Category Archives: Odaimoku

Equality Before Buddha

Ultimately, the largest treasure and most precious “benefit” one will receive is none other than the Buddha’s enlightenment. This goes without saying, that in the true spirit of the Lotus Sutra, one need not first be a holy or religious man in order to benefit from this practice. It does not matter whether one is a priest, lay person, man, woman, educated or not, employed, non­employed, perfect, imperfect, with or without problems, etc. A human being is always a human being, and before the Buddha, all are equal. Buddhism therefore addresses all life in an entirely impartial manner. All living beings can become a Buddha, without exception.

Odaimoku: The Significance Of Chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo

Through Faith and Study

Through faith and study, as we cultivate our Buddhist practice, we strive for understanding, insight, wisdom, respect for all life, compassion, humility, vigour, courage, confidence, strength, joy, patience, tranquillity, security and satisfaction, along with the power to truly help others. These are just some of the qualities we strive to gain and manifest through our sincere daily practice and study of Buddhism.

Odaimoku: The Significance Of Chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo

Why We Chant

Chanting the Odaimoku in Nichiren Shu is done to become closer to the Buddha and Nichiren Shonin. We chant to grow in spirituality, faith, character, and in understanding. We chant so that we may develop an enlightened and pure quality of life, just as that of the Buddha himself. We strive to identify and eliminate within our own lives the negative forces and tendencies that wreck havoc on our happiness and of those around us, such as greed, anger, egocentrism, arrogance, jealousy, impatience, worry, a complaining nature, ignorance and others. These destructive elements only bring about suffering to ourselves and to all those around us.

Odaimoku: The Significance Of Chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo

Striving in Practice

[P]eople who only chant for everyday material gain, are still at an infant level of their understanding of Buddhism and development. One who instead strives to practice and live in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha, will certainly obtain tranquillity and immense satisfaction in all facets of life over time.

Odaimoku: The Significance Of Chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo

Greatest Joy of All Joys

Nichiren Shonin stated in the Ongi Kuden (Oral Teachings) that “Namu Myoho Renge Kyo is the greatest joy of all joys” and further taught us in the lssho Jobutsu Sho ( On Attaining Buddha hood), “Whether you chant the Buddha’s name, recite the Sutra or merely offer flowers and incense, all your virtuous efforts will implant benefit and good fortune into your life. With this conviction, you should put your faith into practice.” Here, the Buddha’s name is that of the Eternal Buddha of the 16th chapter (Juryo) of the Lotus Sutra: Namu Myoho Renge Kyo.

Odaimoku: The Significance Of Chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo

Kaikyoge

The Kaikyoge (Verses for Opening the Sutra) states? “We can approach enlightenment when we see, hear or touch this Sutra. Within it is expounded the body of the Buddha’s truth and essence. Every letter composing this Sutra is a manifestation of the Buddha. Just as the scent of incense can be perceived as it is approached, all living beings shall be benefited by this Sutra, spontaneously and without hindrance.”

Odaimoku: The Significance Of Chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo

Seeing the Buddha

Although Shakyamuni passed away nearly 3,000 years ago, he still remains alive today through his words which have been written and passed down to us through the sutras. Therefore, if we wish to encounter the Buddha today, all we need to do is read, study and embrace the Lotus Sutra and its heart and essence, the Odaimoku of Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. Nichiren Shonin explains this specific point in the Kanjin Honzon Sho: People can attain Buddhahood in two ways: by meeting the Buddha and listening to the Lotus Sutra, or by believing in the Sutra, even if they are unable to (physically) see the Buddha.”

Odaimoku: The Significance Of Chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo

The Rope and Roll of Fabric

Kyo is the translation of the Sanskrit word for sutra. The original meaning of this Sanskrit word is “wire”, “cord” , “thread” or “roll of fabric.” … [I]n the Buddhist sense, sutra refers to the recorded sermons and teachings of the Buddha. The significance of the sutra as a cord or string, represents the bond that joins each and everyone of us with the life and teachings of the Tathagata. The meaning of “roll of fabric” indicates that through our taking refuge in the Three Treasures, our lives are wrapped in the compassion of the Buddha leading us away from a world of suffering, pain and confusion.

Odaimoku: The Significance Of Chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo

The Nourishment of the Lotus Sutra

[T]his seed of potential (or latent) Buddhahood must be fed, watered and cared for just like any other living thing. This can be done only through the nourishment of the Lotus Sutra, that is, reciting the Sutra and Namu Myoho Renge Kyo while dedicating ourselves to the Buddha. Without sincere faith and practice, the seed of enlightenment hidden in our lives cannot receive nourishment and, therefore, cannot blossom and grow, much less flourish.

Odaimoku: The Significance Of Chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo

The Pure and Beautiful Flower of Enlightenment

All living beings have the potential for Buddhahood. All people possess that seed, as explained in the concept of Inga Guji [both cause and effect are mutually possessed]. So when we recite Namu Myoho Renge Kyo in front of the Mandala Gohonzon, the pure and beautiful flower of enlightenment contained within our lives blossoms, develops and flourishes.

Odaimoku: The Significance Of Chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo