Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and Mixing Religious Traditions

Nam-myoho renge kyo, Ohm, or Christmas carols. Is mixing spiritual traditions sacreledge or a sign of new spiritual openness?

It’s Christmas season, with Santas in the malls and in store window displays. It’s also the season of Hanukkah and Kwanza, plus there are other spiritual traditions that celebrate this part of the year.

I was just thinking about that because I’ve been mixing some traditions myself and I used to feel a bit guilty…

As I mentioned before, I often chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo ever since I learned about it, and I also learned that chanting is supposed to be done in multiples of 108.

Of course, that’s where prayer beads come in. I don’t always count… sometimes I just feel inspired to chant and do it without keeping track, just letting myself be guided from some place within.

But when I thought about acquiring prayer beads, not too long after I found out about the significance of 108, I suddenly realized something. A rosary has 54 beads, not counting the five that are on that extra short bit that ends in the cross. So I figured — two rosaries make 108 beads, right?

And I started using a rosary for chanting. No thunder has struck me yet, but then I have told hardly anybody about that. It works great, but I still felt a bit guilty.

Apparently, I shouldn’t have. I just Googled “rosaries and chanting” and came up with this site:

And praying the rosary is much like chanting anyway, except the prayers are from the Catholic tradition. I had the rosary handy because a few years back I re-discovered that praying the rosary really supported me during very stressful times. Yet clearly, the rosary has a much broader tradition than I had realized.

And so does Christmas, which actually has some of its roots in Pagan traditions.

And at Unity, the church were I’ve found my spiritual home base, all faiths are welcome, and as the year goes on, a number of traditions are highlighted and invited to participate in the service.

After all, why not share celebrations with each other and enrich everyone’s life?

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