Message from the Creator of Daimoku Pro
(Please read this article before using the Daimoku Pro app)
My name is Hiromi and I am the developer of DAIMOKU PRO, an application that will help you in your practice of Nichiren Buddhism. This is the official blog through which I will share release information and my own thoughts and ideas for the App.
This is the first article that I just wrote with whatever came to mind and I didn’t realize how long it turned out to be. So when you have the time, maybe now, read through this article as it will give you a lot of useful information on the App, its usage, features and much more.
Further, any sentences and/or expressions used on this site do not represent any group or organization and are simply my thoughts and experiences.
What inspired me to build this App?
In the earlier days, when I was in a difficult situation, I used to reach out to my district members and they would cheer me up, encourage me and we would chant together. Sometimes they would say, “I chanted Daimoku for you,” and remind me that whatever the situation may be it will become meaningful to my life in the future. I would feel their true caring nature and the warmth in their heart when they would say these things to me and would naturally feel hope emerge.
It was because of that human connection with another caring person, that I’d be motivated to try harder and give my best to fight my challenges, show actual proof and become victorious. As a result, I would overcome my difficulty faster and with greater joy. It would deepen my faith and strengthen my determination. This is undoubtedly one of the great benefits of belonging to the Soka Gakkai network.
This got me thinking, what if this human connection could be shared not just locally but globally. What if members across the world could pray, chant and connect with each other. And thus, the Daimoku Pro App was born. It was built with the intention to bring the benefits of encouragement not just on the local district level but spread globally wherein SGI members around the world can cheer and motivate one another online from anywhere.
World recognition of SGI
One other reason for creating this App was to clear the misconceptions of the SGI and create a better and deeper understanding of the faith.
In Japan today, there are many rumours about the SGI. Both members and non-members have radically different views about our organization, which may not all be accurate but spread quickly like wildfire. As a proud SGI member, this makes me sad. I strongly believe that each person has a right to determine for themselves if these rumours are true or false.
Rumours usually start when there is uncertainty, an unclear perception of what the SGI is about, what we do as members and why we take certain actions. According to me, SGI members dedicate a great deal of time to caring for others. Their chanting and prayers are centered around bringing peace to their loved ones and the world in general. Thus, through this App, I sincerely hope to show the true caring spirit of the SGI.
Daimoku Pro is one of the first mobile applications which has Social Networking Services (SNS) functions for SGI menbers. Through this App, I hope that non-SGI members get a glimpse of the caring heart of the Soka members, witness how SGI members treat one another, cheer each other up and how they show their compassion and support for one another.
In this way, if non-SGI members have misconceptions about Buddhism and the way we practise, the compassion that members show for each other will help to clear these apprehensions and create a deeper understanding of the SGI.
In terms of efficiency
No App can be of good use unless it is efficient and effective in what it plans to provide to the end user. If there is no improvement in efficiency, the App users will stop using it even if they like the concepts and functions of Daimoku Pro. It is for this reason that I, as a developer, must continually keep improving it and make it relevant for today’s audience.
So what does Daimoku Pro App provide in terms of efficiency?
1. Record Daimoku chanting data and tracking results
Firstly, it is easy to record your chanting time with the Stopwatch function. Just tap “Start” and “Save” when you finish chanting. It is that simple.
Earlier, some people would use some other timer or would check using a clock to measure their chanting time, then write it down on paper or manually put it into their mobile phones. Using these manual forms of tracking it was much harder to calculate how much someone had chanted in a month, in a quarter, etc. Harder but I won’t say impossible.
With the DAIMOKU PRO App, users only need to follow the above easy step, and the records are generated automatically. They can then be accessed across different time periods such as daily, monthly, quarterly and more. This makes it very flexible.
2. Prayers management
Initially, people managed their prayers in many different ways. The most common being writing them down on paper and striking it off when completed. Using this method, it is difficult to flexibly manage the prayers because all the data is on paper and striking them off makes it look untidy and not very efficient.
The Daimoku Pro App has the Prayer Management feature which allows you to digitally record all your prayers in one place, and assign a status to them like On-Going, Pending, etc. It is also easy to sort and filter through the various prayers.
3. “Prayed” function
This function is unique in the sense that you can tap on the heart next to your prayer to track how many times you have prayed for it as well as tap on the heart of others prayers to pray for them too.
For example, if one of your prayers is to “Pass an exam” and you chant Daimoku daily for it by yourself. At one point, you will notice that your “Prayed” to “Pass an exam” will be more than 100. This shows how diligently you have chanted for this to happen.
