the Daimoku of Shakyamuni’s Buddhism of the Harvest as expounded in the surface
text of the Lotus Sutra, the Daimoku of the Essential Teaching is
Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo of actual ichinen
sanzen, the seed of Buddhahood from kuon
ganjo that Shakyamuni secreted away in the depths of the Life Span (Juryo; sixteenth) chapter of the Lotus
Sutra, and which allows all people direct access to the Buddha realm.
Daimoku of the Essential Teaching more specifically refers to the chanting of
Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo with faith in the Object of Worship of the Essential
Teaching (honmon no honzon) that was
inscribed by Nichiren Daishonin, the True Buddha for the Latter Day of the Law
and the master of the Buddhism of Sowing.
his work entitled, “The Meaning Hidden in the Depths” (“Montei hitchin-sho”), the Twenty-sixth High Priest of Nichiren
Shoshu, Nichikan Shonin, states the following: “The Daimoku of the Essential
Teaching invariably includes both faith and practice.” (Six Volume Writings [Rokkan-sho], p. 70) Nichikan Shonin explains here that the
Daimoku of the Essential Teaching encompasses two aspects,, faith and
Buddhist practice traditionally includes the three disciplines of precepts,
meditation, and wisdom, the Daishonin explains that people with lesser
capacities should abstain from the disciplines of precepts and meditation, and
rely solely on the practice of wisdom. However, because ordinary people born in
the Latter Day are deficient in their ability to exercise wisdom, the Daishonin
states the following in “On the Four Stages of Faith and the Five Stages of Practice”:
And because our wisdom is inadequate, he teaches us
to substitute faith, making this single word “faith” the foundation.
(Gosho, p. 1112; MW-6, p. 216)
In the foregoing, the Daishonin explains the
importance of substituting faith for wisdom (isshin
daie). Faith is said to be belief that is free of doubt. Our hearts should
profoundly embrace the Buddha’s teachings without allowing doubt to interfere.
passage from the Daishonin’s “Orally Transmitted Teachings” (“Ongi kuden”) reads:
All Buddhas throughout the three existences of the
past, present and future attain the Buddha Path through the single word “faith.”
This single word “faith” is likewise the sharp sword that will cut through
humanity’s innate darkness.
(Gosho, p. 1737)
Daishonin explains that the single word “faith” is the means by which all Buddhas
throughout time invariably attain Buddhahood, and that the same word “faith”
can cut through humanity’s congenital blindness to the truth. But he is also is
informing us that faith is the foundation for Buddhist practice and the means
by which ordinary people can attain Buddhahood within a single lifetime.
his Annotations on the Rissho
ankoku-ron (Rissho ankoku-ron guki),
Nichikan Shonin also states: “Practice begins with faith and the result of
faith is practice.” (Gosho mondan, p. 6) In stating that the
invariable catalyst for practice is faith, and that faith ultimately manifests
as practice, Nichikan Shonin explains that it is vital that our Daimoku
includes both faith and practice. If our practice lacks faith, we easily run
the risk of abandoning our faith when we encounter negative influences. By the
same token, if we have faith but do not put it into practice, then we cannot be
said to have true faith.
Daishonin further states the following in “On the Three Great Secret Laws” (“Sandai hiho-sho”) with regard to the
Daimoku for the Latter Day of the Law.
in the Latter Day of the Law, the Daimoku that Nichiren chants is different
from that of former ages. It is the Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo of both practice for
oneself and practice for the sake of others.
(Gosho, p. 1594)
The Daishonin explains that because it involves
practice both for oneself and for others, the Daimoku for the Latter Day of the
Law is different from the Daimoku that was relevant during the Former and
Middle Days of the Law. We, the members of Nichiren Shoshu, do not chant
Daimoku purely for our own attainment of Buddhahood. We also include, in our
practice of Daimoku, prayers that the mystic Law (Myoho) will spread throughout the world. Our Daimoku for the sake
of others must
also must include the practice of
The Significance and Rewards of Daimoku
Shonin writes as follows in Exegesis on
“The True Object of Worship”:
When we place single-minded faith
in the Gohonzon, the entire entity of the Gohonzon melds with our minds. When
this happens, the realm of Buddhahood and the other nine worlds immediately
become one. When we chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo with perfect focus, our lives
become completely saturated with the Gohonzon. On that basis, our nine worlds
instantly fuse with the Buddha realm.
