The most important character or syllable to concentrate on when chanting daimoku is Myo.
Namu-myoho-renge-kyo is all one unit, but ichinen sanzen is contained within the character Myo.
Ichinen is a single thought. Sanzen is everything. The Soka Gakkai taught that sanzen is the universe.
But actually sanzen encompasses the past, the present and the future. It is not only this dimension, it is
all dimensions, encompassing totality. It is not just the material or physical aspect of life, but also the
spiritual aspect, or what is in your heart - the intangibles, what you cannot touch. Compared to the
Soka Gakkai's conception of
sanzen being material, the universe, the one dimensional -- or three
dimensions existing now in this present moment -- the true concept of
sanzen is much greater, much
broader, much deeper. It is the physical and spiritual dimensions throughout the three existences of
past, present and future. It is all levels of reality. It is all that there is, was and will be. If you define

Myo,
it means mysterious.

Everything -- all things are connected to the heart of the Buddha.  One
ichinen holds the whole sanzen
together. It's like a hand fan. One
ichinen connects everything together like the pivot or screw of a fan
connects all the folds of the fan. If you had two screws or pivots, one at each end of this fan, you
would not be able to open it. This one screw connects all the folds. It is just this one screw that holds
it all together.

Ichinen gives breadth or expansion to sanzen, and sanzen gives contraction and closure. This is
ongoing, repeating itself like the beat of the heart. Imagine light expanding, then contracting and
coming in as if it is being regulated with a dimmer.
Ichinen sanzen is like this. The mystery is that we
cannot understand the concept of the opening and closing. Because we can't comprehend this, we
think that our life is our own. So if you think that I am me and others are others, then you won't be
able to understand that you are you because others are others. The
sanzen (the All) cannot exist
without the
ichinen (the One). Likewise, ichinen (the One) cannot exist without the sanzen (the All).

We humans believe that we would not have our lives without our parents, our grandparents and our
ancestors. But before there was human life, life existed, and that life, that essence is within us. As we
move into the future, all that ever was and all that is moves into the future with us. This is why you
cannot separate yourself from others, and why you cannot separate yourself from all else that exists in
the universe. It is all One. Therefore, it is not because of your parents or grandparents that you are
alive. You are alive because you have a teacher, a doctor, the police - they are all connected to you.
This connection extends for an eternity through past, present and future.

Nichiren Daishonin teaches that now - this moment - is the most important point in time. The reason
that this is, is because the past, the present and the future exist in this moment. All life - the water, the
air we breathe, plants, society - supports our life, our existence. Before we eat a piece of meat, let's
say beef, it is beef. Once we have eaten it, it becomes human because it is broken down and digested  
and assimilated by our bodies and becomes apart of us. No longer is it beef. It is a part of our system.
Whether it is cabbage or fish it doesn't matter, once we have eaten it, it becomes the life of a human
being.

The Daishonin teaches that the world isn't just for humans, it is for all life forms. If all other living
things could not have Buddhahood, then human beings could not attain Buddhahood either. Human
beings are not greater and other life forms lesser. A bird, a plant, a rock, a speck of dust, a man -- all
living things are equal.

The air we breathe is like the beef we eat. When we breathe, the air becomes part of us - it becomes
human and is no longer air. It doesn't matter if you are French, Russian, Arab or Israeli you have to
breathe air to live. So if you want to live you can't say, "I'm not going to breathe this air because
someone I don't like has breathed this air." That is ridiculous, we just can't do that. Everything is the
same, whether it's sunlight, water or air. Overall, all life is connected.
Ichinen sanzen (a single thought
contains everything).
Sanzen ichinen (everything within a single thought) means that everything is
connected, and bound by the one Law
Myohorengekyo and nothing can be severed, cut or removed
from it.

Opening the fan is comparable to
ichinen sanzen. Closing the fan is analogous to sanzen ichinen. The
pivot or screw holding it all together is Namu-myoho-renge-kyo. What I'm saying is that
ichinen
sanzen
is Myo. The contents of Myo is ichinen sanzen -- all things throughout the universe in the three
existences of past, present and future. That is why we chant Namu-myoho-renge-kyo. Whether you
understand this or not, it is still Namu-myoho-renge-kyo that is the glue, the collagen, connecting
everything, one to another. However, if you don't understand this you can't pass it along to others. If
you are not aware of this, then when there is a person who hears about Namu-myoho-renge-kyo for
the first time, or whose only exposure to Namu-myoho-renge-kyo has been through the superficial
teachings of the Soka Gakkai, you will not be able to explain that you don't chant, you don't sit in front
of
Gohonzon sweating daimoku so that you'll have a happy life, make money, be healthy. The
meaning and purpose for chanting is much broader and grander than that. The consequentiality and
significance of this practice lies in the connection and collectivity of
myo, ichinen sanzen, all life and
us.
THE MYSTERY
THE TRUE CONCEPT OF
ICHINEN SANZEN
By Reverend Raido Hirota
Translated and edited by Udumbara Foundation volunteers
Great Nebulai Orion
This is NOT an official site of
the Nichiren Shoshu Shoshin-kai