Talk:Gohonzon

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This article needs to be expanded to include the view of other schools of Nichiren Buddhism such as Nichiren Shu. Also, honzon and gohonzon are used by Japanese Buddhist schools other than Nichiren Buddhism, though they do not place the importance on them that Nichiren Buddhists do. Also should have a picture of an example of this artifact, if a non-copyvio version can be found. I'll see if I can take a picture of one, as I know several Nichiren Buddhists of various denominations. In any event, tagging for POV check. HyperZonktalk 19:35, Feb 20, 2005 (UTC)

Hello. I agree with you that the Gohonzon page should include information on the Gohonzons of Nichiren Shoshu, Nichiren Shu, and other Gohonzons used by Japanese Buddhists. I really don't kow anything about "non-SGI" Gohonzons to be honest, so please feel free to add to what I have already, or change what you feel might be to biased towards the SGI. Also, for the time being, if it helps, I'll be more than happy to make a little note on the bottom of the page explaining this is information on the Gohonzon used by Soka Gakkai and that there are other Gohonzons that exist. Contributed by Butsushin, recovered from history.

Outside Japan the term "Gohonzon" refers to the Gohonzon of Nichiren, however in Japan any object of worship at a temple is called "gohonzon" and similarly taking photos, touching, and so forth is prohibited. (User: Cycling Nut aka John Thiel, member of SGI since 1988 and former US expat having lived in Japan for 7 years). —Preceding unsigned comment added by CyclingNut (talkcontribs) 03:21, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

The image[edit]

I added an image from Commons in June 2012, because for an article dicussing such a visual object, an image is pretty essential. Subsequently the use of the image was questioned on the basis that some schools prohibit its reproduction. I am sorry if its inclusion gives offence to anyone, but would like to point out that per WP:NOTCENSORED the primary test for contentious content is relevance to the article, not potential objectionableness. The policy is quite clear on this point:

Mcewan (talk) 22:29, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Okay I have read the policy you've referenced, and have to agree that there's no grounds to remove image based on the policies of some of the schools.
That having been said I suggest that it would be important to move the information in the Article - that certain schools (i.e. Sōka Gakkai, Nichiren Shōshū etc.) discourage/do not allow images to be taken/displayed - to it's own sub-section in the Handling of the Gohonzon section as it's a major point in some schools. Mollari08 (talk) 19:35, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Nice work. I agree that this is useful information. Thanks Mcewan (talk) 18:30, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

I reinserted the image of the Gohonzon as it is available in commons. Its not an image of a Gohonzon issued by organisations regarding it to be disrespectful to show such image. --Catflap08 (talk) 18:54, 15 August 2012 (UTC)


I don't believe Nichiren Shu calls it a "Gohonzon" but rather "O'Honzon", so I would disagree with the "slant" claim above. Nichiren Shu would rather have relevance on a page titled "O'Honzon". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bob the Lunatic (talkcontribs) 12:35, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

Actually, Nichiren Shu and all of the other sects with an English presence call their Object of Worship the Gohonzon. I would point to a google word search of the Nichiren Shu official web page (www.nichiren-shu.org) for confirmation. I'm not sure where the "O'Honzon" came from. The pictorial Gohonzon, which is pictured in the article, is called a "Omandala (Go)Honzon", as Nichiren Shu also uses statues as their Object of Worship (to Nichiren Shu, both the pictorial Gohonzon and the statue Gohonzon represent the same thing). So I don't think a separate article is necessary. At most, perhaps an additional section that explains Nichiren Shu's theology behind the Gohonzon, which is somewhat different from either SGI or Nichiren Shoshu interpretation, would address these concerns. 60.229.3.82 (talk) 06:03, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

Moved page[edit]

I've taken the liberty of moving the page to "Gohonzon (Nichiren Buddhism)" to denote the difference between a "Honzon", the general term for any Buddhist image in a home or temple (of which an article exists already), and the "Gohonzon" of Nichiren Buddhism. The article seems to take a Nichiren Buddhist point of view anyway. Tktru (talk) 00:23, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

