“Some people say that the prevailing mood in the world today is one of powerlessness. . . What can the individual accomplish in the face of the huge institutions that run our world?
At the opposite extreme of this sense of powerlessness lies the Lotus Sutra's philosophy that teaches that the inner determination (ichinen) of one individual can transform everything. It is a teaching that gives ultimate expression to the infinite potential and dignity inherent in the life of each human being.”
|-- Daisaku Ikeda|
Throughout it's 3,000-year history, the purpose of practicing Buddhism has remained the same: Individual enlightenment, or true happiness, along with the establishment of a peaceful and prosperous society based on the absolute dignity of human life. Shakyamuni, who founded Buddhism in India, taught that all people regardless of race, creed, sex, colour, background, or social status, have the seed of Buddhahood (unlimited courage, wisdom and compassion) within their lives. However, he left no clear-cut means to tap this Buddhahood.
Nichiren Daishonin in 13th century Japan, after studying all of Shakyamuni's theoretical teachings, firmly established a practice accessible to mankind. He taught that by chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo and following a basic practice, anyone can develop a life of wisdom, compassion, vitality and joy.
Nichiren Buddhism recognises the existence of a natural law of life, a universal life essence that permeates all life & gives rise to all phenomena. This life essence or mystic law is expressed by the phrase Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo:
Nam means to devote ones life or to fuse ones life with.
Myoho describes life in it’s entirety, both seen and unseen, latent and manifest, life & death. Myo describes the unseen or latent aspects whereas Ho describes its outward manifestations i.e. the physical world we can see touch & feel. Renge literally means the Lotus Flower which is a symbol of the simultaneity of cause & effect. In other words whenever we make a cause (in thought, word or deed) we immediately “plant” an effect in our lives that will sooner or later have repercussions in our lives. Our lives are in our hands and we have the ability to shape our future.
Kyo means sound, teaching or vibration and describes how we are interconnected with everything in the universe. When we chant the phrase Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, we affect our environment powerfully. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is the pulse or vibration of life itself.
Through drawing forth this life essence from the depths of our lives we have the potential to reveal limitless amounts of Courage, Wisdom & Compassion.
These wonderful qualities of our higher self (or Buddhahood) enable us to live dynamic, challenging & invigorating lives, where we not only develop our own inner happiness but it also motivates us to care for those around us who are suffering & help them to find their own happiness.
The chanting of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is also supplemented by the recitation of portions of the Lotus Sutra, known as Gongyo (literally translated as assiduous practice). Gongyo is performed twice daily (morning and evening) and includes prayers of gratitude and determination which help to strengthen the state of Buddhahood within our lives.
The Gohonzon is a very special scroll which we face when we chant the phrase Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. The Gohonzon was first inscribed by Nichiren Daishonin in the thirteenth century, while in the state of Buddhahood and acts as a trigger for activating our own inherent Buddhahood. Although the Gohonzon is a piece of paper, the affect it has on our lives can be profound. Just like a beautiful painting or piece of music can have a deep affect on our feelings - the Gohonzon works as a stimulus for activating our Buddha State. The Gohonzon also acts like a powerful mirror which enables us to look deeply and honestly into the depths of our lives to discover our true treasures of infinite Courage, Wisdom and Compassion.
Human Revolution (inner transformation):
When we draw forth our Buddhahood we start to see the areas of our lives that cause ourselves & others (on our behalf) to suffer. We can also discover wonderful qualities that we never realized we possessed. Through consistent effort we can gradually overcome our difficulties to become more fully developed as a human being.