As you know, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, or the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, is termed the "prime practice" and reading or reciting the "Hoben" and "Juryo" chapters is called the "supplementary practice."


The 26th high priest, Nichikan, explains the relationship between the primary and supplementary practices by comparing them to food and seasoning, respectively. In other words, when eating rice or noodles, the "primary" source of nourishment, you use salt or vinegar as seasoning to help bring out, or "supplement," the flavor.


The benefit from carrying out the primary practice is immense. When you also recite the "Hoben" and "Juryo" chapters, it has the supplementary function of increasing and accelerating the beneficial power of the primary practice.


Our basic way of Gongyo is to regard chanting daimoku as its primary component and reciting the "Hoben" and "Juryo" chapters as supplementary.


The benefit of chanting daimoku is immeasurable and boundless. Indeed, there is infinite power in, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo just one time. The Daishonin says, "If you recite these words of the daimoku once, then the Buddha nature of all living beings will be summoned and gather around you" (MW-5, 112). Also, he teaches that the benefit of chanting one daimoku is equal to that of reading the entire Lotus Sutra, that of chanting 10 daimoku is equal to reading the sutra 10 times, that of 100 daimoku is equal to reading the sutra 100 times, and that of 1,000 daimoku is equal to reading the sutra 1,000 times.


Accordingly, there is no need to go to unreasonable lengths to read the sutra when, for example, you are sick. If, as a result of forcing yourself to do a complete Gongyo at such times, your condition should worsen, then, rather than increasing your benefit, it may in fact have the opposite effect of destroying your joy in faith and thus generating negative value.


At such times, it may be best to simply read the "Hoben" and Jigage portions of the sutra and chant daimoku, or to just chant daimoku. Buddhism is reason. The important thing, therefore, is for each person to make wise judgments that will enable him or her to carry out a practice of Gongyo filled with joy.

Text is taken from SGI President Ikeda lecture on Myoho-renge-kyo is the Lotus Sutra of the Latter Day. Link

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