What is Nichiren Buddhism?
Nichiren Buddhism is a branch of Mahayana Buddhism that dates back to 13th-century Japan and the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin. Nichiren, a Buddhist monk and reformer, dedicated his life to the Lotus Sutra or Myoho-renge-kyo. His primary goal was to secure absolute happiness and peace for all people. Nichiren taught that a universal law of life, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, allowed people to tap into their innate wisdom and buddha nature. By chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo one can realize their full potential and awaken to their buddhahood.
Nichiren Buddhism is dedicated to the Lotus Sutra. The Lotus Sutra contains the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha realized toward the end of his life. These teachings are considered the most pure of all the Buddha’s teachings. This is because the Lotus Sutra teaches that all ordinary beings posses a Buddha nature and are therefore capable of attaining enlightenment in this lifetime.
What does Nam-myoho-renge-kyo mean?
Nam stands for devotion or dedication.
Myoho represents the Mystic Law.
Renge stands for the lotus flower that blooms and seeds at the same time thereby representing cause and effect.
Kyo represents the “Buddhist teachings”.
So, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo literally means devotion of oneself to the Mystic Law of cause and effect through sound vibration.
What does a Nichiren Buddhist practice consist of?
Apart from chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, there are three important components of this practice.
#1 Faith: Faith is based on a person’s experience and actual proof. Actual proof develops over time as people practice to overcome their struggles, improve their lives, and become happy.
#2 Study: practitioners spend time learning the Lotus Sutra, the writings of Nichiren himself, and other study materials to gain a better understanding and develop confidence in this practice.
#3 Practice: This piece is where Nichiren Buddhists take action. Every morning and evening, practitioners chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and recite portions of the Lotus Sutra. Developing compassion for oneself and for the sake of others is a primary focus. Therefore, Nichiren Buddhists work to improve not only their own lives, but the lives of others as well.
Nichiren Buddhists practice to become happy. They practice to bring out the Buddha nature in themselves and to secure an inner state of joy and confidence that cannot be shaken or destroyed. Nichiren Buddhists practice so that they can bring about positive changes in their lives and society. Through each person’s inner transformation or human revolution, world peace becomes possible.
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