|A person wrote:
Are you aware that your JuJu beads should be carried every where you go? I never knew that until I joined the temple.
A person replied:
Nichiren, as our teacher, left elegant instructions for us
concerning how to maintain a firm and correct practice. Among other
things he stressed was to believe in (rely upon) the Law, not the
person. He wrote to us a lengthy gosho about what are the essentials
of Buddhist practice and what are the accessory activities of
practices. Not insignificant were his lessons about the Three Proofs.
Somehow, in my reading of the Sutra and the Gosho, I overlooked the
carrying of juju beads as a part of either the essential practice or
the accessory practice. Could you extend to me the favor of replying
with the written proof passage(s) which support the suggestion?
In the Nichiren Shoshu monthly study magazine, I don't have the issue at the moment, does say that we should carry the beads where ever we go.
I would like to make a suggestion. When you write, please keep it simple so that we all
can digest and comprehend what you write.
History and tradition list only two sources of the written proof
of True Buddhism, the Sutra of Shakyamuni, ultimately, only the Lotus
Sutra and the Gosho of Nichiren Daishonin.
No matter how sincere the author of any other document, if what
is written, including anything I may write, is not in agreement with,
and not found contained within, the written proof, then it does not
teach True Buddhism.
To digest and comprehend Buddhism is difficult.
To practice Buddhism is difficult, it consists of chanting Nam Myoho
Renge Kyo to understand its' hidden secrets.
It consists of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo when confronted by
It consists of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo exclusively to any other
It consists of relying on the Law of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
rather than accepting blindly the instructions of those persons who
seem to have authority but who substitute supersition and fear based
ritual for the true way.
It consists of the Practice of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo while
engaged in the Study of the Gosho and Sutra
then the asking of sufficient sincere questions to transform doubt
into unwavering faith in chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. In that
Finally, True Buddhism, means to chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo in order to
make ones ... constant thought:
how I can cause ALL living beings
to gain entry to the highest Way
and quickly attain Buddhahood.
(regardless of race!)
I found the article Our Buddhist Practice and the Prayer Beads in the November,1999 issue of Nichiren Shoshu Monthly, the study magazine of Nichiren Shoshu Temple. I must admit that when I was in the SGI organization there were a lot of things I was never exposed to about True Buddhism. Most of us started out in SGI, then after the furor between the Temple and SGI, many of us left SGI and joined the temple, joined other Nichiren sects or remained in SGI. Despite the different diversions of Nichiren thought, we all chant Nam-Myoho-Renge Kyo.
The aura at the temple is so very spiritual and awesome as opposed to SGI meetings. At the temple we bring our offerings to the Gohonzon, do gongyo and chant. The priest gives his Oko lecture. The members learn more about the gosho being discussed. There are questions and answer sessions for those who want to know more. When I leave the temple I know the gods (spirits) are with me. I feel it the entire week.
Back to the magazine. In the magazine there is a page which display the beads and gives a description and meaning of certain beads. I don't have a scanner so I can't scan the page. One day I'll get one, but on the two tassel side of the beads (Left hand) are the two largest beads which is a large one and a small large one. This is the Paternal bead which is the Law. Taho, Life condition and Reality. The large smaller bead under it is the Disiple Bead which is the bead of Purity and Clarity. Then in the body of the beads there are four tiny beads which are the four Bodhisativas. On the other end of the beads are the three tassels (Right hand) is the Maternal side that stands for Mysticism, Shakyamuni, and Wisdom. The first tassel that has 9 beads and a jar at the end is called Counter. The middle tassel is called Enrichment and the jar at the end is for benefits and the last tassel is the Recorder. I'm going to quote from the article rather than paraphrase:
"Nichikan Shonin quated a passage from the Muri-mandala-ju Sutra that discusses the prayer beads: "It is an implement that functions to pull up our sunken spirits and encourages us in our Buddhist practice".
