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Honzon ( Japanese 本尊 ) denotes, especially in Japanese Buddhism , the main object of worship. As a sign of worship, the Japanese honorific prefix go ( ) is placed in front of it, so that it is referred to as Gohonzon .

Honzon in the Japanese religion

Honzon is a general term in Japanese religion for supernatural beings that are ritually venerated in a localizable form, for example in statues, symbols, etc. It can be Kami , Buddhas , Tengus , Myōjin or other supernatural beings, but also writings, objects and the like. a or mandalas . The objects in which the entities manifest are often hidden and only occasionally shown to certain people or not at all. Such objects are usually kept in a temple or house altar called the Butsudan .

Mostly Gohonzon refers to the entity that is mainly worshiped in a temple or shrine. There are breaks between the public's perception and orthodox perception. An example is the Sōtō-shū : Their gohonzon are officially Shakyamuni Buddha , Dōgen and Keizan Jōkin . Depending on the temple, the visiting Japanese consider other beings than Gohonzon, e.g. B. Kannon , Inari (a Kami ), various Tengu etc. The respective Gohonzon are considered to be particularly powerful in conferring genze riyaku , these worldly benefits.


A Honzon in the form of a statue is also known as Butsuzō ( Japanese ). A Butsuzō is usually made of cypress wood or metal, such as copper or bronze. The Butsuzō is generally the most common form of representation.


  • Lotus Seeds, The Essence Of Nichiren Shu Buddhism, Nichiren Buddhist Temple of San Jose. ISBN 0-9705920-0-0
  • A Dictionary of Buddhist Terms and Concepts, Nichiren Shoshu International Center, ISBN 4-88872-014-2
  • M. MacWilliams, Techno-Ritualization, the Gohonzon Controversy on the Internet, Online - Heidelberg Journal of Religions in the Internet 2.1 (2006), pp. 91-122. PDF

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Borup, Jørn (2008). Japanese Rinzai Zen Buddhism: Myōshinji, a living religion ([online edition]. Ed.). Leiden: Brill. P. 8. ISBN 978-90-04-16557-1 .
  2. ^ Horton, Sarah J. (2007). Living Buddhist statues in early medieval and modern Japan (1st ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Pp. 1-2. ISBN 978-0-230-60714-9