Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is an important mantra in the Nichiren school of Buddhism. It was created by a Japanese Buddhist monk with the aim of awakening the innate potential to attain Buddhahood in every human being.
Through the repetition of these sacred words, one can tap into the Buddha-nature within themselves and awaken to the limitless potential of their own life. But the benefits of this mantra go far beyond personal growth; it has the power to heal relationships, bring prosperity, and even create world peace. So, if you’re ready to experience the profound effects of this ancient practice, join the millions of others who have found solace and strength in chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
What is Nam Myoho Renge Kyo?
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is a phrase that is chanted in the practice of Nichiren Buddhism, a form of Mahayana Buddhism. It is a mantra that is believed to contain the essence of the Lotus Sutra, one of the most important sutras in Mahayana Buddhism.
In Japan, the title of the Lotus Sutra is Myōhō Renge Kyō. The mantra associated with it is called Daimoku and was first revealed by the Japanese Buddhist monk Nichiren on the 28th day of the fourth lunar month in 1253 at Kiyosumi-dera (Seichō-ji) in Kamogawa city, Chiba Prefecture, Japan.
The phrase is often translated as “I devote myself to the Lotus Sutra,” or “I take refuge in the Lotus Sutra.” “Nam” means “devotion” or “dedication,” “Myoho” refers to the mystic law of cause and effect, and “Renge Kyo” means “the Lotus Sutra.” So when chanted, the phrase expresses the practitioner’s devotion to the Lotus Sutra and their determination to live in accordance with its teachings.
Nichiren Buddhists believe that chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo can bring about positive changes in one’s life and help overcome obstacles and challenges. The practice of chanting, known as shōdai, and often done in front of a Gohonzon, a scroll that contains the characters for Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and other important Buddhist figures. They typically begin their practice by chanting or reciting mantras for a few minutes in the morning and evening.
The meaning of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
Monk chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo mantra very peaceful
Nichiren founded the call to practice Namu Myoho Renge Kyo on April 28, 1253, after extensive study of all Buddhist scriptures. He concluded that the ultimate truth of Buddhism is contained in the Lotus Sutra: “All people have the potential to attain Buddhahood.” The Japanese translation of the title of the Lotus Sutra is Myoho-Renge-Kyo.
For Nichiren, the meaning of Myoho-Renge-Kyo is more profound than just the title of a Buddhist text. It is the literal expression of the “law of life” that underlies all Buddhist teachings. Everyone wants to understand this law in one way or another.
True happiness is achieved when you realize that good (or bad) actions will bring you good (or bad) consequences, and you modify your way of life to improve it. The practice of chanting Daimoku is a means by which people can harmonize their lives with the law of life. The primary goal of Daimoku practice is to achieve perfect awakening.
As we examine each part of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, we begin to feel the depth of its meaning. Although it consists of only six syllables, each syllable represents the profound truths of the universe, such as matters of life, death, and the law of cause and effect.
The two syllables “nah” and “mu” come from Sanskrit. A close translation of it is “dedicating oneself”. Nichiren established the chanting of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo as a means by which people can change their lives to be in harmony or rhythm with the laws of life.
In Sanskrit, “nam” represents the elements of action and attitude. It refers to the exact action one needs and the attitude one needs to develop in order to attain Buddhahood in this life. Although linguistic and cultural rules allow the pronunciation of “Nam” with the “u” sound lost, it should always be written as the two symbols present on the mandala, Nah and Mu or Namu.
Myoho means “wonderful law”, it represents the relationship between phenomena inherent in the universe. Myo refers to the essence of life, which is “invisible” and beyond human intellectual understanding.
This essence always manifests itself in a tangible form “ho” and can be perceived by the senses. Phenomenon “ho” is variable, but covering all such phenomena is a continuous reality called Myo.
This dharma is called mystic because it is very difficult to understand. What made it confusing? That’s because ordinary people rely on things that are logical and factual, so they can’t pinpoint the cause of their suffering. Myo helps them realize that they are inherently Buddhas who can solve their own problems and those of others.
Buddhism teaches that life is a cycle. We appear from “myo”, become “ho” and back to “myo” again. This rhythm goes on continuously. We see new growth in the spring, maturation in the summer, harvest in the fall preceded by a dismal recall in the winter. And winter will return to spring again, a new cycle begins.
“Renge” means lotus. The lotus flower blooms and produces seeds at the same time, and thus represents the concurrency of cause and effect. Our personal circumstances and quality of life are determined by the causes and its effects, both good and bad, that we accumulate (through our thoughts, words, and actions) at each point in time. This is called karma or the law of cause and effect.
The law of cause and effect explains that each of us is responsible for our own destiny. We create our destiny and we can change it. The most powerful change we can do is to recite Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo: The good nature hidden deep within each person will be discovered.
The lotus flower grows and blooms in the muddy pond, but remains pure and free of any afflictions, symbolizing the appearance of Buddha nature in the life of an ordinary person. This lotus image also means that the Buddha is not a perfect embodiment, detached from the realities of life, either in a monastery or in another world.
