|Nam Myoho Renge Kyo|
|Written by Toni Dunlap|
|Friday, 13 November 2009 22:44|
The invocation of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo was established by Nichiren on 28 April 1253. Having studied widely among all the Buddhist sutras, he had concluded that the Lotus Sutra contains the ultimate truths of Buddhism: that everyone without exception has the potential to attain Buddhahood.
The title of the Lotus Sutra in its Japanese translation is Myoho-renge-kyo. But to Nichiren, Myoho-renge-kyo was far more than the title of a Buddhist text, it was the expression, in words, of the Law of life which all Buddhist teachings in one way or another seek to clarify. What follows is a brief and unavoidably limited explanation of some of the key concepts expressed by this phrase.
The word nam derives from Sanskrit, a close translation of its meaning is "to devote oneself".
Myoho literally means the Mystic Law, and expresses the relationship between the life inherent in the universe and the many different ways this life expresses itself.
Renge means lotus flower. The lotus blooms and produces seeds at the same time, and thus represents the simultaneity of cause and effect. The circumstances and quality of our individual lives is determined by the particular of causes and effects, both good and bad, that we accumulate (through our thoughts, words and actions) at each moment.
Kyo literally means sutra, the voice or teaching of a Buddha. In this sense, it also means sound, rhythm or vibration. Also, the Chinese character for kyo originally meant the warp a piece of woven cloth, symbolizing the continuity of life throughout past, present and future. In a broad sense, kyo conveys the concept that all things in the universe are a manifestation of the Mystic Law.
Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the primary practice of SGI members. Through this practice, one is able to reveal the state of Buddhahood in one's life, experienced as the natural development of joy, increased vitality, courage, wisdom and compassion.
(On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime- Nichiren)
Gohonzon is the object of devotion in Nichiren Buddhism. In Japanese, go means worthy of honor and honzon means object of fundamental respect. Nichiren defined the universal Law permeating life and the universe as Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and embodied it in the form of a mandala.
NOTE: One can still chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and experience benefit if one is not near, or unable to see a Gohonzon.
The most essential element in Nichiren's practice for drawing forth one's Buddhahood, is the strength of one's faith.
Gongyo Literally means "assiduous practice." In the SGI, gongyo means to recite part of the "Expedient Means" (2nd) chapter and the "The Life Span of the Thus Come One" (16th) chapter of the Lotus Sutra in front of the Gohonzon.
These two chapters of the Lotus Sutra contain its most essential message:
A bodhisattva is literally a living being (sattva) who aspires to enlightenment (bodhi) and carries out altruistic practices.
The path of a bodhisattva is not an otherworldly undertaking for people with unique gifts of compassion or wisdom. Rather, the qualities of the bodhisattva are inherent in the lives of ordinary men and women, and the purpose of Buddhist practice is to strengthen these qualities until compassion becomes the basis of all our actions.
Practice for Self and Others
For SGI members, bodhisattva practice is actualized in the twin, mutually reinforcing aspects of "practice for oneself and others". While many people may at first be inspired to practice Buddhism by the desire for personal happiness, to overcome illness or some other challenge, as their life-state expands, they naturally develop a deeper concern for the happiness of others and are motivated to take compassionate action, including sharing with others the insights of Buddhism.
The Mahayana tradition, in which Nichiren Buddhism is included, emphasizes the bodhisattva practice as the means toward the enlightenment of both oneself and others, in contrast to teachings which aim only at personal salvation.
After Shakyamuni's death, the Buddhist Order experienced several schisms, and eventually 18 or 20 schools formed, each of which developed its own interpretation of the sutras. As time passed, the monks of these schools tended to withdraw more and more from the lay community, devoting themselves to the practice of monastic precepts and the writing of doctrinal treatises.
Buddhism for All
Around the beginning of the first century of the Common Era, a new group of Buddhist believers emerged who were dissatisfied with what they saw as the self-complacency and monastic elitism of the earlier schools and aimed at the salvation of all people. They called their school of Buddhism Mahayana (great vehicle), meaning the teaching which can lead all people to enlightenment, and they criticized the earlier, traditional schools for seeking only personal enlightenment, labeling them Hinayana, or lesser vehicle. A Mahayana Buddhism arose as a reform movement seeking to restore the original spirit of Buddhism.
Buddhist thought outlines a practical method for not only helping individuals overcome various sufferings, but changing society as a whole. Human revolution is the name Josei Toda, Second President of Soka Gakkai, used to describe this process--the liberation of the spirit from within. It is a continual process of renewal and invigoration, the development of one person's boundless inner capacity to lead a creative and contributive life through his or her own effort.
Inner Change in a Single Person
There have been a number of different revolutions in recent centuries: political, economic, industrial, scientific, etc.
Process of Growth and Self-Realization
Every single person has tremendous potential which is largely untapped.
A great revolution of character in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a society, and further, will enable a change in the destiny of humankind.
- Daisaku Ikeda, The Human Revolution
|Last Updated on Monday, 16 November 2009 11:28|
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