Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Have Faith it will all work out!!!

It's just so amazing how things come together in a "myoho" way! 


Today it seems like everything I've ever feared is just an illusion (as it really is - only sometimes it feels real!)


For weeks I've been looking forward to these next few days with apprehension because it seems I was presented with an undoable task at work...with a due date of tomorrow. I fretted. I complained (no, I'm not proud of that!) I worried and lost sleep and I chanted, chanted, chanted...made causes and did my best to keep smiling and keep encouraging everyone around me. I also focused on the part of my job that makes me shine like the sun, and brings happiness to all those around me! 


And we get to the deadline week and I discover that no one in the country who has a similar job has achieved results in the area I thought was impossible...and the one area I really thought was going to go well - the computer system broke down for three days and we had to postpone the event anyway. So I am totally off the hook!


Honestly ...it feels like "Deus ex machina". You english majors should recognize that phrase. It's used to describe novels where suddenly everything magically resolves itself...literally "God from a machine...or God from a box." That's how I feel. Of course I know it has nothing to do with magic. It is all a result from my chanting and my good causes. Last night I even took the Buddhist exam here in Chicago. Many of us are taking that this month. 


And next week I have a huge success in the area of my career that I love. I've brought all three of my campuses in Chicago to participate in one big event that is going to be spectacular...a real service to the community and very great for the students! 


Another fantastic thing came about today too. I'm taking Aaron and Ben, my two Buddha boys, to California in May. (They were both born is San Francisco and we still have dear friends there) I'm calling it Aaron's victory lap for graduating at the top of his class at U of I and starting Medical school at Loyola (close to me!!) next year. We found out earlier this week that our favorite community race of all time is 3 days BEFORE we were scheduled to arrive in California. Darn, I thought...so close! And today I found out Ben has to take a course during the summer and needs to return earlier than our planned date...so I'm moving the trip up a few days and the three of us will do the infamous BAY TO BREAKERS race in San Francisco!!!! Thousands and thousands of people walk from the Bay all the way to the Ocean (You know San Francisco is only 7 square miles...and it's a peninsula, right?) So the boys will run and I'm about to call my Bay Area friends and find out who wants to walk. It's a crazy time. People dress in all kinds of costumes. We did it with the boys every year when they were little. They dressed as superheros. I really do think it's the reason we ended up with two star runners in the family!


So the next time you're thinking "Oh my goodness is this ever going to break through?" or "Why me?" just keep chanting keep chanting keep chanting and one day the clouds will open the results will appear and you will spend the next few days...weeks...months...chanting in appreciation! 


Don't give up whatever you do! Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

For those of you doing tozos (longer chanting sessions)...how is it going?

In case you don't know, a tozo is chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo for an extended time with a certain purpose in mind...a goal and a determination. 


How are your tozos going? Remember that you probably will not see the result the next day, but you HAVE MADE THE CAUSE and you definitely will get the result. There are two kinds of benefits, conspicuous and inconspicuous. Of course we all like to see the results right away, but inconspicuous benefits go into our lives and helps us build the fortune...real fortune...like health and prosperity. So do not despair if a tozo doesn't show a result in two minutes. Remain confident and keep chanting every day twice a day!

A tozo can be one hour, 2 hours, 3 etc. The longest I've ever chanted was 12 hours in a row. I did it right before Rock the Era in 2010 and I chanted for youth in the SGI. I chanted for them to find out about the SGI, to join, and for all of them to realize their dreams and tell their friends about the practice.   


It was easy for me to do this tozo for two reasons. First of all, I wasn't alone. I did it at the Illinois Activity Center with many people. And I remember people came and went throughout the day, but me and one other woman...we stayed the whole time only taking a break to eat or drink or just step outside for a second to get some air. 


At that time my district didn't have any youth in it. Within a few months we had four...and of course, the Rock the Era festival was a huge success at the University of Illinois Pavilion and my two sons and two of their friends were able to attend. 


The second reason it was easy for me to do this tozo is how much I suffered as a youth. I lived in a constant state of hunger for just about everything...friends...grades...a release from the deep sadness I brought into this world that had no right to come with me. I know it was my karma, I'm clear about that, but my family was wonderful and I didn't have to suffer in the way so many children do in challenging situations. No, I was surrounded with love from everyone but myself! So I always have a determination for youth to find this practice. I remember myself as a high schooler...always in love with the boy who didn't care about me...always LOOKING for the spiritual practice I could use to end my suffering. 


