For over thirty years I have applied the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin to my personal life. The Daishonin was a 13th Century Japanese Monk who tried to reform Buddhism and his society. He manifested the essence of the Lotus Sutra as the Gohonzon (mandala) and taught that chanting “Nam-Myo-Ho-Renge-Kyo” enables any person to reach and become enlightened based on the teaching of cause and effect.
Living in a Feudal Japanese society that relied on obedience to authority the Daishonin was persecuted for his beliefs. He was exiled to a tiny hut in the middle of winter on Mount Minobu. Cold Northern Winds blew through openings in his housing. He would have perished if not for the handful of believers who brought him food and clothing.
We who embrace his philosophy of life enshrine a replica of the Gohonzon in our homes. It is an altar set up to chant Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo. Chanting produces a sound and vibration that reverberates out into the world. It is like a tuning fork that creates the condition for a culture to emerge based on respect for the dignity and equality of all human life.
An important principle of the Daishonin teachings is the “Oneness of life and our Environment.” When we base ourselves on this principle, we see our environment as a reflection of our inner life. We can take full responsibility for our lives and become emboldened to solve our problems and create positive outcomes in the situations we find ourselves in.
On the other hand, there is a human tendency to blame our problems and sufferings on things outside ourselves—other people, circumstances beyond our control. The principle of the “oneness of life and its environment,” however, demonstrates that the causes of our joy and sorrow originate within us.
The greatness of this phrase is in its simplicity. It had to be simple enough for anyone to practice. The phrase is like a key that opens the door to the vast inner life. This vast inner life is the soul that we talk about, but do not know its’ purpose or how we can access its’ wisdom.
When you chant these words repeatedly, you fuse your life with the life of the universe. You are no longer a water molecule, but you have the same capability as the sea.
It is like you become one with your own heart. As you continue to say these words, the sounds radiates out into the universe. We know that sound travels on waves. Each beat brings your heart, mind, and spirit into complete alignment. You move with a single-mindness instead of having your efforts splintered in many directions.
Thus, you have begun to heal the splintered parts of yourself. Once you have a conscious connection to this wonderful law your life begins to reflect the vastness of the sea. You connect authentically with yourself and this extends to all the relationships in your life.
You become a beautiful work of art. People rise on your upbeat. You master what it means to be human and become a leader for your family, in your work-world and society.
Consequently, conscious humans inspire greatness in others. Our lives become an instrument of beauty and grace.
Creating this chap book is how I bring a voice to my Inner Life. My poetry does not promote the religious dogma associated with religion, but how I express the truth of this philosophy. Poetry has the potential to reveal the intelligence in our inner life.
“Put Your Finger on the Pulse and Feel the Beat, The Rhythm of Life.”