Saturday, September 24, 2016

PowerPrayer - (Fresh Determination) to go from Hope-Less to Hope-Full Right Now!


"No matter how hopeless or bleak things appear, the moment always comes when suddenly our spirit revives, and hope is reborn. That is why we must never give up."

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Changing Karma Into Mission! RIght Here RIght Now!

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"Human revolution 
means turning our lives in a positive direction, 
from unhappiness to happiness. 
It is the transformation 
of the tendency 
to allow ourselves to be swept along by force of habit 
or to feel ourselves at the mercy of the whims of destiny. 
The incredible power to do this already exists inside us."

Daisaku Ikeda, Ikedaquotes.org 
under "Human Revolution"

Greetings my friends! Tomorrow I'll be back on the beach after a short stay in Asheville, North Carolina seeing my Dad. 

Today I chanted for 2 or 3 hours (I lost count). Once I started chanting I did not want to stop. I am once again drawing a line in the sand in my life. 

That's the beauty of this practice...being able to say "No to this karma!" Or "Yes to this karma!" Both are powerful. 

Recently I've become aware of some things I want to change forever. 

Unrequited love is one of them.  
It's one of those things that has been a part of my life as long as I can remember, and I share this with many, many of you. 

You write me and say "He/she used to like me and doesn't like me any more and I am still in love with him/her, how can I get him back?" 

Believe me, I understand. How I understand. 

So I'm chanting to change this karma forever...for my Mom, who suffered from it, for myself, who has experienced it...for my descendants...and for the whole world. 

I do believe real...real love is possible, and attainable. Yes! 

So I've launched a Daimoku campaign to change this karma. 

AND, of course, I am chanting for America and for the world...that we can forever vanquish greed, anger and stupidity. I'm chanting to change it in my life and in the world...these are trying times! 

I've written new active goals that I will fulfill, and I am chanting not just for myself, but to be an example for others. And, as my friend Kate always says "No matter how many times this karma rears its ugly head, just continue to say "I will win over you! Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is stronger than you! I am roaring like I lion and I will defeat you! Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!!!"  

We can take any poison and turn it into medicine. Nothing is impossible! Nothing! ROOOOAAAARRRR! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Real Key to Peace on Earth, by Daisaku Ikeda



"Efforts to reach out
and engage others in dialogue
with the aim of fostering mutual understanding
and bringing people closer together
may seem ordinary and unexciting, 
but they in fact constitute a bold and daring challenge
to create a new era of human civilization."

Daisaku Ikeda, Buddhism Day by Day, page 299

This quote embodies our lives as Bodhisattvas of the earth...people who are actively engaged in creating their own happiness, through chanting the name of the Mystic Law, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the deep determination to create a better world for all. We are all dancing together on this earth and throughout the universe. 

I write this blog, as always, to encourage you that anything is possible. This morning I received an email asking if I was  disappointed when my son Ben died last summer. And the answer is, of course I was. I am a normal human being and would much rather my son had stayed alive...although I would not have wanted his suffering to be prolonged. His brain was sick. He was suffering. Did I want him to die? No. But, as long as he DID, that gives me the opportunity to embrace my life and my practice in a whole new way...with the determination to turn the biggest poison into medicine. That is the way of the Bodhisattva

Because of Ben, I've had to deepen my faith in all possible ways. I HAD to turn poison into medicine...not just for myself, but for my friends and family and my beloved blog readers.  

And look at me now. I'm planning a trip back to Chicago from Florida for Hope For The Day's Health Fair in the Thompson Center so I can sign my books there. And that same week (the last week in October) we will have a ribbon cutting in NAMI DuPage's office for the Cafe that Ben's Memorial Mile is contributing to. I know Ben would want to help in career development, and that's what the cafe, and its new career advising service will do. 

Right now I'm writing programs to help others who are suffering from grief, and looking for grants to support this work through Hope For the Day. It all comes down to the quote by Daisaku Ikeda above...it all comes down to heart-to-heart connection, and mutual understanding. 

Mutual connection makes our lives worth living...builds understanding and bridges of love...
May all of you build a bridge of love today!

Sending love from Asheville, North Carolina where I'm on a brief trip with my sister visiting my Dad and Janis. 



Thursday, September 8, 2016

Lighting the Lamp of Hope from Florida! Turning Poison into Medicine



Hello from the Beach!
Every day I chant in appreciation for my life. Every day I tune into the Gohonzon (my life) as I chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, continually putting one foot in front of the other! 
We are so fortunate, we who chant the name of the Mystic Law of Life ! 
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

Whatever it is that has you challenged - just do not give up hope. 