"In other words, the prayer beads function as an indispensable foot of the Law in our Buddhist practice. They give us a lift from above and offer support from below when our practice is so frequently held back by various obstacles. They seem to say, "Lets do our best. Daimoku [chanting] is power. Do not be done in by these obstacles. Consider this time the very opportunity to obtain benefits. So let us forge ahead. We, too, will do our best to support you.
Thus, we must treat the prayer beads with great care by always carrying them and treasuring them like the Buddha.
Thank-you so much for finding the reference which led you to
believe that there is apparently a FOURTH great secret law - the
carrying at all times of juju beads.
No action which is motivated by a sincere desire to find the way
is wasted. However, in 20/20 hindsight it is often the case that a
part of finding the way is to find out where the way is not.
I am thankful that the various buddhas when they make their rare
manifestations as human beings leave clear instructions for what we
non-buddhas should do in the time between their appearances. A very
clear, couldn't be more specific instruction is "Rely on the Law, not
It seems to me that this very specific instruction was stated
because the sincere can often lead themselves and others astray,
especially when their sincerity is linked to what is perceived as
lofty human position or influence, such as error by a king or priest.
Many are the specific warnings by Nichiren Daishonin, especially, to
be highly skeptical about anything another human tells you is the Way
or the necessary actions along the way.
Shakyamuni warned in the Hoben Chapter of the Lotus Sutra to be on
guard against, "The dull who delight in petty rules."
Hoben Chapter, page 63, The Threefold Lotus Sutra, Kosei Publishing
Co., Tokyo, 1998.
Why? Because in former times sincere teachers, sages and priests said
there were at least 250 rules which needed to be followed in order to
In the "On the Four Stages of Faith and the Five Stages of Practice
Gosho" , Nichiren Daishonin writes very clearly:
"Set aside formal practices but maintain [meditation on] the
To "set aside formal practices but maintain [meditation on] the
principle" means that one should set aside the keeping of the precepts
and the other specific practices and embrace the principle of the
daimoku exclusively. When the commentary says that "the benefits will
be many and far-reaching," it implies that if the beginner should
attempt to practice various other practices and the daimoku at the
same time, then his benefits will be completely lost.
Break it down.
Chant Nam myoho renge kyo only.
What about carrying beads?
Chant Nam myoho renge kyo only.
What about offerings to the Gohonzon, the Temple, the priests?
Chant Nam myoho renge kyo only.
What about twice daily rakaat before the Gohonzon?
It is part of the accessory practice which also includes studying the
Sutra and Gosho, and being a sincere person in general, but the
essential practice, the hard to understand because it is too easy
practice is to chant Nam myoho renge kyo only.
What about mixing in some of the religious practices of my ancestors
as part of the essential practice of chanting Nam myoho renge kyo?
You know what I'm saying, being a hyphen buddhist?
The benefits of chanting will be completely lost.
Be wary, also, of good feelings whether they last a week, a month or
longer. If the realms of Shomon (Learning) and Engaku
(Self-Realization) are not sufficient to prevent the error of falling
off the Way, so much moreso are the realms of Tranquility and Rapture
seductive to slander. If moving the spirit and good feelings were a
proof, we should all be African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) or Church
of God in Christ (C.O.G.I.C.) Speaking in tongues is sure a witness of
something spiritual going on, just not necessarily good!
Rely on the Law, not the Person.
Rely on yourself, not others, for the correct subtle meanings of the
Sutra and Gosho.
Nichiren in that same gosho wrote:
"If they should encounter an evil friend, then they will lose their
true mind." Here, however, evil is not only by intention, but also by
the consequences of sincere but erroneors advice. Thus, Nichiren says
because of bad advice,
"they have as a result lost the true mind of faith in the Lotus
Sutra, ... They are persons who have "abandoned the great and instead
chosen the small"
When one compares the chanting Nam myoho renge kyo to the carrying of
juju beads, which do you think is the great? Which is the small?
Nam myoho renge kyo.
Nam myoho renge kyo.
Nam myoho renge kyo.
