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Gosho Study

The Protection of the Heavenly Deities

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When we revere Myoho-renge-kyo inherent in our own life as the object of devotion, the Buddha nature within us is summoned forth and manifested by our chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. … When with our mouths we chant the Mystic Law, our Buddha nature, being summoned, will invariably emerge. The Buddha nature of Brahma and Shakra, being called, will protect us, and the Buddha nature of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas, being summoned, will rejoice.

—“Those Initially Aspiring to the Way,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 887

Buddhism teaches the principle of the Buddha nature manifesting itself from within and bringing forth protection from without. When our Buddha nature emerges internally, it activates the Buddha nature in the lives of others, which then manifests in the form of external protection. Protection received from the positive forces of the universe, therefore, depends on us first bringing forth our Buddha nature. Or put another way, it is our determination in faith that sets these protective functions into motion. Our Buddha nature manifests the moment we break through our inner darkness or ignorance based on our strong conviction in faith. Hence, in one of his writings, Nichiren cites the words of the Great Teacher Miao-lo of China, “The stronger one’s faith, the greater the protection of the gods”[1] and comments, “So long as one maintains firm faith, one is certain to receive the great protection of the gods” (WND-1, 614). 

Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with all our heart is what activates the protective functions of the universe. It is our inner transformation—namely, bringing forth our Buddha nature—that spurs them to action. Just expecting their protection from the outside without transforming our own life is not the correct way of prayer in Nichiren Buddhism. (The Teachings for Victory, vol. 3, p. 41)

From the May 2024 Living Buddhism


  1. From Miao-lo’s Annotations on “Great Concentration and Insight.” ↩︎

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