Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Overcoming Challenges and Accessing the Power of Our Own Lives!



Hello! Here I am in paradise...and life has come along with me. I still have the same types of challenges within myself and I still have to overcome them no matter what. I am a Buddha. I made my vow, (and remake my vow daily) to show actual proof so that I can rid the world of suffering through my own life. I live to inspire others. If I (this common mortal) can be happy, then so can anyone. Anyone. I use my practice of Buddhism, and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo every morning and evening to accomplish my goals and rid my life of negativity. 

I am a regular person. I am no better than anyone else. But maybe, because of my deep suffering, because of the depression I have battled throughout my life, and the great loss I experienced when my precious son Ben died, I feel that I HAVE to prove the power of this law through my life now more than ever. I prove this power over and over and over! The power of my own life, my own Buddha Nature through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon never stops! I can access happiness anytime, anywhere. 

And it's not easy is it? We all have our devils, our demons, they are the voices in our heads that say negative things like "See, you are a total failure," or "There you go, messing up again!" Or..."Why chant? It's no use anyway!"

We all have these voices in our heads. Linda Johnson calls those voices our "Evil Twin," and she says they NEVER TAKE A VACATION! I love that. So we must chant every day!

And the main thing is to keep going. I've had some challenges to overcome...and it's easy to go down that slippery slope where you chant less and less, and then it is next to impossible to chant. That's when we have to say "Enough!" That's when we need to put our cell phones in the other room, set a daimoku (chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo) target for ourselves and fulfill it. 

One of my challenges has been nights of not sleeping. I've had insomnia in various forms all my life, and it affects how I function during the day, and it effects my mood a lot! Last night I DID sleep, and woke up this morning and chanted for two hours. 

My prayer today was to bring back the spring in my step. Bring back the hopeful feeling of anticipation. Lighten my heavy thoughts and bring me sunshine in my mind. 

I chanted for all of you, and for Kate's brain. I pictured her brain glowing in health. (Many of you are familiar with Kate Randolph, my Buddhist mentor through this blog. She is my best Buddha Buddy, my inspiration, my heart. This is her 40th year of practice, and she was recently diagnosed with a glioma brain tumor. Thank you for chanting for her!) 

And now, here I am writing to you, and feeling like a breath of fresh air just came from within my own life. 

This is the power of Daimoku. THIS is the spirit to stand alone and not give up. THIS is what brings on kosen-rufu and will bring 50,000 youth together in the US on November 18th, 2018. 

Whatever you are going through, please don't despair. Please use this practice to bring light and life and happiness to yourself, and your loved ones. Please VOW to show actual proof through your life and inspire others to chant and to be happy. You can be happy, your families can be happy. YOU are the Buddha creating Kosen-rufu (a world of peace and respect for all) and YOU make a difference every single day!

Go Buddha Go! 

If you'd like to submit an experience for this blog, please email me at chantforhappiness@gmail.com. 




Saturday, April 15, 2017

"At That Time" Our Determination Changes Everything!


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I wrote this blog two years ago. I look at this writing now, and think back to what I was going through at the time. My life, and practice were up against a wall. 

(I write this blog to share my journey, and use my life as an example that anything is possible throuch chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. I've been practicing Buddhism for 32 years with the SGI, but these writings, this blog, are from my heart to yours and not officially endorsed by any organization) 

Two years ago my 22 year-old son was so sick. He was suffering. And I was fighting with all my light for his life. As many of you know, Ben did not keep his "life" here on earth. 

On July 2nd, 2015, he left this plane and became "Our Forever Ben," a voice from beyond that encourages many. No, Ben is not alive here on earth...but he did "win" and continues to win. 

Soon after his "death" I began reading the translation of the Sutra in the back of every Gongyo Book. Over and over the Buddha says "I appear to be gone, but I am always here preaching the law." 

And I thought "I'm a Buddha, Ben's a Buddha, he is still right here." And I began writing to him and listening for his reply, then writing what I heard. It's so easy...so natural. Anyone can do it. It is Ben's gift to the world and he offers it in the book we wrote together called "Our Forever Ben, One Mom's Letters to her son-in-spirit and his poetic replies" available on Amazon. His words are so beautiful. He is always right here...and everywhere! We still write each other often. I hope our story brings light to many dark hearts. 

Here is what I wrote two years ago. Enjoy: 

Deciding to "Stand Up and Fight" Changes Everything!