For many years I have cherished the wish of speaking to audiences around the world...of sharing this practice and giving the wisdom I have learned from my life to others - to help them be happy. As many of you know, I have given a variety of speeches based on my research into the power of words and the latest news that life gets better as we get older. They have been the highlight of my career so far. 

And now, because of Ben...because my sweet boy got sick from schizophrenia and because the disease led him to take his life and because through this faith I believe life is eternal and within my realm of contact, I have written a book that is being published by an organization called Hope for the Day (a 501(c)(3) based in Chicago) and now I will be able to help and inspire other parents who have suffered this great loss, and anyone who wants to connect with their loved ones. 

Originally I called this book "Our Forever Ben," and I published copies for Ben's Memorial Mile in June. Now the working title is "Always With You, How to have a written conversation with your loved one in spirit." This name may change. Do you have some input for me? Email me at chantforhappiness@gmail.com.

And the great benefit is this: Hope for the Day will be publishing it, and then I will do ongoing programming for them telling my story and helping people with their own loss. I could be speaking at large conferences - helping many people.

Can you imagine how exciting this is for me? All those years of chanting to do kosen-rufu through my speaking and writing are really coming true in a broader scale. Hope for the Day will be helping me with media kits and all that goes along with public speaking. And I've been preparing for this my whole life. 

Whatever you are doing, whatever is challenging you - just keep chanting, keep reading and engraving the Gosho into your life, keep embracing the words of Daisaku Ikeda and stick with your fellow members in faith! Everything is possible. If I can do this - turn this immense poison into immense benefit - you can do anything!!! 

Monday, September 5, 2016

15 Great Quotes on Work and Career from Daisaku Ikeda

(Look, the Hurricane took our sand! 
They say the sand will be "re-nourished" replaced by humans - in October. 
Nature is fascinating. 
Living on the beach is a dream come true for me!)

This is end of Labor Day Weekend here in the states. Many people had Monday off from work. It signifies the end of the summer, the start of the school year...and getting back to work. Here are some quotes for you:

PRESIDENT IKEDA'S WORDS ON JOBS, CAREERS, AND PERSONAL FINANCE-
(Compiled by Bob Hasegawa)


1. Beauty, benefit and good

Mr. Makiguchi taught that there are three kinds of value: beauty, benefit and good. In the working world the value of beauty means to find a job you like; the value of benefit is to get a job that earns you a salary that can support your daily life; the value of good means to find a job that helps others and contributes to society. (Faith Into Action, page 45)

2. No more moaning

President Toda said that the most important thing is to first become indispensable wherever you are. Instead of moaning that a job differs from what you'd like to be doing, he said, become a first-class individual at the job. This will open the path leading to your next phase in life, during which you should also continue doing your best. Such continuous efforts are guaranteed to land you a job that you like, that supports your life, and that allows you to contribute to society. (Faith Into Action, page 45.)

3. The Fundamental Cause of Unhappiness

Problems as we have seen, are not in themselves the fundamental cause of unhappiness. Lack of power and wisdom to solve them is the real cause. Fortunately we all innately possess infinite power and wisdom; and Buddhism shows us how to develop these qualities.
When in the depths of despair or grappling with a difficult problem, it may be hard to believe that our lives possess unlimited potential. But this is the essence of one of the profoundest Buddhist teachings, known as three thousand realms in a single moment of life, which we will explore in this chapter. (Unlocking the Mysteries of Birth and Death, page 105.)

4. Success Means Not Giving Up

I hope each of you will realize success in your respective fields, fully recognizing that success means not giving up halfway but resolutely pursuing the path you have chosen. To this end, it is also important that you realize that the place where you work is a place for forging your character and growing as a human being. By extension, therefore, it is a place for your Buddhist practice, a place for practicing your faith. When you view things from this angle, all your complaints will disappear. No one is more pathetic than someone who is constantly complaining. (For Today and Tomorrow, Daily Encouragement, at page 283.)

5. Should you quit?

Once you have decided on a job, I hope you will not be the kind of people who quit at the drop of a hat and are always insecure and complaining. Nevertheless, if after you've given it your all you decide to move on, that's perfectly all right too. My concern is that you don't forget that you are responsible for your environment when you make your decision. (Faith Into Action, page 46.)

6. Excel at something

There is a saying that urges us, "Excel at something!" It is important to become trusted by others wherever you are and to shine with excellence. Sometimes people may dislike their job at first but grow to love it once they become serious about doing their best. "What one likes, one will do well," goes another saying. Growing to like your job will also enable you to develop your talent. (Faith Into Action, page 46.)

