Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
Based on the Basics of Buddhism
by Pat Allwright
Presented by
Linda Myring and Jay Williams
Goals of studying
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo?
• To understand that it has a historical,
doctrinal source in the Lotus Sutra and is its
essence as well as its title.
• To convey a sense that it is the Law of Life.
• To stress the importance of having one’s
own experiences of the power of chanting,
rather than a theoretical understanding.
The Lotus Sutra
The essence of Shakyamuni’s highest
teaching, the Lotus Sutra is encompassed in
it’s title:
Myoho-renge-kyo
Nichiren
It was a young monk
named Nichiren,
about 2000 years
later in Japan, who
took the final allimportant step to
transform profound
theory into a simple
practice.
Nichiren
•He added “Namu”
(contracted to “Nam”) to the
title of the Lotus Sutra to
create “Nam-myoho-rengekyo”.
•Nichiren: “Everything has
its essential point and the
heart of the Lotus Sutra is
its title, Nam-myoho-rengekyo.”
Nichiren
He brought it out of the
realm of theoretical
contemplation into an
actual experiential
practice when he first
chanted
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
• Is the basic invocation of Nichiren
Buddhism.
• Is the name of the Mystic Law that
governs life eternally throughout the
universe.
• When we chant this, we attune our lives
to the perfect rhythm of the universe.
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
Literal Meaning
‘Devotion to the Sutra of the Lotus
Blossom of the Wonderful Law’
Nam
•
Derives from Sanskrit
"to devote oneself"
• In the original Sanskrit, nam
indicates the elements of
action and attitude.
• Refers to the correct action
one needs to take and the
attitude one needs to
develop in order to attain
Buddhahood in this lifetime.
Myoho
MYO
HO
•
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•
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•
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Mystic
Mysterious Nature of Life
Ultimate Reality
Enlightenment
Death
Unseen
Latent
To Open
To Be Endowed and Perfect
To Revive
Law
All Phenomena
Everyday Life
Life
Seen
Manifest
Renge
• Renge means lotus flower.
• The lotus blooms and
produces seeds at the
same time, and thus
represents the simultaneity
of cause and effect.
• The lotus flower grows and
blooms in a muddy pond,
and yet remains pristine
and free from any
defilement, symbolizing the
emergence of Buddhahood
from within the life of an
ordinary person.
Renge - Cause & Effect
• When we chant Nam-myohorenge-kyo (cause) the state of
Buddhahood (effect)
immediately wells up form
within us.
• Simultaneity of cause and effect
significant.
• In earlier forms of Buddhisms,
the effects of various practices
were thougth to emerge later,
future lifetimes.
Kyo
• Kyo literally means sutra, the voice or
teaching of a Buddha.
• In this sense, it also means sound,
rhythm or vibration.
• Sound of the universe (space).
Prayer
Our prayers are communicated to the
depths of our being when we invoke the
sound of the Mystic Law.
Unlike in most Western
religions, when we Prayer
chant
we are not praying to an
external deity invested
with human qualities like
judgment.
Meditation, Positive Thinking
or Chanting?
• Meditation is passive exercise to calm
one’s mind.
• Meditation tries to negate certain ways of
thinking.
• Positive thinking is a tool to attempt to
convince ourselves of our abilities.
Meditation, Positive Thinking
or Chanting?
• Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is an
expression of your Buddha nature.
• By invoking your Buddha nature at the
ninth level of your consciousness, you
affect all other levels.
• Buddahood becomes the positive basis
of every aspect of our lives, both mental
and physical.
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
• “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the sound
that awakens the Buddha nature of all
human kind. It is the great teaching of
supreme hope”
-Daisaku Ikeda, WT, 2/29/08.
Thought Provoking Questions
• Why chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo?
• Why not some other mantra?
• Is chanting a form of meditation or is it
positive thinking?
• Why do we have to chant?
• Why not just meditate or think positively?
• What about sign language?
Resources on Nichiren Buddhism
International Level:
• sgi.org/media
National Level:
• sgi-usa.org
Community Level:
• sgi-usasouthbaycc.org
• buddhainthehood.com
By Linda Delmar, SGI-USA
Long Beach
• abuddhistpodcast.com
By Jason Jarrett, SGI-UK
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