Monday, November 30, 2015

Wisdom and Strength ~ Wisdom and Strength!

Chanting for wisdom and strength, 
for wisdom and strength - 
then I read this quote below today. 
I love it when my chanting and the guidance just dovetails. 
I love being in rhythm! 

I've been keeping my two hour a day daimoku campaign going...and along with that I'm working out every day and eating on a healthy plan...I feel my life changing...the ground beneath me shifting. 

I made it through Thanksgiving, my first Thanksgiving without Ben and for the most part just kept my life condition sky high. You know, dealing with grief is similar to overcoming any emotional storm. I let it out when I need to, and I soar above it with Daimoku by my determined prayer to turn poison into medicine and create value from his life and death. 

With every Daimoku I chant "I am changing my karma with this Daimoku right thus very second. THIS Daimoku. THIS Daimoku!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "In the course of his inquiry into the kind of religion that might best serve humankind's future, Dr. Toynbee became deeply interested in Mahayana Buddhism. He strongly asserted that the role religion should be to teach self-mastery, stating as one of his reasons that "to master oneself is the essence of religion as I see it, and...this precept is, I believe, the only effective response to the challenge of being human."

"Self-mastery means 
developing wisdom and strength through responding courageously 
to the challenges posed by unbridled desires 
and negative emotions 
such as hatred that arise within oneself. 
It means to overcome 
the limitations of one's present self 
to grow into a better and stronger person."

Daisaku Ikeda
From the December 2015 Living Buddhism, SGI president Ikeda's Lecture Series based on the Gosho 
"The Great Battle" - "Those With Steadfast Faith Enjoy Immeasurable Good Fortune and Benefit" 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Daimoku = Winning!

Aaron Michael Silver won the Bonfield 5K today in Downtown Downers Grove! Ben must have been with him...running, running, running! 

And all around the country Silver family members ran or walked in races for Benjamin Lee Silver.


This has been a great week so far. 
In the midst of Aaron's busy schedule (he graduates medical school in the spring), we chanted several strong hours of daimoku together this week.  

And, because of chanting two hours a day, I am ENJOYING this day...I am loving it all. My prayer these days has been to Uphold the Dignity of my own life! 

It is a strong prayer, and I can feel the power surging through me as I chant and pray. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo - We ALL are dignified Buddhas in the midst of relearning our own Buddhahood...together in the SGI and with our mentor Daisaku Ikeda. We are so fortunate!

This week I had some financial karma come back, and I chanted for strength and wisdom, strength and wisdom, and was able to wisely change something negative into something positive. 

This practice is amazing. What could have been the saddest day ever is filled with joy. This practice truly is the key to living as the Buddha of Absolute Freedom! BAF! 

Chanting for all of you!

Thanksgiving Gratitude - Some proof Gratitude makes you healthy!

In the November 13, 2015 World Tribune; from Sensei, 

"By chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, 

we can create the most positive value from 

everything in our lives, 

including our strengths and weaknesses, 

joys and sorrows, and pleasures and sufferings. 

Those who chant, irrespective of their situations, 

make the sun rise steadily in the sky of their hearts 

and are able to produce a rainbow of victory."
Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful for YOU! 
This week I had a huge professional breakthrough by chanting for strength and wisdom. 

Here is an article I'd like to share with you today, Thanksgiving in the states: 

