Tuesday, March 31, 2015

7 Steps to Changing Your Karma ~ Please Share!

Welcome to Chantforhappiness.com. Check out some of the previous posts while you're here! You can subscribe and get emails whenever I write a new post by puting your email in the box to the right.

I've heard from some of you lately who are very sad and suffering, disappointed and losing hope. You are not alone. And you can rise above this and change your karma - right here and right now. 

As Daisaku Ikeda writes:
The course of our lives is determined by how we react  - what we decide and what we do - at the darkest of times. The nature of that response determines a person's true worth and greatness. 

I was in an extreme place of sadness when I started this blog, and there is one important thing I realized that I really want you to understand too. 
It is true, that my suffering was triggered by an event in my life. This can't be denied. But somewhere in the depths of my life I knew that the tears I was shedding were WITHIN my life, and had always been within my life. These were not new feelings of despair. Yes, they were intensified by my recent event, but I realized that I had carried these feelings INTO this life.

I realized that this sadness was my karma. But in Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism that doesn't mean what it means in other forms of Buddhism. 
Karma in some sects means something you have to ENDURE, in others, it's something you have to LEARN FROM. and In Nichiren Buddhism, also known as SGI Buddhism, (also known as Practical Buddhism ~  where we chant the name of the Mystic Law - Nam-myoho-renge-kyo), Karma is something that we can change, in fact, it is our MISSION to change our karma. 

7 Steps to Changing Our Karma
by Jamie Lee Silver of Chantforhappiness.com. 
Please do not cut and paste. Please do share the post using the links at the bottom.  

1. Recognize Karma for what it is...
...and do not complain.  Complaining only erodes your benefits. Karma is an opportunity. Not a thing to blame yourself for, or to feel bad about. It's a challenge to surmount! 
Whatever you are suffering from is a powerful source for you to prove the power of this practice

2. Make a fierce determination to change your karma, and take the actions to change it. 
Chant to root the cause of your suffering FOREVER OUT OF YOUR LIFE. 
Many of you have written that you just can't chant, you can't go to meetings, you're too depressed and too busy. Somehow, you just have to overcome this through sheer determination. That's why we have our wonderful organization, the Soka Gakkai. It is entirely up to you! Your friends in faith are waiting to hear from you, chant with you, win with you. Connect to the SGI (use the link sgi-usa.org). And call your SGI friends. I have always chanted to make strong friends in faith who inspire me. You can do this too, and go to them for guidance. 

3. Take action. 
In my case, almost 6 years ago, I formed a connection with a strong and inspiring member and we determined to chant two hours a day "together" to change our karma. Sometimes we chanted in the same room, sometimes by phone or text. We didn't always chant at the exact same time, but somehow, knowing we had the shared commitment was very important. Also, take concrete action. Chant for wisdom, and take the actions that arise from your prayers. 

4. Be consistent. Practice correctly. 
I know, I know, I say this all the time because it is really important. Go to meetings, study the writings of Nichiren Daishonin and Daisaku Ikeda, and introduce others to the practice. 

5. Realize that obstacles will arise. 
Don't let them stop you. 
Chant through your tears. Chant through your tears. A leader once told me that Every tear cried in front of the Gohonzon is a diamond in your life. Keep Chanting through your tears. Don't stop! Embrace it. Get out the tissues and get that karma out of your life, not just for you, but for the generations ahead of you! 

6. Don't give up. 
Whatever you do, don't give up. 
Do whatever you have to do to keep going. Karma changing doesn't usually happen overnight. Call on your friends. Start a journal. Realize that what you are doing is REALLY important.

7. WIN and share your Victory with others! 
Document your experience. Write down the challenges you have faced and how you overcame them through chanting. Write down the quotes and guidance that inspired you. 

