Kabouterke wrote:Chanting the daimoku, though, is probably a mantra you won't find too many Zen Buddhists doing,
the daimoku, though, is probably [not] a mantra
recalling Nichiren's attitude toward esoteric practice, did Nichiren advocate the daimoku as a mantra? (this might be worthy of a new topic if people are interested)
Yes, that's not the most beautiful sentences I've ever written, but yes:
1. The daimoku is probably a mantra you won't find very often...
2. The daimoku is probably not a mantra you will find very often...
If the daimoku isn't a mantra, what is it then? I currently live in Brussels, Belgium and all of my Buddhist reference books from my undergrad studies are still in the US, so I can't cite any definitive sources or anything... So, I'll paraphrase the next best thing, Wikipedia
: A mantra is a sound, syllabale, word or group of words that is considered to be capable of creating transformation. This contrasts to the chanting that takes places in Zen Schools, for instance, of entire texts, sutras or excerpts or even the Nichiren tradition of reciting the Lotus Sutra.
I am not trying to be snarky, but I think the separate discussion about Nichiren advocating daimoku as a mantra is kind of a moot point... unless there is some debate as to whether he specifically developed and advocated the practice (as opposed to it being a later development). But there's no academic debate about that, is there?
As far as mantras being an esoteric practice... I don't think they would be considered one. Esoteric practices are practices which are often marked by a number of qualities, such as being secretive and tightly-guarded, having a clear hierarchy of who has access and privilege to certain practices and knowledge, crypitic meanings, symbols and icons. An example would the Shingon Buddhism's Goma fire ritual. Seeing that Nichiren was very evangelic about his spreading of the daimoku and chanting the Lotus sutra after his enlightenment, traveled around advocating its use and simultaneously criticized a wide number of other Buddhist sects for their practices. I don't believe the daimoku could be called an esoteric practice in this case and would be a good example of an exoteric practice: open and free to everyone, with no required prior knowledge or intiations, etc.