The Focus of Devotion

[The Gohonzon,] the physical form of such a focus of devotion, also serves as a reminder that the Buddha Dharma is not about abstract principles and theories. Instead, the Dharma is a living reality. It awakens us through the vast network of interrelationships within the real world that affects the unfathomable inner workings of our own minds and hearts. The focus of devotion, therefore, is not to be worshiped as an idol, something outside of ourselves and separate from daily reality. Rather, it is an expression of enlightenment, presented in such a way that it warmly and intimately engages our whole being with the living reality of Buddhahood.

Lotus World: An Illustrated Guide to the Gohonzon


“Myo” basically has two meanings: “A wondrous function, too microscopic to discern” and “Mysterious circumstance.” Originally, “Myo” comes from the Sanskrit “Sat,” which means “Right, virtuous and true.” When “Sat” connects to the next word, “Dharma” (Ho), it becomes “Saddharma.” Then, all of a sudden, “Myo” has an amazing meaning. It means to “open all mysterious gates in the universe, and awaken hidden power; to develop and resuscitate life.” This implies that the teaching of the Lotus Sutra has wonderful mysterious powers to engender a life from sterile land, cause growth and regenerate all, just like the sun. “Myo is to resuscitate life,” said Nichiren Shonin, in one of his letters.

Spring Writings

All Together Now

Concerning the Simile of the Herbs, it should be pointed out that all the plants live in harmony with each other. They are grouped together, even as they each grew according to their unique nature. Some would grow near mountains, some near the river, some in between. Yet they all grew together. Over and over in the Lotus Sutra the Buddha either refers to groups of people, alludes to groups of people or addresses groups of people. Even when he addresses specific individuals he does so as representatives for people of similar capacities. We each are important to the greater whole that makes up the entire universe as well as our local Sangha. Every person brings a unique perspective and understanding to the practice of Buddhism. The entire Sangha grows stronger by the contributions of each person, just as society is made stronger when all people actively participate.

It takes the combined efforts of many people to ensure that our society reflects the ideas and beliefs of Buddhism, which in turn will help eliminate the suffering that is around us in the world today.

Lecture on the Lotus Sutra

The Three Bodies of the Buddha

Mahayana Buddhism speaks of the Trikaya, or Three Bodies of the Buddha. These are not actually separate, distinct bodies; rather, they are personifications of different aspects or properties of the life of a Buddha. …

The first Buddha body is the Nirmanakaya, or Transformation-body. This is the historical aspect of a Buddha and refers to the Buddha as a person who is born, becomes awakened, teaches the Dbarma, and then dies. This Buddha is an ordinary human being in every respect, except that he or she is awakened to the true nature of life.

The second Buddha body is the Sambhogakaya, or Enjoyment-body. This is the idealized aspect of the Buddha. This body is adorned with all kinds of special marks and characteristics symbolizing a buddha’s transcendent nature. This is the Buddha of limitless life and light, who resides in a pure land far removed from all suffering. The Enjoyment-body expresses the inner life of the historical Buddha and is the Buddha’s enjoyment of the Wonderful Dharma.

The third Buddha body is the Dharmakaya, or Dharma-body. This is the Buddha as universal truth, a personification of the true nature of reality itself. The Dharma-body is synonymous with other Buddhist terms such as Emptiness, Suchness, Buddha nature, or Dependent Origination. The Dharma-body expresses the Wonderful Dharma that is enjoyed by the Enjoyment-body and manifested physically by the Transformation-body.

Lotus Seeds

Basic Truths

The Nichiren Shu recognizes certain basic truths that our daily lives should express in our actions. These truths … should naturally arise from our Buddhist practice; that is, we should live this way not because we are supposed to follow some rules, but because they express our natural beliefs.

Awakening to the Lotus

Four Objects of Faith

The four indestructible objects of faith in which true believers put unshakable trust are the Three Treasures (Buddha, Law, and Order) and the precepts (not to kill, not to steal, not to indulge in wrong sexual activity, not to lie, not to drink intoxicants). The person who profoundly believes in the Three Treasures will abide absolutely by these moral rules. The aim of Buddhism is for believers of this kind to convert the world into a place of peace and happiness free of war, strife, antagonism, envy, injustice, and iniquity.

Basic Buddhist Concepts

The Primary Concerns of Human Life

The primary concerns of human life can be summarized by the four sufferings: birth, old age, sickness and death. We can include the idea of the eight sufferings which would add the suffering of meeting and getting along with a unfavorable person, the suffering of separation from loved ones, the suffering of not getting what one desires and the sufferings caused by activities of the body. The intention of Buddhism is to respond to these concerns and provide a solution to such suffering through our own realization of the Eternal Buddha’s teachings.

Buddha Seed: Understanding the Odaimoku

The Equally Glorious and Splendid World

This world, so full of evils as to appear like a fiery furnace in the eyes of the vulgar, is perceived by the Buddha to be a peaceful and happy realm inhabited by beings of high spiritual order. What is the truth of it? Is the world pure and full of pleasures, or foul and full of pains? The solution will be this or that according to the confusion or the enlightenment of each individual mind. The world seen by the Buddha and the world seen by the multitude are not two, but one. When enlightenment is attained, all worlds are found to be equally glorious and splendid.

Doctrines of Nichiren (1893)

The Certainty of Enlightenment

If we knew that the path of our lives was secure, that there was certainty of enlightenment how free would we feel? Would our burdens be easier if we did not have to worry about happiness? Contained within the Lotus Sutra is the heart and soul of all the messages of all the Buddhas. It isn’t easy to believe this; we may struggle with accepting the truth of the message of the Buddha. Yet I wonder how is it easier to accept messages that deny us our ability to be happy. Which message do you allow to penetrate the core of your life?

Lotus Path: Practicing the Lotus Sutra Volume 1

Facing Inward

When a person is willing to delve into his weaknesses and troubles while ignoring those of others, the real benefit of Buddhist practice will appear. Buddhism, at the core, is not a religious doctrine that subscribes to the practices of judgment. Facing inward is where Buddhism invites us to direct our energy.

Physician's Good Medicine