Monday, April 16, 2018

Wisdom For Our TIme ~ Nam-myoho-renge-kyo

News from Our Kate  
Hi, 
Thank you for writing to me. Thank you for telling me how much these posts mean to you. I am beginning to blog again. Remember you can always look through the archives for PowerPrayers and inspiration.  

I am about to return to St. Pete from a trip to see Aaron in Phoenix and Kate Randolph in LA. Kate is now a year and a half into her brain tumor diagnosis and she is doing great! Three hours of daimoku a day really is helping her life-condition and her health. I wrote the following blog post last year, but I promise I will write again soon!


Kate's 40 year anniversary of practicing was last August. She has reached many of her personal goals, producing and staring in many plays, creating a sought-after arts program within the Los Angeles County school district, and having a wonderful relationship with her husband Hal, (who is a brilliant teacher)  and daughter Sarah, who recently graduated from Soka University of America.  

Kate's life condition is sky high and she has this wisdom for you. 

Kate says: "NOW is the time to wake up to joy. Now, more than ever, SGI members need to summon joy, forget complaining about anything, and wear a radiant smile on our faces. She says our smiles must radiate so brightly that light comes out of our fingertips and we glow as beacons so people can learn of the mystic law, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo from us, and be moved to happiness just by being in our presence.
 She says we must have joy to show the possibilities of life...JOY is a REQUIREMENT, not an afterthought, and it comes from our determination to summon it from within our lives and express it in our smiles, the pep in our step, and our lives themselves. We can do this! We can do this for ourselves, and by doing this we change the world." 

Kate echoed something I've said for years,  "Our smile is a cause, not an effect." we can't sit around waiting for joy to come into our lives. We must be joyful, and invite more. That's how it works! 

She said: "Joy's the leading edge. Wake up and be joyful, smile at the person next to you in bed, smile at the person next to you at the store, in the elevator, and at other drivers. BE Kosen-rufu in action!" 

"It's gotta be real, but you can also fake it till you make it. Put that smile on your face and you will spark your happiness. Try to be sad with a huge grin. It doesn't work so well!

Kate said "We have to go deeper into our own lives, and into the Buddha we are every day. We've gotta do this NOW. This is it. This is our time. We're ALIVE! whether we are 17 or 95. Grab the moment for all it's got and say "I am creating the deepest value that's ever been created. NOW. Right this moment. There's no other moment. here's no other person. How are we influencing the person next to us...it is our SMILE...beaming with joy...Joy!"

She said: "Stop complaining. NOW. It must be replaced, even if it's phony at first. It may feel phony but it will cause a shift inside your life.  And we have to keep going deeper and deeper into joy. There can't be a place at which we stop. we need constant movement...constantly going deeper." 

President Ikeda says:

"The relationships we have with people are a direct reflection of our inner state of life. To extend and deepen our human relationships is to expand our state of life."

Daisaku Ikeda, from Ikedaquotes.org, under Relationships

_________________________________________________





Tuesday, February 6, 2018

What does Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo mean, and why do we chant it?


What does Nam-myoho-renge-kyo mean, 
and why do we chant it? 

By Jamie Lee Silver of ChantforHappiness.com - 

(You can subscribe by putting your email in the box to the right. 
Translate button is at the top right.)

The literal translation of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is:


"I fuse my life 
with the Mystic Law
 of cause and effect 
through sound vibration." 

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo 
is the title of the Lotus Sutra, 
the Buddha's highest teaching 
that declares  
ALL people possess the Buddha Nature...
all people ARE Buddhas...
and we can access our own Buddhahood ~ our inherent wisdom, determination, power to take the best action for our lives while benefiting others, sense of vitality and ability to make a difference. 
We can create fulfillment, happiness, 
and the strength to turn 
EVERY POISON INTO MEDICINE 
~by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. 