7. Wisdom vs. Ego

When working for a company--which is like a society or community all its own--it is important to create harmonious relations with your colleagues and superiors, using wisdom and discretion along the way. If you incur your co-workers' dislike by being selfish or egotistic, you will be a loser in work and society. Wisdom is vital to being successful at one's work. The Daishonin writes, "The wise may be called human, but the thoughtless are no more than animals." (Faith Into Action, page 46.)

8. A Buddhist must not be defeated

Buddhism is an earnest struggle to win. This is what the Daishonin teaches. A Buddhist must not be defeated. I hope you will maintain an alert and winning spirit in your work and daily life, taking courageous action and showing triumphant actual proof time and time again. (Faith Into Action, page 3.)

9. What is actual proof?

When we speak of showing actual proof, it doesn't mean we have to try to put on a show of being any more knowledgeable or accomplished than we are. It is my hope that, in the manner that best suits your situation, you will prove the validity of this Buddhism by steadily improving in your daily life, your family, place of work and community and by polishing your character. (Faith Into Action, page 4.)

10. Past failure, past small success

It's foolish to be obsessed with past failures. It's just as foolish to be self-satisfied with one's small achievements. Buddhism teaches that the present and the future are what are important, not the past. Buddhism teaches us a spirit of unceasing challenge to win over the present and advance toward the future. Those who neglect this spirit of continual striving steer their lives in a ruinous direction. (Faith Into Action, page 17.)

11. Chant to become people of strong will

Life is a struggle with ourselves. It is a tug-of-war between progress and regression, between happiness and unhappiness. Those short on willpower or self-motivation should chant Daimoku with conviction to become people of strong will who can tackle any problems with seriousness and determination. (Faith Into Action, page 109.)

11. Faith and deadlocks at work and in life

Over the long course of your life, you may at times find yourself in a deadlock at work, at school or in your daily affairs. However, these are phenomena of daily life and society which lie on a different plane than faith and are not themselves the essence of faith. Therefore, you must never allow yourself to be swayed by such superficial matters and risk losing your faith entirely. (Daily Guidance, Volume Three, page 183.)

12. Worldly fame and wealth

Worldly fame and wealth which is not based on Myoho may appear to be sources of happiness for the moment. However, such happiness is merely superficial and cannot last. Through your faith, however, you can change transient, superficial happiness into actual happiness, and temporary enjoyment into everlasting prosperity. Everything boils down to the strength of your faith and the power of your conviction. (Daily Guidance, Volume Three, page 39.)

13. What is faith?

Everything is contained in a single word faith. It encompasses truth, courage, wisdom and good fortune. It includes compassion and humanity as well as peace, culture, and happiness.
Faith is eternal hope; it is the secret to limitless self-development. Faith is the most basic principle of growth. (Discussions On Youth, Volume 2, pages 163-164.)

14. Faith and Work

Faith and daily life, faith and work these are not separate things. They are one and the same. To think of them as separate ~ faith is faith, and ~ work is work is theoretical faith. Based on the recognition that work and faith are the same, we should put one hundred percent of our energy into our jobs and one hundred percent into faith, too. When we resolve to do this, we enter the path of victory in life. Faith means to show irrefutable proof of victory amid the realities of society and in our own daily lives. (For Today and Tomorrow, Daily Encouragement, page175.)

15. Strength is Happiness.

Strength is itself victory. In weakness and cowardice there is not happiness. When you wage a struggle, you might win or you might lose. But regardless of the short-term outcome, the very fact of your continuing to struggle is proof of your victory as a human being. A strong spirit, strong faith and strong prayer developing these is victory and the world of Buddhahood. (For Today and Tomorrow, Daily Encouragement, page 50.)

Friday, September 2, 2016

12 Quotes for Overcoming Illness by Daisaku Ikeda


(I made it through the storm in Florida just fine! Thanks for your emails and prayers)
For any of you who are facing illness - this should raise your spirits! 
The person who originally compiled these quotes 
was able to use this practice and modern medicine 
to overcome breast cancer completely. 
Please feel free to forward the link to this post 
to anyone who is suffering from illness. 


From President Ikeda's Lecture series "The Hope-filled Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin: On Prolonging One's Life Span - Faith for Leading a Long and healthy Life" in the July-August 08 Living Buddhism. (Thank you to my friend Melissa Bradford for compiling these great quotes!)

