NMRK thread

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NMRK thread

Post by nichiren-123 » Sat May 13, 2017 1:46 pm

I'm starting this thread for people to clarify their understanding of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo; the mantra chanted by Nichiren buddhists.

This thread has three primary aims: 1) To explore the multiple meanings of each character of NMRK and... 2) To explore the philosophical implications of NMRK and... 3) To explore why this mantra (supposedly - let's not forget that the benefit of NMRK cannot be proved directly) works.

I will start by giving a brief overview of the meanings of each character to get things going...


Nam is an honorary prefix which means to devote ones life. What are we devoting our lives to? Simply the law of myoho renge kyo.


“ Its [the lotus sutra's] words are the ultimate reality, and this reality is the Mystic Law (myōhō). It is called the Mystic Law because it reveals the principle of the mutually inclusive relationship of a single moment of life and all phenomena. “*1
I'm not 100% sure, but I take this to mean that Myoho is the same as ichinen sanzen.

Myoho has two characters in it; Myo and Ho.
Myo is elaborated in the gosho 'on attaining buddhahood in this lifetime':

“What then does myō 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 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. It is neither existence nor nonexistence, yet exhibits the qualities of both. It is the mystic entity of the Middle Way that is the ultimate reality. “ *1

The mention of the middle way here seems (to me, with my limited knowledge) to mean that 'myo' is the same as the middle way of nagarjuna and/or the threefold truth of tientai. This would suggest that an avenue for understanding 'myo' or the mystic nature of life is through an understanding of the middle way/threefold truth.

This gosho goes on to elaborate the meaning of 'ho':

“Myō is the name given to the mystic nature of life, and hō, to its manifestations.”

'myo' and 'ho' have several other meanings respectively; Death and Life, enlightenment and fundamental darkness, latent and manifest.

The difference between myo and ho, as well as their combination (myoho) can be explained through the analogy of the ocean. The ocean is one large body of water. On the surface everything is manifested as waves (ho), but under the waves there is the body of the ocean (myo). Waves (ho) manifest and then fade away, becoming latent / merging with the ocean (myo). However, the waves cannot be seperated from the ocean and the ocean cannot exist without the waves – they are essentially one (myoho).

Myoho (the mystic law) represents the oneness of life and death; enlightenment and ignorance; latent and manifest.

I will give my own understanding of 'renge' and 'kyo' in another post

Posts: 111
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:07 pm

Re: NMRK thread

Post by nichiren-123 » Sat May 13, 2017 7:38 pm

forgot to say in my first post: I meant this as a thread for anyone to post their understanding of NMRK. If I could get enough input then i'd like to combine everyone's views into one succinct essay.
so feel free to contribute :)

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