Friday, January 31, 2014

Shakubuku (helping others learn to chant) is Easy



That's right. Shakubuku is easy. Not hard. We are all Buddhas. We shine. Our light GLOWS. If we carry nam-myoho-renge-kyo cards with us, we can plant seeds of shakubuku wherever we go. And some of those lives we touch will practice. I know this. 

When I lived in San Francisco I have a goal to give out 10 cards a day. I walked a lot, and met a lot of people. And I worked for a newspaper and my name was in that paper all the time. I would routinely get calls from people asking "Are you the Jamie Lee Silver who gave me the Nam-myoho-renge-kyo card on the corner of the street that day?" and then they'd tell me they were practicing and their lives had changed in so many ways. Never doubt that every seed you plant makes a difference! 

There is also the kind of shakubuku we do with our close friends and family, where we lead them to the Gohonzon through our shining life conditions and sit side by side with them as we teach them to practice. I will write about that at another time. 

How do we do this kind of shakubuku? 

First of all we can chant to meet the people who are seeking this practice. 

I know I was seeking this practice for years before I found it, and I know many others are seeking too. Most people are caught up in unending karma, not knowing how to get out of it. 

We know the way to enable people to unlock the key and end suffering in their lives. We've changed so much of our own karma, and we can teach others. It just makes sense. 

And I want to remind you that I speak for myself on this blog. I am not an official representative of the SGI; I only relate my experiences and thoughts, with the hopes that you will become absolutely happy and enjoy being part of the Soka Gakkai International. In some countries it is safe to pass out cards. In others it is not. Please use your wisdom! 

Here's how I do it. 

1. I carry nam-myoho-renge-kyo cards with me wherever I go. Whenever someone waits on me in a store, and as long as there's not an impatient line behind me, I always take the time to connect with the person who is helping me. I start up a conversation, thank them and smile. We chat about whatever is topical, the weather, the place, the food...whatever. And before I leave I say "I have something special for you." and take out a card. I ask them "Have you ever heard of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo?" and most of the time they say no. I say, "Well Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is a phrase that if you say it over and over and think about what you want, you get it, or something even better. Its the name of the rhythm of life." Usually they ask me more about it and I reply. If they don't ask me any questions I will move on, but they have the card with the SGI website and the name of this blog on it. I have planted a seed. 

Once we plant a seed we never know when it will sprout. I began chanting when 3 people told me about Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in the span of two weeks. I thought the message was coming in loud and clear, and I began chanting, and saw results right away. 

When we do shakubuku it's not important for every single person to begin their practice that day. Just telling them about it is enough to start. And whomever you've shared this with will feel your energy. They will feel your high life condition. Every morning I chant to have the life condition of the Buddha, and to be the Buddha at every single moment. 
Today I went to a networking meeting and we all had a moment to stand and introduce ourselves. A man came up to me and said "Where do you get all that positive energy?" That's my cue. I gave him a card and we'll be talking again next week. He's going to go to the website. He has young children. Because of this moment in time, his young children can be introduced to this practice, vanquish bullies, and live lives of victory. 

You never know when you'll be able to change someone's life permanently. When I had been practicing for just two months I called an acquaintance and asked her to a meeting. She began practicing immediately. EVERY month for years and years she called me and said "jamie, I don't know what prompted you to pick up that phone and call me that day. We barely knew each other. But I want you to know that forever and ever I am grateful to you for introducing me to this practice." I just heard from her last week. It's been 28 years since the day I introduced her. 

Doing shakubuku is the greatest joy in the world. It's easy. We can all do it. 

If you send me your shakubuku stories I can share them with your fellow readers. chantforhappiness@gmail.com

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Be happier than EVER! Here's How ~ 5 Essential Keys and a PowerPrayer to Happiness


Our Happiness starts with us, with our conviction, with our hope and with our Happiness PowerPrayer. We can choose happiness in life. But it takes energy to do this! 

How much are we going to put into making our vision a reality? 

The Positive Psychologists talk about something called Activation Energy -  the "start up" energy that is required get something started. Establishing our solid practice requires "Activation Energy" and once this is established we are, as I say, "on a roll". It will affect all areas of our lives. 

I remember when I was concentrating on this activation energy. I knew that the more energy I put into my practice, the less energy I needed to use in my daily life...the more smoothly everything in my life went. Somehow everything took less time, and I was always in the right place at the right time. The same is true today. 
When I was first starting to chant, I sought our help. Fellow SGI members came to chant with me at night and in the morning for a while to help me establish this rhythm. (Thank you Dolores and San Francisco members!) 

Here's what it takes to Establish a Strong Practice: 

1. Strong Desire - written goals and determinations are really helpful...a fire burning in your heart...HOPE!
2. Connecting with the SGI and making friends in faith. 
3. Keeping to a schedule (even if a bit flexible) of chanting twice a day every day. 
4. Studying the Gosho and President Ikeda's guidance and sharing this practice with others. 
5. Encouraging others to the best of our ability. 

