Four Corners Of The Gohonzon

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The Four Corners of the Gohonzon With no particular reason I shall start my exploratory journey of the Gohonzon from its four corners. Indeed, the structural soundness of any edifice rests on its corner stone(s) does it not? The Four Heavenly Kings (四大天王) occupy the four corners of the Gohonzon. Hindu tradition has portayed that they lived in the mid-slopes of Mount Sumeru in four different directions guarding the Buddha whilst the latter meditated against possible interference from evil forces. They are revered as powerful protectors of Buddha and the Dharma. All four heavenly kings serve Shakra, the lord of the Devas of Trāyastriṃśa. Popular folklore has it that on the 8th, 14th and 15th days of each lunar month, the Four Heavenly Kings…show more content…
It is four boats tied together. It divides the earth's surface into four regions. The same four regions are represented by the Four Heavenly Kings in the corners of the Gohonzon. Nichiren Daishonin had alluded to them in no fewer than seventy of his gosho’s though not exclusively or directly. They were always depicted together with other heavenly and/or earthly beings, especially resemble that of the situation in the ‘ceremony in the air’ chapter 11 of the Lotus Sutra. Another interesting role of the Four Heavenly Kings is perhaps the maintenance of discipline amongst various gods of the Trayastrimsa Heaven. In parallel they are assumned to fulfil the role of the Military Police in the army! Nicheiren Daishonin discloses and describes this role via one of his Goshos “On reprimanding Hachiman” when the God Hachiman Bosatsu who were deemed to have failed in his duty to protect the votary of the Lotus Sutra had his Tsurugaoka shrine in Kamakura was burned down in 1280 (WND II: pp920-940), possibly a punishment executed by the four Heavenly Kings? Kanji 多聞 天王 増長 天王 持国 天王 広目
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