One Energy. . .
I have spoke about the many forms of Buddhism and today I would like to expand on one the versions I feel I may not have explained well – Nichiren Buddhism
Nichiren Buddhism is a Japanese Buddhist movement in the Mahayana tradition. It is also popular in the West and has a fast growing membership in the UK.
Nichiren Buddhism differs from other schools of Buddhism in focusing on this world, and in its view that it is the only correct tradition. It also emphasises the importance of individuals taking responsibility for improving themselves. Although it can be seen as a highly self-focused religion, followers of Nichiren Buddhism believe that individual empowerment and inner transformation contribute, in turn, to a better and more peaceful world.
Nichiren Buddhism is based on the following ten principles as fundamental to human make-up. These are:
- Hell – a condition which appears when someone feels in despair or desperate.
- Hunger – when someone constantly wants, for example, to be like someone else rather than accept their own life.
- Animality – is governed by instinct and may lead someone to prey on those more vulnerable. For example, a power hungry boss may abuse his position and treat his/her staff like slaves.
- Anger – encompasses traits of selfishness, competitiveness, and arrogance.
- Tranquillity – is a calm state of life.
- Rapture – is the pleasures one feels when one’s goals are met.
- Learning – appears when someone seeks new skills.
- Absorption is a condition based on knowledge and wisdom.
- Bodhisattva – means ‘disciple of the Buddha’ and is a state where people have strong concern for others which ultimately helps them to overcome their challenges.
- Buddhahood – is the ultimate state to be in as it includes compassion, wisdom, and humaneness.
Nichiren Buddhism began in medieval Japan. It has its roots in the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin (1222-1282), a 13th century Japanese monk who tried to reform Buddhism and Japanese society. In many ways he was a Buddhist Martin Luther who lived centuries before the great Protestant reformer. His teaching was based on the Mahayana sutra (scripture) known as the Lotus Sutra.
The main practice of Nichiren Buddhists is chanting, primarily the mantra Nam Myoho Renge Kyo which means ‘I devote my life to the law itself’. Chanters repeat this mantra to enter more deeply into the spiritual tradition of the Lotus Sutra.
As with any branch of Buddhism there can be much to learn culturally and practice wise but as with most forms of practice it always comes back to the original energy and teachings of The First Buddha.
“One should become the master of one’s mind rather than let one’s mind master him.” – Nichiren Daishonin
Peace and Love, Jim