The Gohonzon is the object of worship
for followers of Nichiren
, both Soka Gakkai
members and Nichiren Shoshu
. It is a scroll
inscribed in Japanese
which is hung in a shrine
known as a butsudan
(the Japanese characters for butsudan roughly translate
to Buddha house
). Each follower has their own altar
and Gohonzon in their homes. In the local community center
the Gohonzon is larger than the ones in individual homes, and temple
Gohonzon are inscribed on wood
. The Dai-Gohonzon
is the supreme object of worship, inscribed on wood by the Daishonin in the 13th century
The words "Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo - Nichiren" are written down the center of the Gohonzon. When chanting these words, most followers focus their eyes on the character of "myoho".
On the outer sides of the Gohonzon are inscribed the ten conditions of human life. These are referred to as the Ten Worlds and are, from lowest state of being to highest: Hell, Hunger, Animality, Anger, Tranquility, Rapture, Learning, Realization, Boddhisatva, Buddha.
Filling in the empty spaces are the names of various "heavenly kings", a couple of blessings, and the seal of whichever high priest inscribed that particular Gohonzon.
The Gohonzon is given daily offerings of water, incense, evergreens, fruit, candles, and bell ringing. Each offering has its own meaning and purpose.
When not being used for prayer, the doors of the butsudan are kept closed to keep the Gohonzon protected from possible harm.