Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What Does Nam-myoho-renge-kyo Mean and Why Do We Chant it? ~ Please Share!


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

By Jamie Lee Silver of ChantforHappiness.com

The literal translation is:



"I fuse my life 
with the mystic law of cause and effect 
through sound vibration." 

It is the title of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha's highest teaching that declares that ALL people possess the Buddha Nature...all people ARE Buddhas...and we can access this nature by calling it forth in our lives using this phrase. 

Being a Buddha - 
is tapping the river of life that runs through ALL life - summoning the mystic law 
by 
realizing we ARE the Mystic Law. 
We not only chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo ~ we ARE Nam-myoho-renge-kyo ~the Mystic Law. 

I like to think of it as "I am one with the rhythm of all life." It is the rhythm that exists within all of life...the reason for the turning of the tides...the reason for the seasons...the atoms that exist within every single cell...from an elephant to a spec of dust. Everything possesses this connectedness...this rhythm.  
It is all encompassing and contains the wisdom and energy of all of life itself...the whole universe. 

When we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo we tap into that energy and access it for our lives...directed towards our desires. In this practice it's okay to have desires. More than okay! We don't have to alleviate them. Desires make us who we are and lead us to chant. 

When we chant we change the internal life within our lives. We change the core and fiber of our lives. We change our karma. And when we make that internal change, our ENVIRONMENT (meaning everything that is not within our own skin, our jobs, our relationships, our sense of self, everything we experience and think) ALL of that changes to reflect our internal change. We call this "Human Revolution."

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. 

We chant for something and get it or something better. We get access to internal happiness and strength that cannot be blown away by any event or obstacles. 

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. That's right, anything. 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 have to DO it. We have to chant to bring all this rhythm and harmony about. 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. 

I hear from people all over the world, and some have strong SGI groups in their towns and others are completely alone. I love that we can connect through the power of the internet. From the moment I began chanting almost 30 years ago I have had the deep desire to share this practice, this practice that WORKS, with everyone who is looking for the real, practical means of creating happiness and results in their lives. 

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. 

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.

We are Living Lives of Great Fortune!


In the October 10th, 2014 World Tribune there is an experience entitled "Creating True Wealth." It illustrates to us one more time that true fortune is not money. 

The family in the experience had perfect timing for a loan while buying their house and all kinds of financial fortune with college tuition for their son.  

True fortune is what we are building with our life force, 
our devotion to the mystic law 
and our regular contributions to the SGI. 

Yes, I know this idea frustrates some people, but I have found it to be true with my own life - that consistent contribution creates consistent fortune. I myself choose to donate a certain portion of every paycheck. The minute my pay hits my account,  I donate via the website. And I feel the effects of this in my life all the time. I feel it creates a vacuum for more money and fortune to come into my life. 

Although I am not wealthy yet, I feel protected. I am not afraid. I am never "on the edge" and my life and fortune is strong. I am determined to continue having breakthroughs in prosperity but in the mean time I do not worry. I am not stressed. 

The "Creating True Wealth" experience includes this quote from My Dear Friends in America, 
President Ikeda quotes Nichiren Daishonin

"Nichiren and his followers who chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo are the people of great virtue and influence  (of whom the Sutra speaks) who have gained the supreme cluster of jewels when they least expected it" (Gosho zenshu, p. 819)

President Ikeda goes on:


"Therefore, you who have embraced this great law are wealthy people rich in life force who possess good fortune surpassing the wealth of even the world's richest people" (third edition, pp. 35-36)


Whatever your struggle...whatever your challenges - as long as you do not give up you will be victorious. Today I chanted again with strong determination and vision...appreciation and optimism. With this in mind and in practice we will all win at all our endeavors! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Don't Give Up on YOUR DREAMS No Matter What!



Many of us have years of chanting under our belts. I started in 1985 and have never stopped. Sure, there have been times I have had to skip gongyo, or just chant three Nam-myoho-renge-kyos (sansho), but I have always taken my practice seriously and concentrated on having the best possible practice and outcomes. Why not? This is my life. Chanting puts me in control. 

And I just have to say that I am walking proof that this practice works...that our prayers are answered from deep within our OWN lives. We don't have to beg or plead to a god. We don't have to feel as if are "bad." Our prayers are answered. We can live lives of glorious happiness amidst the storms of everyday life. 