A lot of members both in SGI and NST have a lot of spiritual experiences with Daimoku. Those things you may never heard of because they discuss these things among themselves because they know that certain folks who just chant NMRK and don't get anything out of it would not understand what's going on. I have experienced automatic writing while the wisdom was flowing in me while chanting. I know that we are not supposed to have a pen in hand and our minds are suppose to be on daimoku but some how the wisdom starts flowing and it has to be written down because it will be forgotten. However, I am doing daimoku as all of this is occurring. I am not the only one who have experienced this.
I should hope a lot of members both in SGI and NST, and any of the
numerous other Lotus Sutra based True Buddhist organizations have a
lot of spiritual experiences with Daimoku. On the other hand, if they
do, or if they don't, it proves nothing.
I regularly teach non-buddhists how to manipulate the skill of
healing by subtle energy fields and how to sharpen the innate ability
of remote sensory perception, without the use of daimoku (rakaat). If
a person wants the ability to see "spirits". It can be achieved by the
use of a machine, to which I can give them access, for three days,
not years of hours of daimoku.
Rakaat can never diminish the experience of life. It certainly
can add the critical push through what otherwise might have been an
The central point of this thread of discussion is what is the
essential aspect of Buddhist practice, what are the accessory aspects
and what are baseless superstitions added on over the years by the
sincere in error and the malicious on purpose.
I am neither a sage, nor a buddha. I can read the written proof
of True Buddhism, the Lotus Sutra and the Gosho. I have faith because
of decades of practice that everything written in both have proven
themselves to be true. Not as metaphor, but as facts.
If Nichiren says the only essential aspect of practice is to chant Nam
myoho renge kyo and Shakyamuni concurs, I believe it. If any other
human being says that something else is the case, I allow them the
right to wander in a hell of incessant suffering for their error, if
they want to, after trying to mercifully show them the written proof
of their error. It is rather simple, rather straightforward. Either
you have the faith, after practice and study, to realize the validity
without embellishment of the Sutra and the Gosho or you don't.
Nichiren, called the DAI-shonin, was more than a sage who learned a
sutra title from the Tendai sect. Nichiren Daishonin to believers of
True Buddhism is the original Buddha of kuon ganjo! He is not the
student. He is Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, the original teacher, embodied as
a human being.
Buddhism as taught by Nichiren Daishonin is a practice of
liberation, a practice of emancipation, from the suppose to's. There
is but one suppose to - your suppose to chant Nam myoho renge kyo.
There's one general not suppose to - your not suppose to slander.
Receiving the gift of automatic writing while chanting is
praiseworthy. Not a cause for apology. It's just that automatic
writing can validly be taught outside of buddhism.
Saying Gongyo as you do with five prayers, etc., once again according
to Nichiren, is not part of the essential practice of Buddhism. It is
not even part of the accessory practice, if rigidly done from
superstition or fear, rather than from a position of appreciation.
Even if done for the wrong reason, though, the benefit is immense.
There is a significant difference between remembering one's ancestors
in the fifth prayer and mixing in aspects of the belief systems of
ancestoral religions with true buddhism. Traditions of Japan suggest
we do the former, Nichiren specifically forbade the latter. I
recommend you to the original source for elaboration rather than take
up space here.
I'm not mixing any ancestral practice. I'm just telling you like it is. And during every temple service the names of the recently deceased and previously deceased is put on the alter and members go up and offer incense to them. In my Afrocentric world we call our deceased an ancestor. MyohoRengeKyo is the life force that is inherent within us and that entity is what I worship.
I feel that Shakyamuni is only not the Historical but the Original Buddha and Nichiren is Bodhistsava Jogyo and a prophet of Shakyamuni.
Read Hell and Buddahood in MW Vol. II pg 239, published by NSIC. Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo
"If a sage admonishes his sovereign three times and still is not heeded, he should depart the country."
Commentary of "Hell and Buddhahood Gosho", a.k.a. the "Hell is the
Land of Tranquil Light Gosho". The Major Writings of Nichiren
Daishonin, Volume Two. NSIC publications, Tokyo, 1981, page 244.