That's right, I was born knowing this practice had to exist, I KNEW there had to be a practice I could put my energy into and somehow channel my energy into positive changes in my life and for others. But every time I looked into Buddhism I found the same things: I was told that the CAUSE of my sufferings is desire and if I could alleviate my attachments to desires I could be happy. I rejected that for two reasons. One, it was totally theoretical. It offered no practice, and two, even more importantly, I didn't want to give up my desires. I felt they were a part of who I was. 


So I kept looking until I found the ONE practice that not only allows you to keep your desires, but actually tells you that your desires will lead you to enlightenment. 


THIS is why I am always doing shakubuku. (Introducing people to Nam Myoho Renge Kyo). THIS is why I write this blog and tell people about this practice every day. Happiness is attainable right here right now. I am living proof. 


You too can achieve all your dreams. Just remember that you must keep traveling on the road no matter how many inner "demons" you have to face. Because, after all, isn't it the voices of doubt in our own head the hardest things to overcome? Those voices say "Oh this works for other people but not for me", or "This practice is just too hard, and why do I still have problems?" And of course, you will always have challenges. They are the fuel that builds your strong faith, but only if YOU DO NOT GIVE UP!!! There is a happy life for you. Please persevere and help others too. Please pass along this blog url to people. chantforhappiness.com, so we can both help more people. 
Much love!
Jamie

Monday, March 26, 2012

More on Friendships, and a great quote on the Buddha of Limitless Joy

One of the wonderful readers of this blog wrote me yesterday that she had read the last blog I posted and been amazed because she is going though the exact same karma I did regarding friends. She also watches Sex in the City and wonders where her true friends are, and what she can do to have friends.


 (In the last blog I talked about how rich I am in friendships and how all my friends are actual proof that this practice works) 


Thank you for writing and please don't give up. To have more friendships I chanted to change whatever I needed to change in my own life to have more friends. I chanted to praise my life, and to make friends. I chanted to be open. One by one I made friends, then I set dates to introduce them to each other. I also determined to become closer to my SGI district friends and I'm sure that helped. So now I have several groups of friends. All my friends are very positive energy people of course! 
If I can change my karma so can you! And as I mentioned, I never really figured our WHY I didn't have enough friends, and the answer to that question is, I firmly believe, unimportant. Just chant to have friends and be open to meeting people. Listen more than you talk, and before you know it.....you'll have the benefit too!


I have a great quote from Daisaku Ikeda to share with you. It's from the study material for the test we'll be taking later this week. From the essay "Practicing the Lotus Sutra in the Latter Day of the Law" I found his description of being a 


BUDDHA OF LIMITLESS JOY!


Boy, do I like the sound of that!
Here's the quote: 

"Nichiren Daishonin embodied a profound state of enlightenment referred to as "the Buddha of limitless joy." This same magnanimous life-condition resides in us all." President Ikeda describes the life-condition as "absolute freedom, bright and unfettered." He continues: 


"It abounds with compassion toward all living beings and with sympathy for those who are suffering. It surges with inexhaustible wisdom and spiritual energy, and overflows with infinite life force, good fortune and benefit. And it burns with the courage to battle the negative tendencies in oneself and others, afraid of nothing." (May 2002 Living Buddhism, p.44)


This life-condition is what we will ALL attain if we don't give up...if we treat all obstacles as benefits...introduce as many people as we can to this practice and keep chanting, no matter what!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

On a Saturday Night...

I'm sitting here after a full day of having some of my best girlfriends over for a book club party. I tell you this because the fact that I have a circle of girlfriends is living proof of the karma that I have changed. 


I share this with you to give you hope. 


If I can have a close circle of girlfriends who know and love each other....well then...ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! 


Anything is possible for you. No matter what your challenge is...no matter what you want to make happen...you can do it. 


I chanted for quite some time about this...for many years I felt like the loneliest person on earth. No matter what I did, no matter how I tried...it seemed no one wanted to be friends with me. People these days who know me can't believe such a thing could ever have been possible. These days I have more friends than I can count...more invitations than I can accept...and more fun than I ever could imagine. 


I used to watch Sex and the City and Waiting to Exhale and think "Oh if only I had a circle of girlfriends!"


And did I ever FIGURE OUT why I didn't have friends? No. Not really. All I did was chant to change the karma that kept me from having friends. I knew the responsibility was mine. Not the blame...the responsibility. I chanted to love myself. I chanted to grab hold of that friendless karma and throw if out the door. I chanted to have friends. 


And gradually...I saw changes happening in my life. I became a really social person. I learned how to network for business. I became a lover of meeting new people. I listened to what people told me about building business relationships...things like invite a new friend to go with you to networking events...and some of my business relationships turned into real friendships. 


One day I realized I had several very close friends that I loved...but they didn't know each other, so I started having small get togethers and my friends became friends. And now I have a widening circle and I'm content and happy with my friendships. 
And there is always room for more!


I never figured it out. NO. But I changed it through my daimoku and my actions. And you can change anything you want to change too. It's pretty simple when you think about it. 


First, chant to make the changes in your own life so that your circumstances will change. Chant for the wisdom to know what to do to accomplish your goals. Then take the action to make it happen. You can do it! If I did it so can you. So can you!

Monday, March 19, 2012

New Determinations from YOU! And news about my Buddha Boy Aaron

I am hearing from so many readers! Thank you so much. I love knowing that my words are making a difference. I just finished three hours of Daimoku this morning to be able to reply in this blog with as much wisdom as possible. 


First of all, to those of you who written to say that you are upping your daimoku instead of quitting chanting I say BRAVO!!!!If you quit you will never know what a glorious life you can have if you keep chanting. And yes, I know, chanting can make you feel all sorts of emotions that you've been tamping down by various methods. It makes sense doesn't it? Whenever you are really at the brink of changing your life forever... negative forces will rise up to get you to stop. Now, I don't say this to get you scared...it is just a fact of life that when a boat moves quickly the wind resistance increases. It's the same with faith...but the POWER, the real POWER in your life arises when you TURN UP THAT MOTOR and defy that negative wind. Happiness is your birthright. Claim it now. It does not come without struggle. It does not come without struggle. Persevere! As the Gosho says "Suffer what there is to suffer and enjoy what there is to enjoy, and continue chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo no matter what happens." Keep going and don't give up whatever you do! 


I was reading Discussions with Youth last night. Check this out. 
Daisaku Ikeda states " If the power of your faith and practice is a force of 10,000, then it will elicit that degree of corresponding power." (page 299) So I decided to chant this morning to increase the power of my faith 10,000 times!!! It was wonderful to chant this way. It was so easy to chant for three hours. I chanted for YOUR prayers to increase in power by 10,000 x and for everyone who is chanting to increase their faith by 10,000 x. Why not? ! It felt so good! 


He also said, " If you summon your courage to challenge something you'll never be left with regret. How sad it is to spend your life wishing , "If only I'd had a little more courage." Whatever the outcome may be, it is important to take a step forward on the path you believe is right. There is no need to worry about what others may think. Be true to yourself. It's your life after all."
That passage brought tears to my eyes. This morning I was chanting for courage! 


I have so many things to share with you. First of all last week my son Aaron was awarded the Campus Community Engagement Award from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana for the leadership program he started at Edison Middle School. The reception was lovely, and Aaron gave a great speech. The mayor and the chancellor were both there to present him his award. He received a beautiful etched glass standing plaque and $1500. He was the only student winner. The coolest thing is that he has also trained his replacement to keep the program running long into the future. That is the sign of a real leader...building things that last. 


And yesterday. Aaaahhh yesterday. There was a victory meeting for youth at the Chicago Buddhist Center and Aaron and I went. You might remember that he's a senior in college, and he's known as a fortune baby...meaning a child whose parents chanted for him before he was even born. He has chanted his entire life...and he recently realized that he is his truest, most happiest self when he is chanting. 
He stood on the stage in front of hundreds of people and announced that it had taken him 21 years to fully embrace his Buddhist faith. He said he'd been accepted to med school and was going to be devoting the rest of his time at college  to helping the youth devision in Champaign. 


Is there anything that could possibly make me happier? Isn't that the greatest news? And he's going to Loyola Medical School right here in town, very close by...so he'll be a part of my district and chant with the youth in our district. 


How wonderful!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lots of your comments coming in...

Thank you all for writing. It seems my last post really struck a chord. Many people have experienced various forms of physical and emotional release when they first started chanting. One person wrote me about having anxiety attacks after starting chanting. They said they had about 6 attacks. At first the attacks were emotional, then faded and faded in intensity and finally disappeared. 


Sometime during my first few years of chanting I felt that I was stirring a lot of issues up in my life, but I felt like they weren't really resolving. I went for guidance with a senior leader...and her guidance really changed my life. She said that when you first start chanting your life is like a big glass of dirty water. When you chant you stir that up...and you feel the effects of everything moving around. But there is still a layer on the bottom that hasn't been reached. She said that's what tozos and fresh determination are about. She said I might think about chanting one day for a long period of time with a specific goal...and I took her advice pretty seriously. I decided to take the issue I was most concerned about, make a vow to totally change the karma I was experiencing in this area and chant for 10 hours about it. I tell you this story because I experienced it, not because anyone is ever expected to chant for such a long period of time...please don't worry that you won't get results in your life if you don't do this. Your daily practice WILL give you results if you don't give up!


So I sat down on this gorgeous sunny day in San Francisco with my water, my journal and my vow to overcome this suffering. During the course of the day I stopped every hour to stretch. I watched very interesting things come up as I chanted....and the first thing I chanted for was to get through the ten hours. My dear friend Delores Hepburn taught me that. I also called my District leader and he came over and chanted the last hour with me. Thank you Jon Doskow! 


During the day the time really flew. I thought about all the things I had ever done that I regretted and I forgave myself. I chanted for my list of all the things I wanted. I chanted to introduce everyone who was suffering to this practice. I chanted to love my life. And I chanted about my job karma, and the karma I had always had  - I always had problems in my relationships with other people. 


And something did change that day. I don't know if I saw it immediately afterwards. I remember it being really hard to chant for at least a few days. But I've changed so many things over the course of my chanting...changed them forever. I don't have problems connecting with people anymore. On the contrary I always have endless invitations to really cool things with really wonderful people. My life overflows with love. From all areas. I can let it in...in ways I always longed for, and never knew WHY I couldn't. I never had to figure out WHY, I just chanted to change the karma and it worked!
I feel tremendous satisfaction in my work life, and even when I have challenges I know exactly what to do about them. 


For those of you who wrote me that some things are moving slowly I have two words of advice. 


Don't GIVE UP! 
And make a VOW deep in your life to be happy in every single area of your life so that you can be a shining example that this practice works...and in front of the Gohonzon DEMAND the results that you want. You are a Buddha!!! You deserve for all your prayers to come true! Don't give up!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Crying and feeling emotional while Chanting?



One reader said she was new to chanting and everything was going along just fine and one day she broke down crying while chanting. 


This is wonderful, and was part of the process of becoming happier, at least for me. I'm not sure if everyone goes through this...but when I started chanting I cried while chanting quite a bit. I think chanting touched a part of me and brought me to a feeling of tremendous relief. I had been looking for the key to my own and other's happiness....and from the moment I started chanting I knew this was it. It was like my body and my heart and my mind all sighed in happiness together. 
And I also cried because chanting touched the deep well of sadness that had always been within my life. I've written about this before. I started this blog because of that sadness deep in my life somewhere. Chanting touches it and helps release it. I think of the tears I shed while chanting as tears toward my golden beautiful karma. I feel they are all creating a happiness that is so wonderful I can't even imagine it now! You will get beyond whatever is troubling you. Suffering may be part of life, but in this practice it is not the GOAL! You will move beyond it. Happiness is the reason we all chant, and we all move closer to it every day...and experience it more and more every moment!


So if you are crying when you chant I say CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Let it out sweet soul! Welcome the feeling of release and the touching of your pain. It's all good! It is all for your good and your happiness. It is part of the process that will release you and make you the happiest person!


Don't think you are doing something wrong. We are all beautiful human beings with feelings. 
Chant to really appreciate your life, your SELF, your own being! Chant to praise your life. Remember when you praise your life, your environment responds and the things that you are really wishing for...the things we all long for...love, recognition...appreciation all come into our lives in brilliant and new ways. Do not give up. Experience and appreciate your emotions and your SELF!!!!!



Friday, March 9, 2012

Breakthrough!

You know, when you chant the way I was talking about in the last post...with such determination and resolve...you do get results quickly.

I spent yesterday in a high life condition experiencing wisdom in my communications. And the result was immediate. I was reassured and validated and some changes were made that I feel happy about.

My karma attack is over already....and I am looking at having a great weekend with my son at home, then going off to Champaign to see my other son receive his citizen's engagement award. I'll write more about that later.

And remember, when faced with a tough communication chant to have a high life ocndition and to be able to have the wisdom to know what to say. It really works!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Having a Karma Attack?

OK, first of all, the phrase "karma attack" is not an official Buddhist phrase. I have to admit, I made it up! Sometimes, it's the only way to explain what it feels like when part of your world is spinning in what looks like a downward spiral. Right now I'm having an experience like this in a certain area of my professional life. 
Have you ever felt this way? Like something very familiar (and not positive) is happening...a repeat of something that has happened to you before, and it's rearing its ugly head yet again? What are some examples? How about when you seem to be having the same relationship problems over and over...only with different people. Or the same job problems in different jobs. 


So what do you do? How do you chant when it seems that the same problem (each time a little less severe, because you ARE changing your karma) has come up. 


First of all, don't let your own inner darkness defeat you. It is all too easy to say "this chanting doesn't work anyway...why even try." It is all too easy to let doubt take over. But don't surrender! That is truly the voice of your inner darkness, not your Buddha self.  And, sometimes it becomes agonizingly hard to chant. Has that ever happened to you? It does to me! And I start hearing negative thoughts all day as I'm working. This is a karma attack! 


What do I do? What can you do? 


First of all, I contact my Buddhist friends and let them know I need some daimoku. I chant for many people, and sometimes I need a boost from my friends too! And I call the people who inspire me most and get some words of wisdom and guidance. I MAKE myself chant even when it's so hard. I know I am busting through something life changing. I study and chant as much as I can, and I take the time to encourage other people who are struggling. I listen carefully to the advice I give others such as: you know you are going to have a big breakthrough and a big benefit when you have a big problem. 


I once had a friend from Japan who said "Really big problems make me really happy...I KNOW a really big benefit is on the way!" I'll tell you, THAT'S the attitude to have, isn't it? 


I also chant to have an incredibly high life condition....so that no matter what happens I am focused, I say and do the right things, and I can generate the wisdom to make the right decisions. 


And I take the opportunity to really connect with the Gohonzon. Suffering can be the cause to deepen your prayer so that you get the results you want to get! Sometimes it is the best thing for your practice (and I do not mean to say that suffering is the way of the Buddhist. It is NOT. Happiness is the way of the Buddhist...and forging our lives through suffering is a means of strengthening our lives. But the goal is happiness!) 


And I sit in front of the Gohonzon and VOW to be happy...and VOW to show actual proof of the Gohonzon. I tell the Buddhist gods (the functions within my own life) that I MUST win. I am the votary of the Lotus Sutra. I HAVE to inspire my district, my friends and family and my beloved blog readers! That's how I am chanting right now. If you have challenges JOIN ME!!! You can have the same prayer. You are all votaries of the Lotus Sutra! Write me and share your stories with the other readers of this blog! Be strong and break through your karma as I am determined to break through mine!!! 





Tuesday, March 6, 2012

On the Beach!

Miami Beach this weekend....What an interesting place...
And I'll you one thing I had to relearn this weekend...that if you take a "vacation" from chanting WHILE you're one vacation...well...you might be in for a few surprises! 


I really didn't want to do much chanting on this trip for various reasons. And it was a pretty great trip...only I nearly missed my flight on the way back. And that wasn't really the worst part. It was my emotional reaction to almost missing the flight that was the really hard part...and that proved to me yet again that the greatest fortune is having a high life condition. If you have a high life condition it really doesn't matter what happens. A high life condition comes from chanting enough daimoku! With a high life  condition everything is a snap. No problem really gets you down. If I'd had a higher life condition I would have been less emotional at the airport!


May you always chant enough daimoku that YOU have a high life condition!


Just  a few words of wisdom for a sunny day in March in Chicago.