This is the formula for happiness - and you can do it! 

No one can do this for us. We are the only ones who can change our karma and the best thing is 
WE CAN CHANGE YOUR KARMA. 
We CAN do this. 
We CAN be Happy.
We can change anything.

But we have to do it! No one can do it for us. Once we establish the daily rhythm we WILL notice a difference, unless we are eroding our lives by constant complaining and "why me-ing". 
Turn "Why-me?" into "YES ME!" Remember that no matter what we are facing  - We Summoned this storm! Our obstacles are tailor made for us to launch our lives into the next level of happiness. Our obstacles get us there. We can't change our karma without them! 

Our Happiness is important. 
Our happiness changes the world. 
Happiness is our birthright, 
it is our mission, 
and it is possible

Of course each of our actions make a difference:

Smiling at another is a cause for our (and their) happiness. According to recent studies, when we smile at a person our smile alone makes a person happier. Our emotions are contagious. And the act of smiling makes us happier too. Isn't that wonderful? 

Power Prayer for Happiness:
You may want to read this before chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo 
and keep some of these phrases in mind while you chant. 
Use them to fill your life with determination!
By Jamie Lee Silver
From Chantforhappiness.com

Life! 
I am determined to build a life of happiness! 
I am filled with appreciation 
I am determined to chant every day - twice a day 
from now on! 
I am determined to use ALL my problems 
as fuel for creating victory 
in all areas of my life...
and use my life
to show that the impossible is possible
and encourage others to chant. 
I WILL WIN is all aspects of my life! 
I will win in these areas______________,______________,_________________________, ________________. 
I am determined to be happy, 
healthy, 
successful 
and have great and fulfilling relationships! 
I am determined to strengthen my practice, and deepen my faith.  
I renew my determination
to chant every day twice a day, 
study, 
go to as many meetings as possible, 
and encourage others!
I WILL do this.
I deserve to be happy! 

And become a part of our wonderful Soka Gakkai organization to support you. 
In the SGI you will find friends in faith, be encouraged, and encourage others. 
Use the SGI-Portal link at the right to find a meeting near you. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sensei's Great Guidance for Overcoming Illness


For any of you who are facing illness - this should raise your spirits! 
The person who originally compiled these quotes 
was able to use this practice and modern medicine 
to overcome breast cancer completely. 
Please feel free to forward a link to this blogpost 
to anyone who is suffering from illness. 


From President Ikeda's Lecture series "The Hope-filled Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin: On Prolonging One's Life Span - Faith for Leading a Long and healthy Life" in the July-August 08 Living Buddhism. (Thank you to my friend Melissa Bradford for compiling these great quotes!)

“Suffering from illness is a means by which you can eradicate your negative karma.”  
President Toda, as quoted by President Ikeda. - pg 70 

“To see illness as an opportunity to transform our karma – this strong spirit and resolve can break through all obstacles and devilish functions and open wide the path to happiness.  Like a rocket blasting out of the earth’s atmosphere, the passionate conviction of faith that comes from viewing illness as an opportunity to transform our karma can become a powerful engine propelling us forward not only in this existence but throughout eternity, enabling us to freely savor everlasting happiness.”  Pg 74


“Becoming ill in itself is certainly not a sign of defeat.  Even the Buddha, who is said to have ‘few ills and few worries’ (LS, 214), struggles with sickness from time to time.  Accordingly, there will be times when we are confronted with illness.  The important point above all is not to be defeated mentally or emotionally by the prospect of being ill.  Faith is the source of the fighting spirit to stand up to illness.  Therefore, as we noted earlier, Nichiren Daishonin first of all talks about the ‘treasure of faith’.  Pg 77


“As Nichiren says, ‘Illness gives rise to the resolve to attain the way’ (The Good Medicine for All Ills, WND-1, 937).  If a practitioner who upholds faith in the Mystic Law becomes ill, it definitely has some profound meaning.  It could be said that confronting illness is one route to awakening to the eternity of life.  President Toda often said, ‘A person who has overcome a major illness knows how to deeply savor life.’” Pg78


From Matilda Buck’s guidance, World Tribune 4/27/01 pg 10 “When We Face Disappointment” – regarding SGI leaders who overcame cancer and chanted this way:  


Through this experience, I will become someone who does not doubt the Gohonzon (my life), no matter what happens.

As a Bodhisattva of the Earth, I have the mission to experience this, and as a Bodhisattva of the Earth, I have the mission to create a victory.
I will share the power of Buddhism with others, even as I grapple with this experience.
I won’t let my spirits stay down.  I won’t make a place in my life for negativity to settle.

