There are many schools of Buddhism around the world. I have been practicing Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism since October 2007.
Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism and SGI-UK
SGI stands for Soka Gakkai International, literally meaning ‘the international society for the creation of value.’
SGI members follow the teachings of Nichiren, a Buddhist monk who lived in 13th-century Japan. Nichiren was the son of a fisherman, born in 1222, a time rife with social unrest and natural disasters. The ordinary people, especially, suffered enormously. Nichiren wondered why the teachings of Buddhism had lost their power to enable people to lead happy, empowered lives. His intensive study of the Buddhist sutras convinced him that the Lotus Sutra contained the essence of the Buddha’s enlightenment and that it held the key to transforming people’s suffering and enabling society to flourish.
The Lotus Sutra affirms that all people, regardless of gender, capacity or social standing, inherently possess the qualities of a Buddha, and are therefore equally worthy of the utmost respect.
Based on his study of the sutra, Nichiren established the invocation (chant) of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as a universal practice to enable people to manifest the Buddha nature inherent in their own lives and gain the strength and wisdom to challenge and overcome any adverse circumstances. Nichiren saw the Lotus Sutra as a vehicle for people’s empowerment, stressing that everyone can attain enlightenment and enjoy happiness in this world. He first chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo on April 28, 1253, and later inscribed the mandala of the Gohonzon, the object of devotion to enable people to perceive the enlightened life state of the Buddha in graphic form.
Why is Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism important to me?
I was introduced to Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism in 2007 by a very close friend of mine from Marseille.
At that time, I was quite low as I felt that I was at the end of my spiritual search. I had tried different meditation techniques. I even used a method to talk to angels, but I still didn’t feel fulfilled in my spiritual life. I quite can’t explain in words why and how! Although the experiences were always beautiful, amazing and enriching, I was never satisfied with whatever I tried. I felt I needed something in my life but didn’t know what. So when My friend Cathy told me about Nichiren Buddhism the second time around, I was ready and I instantly felt connected to it.
What attracted me first is one of the main characteristics of Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism which is the law of cause and effect. Whatever causes we make, we reap the fruits at some point in our life. Unlike other traditions, where you have to wait for the next life to get the fruit. It’s more motivating for me to know that I’ll get a reward now if I do a good deed. It seemed very similar to the philosophy I had developed over the years.
Nichiren Buddhism is a modern form of Buddhism. It is accessible to everyone and is very easy to practice. There is no authority in power to dictate what we should do or don’t, and no strict rules to follow apart from some guidelines. Because this Buddhism is reason.
Another important very distinctive point about Nichiren Buddhism is that an ordinary person has the potential to reveal the life state of the eternal Buddha within. We call this life state Buddhahood. It’s very empowering as you are in control of your life. The qualities of a Buddha are courage, compassion, wisdom and life force.
I felt that I wanted to explore further and knew very quickly that it was going to be it. It is pretty much the same feeling as when you meet a person and you know they are going to have an important part in your life.
I see my Buddhist practice as a tool which helps me lead a happy or happier life. I use it to keep me grounded and help me face what life throws at me.
Since my first encounter with Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism, it’s been fully part of my life and has helped me grow through its beautiful philosophy.
Some of the descriptions above have been taken from the SGI-UK website.