1. “Suffering from illness is a means by which you can eradicate your negative karma.”  
President Toda, as quoted by President Ikeda. - pg 70 

2. “To see illness as an opportunity to transform our karma – this strong spirit and resolve can break through all obstacles and devilish functions and open wide the path to happiness.  Like a rocket blasting out of the earth’s atmosphere, the passionate conviction of faith that comes from viewing illness as an opportunity to transform our karma can become a powerful engine propelling us forward not only in this existence but throughout eternity, enabling us to freely savor everlasting happiness.”  Pg 74


3. “Becoming ill in itself is certainly not a sign of defeat.  Even the Buddha, who is said to have ‘few ills and few worries’ (LS, 214), struggles with sickness from time to time.  Accordingly, there will be times when we are confronted with illness.  The important point above all is not to be defeated mentally or emotionally by the prospect of being ill.  Faith is the source of the fighting spirit to stand up to illness.  Therefore, as we noted earlier, Nichiren Daishonin first of all talks about the ‘treasure of faith’.  Pg 77


4. “As Nichiren says, ‘Illness gives rise to the resolve to attain the way’ (The Good Medicine for All Ills, WND-1, 937).  If a practitioner who upholds faith in the Mystic Law becomes ill, it definitely has some profound meaning.  It could be said that confronting illness is one route to awakening to the eternity of life.  President Toda often said, ‘A person who has overcome a major illness knows how to deeply savor life.’” Pg78


5. From Matilda Buck’s guidance, World Tribune 4/27/01 pg 10 “When We Face Disappointment” – regarding SGI leaders who overcame cancer and chanted this way:  


Through this experience, I will become someone who does not doubt the Gohonzon (my life), no matter what happens.

As a Bodhisattva of the Earth, I have the mission to experience this, and as a Bodhisattva of the Earth, I have the mission to create a victory.
I will share the power of Buddhism with others, even as I grapple with this experience.
I won’t let my spirits stay down.  I won’t make a place in my life for negativity to settle.

6.From The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra Volume 6:  “Praying with doubt is like trying to keep water in a bathtub with the plug pulled.  Our good fortune and benefit will drain away.  A passage from the ‘Perceiver of the World’s Sounds’ chapter reads, ‘from thought to thought never entertaining doubt!’  A confident prayer will reverberate powerfully throughout the entire universe.”  Pg 88


From Buddhism Day by Day:


7. “Buddhism views illness as an opportunity to attain a higher, nobler state of life.  It teaches that, instead of agonizing over a serious disease, or despairing of ever overcoming it, we should use illness as a means to build a strong, compassionate self, which in turn will make it possible for us to be truly victorious.”  pg 300


8. “The expansive world lies not in some distant place; it exists right where you are.  That is why you need to win where you are right now.  Today’s victory is linked to your eternal victory.”  Page 314


9, “No matter what the circumstances, you should never concede defeat.  Never conclude that you’ve reached a dead end, that everything is finished.  You possess a glorious future.  And precisely because of that, you must persevere and study.  Life is eternal.  We need to focus on the two existences of the present and the future and not get caught up in the past.  We must always have the spirit to begin anew ‘from this moment,’ to initiate a new struggle each day.” Pg 315


10. “The air around us is filled with radio waves of various frequencies.  While these are invisible, a television set can collect them and turn them into visible images.  The practice of chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo aligns the rhythm of our own lives with the world of Buddhahood in the universe.  It ‘tunes’ our lives, so to speak, so that we can manifest the power of Buddhahood in our very beings.”  Pg 314




11. From For Today and Tomorrow Daily Encouragement by Daisaku Ikeda: Sept 20 pg 288:  When your determination changes, everything else will begin to move in the direction you desire.  The moment you resolve to be victorious, every nerve and fiber in your being will immediately orient itself toward your success.  On the other hand, if you think “This is never going to work out,” then at that instant every cell in your being will be deflated and give up the fight, and then everything really will move in the direction of failure.



12. Aug 15 pg 249:  The first thing is to pray.  From the moment we begin to pray, things start moving.  The darker the night, the closer the dawn.  From the moment we chant daimoku with a deep and powerful resolve, the sun begins to rise in our hearts.  Hope – prayer is the sun of hope.  To chant daimoku each time we face a problem, overcoming it and elevating our life-condition as a result – this is the path of “changing earthly desires into enlightenment,” taught in Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Storm Hitting Florida Right Now!

It's my first storm coming in to St. Pete Beach
The main place it will hit is north of here, but it's a pretty big storm so we are getting a lot of the water and wind. It's still building steam...not officially hitting land until a few hours from now. 

This is the scene right out my window. I'm okay up here on the 5th floor, but I am concerned about my car, and all the people who are NOT on the 5th floor. 

At any rate I'm up here with plenty of food in a good, solid building...with a Gohonzon! 
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to you!