From The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra Volume 6:  “Praying with doubt is like trying to keep water in a bathtub with the plug pulled.  Our good fortune and benefit will drain away.  A passage from the ‘Perceiver of the World’s Sounds’ chapter reads, ‘from thought to thought never entertaining doubt!’  A confident prayer will reverberate powerfully throughout the entire universe.”  Pg 88


From Buddhism Day by Day:


“Buddhism views illness as an opportunity to attain a higher, nobler state of life.  It teaches that, instead of agonizing over a serious disease, or despairing of ever overcoming it, we should use illness as a means to build a strong, compassionate self, which in turn will make it possible for us to be truly victorious.”  pg 300


“The expansive world lies not in some distant place; it exists right where you are.  That is why you need to win where you are right now.  Today’s victory is linked to your eternal victory.”  Page 314


“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.  And 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 the past.  We must always have the spirit to begin anew ‘from this moment,’ to initiate a new struggle each day.” Pg 315


“The air around us is filled with radio waves of various frequencies.  While these are invisible, a television set can collect them and turn them into visible images.  The practice of chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo aligns the rhythm of our own lives with the world of Buddhahood in the universe.  It ‘tunes’ our lives, so to speak, so that we can manifest the power of Buddhahood in our very beings.”  Pg 314


From For Today and Tomorrow Daily Encouragement by Daisaku Ikeda:


Sept 20 pg 288:  When your determination changes, everything else will begin to move in the direction you desire.  The moment you resolve to be victorious, every nerve and fiber in your being will immediately orient itself toward your success.  On the other hand, if you think “This is never going to work out,” then at that instant every cell in your being will be deflated and give up the fight, and then everything really will move in the direction of failure.


Aug 15 pg 249:  The first thing is to pray.  From the moment we begin to pray, things start moving.  The darker the night, the closer the dawn.  From the moment we chant daimoku with a deep and powerful resolve, the sun begins to rise in our hearts.  Hope – prayer is the sun of hope.  To chant daimoku each time we face a problem, overcoming it and elevating our life-condition as a result – this is the path of “changing earthly desires into enlightenment,” taught in Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism.




Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Secret to Achieving Your Human Revolution and Seeing with the Buddha's Eyes


I have been consistently chanting this prayer and it is being instrumental in creating a fearless, all embracing life condition. I feel as if every moment, no matter what I am facing, I am in the world of heaven. Here is the prayer: 

The Secret 
to Achieving Your Human Revolution

"Pray that instead of devils 
or negative, destructive forces 
infiltrating your being, 
Brahma ("Bonten"in Japanese),
Shakra ("Taishaku" in Japanese),
and the gods of the Sun and the Moon
~ the positive, protective forces of the universe ~
will enter your life!
Pray that they will enter the lives 
of all members in your region
and the entire membership of the SGI, as well.
If you do this, 
your strength will multiply 
a hundredfold, a thousandfold.
With such prayer,
with such faith, 
you will realize a fundamental transformation
in the depths of your life. 
This is the secret to achieving your human revolution."

SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, World Tribune, 9/8/2000

I am praying this prayer every day, for my own body, for the bodies of my family members, my new work family, all the members in Chicago, throughout the world and YOU. I feel such peace. Every moment is truly joyous. 

Daisaku Ikeda says in The Heart of the Lotus Sutra, page 106: 

"Those in the world of heaven
are typically bright and smiling in their appearance. 
In their nature, 
since they feel uplifted ~
~As though ascending into the sky, as it were ~
anything they see makes them happy. 
Their power and influence 
tend to make those around them
feel buoyant and uplifted too."

This is exactly how I feel. Every spare minute I am reading The Heart of the Lotus Sutra, the new book by Daisaku Ikeda. I really recommend it!
I am always chanting to see with the eyes of the Buddha. We are, each of us, Buddhas. We just have to chant to believe and experience Buddhahood, while forging on and chanting and growing each day, and helping as many people as we can. 

On page 107 Daisaku Ikeda says:

"What is important is the vision 
to profoundly and deftly
perceive the true nature of shifting phenomena. 
The Buddha is one who has mastered this principle." 

and continuing on page 109:

"The vision that enables the Buddha
to perceive the true aspect
that exists in all phenomena
is also the eye of compassion to save all people 
and enable them to become Buddhas.

"...As seen with the Buddha's eye,
this world,
this universe, 
is shining with life, 
resounding with the chorus of all things. 
The Buddha perceives the irreplaceable uniqueness
and value of all things in the world. 
The Buddha's wisdom 
is a state of life 
filled with boundless exhilaration 
and joy in living."

YES!  


Monday, January 27, 2014

Demand Your Results! You Are a Worthy Bodhisattva of the Earth


By chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo we can strengthen our belief in life, and we can strengthen our faith in our own power. We ARE the universe. We ARE the Gohonzon. We ARE Nam-myoho-renge-kyo! The more we chant with that conviction, the more results we get, and the stronger we get. 

Sensei says:

"When we chant to the Gohonzon right then and there the doors of the microcosm within us open completely to the macrocosm, and we can experience a great and serene sense of happiness, as though gazing out over the entire universe. We savor tremendous fulfillment and joy, and gain access to a great and all-encompassing wisdom. The microcosm of our lives that is encompassed by the universe in turn encompasses the entire universe."

