Oct 22, 2009

The Practice of Gongyo

The Japanese word "Gongyo" literally means "assiduous practice." Generally speaking it means to recite Buddhist sutras in front of an object of worship.
In the practice of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism it means reciting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and part of the second chapter "Hoben" and the entire sixteenth "Juryo" chapter of the Lotus Sutra in front of the Gohonzon.
This is the fundamental practice, which is performed every morning and evening. 

Gongyo are a series of prayers that include the recitation of 2nd and 16th chapter of the Lotus Sutra along with chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, is conducted twice daily. All five prayers are offered in the morning, and the second, third and fifth prayers are recited in the evening.
Proper Pronunciation:
The sutra book uses the Hepburn system of romanization:


a  as in car
e  as in ten
i  as in machine
o  as in horn
u  as in rule
y  as in yet
ai  as in Thailand
ui  as in Louie
g  as in get
j  as in joy
ts  as in bets
h  as in hello
As a general rule, there is one Chinese character for each beat, with the following exceptions:
shigi   (one beat)
shari-hotsu  (two beats)
hara-mitsu  (two beats)
shaka-muni-butsu  (three beats)
Along with correct pronunciation and steady rhythm, it is also important to maintain a stable tone, neither raising nor lowering one's pitch unnecessarily.

The SGI-USA offers the following guidelines on how to perform sutra recitation both for personal practice and at SGI-USA activities. These guidelines should also serve as the standard for teaching new members.

  • Face the Gohonzon, ring the bell, and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo three times.

  • Recite the essential portions of the " Expedient Means " chapter (part A).

  • Ring the bell and recite the verse section of the " Life Span " chapter (part C).

  • Ring the bell as you begin chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo continuously (daimoku) for as long as you wish.

  • To end daimoku, ring the bell, then chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo three times.

  • In the morning, offer all five silent prayers, each segment separated by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo three times.

  • In the evening, offer the second, third and fifth silent prayers, each segment separated by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo three times.

  • In both the morning and the evening, after the fifth silent prayer, ring the bell and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo three times to conclude. 
    Source: tonidunlap.com

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