Thursday, April 28, 2016

This Day Changed Our Lives Forever!



On this day in 1253 Nichiren Daishonin chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for the first time and reclaimed the practice of Buddhism for the happiness of us all. 

It's fascinating to imagine what it would have been like for him that day. I wonder what he felt when he was pondering the true practice for the age. Remember, he'd made a vow at the age of twelve to be the wisest man in Japan. He'd traveled to Buddhist temples all over reading the sacred scrolls and asking himself the same question over and over: 

"What is the REAL practice for this age? What will lead people to happiness? What is the true lifeblood of Buddhism NOW?" 

He put every cell of his body into finding the answer to this question. There were many forms of Buddhism at the time. All of them promised rewards in the future, but no fulfillment right now. The Pure Land sect said the only happiness you could ever have came only after death when you were born again in the Pure Land. Other sects said you had to attone for every single negative cause you had ever made and after many, many lifetimes attain Buddhahood. Others said you had to be reborn as a man. 

But NONE said that Happiness exists in the here and now, and you can attain Buddhahood, happiness, enlightenment, right here right now in your present form. 

And THAT school was the one Nichiren founded, beginning 760 years ago today by chanting the title of the Lotus Sutra for the first time. I can just imagine the shivers going through his body. I can just imagine the responses of the people around him who were all attached to their own particular beliefs. It took an amazing amount of energy and strength. 

And he continued his religious revolution every day from then on. In the face of multiple persecutions, attacks, hatred...you name it. But he KNEW. He KNEW that one day you and I would be chanting this phrase and changing the world by infusing our lives with the energy of this vibration, and advancing, step by step with Nichiren and our mentor in faith Daisaku Ikeda. 

What courage. What strength. 

Those of us who have read the writings Nichiren wrote to his followers know what he went through...being exiled to a gardener's hut with holes in the walls and the ceiling with no provisions in the cold of winter in a graveyard no less...not even a graveyard actually, a place where dead bodies were just left on Sado Island. People were told not to go near the hut or help this man or they would be killed. And it was from this hut where he wrote the Opening of the Eyes and many of his most important letters "Gosho" saying "I am the happiest man in all japan!" Why was he so happy? Because his persecutions confirmed that this was the correct teachings. We can learn so much through his actions and attitude. I could go on and on. 

Today marks the first time he chanted. Today marks the establishment of Practical Buddhism for the Latter Day of the Law. Breathtaking really. 


The following passage is largely taken from the SGI website on Nichiren's Life. 


"While Nichiren demonstrated a severely critical stance toward what he regarded as distortion or corruption of the core message of Buddhism, his letters of guidance and encouragement to his followers record a tender concern for people who were disregarded within medieval Japanese society."

Nichiren (1222-1282), the priest who established the form of Buddhism practiced by the members of the SGI, is a unique figure in Japanese social and religious history. In a society where great emphasis has often been placed on keeping conflict hidden from sight, Nichiren was outspoken in his criticism of the established Buddhist sects and secular authorities. His chosen method of propagation was "shakubuku"--a sharp and relentless dialectic between different perspectives in quest of truth...

For instance, he wrote many letters to female lay believers in which he showed a remarkable understanding of their sufferings and emphasized the Lotus Sutra's message that all people can become enlightened as they are, men and women.

Nichiren's sympathy for the downtrodden in society is related to the circumstances of his birth. His father was a fisherman on the seacoast to the east of what is now Tokyo, and as such Nichiren identified himself as "the son of a chandala [untouchable caste] family." Life in feudal Japan was harsh and brutal, especially for the masses at the bottom of the strict social hierarchy. Experiencing firsthand the misery of the common people, Nichiren had from an early age been driven by a powerful desire to find a way of resolving the problem of human suffering.

SGI President Daisaku Ikeda has noted that the wisdom we are able to unleash from within is proportionate to our sense of responsibility. The young Nichiren was moved by a burning sense of responsibility to alleviate the enormous misery he saw about him, and it was this that enabled him to gain insight into the essential nature of human life and reality.