From NPR: 
As we launch into Thanksgiving week, consider this: Research shows that feeling grateful doesn't just make you feel good. It also helps — literally helps — the heart.
A positive mental attitude is good for your heart. It fends off depression, stress and anxiety, which can increase the risk of heart disease, says Paul Mills, a professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Mills specializes in disease processes and has been researching behavior and heart health for decades. He wondered if the very specific feeling of gratitude made a difference, too.
So he did a study. He recruited 186 men and women, average age 66, who already had some damage to their heart, either through years of sustained high blood pressure or as a result of heart attack or even an infection of the heart itself. They each filled out a standard questionnaire to rate how grateful they felt for the people, places or things in their lives.
It turned out the more grateful people were, the healthier they were. "They had less depressed mood, slept better and had more energy," says Mills.
And when Mills did blood tests to measure inflammation, the body's natural response to injury, or plaque buildup in the arteries, he found lower levels among those who were grateful — an indication of better heart health.
So Mills did a small follow-up study to look even more closely at gratitude. He tested 40 patients for heart disease and noted biological indications of heart disease such as inflammation and heart rhythm. Then he asked half of the patients to keep a journal most days of the week, and write about two or three things they were grateful for. People wrote about everything, from appreciating children to being grateful for spouses, friends, pets, travel, jobs and even good food.
After two months, Mills retested all 40 patients and found health benefits for the patients who wrote in their journals. Inflammation levels were reduced, and heart rhythm improved. And when he compared their heart disease risk before and after journal writing, there was a decrease in risk after two months of writing in their journals. Those results have been submitted to a journal, but aren't yet published.
Mills isn't sure exactly how gratitude helps the heart, but he thinks it's because it reduces stress, a huge factor in heart disease.
"Taking the time to focus on what you are thankful for," he says, "letting that sense of gratitude wash over you — this helps us manage and cope."
And helps keep our hearts healthy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Power of Prayer by Daisaku Ikeda

Prayer by Daisaku Ikeda

Prayer is the courage to persevere. 
It is the struggle to overcome our own weakness 
and lack of confidence in ourselves. 
It is the act of impressing 
in the very depths of our being 
the conviction 
that we can change the situation without fail.
Prayers are invisible, 
but if we pray steadfastly 
they will definitely affect clear results in our lives 
and surroundings over time. 
This is the principle of the true entity of all phenomena. 

Faith means having confidence in this invisible realm.

Prayer is the way to destroy all fear. 

It is the way to banish sorrow, 

the way to light a torch of hope. 

It is the revolution 
that rewrites the scenario of our destiny.

Prayers are neither light dreams nor vague wishes. 
They should be firm pledges of determination.

Prayers made with such strong resolve 
invite clear results just as magnets attract iron.

Prayer entails an intense challenge 
to believe in oneself and stop diminishing yourself.

To belittle yourself 
is to disparage Buddhism 
and the Buddha within your life.
Prayer is an attempt 
to merge the inner workings of our life 
with the rhythm of the universe. 
When we pray in such a way, 
all the workings of the universe 
will function to protect us 
and the endless cycle of painful reality 
will be transformed 
into a cycle of victory and happiness. 
Prayer is the key to open the door 
to unleash that infinite human potential within our lives.
Prayer is not a feeble consolation; 
it is a powerful, unyielding conviction. 
And prayer must become manifest in action. 
To put it another way, 
if our prayers are in earnest, 
they will definitely give rise to action.
Daisaku Ikeda

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

9 Powerful Quotes to Let Our hearts Soar! by Daisaku Ikeda

When the doors of your heart are shut 
and you feel dark and isolated, 
look up to the sky and greet the clouds. 
Let the blue expanse 
open wide the window to your heart
and let in beauty and light. 
Climb upon the clouds 
and let your heart soar freely in the open air!

Freedom doesn’t mean the absence of all restrictions. It means possessing unshakable conviction in the face of any obstacle. This is true freedom.
Buddhism teaches that when we change the “single element of mind”—our fundamental way of thinking—we transform ourselves and our environment changes.

The human spirit is as expansive as the cosmos. This is why it is so tragic to belittle yourself or to question your worth. No matter what happens, continue to push back the boundaries of your inner life. The confidence to prevail over any problem, the strength to overcome adversity and unbounded hope—all reside within you.

My mentor would often tell me, “So much about a person can be learned from their voice.” Treasure your voice. It is a powerful force that can give courage and comfort to others. That is why we should strengthen and refine the inner core of our lives from which our voice emanates.

To lead a life in which we are inspired and can inspire others, our hearts have to be alive; they have to be filled with passion and enthusiasm. To achieve that, we need the courage to live true to ourselves. Rather than borrowing from or imitating others, we need the conviction to be able to think for ourselves and to take action out of our own sense of responsibility.

