Nichiren & Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
Born in Japan in 1222, Nichiren Daishonin based his teachings on the Lotus Sutra, the ultimate teaching preached in India 3,000 years ago by the first Buddha, Siddharta Gautama, also known as Shakyamuni. Many powerful personal development principles – including some that closely resemble the ‘Law of Attraction’ – were first taught in the Lotus Sutra 3,000 years ago. Nichiren himself was the son of a fisherman – the lowest of the caste system: “I am merely the son of a commoner from a remote province,” he said.
Nichiren believed in everyone’s innate wisdom, courage and compassion (the three main qualities of ‘Buddhahood’) and taught his followers how to access these qualities, a full 700 years before popular psychology, ‘New Age’ affirmations, NLP or CBT had been invented.
Many of his writings were sent to women and the working classes, telling them the good news that enlightenment was available to them in this lifetime. Radical stuff in 13th century feudal Japan. Little wonder the government repeatedly exiled this rebel monk and tried to chop his head off.
The mantra that Nichiren Buddhists chant morning and evening is ‘Nam Myoho Renge Kyo’ which literally translated means “I dedicate my life to the wonderful mystic law of cause and effect.” I sometimes prefer to explain it as:
- the voice of your Buddhahood
- the rhythm of life
- the vibration of the Universe.
For Nichiren Buddhists, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is the ‘Daddy of all affirmations’ (with multi-layered meanings) and chanting is a ‘boot camp for the soul’. It turns up the volume on the good stuff in your mind. In positive psychology jargon, it generates your highest level of esteem (for self and others), your most resourceful state and your ultimate life-purpose, all rolled into one simple mantra. It takes the complex and profound philosophy of Buddhism and helps you ‘make it real’ in your everyday life.
Two Youtube videos here will show you how to chant if you are interested in giving it a go:
6 minute video explaining Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
1m 30 secs video – ‘karaoke style’ chanting to help you get started (beautiful…)
More about the practice at: