I don’t know how many amongst us here have heard of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo! But I gather there must be quite a few if one is to go by the chanting groups that have proliferated like mushrooms in every nook and corner of the country with such an umbrella effect that it is almost on par with our numerous Bhajan Mandalis everywhere.

I hadn’t. Heard of it I mean. In fact the first time I heard it, it made no sense at all. The second time, it rang a distant bell and the third time it registered.

It was too much of a coincidence, three times in as many months and in different parts of the world! But perhaps fate nay destiny had something to do with it. I’d like to think so anyway!

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, I needed to know what it meant. I had to know. And thus began my journey into unchartered waters. And hopefully for those of us who are yet to hear of it this will open up new vistas.

History records that in the 6th century BC Gautama Buddha, born a prince of the Sakya clan in Lumbini  Kapilavasthu in what is today’s Nepal, gave up his all to go in search of an answer to man’s sufferings. He found it after many a trial and tribulation, we are told, while meditating under the Bodhi Tree, in Gaya, India. It was then thereafter that he apparently became the ‘Buddha’ or the ‘Enlightened One’. This is a tale that is so oft told that it is probably as much a part of us as are the stories of the birth of Christ, the Ramayana or the Mahabharata.

But in the last eight years of his life Buddha -for those of us who don’t know- apparently began expounding the ‘Lotus Sutra’, as the ultimate form of enlightenment. All his former teachings, he said were to be treated as being merely preparatory! The Lotus Sutra explained the belief that everyone could attain enlightenment regardless of caste or creed, race or gender, or the state of one’s finances! Everyone, he said had a “Buddha’ inherent in him.

And in the 13th century, in Japan, almost to the exact date prophesied by Buddha so many centuries before, the “Lotus Sutra” came into its own.

Nichiren Diashonin (1222-1282 AD), a truly great Buddhist teacher, I was informed, based his entire teachings on the interpretation of the Lotus Sutra. He had the remarkable ability of being able to explain and clarify the sutra to the common man, which is as relevant today as it was then. He explained that it was not necessary to make any major changes in life to become enlightened. One could begin the process by simply reorganizing it —-to the chants of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, the title of the Lotus sutra.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!

Nam, a Sanskrit word meaning ‘devotion and dedication’,

Myoho meaning ‘Mystic Law” or life itself and revival,

Renge meaning the beautiful Lotus flower that springs out of the slime

Kyo meaning teachings and the enunciation of its vibrant sound

Written in ancient classical Chinese characters and pronounced in Japanese, its literal translation would mean ‘I dedicate myself/ life to the mystic laws of the lotus’.

But it also refers to the emergence of man’s Buddha nature from within man himself like the lotus from the slime. And when set to the rhythm of his chanting voice it can apparently draw out ‘wisdom, courage and compassion’ even while expressing ‘respect and gratitude’ to life itself.

Thus, chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo as often as one can, I was told, would enable one to bring out the positive aspects of ones life while addressing the unhappy ones. Ideally, one is to chant in front of the Gohonzon, a scroll bearing Nichiren’s inscriptions, as do the members of some Buddhist societies (Soka Ga Kai), who follow his teachings. But chanting without it is also believed to be no less beneficial.

Chanting energizes the positive vibes of one’s life into gradually overcoming the negative ones. Subtle changes take place replacing anxiety with calm, restlessness with peace and can even help prevent or at least control illness say those who have tried it. At the least it promotes happiness and harmony within the person…and at the most it could be contagious. A welcome contagion regardless of religion, caste or creed!

The Buddha nature it is believed cannot be attained by education, money or power .It has to be felt. That feeling will only manifest itself when one is attuned to the positive aspects of self and nature/the world around you. When the self becomes happier, society becomes happier, and then wouldn’t it be just a small step to the entire world itself?

All of us are apparently potential Buddhas as there is Buddha hood lying dormant in all of us. Buddha himself was a mortal who awoke to his enlightenment. He was no God. If he could achieve it, I was told, there is no reason why seemingly we cannot. One doesn’t have to become a Buddhist or change one’s religion or beliefs, one needs to only incorporate this chant into one’s daily life as a matter of routine to achieve a happier frame of mind. Buddha- hood is a state of mind, the state of enlightenment, a state of happiness and by chanting this everyday we sow the seeds of that attainment.

I am no Buddhist and nor have I become one but I did try chanting it along with my other prayers for a few minutes everyday and I do believe that there has been an improvement in the quality of my life! So…

‘Nam Myoho Renge Kyo’

 


 

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29 responses »

  1. lakshmi nair says:

    You guys are so lucky you can chant .I was chanting for 2 yrs and have seen tremendous benefits .But now my husband opposes so does my family .i have returned my gohonzon to soka gakkai and i am a loser

    • Its whats in your heart that truely matter, it will be with you forever.

    • Haresh says:

      No never give up. This chanting is for peace and happiness of living beings.

      While doing for yourself you also doing for others which is a Good Cause.

      Relax for sometime but do not loose your faith

    • sreelata menon says:

      But why Lakshmi? Why do they oppose it ? I don’t chant it all the time either but why should it bother anyone else if you do?

  2. Thank You! I have been chanting for maybe 3 or more years now it is very relaxing and uplifting.

  3. Weiwei says:

    My grandmum practised this true buddhism 40 years ago, and I am sincerely chanted daimoku (Nam-myoho-Renge-kyo) recently years. In Nichiren Shoshu buddhism, we uphold three treasurers: The Buddha, The Law ( Myoho-renge-kyo) and The Priesthood. Follow the guidance and teaching from the priests is essential in practising Dashonin’s buddhism, as the High Priest inherited the living essence of the true Buddha, Nichiren Dashonin.