(Gosho mondan, p. 205)
Shonin explains that when we believe in the Gohonzon, our minds meld with the
Gohonzon and our lives manifest the true mystic cause, whereby the realm of the
Buddha merges with the other nine worlds functioning in our lives. And when we
chant Daimoku facing the Gohonzon, our lives completely fuse with the Gohonzon,
and we reap the true mystic cause, whereby our nine worlds become one with the
short, when we chant Daimoku with faith in the Gohonzon, our nine worlds and
the Gohonzon’s realm of Buddhahood sense and interact with each other. In this
way, our minds can become imbued with the original infinite Law, and in that
instant, we can attain the Buddha Path and receive the supreme reward of
Buddhahood within a single lifetime.
the practice of the Lotus Sutra entailed the five practices of embracing,
reading, reciting, teaching and transcribing the Lotus Sutra. However, in his
“Orally Transmitted Teachings,” the Daishonin makes the following comment about
ordinary people born during the Latter Day of the Law with regard to these five
Of the five practices, four can
be omitted and people can attain Buddhahood through the single practice of
embracing the mystic Law.
(Gosho, p. 1795)
in the Latter Day can attain Buddhahood simply by embracing the Gohonzon. This
is because the practice of embracing the mystic Law (Myoho) includes the other four practices.
passage from “The True Object of Worship” (“Kanjin
no honzon-sho”) reads:
Shakyamuni’s practices and the
virtues he consequently attained are all contained within the single phrase,
Myoho-Renge-Kyo. If we believe in that phrase, we shall naturally be granted
the same benefits as he was.
(Gosho, p. 653; MW-1, p. 64)
The Daishonin explains here that the five characters
of Myoho-Renge-Kyo are endowed with all of the practices that Shakyamuni
himself carried out to become a Buddha, as well as the virtues that he accrued
as a result. For that reason, the Daishonin states that when we embrace faith
in Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, the Gohonzon of the Essential Teaching, we are, in
fact, carrying out all of Shakyamuni’s practices and will therefore receive the
same rewardsthatas he didreceived.
are four powers at work when a person embraces the Gohonzon: the power of the
Law, the power of the Buddha, the power of faith and the power of practice.
power of the Buddha is the function of the mandala Gohonzon of the mystic Law (Myoho) to relieve people’s suffering
through the profound compassion of the True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin. The
power of the Law refers to the infinite power of the mystic Law (Myoho) with which the Gohonzon is
endowed. The power of faith is our belief in the Gohonzon of the Essential
Teaching and our absolute conviction that there is no other way to attain the
Buddha Path outside of this Gohonzon. The power of practice is our exclusive
and single-minded chanting of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, without incorporating a
single idea from any other system of thought.
“Conversation between a Sage and an Unenlightened Man,” the Daishonin asserts
that these four powers are activated when we chant Daimoku with faith in the
If only you chant
Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, then what offense could fail to be eradicated? What
blessing could fail to come? This is the truth, and it is of great profundity.
You should believe and accept it.
(Gosho, p. 406; MW-5, pp. 110-1)
this passage states, when we chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, we can attain
Buddhahood just as we are, and can receive limitless and unimpeded blessings.
true essence and significance of the Daimoku of the Essential Teaching stems
from the Gohonzon, the Object of Worship of the Essential Teaching. On that
basis, the great path to Buddhahood requires strong faith in the Dai-Gohonzon
of the High Sanctuary of the Essential Teaching, the physical embodiment of the
Three Great Secret Laws. We must also must practice for ourselves
and for others, inby strictlyfollowkeeping with
the High Priest’s instruction.
the same time, we must realize that the Soka Gakkai’s chanting of “Daimoku” to
false objects of worship will produce nothing positive. On the contrary, because
that behavior slanders the true Law, it will cause them to fall into the hell
of incessant suffering.
us therefore use what is left of this year to chant Daimoku, both for our own
sakes and for the sake of all people, and do our utmost to convert even one
more person to true Buddhism.