Many people wonder if they might have to change their lifestyle in order to chant. They have asked me, do I need a particular place to chant or can I do it anywhere? Do I have to dress a particular way? Do I need to become a vegetarian? In this post I am going to address these common questions.
Do I Need a Particular Place to Chant?
To begin, just find a chair and a place where you feel comfortable. Locate a blank spot on the wall and imagine a focal point there. You can chant privately or around people. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you feel comfortable.
If, at some point, you decide that the practice is for you, then you will set up a spot which will eventually be your altar. You can do that now if you wish, just to have a special spot to chant. A small table with some greens should start you off nicely.
People have set up altars in bedrooms, family rooms, and living rooms. If other people in the house are chanting and daily practice is a central part of life in the household, then an altar might be in the living room. But if you are the only person chanting, and the other people in the house are not involved, then you might feel more comfortable setting up your spot in a private place.
Can I Chant Anywhere Else?
Yes, you can. And, on occasion, if you need extra chanting time while trying to work through something difficult, you might do this. People have chanted in their cars, in the shower, while walking etc.
But, as a matter of daily practice, it is better to have a special place where you can comfortably settle down to chant and are able to focus. It would be more difficult to give it your full attention while driving, for example.
Do I Have to Do the Full Practice Every Day?
If you want the full benefit of practicing, you will want to chant consistently every day.
If you are dealing with difficult circumstances such as chanting around a young child, then don’t feel guilty if you can’t do the full practice. Be flexible and do what you can. Every bit of chanting will benefit your life, full practice or not.
If you have very little time, let’s say you are running late, then just chant Nam- Myoho-Renge-Kyo three times and go on into your day.
Do I Have to Change the Way I Dress?
You can dress any way that you like. People are chanting in 192 countries, and each person dresses as is appropriate for everyday life in their culture.
Do I Have To Become a Vegetarian?
No – Just eat in the manner which is comfortable for you.
Do I Need to Sit a Particular Way?
You don’t have to sit in the lotus position like someone doing a yogic practice might. Just find a comfortable chair. If you’re not comfortable, it’ll be harder to pay attention to what you are doing.
A Common Sense Practice
You’re not going to be asked to do anything weird or unusual to be a Nichiren Buddhist. This is a practice which is completely suited to the 21st century.
Please feel free to ask any other questions you might have. If you have them other people will too.
Why Do Nichiren Buddhists Chant for Goals?