Reverend Hirota (RH): Before we discuss what faith is, we must first talk about what it is we believe in. We must first talk about Buddhism. People typically believe that Buddhism is what Shakyamuni Buddha taught. Everyone believes that the Buddha taught that anybody and everybody can become a Buddha if they follow the practice of Buddhism. But Buddhism is not the Buddha's teachings. Buddhism is how to become a Buddha. The purpose of Buddhism is to awaken the Buddha-nature in all of us, this is the essential point. Faith, therefore, is heart -- spirit. Each kanji character (Chinese character) carries many different meanings and many pronunciations for the same character. The kanji for Namu of Namu-myoho-renge-kyo carries the meaning of "the heart of the believer." Returning the life or the spirit to Buddha is what Namu indicates. Namu has a deeper meaning than faith. It means that Buddha is within yourself and you return your life to the Buddha. Namu means returning Buddha to oneself. It is both beyond you and in you. By practicing Buddhism, we awaken or restore the Buddha-nature -- Buddha-spirit -- that has always been within us.
Faith is giving one's life to Namu-myoho-renge-kyo, but Namu-myoho-renge-kyo is one's life itself. That is the circle: they are the same thing. Your life is Namu-myoho-renge-kyo and Namu-myoho-renge-kyo is your life itself. Namu-myoho-renge-kyo- is using your life for Namu-myoho-renge-kyo, and Namu-myoho-renge-kyo is your life. Namu-myoho-renge-kyo is using your life to further yourself, while at the same time it is also using your life for Namu-myoho-renge-kyo. It is for Namu-myoho-renge-kyo that we use our lives.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON FAITH By Reverend Raido Hirota
Translated and edited by Udumbara Foundation volunteers
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