We would all love to hear your victories. You can share them on Chantforhappiness.com. Just send a picture, a little about yourself - where you live, how long you've been practicing, and your experience to chantforhappiness@gmail.com. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

PowerPrayer for Excelling at Work

Have you read "The Heart of the Lotus Sutra" by Daisaku Ikeda? I read the first chapter called "Impressions on my Mentor's State of Life" yesterday, and have been thinking about what a revolutionary practice we have. I was struck again by how accessible this practice is to all people. 
This is the FIRST form of Buddhism where people who are not priests chant the prayers. 
We tap into our highest potential, the life of the universe itself, every time we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
Each day, by doing gongyo (recitation of the Lotus Sutra) and daimoku (chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo) we practice Nichiren Buddhism as Votaries of the Lotus Sutra....as the Buddhas we are!

What does being a "Votary" mean? According to Daisaku Ikeda it means "those who dedicate themselves to the mission of saving all people throughout the entire world" and "individuals, basing themselves on the Mystic Law, contribute to others and to society as "votaries," that is PEOPLE OF ACTION." All of US!

We all want to make the world a better place through our own thoughts, words, and actions. 

"President Toda initiated the great struggle to spread the Lotus Sutra of the Latter Day for the sake of those laboring under the dire consequences after World War II. "I want to banish the word 'misery' from the world and rid the world of poverty and sickness." This passionate cry of my mentor, who stood up alone after the war, still resounds in my ears. This cry of the spirit is none other than the heart of the Lotus Sutra."
From The Heart of the Lotus Sutra by Daisaku Ikeda, page 7

I know that I also carry that "cry" in my heart, as a disciple of Daisaku Ikeda and Josei Toda. 

PowerPrayer to Do a Great Job at Work!
A PowerPrayer is a focused determination, meant to be read before chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.. so we can use each moment of prayer with laser-like precision. These have worked for me, and I offer them to you as a fellow practitioner, not as an official voice of the SGI. 
by Jamie Lee Silver from Chantforhappiness.com


I am determined to shine as a votary of the Lotus Sutra 
at work. 

I am determined to fully grasp 
what is expected of me 
and exceed it.  
I pave the way for a great future 
by doing a great job today.  
I take understandable notes that power me forward.
I sharpen my memory and my mind
make a clear plan of action and execute it. 
Each moment 
I shine with the light of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. 
Each moment, I do shakubuku with my life by being cheerful, 
and productive. 
I am determined to pave the way for my growth, success, and happiness, and to be an INDISPENSABLE employee!

Shoten zenjin! Support me in my every effort! 

I show actual proof of this practice every day. 
These are my goals for today and this week:___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

Have a great day, or evening! 
As always, write me at chantforhappiness@gmail.com - Some of you may have ideas for improving this PowerPrayer. I'd love to hear them. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

"The Secret to Achieving Your Human Revolution" by Daisaku Ikeda

The Chicago SGI Buddhist Center 

The Secret 
to Achieving Your Human Revolution

"Pray that instead of devils 
or negative, destructive forces 
infiltrating your being, 
Brahma ("Bonten"in Japanese),
Shakra ("Taishaku" in Japanese),
and the gods of the Sun and the Moon
~ the positive, protective forces of the universe ~
will enter your life!
Pray that they will enter the lives 
of all members in your region
and the entire membership of the SGI, as well.
If you do this, 
your strength will multiply 
a hundredfold, a thousandfold.
With such prayer,
with such faith, 
you will realize a fundamental transformation
in the depths of your life. 
This is the secret to achieving your human revolution."

SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, World Tribune, 9/8/2000

Thank you Sensei!
Write your victories to me at chantforhappiness@gmail.com!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

3 Daimoku Keys for Incredibly Inspiring Meetings!

Just like this sunflower...
We Shine! 

The speech I gave on Thursday was incredible...and my daimoku powered it all. I spoke to 260 of my peers ~ people who are in the field of helping seniors. It was a great success. 
(As always, I am a 30 year SGI member, and I write these posts from my heart to yours. They are not official SGI posts.) You can now get these posts delivered to your email by putting your email in the box to the right

In preparation for this speech I chanted the same way I do for every SGI meeting, using my 3 Keys below: 

3 Daimoku KEYS 
for Incredibly Inspiring Meetings:
by Jamie Lee Silver at Chantforhappiness.com 

1. Chant for every single person to be so inspired by this meeting that their life will never be the same. 

2. Chant that somehow...THIS meeting ~ each person hears exactly what they need to hear to change their lives forever, inspire them beyond all measure, and help them to live lives of victory inspiring others. 

