People are yearning for happiness and world peace, yet both seem as elusive as ever. Morality is past its sell-by-date. Science and politics do not have all the answers. And ‘EQ’ (emotional intelligence) teachings are enlightening but self-centred. In these confused times, with global consciousness at a crucial turning point, the philosophy of 13th century Japanese Buddha Nichiren Daishonin is sparking new hope, both for individuals and society. Nichiren taught that the world will only change for the better when individuals transform their hearts. Buddhists call this ‘human revolution’.
Nichiren’s radical, practical and inclusive teachings are now the fastest growing form of Buddhism in the West and are the inspiration for this blog. You can read it as a self-help guide or as a blueprint for social change, or ideally both.
Well-known practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism include Roberto Baggio, Orlando Bloom, Kate Bosworth, Stella Duffy, Miranda Kerr, Herbie Hancock, Tina Turner and Maxi Jazz.
Here are 7 principles of Nichiren Buddhism:
- Life itself is precious. Its essence, its energy. My life, your life, all life. And, on a level that even our subconscious cannot perceive, it is interconnected.
- Buddhahood is not some superhuman state, but something very real and practical that is attainable by all of us. It includes profound feelings of joy, wisdom, courage, compassion, gratitude and optimism.
- All the answers you’ll ever need are inside you, none of them require prayers of supplication to a God or Buddha. Because you yourself are a Buddha.
- Becoming truly happy and overcoming our suffering requires great effort and gritty determination.
- There is no heaven. There is no hell. Neither is a physical place that you go to. Both exist in your heart. Your heart counts most of all.
- You do not need faith to start practising. Buddhism is empirical, you test it out and chant to see ‘actual proof’ in your life.
- Life is eternal. You get to come back over and over again, with some periods in between to enjoy a refreshing nap – usually known as ‘death’.
If you’re wondering why there’s no mention in the above of vegetarianism, Nirvana, the Dalai Lama or meditation, it’s because Nichiren Buddhism is very different to the Tibetan and Zen traditions more commonly encountered in the West. For example, it has no rules. Yet it is very strict in terms of personal accountability. More of this another time…