Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is a phrase which was expounded by a 13th century Japanese Buddhist monk called Nichiren.
The chant translates to somewhere between “I devote myself to the Mystic Law of the Lotus Sutra”, or the more traditional “…the Wonderful Dharma of the Lotus Flower Teaching”. The Lotus Sutra is said to contain the last teachings put forth by the original Buddha before he died, and the core message taken from it is that every person can attain enlightenment, without restriction, in this lifetime. “Myoho Renge Kyo” is the title of the Lotus Sutra itself, and adding “Nam” creates a mantra that, when chanted aloud, is said to invoke the entirety of the teachings within the sutra.
- Nam is a Sanskrit word, derived from “namas” which is taken to express devotion. It’s the same root of the more familiar “namaste”, or “I bow to the divinity within you”.
- Myoho – translates roughly to “Wonderful Law”, “Mystic Law”, or the karmic law of cause and effect, which is considered by Buddhists to be the ultimate law of the universe.
- Renge – translates to “lotus”. The lotus flower seeds and blooms at the same time, representing the simultaneity of cause and effect – once a person has made a cause, the effect has already taken place (but might not manifest until later). The lotus flower also blooms in a swampy waters, representing the potential for any person to attain enlightenment in the “swamp” of human suffering.
- Kyo – translates to “sutra”, “teaching”, or “the voice of the Buddha”.
Spoken together, these words connect the chanter with the karmic law of the universe. The chant itself is said to be the most positive cause you can make, bringing about hugely positive effects in your life.
In non-Buddhist terms, I believe that this chant vibrationally aligns you with the frequency of a natural energy which pervades life. Call it the Mystic Law, Law of Attraction, universe, God, whatever. It is something that we are all connected to, and this practice brings you into alignment with it, opens your soul to it, connects with It, You, Us, All. And then the fun really starts…