Excerpted from Lectures on the "Hoben" (Expedient means) and "Juryo" (Life Span of the Thus Come One) Chapters of the Lotus Sutra, (SGI-USA 1996)

If the above is true, we ARE the Universe, aren't we? And our prayer has summoning power. That is why it is so important not to BEG while chanting! We are not beggers. 

We are capable of summoning the power we need in all areas of our life. 

If there is any part of ourselves thinking "Oh Please..." when we chant, then we are praying to a power outside of ourselves! 

If instead, while we are chanting we are thinking: 

'BY THE POWER VESTED IN ME AS A VOTARY OF THE LOTUS SUTRA - I will make _____________happen!" and 

"I demand results in this area______________now!" and 

"I am determined to win! I WILL win" and 

"I am determined to change in any way possible to make ___________happen in my life!" and 

"I NOW manifest all the wisdom I need to take the correct action now!" 
we have so much more power! 

The Gohonzon is OUR life...not something outside of ourselves! 

We ourselves ARE the wish-granting jewel!

If we can chant without begging our entire attitude changes. We are honorable and worthy Boddhisatvas of the Earth. We are chanting for kosen-rufu and the happiness of all people. We are worthy of having our prayers answered! 

Thank you so much for sharing links to this blog. We all want to get this message out and help people become absolutely happy..

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Preparing for a Three Hour Toso Today ( Three hours of Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo)


I have just finished my second full week of work and I am loving my new position. A whole world of new people and experiences is opening to me as Senior Community Outreach Specialist for a company committed to helping people ages 55 and better live their best lives. 
As you can imagine, I love meeting new people, making new friends and becoming an indispensable member of the team.  
AND I am finding it is really hard to chant my normal hour to an hour and a half every morning! I know you know what I mean. And I don't always have time at night to catch up. 

Daimoku powers my life. My deep chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo gives me peace of mind, powers my intentions, and has a real effect on my life at every moment. 

So I'm going to chant three hours this morning, and set a goal to chant three hours every Sunday morning whenever possible. This is a decision I made, based on my years of practice and my own ichinen (will put into action). No one ever has to chant for three hours. Please don't think it is a required part of Practical Buddhism. Each person chants as much as they want ~ there are no prescriptions or rules to how much to chant. 

To prepare for this three hour toso I woke up early, got ready for my day, invited a chanting buddy, wrote in my journal, decided what I will focus on, and made my tea. 

By the end of these three hours ~

I am determined to feel that 
every action I take throughout this week 
will be guided my my greater self, 
with perfect timing, 
perfect wisdom 
and be a solid, positive cause for my happiness 
and the happiness of others. 
I am determined to shine at every moment 
as the brilliant Buddha I am, 
and use wisdom 
and presence of mind in every encounter. 
I will concentrate on the person in front of me 
at every moment 
and think before I speak. 
I am chanting for the people I love, 
for my district 
and for you. 

As Daisaku Ikeda says:
"The air around us is filled with radio waves of various frequencies. While these are invisible, a television set can collect them and turn them into visible images. The practice of chanting daimoku to the Gohonzon aligns the rhythm of our own lives with the world of Buddhahood in the universe. It "tunes" our lives, so to speak, so that we can manifest the power of Buddhahood in our very beings."
from Faith in Action, p. 118

Saturday, January 25, 2014

8 Steps for Beginning to Chant, or Refreshing your Practice


Chanting nam-myoho-renge-kyo transforms all sufferings into benefit, and crystalizes every desire into a blooming flower in our lives. 

We can change anything through chanting because we change ourselves. We call this "doing our Human Revolution" and when we change on the inside, because of the interconnectivity of all life, our environment HAS to change too. 

Connecting with they Mystic law, the Law of Cause and Effect has a deep impact on us. Intoning the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo means "I fuse my life with the mystic law of cause and effect through sound vibration" or, as some say "I tune my life to the rhythm of all life." Saying these words is a great cause that can allow you to break through all suffering and create a life of happiness. 

"Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is like the roar of a Lion." What sickness could therefore be an obstacle? Nichiren Daishonin 

Ideally you will chant for the first time with another person who will be able to guide you in your practice. Use the SGI Portal Link to the right to find people in your area, or chant first with the person who referred you to this post. And you can start on your own as well: 

8 Steps for Beginning to Chant, or Refreshing Your Practice:

1. Make a list of what you really want in life. Take a fresh look at your desires and write them down.  Dream big. What do you really want? What do you want for yourself? What do you want for others? What do you want for the world? Make a list. Write it down and put the date on it. 

Many people began chanting with desires that later turned into other desires. So don't worry about your current desires, and whether they are the "right" desires to have. Chanting is progressive, both you and your desires will evolve. I know people who began a very rewarding practice chanting for things that were important at the time, but later changed into other desires. 

