Three Essence of Practice
1. Faith is the point of entry to every religion. It is the starting point for a believer who seeks to acquaint himself with a religion, not as an intellectual or academic pursuit, but as a philosophical application to his life.
A religion has to be practised based on the heart of faith and sincerity. Thus faith is the starting point for one to engage oneself in the Buddhist practice. Nichiren Buddhism emphasizes that with faith, one experiences the actual proof of the religion’s beneficial power or benefit which in turn further strengthens one’s belief.
2. Practice refers to the actions we take to express our faith and to further develop it. There are two aspects of the practice — practice for oneself; and practice for others. Practice for oneself refers to the daily ritual of chanting every morning and evening that the believer does at home individually or with family members. This chanting includes reciting the phrase “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” and reciting excerpts from two very important chapters of the Lotus Sutra, the second or Expedient Means chapter and the sixteenth or Life Span chapter. These two chapters contain the core essence in the Buddha’s highest teaching of the Lotus Sutra. This complete ritual is called gongyo meaning assiduous practice. New believers usually recite only the phrase “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” as their daily practice, as they take time to learn to recite from the sutra. This practice is called chanting of daimoku.
The second aspect of practice — practice for others — refers to the act of introducing other people to Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. Essentially, this is done based on the spirit of Buddhist compassion whereby one sincerely wishes that others are equally granted the opportunity to learn of the Buddhist teachings that enable them to overcome difficulties and make improvement to their lives.
3. Study constitutes an important part of the Buddhist practice; and the effort in studying the Buddhist philosophy is greatly emphasized by Nichiren Daishonin himself. This is especially important in cultivating the wisdom and ability to distinguish between various teachings.
Faith seeks reason, and reason enhances faith. Faith, practice and study interweave as a wholesome practice of the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin. The development of faith and practice is supported by monthly discussion meetings, Buddhist study classes and peace prayer meetings that bring together people from all walks of life. These are gatherings where believers learn about the Buddhist teachings and their application in their daily life. In addition, members also participate actively in educational, cultural and community events.