Our Daily Buddhist Practice
The first thing a new believer learns is how to do Gongyo (Sutra Recitation). This is because Gongyo and Shodai (chanting Daimoku) to the Gohonzon, the True Buddha, are the most basic, important practices in faith. In Nichiren Shoshu, faith and the practice of Gongyo are inseparable.
Gongyo is done earnestly everyday, it is a powerful engine for building a happy life. When we do this practice thoroughly and earnestly, we receive actual proof of the fortune of embracing the Gohonzon. Our hearts are filled with boundless joy, and we realize that having faith in the Gohonzon is a wonderful, unsurpassed treasure.
Learning To Perform Gongyo
In this video, Nichiren Shoshu Priests perform SLOW Gongyo, the recitation of a portion of the 2nd and the entire 16th chapter of the Lotus Sutra. You will need to use a Liturgy of Nichiren Shoshu/Gongyo book.
For new Buddhists, following along with the Priest when you are learning to chant is the very best way to learn the Sutra pronunciation properly. It is also good practice for long-term members to improve their Gongyo.
Shodai is the abbreviated Japanese term that means, “chanting Daimoku.”
The Daishonin states:
The most important thing is to chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo and attain enlightenment.
(Gosho, p.1388; MW-1, p. 214)
Nichiko Shonin, the Fifty-ninth High Priest, gave the following instructions about how we should chant Daimoku:
The Daimoku that we chant must be performed attentively and diligently. When chanting, we should not have trivial thoughts in our minds. The speed should not be too fast and our pronunciation should not be slurred. We must maintain a medium pitch and chant calmly, resolutely and steadily. The amount depends on individual circumstances... When we chant, the entire body should feel a tremendous surge of joy. We must persevere until we become totally one with the Gohonzon.
(Nichiren Shoshu Koyo, p. 134)
Chanting Daimoku (Shodai) enables us to eradicate our offenses from our past lives, which are the causes for our suffering. This is the reason why it is important to chant to the Gohonzon. The Daishonin teaches the following in the “Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings” (“Ongi kuden”):
We wake up with the Buddha in the morning, and we go to bed with the Buddha at night. We are always attaining Buddhahood, and we are always manifesting the original state.
(Gosho, p. 1749 [Summary])
This means that no matter what circumstances may arise, we must never neglect our faith and practice to the Gohonzon, and we must base our life on chanting Daimoku. As we grow older, we face many challenges in our daily life. If we continue to chant earnestly every day, we will find all solutions without fail. Therefore let us continue to do Gongyo and chant Daimoku, whether or not we are facing challenges right now.
Myoshoji Temple has Daimoku chanting meetings, called Shodai-kai, at certain times of the day, led by the chief priest. Are you participating? Even though you can chant at home, it is important to visit the temple and chant Daimoku together with the priest and fellow Hokkeko members. Itai doshin (Many in body, One in mind) is especially important in our faith and practice. Even though we are many in body, the aspiration of our faith and practice is the same. Thus, the members of a local temple should make efforts together with one mind, toward the purpose of advancing kosen-rufu.