One of my friends chanted for a month to prove to his wife that this practice doesn't work. More than 40 years later he is still practicing. In Nichiren Buddhism your desires ARE enlightenment. It is okay to desire whatever you desire, whether it's money, the happiness of someone else, a relationship, a job, or peace of mind and contentment. With continued practice you will see that your dreams for yourself actually become tied to the dreams of happiness for all. 

Chant for what is really in your heart. Be true to yourself. 

2. Start a Journal. No, you don't HAVE to do this. But I think it helps! Writing in a journal helps you become aware of your progress and benefits.

3. Choose a place to chant comfortably and consistently. Find your "home" with your home, where you can feel comfortable chanting out loud, having adialogue with your life itself. Later you may receive your Gohonzon and enshrine it here, and for now you need a place to start. You don't have to kneel, sitting in a comfortable chair is fine

4. Choose a focus point on the wall. Some people chant to a blank wall; I chanted to a moon in a picture. Please do not print a photo of the Gohonzon from the internet, or use any kind of idol or or person to focus on. Choose a focal point slightly above eye level. 

5. You may wish to have a small table nearby for tea or your journal. 

6. Write the words Nam Myoho Renge Kyo 
on a piece of paper. 

The words are pronounced as follows: 

Nam ~    Nahm, rhymes with Mom, 
Myoho ~ meeyohoh,  
Renge ~  rain gay, 
Kyo ~     kee oh. 
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. 
Nahm Meeyohoh Rain Gay Kee Oh
(Phonetic spelling) 

7. Begin to chant. Hold your hands with the palms facing in and touching each other in front of your heart. Sit with your back as straight as possible (but be comfortable, as I already stated - this practice is not about formalities) and say Nam-myoho-renge-kyo over and over and over again. 

8. Go to a Soka Gakkai meeting as soon as you can. The SGI Portal to the right will help you locate a center near you, and you can call that center to connect to your local meeting house. 

When you're chanting:

You do not have to concentrate on anything at first. Just say the words. Breathe whenever you have to for as long as you like. See if you can chant for a few minutes, then a few minutes more. Chant for as long as you can!  

The rhythm should sound like a train moving, or horses running. There should be some energy to it. You can chant as fast or as slow as you wish. Your speed of chanting is up to you. 
If you want to hear how it sounds you can go to the top right corner of this blog and chant with me. I begin slowly and speed up with more energy. 

Can you get to the point where you don’t have to think about the words, but can actually think about what you want? It may take a little time. Naturally you will begin to chant for what is in your heart. 

Many religions and forms of practice do not encourage people to have their OWN desires. Most of us grew up in cultures where religions never talked of our own Happiness...but this practice is different. Please mull this over. Your desires are YOU. Your desires are inspired from the depths of your life, they are as beautiful and wonderful as you are. 

When you are finished chanting you can write in your journal, if you'd like.

Start by writing an assessment of your life right now. What’s going well, what you’d like to improve on... Then write how you felt before chanting and after chanting. In your journal set a goal for how much you want to chant every day.  When I started, chanted five minutes a day in the morning and five minutes in the evening. That was enough. I had a timer next to me and I’m sure there were times I stopped before I’d even reached five minutes! You will build up momentum! 

Commit to chant twice a day every day. Establishing a twice a day rhythm to your chanting is important. It gets the wheels of your life moving. 

Keep your goals in mind and you’ll remember your reasons for chanting! 

These words and this vibration go deep into the heart of your life itself. They summon forth your highest wisdom, vitality and sense of purpose. They also uproot the karma that is making you suffer, and give you the opportunity to change this karma forever. 

When you chant you are entering into a dialogue with your life itself. You are not chanting to any god or asking for favors. Instead, you are connecting with the rhythm of the universe itself. 

As Nichiren Daishonin says in the famous writing (Gosho) "On Attaining Buddhahood" :

"If you wish to free yourself from the sufferings of birth and death you have endured since time beginning and to attain without fail unsurpassed enlightenment in this lifetime, you must perceive the mystic truth that is originally inherent in all living beings. This truth is Myoho-renge-kyo. Chanting Myoho-renge-kyo will therefore enable you to grasp the mystic truth innate in all life...It is called the mystic truth because it explains the mutually inclusive relationship of life and all phenomena. 
"Life at each moment encompasses the body and mind and the self and environment of all sentient beings in the ten worlds, as well as all insentient beings in the three thousand realms, including plants, sky and earth, and even the most minute particles of dust. Life at each moment permeates the universe and is revealed in all phenomena. One awakened to this principle himself embodies this relationship. However, even though you chant and believe in Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, if you think the Law is outside yourself, you are embracing not the mystic law but some inferior teaching."
From Lectures on Attaining Buddhahood in this Lifetime by Daisaku Ikeda, 2007  

In other words, when you chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo you are accessing the mystic law which has always been within your life. 

You will still have challenges and problems in life when you chant...but eventually you will see them as the opportunities they are. Problems are the FUEL you need to catapult your life into a life of happiness and joy. You have begun a journey to uncover the true happiness that exists in your shining Buddha life. Congratulations!