That's it. We don't need to change our diets, memorize lists of paths, change our lifestyles, shave our heads, wear robes, or "purify our desires." This form of Buddhism is radically different than most forms you may have encountered. SGI (Soka Gakkai Buddhism is accessible to ALL. 

AND the most important aspect of our prayer is to do our own human revolution...to change the very core of our lives...change our karma, and by doing so, change the world around us as well. 
We chant for "Kosen-Rufu," a world of respect for all life, and for all who are suffering to be happy. Through our own happiness, we create happiness for all. We can all win in life together. 

When we chant, we harness the energy that is our birthright. And we chant twice a day, every single day, to get and keep our lives in rhythm. 

When we are in rhythm we are in the right place at the right time... to find out about and get the job...or to meet the man of our dreams...or to protect our child from danger. When we are in rhythm, life isn't so much of a struggle as it is a joy...we see the beauty in everything and we feel our lives overflowing with appreciation. 

In fact, we view obstacles themselves as benefits, as strange as that may sound....because obstacles make us chant more, and when we chant more we draw even higher life conditions and deeper satisfaction into our lives. 

What can we chant FOR? 
Anything. Make sure to write your list, and rewrite it when you achieve those goals. Ultimately, our goal is to change our own selves...to overcome our doubt and negativity, and to experience life as the Buddhas we are. When WE change, our environment changes. We are all interconnected. 

We chant for others, 
we chant for our planet, 
our countries, and ourselves. 
We can chant for whatever our desire may be...even if it might not be the "right" desire for us. In the act of chanting, we will change our karma and our desires themselves will naturally begin to shift. We will open our lives to the deeper wisdom within...the deeper yearning, the REAL desires that we have forgotten or given up on. We will grow. We will prosper and we will blossom. 

We will gain the wisdom of the right action to take - because ACTION springs from wisdom. 

The challenge is...we need to DO it. We have to chant to bring all this rhythm and harmony out. And that's why we practice together as an organization, the SGI, The Soka Gakkai, our fellowship of friends who support each other, chant for each other, and create a new Soka family for each practitioner. We are so fortunate. 

We are in this life together...sharing our challenges and our successes. If you are not yet connected to the SGI please go to sgi-usa.com and find your local members. You will be so glad you did. 
If you live in or around St. Pete Beach Florida you can connect with me through chantforhappiness@gmail.com. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Some Powerful Quotes from Daisaku Ikeda:

THIS moment, this instant, is important, 
not some unknown time in the future. 
Today, this very day is what matters. 
You must put your whole being 
into the time that exists now. 
For future victory rests in the present moment.

BUDDHISM holds that 

everything is in a constant state of flux. 
Thus, the question is 
whether we are to accept change passively 
and be swept away by it, 
or whether we are to take the lead 
and create positive changes on our own initiative. 
While conservatism and self-protection
might be likened to winter, night and death, 

the spirit of pioneering and attempting to realize 
the ideals evokes the images of spring,
morning and birth.

Do gongyo and chant daimoku with a fresh spirit. 

And, filled with renewed vitality, 
build a history of accumulating fresh benefit.



All quotes from Ikedaquotes.org

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Changing Karma Right Now with TODAY'S Daimoku!

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Wow I have had a lot of challenges lately! 
I must be changing karma BIG TIME because I'm not giving up, no matter what! 
This month marks five years from the time my sweet son Ben first showed signs of the mental illness that would later cause him to take his life at 22 on July 2nd, 2015. 
Since that time, I have lived every day to turn poison into medicine, and create incredible value out of Ben's life and death. I've moved all by myself to St. Pete Florida, and I'm creating my new life, together with my beloved SGI members. Last month my dear, dear friend Deb got her Gohonzon and she encourages me every day. She LOVES this practice and deeply understands and studies. She's such a gift. Now I'm chanting for the youth, and to have at least one new shakubuku who goes to the September 23rd youth meeting in Miami (they are all over the country 50,000 strong!) 

