Hondo/Onaijin 101
  1. What is the "Hondo" (hone-doe) ?
    The word "Hondo" means "main hall." The "hondo" is sometimes referred to as the "Buddha Hall" or possibly the "chapel".
  1. What is the "naijin" (nye-jean) ?
    The "naijin" is basically the altar portion of the Hondo.
  1. What is the "gejin" (gay-jean) ?
    The "gejin" is the seating area where the members sit.
  2. Why is the Shinshu altar so gaudy and gold?
    From olden times, the naijin, where the statue/image of the Buddha is located, represented the Pure Land or realm of Enlightment, thus the extensive use gold, since gold had been the most precious of objects. Also gold does not tarnish and this represents that the Teachings of Buddha will never become tarnished and remain pure forever.
  3. How can the Buddha be represented in a Shinshu altar?
    a)Statue "Gohonzon" (Go-hone-zone) - Central Object of Reverence
    b)Image "Osugata" (Oh-sue-gah-tah) - Picture of Amida Buddha
    c)Name - "Myogo" (Myooo-goh) Namo Amida Butsu in calligraphy

    Rennyo Shonin stated that a picture image of Amida is preferable over a statue representing Amida and that the six-character Name is preferable over the picture.
  4. Different sects or schools of Buddhism will have different altars and Buddhas.
    In Shinshu altars, only the Amida Buddha, in a standing pose (if a statue or picture) is enshrined as the Central Object of Reverence.
    What does the standing Amida represent?
    In the Hongwanji (Hone-gone-gee) tradition, the Amida statue will always be leaning slighdy forward, representing that the Amida is always coming toward us with Infinite Compassion and Wisdom. more …