The Language of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas

Core principles for improving the district discussion meeting.

Every week across the country, introduction-to-Buddhism meetings are taking place at Buddhist centers and in homes, on college campuses and at coffee shops.

Thank you to everyone coordinating and bringing guests to these gatherings, where they can learn about the humanistic and empowering principles of Buddhism as taught by the SGI.

In March, our social media team created a brief “Introduction to Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhism” that contains the basic elements of our Buddhist practice.

Today, we feature slides centering on “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.” What should we keep in mind when explaining this core element of our Buddhist practice?

The key is found in Nichiren Daishonmin’s perspective. For instance, he writes: “ ‘But how great is the difference between the blessings received when a sage chants the daimoku and the blessings received when we chant it?’ To reply, one is in no way superior to the other. The gold that a fool possesses is no different from the gold that a wise man possesses; a fire made by a fool is the same as a fire made by a wise man” (“The Fourteen Slanders,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 756).

Along these same lines, SGI President Ikeda addressed the question of whether there is value in chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and doing gongyo without understanding their meaning, saying: “Of course, it is better if you understand their meaning. That will strengthen your commitment to the Law. But if you understand and yet fail to practice, it is all of no use. Moreover, you cannot understand the real depth of the teachings through reason alone.

Please try to incorporate the “Introduction to Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhism” presentation into your next introductory meeting.

“Birds, for example, have their own language, their own speech. People do not understand it, but other birds do. There are many examples among humans, as well—codes, abbreviations or foreign languages are well understood by experts or native speakers but unintelligible to others.

“In the same way, the language of gongyo and daimoku [chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo] reaches the Gohonzon and the realms of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the three existences and the ten directions. We might call it the language of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas.

“That is why the voice of gongyo and daimoku directed to the Gohonzon, whether we understand it or not, reaches all the Buddhas, bodhisattvas and heavenly deities . . .

“The Daishonin has taught us that through gongyo and chanting daimoku, we can reach an elevated state in which, while engaged in our daily lives, we traverse the entire universe” (My Dear Friends in America, third edition, pp. 47–48).

Please try to incorporate the “Introduction to Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhism” presentation into your next introductory meeting. You can find it by going to www.worldtribune.org and selecting “About Buddhism.”

See you on the front lines!

With deepest appreciation,
Adin Strauss
SGI-USA General Director


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