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Brief Guidances

Q: Which is more important when chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo: quantity or quality?

Photo by Victor Golden

Answer:

The value—or, if you like, the quality—of a 100-dollar bill is more than a 10-dollar bill. Naturally, most people would prefer a 100-dollar bill, right?Similarly, in faith, sincere, strong prayers are important. Of course, having lots of 100-dollar bills is even better! Likewise, in chanting Nam- myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon, both quantity and quality count.

Everything you do in the realm of Buddhist faith and practice is for your own happiness. The main thing is that you feel deep satisfaction after chanting. There are no hard-and-fast rules about having to chant a certain number of hours. Setting chanting targets can be helpful, but when you’re tired or sleepy and are just mumbling along in a half-conscious daze, it’s better to stop and go to bed. After you’ve rested, you can chant with concentration and energy again. This is much more valuable. We should be alert and earnest when we pray, not nodding off.

As I said, most important is that our chanting be satisfying and refreshing, so that we can exclaim when we’ve finished, “Ah, that felt good!” By reinforcing that feeling day after day, our lives naturally move in the most positive direction. (Ikeda Sensei, Discussions on Youth, p. 303)

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