Shodaigyo - An Explanation
Although not commonly known in western cultures, Buddhist meditation is not just a 'silent sitting' practice. Chanting is also a form of Buddhist meditation. Our primary practice, in Nichiren Shu Buddhism, is known as Shodaigyo. 'Shodai' means to chant the sacred title of the Lotus Sutra and 'gyo' means Buddhist practice. Our meditational technique combines opening and closing periods of silent meditation with a central core of chanting. Our practice is distinct; it not only allows us to calm the mind and reflect upon the true nature of Reality, but to also fundamentally realize and actualize Buddha nature. This form of meditation is easily learned but the benefits are profound. Through Shodaigyo we become more aware and mindful of our true selves, our surroundings, and the mutual integration of both. Our environment responds favorably in kind. We begin to reveal our inherent, enlightened qualities and to also recognize the beautiful, intrinsic enlightened qualities in all others. We become empowered, compassionate, appreciative, deeply joyful, wiser, and self-directed. Our lives transform through continuing practice. This process of spiritual manifestation allows us to harmonize and flourish in daily lives which can, at times, seem to be places of great difficulty and suffering. Please join us for instruction in the wondrous meditational practice of Shodaigyo.
Nichiren Shu Buddhism: What We Do
We offer a form of Buddhist practice based on the Lotus Sutra and the teachings of the 12th century monk Nichiren Shonin. While there are nearly 40 Nichiren based schools, we are the orthodox school practicing Mahayana Buddhism based on the Lotus Sutra. We have rich traditions and rituals and offer services in both shindoku (faith language) as well as English.
We also offer meditation, study of the Lotus Sutra, study of Nichiren Shonin's writings and sutra chanting practices. We are known as the noisy Buddhists because of our intense, percussive manner of chanting. All are welcome, no experience necessary--come join our weekly services.
The Nichiren Shu is a Buddhist Order founded by the religious prophet and reformer, Nichiren Shonin (1222-1282). He espoused the doctrine that the Lotus Sutra represents the embodiment of the genuine teachings of Sakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, the Savior of this world.
Our belief in this doctrine is affirmed by our chanting of the Odaimoku (Sacred Title) : "Namu Myoho Renge Kyo," that is "Adoration to the Scripture of the Lotus of the Perfect Truth."
We believe that Nichiren Shonin was the messenger of the Buddha who has guided us in cultivating our Buddha nature, a quality inherent in all beings, and establishing a way of life consonant with the eternal truths preached by the Buddha.
We vow to the Buddha and Nichiren Shonin that we will strive to engender peace within ourselves and throughout the world by disseminating the teaching expounded in the Lotus Sutra
Shodaigyo Explained: English Publication of
“The Journey of the Path of Righteousness”
New York Nichiren Buddhist Temple would like to announce its important English translation from Reverend Tairyu Gondo’s Shodaigyo manual entitled, “The Journey of the Path of Righteousnous (Gudo no Tabiji)”. The first chapter is entitled, “The Heart of Shodaigyo-The Manners and Practice”. Reverend Tairyu Gondo was a direct disciple of Archbishop Nichijun Yukawa who developed Nichiren Shu’s current form of Shodaigyo from earlier practice methodologies. Reverend Yukawa (deceased since 1968) propagated this modern form of Shodaigyo throughout Japan until he was 93 years of age.
What prompted the development of this crucial English translation were conversations between New York Nichiren Buddhist Temple Minister Reverend Shogen Kumakura and the temple Sangha concerning Shodaigyo. New York Nichiren Buddhist Temple began in 2013 to offer “Introduction to Buddhist Meditation (Shodaigyo)” each weekend as a means of propagation and a Sangha practice activity. English-speaking Sangha members had many questions regarding this ceremony and its methodology. What were the purposes of the silent meditations? How should one correctly breathe and calm the mind? What was the correct method of Shoshogyo (chanting of the Odaimoku)? What is the correct tempo for chanting during Shodaigyo? What is the correct method of prayer? What is the importance of Kie? These questions and so many more.
Much information, in the English-speaking world concerning Yukawa’s Shodaigyo, has been based on second-hand information and assumption. Buddhism emphasizes the importance of correct and pure transmission of teaching. It became quite apparent that English-speaking Sangha’s deeply needed a practice manual to correctly transmit the teachings of Yukawa’s Shodaigyo. Many Nichiren Shu Japanese ministers have, in the past, been issued Reverend Gondo’s “The Journey of the Path of Righteousness” which correctly details Yukawa’s Shodaigyo methodology and ceremony. New York Nichiren Buddhist Temple’s Reverend Kumakura, with the assistance of Sangha member Roy Secord, carefully translated this first chapter of Gondo’s Shodaigyo manual in the great hope that English-speaking practitioners could correctly understand and practice Shodaigyo.
“What is the purpose of Shodaigyo? It is to both purify and transform a life. This meditational practice (of Shodaigyo) is the correct practice of purification and transformation for the 21st Century. This book is crucial in guiding us to Kanno Dokyo (the integration of Buddha and practitioner)”.
~ Reverend Shogen Kumakura
Reverend Nissho Takeuchi, founder and president of New York Nichiren Buddhist Temple, stresses the importance of this publication. He states, “I am so grateful to publish this translation… I strongly believe this book will become the actual practice manual for Odaimoku Kechien Undo (Spreading the Relationship of the Odaimoku) by Nichiren Shu, and will be very useful for propagation efforts in North America for the next one hundred years.”
“Shodaigyo is to chant the Odaimoku intently, staring deeply into the heart of the Self,
in identification of the purified mind”.
~ Reverend Tairyu Gondo
This English, first-edition publication is currently available online HERE
Additional chapters from Gondo’s “The Path of the Journey of Righteousness (Gudo no Tabiji)
will be translated in English by New York Nichiren Buddhist Temple and available in the near future.
New York Nichiren Buddhist Temple Sangha
64 Fulton Street New York, NY 10038
General Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note we are frequently closed when Rev. Kumakura is away on Nichiren Shū business.
It is best to check with our website calendar (below) to make sure a service is happening on the day you would like to visit.