The beginning of the "Expedient Means" chapter of the Lotus Sutra, which we recite during morning and evening Gongyo begins with the phrase "At that time the World Honored One calmly arose from his samadhi and addressed Shariputra"

In "The Heart of the Lotus Sutra" Daisaku Ikeda states: 

"In terms of our practice, therefore, I would like to stress that "that time" exists only when we pray to the Gohonzon and manifest determination and awareness of our mission for kosen-rufu. (World peace through our own human revolution - using our problems to FUEL our happiness and light the way of inspiration for all by showing the impossible is possible through our lives, notes mine, js) 

We have to make a determination, 
pray and take action. 
Unless we do so, 
our environment will not change in the least, 
though five or ten years may pass, 
that time" will never arrive.

Our single minded determination for kosen rufu, 
(a world of respect for all beings ~ JS) 
and that alone, 
creates the "time." 
"That time" is 
when we set our lives in motion, 
when we stand up 
of our own volition and by our own will and strength. "That time
is when we summon forth strong faith 
and take our place on the grand stage of kosen-rufu.

Goethe writes, 
"The moment alone is decisive; 
Fixes the life of man, 
and his further destiny settles." 
"That time" is the moment you resolve 
from the depths of your heart: 
"Now I will stand up and fight!" 
From that moment, 
your destiny changes. 
Your life develops. 
History begins. "

(note from Jamie: When I sit in front of my Gohonzon, and look into the mirror of my life... I chant in appreciation for my problems and VOW to show actual proof to others that the impossible is possible, and that each one of my problems leads us closer to a world of happiness for all...because one more woman stood up and said "NO WAY!" "I will WIN!" I picture the outcome already secure and chant in happiness.) 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Lighting the Lamp of Hope ~ From Florida!



Hello my friends. Yes, I am here in St. Pete proving the power of the Gohonzon -  the power of my own life.

Our POWER is LIMITLESS. We are life itself...more and more we are knowing and experiencing this great truth. 

I have been reading "On Attaining Buddhahood," by Nichiren Daishonin, the reformist monk, who founded this practice and realized that chanting "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the title of the Lotus Sutra, is the key to life, happiness, strength and fulfillment. I have been reading his words for 32 years, and "On Attaining Buddhahood" is one of my favorites. 

"If you wish to free yourself 
from the sufferings of birth and death 
you have endured through eternity 
and attain supreme enlightenment in this lifetime, 
you must awaken 
to the mystic truth which has always been 
within your life. 
This truth is Myoho-renge-kyo. 
Chanting Myoho-renge-kyo 
will therefore enable you 
to grasp the mystic truth within you. 
Its words are the reality of life 
and the reality of life is the Mystic Law (myoho). 
It is called the Mystic Law because 
it explains the mutually inclusive 
relationship of life and all phenomena. 
That is why this sutra is the wisdom of all Buddhas.

"Life at each moment 
encompasses both body and spirit 
and both self and environment 
of all sentient beings 
in every condition of life, 
as well as insentient beings - 
plants. sky and earth, 
on down to the most minute particles of dust. 
Life at each moment permeates the universe 
and is revealed in all aspects of phenomena. 
One awakened to this truth embodies this relationship. However, 
even if you chant and believe in Myoho-renge-kyo, 
if you think the law is outside yourself, 
you are embracing not the mystic law, 
but some inferior teaching." 
From The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Volume 1, page 3

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I like to read the Gosho by inscribing its words upon my heart...and repeating them over and over. The LAW IS WITHIN US. It's our birthright. And chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is our key to realizing and tapping into that truth. We are true microcosms of the universe. We are Buddhas. 

We are deep into the planning stages of the second annual Ben's Memorial Mile. As I've mentioned, last year we 
(a small committee consisting of family and friends) raised $22,000 for Schizophrenia research and mental illness  This year Ben's Memorial Mile will be June 17th in Downers Grove, Illinois, and more exciting than ever. 

Check out BensMemorialMile.com to take a look at what we are doing. (I don't mention this as a solicitation, only as some insight into my life, and what I have been doing to honor Ben's legacy to turn poison into medicine.) It's a pretty cool website with some of Ben's videos (He was a singer/songwriter) and pictures of last year's event. 

I hope this post finds you well - and happy. And no matter what - persevering! 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

THIS Daimoku is changing my karma NOW!