Using this feature, you can identify how serious you are about the prayers you have recorded by knowing how often you have “Prayed” for them. If that goal is not completed yet, you can always look back at your actions towards that prayer, like “Have I chanted enough for it? Did I take the right steps towards that goal?” and further make an even stronger determination to complete it. In this way, you can visualize your Daimoku using the App.
But truth be told, I developed this “Prayed” function for chanting Daimoku for other users. By tapping the heart on others’ prayers you can chant and send Daimoku to them even from a very long distance. In the same way, other people can join you in chanting for your own prayers as well. Thus, making the whole system very globally aligned.
4. Target management
There will be times when you set targets (or determinations) for yourself such as “Let’s chant Daimoku 30 minutes every day” or “I will chant 1 million Daimoku until … (a specific date)” and so on. Before this App, Daimoku Pro, these would be plans tracked only in your mind or on sheets of paper. But with the App you can now track these easily and more efficiently.
One of the improvement features of the DAIMOKU PRO App allows you to track your targets in two different ways: “Daily Targets” and “Total Targets”. This helps you to increase your efficiency as well.
Although using the Daimoku Pro App for your self only is more than enough, the core concept of this App is for you to be more Social in your practice and engage with other users.
So, what are the social functions of the Daimoku Pro App?
There are several social functions, but let me explain 3 of the main Social functions i.e. “Prayed”, “Comment”, and “Share” under Prayers Management.
1. “Prayed” function
Let us say there is a person A that you know who is going through a tough situation and is trying to overcome this but has not published his/her prayer. In this scenario, you can simply tap “Prayed” for this person A. It could be just 3 Daimoku or a 100 Daimoku, but your determination and loving-kindness Daimoku will surely encourage and cheer them on.
As you practice this Buddhism, you will start to chant Daimoku and act out of kindness for others. This happens naturally when you begin to learn concepts like “Happiness for me and others” and “Do not build your happiness on others’ unhappiness.” You will always be aware to transform people’s minds from the lower states of unhappiness (hell) to the Buddha mind as their circumstances change.
When we are chanting, we do so from a higher state of mind, and so our comments and prayers will encourage more than normal, making other users feel braver and happier.
2. Currently chanting users and groups
I added the function of “Currently chanting users and groups” because of a conversation I had with a high school student in Singapore. Here’s what happened.
A few years after joining a company, I was sent to Singapore for business. Here I attended the Zadankai of one of the communities. It was difficult since everything was in Chinese and I was unable to follow. But among them was one good soul who translated it for me. We soon became good friends and encouraged each other through phone calls even after I went back to Japan.
One day, on one of our calls, he remarked, “There are many members who are chanting for someone somewhere at this very minute. Don’t you think is this just great?” I was surprised and very happy that he had noticed this and thought he was very right and great because this FACT itself was so profound and great.
Keeping this in mind, this function helps members who are struggling by themselves or feel that they are alone in trying to overcome their difficulties to realize that “You are not alone. There are many many people chanting Daimoku to change something, to overcome their karma at that very moment along with them.”
Isn’t this amazing? To know that whenever you open this App, you will see many SGI members around the world chanting Daimoku and you can join them too. This App feature helps you to realize that You Are Not Alone and gives you a visual representation of this fact.
Another important reason why this App focuses on people who are struggling and feeling lonely is that not all local districts function in an organized manner. A friend of mine who currently practices with me moved from another district where he felt uncomfortable in practicing with the district as the atmosphere didn’t suit him. Yet another friend said that she didn’t get along with her leader.
Such cases exist everywhere. We are all just human and not perfect. There are different kinds of people in the SGI network so it is only natural that there will be differences in opinions and methods of practicing. But it is sad that someone should leave the practice because of this. It is not anyone’s fault, it is simply their individual nature. But if something like this still happens, this App allows people to be connected on a Global level with practitioners across the world so that they never feel alone. I hope that in this way the App will contribute to the SGI organization too.
3. Friend and Chat function
The Friend and Chat functions of the App also enables users to be more social. Just an hour before writing this page, I had an in-person conversation with my leader who is a professional boxer. He told me that he had recently gone to New York for a boxing match where he met a fellow SGI member who was of his own generation and also there in a similar situation. That SGI member helped him to stay in NY with other local SGI members. My leader said, he was so grateful because he was able to find like-minded members in an unknown city like New York through the Daimoku Pro “Friend” and “Chat” feature.
Daimoku Pro App enables SGI members to connect with like-minded people around the world and encourage and support them without any physical limitations.
Another similar story of a friend of mine who loves Italy and went abroad to study for a while. She often thinks about Italy and Italy’s SGI network. At this very moment, if she wanted she could find and connect with any Italy SGI member on the App. She can become friends with them and chant Daimoku for them and their prayers. Wouldn’t this be beautiful?
