Sects: The Power of Positive Chanting

Most of them are young and modishly dressed. They kneel Oriental-style on a living-room floor in West Hollywood, some 20 strong, facing a homemade altar and rolling Buddhist prayer beads between their hands. "Nam-myo-ho-renge-kyo," they chant over and over. "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo." Suddenly four pretty girls leap up in cheerleading animation. Stealing a popular rock tune, they sing: "Yeh, yeh, yeh, yeh, yeh." Hips snap, arms flash. "Chant Daimoku!"* Snap. "Yeh, yeh, yeh, yeh, yeh." Flash. "Dai-Gohonzon!"

Thus went one of the nightly prayer meetings of a new and fast-growing U.S. religious cult, the...

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