So I'm putting my life to the test. I'm chanting for 50k youth to assemble in America on September 23rd, and I've attached my own goals to this noble goal. I'm already progressing on those goals. More to follow. What can you do to challenge yourself and refresh your practice, while chanting for the youth of the planet? No one can deny we need the youth to become aware of their own incredible potential more than ever!  

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! 

As the wise Kate Randolph would say "Go Deeper in your prayer" and I've chanted to know what she means by that. Just this week I've had so many challenges I didn't know where to begin my prayer. So I focused on unfolding the beautiful lotus petals inside my own life...accessing my beautiful Buddha Nature...believing in my Buddha nature...and knowing that, NO MATTER WHAT, my prayer is working! 

Whatever you're facing...whatever your karma. Please keep going and don't give up! 

As Daisaku Ikeda says: 

We are not defeated by adversity but by the loss of the will to strive. However devastated you may feel, so long as you have the will to fight on, you can surely triumph.

From Ikedaquotes.org

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

Thursday, January 4, 2018

You Possess a Glorious Future! Have the Spirit to Begin Anew!



A bad day doesn't mean a bad practice. We all have them...days when we feel we really can't connect to our source of strength via chanting and using the ultimate tool, the Gohonzon. (Scroll which represents our highest life condition. See sgi-usa.org for more explanation.) 

Do you ever sit down with clear intention to chant, but then get interrupted, or just not be able to really give it your all? This happens to the best of believers...to every single one of us. (If it NEVER happens to you, please write me and tell me your secret.) 

And the important thing is not to think "oh, this really doesn't work...or I should just give up...what's the use anyway? I can't chant this morning, so I won't try tonight", and suddenly tomorrow comes and it's too hard to chant that day too?

Here's the slippery slope. 

And the antidote, I believe, is to treat every gongyo as the sacred session with your own life that it truly is. If you can't do it in the morning, or you don't feel like you were able to feel that connection...well, in the evening, make another determination and don't fall off the bandwagon as they say. And if that doesn't work, make the determination to start the next day with a bright and fresh gongyo and daimoku.

Aahhhh, when you do this continually, and never concede defeat, your life will shine!

Daisaku Ikeda says, in Faith Into Action, page 146, under "Perseverance":

"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. 
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 worry about the past. 
We must always have the spirit to begin anew 
"from this moment,"
to initiate a new struggle each day."

Friday, December 29, 2017

Lighting the Lamp of Hope from Florida!





Hello, Hello! 

It's been a busy, busy Christmas season filled with travels, parties and my fantastic new job. It is such a thrill to help families with their loved ones who need care. I love my job! I am just having a blast with my new life in my new city. 

Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the source and power of every fantastic moment in my life. Every morning I chant. Every evening I chant. And THIS month one of my dearest new friends received her Gohonzon! She's so inspiring! My friend Deb is so excited about this practice. She's been through a lot this year, losing both her parents within three months of each other. 

And from the moment she started chanting she could feel the power in her life. She could feel herself surrounded by all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas in the universe. We set up a spectacular altar for her using a beautiful piece of furniture she already owned, and a new Butsudan. And you know what? Every day she inspires ME even more. Doing shakubuku is so amazing. The minute you shakubuku someone THEY start encouraging your practice! 

This Christmas season was especially sweet. Last year at this time I had to move, and I had a broken foot, and it was just my second Christmas since Ben became eternal. This year I've been filled with appreciation every single moment. I appreciate this practice, my new and old friends, my health and my family. I feel the incredible surge of fortune in my life. 

Keep practicing, don 't give up, and turn every poison into medicine and you will make your life shine too! 

