Secular Shoshu Silent Prayers

An alternative to the Nichiren Shoshu Silent Prayers
(A printable file of the Secular Shoshu Silent Prayers is below.)

(For purposes of integration with those who embrace a traditional perspective of the faith, it is recommended that the recitation of the Lotus Sutra follow the language and structural format of the traditional ritual.

For those who are unfamiliar with the protocol of the Nichiren Shoshu practice, the ritual is called Gongyo and involves multiple recitations of the Second and Sixteenth Chapters of the Lotus Sutra
in classical Japanese. The ceremony is performed before a properly enshrined object of worship called a Gohonzon, while seated in a chair or situated on one's heals when kneeling. Beads are held in unfolded hands, reverently poised in the prayer position. There are five recitations of the scriptural liturgy during a single session in the morning, which lasts about forty-five minutes, and three recitations during a session in the evening that takes about thirty minutes. Each of the recitations is referred to as a "prayer." The Silent Prayers are read during quiet periods after reciting each prayer. After all prayers are recited, the morning and evening sessions are followed by chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo for about five minutes or longer.

The first prayer is performed only in the morning and includes recitation of the opening prose section of the Second Chapter and the verse section of the Sixteenth Chapter, while facing away from (eastward or stage right of) the Gohonzon.
The other prayers are performed while facing or bowed before the Gohonzon, depending on whether or not one chooses to recite from memory or read the prayer book.
Five prayers are recited in the morning and three in the evening. The fourth prayer is the only other prayer besides the first that is performed only in the morning.

The Second Silent Prayer is read during both the morning and evening payers after reciting the opening prose section of the Second Chapter of the Lotus Sutra and both the prose and verse sections of the Sixteenth Chapter of the Lotus Sutra. The remaining Silent Prayers are read after reciting the same sections of the liturgy as the first prayer.
Also, there are designated points set
before and after the Silent Prayers for ringing the alter bell and chanting three prolonged renditions of Nam (or Namu) Myoho Renge Kyo.)

First Silent Prayer: Guided by the belief that this adaptation of our sacred ritual improves the opportunity for growth from within, we begin this day with the following Silent Prayers. And should these prayers, along with effort in implementation, help us become more virtuous, overcome hardship, and clear up delusion, we would be very grateful.

Second Silent Prayer: We express devotion in the meaning and purpose of the Dai-Gohonzon and the subsidiary Gohonzons, including the ones enshrined in our local temple and our homes, each of which is hereby affirmed to be a source of reverence for the intrinsically benevolent aspects of existence, a venerable guide for the cultivation of a genuinely wise and compassionate nature, an enduring image of complete enlightenment in a single lifetime, an offering of Buddhahood as the prevailing influence over the lower conditions of life, and a means by which to encourage the aspiration for a truly peaceful universe.

Third Silent Prayer (a): Now that the ancient revelations of our tradition have been refined into concepts for the present, let us not forget to honor Nichiren Daishonin for being the first to propagate Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and inscribe the Gohonzon. We also recognize him for transferring the responsibilit
Secular Shoshu Silent Prayers.pdfy of preserving the orthodoxy prior to his death in 1282 to Second High Priest Nikko Shonin, thus leading to the succession of Third High Priest Nichimoku Shonin and all later High Priests of the Nichiren Shoshu lineage.
(b): Moreover, to encourage tolerance and develop trust in the community of faith, we pledge to respect those from our tradition who fervently believe in a literal interpretation of the scriptures, the eternal life of Nichiren Daishonin, or a divine link between his eternal life and the successive High Priests.
(c): At the same time, however, we pledge to represent Buddhahood in an age free of the obligation for supernatural adornment, belief in rebirth, and acceptance of
an exclusive path for enlightenment.
(d): And we pledge to encourage openness in all religions to well-considered opposing points of view and the possibility of flaws in the tenets of every faith, including our own.

Fourth Silent Prayer (a): We express appreciation for the opportunity to bond with the meaning and rhythm of our practice though the twice daily recitation to the Gohonzon from the Second and Sixteenth Chapters of the Lotus Sutra, reading the Silent Prayers, and chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
(b): And we pray to develop the wisdom for honestly inspiring others to join in this practice, so they may decide if the combination of these prayers and the sharing of this faith is not only an effective alternative to the traditional path, but the way of enlightenment itself.

Fifth Silent Prayer:(a): Let us take a moment, as the bell sounds, to think about those we hold dear.
(b): Last, we pray for our teachings to adapt so their benevolent purpose may be preserved and eventually embraced to such an extent the wisdom and compassion for supporting  peace are common.
John Tate,
Apr 20, 2018, 6:29 PM