Where is importance focused on practice: good pronunciation and accurate
ceremony (i.e. deliberate pronunciation and precise bell ringing), or
inaccurate yet heartfelt, well intentioned Gongyo, Daimoku, and ceremony?
It is important to have both deliberate pronunciation and precise bell
ringing with a heartfelt mind when you do Gongyo and Daimoku. When reciting the
sutra, you should try to pronounce the words clearly, with a vigorous voice,
using the sutra book as much as needed in order to recite the words accurately.
Daimoku should also be offered in a clear, resonant voice at a comfortable
pitch. You should not chant Daimoku so rapidly that the syllables are
Nichiko Shonin, the Fifty-ninth High Priest, gave the following
instructions about how you should chant Daimoku:
The Daimoku that we chant must be performed attentively and diligently.
When chanting, we should not have trivial thoughts in our minds. The speed
should not be too fast and our pronunciation should not be slurred. We must
maintain a medium pitch and chant calmly, resolutely, and steadily. There is no
established number of Daimoku that we must chant. The amount depends on
individual circumstances….When we chant, the entire body should feel a
tremendous surge of joy. We must persevere until we become totally one with the
(Nichiren Shoshu Koyo, p. 134)
Daishonin further teaches the importance of a continuous, steady practice:
To accept is easy; to continue is difficult. But Buddhahood lies in
(MW-1, p. 127;Gosho, p. 775)
It is important to fight our lazy nature that interferes with our
consistent practice of Gongyo and Daimoku. This will enable us to acquire the
life condition of attaining Buddhahood.