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What kind of daimoku (the chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo)
changes our lives? 
The answer is ALL kinds of daimoku - 
the chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the mystic law, changes our lives and changes our karma...
But I have a question. Do you sometimes chant with all the best intentions while thinking "I don't know why I'm doing this...it's just one more time to chant but I don't feel it, and really, I'm feeling kind of hopeless?" 

And the first thing I'll say is "Congratulations for keeping your promise to yourself and showing up to chant. THAT in itself will change your life. 

So, I've been thinking about the quality of my own chanting and I have something I want to share with you. (As you know, I do not represent the Soka Gakkai, I belong to it, but this is not a Gakkai publication. I love the organization and have been a member since 1985. And I started this blog in 2009 to overcome my own heartache, and to show, through my own example, that anything is possible when we base our lives on the Gohonzon.( 

And lately my daimoku has been very strong, 
because as I chant I am thinking:

NOW! With THIS Daimoku I am changing my karma. 
Now this very Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is THE Nam-myoho-renge-kyo that is changing_____________________________on the inside of my life. 
Whatever you want to change...have the conviction that:
THIS Daimoku!
THIS Daimoku!
THIS Daimoku!
Is the one that does it! 

Here's to YOU and your happiness and success! 
Go Buddha GO! 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Career Experience from Natasha Gondi! Great Job!

(Thank you for sending this in Natasha! GO Buddha GO! 
If you want to subscribe to this blog please put your email in the box to the right)

Good morning all . . . . .
My Name is Natasha Gondi, Practicing this philosophy from 
past 10 years. I was introduced by my Uncle in India.
I came to USA (New Jersey) for my Masters in January 2014
and graduated in May of 2015.
Once international students graduate in USA, they need to 
apply for their work permit which usually takes 90 days to 
process, which I did. 
Meanwhile in that 90 days period had loads of fun, 
my parents were here too 

And the struggle begins, on the 90th day I just went online 
on USCIS website to check the status of my work permit,
and was so shocked to see, it says “Your work permit is 
denied, you will get to know the reason in a week”, was 
completely blank and I didn't know what to do that entire 
week without even knowing the reason behind my denial 
status.
In USA if your work permit is denied for a genuine 
reason then they should get back to their home country 
(India) which I didn't want at any cost as I had to pay back 
my loan of 20 lakhs which I took for my studies or else they
 have to join for second masters again which also I didn't 
want as it wasn’t affordable for me and my family.

I rushed to Gohonzon, cried, chanting with full of tears in
my eyes and somehow managed to do my gongyo with lots 
of pain inside.
I took guidance from SGI-USA East territory YWD leader 
Mitsuko Ogawa O’Malley. She came all the way just to 
meet me and give guidance, one of the most wonderful 
guidance of my life – she says sensei’s words – “whatever, 
however, 
wherever let anything happen, just chant as much as 
possible about it without thinking about how it’s going to 
work out, put your heart into it, and then tell me if your 
prayer is not answered, I will give my LIFE”.

And this gave me a boost, started chanting from then and 
there with her 5 hours that day. Everyday 5 hours I chanted 
with full of gratitude.

Then I found Jamie’s Blog: 
Posts!
And a week later I got the reason saying I have made very 
silly mistake while filling up the form and asked me to re-
apply. 
Thanks to Gohonzon with a big smile  on my face and 
thanked everyone who supported me.
I reapplied and now it was so tough to wait for another 90 
days. Another chapter YWD leader “Greicy Goto” came to 
visit me suddenly without even me asking her, and told me 
to chant that I should get the permit within 50 days and 
not more than that, I asked her – “but how can it happen, 
it's 
USA government rule and it’s been followed from so long 
that processing time will take 90 days”. She just said 
“Chant for what your heart wants because heart is what 
matters and everything else comes later, this is the time t
test the power of this mystic law, to aim for something 
impossible and see the miracle that occurs by Gohonzon”.
 Which encouraged me so much.
I kept on chanting for 5 hours a day. 
Sensei says with respect to Diamoku 

“Quality matters over Quantity but if 
you add quantity to the quality, you can change the world”.

 So I did a focused diamoku of 5 hours every day, did lots of 
activities, took 15 shifts of byakuren that month and 
worked so joyfully, took care of members, did 2 shakubukus
 and also did alliance diamoku with Rakhi Debnath – Thank 
You so much Rakhi, she sent me inspiring quotes from 
youthful diary every day.

