Sunday, October 29, 2017

This is the Buddhism of CHANGING our Karma - not just Learning from it ~

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The other day a practicing Buddhist said to me "Well I guess I just have to keep going through this until I learn the lesson from it. That's what life is, learning lessons from our suffering." and I said 'That is not what Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism is all about!" 

Yes, I know the Gosho says 'Suffer what there is to suffer and enjoy what there is to enjoy." (From Happiness in This World by Nichiren Daishonin.)  But the Gosho "Reply to Kyo'o" states: "A sword will be useless in the hands of a coward." 

As Buddhas we can be fearless! 

I do not think it's important to "learn from our karma". Of course we can learn from the causes we make, and stop making negative causes...but that is not the same as having the belief that we have to repeat karma over and over again until we "learn" from it."

I think it's important to change it! 

When I first began chanting in San Francisco I got a job with an abusive, screaming, swearing boss. He wasn't swearing and screaming at me, but that was not something I ever wanted to experience again. Every morning, I chanted a solid hour of daimoku to CHANGE THIS KARMA forever...and never, ever have an abusive boss again. I chanted for this boss's happiness, and the happiness of all involved. After chanting this way for a significant amount of time I gained the strength to stand up to this man and stop him when he abused my coworkers. 

Eventually, that job ended and I had a series of wonderful bosses, and lots of business success. Some time later that karma resurfaced, but not in quite as bad a way. I got a boss who drove me crazy with her anxiety. At this time I did not say to myself "Wow, this Buddhism doesn't work, I can't believe I got another boss who makes me suffer."

No. I just dug right back into my practice, made a new determination and chanted with all my might for her happiness, for my success, for my future and all my dreams. At the time, I really wanted to move from San Francisco. This boss ended up giving me a substantial severance package - enough so that I could take the holiday season off to be with my babies and then move back to Chicago to raise my kids close to my Mom in the good old midwest. 

Did I "learn" from these instances. YES! I learned I can change whatever karma I want by chanting. I learned I am a powerful Buddha. 
I did not have to learn "why am I attracting this into my life?" No! I just learned to change it! 


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

As Daisaku Ikeda writes in the October 16th, 2015 World Tribune, in the essay "Making Hope", page 6:

"I do not believe that people are powerless. The philosophical tradition that I embrace, on the most fundamental dimension - that of life itself - teaches that each human life partakes of the limitless life force of the cosmos. The same power that moves the universe exists within our own lives. Each individual has immense potential, and a great change in the inner dimension of one individual's life has the power to touch the lives of others and transform society. Everything begins with us." 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Lighting the Lamp of Hope from Florida with Career Success



So I'm almost a month into my job and it's incredibly exciting. I've already produced a lot of success, and I take my smile everywhere I go. In all things "Our success is our energy. Our energy is our success." that is my belief, and those are my words. 

When we freely express our Buddha nature everything flowers around us. We can create a place for the flowers of our life to bloom. 

Just a little background: 

As many of you know, In 2009, I created this blog to show actual proof through my own life, to inspire people to learn about chanting, and to inspire my beloved fellow practitioners all over the world. This is not an easy practice, but when we practice correctly, our lives overflow with benefit - so it's worth the work. 

We get up early...so we can chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to awaken the Buddha in our hearts, and set our sights on what is true. We chant the truth in our hearts and make determinations towards this day, and into the future. We tell our lives what we want, for Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is our life, and the life and rhythm of the entire universe. 

Through this chant we connect...and we summon all the power of the universe into our lives and dreams. Then at night, we chant again and prepare for the next day. We chant for ourselves, we chant for others, we chant for this world.

About five years ago, life was going great, but I was worried about my son Ben. We soon began a roller coaster ride of trying to keep him alive through a terrible illness. Schizophrenia. And in July of 2015, my beloved Ben succumbed to the illness and took his life. My blog of July 4th, 2015 was my declaration that I would turn poison into medicine. The worst problem can turn into the best benefit. Even this. 
Fast forward, I created Bensmemorialmile.com, where we've raised almost 50K for Schizophrenia research and Suicide prevention, and I moved from Chicago to St. Pete Beach Florida where I live overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. I did not work for a year and lived off the saving that resulted from my many years of fortune accumulated through almost 33 years of practice. (This Friday, October 20th, is my 33rd anniversary of receiving the Gohonzon).

In time, I began to chant for my next job. 

I chanted for a job that would use all my talents,  where I'd be surrounded by people who inspire me, where I could do public speaking and have a great and growing income, where I could let the light of my life shine and do shakubuku with my life while making new friends, and where I could be HAPPY. 

And I was offered many jobs...and found one I accepted. 

