Nikko on the Gohonzon in 1288
Below are some translations of a paragraph of Nikko’s 1288 letter. Anyone wish to take a crack at what exactly Nikko was talking about? It involved a dispute over how to make and eye open a Gohonzon for the Altar at Kuon-ji.
“A few people have drawn the image of the lord of teachings of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Shakyamuni Buddha enlightened from remote ages past which is the reason for Sage Nichiren’s advent in this world. But no one has carved a wooden statue yet. The lay priest got an idea, “I want to do my bit to make a formal wooden statue of Shakyamuni. Acharya Mimbu gave him an unnecessary advice that he should make an wooden Buddha in the place of the one which Acharya Daikoku robbed.” (K.K)
“One or two people humbly made pictorial images of Venerable Shakyamuni, the Thus-Come-One, who attained Buddhahood in the remote past, the Lord of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the long-cherished object of Nichiren [Dai]Shonin, but no one yet has made a wooden statue. However, the Nyudo thinks to humbly make one. Although I know that it has no use, Niko directed him to make it in place of the Buddha that Daikoku-Ajari plundered.” — {Koshi-e 2004 Rev. Shoshin Kawabe}
“There have been one or two people who have taken it upon themselves and painted the image of Nam’ Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo and the “Master of the Teachings, the venerable Sakyamuni”, the “Tathagata of the Actual Attaining Enlightenment of Kuon” that was the purpose of the appearance of Nichiren Daishonin. Yet, no one in this school has ever made a wooden Satue Sakyamuni to worship. There is no use for a statue so he should stop thinking about it. ` I learned that Niko suggested to Nichi-en Nyuudou that they should make a Buddha statue about the size of the one Nichiren had, to replace it, as Nichiro destroyed the will of the Daishonin and walked off with the one that Nichiren had stated in his testament to have placed at his grave.” — John Ayers
“Besides, there have been one or two people who have taken it upon themselves to paint the image of the Tathagata of the Actual Attaining Enlightenment of Kuon, the Master of Teaching of Namu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo that was the purpose of the appearance of Nichiren Shonin. Yet, no one in this school has ever made a wooden statue of Sakyamuni to worship. Though I think there is no use for a statue, I advised and strongly persuaded him that, to replace it, he should make a Buddha statue about the size of the one Nichiren had, which Nichiro walked off with. ” — {Sorin Yasuhara}
日蓮聖人御出世の本懐南無妙法蓮華経の教主釈尊久遠実成の如来の画像は一二人書き奉り候えども、未だ木像は誰も造り奉らず候に、入道御微力を以つて形の如く造立し奉らんと思し召し立ち候に、御用途も候わざるに、大国阿闍梨の奪い取り奉り候…
“Besides that, a few people have written (書) dedications (奉) to Namu Myoho-Renge-Kyo, which is the calligraphic image (画像) of Shakuson (釈尊), the Master of the Teaching (教主) and Nyorai (如来) from Kuon Jitsujo (久遠実成); which is the true intention (本懐) of Sage Nichiren’s honorable advent (御出) in the world (世). But no one has made (造) an offering (奉) of an image in wood (木像). The Nyudo, due to his poor ability (微力), felt (思し召し) he should make (造立) an offering (奉) like (如) the figure (形) which Daikoku Ajari snatched (奪).” — Hell