The Meaning of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo


Means “mystic law” – it is called mystic (myo) because it is difficult to discern. Ho means all phenomena. Myoho means that all phenomena and the ultimate law are one.

“It is simply the mysterious nature of our lives from moment to moment, which the mind cannot comprehend nor words express”

Nichiren Daishonin – ‘On Attaining Buddhahood’


Literally means “lotus flower”. It indicates the simultaneity of cause and effect. This is because the lotus produces seeds and flowers at the same time. This means that when we chant NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO (cause) the state of Buddhahood (effect) immediately wells up from within us. As we experience Buddhahood more and more, the entire network of causes and effects (which make up our individual karma) is dramatically transformed. Those things which induced suffering in the past work to enhance our development as human beings now based on enlightenment rather than illusion. The lotus also blooms in muddy swamps showing that beauty can emerge from the darkest of places.


Means sutra or teaching; it can also be interpreted to mean sound. Nichiren Daishonin said:

“Kyo means the words and speech, sound and voices of all living beings.”

A Buddha’s enlightenment is expressed through the voice of his teachings and the truth to which he is enlightened is eternal. We awaken to the eternal aspect of our own lives which transcends the changes of the physical world and the cycle of birth and death.


Nichiren Daishonin says “This word derives from Sanskrit, and means to devote one’s life. Ultimately it means to offer our lives to the Buddha.”

NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO contains many depths of meaning which we can study and which inspire us. It is, however, the action of chanting which activates Buddhahood, even if we understand nothing.