Please consider donating to the GoFUNDME campaign for my dear friend Kate who has brought so much to my life, and to the readers of this blog for many years. Kate is in her 40th year of practice and is battling a fierce form of brain cancer, and this money is needed for her care.  Here's the link: 

https://www.gofundme.com/help-Kate-fight-brain-cancer

Friday, December 8, 2017

12 Quotes on Strengthening Our Lives by Daisaku Ikeda


The struggle of life is, and always will be, a struggle against your own weaknesses. Will you become cowardly and think, "I can't do this. I'm certain to fail"? Or will you challenge the difficulties that lie ahead with the conviction, "I am strong. And I can become stronger still"? Your destiny in life will vary greatly depending on the spirit that you maintain.

Resolving to take action is proof that you are progressing. Even if you have the tendency to make a determination but only stick to it for two or three days, just keep renewing that determination. Then you will become the kind of person who can persevere and reach their goals.

One cannot become a starring player in life if one is easily swayed by one’s emotions over every little thing. Strength of character lies in performing the drama of life with courage and confidence, practicing self-reflection and self-control under any circumstances.

When we decide to live each instant fully, with all our might, to live true to ourselves and make the present moment shine, we discover and bring forth immense and unimagined strength.

In life when we feel we have reached a limit, that is when the true battle begins. Just when you despair and think it is impossible to go any further, will you become apathetic, or will you say it’s not over and stand up with an unyielding spirit? The battle is decided by this single determination.

Whether we regard difficulties in life as misfortunes or whether we view them as good fortune depends entirely on how much we have forged our inner determination. It all depends on our attitude or inner state of life. With a dauntless spirit, we can lead a cheerful and thoroughly enjoyable life. We can develop a “self” of such fortitude that we are able to look forward to life’s trials and tribulations with a sense of joy.

Just being good-natured is not enough. If you are good-natured but fail to stand up to injustice, you cannot protect anyone. Instead, you will tend to be taken lightly, enabling those who perpetrate injustice to only grow stronger.

Every hardship is an opportunity to strengthen ourselves, to temper our life and make it shine with greater luster.

Even if things don’t unfold the way you expected, don’t be disheartened or give up. One who continues to advance will win in the end.

Truly strong people are not arrogant. Cowardice on the other hand causes arrogance. Cowards hide behind their own power and authority.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Excellent Family-Karma-Changing Experience

  