Nichiren began an exhaustive study of the multitude of often contradictory teachings and sutras of Buddhism. From age 16 to 32, Nichiren traveled to Kamakura and Kyoto, visiting the major centers of Buddhism, studying the massive volume of sutras, treatises and commentaries. The conclusion he reached was that the heart of Shakyamuni's enlightenment is to be found in the Lotus Sutra and that the principle or law to which all Buddhas are enlightened is expressed in the phrase "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo," from the title, or daimoku, of that sutra.

At the same time, he understood clearly that to promote faith in the Lotus Sutra as the exclusive vehicle for enlightenment would be to engage in public criticism of existing schools of Buddhism, many of which taught that access to the Buddha Land was only possible after death. While Nichiren advocated using Buddhist practice to challenge one's circumstances and develop inner strength, the traditional schools encouraged resignation and passivity. A strong counterreaction could be anticipated, and Nichiren writes of his own inner struggle over the question of whether or not to speak out.

Persecution

Deciding that to remain silent would be to lack compassion, on the 28th day of the fourth month (according to the lunar calendar) of 1253, Nichiren made a public declaration of his beliefs. As anticipated, his insistence on the sole efficacy of the Lotus Sutra--with its core tenet that all people are in fact Buddhas--in the present era of confusion and corruption was met with disbelief and hostility. The steward of the region, a devout follower of the Pure Land school, took steps to have Nichiren arrested. And from this point on, Nichiren's life would be a succession of harassment, persecution and abuse.

One reason for this is that the authorities recognized Nichiren's uncompromising insistence on the equality of all people as a direct threat to the established power structure, which victimized the impoverished majority. The established schools of Buddhism had been incorporated into this structure, providing an effective means for the feudal authorities to strengthen and extend their power over the populace. Priests of these schools, who occupied a privileged position within the social hierarchy, were deeply implicated in this exploitative system and had no reason to challenge the status quo. This is a further reason why Nichiren was able to attract a significant following despite the risks that such allegiance would entail.

The Lotus Sutra predicts that those who attempt to spread its teachings in the corrupt latter days will meet severe trials. Nichiren interpreted the persecutions that befell him as evidence that he was fulfilling his mission in life.

In 1260, in the wake of a series of devastating natural disasters, Nichiren wrote his most famous tract, the Rissho ankoku ron (On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land). In it, he developed the idea that only by reviving a spirit of reverence for the sanctity and perfectibility of human life through faith in the Lotus Sutra could a truly peaceful order be restored and further disaster forestalled. He presented this treatise to the highest political authorities of Japan and urged them to sponsor a public debate with representatives of other schools of Buddhism. The call for public debate--which Nichiren would repeat throughout his life--was ignored, and he was banished to the Izu Peninsula.

The years that followed brought further banishment and the decisive crisis of his life--an attempt to execute him on the beach of Tatsunokuchi. By his account, moments before the executioner's sword was to fall, a luminous object--perhaps a meteor--traversed the sky with such brilliance that the terrified officials called off the execution. Nichiren was banished to Sado Island where, amidst extreme deprivation, he continued to make converts and write treatises and letters.

In part because the predictions he had made in the Rissho ankoku ron had come true, after almost two and a half years on Sado, Nichiren was pardoned and returned to the political center of Kamakura. It is said he was offered a temple and official patronage if he would desist from his criticism of other schools of Buddhism, but he refused. Nichiren retreated to Mount Minobu, and there he wrote copiously and trained his successors.

Transmission

During this period, the priest Nikko, who had accompanied Nichiren throughout his tumultuous career and would inherit the teachings, was gaining converts in nearby Atsuhara village. The priests of a Tendai temple in the area, angered at this, began harassing the converts. Eventually, they instigated an attack by samurai against unarmed peasant converts and their arrest on false charges of theft. Twenty of the peasants were arrested and tortured, and three were executed in 1279.

