Thursday, March 19, 2015

What Does Nam-myoho-renge-kyo Mean?

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What does Nam-myoho-renge-kyo mean, 
and why do we chant it? 

One of the translations is:

"I fuse my life 
with the mystic law of cause and effect 
through sound vibration." 

a more literal translation is 

"I devote my life to the mystic law 

of the lotus (symbolizing cause and effect) sutra

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo  is the title of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha's highest teaching that declares that ALL people possess the Buddha Nature...all people ARE Buddhas...and have the entire universe within them...and we can access this immeasurable power chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and  calling it forth in our lives. 

I like to think of it as "I am one with the rhythm of all life." It is the rhythm that exists within all of life...the reason for the turning of the tides...the reason for the seasons...the atoms that exist within every single cell...from an elephant to a spec of dust. Everything possesses this connectedness...this rhythm.  It is all encompassing and contains the wisdom and energy of all of life itself...the whole universe. 

And when we chant, we tap into that energy and access it for our lives...directed towards our desires. In this practice, it's okay to have desires. When I was searching for this practice I found many forms of Buddhism that said our desired are the cause of our suffering, and that if we can alleviate our attachment to our desires we can become happy. In Nichiren Buddhism we don't have to alleviate our desires to become happy. Desires make us who we are and cause us to chant. 

When we chant we harness the energy that is our birthright. And we chant twice a day, every single day, to get and keep our lives in rhythm. 

When we are in rhythm we are in the right place at the right time... to find out about the job...or to meet the man of our dreams...or to protect our child from danger. When we are in rhythm life isn't so much of a struggle as it is a joy...we see the beauty in everything and we feel our lives overflowing with appreciation. We chant for something and get it or something better. We get access to emotions and a level of internal happiness and strength that cannot be blown away by any event or obstacles. In fact we view obstacles themselves as benefits, as strange as that may sound....because obstacles make us chant more, and when we chant more we draw even higher life conditions and deeper satisfaction into our lives. 

What can we chant FOR? Anything. That's right, anything. We can chant for whatever our desire may be...even if it might not be the "right" desire for us. In the act of chanting we will change our karma and our desires themselves will naturally begin to shift. We will open our lives to the deeper wisdom within...the deeper yearning, the REAL desires that we have forgotten or given up on. We will grow. We will prosper and we will blossom. 

We chant for ourselves, 
We chant for others, 
We chant for kosen-rufu - a world of peace and respect! 

The challenge is...we have to DO it. We have to chant to bring all this rhythm and harmony about. And that's why we practice together as an organization, the SGI, The Soka Gakkai, our fellowship of friends who support each other, chant for each other, and create a new Soka family for each practitioner. We are so fortunate. (You can click on the link at the right to connect with the SGI in your area.)

I hear from people all over the world, and some have strong SGI groups in their towns and others are completely alone. I love that we can connect through the power of the internet. From the moment I began chanting  30 years ago I have had the deep desire to share this practice, this practice that WORKS, with everyone who is looking for the real, practical means of creating happiness and results in their lives. 

We are in this life together...sharing our challenges and our successes. If you are not yet connected to the SGI please go to and find your local members. You will be so glad you did. 

Some Powerful Quotes 
from Daisaku Ikeda:

THIS moment, 
this instant, 
is important, 
not some unknown time in the future. 
this very day 
is what matters. 
You must put your whole being 
into the time that exists now. 
For future victory rests 
in the present moment.

BUDDHISM holds that 

everything is in a constant state of flux. 
Thus, the question is 
whether we are to accept change passively a
nd be swept away by it, 
or whether we are to take the lead 
and create positive changes on our own initiative. 
While conservatism and self-protection
might be likened to winter, night and death, 

the spirit of pioneering
and attempting to realize the ideals 

evokes the images of spring,
morning and birth.

DO gongyo and chant daimoku with a fresh spirit. 

And, filled with renewed vitality, 
build a history of accumulating fresh benefit.

Write me at I am currently collecting experiences from readers who have been inspired by this blog to connect or reconnect to the SGI, or who have achieved victories and/or been inspired by these writings. You are all my awesome friends!  


  1. Thank you for the lively openness and gratitude.

  2. Awesome explanation. Beautiful. Thank you. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!!!

  3. Dear Jamie, thanks for your effort and compassion! I often get inspiration from your blog. It means a lot for me! Going to do a wholeheartend gobgyo now!x