Why is that? Because we tap into the level of life itself...the unseen deepest part of us that is connected to all that is. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is a powerful, powerful rhythm of all of life. 

For all these years, and for all my life I have had the deepest, purest desire to love and be loved. I have been open to discovering what it is about myself that has prevented this from happening. I did marry and have two great sons...but the great love that I knew was possible...that I saw in select others...was still just a dream. 

For several years I've been doing a lot of online dating. I've met some interesting and fun men. My philosophy is that each man I date brings me closer and closer to the love I've imagined. I take each one lightly and tell myself, ok if this one doesn't work out, the next one will be really special. 

Recently a man came into my life who is different from all the rest. We look at each other in a different way. We laugh and laugh together. This weekend he took me on a grand escape to hike in the woods and get to know each other. I know it's early in our relationship, but we are having so much fun. When the time is right I will post a picture. 

It's been a long journey and I have never given up. I have never said "Ah Daimoku won't work for this." I have never complained that somehow there is no man for me. No. I have trusted myself and stayed true to the vision I've created. I have pages of pictures I've torn from magazines of happy couples laughing all over the world. Each time I look at them I know I will have this fun, laughing, happy relationship. I have kept my Daimoku fresh for this goal forever. 

Whatever you are facing...whatever your deepest desire, don't complain, don't give up! Keep reading President Ikeda's guidance and forging courageously on without complaint. There is NO DREAM you cannot have! 

Friday, October 24, 2014

PowerPrayer to Make More Friends

Friendships are so important! 

One of you wrote in asking for a PowerPrayer to Make More Friends. 

The following PowerPrayer is the one I used when I was lonely and lived far from my family. I knew I had to do something to make more friends. It absolutely works! 
Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo works! 

I am now rich in friendships and I make more friends every day. My friendships are easy and fun - no drama - all love! 

First, a quote from Daisaku Ikeda:
"Those who make many friends have greater opportunities for growth and self-development; they make society a better place and lead happy, satisfying lives. In every situation, human relations ~ communication and personal interactions ~ are vital. We need to initiate and nurture friendships and contacts with many people, both within the organization and in society at large. Our lives will open and be enriched to the extent that we do so." 
Faith in Action page 221

PowerPrayer to Make More Friends
By Jamie Lee Silver from ChantforHappiness.com


Life!

I am ready and willing to change in any way 
to BE a friend
and to attract new friends into my life. 
If there is anything I’m doing 
to stop new friendships let me see it and change it now!

I am ready and willing to change in any way to attract new friends. 

I am ready to make new friends.
I see myself now 
standing tall, walking with a buoyant step
and enjoying going with the flow.
My eyes are sparkling with happiness.
Everyone I meet wants to get to know me better
and I really like the people who are coming into my life.
Making plans feels really effortless now
I love to be invited and to invite people
to do all kinds of wonderful things.
I enjoy life and I enjoy friendships!
The people I'm attracting now
are really positive, vibrant and upbeat people
just like me!


Monday, October 20, 2014

Thoughts on Beginning My 30th Year


Entering 30 years? 30 Years of Chanting. 
I have a lifetime of chanting now.  

In 29 years..

I have given birth to two wonderful and sweet baby boys. 
I have watched them grow into men, 
behind them all the while, 
looking to do what could be done to support them, 
what only I, as their Mommy can do. 
I have shared their wins, and shared their losses. 
I beam with pride to see two such fine young men...
men who did not exist until I (and their father) walked on this planet. 
...Men who came from my Daimoku for their lives and their mission. 

I have helped many learn to chant, and learn to get results and not give up! 

I have overcome depression.
I have brought my life to one of fulfillment and happiness. 
I have owned houses, and sold houses and traveled all over the world. 
I have gone from feeling alone to feeling rich with friendships. 
I can gone from feeling unloved to feeling loved. 
I have built my treasures of the heart and live a life of gratitude. 

I have had a fine and fun career, and am currently giving my speech "Growing Bolder - Tools for Thriving at Every Age." all over. I present the latest research that shows that life gets BETTER as we grow older - as long as we remain optimistic and fill our lives with optimism, strength and vigor! 

