Daily life and chanting

Many of us may have been conditioned during our upbringing to see things to do with a religion or a teaching primarily in spiritual terms so that a distorted view of Buddhism as being `other worldly` is formed. Yet Nichiren Daishonin`s Buddhism teaches that the spiritual and physical/material aspects of life are inextricably linked. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and practising Nichiren Daishonin`s Buddhism, in the face of day to day realities with its ups and downs, gives us a powerful means to draw out our Buddhahood. We find the key to our happiness in the middle of our daily lives! This is one meaning of `Buddhism equals daily life`.

Nichiren Daishonin`s Buddhism does not simply provide a means to view the world in a theoretical way. It is not as if by coming to understand about the ten worlds, or cause and effect that we just have a new pair of glasses through which to look at the world. It is much, much more than this.

In a letter called The Gift of Rice, Nichiren Daishonin says:

“In the end secular matters are the entirety of Buddhism” (WND,1126).

In other words, each human being`s life, moment by moment in any `secular` area of life, is in one of the ten states and they can at any moment experience any other of the 9 worlds. If we carefully observe people going about any kind of `secular matter`, we will find the mutual possession of the ten worlds at work. This is true for all the principles of life that Buddhism explains. We will find them working within our daily reality. How we live, in relation to our moment by moment daily reality, works on the basis of these fundamental life principles. As we chant and practise, we experience our daily lives in a different way and this is a very profound thing: through this inter-relating of our lives and our daily realities we become Buddhas!

We naturally find ourselves chanting about our day to day realities. And in the extreme of a life-threatening situation my chanting will be from my whole life and it will influence the life-threatening reality. With more time, and under less pressure, I may be aware that, for example, a distant aunt is suffering and decide to chant for her happiness. There may be many other aspects of my daily reality where I may feel my happiness is related in such a way that I feel I want to chant about that aspect.

Buddhism in Daily Life

However, we will also find that through our sincere chanting we find ourselves changing inside, in how we react, in how we see ourselves, in how far we treasure ourselves and in many other respects. The things we started by chanting about may come to be seen by us as all related to something inside and as we change that `something` our experience of all these other things changes too. Because we change, how we cause the world to come to us changes profoundly.

As we continue to practice we start to take up the challenge of changing ourselves and doing our human revolution. And we find that we seek to live a life of fundamental respect towards ourselves and all living beings. This does not mean that we cease to try, for example, to `get our own way`. But the basis on which we pursue our desires changes. We learn to trust this different way to live, based on the Mystic Law. This is not just about wishful thinking or trying to be nice. Human revolution is a far more profound change whereby we, the `ordinary being`, through overcoming our negative tendencies and expanding our lives, more and more become the Buddha.

Tapping the power of the law

See also…