One sudden day I get an email from my college saying “My 
work permit has come and asked me to come and collect”, I
didn't know what to do, I thought I got this email by 
mistake,
 I opened the calendar and saw it was just 30
th day. I called up college and asked if I got that email by 
mistake, I told her to read the name on it properly, she is 
reading my name, I was so happy, was not able to express 
the happiness.
Chanted for 15 minutes and went to collect.
And I am the only amongst 6 students who reapplied and 
got it next time, the other 5 students got denied again.
All my friends had started to work already and I was just 
starting to search for my kosenrufu job.
I continued to chant with all other activities, gave 
interviews 
for almost 50 days and on November 3rd 2015 was my first 
day at work.
Now I'm working at “New York Power Authority” as a
 “Microsoft SharePoint Developer” 
in New York City.
I got the job which I wanted, in the field I wanted with a 
very big office and New York skyline view from my work 
location window and very good people around in the team.
I am working like a Buddha, like a byakuren, taking care of 
my team as bodhisattva member, creating the joy in 
everyone. 

“Prayer – is the revolution that rewrites the scenario of our
 destiny” Daisaku Ikeda.

My small article was published in July 2016 Living Buddhism 

Here are my joyous pics from work location New York:




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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

11 Keys to Chanting Joyfully for Longer Times (Tosos!) Please Share


You can now receive these posts right in your inbox  
by putting  your email in the box to the right. 

First a special thank you: 
Thank you to all my readers through all these years. 

Thank you for sharing this wonderful journey of changing your karma and becoming absolutely happy in this wonderful SGI organization. 

Thank you for letting me know when my posts have touched your hearts and inspired you to keep on chanting every day...and to push on for that last 5 minutes one more time! 

Thank you for understanding that I am a normal person, a Buddha just like you. I'm imperfect. I'm human. And I'm a Buddha, who long ago, in 2009 to be exact, decided that I was going to change my life-long karma of sadness and depression by chanting two hours a day. And in the first hour of that determination I decided to take the rest of the world along with me, and started this blog - because of my deep love of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and wanting to introduce this practice to others. 

And over and over I have mentioned that I do not represent our beloved SGI organization, and that I speak for myself alone. My goal is to show actual proof through my own life that anything is possible.

Thank you my friends!

Thank you for sharing the extreme poison I turned into medicine when my son got sick...and three years later, when he died at the age of 22, you sent me cards and letters and emails, and I felt your daimoku. You have been my companions on this journey...and I treasure you. 

There have been almost 2,000,000 views since the blog began, and almost 2,000 posts. 

Two of the most popular posts have been "My Dear Readers, About My Ben" from July 5th of 2015, my message to you when I was so concerned that you would become discouraged when my sweet Ben died. 
And the next most popular post was My experience of August 24th, 2016, when I shared Ben and my writings and the book I published called "Our Forever Ben, One Mom's letters to her son in spirit and his poetic replies." 

Chantforhappiness.com readers are all over the world...in the US, in India, in the UK, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Australia, the Ukraine and Africa...and more. My goal is to continue sharing my determinations, hearing about yours, and forging the path for Kosen Rufu in this world. 

THANK YOU for telling me this blog introduced you to chanting and got you connected to the SGI. Thank you for telling me this blog got you RECONNECTED to the SGI. Thank you for your support and love all these years. My love and support goes right back at you! You know you can always reach me at chantforhappiness@gmail.com, but if I don't respond immediately please email me again. 

I thought I'd share a sweet note I got from a reader, posted today, on a blog post she was reading from three years ago: 

"Dear Jamie, at this point, your post is over three years old. As I sit here on my sofa, crying over my broken heart, I want you to know that your message is still being heard by people that need it. Thank you for helping me feel that I'm not alone."  
Comment for the post "Healing a Broken Heart"

Today, 3/14/17, I chanted 8 hours of daimoku...to dig deeper...to change more karma...to continue to use my life as a brilliant beacon of hope. Here is a reprint of one of my most popular posts. Please feel free to share it, but put my Chantforhappiness.com and Jamie Lee Silver on anything you share, okay? Thanks! 

11 Tips for Chanting Joyfully 
for Longer Times:

From Chantforhappiness.com by Jamie Lee Silver - 

When I first began chanting in 1985, a leader told me our lives and karma can be compared to a glass with dirt at the bottom. The dirt represents the karma that exists inside our lives. She said when you start to chant you stir up that dirt and see it swirling around...and if you want to really dig deep and clear it out, you might want to chant a Daimoku Toso (chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for an hour or longer). 