I have had many kind Buddhists "raise" me in this practice. 
Kate Randolph, Dolores Hepburn, Gene O'Connell, Amos Snell, Terri Wong, John Doskow - and many more...all helped me lay the foundation for my life. 
They helped me lay a foundation so strong that nothing, not even my worst nightmares could shake. 

And I owe my heart, my spirit and my breath to my mentor, Daisaku Ikeda.
I know many people can be confused about the mentor/disciple relationship, 
but I have my own understanding. 
Daisaku Ikeda is the example of the person I want to be, 
the person I am inside. 
He is ME when I do not feel fear. 
ME when I am not held back by my own doubts. 
ME when I am healthy and shining in all my glory. 
ME when I am wise and have studied and am thinking of others, not just myself. 
He is not a God.  
He is an example of a fully-expressed MAN. 
A man who has lived every day with wisdom. 
A man who has given his all...and continues to give his all even in his later years. 

When I chant to see through his eyes, and feel with his heart, and think with his mind ~  I am really chanting to awaken my OWN highest potential. 
That, for me is the key to the Master Disciple Relationship. It is simple. It is one of love and connection. And even if I never sit by his side, if we never share a smile again, I know that my prayers to connect with his spirit, and with his deep desire for peace and happiness on the planet, I know that we are together in heart...in this...and in every lifetime. And I know these prayers, and this connection help make me a better and more fully-expressed person. 

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo! 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

16 Secrets and A PowerPrayer to Rid Your Life of Despair!



You Can Do it!
16 Tips and a PowerPrayer for overcoming despair

It is possible to permanently change your basic state of life. I know. I did it. And I know countless other Buddhists  who have. Occasionally I may still feel sad. But I never, ever experience the sadness I used to live with most of my life. And I am not on any medication. (Not that you should just stop taking yours. Buddhism is common sense. Please chant for the wisdom to know what to do, and work with your medical practitioner if you are on medications)

Jamie’s 16 tips to rid your life of Despair:
by Jamie Lee Silver from ChantforHappiness.com

Tip #1
Chant as much as you can. 
Ask someone to chant with you!
Get support! 

Tip #2:
Study Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. 
There are a few quotes from the Gosho I've embedded in my life: 
"Suffer what there is to suffer and enjoy what there is to enjoy, and continue chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo no matter what happens...then you will experience boundless joy from the law."
From Happiness in This World, Writings of Nichiren Daishonin 

One of my favorite quotes from Daisaku Ikeda (from the book Learning from the writings. The Hope-Filled Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin. Page 277:

"Seen from the perspective of Buddhism, 
everything has profound meaning. 
There is no need whatsoever to vacillate 
between elation and despair at each turn of events. 
There is no such thing as a storm that will 
continue blowing and wreaking havoc without end. 
In the same way, 
there is no hardship that will continue forever. 
There are clear days and there are rainy days. 
If we are swayed by our environment, 
rejoicing one moment and despairing the next 
amid ever-changing circumstances, 
then we will not be able to accomplish 
a true revolution in our state of life.
The important thing 
is to always believe in the mystic law 
and to enter the powerful orbit of faith, 
practice and study. 
Entering the orbit - the orbit of human revolution 
and of changing our karma - 
is the way to construct a life 
of good fortune and happiness 
that will endure throughout eternity. 
No matter what happens, 
we will enjoy the unerring protection of the Gohonzon. 
Instead of drawing conclusions about the world of faith 
from a superficial viewpoint, 
we need to calmly discern 
the true reality and significance of things 
and keep pressing forward. 
With the passage of time, 
it will definitely become clear
 that everything has unfolded 
in the best possible manner." 
When I feel despair ~ I write. I write all the sadness out. Sometimes I write to my Mom who died several years ago. I just write what I am feeling and it makes me feel better. 

Tip #3:
I take plenty of Vitamin D. For me, sometimes I just need more Vitamin D. 
Also I drink a LOT of water! 

Tip #4:
Encourage someone else! Give a stranger a Nam-myoho-renge-kyo card. Talk to someone you know about past benefits you've had. Doing this will remind you of how you've broken through in the past, and you'll gain more hope for the present. 

Tip #5:
Take a bath with salt in it...the more salt the better! 

