Nichiren taught that all of the benefits of the wisdom contained in the Lotus Sutra can be realized by chanting its title:
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. Chanting these words and excerpts from the Lotus Sutra is the core of the Buddhist practice, supported
by study and the propagation of the teachings. Faith, practice, and study are the basics of the Buddhist practice, pursuing
activities for oneself and activities for the sake of others.
Toward the end of his life Nichiren inscribed a scroll which he called the fundamental object of respect, or Gohonzon. The
scroll depicts in Chinese characters the law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and the life of Nichiren, as well as protective influences.
Down the center are the characters Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and Nichiren's signature. This indicates the oneness of the person
and the Law - that the condition of Buddhahood is a potential within and can be manifested by all people. SGI members enshrine
a copy of the Gohonzon in their homes as a focal point for their daily practice. The Gohonzon's power comes from the worshipper's
faith - it functions as a spiritual mirror. Sitting in front of it and chanting, a person is able to recognize and reveal
his or her own Buddha nature, the creative essence of life.
The Japanese word gongyo literally means "assiduous practice." Generally speaking, it means to recite Buddhist sutras
in front of an object of worship. In the practice of Nichiren Buddhism, it means reciting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, part of the
second chapter - "Hoben" - and the entire sixteenth "Juryo" chapter of the Lotus Sutra in front of the
Gohonzon. This is the fundamental practice of Nichiren Buddhism, performed morning and evening.
New! Download Gongyo & English Translation!
(HTML version-Translation taken from SGI Online Library, formerly Gosho.Net)
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The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin
Nichiren was persecuted throughout his lifetime by the Japanese government and by religious powers who considered his revolutionary
teachings a grave threat to their continued authority. Nevertheless, the letters he wrote to his followers , often under the
most dire conditions, illustrated that even in the midst of the greatest challenge, he was able to realize the great beauty
of life and feel joy and compassion for others - the state of Buddhahood. These letters and treatises, more than 400 of which
remain today, collected in English as 'The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin', are among the primary study materials for
Lay Believers-the SGI
Until the 1930s, the followers of Nichiren known as the Hokkeko were a relatively small group of lay believers, led by the
priesthood of the Fuji School (Nichiren Shoshu). In 1930, a lay organization was founded by educator Tsunesaburo Makiguchi.
During World War II, he was imprisoned for refusing to compromise his religious beliefs in spite of pressure from the Japanese
government to accept the State religion, Shinto, which was used to unify the public in support of the war. Makiguchi died
in prison in 1944. His successor, Josei Toda, was also imprisoned, but survived to help lead the post-war growth of the Soka
Gakkai ("Value Creation Society") from a handful of members to more than 750,000 households before his death in
1958. The third President, Daisaku Ikeda, has guided the movement to its present day strength of 10 million members in Japan,
and approximately 1.26 million members in 128 countries abroad. The international organization, Soka Gakkai International
(SGI), was established in 1975. In 1991 the SGI organization separated from the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood.