Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Determinations!

Hello! We're still chanting two hours a day!
Melissa and I, we're not stopping.
It's just too wonderful floating on this cloud of daimoku.
Tomorrow I officially end my million diamoku campaign...and start my next one.
I still have goals to be met...and we have the state meet coming up for Ben.
My determination for the Downers Grove District is so clear...I am determined that the district grow into the most vibrant and happy district anywhere. I'm chanting for strong, courageous youth to join us...
and for people whose hearts are yearning for solutions to come out of the woodwork, hear what we have to say and decide to try chanting for themselves.
We already have one wonderful and courageous person starting to chant...I can't wait to hear his results. Tomorrow night, he gets his Gohonzon!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Great Obstacles = Great Benefits!!!

Wow! Suddenly I have lots of challenges! Congratulations to me! That's what we Buddhists sometimes say to each other when we are faced with huge obstacles: Congratulations! Huge obstacles mean HUGE BENEFITS!!! Without obstacles we could never break through!

Great benefits are already happening. I got two deposits for move ins today at my retirement center...and, best of all, a friend came tonight to the Buddhist meeting and decided to start chanting. He's going to get his Gohonzon next week. It was such a beautiful meeting...so honest...so heartfelt...so full of what this practice is about...the power to draw the power of the universe right into your life. It rocks! The members who came tonight rock! Daimoku Rocks!!!!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Well, it's the evening of the first day of my 25th year of chanting.

Have I accomplished my goals for this day? Mostly yes...and for the ones I have not accomplished I am working on creating fresh determinations.

I am happier, much happier than when I began the blog and chanting 2 hours a day. I feel stronger...less afraid...more determined. I AM rooting out the unhappiness that has always been plaguing me...I am setting my emotions on a higher level of happiness. I have raised my life condition.

That's huge.

My professional life is flourishing...I am embarking on a new project to help students spend 10 minutes with 10 professionals asking them questions and doing career research in an afternoon. (I'm working on a catchier title...it's basically speed networking, but I don't want to call it that) I wish I had this kind of opportunity as a student! I never knew what I wanted to be. I was lucky that I received such wonderful sales training in my first job..."Just be their friend" Al told me, and suddenly I was a record breaking sales person! Phew, at least I could do that! And I'm glad I majored in Creative Writing...I use that skill in business every day.

My kids are great...my life is so good.

But I still have challenges and I am still keeping up the 2 hours of daimoku and the blog.

As of today, I have chanted for more than half the time I have been alive! And my dear friend Kindred started chanting today! YAAAAYYY that's the best "birthday" gift ever!


Monday, October 19, 2009

"Erev" Jamie's Gohonzon Birthday!

I've been studying and chanting...and preparing my home and my life physically...clearing my cabinets in my Butsudan room...clearing my bedroom,,,for tomorrow...my Gohonzon Birthday.

Honoring my Gohonzon Birthday is the same as honoring myself. My Gohonzon is a representation of my own highest life condition. I celebrate my life!

Today I gloried in the Arboretum...taking my time...looking at the brilliant blue sky (yaaaayyy!) through golden leaves...watching the ripples of the breeze on Lake Marmo. It was a perfect fall day. The first of the season. I felt like the entire world was celebrating my birthday with me.

What else will I do on my Gohonzon Birthday? Call the people who helped "raise" me as a baby Buddhist...Delores Hepburn, Dianne Douglas, Amos Snell, Gene O'Connell, and Kate Randolph. Yes, it does take a village to raise...a Buddhist! Each person in my Buddhist "family" mirrors my own life...shows me what is possible...and goes and proves it. Dolores came over to my house every day in the morning to help me get in the habit of doing morning gongyo, and always inspired me with her brilliant life. I watched Gene O'Connell raise herself from a nurse to the CEO of San Francisco General Hospital...we took turns supporting each other, that's the way it is with true friendships, isn't it? Kate and I talk almost every other week...I flew out to LA to see her one woman tour-de-force performance as Emily Dickinson...and Amos and Dianne were my first chapter leaders in the mid eighties. They made sure I had a solid foundation in faith. Others helped so much as well, John and Terri Doskow, Marge Richards, and all the members I was helping to raise. We all increase the power of the vibration of Kosen Rufu together!


Tomorrow I look forward to writing, reflecting, chanting, making new determinations and taking new steps in my one, precious life!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Appreciation

Such memorable times in our lives...Ben running so well...so fast...so strongly. At conference today he was in the lead most of the race and ended up in third...he was happy.

Last night was the Cross Country banquet where all the coaches (2 paid, 7 volunteer) and many of the runners get to express their appreciation for this magnificent program.

We stayed out very late and had such a great time...life itself...being sooo inspiring. Each one of the coaches appreciates having the opportunity to make a positive difference in these boys' lives. Just incredible. A real community of teamwork between the coaches, students, parents and families!

This morning's daimoku centered entirely on appreciation for my life, for this practice, and for several friends fighting illnesses.
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!

Winning in the Morning means you win ALL DAY!

Amazing day!
This morning I was fighting my own sadness and negativity big time...I mean...I really hate this rainy weather..it gets inside my bones and my emotions...and I literally cried through the first hour and a half of my two hours of chanting. Really. I took a brief inspiration break and read from the book ~ Lectures on "On Attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime" by Daisaku Ikeda. I read: "We should above all strive to SUMMON FORTH COURAGEOUS FAITH to overcome illusion without being defeated..." and I sat back down and pictured myself in the last leg of one of Aaron or Ben's races and as I was chanting I said to my life:

"I don't care how many times I feel hopeless...I don't care how many times I feel defeated...I KNOW these feelings are not the true me! I KNOW that I am the Buddha, and I will continue to SUMMON my faith until I no longer have doubts...until I no longer feel this intense sadness...I AM DETERMINED TO BRING FORTH MY OWN BUDDHA NATURE>>>>I AM THE BUDDHA!!! I am determined to see the results of this prayer in my day today...I am determined to WIN over my own negativity!!!!"

And by the time I got to my first event of the day I was sailing!!! It was a collaborative event that I had arranged between my company and our most important partner...and the presentation was terrific and spawned a series of other cool collaborative events that will benefit many people and take place over the next year! We gave birth to some cool stuff!

Then I stopped into a store for lunch and found out something I bought had gone on sale and they gave me a $60 refund! Perfect timing...chanting puts you in rhythm....

After that I attended a networking event sponsored by my university. We did speed networking with students talking about our careers, and sharing our experiences with them. It was awesome...and I came away with the determination to put together a program like this at my son's high school. I know exactly the steps to take to accomplish this. I am passionate about people doing what they love, and helping teenagers research their futures by meeting people in business...forming connections and learning about different fields. Woohoo!!

Then I picked up my Mom and we went to the Cross Country Banquet and a party after that. I just got home. (It's about 1:30am my time...pretty late for this early riser!) I'll save that story for another post! Nam Myoho Renge Kyo...tomorrow is conference for our runners! Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!!!!!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Do I have to be a Buddhist to try chanting?

Can you chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and be a Catholic, or a Jew, or any other religion?

YES!

Just think of chanting like you'd think of Meditation...it supplements your life, it doesn't tell you what to think...it's a tool.

That's what chanting is....a tool to a become happy, and to make your dreams and goals come true.

Just chant and see what happens in your life. But make sure to hook up to the Soka Gakkai and find some friends to help you. We act as mirrors to help and encourage each other.

GO to SGI-USA.org, or email me and I'll help you connect!

The Three Proofs

Just finished an awesome Buddhist meeting at my house! How do I know it was awesome? Everyone participated in the discussion...everyone left enthusiastically...everyone enjoyed it.

There were six people here. All of them are Soka Gakkai members. Next week we have a District meeting, and we've all prepared interesting thins to tell the guests. One member is explaining Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and the Gohonzon. Another is giving her personal experience of chanting.

