Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

According to Nichiren Buddhism of tradition, the physical and spiritual aspects of our lives are completely inseparable and they are of equal importance. It regards and views life as the unity of the physical and the spiritual, seen or unseen, as manifestations of the same ultimate universal law; the source of life. Collectively defined as Nam Myoho Renge Kyo which is the mantra chanted by the Nichiren Buddhism followers.

What is Nam Myoho Renge Kyo?
This is what I found after searching on the web…

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo could be described as a vow, an expression of determination, to embrace and manifest our Buddha nature. It is a pledge to oneself to never yield to difficulties and to win over one’s suffering. At the same time, it is a vow to help others reveal this law in their own lives and achieve happiness.

Nam comes from the Sanskrit namos, meaning to devote or dedicate oneself to all deities when worshiping them.

Myoho can be translated as mystic or wonderful, and ho means law or manifestation. This law is called mystic because it is difficult to comprehend. What exactly makes it difficult to comprehend? It is the wonder of ordinary people, beset by delusion and suffering, awakening to the fundamental law in their own lives and realizing that they are inherently Buddhas able to solve their own problems and those of others.

Renge means lotus flower. The lotus flower is pure and fragrant, unsullied by the muddy water in which it grows. Similarly, the beauty and dignity of our humanity is brought forth amidst the sufferings of daily reality.

Further, unlike other plants, the lotus puts forth flowers and fruit at the same time. This illustrates the principle of the simultaneity of cause and effect; we do not have to wait to become someone perfect in the future, we can bring forth the power of the Mystic Law from within our lives at any time.

Kyo literally means sutra and here indicates the Mystic Law likened to a lotus flower, the fundamental law that permeates life and the universe, the eternal truth.

To chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is an act of faith in the Mystic Law and in the magnitude of life’s inherent possibilities. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is not a mystical phrase that brings forth supernatural power, nor is it an entity transcending ourselves that we rely upon. It is the principle that those who live normal lives and make consistent efforts will duly triumph.

Ten Principles

Nichiren Buddhists believe in ten basic principles as fundamental to human makeup. These are:

  • Hell – a condition which appears when someone feels in despair or desperate.
  • Hunger – when someone constantly wants something, for example, to be like someone else rather than accept their own life.
  • Animality – is governed by instinct and may lead someone to prey on those more vulnerable. For example, a power hungry boss may abuse his position and treat his/her staff like slaves.
  • Anger – encompasses traits of selfishness, competitiveness, and arrogance.
  • Tranquillity – is a calm state of life.
  • Rapture – is the pleasures one feels when one’s desires are fulfilled.
  • Learning – appears when someone seeks new skills.
  • Absorption is a condition based on knowledge and wisdom.
  • Bodhisattva – means ‘disciple of the Buddha’ and is a state where people have strong concern for others which ultimately helps them to overcome their challenges.
  • Buddhahood – is the ultimate state to be in as it includes compassion, wisdom, and humaneness.
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Training the Mind

The embodied cognition of mind is a unique and spontaneous development of human experience. The mind is so complex to study and provide tangible evidence, one that scientist would demand, and yet Buddhist teachers and few learned scholars would claim that it can be trained with the right environment and under the favorable circumstances. It is believed that in the practice of training the mind, we rely upon our own inner strength rather than upon external conditions.

Buddhists value human life as the most precious life form of all, as it gives us that inept ability to think and create that perfect favorable conditions we seek before starting to train our mind. We are able to create that favorable conditions because of our inner Buddha nature where we can transform any circumstances, whether good or bad, into the path to liberation and enlightenment.  According to some of the Buddhist teachers that our mind is the most dangerous thing of all in the world and have the ability to destroy us all if not kept checked.  As such the emphasis is on the importance of training the mind through meditation.  Perhaps this philosophical argument of the importance of taming the mind debate may have some truth after all, as the western practice and interest in meditation has gone up significantly in the last decades or so.

As we now have a precious human life, we should ask ourselves for how long, will it last. We should think since it would be a great tragedy to waste this rare opportunity of human life, I must use it in a meaningful way. It is pointless to work just for material wealth. Our insatiable greed has no end and will seek more and more no matter how much you have. All credit to our mind how it rules us and how we allow it to rule us. Training to stop this dictatorial mind controlling over us is the key to recognizing the importance of taming the mind.

