7 Easy Ways To Chant nam-myoho-renge-kyo

When it comes to spiritual (or self-improvement) practice, everyone has different preferences. Some like meditation, some prefer yoga, some do mindfulness practices, some talk to angels… I think that all practices can ultimately connect you to the same energy that lies within and around us, so it doesn’t really matter which particular practice resonates with you. There is no right or wrong.

With one caveat…

Spiritual practice should be a DAILY thing. Not every few days, or every once in a while. EVERY DAY.

Chanting nam-myoho-renge-kyo

As you all know by now, chanting nam myoho renge kyo is my practice of choice. If you haven’t found a practice that resonates deeply with you yet, I would encourage you all to give it a try! It seriously changed my life.

I have already written about how chanting works and how I think the practice enhances your connection with that universal energy, giving you more and more creative power in the way you engage with the Law of Attraction. If you chant daily, you keep that connection strong. If you drop your practice for a few days here and there, your vibrational frequency drops, along with your mood, and your conscious engagement with the LOA. Just as you would exercise regularly to keep your physical self in shape, so too should you exercise your spiritual muscles regularly and consistently.

And so I continue to chant. Every. Single. Day.

I know that it can be hard to build up a new daily habit, no matter what it is. BUT I can tell you that the effort it takes to regularly set aside time to practice is totally worth it. First of all, as you build the habit, it gets easier and easier to just sit down and chant without thinking too much about it. And best of all, when you start doing this consistently, your mood and general state of being just flies higher and higher. You feel better. Lighter. Happier. Life starts to just go your way.

7 easy ways to chant nam-myoho-renge-kyo

First of all, if you don’t know the mantra yet, here is a 24-minute recording (right-click and “Save link as…” to download MP3 file). It’s sometimes nice to chant along with the recording, especially when you’re just getting started with the practice.

Whether you use the recording or prefer to chant on your own, here are some of the easy ways you can fit chanting into your everyday life!

1. Make the time and space at home

My spiritual "altar" in London
My spiritual “altar” in London

You can chant at home! For any practice like this, it would be ideal if you can take the time to sit down in a special place. Making a space in your home for spiritual practice is not only comfortable and rewarding, but seeing and walking by that place every day serves as a reminder for you to just sit down and do it. When I was living in London, I had a special table (right) – just a cheap Ikea desk – that I covered with a pretty scarf and decorated with items that were either spiritual in nature or in some way meaningful for me and that made me happy to look at them. The Buddha statue I picked up on my first visit to Thailand. The little plastic flower pot I bought in Amsterdam. The candle gifted to me by a good friend. The smoke-free Ka-fuh Hinoki Cypress incense that never fails to get me into a calm and contemplative mood when I burn it.

Now that I’m travelling I can’t set up such an altar everywhere I go. If you can, I would highly recommend it. But if you can’t or don’t want to, don’t let that stop you from the practice itself! These days, when chanting at home, I simply sit on the side of my bed and gaze out the back window of my bungalow, which looks out onto trees and greenery – nature itself is enough of an altar for me. The important thing is to pick somewhere quiet and comfortable to really devote yourself to those few minutes of chanting.

2. Immerse your Self in nature

You can chant outside! My favourite place to chant these days is in the ocean or on the beautiful beach I am lucky enough to live beside in Ko Lanta. Wherever you are, there is somewhere you can go to enhance your connection to All-That-Is by directly connecting with Nature. Go for a stroll around your nearest park or seafront. Take your shoes off, sit down in the grass, lean up against a tree. You can always find a quiet spot to sit, rest your gaze on something beautiful, and chant. It doesn’t really matter if anyone hears you but remember, you can just say the words quietly, there’s no need to shout them out.

3. Cleanse your body, cleanse your soul

You can chant in the shower! This was my go-to when I first started my chanting practice. I have never been much of a morning person, and was in a 9-to-5 office job at the time, so by the time I dragged myself out of bed after a few snooze cycles, there was hardly any time to eat breakfast, let alone sit down to chant for even 10 minutes. So I decided to make use of the time when my mind wasn’t all that occupied anyway. Showering is an automatic process for most of us – water on, wash, rinse, repeat. It’s the perfect opportunity to squeeze in some chanting time!

