Life and legends of Nichiren
On Nichiren’s Gohonzon for Practicing Kanjin
Revised & Updated 02-09-2006

As of April of 1272, Nichiren, then in exile on Sado Island, had been transferred from Tsukahara (eastern central Sado), to the residence of Kondo Kiyohisa at Ichinosawa (modern Sawata, west central Sado, near Mano Bay).

The Esoteric Ichinen Sanzen Honzon or Amulet is one of about 8 early honzon that are not dated. It is thouht that it was written in June of 1272 at Ichino-no-sawa. There are 3 Nichiren Temples that I know of in the Sawata area. These are Abutsubo Myosenji, Sado Jisso-ji, and Sado Myoshoji. Sado Myoshoji was likely the site of the residence of Kondo Kiyohisa.

What makes the Ichinen Sanzen Mandara unique, is the inclusion of the siddham, or two esoteric sanskrit seed symbols, for the Buddha Mahavairochana (Dainichi). In Nichiren’s time, the eclectic-syncretic Jimon-Tendai and Shingon Schools, who ran the Buddhist temples at Kamakura Tsurugaoka Hachimaguji, viewed Shinto Kami as manifestations of Buddhist Divinities. The most important of these was the syntheses of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu Omikami or Tensho Daijin with Dainichi. This also relates to the Siddham symbols for Aizen and Fudo, which are on many of Nichiren’s Mandala Gohonzon.

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Partial Tentative Transliteration:
On your left, facing, reading right to left: Namu Shakamuni Butsu – Namu Monju-Fugen Bosastsu – Namu Kishimojin
Down the center: Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo
On your right, facing, reading from left to right: Namu Taho Nyorai – Namu Chigi Bosatsu – Namu Jurasetsunyo
Sanskrit Seed Symbols: On the top, each side: Mahavairochana (Dainchi) On the right your left, facing: Aizen On your right, facing: Fudo
Bottom: Nichiren’s Signature and Seal.
Images of the Ichinen Sanzen Mandala may be viewed by clicking on these links.
@ Nichiren’s Coffeehouse Gohonzon Shu
@ lbis japanese gohonzon shu
@ GohonzonForum (Membership Required) / home page
@ GohonzonInfo (Membership Required) / home page
See Also: Lucia DOLCE Nichiren’s Attitude toward Esoteric Buddhism .PDF
The Ichinen Sanzen Honzon is now kept at the Hiraga Hondo-ji (Ajisaidera) Temple {Home Page} in Matsudo, of the old Shimousa Province on Boso Hanto. I believe this temple is affiliated with the Kamakura based Nichiro-Hikigayatsu lineage headquartered at Kamakura Myohonji .

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In addition to the Ichinen Sanzen Mandala, Hondo-ji at Hiraga also houses two other original Nichiren Mandalas. These are #17 and #18, both undated. The Temple appears to be closely connected with the conversion of Nichiro’s half brother Nichizo (1269-1342).