Transformation of Karma

Various schools of Mahayana Buddhism employ meditation and observing the precepts to create gradual purification of one’s karma, a process which takes the span of many lifetimes.

According to Nichiren Buddhism, however, it is possible to change one’s karmic tendencies in this lifetime - and hence it is possible to change the direction of one’s “karmic river”, which leads one to a certain direction (or pattern) of happenings.

Because Karma is the essence of actions, and actions follow the Law of Cause and Effect (MyohoRengeKyo), then employing this Law of Cause and Effect by us (through chanting) is in itself an action of orienting our life, aimed at becoming in harmony with the Law of Life. 

The phrase of chanting of NamMyohoRengeKyo implies the individual’s desire and determination (Nam) - to be one with the Law of Life (MyohoRengeKyo).  Chanting is the “Inner Cause” (or desire to manifest our true nature), resulting in experiencing the highest state of Buddhanature.

The conscious action of chanting penetrates through our Subconsciousness, depositing its essence as karmic record (or karmic seeds).  Because NamMyohoRengeKyo is the ultimate state of enlightenment of the mind, chanting can bring us the clarity needed to understand our karmic record.  Clarity of mind experienced through sincere chanting enables us to understand the link between causes and effects of our karma.  Consequently, we can direct our potentials towards finding solutions and making a shift towards more beneficial outcome of our actions (to be in harmony with the Law). 

Chanting is an act of acknowledging the power of the Law within our life - and it results in experiencing empowerment and raised lifeforce - which together with clarity about what direction to take, enable us to take courageous actions, directing our Karma to our benefit, and giving our history of actions a new meaning and higher quality.

Chanting as a cause of action

Chanting integrates the three kinds of causes (thoughts, voice and deed) into one action:

  1.   the thoughts of our mind, desires and motivations - we have during chanting (or prayers),

  2.   the voice of invocation,

  3.   and the action of chanting towards the Gohonzon engaging the senses and body.

The mental energy of chanting is called the True Cause (Honin Myo), which penetrates the storehouse of accumulated karma, brings clarity to the mind (about causes and effect of our life’s experienced events), and releases inner life force. The key to transforming and elevating our life’s tendencies starts with a determination in our prayers.  This determination is the Inner Cause (Nyoze IN), a desire or goal we want to achieve.  For example, the inner cause can be a motivation to eliminate a certain weakness in our psychological tendencies, or to achieve strength in our skills or aims (such as finding a solution to a certain problem we encounter in daily life). 


Author: Safwan Zabalawi (Darshams)

Nichiren Teachings on Karma

How Karma Survives Death

P.Ikeda Guidance on Karma