Lotus Buddhism / What is Nichiren Buddhism About?

What is Nichiren Buddhism About?

Safwan Darshams

Nichiren Buddhism is about revealing one’s potential to live a happy, meaningful life.

It is about empowering the individual to transform any situation or hardship into beneficial experience - helping others do the same.

What is the basic aim in Nichiren’s practice?

  • “How can I reveal my potential to live a happy life, helping others do the same?”
  • “How can I create valuable relationships, broadmindedness & open-heart?”.

What is the basic belief in Nichiren’s Buddhism?

Every person is born with the capacity to live a happy, valuable life.

Human nature is a spectrum of various states, the highest of which is the state of the enlightened-nature (the Buddha-nature). It is a potential state existing in the subconscious mind, a source of wisdom, compassion & empowerment.

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

The focus in Buddhism is on the Life (of the human being): it is about how to transform human sufferings (and how to attain inner harmony and clarity of mind).

In Christianity: God is unborn, eternal, divine and creative.

In Buddhism : Life is unborn, eternal, divine and creative.

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

Traditional Buddhism’s way of practice is based on silent meditation, whose effects require a very long period of time to manifest.

Nichiren Buddhism’s way of practice is based on using one’s voice in chanting a mantra: a phrase which encodes the field of Buddhanature. The benefit of chanting can be readily experienced in one’s daily life.

Chanting integrates the physical aspect of the body and the mental aspect of the mind. It creates a feeling of inner peace and clarity in thinking. Clarity of mind and confidence (or empowerment) are necessary to transform life’s hardships into meaningful experiences (helping others also do the same).

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

NamMyohoRengeKyo is a phrase derived from the teachings of the Lotus Sutra.

In its general essence, the spirit of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo can be understood (in its essence) as: I lead my life to confidence, wisdom, and happiness.

Nam – indicates the desire to lead one’s life to harmony and devotion with:

MyohoRengeKyo - the Universal Law of Life.

The “Universal Law of Life” is the power that moves all phenomena. It is the origin of all lives, the Order or the Law that binds causes of actions with their inevitable consequences.

How does chanting work?

Chanting is using one’s voice in self-empowerment to experience the highest state of mind.

Using one’s voice in the rhythm of chanting harmonises the flow physiological functions of breathing and the rhythm of heartbeat - creating a feeling of harmony and dissolving tension.

One’s voice carries within its physical vibrations the mental aspect of meaning and emotions. Through using one’s voice in chanting – the three elements of “body-mind-spirit” are integrated.

The practice of chanting is based on the belief that one has the capacity (or the potential) to achieve a higher state of mind: deeper maturity, wisdom, compassion and the ability to act to overcome hardships

In effect of chanting one experiences:

  • the feeling of inner harmony (dissolving tension or anxiety),
  • thoughts expressing clarity of mind (focus on reason and beneficial solutions),
  • confidence or empowerment (capacity to act to transform reality).

This state of inner harmony, clarity of thinking and courage - constitutes the fuel necessary for further correct action (aimed at realising one’s goals).

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”.

Chanting unifies the subjective individual with the objective reality:

The objective reality of life is the natural Law of Cause and Effect (MyohoRengeKyo).

The subjective wisdom of the individual is one’s desire for harmony and fusion (Nam) with this Law of reality (MyohoRengeKyo).

Therefore, the expression of NamMyohoRengeKyo unifies the two elements of the “subjective desire” (of the individual) and the “objective truth” (of reality; the Law of Life).

Wholehearted chanting removes one’s psychological barriers of uncertainty and low self-esteem, and blocks the influence of negative forces of doubts, arrogance or inferiority - (and all what constitutes a barrier before the emergence of the Buddhanature).

Chanting can be judged by its results. To test its validity, the direct way is to set a certain goal to achieve (for example, a goal pertaining to self improvement) or improving a situation at work, etc.). Through chanting for a set purpose - the emerging clarity of mind and empowerment provide the fuel for action to realise the desired goal - giving thus the Actual Proof of its validity.

Further Information

How to chant The Rhythm of Chanting