Where earlier persecutions had targeted Nichiren himself, this time it was the lay believers who were the victims. Despite their lack of an in-depth theoretical knowledge of their newly adopted faith, these peasant followers remained steadfast in the face of the ultimate threat. For Nichiren, this signaled a crucial turning point, inspiring his confidence that his teachings would be maintained and practiced after his own passing. Where he had to date inscribed sacred mandalas (Gohonzon) for individual believers, he now inscribed the mandala explicitly dedicated to the happiness and enlightenment of all humankind. This symbolized the establishment of Nichiren Buddhism as a universal faith. Nichiren died of old age three years later, his mission complete. Transmission of his teachings and the fulfillment of his vision of peace founded on respect for the sanctity of life is the central inspiration for SGI members worldwide.

[Courtesy October 2004 SGI Quarterly]

Monday, April 25, 2016

We Made the Cover of the Newspaper ~


Ben's Memorial Mile is June 11th, 2016. Last week my sister Alison and I were on the cover of the local newspaper. Here's the link. 
http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/2016/04/13/bens-memorial-run-remembers-downers-grove-athlete-raises-money-for-mental-illness-research/abos9sj/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Daily Guidance from "For Today and Tomorrow" by Daisaku Ikeda, April 25th, Page 127:

"Adversity gives birth to greatness. 
The greater the challenges and difficulties we face, 
the greater opportunity we have to grow as people. 
A life without adversity, 
a life of ease and comfort, 
produces nothing and leaves us with nothing. 
This is one of the indisputable facts of life." 

   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yes,  I think we know adversity gives rise to greatness...or at least it CAN give rise to greatness. What is the formula for making this happen? For me, it is consistency to the best of my ability. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the secret to continual forward movement. Every morning when we chant...we advance. 

This year has been a real journey for me...chanting through my tears and wonderment...and here we are, just a month away from Ben's Memorial Mile. And even though it has been difficult at times...I keep forging ahead. 

I've produced Ben's Memorial Mile posters, postcards, sponsor letters...and it's all coming together. Check out the website at BensMemorialMile.com
and you can sign up to run or walk, or donate to find a cure for schizophrenia. All proceeds are going to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, Dupage, Illinois, and the Body and Behavior Institute. 

Right now I'm working on sponsorships and donations to Ben's Memorial Mile, and making sure everyone who wants to attend knows about it. I just secured a film team to film people telling their stories about Ben. You don't have to have known Ben to be part of his story. Many of you have chanted for him...some have chanted hours a day. YOU are part of Ben's story too. If you film yourself telling your Ben story, it can be included. Email me at chantforhappiness@gmail.com if you're interested in doing this. 

Right now I'm busy chanting and tapping. I completed two levels of training as an EFT practitioner. This is such powerful work. I am calmer, happier, and more serene through tapping. For my certification I'll be completing 50 individual tapping sessions with people. Let me know by email if you are interested: chantforhappiness@gmail.com. 

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 22, 2016

How to Chant for Kosen-Rufu - Happiness and Fulfillment for all


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"When we are aware 
that each moment of each day, 
each gesture and step we take, 
is truly mystical 
and full of wonder, 
we will live our lives 
with greater thought and care. 
We will also have greater respect 
and appreciation 
for the lives of others." 

Daisaku Ikeda, Buddhism By Day, Wisdom for Modern Life, page 135
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There are many ways to chant for Kosen-Rufu - a world of respect for all. We all chant in the most natural way possible. This is one idea for you:

This morning, this PowerPrayer came to mind. I'm experiencing the blooming of Ben's Memorial Mile all around me...it is growing and expanding every day. My life feels truly mystical. I've been learning and practicing EFT, and I feel calm. This morning this short Kosen-Rufu prayer came to me to tell you: 

Short PowerPrayer for Kosen-Rufu
By Jamie Lee Silver, Chantforhappiness.com
Powerprayers are for inspiration - to fuel our determination. We allow them to come into our minds when chanting...and see how they feel when we chant with them in mind. 

I chant for the FULL EXPRESSION of all my talents to flow through me for the greatest good of all...

