Do I need to know about Buddhism before I start chanting?

(Photo above by Lisa Fotios / Pexels)

Nope. Tips on what to keep in mind as you explore Buddhism.

Q: I’m interested in chanting, but what do I need to read or learn before I begin?

A: Actually, you don’t need to read much before you start chanting!

Just as scientists conduct experiments to make discoveries, we develop confidence in Buddhism through simply trying it out. Setting up our own personal experiment by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo each day, even if just for a little bit, is how we discover for ourselves if Buddhism is right for us.

Just as scientists conduct experiments to make discoveries, we develop confidence in Buddhism through simply trying it out.

At the same time, it’s a really good idea to study Buddhism as we experiment with chanting as it allows us to understand why we chant and how to best apply it. It also supports our development into becoming better, happier people. By studying Buddhism, we can bring forth the courage and hope to encourage ourselves when we’ve reached an impasse.

How do we really know that our new Buddhist practice is working, though? Thinking of something specific that we want to change as we chant is also a good way to test our practice.  At times, the change we want to see is very concrete: finding a new career or mending a troubled relationship. Sometimes it’s simply to feel more secure, hopeful and empowered. Either way, you’ll definitely be able to tell the difference between your life before and after you’ve started practicing Buddhism.

Nichiren Daishonin, a 13th century Buddhist reformer writes, “Exert yourself in the two ways of practice and study. Without practice and study, there can be no Buddhism” (“The True Aspect of All Phenomena,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 386).

Yes, it really is just that simple.

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