QUESTION:   What is faith?

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.
By Reverend Raido Hirota
Translated and edited by Udumbara Foundation volunteers
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