Rather, the Buddha is a mirror that reflects the good things in life, and we can look into it and learn from it for ourselves. Experiencing difficulties and challenges in life, we will realize that the good qualities of the Buddha can be revealed.
“Kyo” literally means sutras, voices or teachings of a Buddha. In this sense, it also means sound, rhythm or vibration. In addition, some Chinese scholars believe that “Kyo” originally meant “rope”. Before a thread is woven, the vertical threads are placed in place.
This is the basic reality of life. They are strong frames through which ropes are woven. These ropes represent different activities in our daily lives, forming fabric styles, colors and variations.
The “fabric” in our lives encompasses both fundamental and enduring truths as well as the hectic realities of everyday life with its originality and variety. In a broad sense, “kyo” conveys the concept that everything in the universe is an expression of “Miracle”.
That is why we practice Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, rather than doing a quiet meditation. Kyo is the connection of all phenomena with our prayer.
The benefits of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo mantra
Monks fast chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo mantra in 15 minutes
Chanting the mantra Namu-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is the main practice of about 12 million members of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) around the world. Through this practice, one can discover their “Buddha-nature” in their life experiences, leading to increased joy, vitality, courage, wisdom, and compassion. Nichiren introduced this practice as the fundamental way of practicing the Buddhist faith for everyone.
“When a person is deceived, they are called an ordinary being, but when they become enlightened, they are called a Buddha. It is like a dull mirror that will shine like a jewel when polished. Like a dull mirror, it will clearly reflect the true aspect of reality and the essential nature of all phenomena, just by chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.” said Nichiren.
You may ask, “If one simply recites Nam Myoho Renge Kyo without understanding its meaning, is there any benefit?” It is similar to a baby drinking their mother’s milk without understanding the taste or ingredients, but still receiving nourishment for their body.
The benefits of the “Miracle mantra” are infinite and immeasurable. Even if we cannot comprehend the profound meaning of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, chanting it will naturally bring us good fortune and great benefits, like a child basking in their mother’s love.
The most crucial aspect is that the practice must be accompanied by faith in the Gohonzon, honesty, and sincerity. Nothing should hinder chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and discovering the good nature within each person.
The practice of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo expresses faith in the Noble Truth and the hidden potential of life. Throughout his writings, Nichiren emphasizes the importance of faith. Thus, faith is a fundamental requirement to embark on the Buddha’s path. “Miracle” is the unlimited power within one’s life. To believe in the mysterious Law and chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is to have faith in our boundless potential.
It is not a mystical phrase that bestows supernatural powers, nor is it a transcendental entity that we rely on. Chanting the Myoho-Renge-Kyo mantra can help us grasp the innate mystical truth in life. The Buddha was an ordinary human being living in this world. He recognized the potential for enlightenment inherent in each of us and encouraged others to find it to be free from suffering.
The following are some of the benefits of chanting the Nam Myoho Renge Kyo mantra:
– We are responsible for our own destiny, so by chanting this mantra we can unlock our highest potential.
– Nam Myoho Renge Kyo can be chanted for any reason, and even if someone only chants it once a day, once a year, once a decade, or once in a lifetime, they can receive unimaginable benefits.
– This mantra helps to ease our minds, removing suffering and replacing it with peace and happiness.
– Chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo can help people end their suffering and start living positively. Instead of suffering from injustice, a person suddenly finds the courage to face challenges with determination.
– Not only can we find peace and courage, but we can also remove bad karma and shine like a polished jewel.
– To truly experience the benefits of this mantra, one must practice it personally, just as one must taste a piece of cake to know if it is delicious or not.
– The first thing one may notice is a sense of courage, which Nichiren Daishonin describes as the roar of a lion. Through chanting, we summon the Buddha-nature in the hearts of all living beings.
– Chanting forces us to meditate and examine the contents of our minds, enabling us to stop reacting as usual and start focusing. As we become braver, we become the directors of our own lives.
– When our minds are calm, we can determine what we want to achieve – whether it is money, a better job, health, or love. Then, as we chant the mantra, we begin to focus all our mental energies on our desired goal, eliminating negative thoughts and distractions. As Arjuna demonstrates in the Mahabharata, “Nothing can prevent a mind firmly fixed on a single purpose.”
Overview of Lotus Sutra
The Lotus Sutra is a Mahayana Buddhist scripture that dates back to ancient India, and is considered one of the most important and influential sutras in Buddhism. It is also known as the Saddharma-pundarika Sutra, which translates to “The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma”.
The Lotus Sutra teaches the concept of the “One Vehicle” or “One Buddha Vehicle”, which means that all beings have the potential to become a Buddha and attain enlightenment. It also emphasizes the importance of compassion, wisdom, and the interconnectedness of all beings. The sutra uses various parables and stories to illustrate its teachings, including the famous parable of the burning house, in which a father saves his children from a burning house by using various expedient means to lure them out.
The Lotus Sutra has been studied and practiced by Buddhists for centuries, and has had a significant impact on the development of Buddhist thought and practice in East Asia. It continues to be revered and studied by Buddhists around the world.
LotusBuddhas – Reference: sgi.org