephanie Maltz
In the twenty-two hundred and thirty years since the Buddha’s passing, this all-embracing Great Mandala of Ichien Budai has never before been revealed.” — Nichiren Shoshu
Until recently, both SGI and Nichiren Shoshu claimed that this was only found on the so-called Daigohonzon of 1279, and Taisekiji transcriptions. They stated that Ichien Budai meant it was the sole Gohonzon “for all humanity.” I trusted that was true for quite a few years.
From: KathyRuby Date: Thu Jan 31, 2002 Soka Gakkai International: “… the inscription “ichien budai soyo” for the sake of all living beings. This is an extraordinary and wonderful thing to be inscribed on a Gohonzon. It shows clearly the intent of this Buddhism: for the sake of all living beings.”
From: derekjuhl2001 Date: Thu Jan 31, 2002 Soka Gakkai International:
“What is meant by “the Gohonzon bestowed upon the entire world (ichien budai soyo)?” “The Gohonzon bestowed upon the entire world” means “this Gohonzon is the object of worship for all mankind, “signifying the Dai-Gohonzon of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teachings.”
Previously, I could find this same apparent error at many official sites of SGI & Nichiren Shoshu. However, for some strange reason, I can no longer find them with a google search.
Actually, this this exact same “Great Mandala Dedication” is seen on the Prayer Gohonzon issued to Nissho April 1276, the Taisekiji Great Mandala/Dai Gohonzon dated October 12 1279, the Great Mandala designated “Shutei Honzon” or the “Gohonzon Authorized by the Nichiren Sect” dated the of the 3rd month of 1280, the Great Mandala [For Transmitting the Dharma?] issued to Nissho in the 11th month of 1280, and dozens more.
Ichienbudai is a transliteration of Jambhudvipa. Buddhist Cosmology divides the Universe into Three Realms: Kamadhatu – the Realm of Desire, Rupadhatu – the Realm of Form, and Arupadhatu -the Formless Realm. In Kamadhatu, or Realm of Desire, there is Mount Semeru, which is surrounded by four islands. The southernmost of these islands is called Jambudvipa, or Rose Apple Island. This is where humans live.
At any rate, the same “Great Mandala Dedication” appears on many of Nichiren’s extant later year Mandala Gohonzon(s). This laudatory inscription does not make the Taisekiji Gohonzon special, it makes it rather typical. IMO, they are all for ‘all humanity’, and were entrusted to various disciples. We are fortunate that some still exist, and some of those are even on the original paper or silk.