“Buddhism regards life as the unity of the physical and the spiritual. It views all things, whether material or spiritual, seen or unseen, as manifestations of the same ultimate universal law or source of life defined in the Nichiren tradition as Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. The physical and spiritual aspects of our lives are completely inseparable and of equal importance.”

Om Ami Dewa Hri

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Buddhist Scandal in the Western Realm

I read the statement written by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche who is one of the renowned and revered Buddhist teachers of our generation on the recent scandal of the Rigpa founder Sogyal Rinpoche. The statement does state you read from start to finish before making any judgment. I have read it from top to bottom including all the comments made by readers.

Here is the link to that statement. Have a read for yourself and see what you think: Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche Issues Public Statement on Recent Criticism of Sogyal Rinpoche

It is not a good reading from a Buddhist point of view if this alleged scandal is true when the wheel of dharma in the west is turning very well. This scandal has brought disgrace and disrepute to so-called compassionate Buddhism in the west and the press momentum is building.

The link below is an article by a Buddhist psychotherapist Dr. Miles Neale published on Tricycle, which explains on the teacher-student relationship in Buddhism. He also briefly covers on this scandal. Have a read for yourself and see what you think:

How Student-Teacher Relationships Go Awry in the West

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Social Media Bane of Many People’s Life

#HTNSL - Here's To Never Stop Learning

socialnSocial media sites are the bane of many people’s life, as almost on a regular basis I would say where they can neither forsake completely nor feel able to use it freely, regularly without annoying someone for being the cause of an argument, upset or disappointment in amongst the company of family and friends.

Social media sites such as Facebook in particular, as it has the wider audience and plus many other media sites are part of everyday life for most people these days from the time they get up until they go to sleep. Their need for these sites is so great to the extent of exclusion of everyone; where people are constantly glued to their mobile devices or stuck at their desk on computers. So much so I have literally seen people walk into a lamp post, into the ditch, run into crowd and even contributed to road…

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The Root Verses on the Six Bardos

The Root Verses on the Six Bardos
From the terma of Karma Lingpa

བར་དོ་ཐོས་གྲོལ་གྱི་རྩ་ཚིག་འདི༔ འཁོར་བ་མ་སྟོངས་བར་དུ་མ་རྫོགས་སོ༔

May these root verses of Liberation Upon Hearing in the Bardo remain until samsāra itself is emptied.

 ཀྱཻ་མ༔ བདག་ལ་སྐྱེ་གནས་བར་དོ་འཆར་དུས་འདིར༔

kyé ma dak la kyé né bar do charwé dü dir
Kyema! Now when the bardo of this life is dawning upon me,


tsé la long mé lelo pang ché né
I will abandon laziness for which life has no time,


tö sam gom sum ma yeng lam la juk
Enter, undistracted, the path of study, reflection and meditation,


nang sem lam long ku sum ngön gyur cha
Making perceptions and mind the path, and realize the three kāyas;


mi lü len chik tobpé dü tsö dir
Now that for once I have attained a human body,


yeng ma lam la döpé dü tsö min
This is not the time to remain in the ways of distraction.

ཀྱཻ་མ༔ བདག་ལ་རྨི་ལམ་བར་དོ་འཆར་དུས་འདིར༔

kye ma dak la milam bardo char dü dir
Kyema! Now when the bardo of dreams is dawning upon me,


timuk ro nyel bakmé pang ché né
I will abandon the heedless, corpse-like sleep of ignorance,


drenpa yeng mé neluk ngang la jok
And settle the mind in its natural state without distraction;


milam zung né trül gyur ösel jang
Recognizing dreams, I will train in transformation and clear light,


düdro shyin du nyelwar ma ché chik
I must not simply slumber like an animal,


nyi dang ngönsum drepé nyamlen ché
But combine sleep with realization—this is crucial.

ཀྱཻ་མ༔ བདག་ལ་བསམ་གཏན་བར་དོ་འཆར་དུས་འདིར༔

kye ma dak la samten bardo char dü dir
Kyema! Now when the bardo of samādhi is dawning upon me,


nam yeng trülpé tsok nam pang ché né
I will abandon all forms of distraction and delusion,


yeng mé dzin mé tadrel ngang la jok
And rest in the infinite state that is free of distraction and grasping;


kyé dzok nyi la tenpa tobpar cha
Gaining stability in the two stages: generation and perfection,


chawa pang né tsé chik gom dü dir
At this time of single-pointed meditation, having given up activity,


nyön mong trülpé wang du ma tang shyik
I must not fall under the sway of afflictions and delusion.

