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 belief in Nichiren’s Buddhism?                                                

•  The basic belief in Nichiren Buddhism is that everything in nature: plants, animals and human beings - is a manifestation of a universal and eternal Law of Life (Myoho). 

•  When one’s behaviour and relationships accord with this Law of Life, then one’s life is in a state of harmony and good fortune.  On the other hand, sufferings emerge when one is ignorant of the working of this universal Law (called also the Law of Cause and Effect).

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 main principle or main teaching in Buddhism ? 

The main teaching in Buddhism is that : all people possess the potential for enlightenment leading to a life of value and happiness.  In other words, all people have the potential for revealing and expressing their “Buddhanature” – which is the highest possible state one can enjoy - expressed in wisdom, compassion, and courageous actions.

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

The general practice of Traditional Buddhism is silent meditation towards a statue of Buddha.  On the other hand, Nichiren Buddhism is focused on the teachings, which lead to the “state of Buddha”, and which exists within the individual as a potential (Buddhanature). The highest teaching of Buddhism is the Dharma (or Law of Life), encapsulated in a mantra of chanting.  Chanting is usually practiced towards a Mandala (Gohonzon), which represents the Life of Buddhahood.

The rhythmic vibrations of chanting harmonise the body and mind of the individual.  It creates a feeling of inner peace and clarity in mind.

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

In the deepest essence of its meaning,

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo   -  can be understood as:

I lead my life to enlightenment: happiness, lifeforce, wisdom and compassion

Nam – means I lead myself to devotion (or harmony with) the universal Law of Life (which is: MyohoRengeKyo)

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

Myoho stands for the unexplainable and wonderful reality of life. 

Renge Kyo means the Law of Lotus (or the Law of Cause and Effect), which explains the dynamism, through which we can transform our life.  The metaphor of the Lotus flower refers to this possibility, as the flower transforms its environment of mud into a pure and beautiful structure. 

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 vibrations carry within them intellectual meaning as well as the spirit (or emotions) embedded in voice.  This means that in 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 storehouse of great life energy and wisdom.  It is a potential residing deeply in the subconsciousness mind of each person, and it is given the name (or is encoded) by the phrase NamMyohoRengeKyo.

In effect of chanting, the conscious mind fuses (or resonates) with the life energy of wisdom and compassion stored within the subconscious mind.  Consequently, the direct experience of sincere chanting is a pleasant feeling of clarity of thinking and a feeling of inner empowerment (or lifeforce). 

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 – leading one to understand the true causes of events in one’s personal life.  Chanting opens the way for highest reason and impartiality - because it prevents tension, negativity or emotionalism from interfering in the process of understanding one’s situation and aspirations (enabling thus finding beneficial solutions to encountered issues of daily life). 

Chanting enables planning of beneficial action to be carried out.  Clearly, a correct understanding of the causes behind one’s situation would naturally lead one to taking correct steps in action for transforming given situation into beneficial outcome.

After sincere chanting, a feeling of self-empowerment is experienced.  It is the result accessing one’s stored capacity of the Buddhanature.  Chanting provides the fuel for correct action for realising one’s goals.  Actions themselves are the individual’s responsibility. 

President Ikeda has described 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”. 

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, the truth of (MyohoRengeKyo).  Therefore, NamMyohoRengeKyo unifies the two elements of subjective desire and objective truth.

The only condition for chanting to produce benefit in the reality of the individual is the individual’s wholehearted desire to access own potentials of the Buddhanature. Buddhanature cannot be activated by intellectualising.  Nichiren stated that it is the heart - not the intellect - 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