Yes, Nichiren Daishonin
had the Gohonzon and chanted the Daimoku.
The Daishonin invoked Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo for the first time on April 28th
in 1253. Thereafter, he encouraged people to chant Daimoku in order to lead
them to attain enlightenment. Even though he encountered numerous obstacles,
the Daishonin never gave up his efforts to propagate the true Law.
After the Tatsunokuchi
Persecution, on the way to his exile on Sado Island, the Daishonin stayed for
awhile at the residence of Homma Rokuro-zaemon in Echi of Sagami (nowadays
Atsugi, Kanagawa). There in Echi, the Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon for the
first time. Echi is located about five miles northwest of the Ebina rest area,
where we usually stop on the way to the Head Temple from Narita. The next time
you stop there, please remember the place called Echi, where the Daishonin
first inscribed the Gohonzon, even though you may be busy enjoying an ice-cream
or ramen noodles.
The Daishonin inscribed
many Gohonzons during his lifetime, but the ultimate purpose of his advent into
this world was to inscribe the Dai-Gohonzon. On October 1, 1279, the Daishonin
The Buddha took forty-odd years, the Great Teacher Tiantai
took thirty-odd years, and the Great Teacher Dengyo took twenty-odd years to
accomplish the purposes of their advent. Great and severe persecutions befell them
during those years. I have already spoken to you on that matter. It has taken
twenty-seven years for me. The greatly severe persecutions I suffered during
this period are well known to you all.
(Gosho, p. 1396)
The Daishonin finally
inscribed the Dai-Gohonzon on October 12th, 1279 and it is now enshrined in the
Hoando at the Head Temple Taisekiji. The Gohonzon is the life of the True
Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin. In order to lead all people to attain
enlightenment, the Daishonin taught us how to chant the Daimoku to the
Gohonzon. Let’s follow our master, Nichiren Daishonin, in our practice.