Now I'm a few weeks into it, and I am having joyful success that is being recognized and applauded. I am surrounded by helpful and inspiring people, and I am having fun while doing good work that helps people. 

And the key is to continue chanting to SEE my life, and to expand in my capacity to help others, to do shakubuku (I've not yet shared my Buddhist practice at work, but they are seeing my life shine), and to humbly keep chanting to see what I'm doing wrong so I can correct it and continue moving forward. 

I am not perfect, but I chant to learn from my errors and move on. And I chant to love myself completely through it all! I'm chanting each day for the happiness of all of my coworkers as we create this beautiful community that helps seniors. 

I am spreading the joyful light of hope, appreciation and love that I feel inside all the time. I have also once again been able to raise my contribution level to the SGI. I know this creates even more fortune and just makes me happy!

Whatever you are facing, you can joyfully create the life of your dreams as you bask in appreciation and continue to devote your life to this practice, shakubuku, study, and creating happiness for yourself and others. 

Go Buddha go and never give up!  


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Please Chant for my Beautiful Kate


Kate Randolph, the wise Buddha, the eternal Bodhisattva, the most beautiful, wonderful, creative, loving woman who introduced me to this practice 33 years ago this Friday is a year into her battle with the worst kind of brain cancer. 

Please join me in chanting for her. Now. 

I'm going in front of my Gohonzon right now. 

Thank you my friends. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Meeting Every Challenge With Joy

Life is about challenges 
and joy is something we build for ourselves 
through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, 
choosing our words carefully, 
and taking correct action for our lives 
with the recognition 
that everything we do 
is a CAUSE for our own happiness, 
and the happiness of others. 

We are Bodhisattvas of the earth with deep missions and deep vows. If you read this and think "I never quite understood about the vow part," let me give you my brief insight on this. 

Remember, I am a practicing Buddhist, just like you. Next Friday, October 20th,  I will celebrate my 33rd anniversary of receiving the Gohonzon. 

Right now, Kate Randolph, my beautiful and wise mentor (sho introduced me to this practice) is challenging a brain tumor of the worst kind. It was diagnosed last Thanksgiving ~ right after she got back from our visit to FNCC. 

I will always remember, when we were doing Gongyo together at my apartment, she turned to me and said. "I just have to tell you Jamie, I really, really love you." And of course I got tears in my eyes filled with love for my dear, dear, friend. She went back to LA and got this horrible diagnosis. 

Please join me in chanting for my dear friend, and wise woman, Kate Randolph. 

When we talk about our vow for kosen rufu, it's something that is present in my daimoku (chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo) every day. My vow is my determination that through my accessing the incredible power of the universe within me ~ by chanting nam-myoho-renge-kyo, that I will make the world a better place. I chant to access the most powerful power I have, so that I can be an inspiration to others as they watch me overcoming challenge after challenge. 

And I have had challenges, just like you. Mine are mine alone, just as yours are yours alone. But the thread that connects us is the ability and determination to turn poison into medicine time and time again. Not just for ourselves, but to make the world a better place. I chant "BECAUSE of this HUGE challenge, I can change my karma! Thank you to my life."

Boy, do we ever have a lot to chant about right now, right? My friends in Northern California did not lose their houses, but they lost their "land" when all the houses around them burned. They lost their neighborhoods and landmarks. They lost their past, present and future, just like our friends in Puerto Rico, Houston, the wildfires in the northwest, and on and on...not just in the US but all over the world. 
We can chant for all these places, people...and our whole world. Now, more than ever, we are at our crucial point, and can use our vow of happiness to strengthen our lives and bring peace and harmony to the world, not just through our prayers, but through our actions. 

My determination is to SEE my life, and make the changes I need to make, deep inside my character, so that my life can purify all I touch and see, and all I can't see. Science has proven that we all exist in the web of life together. Our changes, our human revolution, changes the world. It HAS to. My daily causes are important. So are yours. 

So, everyday, I bring my smile to all around me, every day. I'm working as sales director in a senior living community and it is great joy to interact with our precious seniors and their families. I bring my "A game" of compassion, wisdom and the healing power of LISTENING, and empathizing to every personal encounter. 

WE are the gift to the world. WE are the ones who can surmount our sufferings and help others learn this wonderful chant. We are the ones who can help and inspire the youth of our time. This is our vow!

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for the youth! Nam myoho renge kyo for the unity of the SGI organization. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for YOUR happiness and the happiness of all around you! 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Life is a Joyful Challenge When We Really See Ourselves


Hello from St. Pete Beach. It's been a bit cloudy and rainy around here, but I'm still grateful for every day on the beach, and every day I can wake up, look my life in the eye and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo (I fuse my life with the mystic law of cause and effect through sound vibration)

This practice can be difficult, isn't that right? First of all, it's a challenge to chant every morning and evening... EVERY morning and evening, right? And, secondly, this practice is a mirror for our inner lives...so we can see ourselves, and always determine to change for the better. 