It is crucial to a successful Nichiren Buddhist practice to join the family of fellow practitioners, your fellow Soka Gakkai (SGI) members. There are many ways to locate the Soka Gakkai practitioners in your area. You can click on the SGI-USA portal to the right. 

You can also do a search on Soka Gakkai followed by whatever country you live in. Then call the center closest to your home and ask to be connected to the nearest district. 

The correct form of this practice cannot be done alone. It must be done within the orbit of faith. Joining with fellow travelers is essential. Other Soka Gakkai members will be happy to help you learn to chant, overcome your problems, and reveal your brilliant, wonderful self!  
and go to IKEDAQUOTES.org to read Daisaku Ikeda's words. He is lighting the way for us all...and for YOU!
Websites that might be helpful include SGI-USA.org and SGI.org. They contain information that is very useful. 
You may want to scroll through the titles of other posts on this blog as well. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Daily Guidance by Daisaku Ikeda



24th January 2014
IN any place, and at any time, voices chanting sincere daimoku with faith in the Gohonzon will be heard by the Buddhas and bodhisattvas throughout time and space. Such voices will reverberate throughout the universe. Filled with a sense of pride, you should chant daimoku confident that the reverberations of your voice will carry as far as billions of light-years away. By cultivating faith of such great conviction you will be able to receive tremendous benefit.


FAITH enables us to transform not only our day to day problems but our lives at their very foundation. Through the Buddhist practice, we can develop a strong inner core and a solid and inexhaustible reservoir of good fortune.


IN any endeavour, whether the arts or sports or any other pursuits, the master-disciple relationships is both challenging and rewarding. In particular, how strict and yet compassionate the bond is between master and disciple in the practice of faith, which comprises the very fundamentals of life, and in the pursuit of the great goal of kosen-rufu.


NOTHING is more noble than a life dedicated to kosen-rufu. Such people are devoted not only to their own happiness but also that of others. They enjoy good health and a fulfilling life. They accumulate boundless good fortune and benefit. This is the ultimate way of life. And it is the absolute promise of Nichiren Daishonin, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law.


ONE must not be so narrow-minded as to seek only to increase one's strength or exhibit one's capability. Doing so will obstruct the flow of kosen-rufu. The way to bring about a dynamic and powerful advances of kosen-rufu, like waves building upon waves lies in finding capable people, raising them and diverting them towards the goal of kosen-rufu.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Living Life in Ecstasy


After writing the last blog post this morning, and chanting an enlivening hour of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo I walked into the Assisted Living area where I work. I saw a gentleman in a wheelchair and I greeted him, introduced myself and asked how he was. He looked up at me with laughing eyes and said 
"I woke up this morning! And I have woken up EVERY MORNING for the past 96 years!!!"

What an attitude! He kind of put it all into perspective, didn't he?  His joy was found in just being alive! I shared his quote with countless people throughout the day. 

In Faith in Action (pg. 68) Daisaku Ikeda says:

"What is success in life? 
Who are the truly successful? 
There are famous and powerful people 
who become pitiful figures in their old age. 
There are people who die alone, 
feeling empty and desolate inside. 
Just what is success? 
The English write Walter Pater (1839-94) wrote: 
"To burn always with this hard, gemlike flame, 
to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life." 
The person who lives life fully, 
glowing with life's energy, 
is the person lives a successful life."








PowerPrayer for Success at Work and in Kosen-rufu!



In The Heart of the Lotus Sutra by Daisaku Ikeda pages 68 through 70 perfectly sum up the nature of attachments and desire in Nichiren Buddhism. 

In his provisional teachings:
"Shakyamuni taught the people of the nine worlds, whose lives were steeped in misery, the path for freeing themselves from such attachments (defined as a 'fetter on one's heart'. That is, he caused them to renounce their attachments. 
"The spirit of the Lotus Sutra, however, is not to eradicate earthly desires. When we base ourselves on the Mystic Law, we can transform desires ~ just as they are ~ into enlightenment. This is the principle that earthly desires are enlightenment."  

This morning I was awake before 4:00 am thinking of all the things I need to get done. Tonight is an SGI planning meeting at my house and I have a guest coming. I am spending the day mostly out of the office at a Rotary Club meeting and a few appointments at my new job for kosen-rufu! My title is Senior Community Outreach Specialist and I generate referrals and new business for the beautiful retirement community I work for. This community has so many ways to help seniors live their best lives. Seniors can live here in Independent Living, Assisted Living, skilled nursing or join us for a respite stay or short term rehabilitation. People who live in the surrounding community can use our non-medical home care, handyman services for work inside or outside the house, or technical support service professionals who can visit their homes to help with telephones, ipads, TVs, etc.  We even have a fitness center and outpatient rehab. And above all it is a community that has a promise of respect for all. Perfect for me, right?
This job is huge benefit, with 300 employees and a fabulous mission for helping people. I meet new people and make new friends every day! 

