Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rewrite of Buddhist prayers

I decided to rewrite the Buddhist prayers using an independent Nichiren Buddhist perspective. I used the liturgy from SGI, Nichiren Shu, and Nichiren Shoshu. I also used the prayers on http://www.nichirendaishoninsbuddhism.com/ and http://thenichirensite.org/dailypractice.html. The prayers for deceased relatives have been omitted.

1st prayer
I offer appreciation for Daibontenno, Taishakutenno, Dainittenno, Daigattenno, Daimyojotenno and all the other Shoten Zenjin, sworn guardians of the Lotus Sutra that serve to protect us, and pray that these protective forces will be further strengthened and enhanced by my Practice.

2nd prayer
I offer profound appreciation to the gohonzon of the 3 great secret laws (one's enlightened life or Buddha nature, the location of one's Buddha nature [within oneself], and the daimoku).

3rd prayer
I offer sincere gratitude to Shakyamuni, the original Buddha; Nichiren Daishonin for his interpretation of Buddhism; and the 6 senior disciples Nissho, Nichiro, Nikko, Nitcho, Niko, and Nichiji for propagating Nichiren's teachings.

4th prayer
I pray that everyone finds a way to transform society for the better whether it be via Buddhism or not. I pray for not just religious tolerance but religious acceptance.

5th prayer
I pray to bring forth Buddhahood from within my life, change my karma, and fufill my wishes in the present and future. I will continually deepen my faith, practice, and study so that I may obtain enligtenment in this existence. [additional prayers here]

I pray for peace throughout the world and the happiness of all living beings.


  1. First, let me state outright that I am an SGI member and have been for over 25 years.

    Next, of course any silent prayer is entirely up to the individual. No one can control what is in our mind.

    With that said, I do see value in unity within the sangha; hence the need or desire for unified silent prayers within various sects or independent groups.

    I've always thought the first prayer was based on Japanese animism going back to their cultural roots in Shintoism. Even the "gods" you mention are representations of various forces within our lives. Not anything outside of ourselves. With that in mind, I guess it doesn't matter what we call them. I like that you included "these protective forces will be further strengthened and enhanced by my Practice." It all comes from my committment to practice and activate these "forces" from the power of my own determination.

    I don't have a significant issue with your 2nd prayer.

    Obviously, excluding Makiguchi, toda and Ikeda and the SGI in general reflects an independent or other sect viewpoint. Whether or not one is a member of SGI, from a Westerner's viewpoint, there is no doubt that we would not have encountered the daimoku without these men. So, I don't think it's unreasonable to acknowledge that debt of gratitude. Your inclusion of all 6 senior priests is a doctrinal issue. There is no doubt that the other 5 besides Nikko, did not follow Nichiren's teachings. Nichiren did more than "interpret" the teachings. He is the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law. He established the practice for all eternity. This is fundamental.

    So, the question becomes: Who "propagated Nichiren's teachings" most correctly. And let's honor and appreciate those that did.

    4th prayer is fine, but not really Buddhist. Nichiren is clear on the importance of Kosen Rufu. I love the SGI's 4th prayer! It's my favorite. You basically have it in the 5th, which is fine with me. The rest of SGI's 4th prayer has its roots in ancient ancestor worship. I can take it or leave it. Nichiren does teach that we can change the karma of those who are deceased, though. So what the hell. It's a good way to remember those we loved, anyway.

    That's my 2 cents! (Which is really worth $2 million.) ;)

  2. I think my favorite prayer is the first one. The gods mentioned therein are inscribed on the gohonzon. I can see why the prayers of a specific group would be unified. I mean, that's why you join a group.

    I may update or change the prayers as my understanding of NB grows. I've only been Buddhist for 2 yrs :)