Monday, July 1, 2013

DIS-couraged, or EN-Couraged? - Some Quotes to Inspire!

In all of our lives we sometimes experience frustration, right? We all have things we've chanted about for a long time and we think maybe they will never happen...and we face the choice of being discouraged, or encouraged. 
Let's think about those words for a moment: 

Lost courage. 
No more courage. 
Negative courage. 

We do feel this from time to time, I know. It is at exactly this point that we can put our faith to its best use. We have a unique tool. 
We have faith we can use to re-EN-COURAGE us. 

Filled with courage
Inner courage
In the state of courage

Much better, right? 

I know this from experience. This weekend I had an event I was pretty excited about. I chanted three hours the day it  happened, and it ended up being a bit disappointing. Thank goodness I chanted all those hours. I was a little miffed, but not depressed or upset. My life condition was sky-high! 

So I had a choice. DIS couraged or EN couraged? I must admit, after this incident on Saturday, on Sunday morning I woke up and sat in front of the Gohonzon (my life) and said "Really Gohonzon? Is that the best my life can do?" and I realized I was just facing an obstacle. And yes, it was really hard to chant! 
Today I woke up, and because of YOU, because I live not just for myself, I re-encouraged myself and was able to focus, chant and redetermine to WIN in all aspects of my life. That is the power of this practice. That is the power of our lives!  

I turned to the great writings of Daisaku Ikeda. 
In Faith in Action he writes in the section Perseverance:

"It is important to take a long range view. 
No great achievement is accomplished overnight 
or without difficulty. 
Should benefit be obtained easily, 
and without making serious efforts in our Buddhist practice, we'd probably easily abandon our faith 
and end up miserable." 
p. 145 

And he continues on the next page: 

"It is important to become strong 
and to not be defeated. 
Don't become the kind of people 
who are always depending or leaning on others 
or who weakly and timidly 
leave hard work and responsibility to others. 
Whatever obstacles you may encounter, 
please use them as a launching pad for your growth 
and keep advancing, 
bravely enduring all hardships, 
telling yourselves, 
"I'll show them what I'm made of!" 
p. 146


"No matter what the circumstances, 
you should never concede defeat. 
Never conclude that you've reached a dead end. 
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." 
p. 146

I was also thinking about the wise words of my own personal mentor and good friend in faith Kate Randolph. She explained the concept of setting deadlines, and what it means to our Buddhist practice and our lives in this wise way:

"We set deadlines to motivate OURSELVES into action. 
A deadline is not for the universe to respond to us. 
We chant. 
We take action. 
The deadline comes. 
We either win or we don't. 
If we don't get the result by the deadline 
we pick ourselves right up again and redetermine. 
The goal is to never be defeated. 
Sensei always says "To win in life is to never be defeated." That does not mean that we will never fail. 
It's our spirit that matters. 
The battle we fight is not with the universe. 
It's with our inner demons...
the ones that say things like 
"obviously chanting doesn't work 
because I did not get my dream by my deadline...or...maybe I should have a different goal...
maybe I wasn't MEANT to have that thing!....
or what am I doing wrong? 
Maybe I wasn't chanting the RIGHT way!" 
It is at that juncture that we must recognize 
the opportunity to deepen our faith and our understanding of the profundity of Buddhism. 
is the negative function
Any inner voice that causes us doubt and hopelessness 
IS the negative function. 
Once we decide we will win no matter what ~ 
we need only to continue. 
We've already won. 
The battle is with the negative function within. 
Ultimately, deadlines are irrelevant. 
Set them if you need them to motivate yourself. 
But decide from the onset that you will win no matter what. And hold YOURSELF accountable. Not the universe
If it is a crucial moment and you are in a dire predicament, financially, or health-wise, i
t is time to DEMAND the protection of the Shoten Zenjin. 

No prayer of a votary of the Lotus Sutra will go unanswered. If your prayer is going unanswered find out what it means to be a votary of the Lotus Sutra. STUDY. And as you are chanting DEMAND the result that you want through your prayer. Awaken to your mission and realize that all your suffering is your opportunity to encourage other people. That is what is meant by turning Karma into Mission."

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I have a question for you - I have just started chanting for a particular goal, and have increased my chanting by an extra 15 minutes or so. However I find myself becoming increasingly sensitive and touchy about anything anyone might say to me, even if they are just joking around. I sit and brood over it and think about what I should have said and basically create this drama in my head. I am normally not this sensitive-- is this normal when you start chanting?