ཀྱཻ་མ༔ བདག་ལ་འཆི་ཁ་བར་དོ་འཆར་དུས་འདིར༔

kye ma dak la chikha bardo char dü dir
Kyema! Now when the bardo of dying is dawning upon me,


kun la chak sem shyen dzin pang ché né
I will abandon all grasping, yearning, and attachment,


dam ngak salwé ngang la ma yeng juk
Enter, undistracted, a state in which the instructions are clear,


rang rik kyé mé namkhé ying su po
And transfer my own awareness into the sphere of unborn space;


düché sha trak lü dang dral la khé
As I am about to leave this compound body of flesh and blood,


mi tak gyuma yinpar shepar cha
I will know it to be a transitory illusion.

ཀྱཻ་མ༔ བདག་ལ་ཆོས་ཉིད་བར་དོ་འཆར་དུས་འདིར༔

kye ma dak la chönyi bardo char dü di
Kyema! Now when the bardo of dharmatā is dawning upon me,


kun la ngang trak jik nang pang ché né
I will abandon all fear and terror,


gang shar rang nang rigpar ngo shé juk
Recognizing whatever appears as the natural display of awareness,


bardö nang tsul yinpar shepar cha
I will know it to be the way this bardo unfolds;


dön chen gak la tukpé dü shik ong
Now that I have reached this momentous, crucial point,


rang nang shyi trö tsok la ma jik shik
I will not fear these natural manifestations, the peaceful and wrathful deities.

ཀྱཻ་མ༔ བདག་ལ་སྲིད་པ་བར་དོ་འཆར་དུས་འདིར༔

kye ma dak la sipa bardo char dü dir
Kyema! Now when the bardo of becoming is dawning upon me,


dünpa tsé chik sem la zung ché né
I will concentrate my mind with single-pointed determination,


zang po lé kyi tro la nen gyi tü
Strive to prolong the results of good karma,


ngal go gak né ru lok drenpar cha
Close the entrance to rebirth, and try to keep from being reborn.


nying rü dak nang göpé dü shik yin
This is the time when perseverance and pure perception are required;


mikser pong la lama yabyum gom
Abandon jealousy, and meditate on the master and consort.


chiwa ong nyom mepé lo ringpo
With mind far off and no thought of impending death,


dön mé tsé di chawa drup drup né
Performing the meaningless activities of this life,


daré tong lok ché na shintu trül
To return empty-handed now would be utterly deluded;


gö ngo shepa dampé lha chö yin
Recognize what is needed: the sacred Dharma,


data nyi du lha chö mi ché dam
Why not practise it now, at this very moment?


drupchen lamé shyal né di ké sung
The great accomplished gurus have said:


lamé damngak sem la ma shyak na
If you do not keep in mind your master’s instructions


rang gi rang nyi luwar mi gyur ram
Are you not deceiving yourself?

This is an extract from Rigpa Translations, 2016.

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Day 49 – Bardo the Intermediate State

Day 49 – Bardo the Intermediate State

In Tibetan Buddhism, it is believed for the spirit to wander up to 49 days until rebirth takes place. This intermediate state between the death and the rebirth is called the Bardo (interval or gap) in Tibetan.

There are six stages of Bardo which are as below:

  1. The Bardo of Waking Life (Kyenay Bardo)
  2. The Bardo of Dreaming (Milam Bardo)
  3. The Bardo of Meditating (Samten Bardo)
  4. The Bardo of Dying (Chikhai Bardo)
  5. The Bardo of Experiencing Reality (Chönyi Bardo)
  6. The Bardo of Rebirth (Sidpa Bardo)

During these of Bardo, the departed soul will start to experience the dark side of unsightly horrible things without realizing that all they see and experience are the figments of their own imagination. As their mind develops clarity, you can then control fear knowing that it is all your mind’s creation. Hence the practice of meditation is highly encouraged in Buddhism.

