Nichiren Buddhist Association of America

Nichiren Buddhist Association of America
Discovering the unknown within through a revolution in religious thinking

  Search Contact NBAA
A Definition of Namu-Myoho- Renge-Kyo
Chapter 4

Namu or Nam (an abbreviation of Namu that some Buddhists use) means devotion or direction. At any given moment, you are directing your life a certain way. For example, at work your mind may be consumed by the details of your job. At that moment, your life is directed toward your work. You are thinking about work and taking action on those thoughts. In Buddhism, the more you focus your life on the the Law of Life itself the happier you will become. The way to focus your life on the Law of life is to chant Namu- myoho-renge-kyo.

In the words of Nichiren , “What then does myo signify? It is simply the mysterious nature of our life from moment to moment, which the mind cannot comprehend or words express. When we look into our own mind at any moment, we perceive neither color nor form to verify that it exists. Yet we still cannot say that it does not exist, for many differing thoughts continually occur. The mind cannot be considered either to exist or not to exist. Life is indeed an elusive reality that transcends both the words and concepts of existence and nonexistence, yet exhibits the qualities of both. It is the mystic entity of the Middle Way that is the ultimate reality. Myo is the name given to the mystic nature of life, and ho, to its manifestations.” (4)

Renge literally means lotus flower, which symbolizes the wonder of this Law. (4) The lotus flower was chosen to symbolize cause and effect. Its flowers and seeds are evident at the same time which further illustrates the simultaneity of cause and effect. This is an important concept of Buddhism and one that is at once simple, yet extremely profound. The very concept itself negates predestination and gives full control for one’s destiny back to its originator — the one who caused your destiny in the first place — you. With a profound understanding of cause and effect, you can recognize the causes for enlightenment and the causes for suffering.

Kyo means teaching or sutra. It is the instruction shared between one Buddha and another. It is the path of development of your own Buddhahood and the Buddhahood of all others. This may be one of the most difficult concepts to accept. It is not the teacher, but the teachings that are the key. To mistake the teacher as the source of the realization of Buddhahood is to misplace the source of true and universal enlightenment. We do not worship the person, the Buddha. We revere the correct teachings or Law of Buddhism. These teachings are the Lotus Sutra, and they form the path to enlightenment for all people universally. Again, from the words of Nichiren, “If one understands that one’s life is myo, then one also understands that others’ lives are all entities of the Mystic Law. This realization is the mystic kyo, or sutra.” (4-5) The teachings of kyo are the source, the means, the entrance, and the door for all people to open the enlightened condition of Buddhahood within their own lives. It is a teaching which does not separate the spiritual world from the phenomenal world in which we live. It states that the very sounds of our voices are inextricably linked to the spirituality within us. Our lives are full and complete here, right now. Our lives are not separated by time or space from our spiritual selves.


Site Map Copyright

Home Learn About Buddhism Religion Science Members' Submissions NBAA Bookstore Member Control Panel