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  You are in: Home > Theology & Religion > Chanting in the Hillsides  

Chanting in the Hillsides
The Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonim in Wales and the Borders

Jeaneane Fowler and Merv Fowler

Jeaneane Fowler was formerly Head of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Wales, Newport, and later an Honorary Research Fellow. Her publications include Hinduism: Beliefs and Practices (Choice Outstanding Title, 1997).

Merv Fowler was also formerly Head of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Wales. His publications include Buddhism: Beliefs and practices and Zen Buddhism. The authors have collaborated before for World Religions: An introduction for students. A fuller biography is available on the Press website.


In 1983, a tiny group of people in Cardiff and a married couple in Aberporth West Wales were the only Welsh members of Soka Gakkai International, a Japanese movement based on the beliefs and teachings of the 13th century Buddhist, Nichiren Daishonin. Today, there are hundreds of members in Wales and the Borders.

This book examines the history of the movement in these two areas, and draws on original research gleaned from the members themselves. The research elicits facets of their faith, practices, and study, as well as their testimonies to the success of such beliefs and practices in their daily lives. The book combines the twin goals of academic analysis of the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin in general with the warmth of its expression in the lives of its adherents in Wales and the Borders. Contents include:

The philosophy and history of Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism
The history of Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism in Wales and the Borders
The human revolution for a universal humanity
Practices, Experiences and Ceremonies
The Lotus Sutra

Contains a Glossary of Terms, an Appendix and Index

List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgements


Chapter One: Prologue
The atomic bombing of Hiroshima
Kyoko and Les Gibson
Chanting in Wales and the Borders

Chapter Two: The Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin: Historical Perspectives
The life of the Buddha
The development of Buddhism
The dharma of the Buddha
The Buddha’s legacy
The Tendai (Chin. T’ien-t’ai) school
The life of Nichiren Daishonin
Nichiren Shoshu
Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871–1944)
Josei Toda (1900–1958)

Chapter Three: The Human Revolution for a Universal Humanity
Soka Gakkai International
The schism
Daisaku Ikeda
The human revolution

Chapter Four: Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism in Wales and the Borders
Geographical spread of members
Gender and age of members
Nationality and ethnicity of members
Occupations and qualifications of members
Marital status of members
Previous religious beliefs and knowledge
Encounter, engagement and commitment
Reactions of families and friends
Chanting and membership
General attitudes

Chapter Five: The Lotus Sutra
Background to the Lotus Sutra
The cosmic canvas
Expedient means
The nature of the Buddha
The implications for humankind
The implications of the Lotus Sutra for other faiths
The unique nature of the Lotus Sutra

Chapter Six: The Practice
The true object of worship – the Gohonzon
The mentor–disciple relationship

Chapter Seven: The Philosophy of Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism
The life-condition
Ultimate reality
The Mystic Law
The interconnected universe
The Ten Worlds
The self
Ichinen sanzen

Chapter Eight: Special Occasions
Attitudes to religious festivals
Life-cycle rites

Chapter Nine: Experiences
Claire Boland, Birth of Strong Faith
Robert Cook, The Benefit of Illness
Jonathan Davies, Treasures of the Heart
Nicky Delgado, From Hell to Eternity
Hope Dowsett, Why I Chant
Tirian Dowsett, My Experience
Kate Evans, Daimoku is Powerful beyond All Imagination
Linda Owen Hicks, Fortune Child
Mairead Knell, Transforming the Fear Within
Elissa Lewis, Transforming the Heart
Claire Mason-Green, The Glory of the Flower
Liz Moulson, From Failure to Success
Sue Rogers, Here and Now
Joanne Roxburgh, Using My Practice for Health
Jayne Timmins, Chanting for a Husband
Robert Wilson Thomas, Me and My Hiccoughs
Sriram Vaidyanathan, Chanting to Win
Nicky Delgado, The Gauntlet

Appendix A: The Questionnaire
Appendix B: Charter of Soka Gakkai International

Glossary of Terms
Further Reading

“The authors, formerly Heads of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Wales, have written this book on the Welsh chapter of the Nichiren Dasihonin Buddhist movement in Wales and the Borders, also known as Soka Gakkai International. The authors begin with the history and philosophy of this type of Buddhism in its native Japan, and then trace its migration to the UK where it has been flourishing over the last 35 years. This book, written for anyone interested in philosophy or world religions, uses interviews with members to describe some of the basic tenets of Nichiren Daishonin such as the human revolution for a universal humanity and a commitment to the Lotus Sutra.” Reference & Research Book News


Publication Details

Paperback ISBN:
Page Extent / Format:
272 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Release Date:
November 2008
  Illustrated:   No
Paperback Price:
£11.99 / $24.99

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