Note: No one ever HAS to chant a long toso. Please don't think you are not a "good" Buddhist if you don't want to, or can't chant for long periods of time. There is no prescription for chanting. We just do our best! I do tosos when I have huge challenges, or to join the SGI when we are having big movements. The longest toso I ever chanted was 12 hours before the 2010 Rock the Era events for the youth division. Four youth division joined my district in the following month!

As always, these are my insights. I'm an enthusiastic SGI member, but I don't represent the SGI in an official capacity in this blog. 


1. Give Yourself Some Credit! Go YOU! 
Realize that what you are about to do...chanting longer than usual ~ doing a Daimoku Toso has profound significance for your life. Give yourself credit for this worthy goal. 

2. Write your goal or goals. 
(Some of these goals may occur to you naturally as you're chanting) You may want to write yourself a fresh determination, also called PowerPrayer and connect your desire to the greater good...to the real difference you want to make in the world. 

Remember that you are a precious votary of the Lotus Sutra and when you break through, the energy is forever changed. You are paving the way for others to break through ~ Your Happiness is IMPORTANT! 

Example of a goal/determination/PowerPrayer:

"I am determined to have the most beautiful, loving relationship so that I can totally inspire other people that great relationships are possible ...I can show actual proof with my life, and be able to introduce others to this practice!

President Ikeda's guidance says you can chant to have 10,000 times more power in your prayer. So I usually dedicate some time to chanting to increase the power of my daimoku by 10,000 times! 

3. Have your favorite drinks close by.
...tea...water...soft drinks...whatever you like. 

4. Remember YOU are the Buddha! 
Do not beg favors from a 'higher power." You are the higher power. Remember, the Gohonzon cannot get down off the wall and do the Buddha's work in the world. YOU are the Gohonzon; it is inside your life. The Gohonzon is a reflection of the highest life condition that exists within your own life. So when you are chanting CLAIM what is yours! Tell your life what you want. And know that all real change comes from within. 
Chant to do your own Human Revolution.
When we change, our environment changes. 
Take responsibility for your life...not blame. Realize whatever you are going through, whatever is causing you to chant...it's your karma..not your FAULT. Chant to reach the root of that karma and pull it out of your life. THEN your life circumstances and environment will change to reflect it. You don't have to figure out the deeper cause, don't worry about getting it right. Just chant to change it! 

5. Put Your Phone AWAY or turn it off. Yes OFF! 

6. Keep Your Favorite Buddhist Study Material Close by
...whatever touches your heart when you read it. And if you find yourself losing focus open it up to any page you want. I have "For Today and Tomorrow" by Daisaku Ikeda next to me right now. I just opened it for you right now...I read "When we chant sonorous Daimoku, the sun rises in our hearts. We are filled with power. Compassion wells forth. Our lives are lit with joy. Our wisdom shines. All Buddhas and Buddhist deities throughout the universe go to work on our behalf. Life becomes exhilarating." Read your passage and get right back to chanting!!!

7. Invite others to chant with you! 

8. Have pen and paper handy. 
You'll want to write down those brilliant ideas that come into your mind while you're chanting. You'll also want to write down some of those pesky thoughts and reminders that keep coming back...things like "remember to buy dog food." Just write it down and eject it from your brain so you can focus on what really matters.

9. Take care of your body 
You may want to get up and stretch at the end of every hour. Keep fruit or a snack at hand for an hourly break. Put your electronics away. You are dedicating this time. It takes energy not to dilute it, and it is so important to stay focused! 

10. After you chant, write in your journal.

11. Welcome Obstacles!
Bear in mind, some obstacles might arise after your toso. And just say 
"Hello obstacles! I was expecting you!" 
When you take on the mission to change your karma for yourself and others you can compare it to turning your speedboat to HIGH. The faster you go, the more resistance you feel. 

Above all - Don't give up! You CAN change your problems into benefits. You ARE the Buddha! 

I am chanting for you to accomplish your goals and shine with happiness. But your prayers are the most important! 

I'd love to hear from those of you who have connected to the SGI through my blog! And send me your experiences. Every once in a while I will share an experience on the blog


I can be reached at chantforhappiness@gmail.com