After posting about how I started chanting, I’ve had a few comments from you guys asking for more information about nam myoho renge kyo, what it means and how to try it out. I’m delighted to see some interest in this practice and I can’t wait to hear how you get on! Why not even try out the 21 Day Challenge and keep each other posted there??
As for the questions you’ve been asking, well there is already enough information in the About NMRK pages to get started, so you should check those out. It all ties into a much bigger picture though, each element of which will be fleshed out in future posts. But for now, I thought it would be helpful to provide a general overview of what I think it’s all about and how it actually works.
What do these weird words even mean?
I have provided a detailed explanation of the mantra here. In short, the words in this mantra are all deeply symbolic, so the phrase itself is complex and defies a succinct translation, but if you need a one-line understanding of what you’re saying, you can think of it as “I devote myself to the law of cause and effect”.
Who can chant nam myoho renge kyo?
Seriously, anyone can adopt this practice as part of their daily lives, no matter what your background or circumstances are. Nam myoho renge kyo is a Buddhist chant, but it’s probably also worth mentioning that I don’t call myself a Buddhist, or adopt any label at all really. I am simply a normal human being with spiritual beliefs.
People often think that they can’t adopt a practice like this if they are already a practising Christian, Muslim, Jew or any other established religious tradition. But there is really no reason not to. This practice does not contradict any other spiritual practice, and in fact it engages with that same higher power or energy which I believe is the fundamental basis of all religious traditions. While details may differ, the core beliefs and message of all world religions is essentially the same, and any practice which invokes a connection to whatever-you-believe-in should be encouraged.
Even if you are the most cynical atheist out there, there is something to gain from this practice. You might not buy into a connection with “something bigger”, but even if you disregard the more spiritual elements, mantra meditation can still help with inner reflection and improving your well-being.
Well okay, but why should I? What does it actually do?
This is the Big One. The million dollar question. Something that really needs to be experienced to be fully understood. But I’ll try and sum it up nice and easy for you!
“Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.”
This universal energy has been given many names – you might think of it as God, Allah, universal consciousness, the unified field, the Mystic Law, or the Law of Attraction. All of these attempts to label the entirety of existence all really refer to the same thing. It is not separate to you, you are a part of it.
I think of it as all these things. Having identified as an atheist for most of my life, I used to have a negative and critical reaction to the word “God”. Even after I started chanting and eventually adopted deeply spiritual beliefs, I still had a natural objection to the word “God” as being perceived as something separate to you and me. The bearded man in the sky calling all the shots. But I now embrace the term as just another way of describing this universal energy, with the implicit understanding that I am not separate to God in this sense. If everything is really made up of the same field of energy, then God is in me, and I am God.
That way of thinking might be too out-there for some of you, so in my writings and conversations I generally prefer to refer to the energy as the Law of Attraction, simply because this term sounds the least theological or airy-fairy for the hardest cynics out there. Just like I was. Thinking of it as the Law of Attraction makes it sound like the natural, almost mechanical, force that it really is.
And it is truly a force, that can be harnessed.
This is all very well and good, but where does nam myoho renge kyo fit in?
Going a little further down the rabbit hole now… At the most basic level the vibration you make with the sound of your voice raises your personal energy, your little slice of the massive whole you are part of, to a certain frequency. I like to compare this frequency, this energy, to something like Earth’s magnetic field. This is another invisible field, a force which is undetectable until you have the right tools. A compass can be used to align your body with the magnetic field, just like a mantra such as nam myoho renge kyo can be used to align your soul with the universal energy all around and within us.
Chanting this mantra raises your energetic frequency. The higher your frequency, the more in tune you are with the creative force of the Law of Attraction, and the more powerful your own thoughts, feelings and beliefs are. When you beam out a desire to the universe in the form of “Wouldn’t it be awesome if xxx”, or better yet, “I am so happy I have xxx”, the energetic power of that desire pours into the river of creative energy and sets in motion a chain of events and reactions that bring that xxx right back to you. I know it’s a bit difficult to wrap your head around this concept, but trust me, if you give it a try, you will see for yourself.
That might be enough for some of you, knowing that you can literally bring your desires to life by chanting and thinking about them in a grateful and expectant way. If so, you can stop here and go forth and chant!
But wait, is there more??
Yes indeedy! It’s not just about getting stuff you want. It’s about finding secure and lasting #happiness!
When your frequency is raised, you find yourself reflecting a little deeper, opening your heart a little wider, until you begin to understand, bit by bit, more about the universe and how it works. You start to realise that life is about much more than that stuff you think you want. It’s about happiness, and understanding that happiness is a choice you can make at any time. You realise that it is simply futile to harbour negative thoughts and feelings. You understand how pointless dark emotions such as anger, regret, and jealousy are. You begin to take more mindful notice of your own reactions and you feel empowered to change them. To identify destructive patterns of thinking and consciously alter them. To react in new ways to things that happen to or around you. You feel the connection more and more as you continue to chant consistently, day after day. You start to experience delight in the littlest of things. A clutch of daisies in the grass. The way your shirt feels against your skin. The colour of the sky (there are even beautiful shades of grey!)
Your smile becomes quicker and wider. You are #grateful for all you have. You have more #compassion towards people around you. Even those who have wronged you in some way. You are quicker to #forgive those wrongs and release yourself from that negativity.
You experience life as a happier person.
The energy of the universe can be harnessed through chanting to get what you want, sure. But isn’t it even better to fall in love with your life as it is? And when you do that, through the magic of the Law of Attraction and how it responds to positivity, it just gets better and better.
The question isn’t why should I chant nam myoho renge kyo – it’s why the hell not?!