What is Nam Myoho Renge Kyo?
Nichiren, the 13th-century Japanese Buddhist monk, declared the daimoku of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo on 28 April 1253, which he termed as his First Turning of the Wheel of the Law. At the same time, he also changed his Dharma name to Nichiren, which means “Sun Lotus.”
The Lotus Sutra teaches us what is the meaning of Buddhahood and how to attain Buddhahood quickly. Having perceived that the title holds the essence of the Lotus Sutra, Nichiren promulgated the chanting of the title to bring forth our Buddhahood inside of us. Chanting the daimoku is a simple and yet powerfully effective way to connect our mind to that of the Buddha’s mind.
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo means “I devote myself to the Wonderful Dharma of the Lotus Sutra.” It is an expression of aspiration and vow to awaken and manifest our Buddha-nature within so that we could transform sufferings into good fortune in life. Thus, chanting empowers us to unleashing our greatest potentials within to create values for oneself and others.
In Sanskrit, Nam means “to devote or dedicate oneself.” The Japanese Myo is a word of praise and it means “wonderful” or “magnificent,” and Ho means “law”, “method”, or “Dharma.”
Renge means “lotus flower” and it is a metaphor that symbolizes purity and Buddhahood. The lotus flower is pure and unsullied by the muddy water in which it grows. Moreover, the lotus blooms and seeds at the same time, signifying the simultaneous Law of Cause and Effect. This means that the moment we chant the daimoku, we are manifesting our Buddhahood within us.
Kyo literally means sutra but it means means “thread,” which is a symbolism of interconnectedness in life. When a fabric is woven, the vertical and horizontal threads are interwoven together beatifically. This denotes the oneness of Buddhahood and the ordinary human life.
Chanting is a dynamic meditation that enables us to develop Samadhi, single-pointed concentration, which is one of the factors of Seven Factors of Enlightenment and the Six Paramitas. The practice of Buddhism toward enlightenment is to cultivate wisdom through sculpting our minds to focus upon the ultimate goal of attaining Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi (Supreme Perfect Enlightenment). By fusing our ordinary lives to that of Buddhahood, we are empowered to change our lives to the better as well as optimizing our strengths to create the greatest values for humanity.
The essence of the Lotus Sutra is the teaching that all of us can awaken and unleash our Buddha-nature to surmount all difficulties and achieve happiness. We need to have the unshakable conviction and faith that the point of power always lie within us. By chanting the daimoku, we are honouring our innate capacity as a Buddha with limitless wisdom, compassion, and courage to lead a life of creativity and dignity.
Chanting is the daimoku of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is a declaration and affirmation of our innate potential to liberate sufferings and attain absolute happiness. Let us have faith in the Buddha within us! Let us awaken the Buddha inside of us to lead happy lives!