Nichiren Shonin teaches us that the right practice in the Mappo Period is to keep and hold the Odaimoku, Namu Myoho Renge Kyo. By practicing so, we receive the greatest merit from the Buddha. Receiving and holding the Odaimoku is exactly equal to receiving and holding the Lotus Sutra, reciting the Odaimoku is equal to reciting the whole Lotus Sutra, and copying the Odaimoku is equal to copying the whole Lotus Sutra.
Quality Not Quantity
A question, “How many times should I chant the Odaimoku?” is asked very often. Of course, the more Odaimoku you chant, the more merit you accumulate and the greater benefit you receive. But some people abuse this by saying, “If you do not chant Odaimoku 100 times or 1,000 times everyday, you will fall into hell.” There is no authority to prove such a statement, and such a ridiculous statement perplexes people who have pure faith in the Buddha and Nichiren Shonin. No matter how many times you chant the Odaimoku, when you chant with faith, admiring the Buddha, respecting Nichiren Shonin and appreciating everybody around you from the bottom of your heart, your merit is truly equal to the merit of the Lotus Sutra consisting of 8 volumes, 28 chapters, 69,384 letters. As long as your time permits, please try to chant Odaimoku from the bottom of your heart.
Two Practices of Odaimoku Chanting
At Nichiren Shu Temples, a form of meditation called Shodaigyo is practiced on a regular basis along with other types of services. Shodaigyo is a practice of chanting Odaimoku. There are several styles of service in the Nichiren Shu, Shodaigyo is one of these styles. It is usually a group practice.