Myoho Renge Kyo

Buddhism, Life, Politics, Philosophy, Ethics & Everything Else!

I’m an independent, secular Nichiren style Buddhist, so I chant a lot. I chant at least twice a day, every day, chanting daimoku (Nam(u) Myoho Renge Kyo) as a meditative mantra, and gongyo, in which I chant chapters 2 and 16 of The Lotus Sutra in Shindoku language, which is basically a Japanese pronunciation of Chinese used in Japanese Buddhism (Zen also uses Shindoku sometimes). I don’t believe in the supernatural or in deities, so I don’t “pray” nor do I believe mandalas such as Nichiren gohonzons hold any special powers, other than acting as visual symbols or representations of Buddhist concepts. I originally became a Buddhist in Boston in 1986/87 when I was invited to Soka Gakkkai International (SGI) meetings, where I learned to chant, and later on became a formal member of the more orthodox Nichiren Shoshu sect, where I received formal gojukai and took precepts, and later on, after leaving Nichiren Shoshu due to how difficult I found its orthodoxy, I became a formal member of the more flexible, more lenient and open Nichiren Shu sect, where I also received gojukai and took precepts. I’ve also studied Zen (Soto and Rinzai) a bit, and have participated casually in some Zen sanghas, as well as in some Secular Buddhist practice communities. My daily practice is essentially Nichiren Shu, where I practice what’s known as shodaigyo, a form of ritualized meditation consisting of a mix of chanting aloud of daimoku and gongyo interspersed with silent (Zen style) meditation. It’s what works for me, and I understand and fully embrace that other forms of practice, ritualized or not, may work best for other Buddhists. I am however a Mahayana Buddhist, not Theravadan, which I admire and respect, but find too strict and outdated for me.