4. Clear your clutter, inside and out

You can chant while you’re doing your housework! Whether you need to wash the dishes, vacuum the floor, or dust down those bookshelves, doing housework is another great chance to chant. As you’re cleaning up your physical home, you can do a double whammy and get some chanting done at the same time to clean up your spiritual clutter!

5. On the road to happiness

You can chant in the car! Maybe this one is best left until you have at least mastered the words and don’t need to think too much about it. Always concentrate on the road! But after you’ve chanted a bit and become familiar with the words, you don’t really need to think too much about it as you’re doing it. Once you’re comfortable with the mantra, you can take advantage of those long drives to work, or to visit friends and family. Setting out on a drive (even on my scooter here in Thailand) has always been one of my favourite times to chant. Just switch off the radio and chant to yourself while you’re driving.

You can even chant silently…

I believe that the act of reciting the words out loud is important. The universe is a bundle of energy and vibration, and I think that the physical vibration achieved by chanting out loud creates a stronger connection to that energy. However, silent mantra meditation can be a great way to focus and calm your mind. Your thoughts alone also have creative and energetic power, so there is still benefit in focusing your mind on the mantra, even without giving it voice. If you can’t find a place to comfortably chant aloud, try listening along with the recording above, or just reciting it silently to yourself.

6. Planes, trains and automobiles

You can chant on public transport! Sitting on a bus or train for your morning commute? Flying off somewhere for business or pleasure? For a lovely and fulfilling way to pass the time, simply gaze out the window or close your eyes, and repeat nam myoho renge kyo in your head.

7. Drifting off to sleep

You can chant in bed! I have always had trouble falling asleep – it can take anywhere from half an hour to 2 hours for me to finally nod off. One of the things that really helps me to quiet the chatter in my mind is to silently repeat nam myoho renge kyo to myself.

Have fun with it!

I recently read a interview with George Harrison of The Beatles, about his practice of chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. As you probably know, the Hare Krishna devotees are famous for their all-singing, all-dancing enthusiasm when reciting their mantra, and are frequently seen dancing down the street and chanting along with cymbals and drums. Harrison talked about how their style of practice enhances the joy and jubilation that arises through this form of mantra meditation. It really made me think, and realise that there’s no reason that chanting needs to be a formal or sombre affair. nam myoho renge kyo connects you with the divine energy around and within us, which is a joyful thing! Embrace the practice and have some fun with it too 🙂

Can you think of anywhere else you might be able to chant? Let me know in the comments below!

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51 thoughts on “7 Easy Ways To Chant nam-myoho-renge-kyo

  1. vanessa

    please dont put anything on the butsudan. it should be free. nothing standing on top 🙂 this is your life. allow it to breathe. to be. not to be surpressed. not even by buddhist calendar. and i can recommend finding another space for the books too. next to it there needs to be space as well. maybe candles, maybe a bit of water and fresh fruit. but allow it to be clean and calm to look at, too.
    a sgi member in your district is always great to ask concerning this, they can come by and suggest edits. it will make a huge difference. i promise 🙂 <3

    • Jessica

      Hi Vanessa, thanks so much for your comment and sorry for the late reply! Actually, my butsudan was empty – I’m not a member of SGI and I don’t use a gohonzon as part of my chanting practice. The butsudan was passed to me by an SGI friend, and I have since passed it on to someone else – these days I live in the gorgeous green countryside, so I prefer to chant looking out the window at nature! 🙂 I’ve never been very fussed about spiritual “accessories” – everyone has their own way to practice 🙂 Thanks so much for the suggestion though, sending warm wishes to you and yours xx
      X nmrk X

  2. Alok Misra

    Jessica, I have read all your posts and can say you are doing wonderful service to humanity. I was suggested this chant while hospitalised and have felt it’s divine power. Since then , that it has become part of my daily life. The one hr drive for work I used to hate has become such a pleasure that I look forward to it. Without knowing how it works I am enjoying the feeling of lightness, contentment and thankfulness to something pure and ,divine that can only be experienced in the heart. Pl continue helping us. Alok

    • Jessica

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Alok! I’m so happy that this mantra has made such a difference for you. Driving is still one of my favourite times to chant too! Lots of love to you xx

  3. Geraldine Nolan

    Hi! I have ‘returned’ to my daily Buddhist practice after years of doing so sporadically. I have no desire to belong to any group but to live my life according to Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. I chant first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and all the hours in between! 🙂 I chant loudly at home and silently outside. I chant walking down the street, waiting in queues, anywhere! It’s my prayer and my focus in life and I’m loving it! Coming from a Roman Catholic upbringing I knew/know that Buddhism and especially Nicheren Daishonin teachings are the way to go! I loved your post! Refreshing to hear from someone who approaches this in the same way. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!