Sometimes, people have problems so grave that they cannot or don’t wish to share with people in their external world. They pretend that life is all okay because they feel that people won’t get their problems. Understandable. But on the App, people who are suffering from a similar situation can understand and encourage each other better through motivating words. Thus, simply by removing the barrier of location, we can have heart-to-heart conversations with any SGI member, saying let’s beat this challenge together while cheering one another with the words “I chant for you”, and actually chanting together at the same time.
4. Daimoku Group function
Daimoku Pro also has a Daimoku group function. This is similar to “Domei Shodai” where people chant at the same scheduled time even when they are in different far-off places. We usually do “Domei Shodai” with members in the same district, usually with around 2 to 20 members together. Daimoku Pro App allows you to do the same Domei Shodai with small groups of members on the App directly. In addition, you can receive an App notification when other members start to chant Daimoku so that you can join them and not feel alone and weak.
If we feel as if we are close to losing faith or are lazy to chant alone, receiving notifications of others chanting Daimoku can encourage us like “My friends are chanting, so can I!!”. Thus this function again allows users to not feel lonely.
There are some members who chant at a scheduled time (say 19:00-19:30) every Sunday by themselves. If there are others who also chant at the same time, these users can be found on the App under Currently Chanting users or groups. If this timing suits all these users then they can also chant together with the Daimoku group function even if they directly don’t know each other.
Earlier, doing “Domei Shodai” with thousands of SGI members together was not possible. But now with the Group function of this App, it is very easy to accomplish this.
For example, the Daimoku group can have a set goal or target in its description, and if others align with this goal/target they can get together online and chant for it. It can be One Big chanting movement, and this App can be the base system for actualizing it.
5. Daimoku Baton
Another social function implemented in this App is the “Daimoku Baton”, similar to the Daimoku relay in some local districts. In the region I was in, we had a Daimoku notebook which was passed on to members. The way it worked was, one member chanted, wrote his current situation, what he is doing and how he is determined to overcome it. Then the notebook was passed on. Once a member received the notebook, they read others’ determinations, wrote down their determinations, chanted and passed it on.
If you have experienced something similar, then you will be happy to know that this is possible in a virtual format on the App using the Daimoku Baton feature. Instead of a notebook, you can pass on a baton, just like in the Olympics relay races. This was the image (of a baton in a relay) that came to my mind while formulating this function for the App. We can relay our determinations with others using the Baton function.
When you receive a baton, turn it on and chant Daimoku at
your time. Then write down your determination and further pass it to your
friends. You can even randomly select people for the Baton relay so people’s
determinations can fly around the world. You may even choose not to participate
by not writing your determination or not passing on the baton. It will
automatically pass after some time has passed. This function was introduced to
encourage lonely members to join groups and feel the greatness of the
The effect Daimoku Pro App has on the world
Although I have touched upon a few ways in which the App can help people, there are other possible purposes for it in the world as well. For one, it can maybe bring about Kosen-Rufu in the world.
For example, if you think about the activity of “Shakubuku”, where you are telling only one person why you are practicing this Buddhism and inviting them to do so as well. On the other hand, using this app (and this blog) we can spread the true understanding to many people little by little. It can be done through effective communication such as encouraging each other or with the “Prayed” function within this app, or by reading this article.
Of course, this can be done through reading other Buddhism articles and the official SGI publications as well. Many non-SGI people are reading these and understand the truth about living by this Buddhism practice as the core of life and have overcome their karma. This is the part that I like most about the SGI organization, that all members have the same faith and belief. Through this app, this fact can be shared with everyone and spread globally in real-time.
There are several Daimoku apps on the App Store and
Google Play but they only have the timer and record functions. Also, there are
useful apps like Toggle which are free and can be used for recording only. But
I realized that social functions were needed for members and non-members alike,
to feel like a part of a global network. That’s why I have added many social
functions which can provide users with other values. When people find value in
using the App, they will spread the word to their friends as well, thus
increasing its user base and in turn, its effect on the world will increase
Why do I practice Nichiren Buddhism?
Because of my profession, I have an inquisitive nature, of always asking questions, to myself, like why I am doing this, what is the purpose? Is it really necessary? Is there an end goal? And if so are there alternate options A and B which will be better along with the goal?
Even as I was developing this App and when writing this article too, I was thinking about the why, and the purpose behind this app. Is it just to provide efficiency to users or also to contribute to Kosen-Rufu? If so, why do we do it? Why am I practicing this Buddhism? Why do we do Shakubuku? Ultimately this lead me to the question why am I living and what is the purpose of my existence? P.S. No, I have no intention to end my life.
I have answered these questions above, but I won’t bore you with sharing them here. Then why am I writing this? (a new question!). Because maybe these are good questions for you to ask yourself and contemplate on.
