One Man’s Perspective: What is Buddhism?

August 2, 2009 at 22:32 1 comment

Greetings friends,

My name is Ioanis Konstantinopulos. Yanni for short. What you find written below is an introduction that I wrote for a particular form of Buddhism that I have been practising for over 2 years now. It was written for an introduction meeting held a week ago. I enjoyed writing it and felt a few friends would likewise enjoy reading it, so I decided to forward it via email. Harun is one of those friends and he loved it so much he asked me if he could post it. I was very pleased about this, though I felt it was important to create a context for this introduction i.e. it was meant to be delivered as a speech at the beginning of a meeting. A meeting involving many other aspects, such as the chant this Buddhism is based on, to create a more complete understanding basing it on direct experience.

Please bear in mind that this is my take on Buddhism and that ultimately whatever opinion you formulate from it, it really means nothing until you experience it yourself (if you choose to), i.e. reading about someone’s experience of tasting chocolate cake won’t help you to experience it. You must go and eat it for yourself. Again, if you feel so inclined!

Now that the context has been created, please go forth and enjoy the content!

buddhaBefore I go into the nuts and bolts of what I find to Be a Very Profound and Practical Philosophy. Let me share a revelation that came to me not so long ago. Something I decided to do when I came to a place of learning.

I decided to let go…let go of any musings that I might have. Let go of any thoughts, any opinions, any judgments. Let go of all the ‘certificates’, all the ‘qualifications’ and the years of experience that I may have. Let go of the chinese whispers that have filtered their way through society saying ‘this’ or ‘that’. In short, I decided to know nothing. To Humble myself. To Be like a child.

A child learns much more quickly than an adult. Why is this? It has very much to do with the fact that they seem to live in this space of awe and wonder. They seem to consistently be saying, ‘WOW!’ at the seemingly most insignificant of things. Socrates put it like this,

‘Wisdom begins in wonder.’

So, allow yourself to be ‘WOWed’ tonight! lol! Let yourself have that ‘Eureka’ moment. But don’t worry if you don’t. And don’t be annoyed with those that do! Just take what works for you and leave the rest. One step at a time…..

Now, back to the matter at hand!

In a letter called `On Attaining Buddhahood` Nichiren Daishonin writes,”If the minds of living beings are impure, their land is also impure, but if their minds are pure, so is their land. There are not two lands, pure or impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds.

It is the same with a Buddha and an ordinary being. When deluded, one is called an ordinary being, but when enlightened, one is called a Buddha. This is similar to a tarnished mirror that will shine like a jewel when polished. A mind now clouded by the illusions of the innate darkness of life is like a tarnished mirror, but when polished, it is sure to become like a clear mirror, reflecting the essential nature of phenomena and the true aspect of reality. Arouse deep faith, and diligently polish your mirror day and night. How should you polish it?

Only by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo”.

This form of Buddhism is called ‘Nichiren Buddhism’. Nichiren was a 13th century Japanese priest who decided to find the key for ALL people, no matter their social status or sex, to attain enlightenment, here and now. Long story short, he found that key. That key is Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.

Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is the title of the Lotus Sutra. In this sutra, it is written that you can forgoe all the other sutras as this has the complete Truth hidden within. This complete truth is summed up by the title itself, Myoho-Renge-Kyo. By chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo (Nam Being a Sanskrit word meaning Devotion) we release our Higher, Buddha wisdom to speak from within. Deep down we are the only ones who know what to do with our lives. There is no manual, no teacher, no parent and no government that can tell you what it is you should be doing. Bychanting, we seek to allow this hidden wisdom, this hidden knowing, to spring forth from within our Hearts.

Central to the Buddhist teachings is the law of cause and effect. This states that every cause we make creates an effect. This cause is created through your thoughts, your words (whether they are spoken out loud or in your mind) and your deeds (again, whether they are run in  your mind or in reality). Hence we are responsible for our life.

The purpose of our practice is to consistently transform ourselves whilst developing the qualities needed to bring about personal fulfilment by contributing to society’s betterment.

According to Nichiren, the workings of the universe are an expression of a single principle or Law – Myoho-renge-kyo. By putting their lives in rhythm with this Law (through the concepts of Faith, Practise and Study), individuals can unlock their hidden potential – the Buddha nature – and achieve creative harmony with the environment. Nichiren Buddhism is a vehicle of individual empowerment – that is, individuals have within themselves the power to transform the inevitable sufferings of life into happiness and to be a positive influence in
the community.

As the late and forever Great Michael Jackson put it:

I’m Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I’m Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself
and Then Make A Change

RIP Michael _/\_ (A bow)

“Man In The Mirror” Tribute – Siedah Garrett and The Agape International Choir: Michael Jackson Please email me at if you would like to know more 🙂


Yanni Konstantinopulos


Entry filed under: Personal Evolvement. Tags: , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. palo  |  August 3, 2009 at 05:50



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