    • Jessica

      Thank so much for sharing, Geraldine! I love your attitude, chanting is such an easy thing to do, anytime and anywhere, and it really makes such a difference 🙂 So happy to hear from others who like to practice without the restrictions of any organisation or group. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is all you need 🙂 Keep in touch! xx

  4. Nora B

    Jessica great post I used to chant nam myoho renge kyo years and was put off by SGI group was in which kept telling us to shakabuku (change their faith/belief) everyone who did not practice our form of Buddhism. I loved the chant and found my life becoming smoother and happier but I couldn’t stick with SGI or any organisation that was dictating to me how I live. Your post inspires me to want to chant again and get that lovely warm safe feeling I used to get when I used to chant, you are an inspiration for those of us who want to practice with no strings attached. Please tell us do you recite the lotus sutra portions of practice or go straight to the chant. I would love to start again and maybe get a group of independent minded people practicing together.

    • Jessica

      Thanks so much Nora! Yes, that has been my experience too that some of the folk in SGI and other organisations can get a little too distracted with arbitrary rules, restrictions, and yes such a heavy emphasis on shakabuku too. Chanting this mantra alone has improved my life beyond measure and I really think that’s all you need! Obviously I do like to tell people about it (that’s why I started the blog, after all), but I really don’t like anyone being too pushy about their religious or spiritual beliefs – each to their own, and the right path will present itself to the right person at the right time 🙂 I don’t chant the sutra sections, or use a gohonzon, or anything else really – I just chant nam-myoho-renge-kyo and that’s it. Sometimes I do use my prayer beads just because I like the symbolism of “holding your life in your hands”. On the rare occasions I do include the sutra chapters, I actually prefer to recite the English translation – it resonates much deeper when you understand what it is you are saying. But I don’t do this very often and I don’t talk about it too much here as all I want to promote is the basic mantra – chanting NMRK is enough to make a huge difference in your life, as you already know 🙂 I hope you do get back into it, please do keep me posted!

  5. divya

    Hi jessica,
    recently i have been suffering lots of anxiety for no particular reason. I suddenly don’t feel happy and i fear things. can chanting help me. also can i chant while walking on a treadmill

    • Jessica

      Hi Divya, I think I got this comment mixed up with your private message! How are you feeling now? I very much hope the mantra is helping you xx And to answer your question, absolutely yes you can chant on a treadmill. If you can, it would be ideal to set aside some time to just sit and focus on chanting, but if that’s not possible it is helpful to chant the words no matter what else you’re doing!

  6. Alok Misra

    Divya—- you seem to be from India, so read this. I commenced Nam Myoho Renge from a hospital bed and now it has now become a part of my life.I was happy with what it did to my mindset , mood and inner self never expecting any miracle or any earthshaking event beyond, as a reward, as I was just doing the basic chanting without following any other rituals of Buddhism. I had visited a monastery in Sikkim India almost 22 years back and some of the forgotten images of the same suddenly started appearing in my thoughts while chanting. As the chanting continued for three months,– a sudden opportunity appeared out of nowhere, taking me to a short trip to Myanmar— and it was a bliss to chant in front of majestically giant Buddha at Shwedagon pagoda amidst thousand of burning candles radiating happiness . I don’t know if it was predestined — or my chanting earned it—- it only reinforced my belief towards presence of some unseen unnamed divine force—doing things to you and for you, but still remaining unknown to you. My advise to everyone —– just flow with the chants—and get immersed in this serene ocean of happiness. Jessica—you agree? Regards Alok

    • Jessica

      Yes indeed Alok that is the perfect advice to go with the flow of the mantra, in my experience it leads to an overwhelmingly positive mood and attitude 🙂

  7. Hailey

    I’m about to receive my gohonzon tomorrow though I don’t think I’ll make it due to illness, but am not sure about chanting loudly in the morning and evening. I have a roommate and I don’t want to bother others by being loud. Thanks for letting me feel better about chanting silently.

