Sanposon (三宝尊)

Sanposon (also pronounced as Sanboson) is the honzon (principal image of Buddha) of the Hokke sect and Nichiren Sect of Buddhism. It is referred to as Sanposon because Sanpo (three treasures of Buddhism), which are Buddha, sutras and priesthood, are worshipped. Among the honzon elements, elements other than the Nichiren statue are collectively called itto ryoson.

Arrangement of sanposon

The Tahoto pagoda (also referred to as hoto, a "multi-treasure" pagoda), on which Nichiren chant is written, is placed at the center, Shakamuni butsu and Taho Nyorai (Prabhuta-ratna) are placed on the left and right of Tahoto viewed from the conductor of rituals, and the Nichiren statue is placed on the lower display shelf. The itto ryoson comprising the Tahoto pagoda and Niseson (two world-honored ones) represents Nibutsubyoza, which is described in Chapter Fifteen, Jujiyujutsuhon (Emerging from the Earth) of Hoke-kyo Sutra (the Lotus Sutra). The Nichiren statue placed on the lower shelf represents priesthood, which is one of the Sanposon elements.

Although only the elements described above are placed in Buddhist alters of lay believers, Jogyo Bosatsu (Superior Practice Bodhisattva), Muhengyo Bosatsu (Limitless Practice Bodhisattva), Jogyo Bosatsu (Pure Practice Bodhisattva), and Anryugyo Bosatsu, which are Hongeshidaibosatsu (four Bosatsu (Bodhisattva) enlightened by True Buddha) of Hokke sect are additionally placed on shumidan (An altar made of fine timber, generally with panelling, hame) in Hokke sect temples.

Significance of Sanposon

Traditionally, Buddhism worships Sanpo. Sanposon is the symbolic representation of Sanpo. Worshipping Sanposon is equivalent to worshipping Sanpo.

There has been a doctrinal controversy over the Honbutsu (Primordial Buddha) in the Hokke and Nichiren Sects of Buddhism, and the interpretation of Sanposon varies.

Here is an interpretation of Shakamuni Honbutsuron (a believing Shakamuni as the True Buddha) by the sects. According to the interpretation, although Sanpo refers to Buddha, sutras (Buddhism) and priesthood, the primary representations of each are Shakamuni butsu (and Taho Nyorai) for Buddha, Myohorenge-kyo Sutra (the Lotus Sutra, Hoke-kyo Sutra) for sutras (Buddhism), and Nichiren for priesthood, which are combined as honzon to be Sanposon.

[Original Japanese]