So, of course there is a lot on my mind, and this morning I wrote a PowerPrayer to increase my peace of mind, remind myself of all I am capable of, focus my goals and keep my life condition high. PowerPrayers are a means to focus while chanting Daimoku. 

PowerPrayer for Success at Work 
by Jamie Lee Silver
from the blog chantforhappiness.com

Life!
I am now generating Peace of Mind 
and composure in all things!
I know I can accomplish all my goals 
with Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. 
I am in the right place at the right time! Thank you! 
Make my life condition sky high, so that no matter what happens all day long my life conditions shines for all to see. 
Increase my ability to focus, 
and for wisdom to flow through me. 
I am now more organized and productive than ever! 
I will show actual proof today and every day in all I do. 
This job and my life IS kosen-rufu in ACTION! 
I can do it!
Keep my self confidence high!
Life! 
Wise choices flow through me. 
I have perfect timing! 
I am always in the right place at the right time 
I See and capture every positive opportunity. 
I am in rhythm with my organization 
and moving it forward in a positive direction. 
I accomplish my work goals of _______________by ____________. 
And help others accomplish their goals too. 
With every Daimoku 
I am creating a state of life 
and taking wise action 
to be an indispensable employee. 
Make my heart shine with fire and love and my every action brim with compassion and wisdom
so that President Ikeda would proudly say "Yes! ___________(your name here!)  is my disciple!" 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Finding Love and Sculpting Our Karma ~ An Experience from a Reader in India!



Experience: Ritika 01/01/2014

Relationships. They mystify - they can hurt, they can heal. They can drain, they can energize. While we women talk about them more, men are caught in them as much. I started chanting 5 years ago because I was desperate and hurting in a very bad marriage. While normally I would list out all the things that made him the “bad guy” and contributed to our unhappiness, I know better today.  He and his behavior were only puppets acting out the drama of my causes – obviously negative - from the past. 

I will be honest – it has taken me time – to get this concept of ownership – that I am the author of my destiny. Initially all I could do was chant to not feel pain, not feel humiliated, not feel alone, not feel a failure, and most importantly not feel rage at being the ticket to a Green Card. 
Buddhism taught me that my marriage was showing me my karma, that I had a choice on whether I wanted to change this forever or go the cynical route. That changing it was not only necessary, but possible, and guaranteed.  That rather than brooding over the past, why not use this as learning opportunity for what I need to do differently so I never experience such suffering again.

I had nothing more to lose and chanting was my last shot at finding the key to relationships. To my surprise, a viciously contested divorce, ended amicably and soon. This was my hook. I stepped up my practice. 

I learned that no one but me could change my karma and the way to do so was by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and plenty of it. 

I found myself happy for no reason. 

My first and chance visit to FNCC was life-transforming. I came back energized to work on myself. I wanted to sculpt not just my muscles but my karma. What is it about me that I need to change? So that I can not only magnetize a wonderful human being into my life but also offer this person a new me so we both feel “I cannot be luckier!”

President Ikeda says, 
“To think that things will somehow work out just because we are practicing amounts to taking advantage of faith. After we pray for something, we need to struggle with all our might, giving ourselves completely to actualizing it.” 
(Can find the source). I chanted many hours a day for many months, I planted the seed of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in 100s of lives, and several became members – two of whom are in this meeting.  I went back to FNCC several more times to learn how to use this faith to polish my life, to understand what more I can do to change the course of my destiny. 

All through this process, I excelled at my job and also went through several changes – each making me grow and teaching me how to use an adverse situation and convert it into a springboard to leap forward. While I could literally see my life blooming under my nose, my confidence in having a beautiful family yo-yoed from hopeless cynicism and chills to a dream-like wish. I did not understand how I could make it a reality. It was too exhausting. My friends in faith kept encouraging me not to give up, to dig deep, to reach the root cause so I could uproot it. It was not pretty.

The quality of people that I was meeting was abysmal. Within hours of chatting or meeting, I could cut through the fa├žade and walk away knowing that it was not going to work. While I did not realize this then, today I see that it was the protection of my faith – I was able to calmly assess character without being swayed by me emotions. I knew what I wanted, felt confident that I was worth it, and surprisingly patient. 

Nichiren Daishonin in the gosho Real Aspect on the Gohonzon (WND-1, p. 832) states: “A woman who makes offerings to such a Gohonzon invites happiness in this life, and in the next, the Gohonzon will be with her and protect her always. Like a lantern in the dark, like a strong guide and porter on a treacherous mountain path, the Gohonzon will guard and protect you, Nichinyo, wherever you go.” 

These little golden nuggets from the gosho and President Ikeda’s encouragement would help me keep hope alive. My friends would be bar-hopping on weekends, I would be parked in front of the Gohonzon or attend meetings. Changing karma I was learning is serious business. A casual attitude in faith yields less than desired results and I would have no one to be frustrated with but myself. I was learning to become happy just I as was, inspite of my circumstances. That I am told we called this process the emergence of Lotus Beauty in Buddhism.