    • Jessica

      So happy to have helped, Hailey! Chanting out loud is the ideal, but doing it quietly or silently under circumstances like yours certainly counts – your intention goes a long way 🙂 Did you receive your gohonzon in the end? I hope you’re feeling better now! xx

  8. Mrs. M. Biswas

    Hi Jessica
    I cannot sit in one place and concentrate for long. Is it okay for me to chant during my household chores?

    I also have bad insomnia. I lie awake for hours in the night. Is it okay for me to chant in my mind during the nights when I can’t sleep?

    Please respond.
    M. Biswas

    • Jessica

      Hi Mrs. Biswas! With any spiritual practice it is ideal if you can find some time to sit and fully focus on what you’re doing – keep practising and it will get easier to concentrate on it. However, chanting the words can have a hugely positive effect no matter how you do it, so absolutely yes it is okay to chant while doing your chores. I used to chant in the shower every morning!

      I also struggle with insomnia and I find that silently repeating nam-myoho-renge-kyo in my mind can help a lot.

      There are no real “rules” about when/how you can or cannot chant – focusing on and repeating the words is beneficial no matter how you do it, so do whatever you can to fit it into your everyday life and it will have some positive effect 🙂 Thanks for your comment – good luck with the chanting and do let me know how you get on with it! xx

      • Mrs. M. Biswas

        Thanks Jessica… am so pleased with your reply …thanks a ton.you are doing a great job please keep it up!!

        • Jessica

          Thank you so much! I’m so glad you’re finding the blog helpful 🙂

  9. R Rani

    Hi Jessica,
    I am from India and currently facing huge problem in my life. As, their is big intercast love marriage problem in India. Both of our parents are not ready for our marriage and making us weak emotionally. My parents are even beating me up to get marry to the other boy of their choice in our cast. But, I want to marry with the guy to whom I love. Kindly help me and guide me, what should do I do? Will Nam- Myoho Renge Kyo will help us? We all are going through strong emotional phase of our lives ( Me and my friend for our love and our families because of their rigid thinking). They are even threatening they will kill the my friend. I don’t know what should do I do? Please help us. Though I have started chanting from today.

    • Jessica

      Hi R, I am so sorry to hear of your struggles!! Nam-myoho-renge-kyo can help with all kinds of problems, so I would encourage you to keep chanting every day – HOWEVER, physical violence and threat of murder is very serious and urgent, so I would urge you to find direct help in India as soon as possible. There are organisations who can help with young people being forced into a marriage against their will. Please look at these websites: http://chaynindia.com/am-i-being-forced-to-marry/ and http://lovecommandos.org/ – they have helplines you can call to get immediate assistance. Call the police, the women’s helpline (1091), or the Love Commandos helpline (09313784375 & 09313550006). You can also email Love Commandos at helpline@lovecommandos.org. Chanting will help to support you and give you courage to overcome this issue, but it is very important that you reach out to these organisations for more direct assistance. I am sending you love and strength and wish you success in escaping this situation xx

    • Sara

      Dear Rani,
      You will be surprised to know just how many young members of the YMD and YWD groups in BSG (the Indian chapter of SGI International), are challenging exactly what you are. It’s a pity that a country as diverse and lovely as ours should cause such misery to its youngsters.

      I would absolutely recommend chanting strong, determined Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, as much and for as long as you can. Chant in a way you can hear yourself, with all your heart and honestly – letting out exactly how you feel. If not home, then in the bus, car anywhere. You need not necessarily join an organisation to do this. The way that helps is to get more people together with you and form a support group to share your struggle. It does get overehelming at times, yes. You may check out the Bharat Soka Gakkai website to find a group for yourself in your city.
      But honestly, you could even chant by yourself – so long as you keep up the practice every day. Most importantly, be honest about what you feel when you chant. Faith is often like suspending yourself mid air – trust completely and seek strength and courage to change the situation. Trust like you would trust a divine mother – completely. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo brings out the most powerful divinity within you. So don’t look outside at a deity, go deep within. And don’t fear anything along the way. Even if there are days when you are fighting alone. Don’t be scared. Also pray for others you come across.Chant like this and you will definitely experience a difference.