For this moment, as I'm chanting, I don't have to figure anything out...I don't have to decide anything.

As I am chanting I am connecting with Daisaku Ikeda's heart, and flow of purest energy. We are all chanting for our best, highest good to flow through us throughout the world...

For this moment, I chant purely for the flow, the full flow of kosen-rufu...the best good for everything...the highest possible source of all energy, all thought, all action to flow freely through me for the greatest good of all! 


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Internet Wizard Needed!


Hello readers!

Are you a wizard on the WEB? 
Chantforhappiness.com 
seeks a paypal/web design/webinar intern.

Let's work together for mutual success!

Email me at chantforhappiness@gmail.com



4 Keys to Starting a Gratitude Journal for Absolute Happiness




Studies are showing that summoning and expressing feelings of Gratitude leads to Happiness. Gratitude is a MUSCLE we can all exercise. We exercise the muscle of faith by chanting, and we exercise the muscle of Gratitude by focusing on it! 

I have a challenge for you. 

Start a gratitude journal and share with others on this blog how it feels and how it has changed your life. (Email me at chantforhappiness@gmail.com to submit your writings)

And express gratitude more and more each day. 
How can you express gratitude to today? 

3 Tips for Starting a Gratitude Journal - A Rampage of Appreciation! 

Tip #1 ~ 
Fill your heart with gratitude while you are chanting. Before you start chanting, sit with your hand over your heart and focus on gratitude. Fill your heart with this feeling. And chant from this place. If it's difficult to summon gratitude, think "What COULD I feel grateful for?" and build your feeling of gratitude from that place. 

Tip #2 ~
Start a "Rampage of Appreciation Journal" 
for everything in your life. 
Take a journal or spiral notebook 
and put headings on the top: 

Your body ~ 
Write a list of all you appreciate, and usually take for granted...everything from the five senses to whatever you can think of...go slowly, throughout your whole body starting from the top and write what you appreciate:

Sample journal entry:
I appreciate that I can see colors, I appreciate that I can see 3D, I appreciate that I can remember, that I can sing, that I can laugh. 

Little details add up. We are wondrous in so many ways. Gratitude draws more thing to be grateful for! And keep going ~ you get the picture. See if you can fill a whole page. 

Your Family ~ what do you appreciate? What could you appreciate?

Your friends ~ what do you appreciate in the past and the present about your friends. 

Your Beloved ~ if you don't have a beloved at the moment fill this page with things you have loved about past loves in your life...only the positive things.

Your practice and the SGI ~ What brings you joy? Our daily practice, our living mentor, the Gosho, our SGI friends, meetings, laughter, songs...

Your Work/Career ~ what do you appreciate, what can you appreciate? 

Your home: you get the idea

Our wonderful planet:

Your Country: 

Your possessions: 
Car...clothes...furniture...this is a RAMPAGE of appreciation...keep going!

Other Categories? What would you add? 

Tip #3
Write in this Gratitude Journal Frequently. One friend said he began a gratitude journal last year and writes every day. He has had the best year of his life. If you focus on the good - well, it focuses back to you! 

Tip # 4
Express this gratitude every day! Who can you express gratitude to today? I now carry thank you notes wherever I go. My goal is to give out one a day. 

Email me your stories to share!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Today as I sat down to chant, and go into dialogue with my own life, I thought "What do I want to chant for?" and gratitude came flooding into my thoughts...

I am full of Gratitude that I live an absolutely fearless life ~

Because I chant ~

I am confident that I will always have everything I need. I am not worried or afraid of anything. I do not live in fear of anything. I know the resources for ALL I need are within my own life, within my own Daimoku. I am the Mystic Law...and so are YOU!

I am not worried about whether or not my dreams will come true - as long as I keep steadily advancing, I know that everything I dream will be possible.
I am grateful for having time and a great space to chant!
I am grateful that I have the opportunity to do public speaking and inspire people. Today I addressing a women's group and they will be starting their own gratitude journals. 
I am grateful for my health, and that I look so much younger and healthier than I did ten years ago...aaaahhh the youthening power of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo (and eating well, exercising and drinking LOTS of water!)