By Day 21 it is believed the realisation of death dawns upon the deceased and they are then utterly drowned in the sadness of their loss, their attachment to their families, loss of their possessions etc. Between the day 22 and 49, the spirit begins to reconcile with the realisation of death and preparation for the rebirth can then begin. It is believed if the departed souls have the skills to meditate they can navigate their way out of Bardo state quicker.

Tibetans believe this is when we can help them find their way quickly through stages of Bardo by lighting butter lamps (candle), offering prayers, and reading holy scriptures called Bardo Thodol which is translated as “The Book of the Dead”. It is also believed with this help they can see an amazing ray of light and colours with the clarity of their vision beginning to improve. Thus entering into the next form of life.

The Root Verses of the Six Bardos 

Om Ami Dewa Hri, May you attain a swift liberation and be born in the land of Dewachen!

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Death is Inevitable

This article was written by my uncle in Bhutan and sent to me while mum was really ill in the hospital. Reading this has brought some comfort to me and I feel it may benefit others to read it too. 

Death is Inevitable

It is rather paradoxical that although we so often see the death-taking toll of lives, we seldom pause to reflect that we too can soon be similar victims of death. With our innate strong attachment to life, we are disinclined to carry with us the morbid thought, although a reality, that death is a certainty. We prefer to put this awful thought as far away as possible – deluding ourselves that death is a far away phenomenon, not to be worried about. We should be courageous enough to face facts.  We must be prepared to face reality. Death is a factual happening. Death is a reality.

Coping with the disease is the right attitude. We should not regard disease and suffering as something, which will destroy us completely, and thereby giving in to despair and despondency. On the contrary, we can look upon it as a test of how well we have understood the Buddha’s teachings; how well to apply the understanding we have supposedly learnt. If we cannot cope mentally, if we break down, it shows our understanding of the Dharma, our practice is still weak. So, in this way, it is a test and an opportunity for us to see how well we have mastered our practice.

Then also, the disease is an opportunity for us to further enhance our practice of patience and develop perfections such as patience if we are not tested if we are not put under difficult and severe conditions? So in this way, we can look at the disease as an opportunity for us to cultivate more patience.

We can also look at the health as not just the mere absence of disease but the capacity to experience a disease and to learn and grow from it. Seeing how disease can never be completely eradicated and how we have eventually to succumb in one way or another, doctors have come up with a definition of health that can help as to adjust to disease when it comes. That no matter how many sophisticated machines, procedures, and drugs we may come up with, people still succumb to cancer, AID, heart disease and a host of other ailments.

Ultimately there is no escape. We have to understand and accept the fact so that when it comes and we have to go down, we can go down gracefully. No doubt, we will treat the disease as best as we can, but when despite our best efforts, we fail and the disease continues to progress, we have to accept and reconcile with the inevitable.

In the final analysis, it is not how long we live but how well we live that counts, and that include how well we can accept our disease, and finally how we can die. So it can be quite wonderful after all that our life can be healed even though our disease may not be cured. How? Because suffering is a teacher and if we learn our lesson well, we can become surprisingly better persons. Have we not heard accounts of how people after having born went through great suffering?

If they had been impatient, selfish, arrogant and thoughtless before, they might become more patient, kind, gentle and humble. Something they remarked that the disease was a good thing for lifestyle and the more important values in life. They come to appreciate their family and friends more, and they now value the time they spend with their loved ones. And if they were to recover, they would find more time for their loved ones, and to do the things that are really more important and meaningful.

Even if we were to succumb to the disease we can still learn and grow from it. We could understand the precariousness of life and how true the Buddha’s teaching was – that there is an essential flaw in life. We could become kinder and more appreciative of the kindness we have received from people. We could forgive those who had hurt us. We could love more richly, more deeply. And when death comes, we can die with acceptance and peace. In this way, we can say that our life is healed because we are reconciled with the world and we are at peace.

We can meditate. When we are sick and bedridden, we need not despair. We can meditate even if we are in bed. We can observe our mind and body. We can obtain calmness and strength by doing breathing meditation. We can observe the rising and falling of the abdomen as we breathe in and out. Our mind can follow the rising and falling, and become, as it were one with it. This too can give us calmness. And from such calmness, understanding can arise.

Khaling Karma             
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