Welcome to EverLife’s Inner Chamber.

You have arrived at the nexus of this site...at once its beginning and its end. The inner chamber represents that innermost place within you — the essence of your being. Welcome to the home of your true self…your pure self…your wise self. Buddhism contends that if you are able to reach and tap that blissful inner core, you’ll cause a powerful burst of tranquil joy and native wisdom to well up. If you’re willing to beckon the wonderful illumination within you to arise now, you’ve come to the right place.

 

#1: The Changing Room — Prepare yourself.

Taking the First Step — Get ready to power up.

Reciting the Lotus Sutra (Jpn. Gongyo) — Before writing could be counted upon to reliably record them, a tradition of oral transmission kept the sutras alive. Sakyamuni had left word that recitation of the sutras had a sacred connotation. Those who would recite it will acquire the powers and wisdom inherent in the sutra they emulated. The Lotus Sutra is a 2,500-year-old, 28-chapter text of a sermon offered by the Buddha. It contains: (a) the climax and culmination of Sakyamuni’s discourse on the meaning of Life; (b) an oracle that predicts a future era [whose time has come] when humanity will begin to transform itself; (c) a direct method that endows anyone who embraces this sutra with the gift of Perfect Enlightenment. His disciples preserved the Buddha's sutras for several centuries by commiting them to memory and reciting them repeatedly. Among these, the Lotus Sutra was considered to be a secret endowment which the Buddha specifically bequeathed to our present age. The earliest known written record of the Lotus Sutra is a Chinese translation from the 3rd Century C.E. In 13th century Japan the sutra was championed by the sage Nichiren who declared its treatise on everlasting life to be the culmination of Buddhism. Representing the prophetic arrival of a latter-day Declarer of the Truth [of Everlasting Life] (Jpn. Nyorai Myoho-Renge-Kyo), Nichiren devised a two-part form of sutra recitation (Jpn. Gongyo) featuring the opening section of chapter 2 (Jpn. Hoben) and the entirety of chapter 16 (Jpn. Juryo) to be followed by repeated chanting of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.

NEW ENGLISH TRANSLATION! EverLife’s translation of the Lotus Sutra’s recitation text (Jpn. Gongyo) is now available here:
Recitation of the Lotus Sutra, Part I
Recitation of the Lotus Sutra, Part II

The Gift of Life — Receiving the gift of all gifts.

 

#2: The Gateway — Here you’ll find the key that opens the gateway.

The Key — Chanting is the key to blessings.

The Sound of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo — Download the audio file of the chant to learn how to pronounce it.

The Meaning of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo — In 13th century Japan, Nichiren extracted from the title of the Lotus Sutra a phrase he deemed to be the “One Direct Vehicle of Perfect Enlightenment.” In this part you’ll learn what this chant means. The power inherent in this phrase is incalculable. Like compressing the large-scale universe into a grain of sand, this epithet encapsulates the entirety of Buddhism — all it stands for and all the promise it holds. Be ready to turn the key that opens the eternally Supreme Treasure within your life.

Perfect Enlightenment — Turning on the eternal light of life.

 

#3: The EverLife Sanctuary — Welcome into the fountainhead of eternal blessings. Here you’ll find the means for invoking your everlasting identity.

The Supreme Treasure (Jpn. Gohonzon) — This is the object of veneration inscribed by Nichiren for the sake of humanity.

The Lotus Sutra predicted that a future envoy will appear in an Age of Decadence to lead an innumerable multitude of humans into the realm of Perfect Enlightenment. Nichiren personified that role, crystallized the means to enable human self-transformation and inscribed the calligraphic Supreme Treasure (Jpn. Gohonzon) — a visual delineation of the “Blessings-Field” of Everlasting Life alluded to in the text of the Lotus Sutra. Here you'll learn about the key elements Nichiren chose to inscribe upon the mandala.

• An Altar of Blessings — Follow the evolution of Buddhist iconographics and their installation in home altars. Delve into the development of sanctified objective depictions described as “Clusters of Blessings” [Skt. mandalas] said to link mortal beings to a cosmic “Blessings-Field” of unparalleled bounty.