    Doing gongyo ( Chanting the lotus sutra chapters, morning and evening) and chanting Daimoku, is the basic prayers as a Nichiren Shoshu members. I wish to share this beautiful teaching and pratice with anybody around me. You will gain happiness and wisdom in your this lifetime.

    thank you

  4. gc1963 says:

    Inspiring and informative!

  5. Tanuja Chatterjee says:

    Hi Sreelata!
    The above chant mentioned by Vimala, is absolutely different from ours. We chant NAM MYO HO REN GE KYO. The rhythm is the same for all but the pace varies, with beginners its slow paced daimoku and practitioners follow high intensity pace, about 1000times in 20 min or 10,000times in 3hrs. 20 mins. (200 mins.)

  6. sreelata menon says:

    I don’t know Vimala-Tanuja might be able to tell us-I have heard a very slow soothing version but here is one version which is on the net…its quite fast and the way to pronounce is given quite clearly.

    http://www.guernsey.net/~moorman/HOW_TO_CHANT.html

  7. Wonderful. So nice that spiritual crust has focussed on “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo”. Thank you, Sreelata Madam, and GBU for sharing this.

  8. vimala madon says:

    I had heard about the power of this chant more than a decade ago when one of my younger sister’s friends told her what good it had done for her. Only, the chant went “om namey renge kyo” which is very similar to the way you chant it.
    Can there be different ways to chant it?

  9. sreelata menon says:

    Shail/Tanuja please click on the first link of’automatically

    generated possibly related links’ above the ‘Responses’and

    read what it says…..

  10. sreelata menon says:

    Oh good Tanuja please do!

    I’m sure Shail ,Mira and all the others will welcome it too.

    Right Shail?

    Straight from the horse’s or dare I say mare’s mouth…

    Good and thank u!

  11. Mira Pawar says:

    ‘Nam Myoho Renge Kyo’ Thanks Sreelata! I have started chanting already and I believe, it will surely make a difference. Any prayer for that matter helps in attaining positivity. Lovely read…..enjoyed it thorougly. Amazingly, this time there are so many enlightening blogs. Thanks again for sharing.

  12. Tanuja Chatterjee says:

    Hi Sreelata!
    I’m your kosen rufu comrade. I have been practicing for a long time now. It’s nice to know your eternal karmic soulmates. There are certain points I wish to add so I’ve decided to put up a write up instead which will be in continuation to yours. Hope Shail puts it up here. I believe, it’s the only alternative available to mankind today. Thanx .

  13. Sonal Shree says:

    I had heard Nam Myoho Renge Kyo in three places: Rajgir, Macleodganj(Dharmashala) and Sarnath. Thanks for the detailed account. Indeed this chant is soothing.

  14. sreelata menon says:

    Thanks Folks.
    Anyone based in Bangalore right now?

    I am in Bangalore for a few weeks so I wondered…

    There is also a Sunil Sethi book launch next week at Land mark…

    • vimala ramu says:

      Yes, I am a permanent resident of Bangalore.Can contact me at 26765197. Would love to meet you.

      • bvs reddy says:

        hello

        i am bvs reddy from bengalore i want to know about chanting

        it is possible pls give a mail to bvsreddy7@yahoo.com

      • sreelata menon says:

        Mr Reddy I will try and get you a contact person of a group in malleswaram…
        It was nice talking to you Vimala…I am away in Juba South Sudan at the moment -will be here for a few weeks!So couldn’t take upon on your offer to drop by…will do so when I’m in B’lore next!

  15. vimala ramu says:

    Interesting.

  16. Dear Sreelata,

    What a lovely write-up on the Lotus sutra. I think more than anything else, all of us who are busy running our lives and are not that spiritual in practice need to make use of such mantras to find that stability, security and sense of calm in our lives. Like so many other mantras that have been helping people, I think this mantra too comes as a godsend for people.

    Nice write-up…

  17. sreelata menon says:

    Yes Eva …it took me awhile getting it right but its very calming and well you can chant it/repeat it even under your breath whenever!
    So it kind of helps one somewhat like those deep breathing exercises yoga tells us to do when you need some- well space!!
    The local chanting groups do it for an hour and more but then I haven’t gone there…….I’m only a curious kind not a committed one t all!
    I’ll try anything once if it helps well…

    Shernaz just google and it will throw up all the info you want! It isn’t unlike your tibetan chant.It has the same soothing quality.I too hadn’t heard of it till sometime ago hence the piece. Then I found that there were many who were into this…but I haven’t joined any of the Soka… chanting groups.I am not one for anything organized I guess but yes I chant this once in away whenever I can along with my ‘father who art in heaven …and my ohm trayambakam yajamahe…..I will now add your Tibetan prayer too!

  18. Eva Bell says:

    Hi Sreelatha!
    A very informative blog!
    The chant however is quite a tongue twister but as you vouch for improvement in the quality of your life, I must try it out.

  19. Shernaz says:

    Thank you Vimala, for this very informative and enlightening blog. I have read a bit about Buddhism and Zen philosophy and the mantra I like to hear and chant is “Om mani pudme hum” It is a Tibetan chant, very soothing when recited correctly. But I haven’t heard the one you have written about. May be I am not yet ready for it, because they say everything in life comes to you when you are ready to receive it.

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