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Honzon (本尊 (Honzon "fundamental honored [one]"?)), also known as a Gohonzon (ご本尊 or 御本尊) is a Japanese Buddhist term that most often refers a holy image or effigy, most likely the principal image of a buddha, bodhisattva, or mandala image found in either a temple or a household butsudan. The image can be either a statue or a small scroll depicting the main image. A statue is called Butsuzo (仏像), and those are most likely crafted out of cypress wood or metal such as copper or bronze. Depending on the sect's household, the main image may be different from other sects.

In Mikkyō practices such as in Shingon Buddhism, the term refers to a tutelary figure whose role is similar to that of the yidam in Tibetan Buddhism. Tutelary deities in Vajrayana Buddhism, including Mikkyō, Tangmi and Tibetan Buddhism, are crucial to many religious practices.

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Further reading[edit]

  • Grotenhuis, Elizabeth Ten (1999). Japanese mandalas: representations of sacred geography, Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press