Hi….this  is Surashree. I am a part of Bsg family from last year. I  belong to a small city Raipur.  My relationship with my parents  has a void as both my parents  and  grandparents  were working and  maids took care of us. As parents did not have any time I always held a grudge  against them also felt  alone and frustrated. Also from childhood I was a stubborn person and a loner who avoided  people. When I completed my schooling all these qualities surfaced even more . My sister was facing the same issues. She suffered from obesity and was always  irritable. Till date, she has no  friend. Sometimes she used to speak very harshly. And I’ve seen her crying too. My sister and I always had problems with each other.  I am also suffering from a skin disorder. Overall, We were facing deep relationship karma within the family.
The first person from our family who encountered the Nichiren Buddhism was my elder sister. She introduced my mother too.  I went to Nagpur for my Graduation. More than studies to get  away from  parents. When I was in Nagpur, Didi and Maa both started practicing Nichiren Buddhism and each time I  returned home on vacations, I always noticed some improvement in my family environment. Everyone started taking responsibilities rather than blaming each other. I saw my sister becoming calmer and mature; and my mother became more serious about the family.
Still being a stubborn person, I used to fight repeatedly blaming my parents for never having time for me. One day my mother said sorry to me for not spending much time with us. My mother told me that if you want your karma to change, accept the hard realities of my life. This is only way that move towards happiness. After this, our family bonding  grew stronger , though  She also told me about the practice, but I ignored it.
Almost  8 years after this incident, When I saw huge victories in my mothers life, I thought of giving this practice a try. I seriously wanted change in my life. I was struggling with my office responsibilities, and I was tired of being alone also  very confused about the  course of my  life . As a girl in mid 20s, I thought It is better to spend some time with the family  so in spite of others opposition I resigned from my job and returned back to my hometown. I felt very  positive  that everything will be good from here on-wards.
I'm happy to report that it was then when I started practicing. I came across lines from Sensei Ikeda, ”You must have impossible dreams and then the courage to challenge them so that you can prove the power of the Mystic Law.”  Buddhism is the mirror that perfectly reflects the depths of our lives.” Soon  I realized that I never put any efforts in my relationships. I always behaved selfishly.  It was due to my own karma that I have suffered. And Buddhism is the way through which I can change my destiny.
Gradually, My relationship with my mother became good, though my  relationship with sister and father was not that great. I determined change the relationship with my father. He  is a very calm and fun loving person. He had issues with me due to my stubborn behavior. He  always wanted us to pursue music as career as we hail from a music family. It was only  after resigning, I started working on small stage shows with my father and helped him emotionally. After sometime, he started trusting me and our relationship grew stronger.
One day while studying, I came across gosho lines from the chapter, On Prolonging Life, “One day of life is more valuable than all the treasures of the universe, so first you must muster sincere faith.”  It explained how we can have an influence on our environment by practicing Buddhism and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. I realized avoiding  problems will not help me. So, I strongly determined few things:
First, I would no longer hold my life back through fear and insecurity.
Second, No matter what, I’ll  strengthen my faith as much as possible for which I started reading about the concepts or books related to Nichiren Buddhism as much as possible.
Third, I determine to always put the concept of “ten worlds” in my daily life and to constantly check myself not to fall towards lower 4 worlds. Anytime time if I feel I'm spending more time in any of the lower worlds, I try to pull myself out from the situation and try to work on myself to become better. Sometimes I fail, but my practice gave me the strength to try again.
Fourth, I decided that I will have no hatred or anger towards anyone. Whenever I do, I confess it front of the Gohonzon and pray to give me the strength to overcome these negative feelings. Also, If I am angry on someone or I dislike someone, I pray for his/her happiness and their Buddha nature to emerge. I’ve experienced that if you chant for the happiness of the person who made you unhappy, the environment works for you, and everything will fall into place making your situation and those relations smoother than before.
Sensei says, “Dialogue requires heart-to-heart connection. You can have dialogue in your heart with anyone anywhere at any time, living or dead. The first step to touch another person's heart is “Appreciation”. Chant to develop appreciation. The path of the Bodhisattva lies in developing and expressing appreciation. Appreciation and joy multiply our good fortune. Complaint and negativity erase it”. After reading these lines, I took my fifth determination that I will always try to do heart to heart dialogue with everyone around me. I’ll appreciate every effort made by anyone surrounding me, no matter who that person is or which community he belongs to.
It is my observation that Even if any practitioner applies simple & small concepts from the book, “Basics of Buddhism”, One will surely receive tremendous benefits, conspicuous and inconspicuous both.
I got married last year. As a newly married, I started facing adjustment issues in the new environment, which even lead to arguments between me and my husband Saurabh. The drastic lifestyle-change became a huge challenge for me.  My practice gives me the courage to see the obstacles in life as an opportunity to change my karma. Instead of blaming others, I began to feel more confident in coping with problems in life and learned to live more creatively. My life has changed and become better since I started practicing this Buddhism. My husband and I are now great friends. He helps me in household chores and other things.  sometimes,  in office or in personal lives I face difficulty  I remember  Sensei Ikeda’s words, “Even if things don’t work out the way you hoped or imagined, when you look back later, you’ll understand on a much more profound level that it was the best possible result. This is tremendous inconspicuous benefit.”
I am happy to report that Environment in my family is much better and peaceful than what it was 12 years back. We all have very good & friendly relation with each other. I determine that I'll pray for my sister’s health & happiness and I’ll struggle and change my family karma completely. I’ll win no matter what…..

Lastly I would like to thank all my district members who always encouraged me whenever I needed. I would also like to thank my husband  who always supported me . I  thank my mom who introduced me into this practice and changed our lives completely.