What is Nichiren Buddhism about?

Nichiren Buddhism is about revealing one’s potentials to live a happy meaningful life, transforming all hardships into beneficial experiences - and helping others do the same.

What is the basic goal in Nichiren’s practice?

It is “How can I be a better human being - of wisdom, compassion and lifeforce?”.

What is the basic belief in Nichiren’s Buddhism?                                                

•  Every person is born with the capacity to live a happy valuable life. This potential is called: the enlightened-nature (Buddhanature).  Buddhanature is a state of wisdom, compassion&courage, dormant in the mind (or psychology) of every individual.

To reveal this potential in daily reality, chanting is a practical way for self-mobilizing and leading one’s life to this highest human nature.

  1. All actions and relationships follow an impartial Law of Cause and Effect:

Correct causes lead to beneficial effects.  Bad causes lead to sufferings.

Correct causes in actions are those based on respecting others’ dignity.

  1.    The Law of Cause and Effect is the power that moves the world and all its interconnected beings.

The focus in Christianity is on God. What about Buddhism?

The focus in Buddhism is on the human being: it is about how to transform human sufferings and how to live a happy and harmonious life. 

In Christianity: God is unborn, divine and creative.                                                                  In Buddhism :  Life  is unborn, divine and creative. 

What is the daily practice in Nichiren Buddhism compared with other schools?

Traditional Buddhism way of practice is silent meditation towards a statue of the Buddha.  Nichiren Buddhism way of practice is based on voice chanting towards a mandala (representing the Life of Buddhahood). 

Chanting results in harmonising the body and mind of the individual through its rhythmic vibrations. It creates a feeling of inner peace, clarity in thinking and empowerment (or raised lifeforce).   Clarity and empowerment are necessary for further actions to transform hardships into meaningful experiences (and helping others do the same).

What is the meaning of the chanting mantra, the phrase: Nam Myoho Renge Kyo?

NamMyohoRengeKyo is derived from the final teaching of the Lotus Sutra.

In the deepest essence of its meaning, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo   -  can be understood as:

I lead my life to wisdom, happiness and lifeforce.

Namindicates leading oneself to actions of devotion (and harmony with)

MyohoRengeKyothe universal Law of Life.

MyohoRengeKyo is the Law of reality, the wonderful and unexplainable power that moves the world and all phenomena.  It is also called the “Law of Cause and Effect”.  

How does chanting work?

Chanting harmonises the physical and mental aspects of the individual. The rhythmic action of chanting automatically optimises the flow of breathing and creates a feeling of harmony of the body&mind. 

Voice carries within its vibrations intellectual meaning as well as the spirit (or emotions, which we can perceive in voice).  This means that through chanting – the three elements of “body-mind-spirit” become one.

According to Nichiren Buddhism, enlightenment of the individual means experiencing one’s highest life condition, called also Buddhanature.  Buddhanature is a mental field existing in one’s subconsciousness, a storehouse of energy of wisdom and warmth of feelings. This potential state is part of the psychological make up of each person, and it is given the name (or is encoded) by the phrase NamMyohoRengeKyo.

In effect of chanting, the conscious mind resonates with the energy of wisdom and compassion stored within deeper levels of mind.  Consequently, the direct experience of sincere chanting is a feeling of empowerment (and valuing one’s life), and also a deeper understanding of one’s situation (clarity in mind about one’s actions and motivations).

Clarity of thinking means that one’s thoughts and problems (occupying the conscious mind) become viewed under the light of the Law of NamMyohoRengeKyo which is the Law of Cause and Effect.  This leads to understanding the true causes of events we experience, (correcting mistaken attitude such as “blaming others”).  Chanting opens the way for higher reason and impartiality - because it dissolves inner tension.  The process of understanding one’s situation and aspirations becomes free from negative influences. 

Through chanting, one can plan beneficial actions to be carried out.  Clearly, a correct understanding of the causes behind one’s situation would naturally lead one to taking correct steps (for transforming the given situation into beneficial outcome).

After sincere chanting, a feeling of self-empowerment is experienced.  This mental energy of empowerment and high self-esteem is the result of accessing one’s own resources and potentials.  Chanting provides the fuel necessary for correct action (for realising one’s goals).  Actions themselves are the individual’s responsibility. 

Nichiren Buddhism describes chanting “as a solemn ceremony in which our lives commune with the universe. In Buddhism, this communion is described as the “fusion of reality and wisdom”. 

Unifying the subjective individual with the objective reality:

The objective reality of life is the Law of nature (MyohoRengeKyo).  The subjective wisdom of the individual is one’s desire for harmony and fusion (Nam) with this Law of reality (being the truth of (MyohoRengeKyo).  Therefore, NamMyohoRengeKyo unifies the two elements of the subjective desire (of the individual) and the objective truth (of reality, the Law of Life).

Wholehearted chanting never fails in revealing one’s Buddhanature.  Buddhanature cannot be activated by intellectualising.  Nichiren stated that it is the intention of the heart that really matters.  Sincere appreciation, and wholehearted willingness to create value (in own and other’s life) will definitely produce the actual proof of the power of chanting.


Author: Safwan Darshams