Over 37,000 people in the country have been chanting their way to happiness. We look at how the Buddhist mantra, Nam myoho renge kyo, has become a movement in itself
It’s half past ten on a sticky Sunday morning when an assortment of men and women between the ages of 25 and 45 troop into a plush apartment in Delhi’s Friends Colony locality. The living room has been cleared of furniture and glasses of water are placed in one corner. One among these 40-odd people leads a Buddhist chant —Nam-myoho-renge-kyo—to a chorus for ten minutes. It’s followed by a short speech on the significance of the Soka Gakkai International, a global association that promotes the philosophy of the 13th century Japanese Buddhist, Nichiren Daishonin, that has found resonance in India among over 37,000 people.
The forum is then open for all gathered, people begin talking about their problems, sharing experiences about how this prayer has transformed their lives. For one and a half hours, twice a month, members of the Bharat Soka Gakkai gather on Sundays in different parts of India, (there are chapters in over 50 Delhi colonies alone), to chant, talk about life and their sorrows and to gain strength to surmount problems, together as a group.