@Tktru, my response is very late, I'm afraid. I agree with your concern although I don't believe the solution is to create another article. Rather, I think the solution is to substantiate the editors' claims that any Buddhist image is a Go-honzon. This is a claim I have never seen in any of my readings.
BrandenburgG (talk) 22:46, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

Lack of citations[edit]

Many of the sections of this article are lacking in citations and might consist of OR. I will mark several places where citations are sorely needed. BrandenburgG (talk) 17:37, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

The more I read the article the more I see how much work it needs. Unless citations are provided this article, important topic though it is, must be seen as primarily original research. In particular I am concerned that the definition of the Gohonzon found in dictionaries I've consulted all refer to the application to Nichiren Buddhism. The prior editors argue that all Japanese religions, as well as schools outside of Japan, have a Gohonzon. This constitutes WP:OR and WP:POV until citations can be provided.
BrandenburgG (talk) 22:42, 15 April 2016 (UTC)
@Tokuburai, you stated earlier this month "A Gohonzon, not just Honzon itself is completely universal to all Japanese Buddhist sects regardless of denomination. The word is used in many Japanese langa...)" [the rest of the citation was cut off]. I am sure you are well-informed on this matter but I think this article which would be much improved if you could provide sources (preferably English sources) to substantiate this claim. My quick searches on Google and Google Books did not return sources to substantiate your claim, especially in the earlier pages of returns.
BrandenburgG (talk) 22:59, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

@Tokuburai, I really would like to work together with you to improve this article. It is my experience that articles are much better when there is collaboration, and differences in POV come together with dialogue. Let's get started soon! BrandenburgG (talk) 20:24, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

Restructuring of article to follow sources[edit]

After waiting for a few days I made some edits to make the article conform with sources. Until citations are added to prove otherwise, our priority should be with research and not unsubstantiated opinions. Listed on top are sections that deal with the Gohonzon and Nichiren Buddhism. Further down are the sections that are not substantiated by sources, mostly opinions that the term "Gohonzon" should be applied to any object of devotion. BrandenburgG (talk) 17:05, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

I want to take a break to give others a chance to leave feedback. There are other statements in the article that refer to Nichiren Buddhism and should be moved to the Nichiren Buddhism section. Although I added a couple of citations (dictionary.com and Causton), the article is still very weak, lacking in RS, and therefore OR. It will take a lot of work to bring it to an acceptable level.

I would like to suggest that we start from the top, paragraph by paragraph, to provide readers with RSs. BrandenburgG (talk) 17:31, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

Need for arbitration?[edit]

@2605:e000:218a:2d00:4837:92d8:a447:c3b4 and @tokuburai. The last thing I need is an edit war. I want to work together with you, even though we may have two different perspectives on the definition of the Gohonzon, to create a trusted article.

But in this endeavor we have to follow WP guidelines. You may be Ja-ranese, you may be an expert as a butsudan store owner, you may even be right. But according to WP guidelines your statements must be backed with reliable sources or they remain just "original research." We have to follow the scholarship.

In a quick search about the Gohonzon on Google Books (https://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&hl=en&q=Gohonzon) every single reference supports the definition of the Gohonzon on www.dictionary.com, that it is an object in Nichiren Buddhism. I tracked 7 pages of references without seeing one to support your contention.

I did a similar search on Google Scholar (https://scholar.google.com/scholar?start=0&q=gohonzon&hl=en&as_sdt=0,33) and I perused four pages of titles (about 40 sources). Out of the 40 there were 2 that took your POV and 38 that limited their discussion to Nichiren-scrolls. From the preponderance of research, the majority of the article and real estate should refer to the Gohonzon in Nichiren schools and a much smaller footprint to the more generic understanding of the Gohonzon as an object of devotion for any/all denominations.

The Wikipedia guidelines should supersede your personal opinions, even though you may have unique skills through your profession.

I would like to ask you to acknowledge these points so we can work together to improve what is now a very shaky article. If you disagree I would like to suggest that we go to arbitration for the wisdom of the community. BrandenburgG (talk) 23:23, 20 April 2016 (UTC)

Priority real estate for statements backed by RS[edit]

I am calling on all editors interested in improving this page to find reliable sources to back up the many statements here that remain unsupported.

