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Nichiren Buddhism

Part 1
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From Practice
to Theory
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Soka Gakkai International
Value Creation Society
A lay association based on the teachings of the
Nichiren school of Mahayana Buddhism.
More than 12 million members in 192 countries
and territories worldwide.
Non-governmental member of the United Nations
Activities:
Peace activities through UN
Promotion of culture between countries
Education - kindergartens, school systems in Japan
and universities in Japan and America
Daisaku Ikeda - SGI President and Buddhist
philosopher
Daisaku Ikeda
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Nichiren Daishonin
Nichiren (1222-1282)
Japanese Buddhist teacher and
reformer.
Founder of the Buddhist teaching
upon which the SGI bases its
activities.
Inscribed the object of devotion for
observing ones mind (Gohonzon)
and established the invocation of
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as the
universal practice for attaining
enlightenment.
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Everyone can be a Buddha!
The Lotus Sutra declares:
All living beings have the potential to attain enlightenment or
Buddhahood.
Life is eternal, with neither beginning nor end.
Nichiren further taught:
The only difference between a Buddha and a common
mortal is that a common mortal is deluded and Buddha is
enlightened (awaken).
A Buddha is one who perceives the true nature of life and
leads others to attain the same enlightenment.
Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo allows people to directly
tap their enlightened nature and is the primary practice of
SGI members.
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Three elements of Buddhism
Faith
Each of us has enormous potential, Buddhahood, which can
be revealed in this lifetime: internal life force, wisdom,
courage and compassion
Practice:
For yourself:
Chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo (daimoku) in front of
Gohonzon (the scroll with Chinese diargams and some names
in sanscrit)
Gongyo - Reading aloud two chapters of Lotus Sutra (morning
and evening)
For others: Help others to become happier
Study
Religion without study is fanatic
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Why Chanting?
To develop unshakable state of happiness and
satisfaction, thus
To achieve goals and realize dreams
Create value for yourself and for the society

So what do SGI members chant for?
Everything
Health
Finances
Relationships

Grades
Job
Wisdom
World peace
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Too Good to Be True
How is it possible to obtain such results only by
chanting incomprehensible words in front of the piece
of paper?
What does Nam-myoho-renge-kyo mean?
What is special about this piece of paper called
Gohonzon?
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Buddhism Questions Our Beliefs
For example
Nobody likes to suffer
We suffer when we encounter problems or obstacles
The connection between problem and suffering confuses people:
problem = suffering
Unemployed - unhappy
Thinks - Unhappy because unemployed
Is the one who has work happy? - Not always
So, unhappy because feels incapable
to find the work
Sounds Banal - Tremendous difference
If you consider problems resolvable -
they become challenges
Buddhism teaches - Attitude towards problems defines if we win or
loose in building a happy life
Use problems as opportunities to grow, become stronger
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How to Become Stronger
Through faith, chanting and studying
Nichiren Daishonin
When we chant to resolve our problems, we can make that the
suffering that we experience and that we challenge helps us to
grow
Growing from sufferings? Bizarre idea? Not from Buddhist point
of view
All sufferings are not only inevitable, but necessary
The problems represent the means for people to develop their
full potential as human beings
Nichiren Daishonin
You can know your real force only by fighting a powerful enemy.
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Buddhism - Practical Philosophy
Shakyamuni and dieing deer
Real spirit of Buddhism is to offer immediate practical
solution and not a philosophical discussion
Buddhism is a philosophy that
Explains how life functions
Teaches how to be happy
Instead of asking help from
outside Buddhists chant
To bring out internal force
Wisdom
Courage
Compassion
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Nichiren: Three Proofs
No blind faith
Three ways to understand, evaluate and judge a
religion
1. Documental proof - teaching is based on and in accord with
documents
2. Theoretical proof - how theory applies to life, compatibility
with reason and logic
3. Actual proof - results produces when teaching is put into
practice
The 3rd one is most important! It is not important
how fascinating is theory, it has to produce results to
be valuable
In Buddhism faith growth from actual proof
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What does Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
mean?
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the fundamental law of the universe
expounded in Nichiren Buddhism.
All life is an expression or manifestation of this law. When we
chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we attune our lives to the perfect
rhythm of the universe. The result is increased life force,
wisdom, compassion and good fortune to face the challenges in
front of us.
Nam (devotion), the action of practicing Buddhism.
Myoho (Mystic Law), the essential law of the universe and its
phenomenal manifestations.
Renge (lotus flower), which seeds and blooms at the same time
represents the simultaneity of cause and effect. We create
causes through thoughts, words and actions.
Kyo (Buddhas teaching), all phenomena.
Literal I devote myself to the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful
Law.
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The Complexity of Meaning
Literal meaning is easy, but profound understanding is difficult
Theory of relativity E=mc
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Everybody can understand literal meaning. Knowledge in physics is
necessary to understand the profound meaning
Einstein not only understood the law but was able to express it with
5 characters
Didnt invent anything (symbols or ideas), understood the
relationship between energy, mass, light and time.
Myoho-renge-kyo (5 characters)
Each character is an expression of one profound and complex
aspect of life
All together the relationship between the life itself and the universe.
To feel effect - you have to chant - to harmonise yourself with the
Law of Life
Like effect of music - brings joy or makes us crying - dont feel
anything if you study only characters - you have to listen
We will study the meaning of Myoho-renge-kyo in our next meeting
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Myo bo ren ge kyo