      And yes, I would agree with Jessica that if you are a victim of violence and threat, you must definitely seek help, if you feel that your life is in danger. Remember chanting itself is made powerful only when you take action supplementing your heartfelt prayer. It will give you the wisdom to move ahead in amazing ways.

      All the very best. And I will send you my prayers too. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to people if you need guidance.

      Lots of Love

  10. Punita

    Hi Jessica,

    Its been about 10 days or so that I am chanting. I really feel positive about things and the negative thoughts have reduced. I chant for my happiness as I feel mentally disturbed. I have not been lucky in love and faced betrayal every time which indeed gain me immense pain, ill health, mental trauma and obviously made me a sad person. I though feel better now but still think why it happens with me even despite being so loyal, loving and caring. Despite being born with a pretty face and blessed with a great job, I am unlucky in love which makes me feel lonely from within. I every-time gave my 100%. Anyhow now apart from happiness I also chant for someone to come back into my life as I still love him. I actually chant the way you mentioned. I listen to the youtube recording while traveling(In car or in flight). I chant silently and also whenever I get time I chant out loud with the recording. I know I will get the best and I am being positive. I was never in contact with SGI nor have attended any meetings. I just chant for myself.

    • Jessica

      Hi Punita, thanks so much for reaching out. I do apologise for the late response, how are you feeling now? I must admit, finding luck in love has been a challenge for myself too, so I do know how you feel! I have found though that rather than yearning for something that is currently out of reach, it is far more effective and rewarding to (a) continually be grateful for all of the blessings that you have, and (b) to try to cultivate a deep love for yourself. Taking the time to be good to yourself and really appreciating your own worth. I frequently focus on this for my own practice, and I find that when you are happy and comfortable and loving yourself from within, then others are drawn to your light. Keep chanting, and maintain your faith that you will indeed always get the best, whenever the time is right.

      Lots of love to you xx

      • Sara Abraham

        Jessica, if Finding love is difficult for you imagine how challenging & difficult it is for us. So it’s mean that chanting for finding love does not work and it is not going to happen…
        Basically we are wasting out time chanting every day…


        • Jessica

          I wouldn’t say that at all Sara, chanting or connecting in any way with the greater power of the universe is never a waste of time. And just because it hasn’t worked yet does not mean it will not. Keep practising, keep positive about the blessings in your life and your view of yourself, and keep faith that all will happen just as and when it needs to. This is how I try to live my life, and in fact I have indeed found love quite recently as a result, in such a strange and synchronous way that there is no doubt in my mind that this came about as a result of my practice and connection. I wish the same and more for you. Don’t give up xx

          • Sara Abraham

            Thank you Jessica,
            I chant every day 24minutes in the morning in my car with the help of yourube NMYRK 24 minutes chant that I put on my phone and 24minuted going home at evening it feels like I am chanting with a group, since I don’t have enough time to join group and at home there are to much noise, so it really works for me in the car while driving to work in the morning and night.
            I am glad you found the love and I hope everybody that looks for love they will find it.
            Thanks once again and please keep answering us…
            NMYRK Sara

  11. Sara Abraham

    Hi Jessica,
    How long I need to chant in order my prayers to be answered? I have been chanting almost five months now.


    • Jessica

      Hi Sara, I’m afraid that question has no easy answer! It depends on many things, such as your own energetic frequency when you started the practice, your focus and attitude when you are chanting and the rest of the time, and what the prayers are that you seek. I would simply say that the universe provides whatever is right for you, and at the right time. Even though it may feel like your prayers are going unanswered, you might look back someday and realise that actually, you didn’t need those things in the end and the universe brought you to the right place after all. Do keep up with the practice and keep faith that it will result in a life of happiness and fulfilment, even if it takes a different shape than you anticipated.

