Chanting as “the Cause”

for revealing one’s Buddhanature

The question: how to reveal one’s Buddhanature? implies that a specific action must be carried out for this purpose - an action that can turn the potential of Buddhanature into the reality of Buddhanature - in daily life. 

In Buddhism, the concept of “action” or “cause of action” relates to three types of expressions: thought, voice and deeds.  The practice of chanting integrates the three dimensions of “cause”:

-    thoughts (and desires: what occupies the mind during chanting, hopes, aspirations...),

-    the verbal invocation (of the Dharma), and

  1. -   action of engaging the physical aspect of “body” - with voice, sight and hearing

     active during chanting.

Chanting the phrase NamMyohoRengeKyo is the cause of making fusion (Nam) of the individual’s life - with the Dharma (MyohoRengeKyo), a fusion resulting in experiencing one’s Buddhanature. 

In this perspective, chanting is the direct path to revealing one’s Buddhanature (experiencing clarity of thinking, warm heart feelings and lifeforce, ready for action in dailylife).

The starting point, however, is one’s faith that one’s life possesses the potential state of Buddhanature.  Deepening faith can be developed further through perceiving tangible evidence of proof of the effect of experiencing the Buddhanature through chanting.  This can be done through testing the result of dedicating one’s chanting towards solving a certain problem in the reality of daily life that one encounters, transforming a weakness or achieving a desired goal.

In order to make a shift or create a solution, one needs correct action.  Chanting offers insight into the correct steps to take, as well as empowerment and courage (lifeforce) to act.  Correct causes of action are certain to lead to beneficial results:

“... human beings never fail to prosper when they make good causes”. - Nichiren

Voice and the Oneness of Body and Mind

The process of chanting expresses also the Buddhist principle of the ‘Oneness of Body and Mind’: The physical aspect of chanting (voice and engagement of bodily senses) is inseparably integrated with the mental aspect (thoughts, feelings and desires) - during the practice of chanting. 

Regarding the phenomenon of voice, Nichiren states:

          “Thus one's thoughts are expressed in one's voice.  

           The mind represents the spiritual aspect,

           and the voice, the physical aspect.

           The spiritual aspect manifests itself in the physical.

           A person can know another's mind by listening to the voice.

          This is because the physical aspect reveals the spiritual aspect.

          The physical and spiritual, which are one in essence,

          manifest themselves as two distinct aspects.”

(The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, V1, p.86).

Words conveyed by voice possess a great mental power.  The mental power of voice is contained within the intellectual meaning of spoken words, as well as within the emotional aspect of the tone expressing feelings and spirit of conveyed message.  For example: through words of encouragement, the spirit of empowerment, hope and happiness are summoned up in the life of listener.  Some spoken words can also have a negative effect and cause one to feel hurt and suffer. 

Words can move the heart and mind of people. This is a proof of the inseparability of the physical realm of voice vibrations - and the mental realm of the mind.


Author: Safwan Zabalawi (Darshams)

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