Nichiren Shu was founded by Nichiren Shonin, who taught that the Lotus Sutra contains the essence of the true teachings of Śākyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism and the savior this world. In Nichiren Shu, the practice of chanting the Odaimoku, “Namu Myoho Renge Kyo,” is the most fundamental and important practice in attaining Buddhahood.
When we follow the teachings and practice of the Buddha, guided by the teachings of Nichiren Shonin, we bring to life the perfect wisdom and great compassion of the Buddha. We transform our own lives, and the lives of all beings. Then this world stops being a world of suffering and conflict. It becomes a pure land of peace and tranquility.
Nichiren Shonin’s faith was based strongly on his profound understanding and how he conducted his life. He studied Śākyamuni Buddha’s teachings, as expounded in the Lotus Sutra, and he put them into practice. The Buddha’s teachings are not a theory of life. They are a way of life. The teachings come alive as we apply them in our daily lives.
The Buddhas appear in this world to purify all beings by having them open the treasury of Buddha-wisdom, which they possess within themselves, and show this wisdom to them. The Buddhas appear in this world to help all beings obtain this Buddha-wisdom. The Buddhas appear in this world to put all beings on the path to this wisdom.
When we recite the Odaimoku, “Namu Myoho Renge Kyo,” We leave behind our selfishness and unify with the Lotus Sutra, which is the Buddha himself. In chanting the Odaimoku, we receive the Buddha’s benevolence and approach Buddhahood. This simple phrase contains the Buddha’s wisdom, awareness and compassion. It contains the same merit as the whole of the Lotus Sutra.
Nichiren Shonin was a messenger of the Buddha who has guided us in cultivating our Buddha-seed, a quality inherent in all beings. He shows us how to live by the eternal truths the Buddha shared. Following the Buddha and Nichiren Shonin, we strive to engender peace, within ourselves and throughout the world, by sharing the teachings expounded in the Lotus Sutra.
Śākyamuni Buddha teaches in numerous sutras that all living beings possess the Buddha-seed, and that this is our true nature. Accordingly, everyone has the to attain Buddhahood: perfect enlightenment. All human beings, regardless of superficial differences in faith, nationality, or race, are Buddhas in essence. To achieve enlightenment means to live according to one’s true nature.
The Buddha declares in the Lotus Sutra: “l save all living beings from suffering. I am always thinking: How shall I cause all living beings to enter the unsurpassed way and to quickly become Buddhas?” Stimulated by such compassion, Nichiren Shonin dedicated his life to cultivating the Buddha-seed in all beings, believing that the key to their salvation is found in the Lotus Sutra.