Myo Means To Open

In Nichiren Buddhism, the Gohonzon is considered the object of worship. Honzon is a Japanese word meaning “object of fundamental respect or devotion.” The prefix go means “worthy of honor.” While Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the ultimate law of the universe, the Gohonzon is its graphic expression. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is written down the center of a rice paper scroll in a combination of Sanskrit and Chinese characters.


The Chinese character myo is pictured here:

The character myō (from Nam Myoho Renge Kyo) is rendered in Sanskrit as sad, and in Chinese, as miao. Myō means to be fully endowed, which in turn has the meaning of “perfect and full.” Nichiren Daishonin explains that people can rid their lives of negative karma and gain fortune and virtue because the Mystic Law, as represented by the character myo, produces three beneficial results. It enables people to “open” their lives and draw forth their innate Buddha nature; to see their lives “fully endowed” with everything they need to become happy; and to “revive” their lives to the state of Buddhahood. This is taken from the “The Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra” in which Nichiren Daishonin explains the two meanings of myo—to be fully endowed and to revive. So when Nichiren Daishonin says that the meaning of the Mystic Law is “fully endowed” or “perfection,” he tells us that our lives are innately endowed with everything we need to become happy and free, exactly the same as the Buddha’s life.

Study of Nichiren Daishonin’s Writings: “The Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra”

Living Buddhism, May 1 1997, p 6.

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