Some of my friends and colleague, have spent several years in companies handling and fighting different difficult situations. They are so thickly trapped in the busyness of society, that their ideals and dreams are either forgotten or become those which the society claims are right. They forget to live for themselves, and that becomes the new normal.
Many of them come home late after working hard for pensions which give very little returns. I can sympathize with them if they lose their purpose to live. It is very difficult to feel like doing duties towards the organization when you are so dejected. I, too, have been through this phase in life and had similar questions. When I discussed it with friends, I realized that there are many people who are suffering from similar problems but pretend as if their life is perfect and has no difficulties.
So by creating this App, I was able to help such people around the world. By helping people to share their concerns, as well as motivate society at large, if this App has is successful in encouraging even just a few people then I will feel as if my life has been meaningful.
I know for sure that doing something for others or encouraging someone directly or indirectly gives me encouragement as well. I only regret not knowing this earlier in my life. This organization has opened such a warm community in my life and getting to know people in it has become a very important part of my life. But for everyone I suppose, the timing is very different.
Perhaps this App was meant to be launched NOW rather than earlier. If this App can realize its goals of building a strong Social network for Daimoku or encourage someone, even just one person I will feel happy. This concept page was much longer but I have condensed it by one hundredth.
What I want to say to everyone is this, “Let us all check our purpose in life, encourage one another and fight to overcome our own karmas”, and for this task, I want to provide users with a most convenient and effective way to practice Nichiren Buddhism.
Can’t fully hate bad people
Sometimes when I see the news about crimes, I feel I don’t want to tag that person as bad. Maybe some people are born criminals, but many are not.
Everyone has a good and a bad heart. For example, some people may try to defeat others to rise for themselves and, in contrast, others will do something great for others even if no one is noticing. In Buddhism, this concept is explained as the Ten Worlds, i.e. from the world of hell to the world of Buddhahood. According to Nichiren Buddhism, everyone has all ten worlds in them and we all have the ability to achieve this world of Buddhahood.
Perhaps most people are aware of this fluctuating state of mind without having any knowledge of the ten worlds. Easily put it is like fighting an angel and a devil in the mind. This is not easy to handle because the mind is fluctuating along with fluctuations in the environment. By learning and practicing Nichiren Buddhism, we can recognize what our current mind state is at any moment and strive to make it higher. And chanting Daimoku is the founding base of this practice.
Therefore, in my opinion, bad people also have a good heart and mind, the only difference is that it is not shown at the moment. Environmental conditions, power, rights, or money make the bad heart stronger. But using this practice and following the concept of the Ten Worlds, everyone can bring out the good heart within them and use it for a good cause. Thus, beginning a new fresh and good life at any time. Even if they are in a very bad situation, everyone can start the basic practice of chanting Daimoku. For this reason, I strongly believe that we cannot fully hate bad people.
How often should one tap “Prayed”?
Although the “Prayed” function is the basis of this app, I have been reconsidering it again and again. According to me, the “Prayed” function acts like a visualization and/or digitization of our prayers and chanting for others. But wait a minute. Does DAIMOKU PRO need to visualize all of them? That was one of my main concerns.
At the receiving end, people who get “Prayed” will feel happy and notice someone’s encouragement to them and so will be highly determined. But what about the Sender? How does the sender feel when he uses this function?
Once a friend told me, we have many seniors who chant Daimoku for us. They spend their precious time chanting so as to improve our life. I have personally practiced with them and acted with them and so understand how they think, and I am sure they chant Daimoku for us. It is not about how strong they chant or how long they chant.
But they (and sometimes even me) don’t always tell us that they are chanting for us. Sometimes yes they will tell us directly “I chanted Daimoku for you. Hoping you can overcome your situation.”, but at other times they don’t tell, just chant behind the scenes. They tell us only if and when it is needed.
Let’s say you are chanting for someone every day, do you tell them or text them this every day to let them know? No, I doubt it. They (you, me and many others) will tell only when they really need to change the situation or to overcome someone’s difficulties.
The option is therefore open. If you want to tell someone that you have prayed, you can do this through the “Prayed” function. If not, you can chant for them and just use the “Prayed” function sometimes to inform them. The function itself is optional and flexible for each user.
To conclude …
We continue to improve the App and would appreciate your opinions. I would be extremely grateful and welcome all constructive criticism and feedback. Do let us know in which areas we can improve.
Finally, if you like this App, please share it with your friends, family and fellow members around.
Thank you for reading and using Daimoku Pro.
“The App is continuously being developed and the functions mentioned below are not available anymore. Thank you for your understanding.”
- One-on-One chat function
- Currently Chanting Group function
- Daimoku Baton function