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Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Chanting "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo" didn't save Amy
Even though she chanted daimoku, she remained addicted, suicidal, and on a self-destructive path. Does that mean daimoku doesn't "work?" That depends what one means by "work." If we think namu-myoho-renge-kyo is a magic phrase that makes us happy and is a get-out-of-death-and-suffering-free card, no, it doesn't "work." Nichiren Buddhism is a life-long practice -- even if our life turns out to be heartbreakingly short. It's not a quick fix or magic cure. More
Just Chant This and That's It?
Wisdom Quarterly (COMMENTARY)
Is it possible that Brahminical-style chants that mimic Sanskrit hymns (gathas) do not have magical power?
The Vedas gave the ancient Indus Valley Civilizations, which Adi Shankara's Hinduism claims as its inheritance, mantras for everything.
These enchantments first focused the minds of seers (rishis) and were then used by brahmins to enhance their temple-bound priesthood that the Buddha (and other spiritual wanderers or shramans) rejected.
But the technique is sound -- repetition that cuts off normal consciousness and gives way to an elevated state. Simply chanting never works anymore than saying "Abracadabra" or "Open Sesame."
But sincere, persistent, and devoted utterance of special sounds is widely accepted as being effective IF it is consistent and in integrity with one's life. Living one way and chanting another is working at odds with one's professed intention. For example, trying to quit drugs while chanting Nichiren Buddhism's hallmark hymn might really help.
But getting high to enhance the elevation brought on by dedicated chanting is only mocking the process. Or, worse, using the chant as a quick shortcut to material riches -- why, IF that worked, who wouldn't do it? Nichiren goes much deeper than a pretty mantra and a cultish appearance.
Tina Turner chants on CNN's Larry King