In the interim I would like to give priority in the lede to statements supported by RS. I would like to move unsupported statements to the bottom of the article. BrandenburgG (talk) 09:38, 27 April 2016 (UTC)

@2605:e000:218a:2d00:39a5:12dc:e772:9ce0, "https://www.tofugu.com/japan/omamori-japanese-charms/" is the flimsiest of sources to claim that your preferred definition of the gohonzon is more basic than the Nichiren calligraphy (regardless of Nichiren school). For example, a simple search on "gohonzon" on Bing (https://www.bing.com/search?q=gohonzon&qs=PF&cvid=68f670c8a0844c72b26b0691c2e0cbf2&pq=gohonzon&first=1&FORM=PERE) brings back more than a dozen pages of references to the gohonzon in the Nichiren tradition, without the tofugu source popping up.
I am rewriting this section. I am also disappointed that you have not made any comments on this Talk page where the matter can be discussed civilly.
If need be I believe we should go to arbitration about the matter.
BrandenburgG (talk) 22:36, 26 June 2016 (UTC)

Strong objections[edit]

@2605:E000:218A:2D00:247D:DF18:30EA:B3F32605:E000:218A:2D00:247D:DF18:30EA:B3F3. I placed messages in the Talk Page of your User Pages. I want to pull you into participating in the Talk Page of the Gohonzon article. I have been opening since April 2016 sections to open dialogue with you. You have not accepted these invitations. I am assuming that you are new editors and just might not be aware of this valuable feature of WP editing.

You have both made radical changes and reverts without explaining your rational in Talk page discussions. Can we agree that this is not a productive way to move forward in the future?

Yesterday, in a simple click, you reverted many hours of my work. I would hope in the future you will recognize the sincerity and efforts of your fellow editors and extend proper courtesies when you want to make a major change.

I am glad that you provided some reliable sources. This is a good start. Without RS the article will still be tagged as "stub class" or "original research." Can we agree to work together to improve the quality of the article?

Our main dispute, I believe, is how to open the article. You contend that the cultural understanding of the Gohonzon in Japan should start the article; I believe that we should follow the common use of the word in English-language reliable sources. The lede in WP should summarize and follow the content of the rest of the article. As you left it, the lede does not reflect the content of the article.

We should talk about this at length in the Talk page and seek guidance from WP protocols. Eventually we can call in other editors through various arbitration boards to seek a resolution.

In the meanwhile, however, there is so much work to do on the rest of the article so I plan to focus my efforts there and try to resolve our dispute over time.

BrandenburgG (talk) 11:06, 29 June 2016 (UTC)

Categorization scheme[edit]

I believe the paragraphs on Shingon and Pure Land are so small (especially in comparison to the Nichiren section) that it is best to place them as subsections under an umbrella section of "In Non-Nichiren" BrandenburgG (talk) 18:07, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

History section[edit]

There is a lot of content in the History section that would fit better in the Description section. I would like to work on this and would appreciate help. Thank you.BrandenburgG (talk) 11:08, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

I added more historical content about the inscription of early Gohonzon and writings. I still want to move content from the history subsection to more appropriate subsections.BrandenburgG (talk) 21:49, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

Really, really, really needs work![edit]

This article just has no flow. In the "History" section are things that belong in "Description." I have no idea what "Pious beliefs concerning the origin of mandalas and devotional statues" means. What are pious beliefs? (BTW, in the SG at least--arguably in Nichiren Buddhism as a whole--, there is no sense of pious, sacred, holy, etc.) When talking about "origin" doesn't that mean "History"? If there is a section about "History" and "Description," there really should be a section about "Significance". The article suffers from collectivism--trying to make all types of beliefs fit under one umbrella. Wouldn't it be better to have subsections for Nichiren Shoshu, Nichiren Shu, Soka Gakkai so their respective viewpoints can be authentically described without artificially squeezing them under the same umbrella? Ugh!!!! BrandenburgG (talk) 15:55, 8 July 2016 (UTC)