3. Chant in Great Joy! 
In The Heart of the Lotus Sutra, by Daisaku Ikeda, (page 195) he states: "President Toda went so far as to say that unless great joy wells forth while praying to the Gohonzon then one's faith is not correct. When we experience such joy, a great flower of benefit blossoms in our lives." He goes on to tell us how to build our own joyful spirit: "Faith is taking spirited action. When we do so earnestly, our hearts become light and filled with momentum. Pessimism is alien to Buddhism. Taking action on the side of justice brings joy. Let us cheerfully, joyfully and brightly advance along the path of our conviction."

Yes. I chanted with these 3 keys in mind during the weeks leading up to the speech. Afterwards, people said it felt like we were all sitting in a living room together. Many participated by sharing their thoughts. It was like a lively Buddhist discussion meeting, For the rest of the day, many thanked me for my words, with glowing and happy faces.

In the speech itself, I spoke about the research that proves that life gets better as we get older. The brain actually improves. We can collectively switch our focus to all that is going RIGHT as we get older, and away from what could go wrong. We get what we focus on.
The latest research proves, scientifically, that our mindset/our focus can add 7.5 years of satisfaction to our lives. 
I told stories about the studies of Ellen Langer, Becca Levy and others who have proven that "positive age stereotyping" makes a difference. People who do not buy into the current "mysery myth" of aging, and instead choose to see aging as a time of flowering, of new hope, of advancing, are more likely to take better care of themselves, eat better, move their bodies, join clubs, live in healthy, satisfying ways. What we think, and how we express ourselves makes a huge difference!  

I presented Buddhism in non-Buddhist terms. Our positive causes create positive reactions. We can go into our later years with strength, vigor, excitement and continue to live dynamic and fulfilling lives. Growing older happens, declining is optional. 

And I talk about the importance of consciously choosing our words. Our words express our thoughts and become our reality. We have choices. We can either be "overwhelmed" ~ or ~ "In demand" it is up to us. By saying we are overwhelmed, we become a victim of our circumstances. By saying we are in demand, we are important, and we get to choose where we give the gift of our time and energy. It's up to us. Our words don't just describe our lives, they predict our lives. We choose our lives when we choose our words.  
For an entire hour, I held that room in the palm of my hand. They participated; they joined me and contributed their ideas. At the end, they cheered! Magnificent! 

We can all have this impact in our lives, in our environment, in every place we go. 

I am more inspired than ever to use my words to uplift and en-courage! Just like all of us can do...every single day! 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

12 Incredible Buddhist Quotes for Overcoming Illness - please share!

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.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


                         There is NO age limit on cool! 

As some of you know I have a passion for public speaking. I love to give inspiring messages of hope and change people's lives. I have a new speech - one I've developed over the years and have recently rewritten.

Tomorrow, in the Chicago area, I'm giving my keynote speech called 

"Growing Older, Better, Bolder, Stronger- Thriving Not Declining" 

There will be 230 Senior Care Managers, Social Workers, and Professionals at a conference in the Chicago Area. 

I speak about all the new research that proves we get BETTER as we get older, and the more we realize this (have positive age stereotypes) the happier we are, the longer we live, and the healthier we are! 
I highlight the power of our words to not just describe our lives, but to PREDICT our lives. 

Positive words and thoughts matter! 
So excited about tomorrow! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

9 Keys for Beginning to Chant - Please share!

By chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo you can transform all of your sufferings into benefit, and crystalize every desire into a blooming flower in our lives. You can become happier than you ever imagined...happier, more resourceful and more courageous in taking action.  

We can change anything through chanting because we tap into our inner realm of unlimited possibility when we chant. You are a Buddha of infinite potential! 

When we chant the Mystic law we see see changes in our life - whether we believe they will happen or not. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo means "I fuse my life with the mystic law of cause and effect through sound vibration" or, as some say "I tune my life to the rhythm of all life." Saying these words is a great cause that breaks through all suffering and creates a life of happiness. It works! 

"Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is like the roar of a Lion." What sickness could therefore be an obstacle? 
Nichiren Daishonin 

9 Keys for Beginning to Chant 

By Jamie Lee Silver from Chantforhappiness.com

1. Make Your list!

Make a list of what you really want in life. Take a fresh look at your desires and write them down.  Dream big. What do you really want? What do you want for yourself? What do you want for others? What do you want for the world? Make a list. Write it down and put the date on it. 

Many people began chanting with desires that later transformed into other desires. So don't worry about whether your desires are "right" desires to have. Chanting is progressive, both you and your desires will evolve. I know people who began a very rewarding practice chanting for things that were important at the time, but later changed into other desires. 

One of my friends chanted for a month to prove to his wife that this practice doesn't work. Well, he found out it DID work and more than 40 years later he is still practicing. In Nichiren Buddhism your desires ARE enlightenment. It is okay to desire whatever you desire, whether it's money, the happiness of someone else, a relationship, a job, or peace of mind and contentment. With continued practice you will see that your dreams for yourself actually become tied to the dreams of happiness for all. 

2.Chant for what is really in your heart. 

This is a great time to start a Journal.  It's not essential, but I think it's a great idea. Writing in a journal helps you become aware of your progress and benefits.

3. Choose a place to chant comfortably. 

Find your "home" with your home, where you can feel comfortable chanting out loud, having a dialogue with your life itself.  Sit comfortably. (Did I say this enough times?! ~ I like to be comfortable!)

4. Choose a focus point on the wall. 

Some people start by facing a blank wall; I chanted to a moon in a picture. Choose a focal point slightly above eye level. 

5. You may wish to have a small table nearby for tea or your journal. 

6. Write the words Nam Myoho Renge Kyo 
on a piece of paper. 

The words are pronounced as follows: 

Nam ~    Nahm, rhymes with Mom, 
Myoho ~ meeyohoh,  
Renge ~  rain gay, 
Kyo ~     kee oh. 
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. 
Nahm Meeyohoh Rain Gay Kee Oh
(Phonetic spelling) 

7. Begin to chant. 
Hold your hands with the palms facing in and touching each other in front of your heart. And say Nam-myoho-renge-kyo over and over and over again with your eyes OPEN looking at the wall. 

8. Don't Stress about your thoughts 
At first, you will probably only be able to concentrate on the words themselves, and that's fine.  Once you've got the chant down you can think about what you want and chant at the same time. 

9. Join the SGI
Join fellow practitioners as soon as you can. The SGI Portal to the right will help you locate a center near you, and you can call that center to connect to your local meeting house. 

Chant twice a day every day. Get in rhythm! Establishing a twice a day rhythm to your chanting is important. It gets the wheels of your life moving. 

Keep your goals in mind and you’ll remember your reasons for chanting! 

These words and this vibration go deep into the heart of your life itself. They summon forth your highest wisdom, vitality and sense of purpose. They also uproot the karma that is making you suffer, and give you the opportunity to change this karma forever. 

When you chant you are entering into a dialogue with your life itself. You are not chanting to any god or asking for favors. Instead, you are connecting with the rhythm of the universe itself. 

As Nichiren Daishonin says in the famous writing (Gosho) "On Attaining Buddhahood" :

"If you wish to free yourself from the sufferings of birth and death you have endured since time beginning and to attain without fail unsurpassed enlightenment in this lifetime, you must perceive the mystic truth that is originally inherent in all living beings. This truth is Myoho-renge-kyo. Chanting Myoho-renge-kyo will therefore enable you to grasp the mystic truth innate in all life...It is called the mystic truth because it explains the mutually inclusive relationship of life and all phenomena. 
"Life at each moment encompasses the body and mind and the self and environment of all sentient beings in the ten worlds, as well as all insentient beings in the three thousand realms, including plants, sky and earth, and even the most minute particles of dust. Life at each moment permeates the universe and is revealed in all phenomena. One awakened to this principle himself embodies this relationship. However, even though you chant and believe in Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, if you think the Law is outside yourself, you are embracing not the mystic law but some inferior teaching."
From Lectures on Attaining Buddhahood in this Lifetime by Daisaku Ikeda, 2007