      Lots of love to you xx

      • Sara Abraham

        Thank you Jessica, NMYRK Sara

      • Mark Gordon

        Mr. Daisaku Ikeda, leader of the SGI, more or less, says the same thing, in that over a period of time your prayers will be answered. Unfortunately, I have to look at him with suspect (I was a member of SGI-USA for about twenty years.) He a the leader of a tightly, well- controlled organization, which in my opinion, manipulates its members. On the other hand, Jessica, I feel that since you are an independent practitioner that whatever you write on your blogs is very sincere and that you have nothing to gain materially by doing so. You can only give to people your very sincere advice (which, I might add is extremely well written and very expertise. ) Your writings on the mantra Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is among the best I have ever read. Also, the Nichiren Buddhist Premier by Chris Roman is also excellent (he was a former member of SGI, but, like yourself an independent practitioner.) All the best, Mark

        • Jessica

          Many thanks for the kind words, Mark! I’m so glad you find value in my work on this blog, indeed it is important for me to share my own personal thoughts and feelings about Nichiren Buddhism and spirituality, which certainly do not fit into SGI or any other organisational “mould”. I firmly believe that every person can and should find their own spiritual path, there is no one “catch-all” solution – all I do is try to share what works for me in the hopes that it might help others along their own journey 🙂

  12. Sara Abraham

    I love this site

    • Jessica

      Thank you! 🙂


    Hi Jessica, hope you are well…………strange, I am on holiday in Morocco, my first visit here and tonight a young Senegalese waiter remarked on a saying that there is no such thing as chance or coincidence as we found their restaurant when I was nt actually looking for it, I had read about this morning and knew it was nearby but not it s location, it s run by an ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN, who are running classes and educating the younger women to be entrepreneurs and independent.
    My point, for over a year now I have been discovering this chant, i have nt yet developped a practice though it keeps popping up ! I read a bit about SGI and it put me off,….. i heard it first through Tina Turn on the Children Beyond Album, and I love listening to her chant it. It pops into my head often in the shower, maybe I should as you mentioned start with that.
    I was checking something just now on the meaning and I saw a load of SGI stuff again and it put me off ….and then I clicked and here I am telling you….WOW just WOW,…..there are no coincidences, there I was thinking are there people who like me don t care for the organisation of one s beliefs yet have advice and testimonials about the chant….et voila there you are and the others who have commented here.
    Am very happy I clicked, and i now feel, go ahead adopt this chant, it s been following me for a year now….

    • Jessica

      Hi Catherine, thank you so much for your lovely comment and wonderful words! I do apologise for the late response, but I’m interested to know how you’re doing now? Have you adopted the practice?? I couldn’t agree more than there are no coincidences in life, and the universe keeps on throwing the same thing at you until you sit up and take notice! I have also been blown away and deeply humbled by how many people like yourself are finding Happy Chanter in search of an approach outside the Nichiren Buddhist organisations. Happy to know that I’m not alone in wanting to find a separate path, and that I can somehow help and inspire others! I would love to hear how you’re getting on now, hope to hear from you!

      Lots of love to you xx

  14. gwen

    Interesting topic to share.

    I have been chanting quietly most of the time when I am in my hubby car.

    I chanted every morning in my work place for 30mins and 15mins when I am waiting for my hubby to pick me home from work.

    • Jessica

      Thanks for your comment Gwen! That sounds like a great regular practice, hope it is bringing you peace and happiness!

  15. Casandra

    Hi Jessica
    Thanks for the information on chanting. I am a SGI member in TN. I LOVE chanting!! I chant everywhere. Its good to know you do too.

    • Jessica

      Hi Casandra, thanks so much for your comment! Happy to hear that you make the most of every moment too 😉

  16. Ssw

    I feel hopeless because of some situations and helpless.People say get over it,but knowing the power of faith,and the immense pain I am in,I am neither able to move on nor able to keep faith. Will chanting help me keep my faith ? How should I do it?

    • Teresa

      Be conscious of all around you! There are so beautiful things!!!


    • Jessica

      Hi Ssw, how are you doing now?? Great advice there from Teresa – there is always something to appreciate in the world around you! And that can be the first step towards moving on from painful situations. Chanting can indeed help wonderfully with this – I found from the very beginning that I was more able to release negative emotion and focus on the positive, quite naturally, once I started practice regularly. I do hope that it helps you in the same way.

