Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō

This phrase has been popping up time and again for me lately. I had no idea what it meant. Ever had that experience? Seeing something enough times that it makes you go and research it? That’s exactly what I did.So it turns out there is a history to this phrase that can be traced back to ancient Japan (surprise surprise), and is the central mantra chanted within Nichiren Buddism – this is a style of Buddhism originating in Japan.

Glory to the Sutra of the Lotus of the Supreme Law is the meaning loosely translated into English. I bet there’s a whole other level of meaning that can’t really be translated precisely though… because you really can’t separate language and culture. There are certain concepts, I have learned, that exist in eastern cultures which are not acknowledged in the west. So there is no reason or need to have an accurate translation in these circumstances. Why does this stuff interest me so much? I’m a linguist at heart.

From what I can gather, followers of Nichiren Buddhism consider Myōhō Renge Kyō to be ‘the name of the ultimate law permeating the universe’.  Now I’m not really all that into meditation and I certainly don’t chant.  But maybe this is the one chant I might actually use, if I ever was to try it.