I am grateful for the committee putting on Ben's Memorial Mile. Their commitment, their swift action, and the beautiful way this event is coming together is mystic. Ben is eternal, and Ben's Memorial Mile will deepen people's friendships, and create community while it raises funds for mental illness awareness. 

I am grateful for this practice, and for my friends in faith. I always know where to turn when I am seeking encouragement.
I am grateful to YOU, my readers, who send me encouragment, appreciation, insights, questions, experiences and guestblogs. 

Email me at chantforhappiness@gmail.com.  

Share your experiences of faith Please keep your journals if you can, and write brilliant perspectives on your victories. The world awaits your words of wisdom. Let me share them for you with the 55,000 readers of this blog.
I am also grateful for YOU for sending links to this blog and sharing it with others. I write it from my heart to share what I have learned with others, and to connect us all together.
I am grateful for Kate, and Georgine and the SGI
I am grateful for my mentor, Daisaku Ikeda. 
Enjoy and have a great day ~ Jamie 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

12 Ways Nichiren Buddhism Rocks! Please share!



(You can now subscribe to this blog by putting your email in the box to the right)

Why do we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and what makes this practice different than any other form of Buddhism? 


1. The goal of this practice is RESULTS, also called actual proof, or benefits. In other words - you get what you chant for- or something better - as long as you do not give up. 

2. In this practice, each person is a Buddha and possesses the entire power of the universe within their own lives. This is the awakening that the original Buddha experienced under the Bodhi tree. 
We all possess the potential for bringing forth our own Buddhahood (happiness and strength) through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, right now, in this lifetime  ~ without having to focus on making other changes in our lives. 

3. We have a Living Mentor ~ 
Daisaku Ikeda is the President of the Soka Gakkai International. I write about him often. Several of the posts last week were on the mentor and disciple relationship. Daisaku Ikeda is an extraordinary human being that we connect  with through his writings, his speeches, his actions and through our own hearts. 

4.There are no lifestyle, diets, rules of behavior or “paths” to memorize or carefully trod. There is the keen awareness that life operates under the strict law of cause and effect, and at each moment WE are creating our lives, but most of us knew that already! 

5. Desire is not the enemy. Your desires lead you to chant...when you chant you change your karma. Each person chants for their desires from their heart. Alleviation of desire is not the goal of this practice. Neither is mindlessness. We focus when we chant.  

6. There are no clergy, no robes and no temples. YOU have direct access to the power of the universe, your own Buddha power within. No intermediaries are needed. We SGI members practice together because we grow and learn together. There are SGI (Soka Gakkai - Value Creating Organization) community centers, and many smaller meetings are held in people’s homes. We are all normal people in the world living extraordinarily happy lives.  

7. We are changing our karma every time we chant. We can change our karma. Karma is not immutable. Suffering is not "Noble", but it is part of life. The goal of chanting is HAPPINESS, not to learn to be better sufferers. 

8. We do not chant “to” anything outside of us. There is no Higher Power in this practice. When we are chanting we access our own wisdom and power as a the Buddha, or awakened one. We are chanting to our own lives. 

9. The main practice is reciting the words Nam-myoho-renge-kyo over and over and over. Everyone on earth recites the same phrase. It means: "I fuse my life with the mystic (unfathomable) law of cause and effect through sound vibration"

10. The SGI does not discriminate for any reason. All people...ALL people have the right to access the Mystic Law within their own lives. We are all Buddhas. 

11. There is no guilt, there is only the awareness of the law of cause and effect. 

12. You do not need to convert to try this practice. Anyone can chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo regardless of religion. Test it. See how you feel, and watch what happens. When you see the results, you want to learn more...and you increase results and happiness as you go. 

And it's easy to start chanting. You can start with only 5 minutes in the morning and 5 in the evening, and see results. If you click on the SGI Portal link to the right you can find members in your area. 

