Myoho (the Supreme Dharma) (妙法)

Myoho (Saddharma in Sanskrit) means the first victorious and mysterious dharma in Buddhism.


The original Sanskrit term "saddharma" was composed of the words 'dharma' ('law') and 'sat' ('right, true, and good'). The term "saddharma" had already appeared in "Hokku-kyo Sutra, Dhammapada" and other primitive sutras. In many circumstances, this term was translated into 'shobo' ('right dharma'). Also, Hogo JIKU (a Chinese priest who was born in North India and came to China to be engaged in translation of original sutra into Chinese) named the original "Hokekyo" as "Sho-hokkekyo sutra" (the "Right Lotus Sutra"). But, later, Kumaraju (one of the greatest Chinese translators of original sutra into Chinese) retranslated this to "Myohorenge-kyo." So, the official name of "Hokekyo" became "Myohorenge-kyo."
This is the reason why "Hokekyo" came to be generally called 'Myoho.'

Kichizo (a Chinese priest in the 6th-7th centuries) described in his "Hokke Genron" that there should have been really deep impetus for Kumaraju to change the word "sho" to "myo." As if to prove this, disciples of Raju Sanzo (another name of Kumaraju), including those from Dosho to Houn and Chigi (Zhiyi), defined 'Myoho' as the absolute truth in their commentaries on "Hokekyo."

The letter 'Myo' of "Myoho" is an abbreviation of "Mimyo," which is the term mentioned in Kaikyoge (a verse to recite before intoning a sutra) of any sect of Buddhism, which reads as follows:
無上深甚微妙法 百千万劫難遭遇' (Dharma of Mimyo is the deepest of all, so that it is very hard to encounter with even through millions of years). As mentioned in the above verse, the term "Mimyo" had originally implied excellent flavor and beauty beyond expression. It also had unspeakably complex implications and delicate flavors in sensitive parts.

Even the letter 'Myo' has the following meanings:
Being curiously excellent,
Being adept and skilled, and
Being fine, small, and delicate.

"Hokke gengi" (subtle and profound essentials of the Lotus Sutra) mentions in its introduction that Myosha (skilled men) are rewarded with mysterious dharma; "Yuimagyo" (Vimalakirti Sutra) mentions in its Bukkokuhon that public people may be rescued by this Myoho (supreme dharma); "Hokekyo" mentions in its Hobenhon that Homyo (supreme dharma) is difficult to understand; "Nehangyo" (the Nirvana Sutra) mentions in its Myoji-kudokuhon that any Myoho dharma of various theories, as well as any secrecy kept deep in warehouses, are all destined to enter the Great Nirvana.

[Original Japanese]