Tip #6: 
Clean your Butsudan and altar area. The altar in your home is a reflection of your own life. When you treat it with respect, your environment and all the people in it treat you with respect. If you do not yet have a Gohonzon you can still set up an altar where you chant with offerings to your life...fruit, water, a plant, candles, and incense if you like. 

Tip #7: 
Call a true friend. And if you don't have one, see the PowerPrayer for making friends. 
This is how I made so many friends. 

Tip #8: 
As soon as you can, get back in front of the altar to chant. And don't be afraid to cry in front of the Gohonzon or while you are chanting. heck, for the first couple of years I cried a lot when I chanted. It was as if my life had to release years and years of  emotion. 

Tip #9: 
Move your body. Go for a walk! Get your energy and your blood flowing! 

Tip #10:
Study~
Read the Gosho or President Ikeda's writings! When you read these things - read them with your life. Choose a phrase or a passage and chant to realize its deeper meaning with your life. Chant to share the heart of Daisaku Ikeda. He has a heart beating with the fervent drum of Kosen Rufu (World Peace and the happiness of all beings). 

Tip #11:
Write! I write everything. It helps to clear my mind. I write fresh determinations. I write letters to my loved ones. I write poetry. 


Tip #12:
Change “Why me?” to “Yes me!”
Change what you are saying to yourself, and the questions you are asking yourself in your mind. If your constant refrain is "Why me? How can this be happening to me again?" it is important to change that thought. Replace it with a more positive thought. You chose that thought, you have the power to choose a better one! How about "Things are getting better and better for me, I just know it...sometimes it is hard to see, but I am definitely on my way!" or "Don't give up (insert your name) it's always darkest before the dawn!" 

Tip #13:
Breathe deeply. When we are feeling low we tend to breathe in a really shallow way, and it adds to our depression to breathe this way. Sit down and focus on your breathing. Fill your body with air. Picture that air as a bright light coming down from the top of your head...slowly moving down your body as your grey depressive mood seeps out your fingers and toes. Try this. It really does work! 

Tip #14:
Smile! Go look at yourself in the mirror and smile. Look in your eyes and smile. Did you know it is almost impossible to be depressed when you are smiling?

Tip #15: 
Look up! That's right, look up. Tony Robbins, the inspirational success coach and mentor says that looking down has been proven to actually bring people down, while looking up has the opposite effect. 

Tip #16:
PowerPrayer to Rid your Life of Despair
by Jamie Lee Silver, Chantforhappiness.com 
Read before chanting to fuel your mind!

"Gohonzon (my life itself!) 
Now is the time for me to rise from these emotions 
so I can show actual proof of the power of this law. 
NOW is the time for me 
to vanquish these feelings of hopelessness. 
I will NO LONGER allow these feelings to run my life. 
NOW I CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY! 
I am a precious child of the Buddha, 
I will not stand for these feelings anymore. I
 vow to win in all aspects of my life. 
I vow to win!" 








Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Falling in Love with the Gohonzon - Our Life Itself!



A few weeks ago I wrote that I got guidance for love, and was told to chant to the Gohonzon as if it's a lover...to fall in love with the Gohonzon. This made so much sense to me. The Gohonzon, the scroll we focus on, is, after all a representation of our own highest life condition. My Gohonzon is my life itself. All my life I have been working towards falling more and more in love with my own life. I know that our lives are a reflection of who we are inside, and doesn't it make sense to focus our energies on deeply, deeply loving ourselves. 

So I have been chanting this way for a few weeks and I feel it reflected everywhere in my life. I am loving myself and taking good care of my self. I am speaking kinder words to myself. I am encouraging myself in my mind, more than ever before. I am talking to myself like I would to my best friend.  

So I feel better than ever. Even as the gloom of November approaches - it is very gloomy here in Chicago today. I feel a bright light burning in my heart...a heart of hopefulness, a heart of love, a bright spark burning brighter and stronger than ever before. 

Yesterday as I was chanting I was just pouring out my love for the Gohonzon. I was thinking as I was chanting "Gohonzon, I love you so much! You have been with me these past 30 years! It is almost our 30th year together. Thank you MY LIFE! I love MY LIFE! I love you Gohonzon. I love you my life." 

It is for each of us to take this journey alone. How deeply can we summon and generate love and appreciation for our own lives? What will change in our lives and in the world when we do?