As you know, last week I started a new job at a great company around people who truly inspire me. And...my own need for change from within is showing more clearly. I see how my communication style needs to be tweaked, I see some things about myself I want to change. 

Being able to see ourselves clearly and make changes for the better is one of the best things about our practice of Buddhism. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo enables us to look at our lives and change from within. This change, this "Human Revolution," as we call it, is an act of courage, of determination and strength. 

Think about it. Many people can't see themselves. And even if they do, they think "Well, that's just the way I am. I can't change THAT." As James Hermann says, We don't practice this Buddhism to say "Ah well, that's just the way I am." No! We practice it to change on that fundamental level we can only reach by determination and prayer. Nichiren Daishonin says we can't see our eyebrows on our face...they are just too close. Seeing our tendencies can be just as difficult.  

So my prayer of gratitude and happiness is to expand my capacity...and to strengthen my life... 
...to be mindful of my communication style...to take a moment to think clearly and breathe...and to USE this practice to focus my energies on my sincere desire for the happiness of all my coworkers...and all I serve. 

When I change, the world changes. When I do my human revolution, since we are all interconnected, I make the world a better place. 

"A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind."

Daisaku Ikeda, from Ikedaquotes.org

It's not about blame. Blaming ourselves or others never leads to growth. It's about taking responsibility and saying "Yes! Yes, Yes!" It's the perfect time to grow and strengthen my life condition. "Yes! Yes, Yes!" I embrace this opportunity to expand my capacity! YES! I love my life! 

And on another note of happiness I can tell you that my son, Aaron Michael Silver M.D. is going to Chicago for the youth meeting in October. He's still in his first year as a double intern in Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, and he's practicing harder than ever. He's doing Gojakai and loving his Buddhist family in Phoenix. I am so proud of him for the man he is and the man he is becoming. My heart shines! 

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to you my friends! 
Take all your challenges and turn them into benefits right now! No blame. No complaint. Say YES to your karma, and determine to change it. Take the action you need to take in your lives. You are a precious Buddha. Love yourself! 
This is the secret to a happy life. 
Sending love to you from St. Pete Beach. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

How to Chant Joyful Abundant Daimoku! Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

Wisdom for Modern Life by Daisaku Ikeda
October 1, 2017
Time is constantly passing, one moment following fast upon the other. 
That's why it's so important to press forward boldly, 
without complaining or fretting. 
The person who looks to the future and keeps moving ahead is eternally youthful. 
Such a person's heart is filled with flowers and shines brilliantly.

Hello friends!
This week I started a new and thrilling job. 
Once again, I am working with my beloved seniors.

Last week, before I began my new job, I spent Sunday morning chanting a three hour toso. 
(Nam-myoho-renge-kyo over and over and over!) 

I've written several blogs about how to chant for longer times. I recommend making yourself comfortable, having drinks nearby, turning off your phone, and inviting your friends to join you. 

Also, you may want to keep a journal nearby to write your insights and the things that come into your mind. By writing down your "to-do list" you can clear your mind to focus on your prayer. 

On Sunday I was chanting from my heart to connect to every single person who was also chanting in front of their Gohonzons...and for our unity to unite the world.
Here is the focus of my prayer:  


PowerPrayer for a Powerful Life 

Life! 
I am more determined than ever to accomplish my human revolution. 
I am determined to see my life more clearly than ever, and to have to courage to make the changes I need and want to make. 
I'm determined to correct my faults, 
and to end any form of self-slander
(self-criticism, self-anger, and any kind of discouragement). 
I now have the courage to see the truth in my life and follow MY truth for my highest good, and the good of all. 
In this world, where there is so much ignorance and delusion, I am determined to see the truth and make the best cause for my happiness and the good of all at all times. 
I'm determined to see the beauty and joy in every single moment! 
I'm determined to create unity at my job and to be kosen-rufu in action! I'm determined not to complain about anything, and to take each challenge straight to the Gohonzon and chant, chant, chant! I will appreciate everything, and love, love, love myself! 

And I began my job with energy and happiness. 
Our daimoku is so powerful!

Today at kosen-rufu gongyo, the speaker talked about our 249 day journey to 50,000 youthful lions for kosen-rufu gathering in America next year. He said he was dusting off the dream he'd shelved, and he was using this campaign, and his prayers and actions towards it to fuel his dream.

Perfect. This is an opportunity for all of us. We can use this momentous goal to recommit to OUR goals, re-dream our dreams and make them a reality. We can do it. Now, more than ever, let's make every daimoku count, and be the happiest beacons of light we can possibly be!