Jamie Lee Silver ~ chantforhappiness@gmail.com





Saturday, April 16, 2016

5 Steps to Getting Results From This Practice!



(You can now subscribe to this blog by putting your email in the box to the right) 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like the ocean that remains calm in its depths 
even when waves rage over its surface, 
and like the sun that continues shining on high 
even during storms, 
we can at each moment create value 
and develop our state of life, 
enjoying our existence to the fullest 
in times of both suffering and joy.

Daisaku Ikeda, Ikedaquotes.org Self-Mastery
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

5 Steps:

1. Chant abundant Daimoku
2. Practice for yourself and others 
3. Study the writings of Daisaku Ikeda 
and Nichiren Daishonin
4. Go for Guidance with your senior leaders
and, I would add -  
5: Have a great suffering to alleviate, or a great desire...in other words BE MOTIVATED!

and keep chanting!  

It doesn't sound like much, but I know it is. Sometimes the hardest thing is to face our lives and chant. Yesterday I was interviewed by two newspapers, and a photographer came over to take pictures of me, my sister, and a room full of articles that had been written about Ben when he was running in high school. Ben's memorial Mile is right around the corner, June 11th, here in Downers Grove, Illinois, USA. Even if I feel emotional, I have to keep my eye on the bigger picture. 

Ben's Memorial Mile is for all his friends, family, and the entire community. Ben's Memorial Mile is for raising awareness and funds to cure schizophrenia. Ben's Memorial Mile is for honoring the life of my incredible boy. He is the World'd Benjamin Lee Silver. 

Here's the link:

BensMemorialMile.com

Have a great day! See you in front of the Gohonzon!

Friday, April 15, 2016

3 Ways to Show Actual Proof with Determined Action

My son Ben on the podium at the Illinois State Track Meet in 2011. Ben's on the left. He came from behind after being injured and joined the other elite runners - where he belonged. He was a Champion in life and is a Champion in eternity. 

On June 11th, we are producing an event to bring the community together, have fun in his memory, and raise funds to help find a cure for Schizophrenia (a disease he got just 3 years ago). 

I have a vow as a Buddha to show actual proof through my own life, and to inspire others that anything is possible. Many of us have taken this vow. When things are hardest, it is our vow that carries us through. 

These last few months the committee for Ben's Memorial Mile, honoring my son, Benjamin Lee Silver, who died last summer, has been working very hard. Together we came up with the concept, the races, the location, the insurance, press releases, website, and all promotional pieces. 

This week I'm being interviewed by the press all week, and today I have a photo shoot. We're going to pose with the many articles published about Ben's champion years of running at Downers Grove North High School. 

And how do we keep moving forward showing actual proof even when we are in such painful situations. how do we take determined actions, even though our eyes are filled with tears? 

I think of the song we sang as YWDs - 

"I'll do my best 
to write a brand new story with my life, 
although the pages may be stained with tears. 
And when I rest, 
if they say there was glory in my life 
it's because I asked this question, 
over and over I asked this question every day, 
through all my years...
What can I do to change the world 
to make it better than before?"

3 ways to show actual proof with determined action:

1. Chant strongly with no distractions every morning and evening. Put away that pesky cell phone. Really. I know how hard it is. But you owe yourself this time. Think to yourself "This is MY time" and put it away. 

2. Make your list of what you want. Then Just chant! Don't worry so much about how or what you are praying. read the Gosho. Chant from your heart. The wisdom will come to you. 

3. Don't give up. Keep taking resolute and determined effort. When I was putting together all the flyers, posters and letters for Ben's Memorial Mile there were days I couldn't face it...days I had to put it aside. Then the next day I woke up and tackled it. Just keep going. Do not give up!  Whatever you are facing...you can win! 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

10 Powerful Quotes on Prayer by Daisaku Ikeda


Daisaku Ikeda's 
10 Powerful Quotes on Prayer 
(You can subscribe to this blog by putting your email in the box to the right)
~ 1 ~

Prayer entails an intense challenge 
to believe in yourself 
and stop diminishing yourself. 
To belittle yourself 
is to disparage Buddhism 
and the Buddha within your life.