      Sending lots of love to you xx

  17. Karen Rentschler


    I am very happy to find out that you are a chanting Nichiren Buddhist!! I have been practicing since the 70s, when I was very young– I just wanted to let you know that your altar needs to cleared off– It is not advisable to have anything on top of your butsudan and the area around your altar should be clear. Having books or whatever underneath is fine. Because the Gohonzon represents your life, you want your altar to be a accessible and clear (excluding greens, candle, etc.) as possible. I would take down the photo of the lotus flower that you have in front of your butsudan as well.

    I am sincerely telling you these things so that you can optimize your practice– There are so few formalities in Nichiren Buddhism but our attitude and behavior toward our altars is important–

    I am wishing you all the best–

    Karen Rentschler
    San Francisco
    Mountain Lake District

    • Milicent Spewth

      Dear Karen, The only way to chant actually, is to have a stick of butter on your altar. Then you will be free to get everything you wish in life and more. Also a toy dragon is also acceptable but it has to say words. Fortunately however, those words are not limited to nam myho renge kyo. They can be whatever or a reflection on the hypocrisy of telling someone how they ought to practice their own spirituality. And how a construct that is supposed to be based on love is actually used to control the masses. The stick of butter, the more factory farm processed the better. Love, Millie

      • Jessica

        Hi Karen and Millie!

        Millie, while I do appreciate the sentiment behind your comment, let’s keep it friendly eh? Sarcasm is not the most effective tool in an open discussion 🙂 I welcome any and all thoughts and opinions, especially from those who might have a different view of spirituality and practice than I do. We can always learn from each other through conversations based on love and respect.

        Karen, thank you for your suggestions but actually, my butsudan was empty (it was given to me by a friend but I never filled it) – I’m not a member of SGI and I don’t use a gohonzon as part of my chanting practice. I don’t even have an altar at all these days, I travel quite a bit and prefer to chant looking at nature, or at a beautiful picture such as my lovely lotus 🙂 I truly don’t believe in the necessity of spiritual “accessories” and “rules” around what should go where in your personal spiritual space – everyone has their own way to practice, and my life has twisted and turned in so many wonderful ways without all the formalities so I’m happy to stick with a less formal approach! I very much appreciate the positive intention behind your suggestion though, many thanks to you xx

  18. Durgeshi baral

    Hi Jessica. .how are you?

    • Jessica

      Hi Durgeshi, I am great, thanks! I have replied to your private message. Hope you are well and happy xx

  19. Dear Jessica
    My name is Molly Doss. I too hv been chanting for the last three years. I just read your article on chanting. Thanks a ton for the useful information. The article has answered a lot of my questions. I too read the various chanter’s emails to you which
    further gave me more
    I thank Jessica & everyone else who have given useful advice & information.
    Please keep up the good work Jessica & everyone else.
    God bless you all !
    Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

    • Jessica

      Welcome Molly and thanks for your kind words, I’m so happy to have helped! And yes indeed there has been some wonderful discussion here, I am so grateful for everyone’s contributions 🙂 Do keep in touch!

  20. Carlos

    My experience with Nichiren Buddhism was very strange. I began chanting in August 2012, at a rather hard time in my life. I did it on my own, and also as part of a local SGI group. My biggest problem was that my PhD scholarship had ended, and I was desperately looking for a job. By November I had two wonderful jobs. In April 2013, I accepted the Gohonzon. By January 2014, I had lost both jobs, terrible roommates had moved in, and I stopped chanting in late 2014. I kept the Gohonzon.

    017 was one of the worst years of my life. In 2017, i found a new job. A freind came over and chanted and i lost my job. Right now, I am unemployed, poor, severely depressed, and often wish to die.
    The Gohonzon seems to have brought me bad luck.

    Any advise? Can I return the Gohonzon?

  21. Maria

    Hello Jessica

    First of all, I am so grateful to find this site to be so free of structure. That means: free of the usual “you have to do THIS or THAT, otherwise it doesn’t work”. I always wondered if I could chant NMRK in silence, in my mind, just for myself; I was advised not to do it like that by a member of the SGI because “it wouldn’t do the trick”.
    Anyway, I’m happy to know that I don’t even need an altar. The world is an altar, right? God lies within us. And, the way I see it, NMRK is just a way of finding ourselves back into our own light. Thank you so so much. Have a wonderful week. Maria.

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