What do Courtney Love, Orlando Bloom, baseball legend Orlando Cepeda, Tina Turner and jazz legend and Grammy winner Herbie Hancock share? They all practice Buddhism and chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, a powerful mystical phrase. First introduced by the Japanese monk, Nichiren in 1228, one of the most renowned figures in Japanese history, the religion was handed down from generation to generation of priests and a handful of followers.
It gained worldwide followers after the lay organization, the Soka Gakkai, initiated an unprecedented propagation campaign out of the devastation and ashes of post-nuclear World War 2 Japan. It now boasts an international membership of over fifty million in 170 countries. The lay organization’s current leader, Daisaku Ikeda, a controversial figure in Japan owing to his outspoken criticism of corruption in their political system has traveled around the world and garnered the respect of many leading world figures, from Gorbachev to Nelson Mandela, for his tireless efforts promoting world peace.
Essentially that is what the philosophy is all about. Through the invocation of the chant to a mandala in the practitioner’s home altar, one undergoes self-awareness, and elevates the basic condition of his life, enabling the practitioner to achieve a personal “human revolution.” The theory is that when each person has done sufficient human revolution, they will conduct themselves in a loftier, more compassion-oriented manner. If enough people do that, the ripple effect will be world peace.
An important tenet of the philosophy is Actual Proof, and members love to testify about the power of the chant. Tina Turner’s movie “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” portrayed how she gained the strength to leave abuse at the hands of her then-husband Ike Turner through chanting.
Courtney Love says in recent articles she attributes her over a year sobriety to her practice of the chant. Herbie Hancock chanted three hours a day to beat the odds and take the Best Album of the Year Grammy in an upset that many thought would go to Amy Winehouse or Kanye West. A very unusual victory for a jazz artist.
Orlando Cepeda, the legendary baseball figure credits overcoming depression and addiction to his chanting. Orlando Bloom has been chanting since he was a child; his mother started chanting first. He has enjoyed a charmed career for many years.
It has been rumored that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are also chanting since Jolie became friends with Marianne Pearl, the devout Buddhist wife of murdered Wall Street journalist Daniel Pearl. Jolie portrayed the grace, and dignity Pearl manifested at that time in the movie “A Mighty Heart,” which portrayed the horrific event. Brad Pitt produced it.