~ 2 ~

Prayer is the way to destroy all fear. 
It is the way to banish sorrow, 
the way to light a torch of hope. 
It is the revolution 
that rewrites the scenario of our destiny.

~ 3 ~

Prayers are invisible, 
but if we pray steadfastly 
They will definitely effect clear results in our lives 
and surroundings over time. 
This is the principle of the true entity of all phenomena. Faith means having confidence in this invisible realm.


~ 4 ~

Prayer is not a feeble consolation; 
it is a powerful, unyielding conviction. 
And prayer must become manifest in action. 
To put it another way, 
if our prayers are in earnest, 
they will definitely give rise to action. 

~ 5 ~

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. 

~ 6 ~

Prayer is an attempt 
to merge the inner workings of our life 
with the rhythm of the universe. 
When we pray in such a way, 
all the workings of the universe 
will function to protect us 
and the endless cycle of painful reality 
will be transformed 
into a cycle of victory and happiness. 
Prayer is the key to open the door 
to unleash 
that infinite human potential within our lives. 

~ 7 ~

The important thing 
is to firmly fix our gaze 
on our own weaknesses, 
not run away from them, 
but to battle them head-on 
and establish a solid self that nothing can sway. Hardships forge and polish our lives, 
so that eventually 
they shine with brilliant fortune and benefit. 
If left in its raw, unpolished form, 
even the most magnificent gem will not sparkle. 
The same applies to our lives. 

~ 8 ~


Prayer is not of the realm of logic or intellect. 
It transcends these. 

~ 9 ~

Prayer is an act 
of which we give expression 
to the pressing and powerful wishes 
in the depths of our being 
and yearn for their fulfillment. 

~ 10 ~ 

"What kind of future do I envision for myself? 
What kind of self and I trying to develop? 
What do I want to accomplish in my life?" 
The thing is to paint this vision of your life in your heart 
as specifically as possible. 
That "painting" itself becomes the design of your future. The power of the heart 
enables us to actually create with our lives 
a wonderful masterpiece 
in accordance with that design. 

It is not about others. 
It is about you winning, 
and winning over yourself. 
By doing so, you will provide inspiration 
and encouragement to all around you. 



From Ikedaquotes.org

Go Bernie Go! A Once-in-a-Lifetime Choice


Just a reminder that this blog, which will have been running seven years this July, is not an official SGI publication. It is written by me, Jamie Lee Silver, a member of the Soka Gakkai for 31 years, and  comes from my heart for world peace, for happiness, and for kosen-rufu, a world of respect for all of life. As such, I can confidently and enthusiastically say that I stand behind Bernie Sanders for President 100%. This is my personal endorsement and does not represent the SGI as a whole. 

Bernie is the first candidate in my lifetime who does not accept big money, he cannot be bought. He has been consistently saying the same message, his message of peace and equality, justice and opportunity for all people his entire life. 

Bernie is Jewish, and has said his spirituality is "We're all in this together." He is a uniter to the core. He resonates with Buddhist thought. And you've probably heard that he's been asked to speak at the Vatican next week. That should be very interesting indeed. No American Presidential candidate, that I can recall, has ever been invited to speak at the Vatican. Why should I, as a Buddhist care about this? I care because the Pope is a thought leader. I don't agree with everything Pope Francis says, but I respect his more progressive views.  

Here's an article about the accomplishments Bernie has made in his life in public service: 
http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/bernie-gets-it-done-sanders-record-pushing-through-major-reforms-will-surprise-you

And of course, the major media of America is run by the same corporations that have been backing Hillary Clinton and many of the republicans all along. Big money. Corporate interests. I watched the first democratic debate, where the CNN live polling online clearly showed Bernie won by 85%. In the moments that followed, on live TV, they announced Hillary the clear winner, and deleted the online poll. Why? Because CNN is owned by Times Warner, which was her seventh largest financial contributor. Bernie says repeatedly "The system is rigged." Right. But the power of the people is stronger. 