Whatever your circumstances, whatever your past, the forces that determine your future are nowhere but within your own heart and mind. It is here that the star of your destiny shines.We need to cultivate a state of life where we can thoroughly enjoy ourselves at all times. We should have such joy that even at the time of death we can declare with a happy smile: “That was wonderful! Where shall I go next?” Faith enables us to attain the kind of generous and all-embracing state of mind where we enjoy everything in our lives.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ben's Memorial Mile

Readers of this blog know my son, Benjamin Lee Silver went on his next journey this summer. We miss him. And we are honoring him with Ben's Memorial Mile. 

I spent 8 hours of this weekend telling people about Ben's Memorial Mile, coming up on June 11th, 2016. Here I am with Aaron, Larry Lifson, a dear friend of ours, and Meg, Aaron's girlfriend. 

The race will be held at Downers Grove North High School, Downers Grove, Illinois, USA. It's much more than a race. There will be activities and events for people of all ages. There will be an elite mile for the fast runners, and there will also be events for people of all ages. My favorite is the race for little ones where they can "run" as any animal they want to be. That is totally "Benish" - he would love it. There will be walks for people like me :), and sponsorship tables of all kinds...

It was fun promoting this race this weekend. We saw people we haven't seen in years, and we met many people who knew Ben, or had heard about him. We're raising money for Schizophrenia research, cure, and help. There's a Facebook page "Ben's Memorial Mile." 

If you are considering joining us please let me know at
Tomorrow is Ben's Birthday. He would have been 23, on November 23rd. 
it's a good thing I've been chanting two hours a day....

All my best to you. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

How to Vanquish Recurring Karma

"Strength is Happiness. 
Strength is itself victory. 
In weakness and cowardice there is no 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."

Daisaku Ikeda, For Today and Tomorrow, page 50 


We all have it. That karmic pattern that we've chanted to end forever...and somehow, it ends for a bit then resurfaces in a different time and place. 

For some people it's a financial challenge, for others it might be within relationships, but at the core of it all, it's OUR karma and we need to keep our determination to change it. And for me, it usually involves some kind of courageous conversation, and drawing some resource from within my own life using wisdom to overcome, not cower from it. 

I picture our lives and karma like a spiral going upwards, and as I come around a bend, the karma resurfaces in some way...and it's up to me once again to write the story of my life. 

At the Gosho study meeting the other day, the leader said: "Whenever I encounter a trouble I remind myself I WRITE THE STORY OF MY LIFE. I'm the protagonist and the author. I'm sure I wrote a happy ending!" I loved that. It made me laugh! Of course, I made a happy ending. And right here, right now...I am building that happiness.

I just had a resurfacing of some karma involving greed on another's part. This time, because I am challenging my life in a new way, and I have been chanting two hours a day already, my life can rise to greet it and challenge it in a different way. I am also walking on my treadmill, eating well and using my strength training bands, so my BODY is stronger and healthier. THIS time, THIS time, the outcome will be different...will be right...will be true to myself, my new self of strength that I am building every day. 

So my first response was to chant two hours of daimoku "as if to make fire from wet logs." I chanted, and in my mind I hollered at the Shoten Zenjin "No Way! This time I will win over this karma forever!" And I'm about to start another two hours right now. I'm telling my life to open up in unexpected ways...assured that all kinds of good things are in store! 

And I'm chanting to find the right words for everything. I'm writing my speaker one-sheet, and defining just what it is I do for my audiences. After three speeches in three days, I am so energized! After yesterday's speech, one of the people came up to me and said: "You kept my attention the whole time! No speech ever keeps my attention!" and another woman told me she was going to use all the ideas I presented, and change her outlook forever. My speech focuses on our CHOICE to use words that make us happy. 

Right now it's snowing here in Chicago. It's pretty and my view is awesome. I'm grateful to park indoors. 

I'll be spending the day at an event promoting Ben's Memorial Mile. We are creating an event to honor Ben's life, bring the community together, and raise money for a cure for Schizophrenia. It's June 11th in Downers Grove Illinois. You are all invited! There will be races for all age groups of varying lengths. The last time I was at an event honoring Ben it was very hard for me...I'm going to chant about that too. STRENGTH!