In January last year I met Navdeep at a networking event. We casually exchanged business cards, meet for coffee several times, moved to dinner, he proposed to me in July and we got married in December. We both complement and bring out the best in each other. Rather than fire, we are like flowing water. We both feel lucky to have found each other. I had a spreadsheet listing all the qualities of my ideal soul mate – 2 pages long – I took the advice of clear goals to heart! I have checked off each line item  Each experience in these last five years has strengthened my confidence in this practice. Today, I have the determination that as long as I am around, any situation will be a bright one. I will be the sun of my family, my district, my community!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Inspiring Experience from a Reader



A very warm Good morning to all of you. My Name is Himani Agarwal and here I stand again to share my experience with you all.
I have been practicing Nichiren’s Buddhism for the last 3 years. I was told that I will become happy after chanting and practicing this Buddhism.  Become HAPPY?? I think until that time in my life I never thought if I am happy or not. I sincerely started chanting and reading Sensei’s writings. The more I read the more I liked this practice. I was naturally drawn to the practice as it says exactly what my heart believed from childhood.
2 years back when I came to Gurgaon to join my job I was a novice and was going through some challenges in my life. I didn’t know anyone in the city except Gakkai members.  I was very low in confidence and used to be quiet and feel very low at times. But somewhere deep in my heart I had faith that if I have NMHRK everything will be fine. I made the Gohonzon my friend.  I used to cry in front of the Gohonzon. Gohonzon knows exactly what’s going on in your heart and mind and if you chant the Universe will respond and support you in any struggle or challenge you go through.
Deep down in my heart that feeling of being alone, useless and not worthy was killing me. 

In Nichiren’s Buddhism we believe that in every person there’s a Buddha and we must respect the Buddha nature in others. The biggest slander which I was creating was that I was disregarding my own Buddha nature. I used to ask my leaders what I had done wrong and what Human Revolution did I need to do. The only answer I was given was that it’s your Karma and you only have to change it. I decided to take complete responsibility of my life and to become totally independent in every aspect of life. I increased my daimoku and the study helped me in understanding the practice correctly. 

Sensei says 
“Prayer is the courage to persevere. It is the struggle to overcome our own weakness and lack of confidence in ourselves. It is the act of impressing in the very depths of our being the conviction that we can change the situation without fail.”

I prayed to understand my own life and do my human revolution. I started having gratitude and appreciation for everything in my environment. I took every negative situation to learn and grow and made kosen rufu my goal. In this journey I was given more responsibly in the Gakkai as a deputy block chief. I tried to support my members to the best of my abilities. As my practice and understanding about Nichiren Buddhism grew, my faith in the Gohonzon also became stronger.

Nichiren says 
“A sword is useless in the hands of a coward.
The mighty sword of the Lotus Sutra must be wielded by one courageous in faith. Then one will be as strong as a demon armed with an iron staff.” 

Reading these lines again and again gave me immense courage and power. I could feel the inner growth day by day. I wanted to pursue a regular course from IIT Delhi with my regular job. I decided to apply the strategy of Lotus Sutra and Chanted for the clarity if this course is right for me this time and how would I be able to do this with my job. 
Sensei says, 
“When your determination changes everything will begin to move in the direction you desire. The moment you resolve to be victorious every nerve and fiber in your being will immediately orient itself towards your success”.
Through the power of my faith my manager agreed that I can attend college before work and be in the office a little later.  This course worked as catalyst in getting my confidence back. Since long I wanted to have my own Gohonzon but to afford a house in Gurgaon is not easy. Once again I applied my favourite Gosho “Strategy of Lotus Sutra”. and prayed for a place where my mission lies with all the necessary thing I require.
After exploring whole Gurgaon I didn’t get anything and my tenure was ending soon with my existing Landlord where I was living as PG. I did finalize one deal, packed my stuff and went to my new home. To my surprise the landlord cancelled the deal and returned the advanced money paid. I had no place to stay with all my stuff in my car. A friend and his wife helped me and allowed me to stay with them till I get a new place. During this whole episode I was in high life condition not worried. I was chanting to get an accommodation ASAP. 
As I determined in my mind in 3 days I got a call for an available place. I liked the place and moved the very next day and this place is near to my block so I can still take care of my block. 
Sensei says 
“Nothing can match the strength of those whose lives have been shaped and forged through challenging and overcoming hardships. Such people fear nothing. The purpose of our Buddhist practice is to develop such strength and fortitude. To cultivate such an invincible core is in itself a victory.” 

All the incidents in my life helped in growing a better person than yesterday.
I am happy to report that I got my confidence back with immense courage and strength. As Sensei says, your life should motivate others to practice this Buddhism, two of my friends took up the faith. In the whole journey of my practice I learned a lot about about life and human nature. I truly believe now that Result is a reflection of your faith in the Gohonzon.


I re determine Sensei I will win come what may...and work whole heartedly for Kosen Rufu and grow my block in district and spread this practice through my own life.