Prayers — After reciting the sutra and chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, it is time to: give thanks to the forces of the universe that help sustain existence, acknowledge the scope, nature and essence of the Supreme Treasure (of Everlasting Life), praise the contribution of all who have helped the ultimate legacy of Buddhism survive to this day, express your innermost wishes, challenge yourself to help others find their way to fulfillment, think about matters of utmost importance to you at this time and call forth the wondrous power of Everlasting Life to benefit all of humanity and the universe-at-large.

 

#4: The Buddha-Land — The place of everlasting wisdom, joy and peace.

The Land of Tranquil Light — Where does absolute happiness exist? The Buddha of the Lotus Sutra transports his audience to a wondrous place — the home of all buddhas. He describes this “Real Nirvana” as the here-and-now transformed into an enlightened realm. It is a metaphor for where the ultimate state-of-life is always present.

The Ceremony in the Air — The climax of the Lotus Sutra is a gathering of all buddhas from throughout all universes and dimensions. It connotes an omnipresent fountainhead of Perfect Enlightenment wherefrom all of existence arises and returns.

The Declarer of the Truth of Everlasting Life — The final personification of the Buddha is defined in the Lotus Sutra. It is the ultimate identity which all buddhas share, as any buddha [throughout time and space] eventually must complete his teaching by preaching the Lotus Sutra and thereby revealing his essential self to be the Tathagata (Declarer of the Truth) of the Lotus Sutra (of Everlasting Life). While this is the quintessential message all buddhas are destined to make in their effort to liberate mortals from suffering, it also is the vehicle for all mortals to become buddhas themselves. According to Nichiren, since anyone who chants Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is declaring the truth of Everlasting Life [as all buddhas ultimately do], one who chants it is one who declares the Truth of Everlasting Life. As the first to publicly declare this Truth, Nichiren himself embodies the initial transformation of a mortal being into the Declarer of the Truth of Everlasting Life. Moreover, by crystallizing the means for unearthing that essential identity, Nichiren also provides all beings with the opporunity to walk in his footsteps.

  

This is a photo of the inner chamber altar that once housed the Universal Supreme Treasure mandala (Jpn. Dai-Gohonzon) at the 6,000-seat Mystic Sanctuary (Jpn. Myodan) of the first Grand Main Temple (Jpn. Sho-Hondo) of Nichiren Buddhism in Japan.

 

From 1972-1998 this altar housed the Universal Supreme Treasure mandala (Jpn. Dai-Gohonzon) inscribed with the message that it is bestowed upon humanity for the sake of world peace for 10,000 years and more. This wood-etched mandala is regarded by its believers as their preeminent object of veneration, the legacy of Nichiren Dai-Shonin (c. 1222 - 1281) and his quintessential act of compassion for the future of the world.

The altar was located at the 6,000-seat Mystic Sanctuary (Jpn. Myodan), the inner chamber of the Grand Main Temple (Jpn. Sho-Hondo), an edifice built on the grounds of Taisekiji, the 700-year-old Head Temple of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism located at the foot of Mt. Fuji in Japan - at a cost of $100 million made possible through the sincere contributions and united effort of lay and clerical believers throughout the world.

On October 12, 1972, the temple's 66th high-priest, Nittatsu Shonin, lead the ceremony to enshrine the Universal Supreme Treasure in this altar. At that time the effort had been made in response to the wish Nichiren had expressed in writing (c. 1280) for the construction of such a sacred edifice to consecrate the achievement of world peace at an unspecified date in the future. The structure was widely heralded as an architectural work of art and built to serve as the focal point of pilgrimage for believers for hundreds, even a thousand years to come.

After a schism between lay (Sokagakkai) and clerical (Nichiren Shoshu) organizations in Japan, the current high-priest, Nikken Shonin, came to regard the construction of the Grand Main Temple and its display of the mandala to be premature. Consequently, only 26 years later, the clerical community undertook the demolition of the structure from 1998-1999 and ordered the mandala to be moved in 1998 into less presumptive quarters, the Grand Reception Hall (Jpn. Dai-Kyakuken) where it is kept today under relatively limited viewing access.

 

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