Transformation of Karma


Various schools of Mahayana Buddhism employ meditation and observing the precepts to create gradual “purification of one’s karma”, a process which takes the span of many lifetimes.

According to Nichiren Buddhism, however, it is possible to change one’s karmic tendencies in this lifetime - and hence it is possible to change the direction of one’s “karmic river”, which leads one to a certain direction (or pattern) of happenings.

Because Karma is the energy that drives us to actions, and because actions follow the Law of Cause and Effect (MyohoRengeKyo), then employing this Law of Cause and Effect (through chanting) is in itself an action of orienting our life, aimed at becoming in harmony with the Law (that binds events with their latent consequences).

The phrase of chanting of NamMyohoRengeKyo implies the individual’s desire and determination (Nam) - to be one with the Law of Life (MyohoRengeKyo).  Chanting is the “Inner Cause” (or desire) we can create aiming for experiencing the highest state of Buddhanature, as a “Latent Effect”.

In effect of chanting NamMyohoRengeKyo - one experiences inner harmony, lack of tension, clarity of thinking, empowerment (for taking actions).

Clarity of mind experienced through dedicated chanting enables us to understand the link between causes and effects of the events we experience in daily life.  Consequently, we can direct our actions towards finding solutions and towards making a shift aimed at the best beneficial outcome of our actions.  Action based on chanting leads to transforming karmic events into beneficial experiences. 

Chanting as a “cause of action”

Chanting integrates the three kinds of causes (thoughts, voice and deed) into one action:

  1.   the thoughts of our mind, desires and motivations - we have during chanting (or prayers),

  2.   the voice of invocation,

  3.   and the action of chanting towards the Gohonzon engaging the senses and body.

The mental energy of chanting is called the True Cause (Honin Myo), which penetrates the storehouse of accumulated karma, brings clarity to the mind, and releases inner life force.

The key to transforming and elevating our life’s tendencies starts with a determination in our prayers.  This determination is the Inner Cause (Nyoze In), a desire or goal we want to achieve.  For example, the inner cause can be a motivation to eliminate a certain weakness in our tendencies, or to achieve strength in our skills or aims (such as finding a solution to a certain problem we encounter in daily life).  The benefit of chanting is revealed in reality as the Actual Proof of applying Buddhist wisdom in daily life.

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Author: Safwan Zabalawi (Darshams)

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Nichiren Teachings on Karma

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