But we knew this going in. Now, Independent media is stepping in where corporate media has failed us: 

I just read an article I share with you here:
http://www.salon.com/2016/04/08/grassroots_revolt_against_hillary_occupy_activists_launch_battle_of_new_york_to_fight_clinton_machine_anti_sanders_bias_in_belly_of_beast/

Power to the people. Bernie has awakened the people. He has awakened our hopes for a better society. His rallies, though largely unreported by the media, draw tens of thousands. He has won 7 of the last 8 primaries, and he has momentum. (And the 8th, in Arizona, is under scrutiny for being rigged) He came from 50 points behind to be neck in neck with the Hillary Clinton. With virtually no television press. 

Bernie's support comes from the millenials, who use the internet to do their research, backing him. And many of us, of all ages, are supporting him financially. 

The power of the people is the most important power of all. 

In his 2003 Peace Proposal presented to the United nations, Daisaku Ikeda writes: 

"We cannot remain passive in the face of the severity of the reality that confronts us. Rather, we should open ourselves to the limitless power that is created when awakened people unite and act together. It is in proving this truth that humanity in the twenty-first century can fulfill its mission."

I believe, under Bernie's leadership, and with the backing and action of the American people, we CAN come together and unite to make a better world. 

Daisaku Ikeda also states: 

"When human beings live together, conflict is inevitable. War is not. “We are in conflict” can be interpreted to mean “we share a problem.” A shared problem can best be met and resolved through shared efforts. Rather than facing off in confrontation, we should turn together to face our common future, united in a shared commitment to the flourishing of youth."

Daisaku Ikeda, Ikedaquotes.org

Thursday, April 7, 2016

How to Achieve Unlimited Victory


Today's quote by Daisaku Ikeda fits my family's recent news.

On Monday, my son Aaron called me from his trip to Australia to tell me he had won the Loyola, Stritch School of Medicine award for Persevering Through Hardship. Persevering Through Hardship. Boy, does he deserve that. He only had one semester of medical school before his brother Ben started showing signs of mental illness, and by Aaron's second year, Ben had already been hospitalized and things just got worse and worse until this summer, when, as many of you know, Ben began his next eternal journey. 

Somehow, Aaron's determination, along with his strong Buddhist practice, and support from his family and friends got him through. With honors. What a champion. 
The harder it got, the more he chanted. That is the sign of a true victor in life. 

In many ways we are all going though hardship, aren't we? This is the age of Mappo - a dark time. But if we all perservere...if we all wake up every morning and spring in front of our Gohonzons and make our determinations AGAIN, we will all win. 

I've been in three all-day conferences in the last few days...meeting new and old friends...learning useful information to further my life and the lives of others. Soon I start formal training in EFT Energy Freedom Technique - Tapping. It's a powerful modality. Moving ahead fearlessly...together... 

Today's guidance from Daisaku Ikeda in 
For Today and Tomorrow states:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Strength is the source of happiness. 
We mustn't shy away from life's challenges. 
We mustn't be defeated. 
Refusing to be defeated equals victory. 
A person who perseveres to the end is a winner. 
In the course of promoting or movement, 
the Soka Gakkai has never pulled back 
in the face of any hindrance. 
We have kept moving forward. 
And that is the key to our success. 
Never to retreat a single step, no matter what - 
that is the Soka Gakkai spirit. 
Those who can embrace this spirit 
can achieve unlimited victory."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Important Thing about Prayer



"There are many elements involved 
in a prayer being answered, 
but the important thing 
is to keep praying until it is. 
By continuing to pray, 
you can reflect on yourself 
with unflinching honesty 
and begin to move your life 
in a positive direction 
on the path of earnest, steady effort. 
Even if your prayer 
doesn't produce concrete results immediately, 
your continual prayer 
will at some time manifest itself 
in a form greater than you had ever hoped."

From Daisaku Ikeda, Buddhism Day by Day, page 97. 
Share your thoughts with me at chantforhappiness.com