We started chanting at 7:00, and finished a little after 8:30. Then we did some studying. We talked about the three proofs.

Each religion is verifyable by several proofs:

1. Does it go back to the original documents of its founders?

(Our practice goes back to the original Buddha's highest teaching ~ the Lotus Sutra.)

2. Does it make sense?

(Very important in life! The more you know about this practice, the more sense it makes. Yes, you are the universe itself, yes, all life really is interconnected, yes, making good causes creates good results...etc)

and....
the most important one of all....

3. Actual Proof!
Does it work?
Can you see and feel the RESULTS of practice in your life.

According to Nichiren Daishonin, that is the most crucial of all proofs. And doesn't that make sense? Why would we practice if we didn't see the results? What is the point of a practice if it cannot create results?

We all challenge our practice to show us actual proof...
how do we do this? By chanting with goals in mind. That is why I say over and over...make your list...be specific...what do you really want? Make your list now!

This morning I was reading a journal from a year ago and was really struck by how much more emotionally stable I am now. I AM achieving my goal of inner happiness no matter what the circumstances. I really am becoming the Buddha of Absolute happiness! I am achieving one of my most important goals.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

2 hours already done by 10am today!

Just finished chanting two hours at the Illinois Activity Center on Irving Park Rd. I led the daimoku for half an hour. It felt so good! As always I chanted for us to join prayers with Daisaku Ikeda for world peace...and for each person in the room to have a breakthrough during our time of chanting today.

At the moment the cause is made ~ the victory is assured!


I chanted to expand my speaking about this practice...and received several ideas for speeches and organizations to contact. I have such a passion for public speaking. I enjoy it so much and the room full of people just lights up.

I chanted for so many people and for my family...and I feel taller and stronger and hardier. I chanted for friends of the present and friends of the past and for our President Barack Obama. I feel he needs our prayers now more than ever. It is so easy for people to criticize and deride. Chanting for peace in our land and our world is something Nichiren Daishonin recommended in the Gosho...and it really makes so much sense. Whether we agree with our leader or not, chanting for their health and wisdom is a wise choice!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Everyone is Chanting

One of the best things about practicing Buddhism is chanting together as a family. Chanting together literally puts you in rhythm with the others. Even though Ben is a 16 year old teenager we have a great relationship and we chant together almost every day. When Aaron lived at home (he's at U of Illinois now) the three of us chanted regularly.

Today, Ben won a huge race. There were hundreds of kids in this race and dozens of teams. It was the West Aurora Stampede. Seeing him come in so strong at the end reminds me of how I feel when I'm nearing the end of my 2 hours of daimoku every day....I like to finish strong...really strong, and I picture Ben running into the finish line before anyone else...he always has to finish strong. Last week he had his picture in the Sun Times for coming in second...this week it was first!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Chanting 2 hours a day!

Wonderful!
I have just completed my 68th straight day of chanting Nam Myoho renge Kyo for 2 hours every day.

Why am I doing this?

I am about to enter my 25th year of Buddhist practice.

The Buddhism I practice is based on showing actual proof in your life...in other words...you get results from chanting. It is each practitioner's responsibility to achieve whatever results they want. We practice together in an organization called the SGI-USA...the Soka Gakkai (value creating society).

Each one of our prayers is a VOW to achieve our dreams.

Does everyone HAVE to chant 2 hours a day? Nooooooo!

I decided to do it because I'm about to start my 25th year of practice and wanted to use this event to really change some karma!

Over the years so many benefits have flowed from my practice...wonderful jobs, an invigorating career, my passion for public speaking (now I am loving speaking on Buddhism - let me know and I'll come to your group!) my wonderful children Aaron and Ben and the great family we have. I have chanted for so many friends, and seen the effects in their lives...I have bought houses and cars...

and the most important thing of all is that I can chant for other people and see the effects in their lives...and we can grow closer. I have reseolved all kinds of challenges in the work place, and on the home front, and within my own mind!

Every time I chant for someone's happiness I see a result. It's a wonderful thing to be able to chant for others!