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The Gohonzon is the object of devotion in Nichiren Buddhism. In Japanese, "go" means worthy of honor and "honzon" means object of fundamental respect. In the Gohonzon, a scroll on which are inscribed Chinese and Sanskrit characters, Nichiren symbolically depicted the life state of Buddhahood, which all people possess.

SGI members chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to a Gohonzon enshrined in their own homes. The Gohonzon, together with a practitioner's faith and chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, acts as a stimulus to activate the life condition of Buddhahood innate in one's life.

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Gongyo is one of the basic elements of the practice of Nichiren Buddhism. It consists of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and reciting portions of the Lotus Sutra. Gongyo literally means to "exert [oneself in] practice," and is performed twice a day by members of the SGI.

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The Japanese phrase kosen-rufu is often used synonymously with world peace, and has been informally defined as "world peace through individual happiness." More broadly, it could be understood as a vision of social peace brought about by the widespread acceptance of core values such as unfailing respect for the dignity of human life.

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Lotus Sutra

The Lotus Sutra is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential sutras, or sacred scriptures, of Buddhism. Its key message is that Buddhahood--a condition of absolute happiness, freedom from fear and from all illusions--is inherent in all life. The development of this inner life state enables all people to overcome their problems and live a fulfilled and active life, fully engaged with others and with society.

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The invocation of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo was established by Nichiren on April 28, 1253. Having studied widely among all the Buddhist sutras, he concluded that the Lotus Sutra contains the ultimate truth of Buddhism: that everyone without exception has the potential to attain Buddhahood. The title of the Lotus Sutra in its Japanese translation is Myoho-renge-kyo. To Nichiren, Myoho-renge-kyo was far more than the title of a Buddhist text: it was the expression, in words, of the Law of life which all Buddhist teachings seek to clarify.

Practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as their core Buddhist practice. This is sometimes described as chanting Daimoku.

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Nichiren (1222-82) was a Buddhist monk who lived in 13th-century Japan, often referred to by the honorific title "Daishonin" or "great sage."

Nichiren was born in 1222, a time rife with social unrest and natural disasters. His intensive study of the Buddhist sutras convinced him that the Lotus Sutra contained the essence of the Buddha's enlightenment and that it held the key to transforming people's suffering and enabling society to flourish.

Based on his study of the sutra Nichiren established the invocation (chant) of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as a universal practice to enable people to manifest the Buddhahood inherent in their lives and gain the strength and wisdom to challenge and overcome any adverse circumstances.

Nichiren's claims invited an onslaught of often violent persecutions from the military government and the established Buddhist schools. Throughout, he refused to compromise his principles to appease those in authority.

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Shakubuku is a Japanese word applied in general to efforts to propagate Buddhism. Specifically, it refers to the method of leading people to the correct Buddhist teaching by clarifying their misconceptions about Buddhahood. Nichiren describes Bodhisattva Never Disparaging, who bowed in respect to everyone he met and praised them as potential Buddhas, as a practitioner of shakubuku. In citing Never Disparaging as an example, Nichiren made clear that shakubuku is not a form of verbal or rhetorical aggression, but an expression of reverence for the truth that everyone possesses a Buddha nature, and of compassion for people.

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Shakyamuni (Gautama Siddartha), known as the Buddha or "awakened one," was the historical founder of Buddhism. Born in what is now Nepal some 2,500 years ago, he renounced his royal upbringing to embark on a spiritual quest to understand how human suffering could be ended. While in deep meditation, he experienced a profound awakening, or enlightenment. He then traveled throughout the Indian subcontinent for nearly 40 years sharing his enlightened wisdom, promoting peace and teaching people how to unleash the great potential of their lives.

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