I practiced the Nichiren Buddhist philosophy before formally joining it by just applying the principles of true happiness, oneness of self and environment etc after my first transformation. This form of practice was without the ritualistic or religious aspects of it for a few years, and I did so by applying the principles that I myself had realized.
I wasn’t chanting, and there was no Gohonzon in my life, but I realized that I put a lot of pressure on myself to follow the philosophy and it often did not come from within because it’s not that easy to follow every teaching independently. It becomes slightly easier to do so with some rituals which actually even make sense.
- Chanting– we have to recite the gongyo twice a day and chant daimoku. These are powerful mantras and can give you the much needed optimism to start your day and end it with gratitude.
- History– Nichiren Daishonin’s life, BSG the organization. This can give you a sense of mission and identity.
- Following Sensei as your mentor- it is not restrictive since his knowledge and experiences are pretty enlightening.
- The Gohonzon- as the object of worship. However it is only a reflection of your inner potential and they repeatedly ask you to now seek it outside of yourself.
They are not bad, “creepy”, “shamanic” rituals and honestly don’t require you to do any weird stuff. You can retain your individuality despite/with it.
Having said that, I have to admit that I myself haven’t followed these ‘religiously’ until now, and on the bright side, no member or leader has ever kept that against me. This non- binding nature further proves to me that these are not and won’t hinder my own spiritual expression.