The Japanese word gongyo literally means “assiduous practice.” In the practice of Nichiren Buddhism it means reciting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and portions of the second chapter “Expedient Means” and the sixteenth “Life Span” chapters of the Lotus Sutra in front of the Gohonzon. This is the fundamental practice of Nichiren Buddhism, which is performed morning and evening.

The Liturgy of Nichiren Daishonin

The portions of the “Expedient Means” and “Life Span” Chapters of the Lotus Sutra recited in the practice of Gongyo.

(Audio files and videos for learning Gongyo for new SGI members are available in the Beginner’s Resources section of this site.)

The Origins of Gongyo

While Nichiren Daishonin emphasized the importance of daily reciting the “Expedient Means” and “Life Span” chapters, he never mentioned a specific format. Over the centuries, the format of gongyo has changed several times. This describes those changes from the Daishonin’s day to the present, to the extent that they are known.

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About the Object of Devotion – The Gohonzon

Our morning and evening practice is an invigorating ceremony of beginningless time that revitalizes us from the very depths of our being. Therefore, the important thing is to chant each day fi lled with a sense of rhythm and cadence—like a horse galloping through the heavens. I hope you will chant in a way that leaves you refreshed and revitalized in both body and mind.

–SGI President Daisaku Ikeda

Excerpted from The Heart of the Lotus Sutra, (SGI-USA, 2013).