Friday, December 29, 2017

Lighting the Lamp of Hope from Florida!





Hello, Hello! 

It's been a busy, busy Christmas season filled with travels, parties and my fantastic new job. It is such a thrill to help families with their loved ones who need care. I love my job! I am just having a blast with my new life in my new city. 

Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the source and power of every fantastic moment in my life. Every morning I chant. Every evening I chant. And THIS month one of my dearest new friends received her Gohonzon! She's so inspiring! My friend Deb is so excited about this practice. She's been through a lot this year, losing both her parents within three months of each other. 

And from the moment she started chanting she could feel the power in her life. She could feel herself surrounded by all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas in the universe. We set up a spectacular altar for her using a beautiful piece of furniture she already owned, and a new Butsudan. And you know what? Every day she inspires ME even more. Doing shakubuku is so amazing. The minute you shakubuku someone THEY start encouraging your practice! 

This Christmas season was especially sweet. Last year at this time I had to move, and I had a broken foot, and it was just my second Christmas since Ben became eternal. This year I've been filled with appreciation every single moment. I appreciate this practice, my new and old friends, my health and my family. I feel the incredible surge of fortune in my life. 

Keep practicing, don 't give up, and turn every poison into medicine and you will make your life shine too! 

Please consider donating to the GoFUNDME campaign for my dear friend Kate who has brought so much to my life, and to the readers of this blog for many years. Kate is in her 40th year of practice and is battling a fierce form of brain cancer, and this money is needed for her care.  Here's the link: 

https://www.gofundme.com/help-Kate-fight-brain-cancer

Friday, December 8, 2017

12 Quotes on Strengthening Our Lives by Daisaku Ikeda


The struggle of life is, and always will be, a struggle against your own weaknesses. Will you become cowardly and think, "I can't do this. I'm certain to fail"? Or will you challenge the difficulties that lie ahead with the conviction, "I am strong. And I can become stronger still"? Your destiny in life will vary greatly depending on the spirit that you maintain.

Resolving to take action is proof that you are progressing. Even if you have the tendency to make a determination but only stick to it for two or three days, just keep renewing that determination. Then you will become the kind of person who can persevere and reach their goals.

One cannot become a starring player in life if one is easily swayed by one’s emotions over every little thing. Strength of character lies in performing the drama of life with courage and confidence, practicing self-reflection and self-control under any circumstances.

When we decide to live each instant fully, with all our might, to live true to ourselves and make the present moment shine, we discover and bring forth immense and unimagined strength.

In life when we feel we have reached a limit, that is when the true battle begins. Just when you despair and think it is impossible to go any further, will you become apathetic, or will you say it’s not over and stand up with an unyielding spirit? The battle is decided by this single determination.

Whether we regard difficulties in life as misfortunes or whether we view them as good fortune depends entirely on how much we have forged our inner determination. It all depends on our attitude or inner state of life. With a dauntless spirit, we can lead a cheerful and thoroughly enjoyable life. We can develop a “self” of such fortitude that we are able to look forward to life’s trials and tribulations with a sense of joy.

Just being good-natured is not enough. If you are good-natured but fail to stand up to injustice, you cannot protect anyone. Instead, you will tend to be taken lightly, enabling those who perpetrate injustice to only grow stronger.

Every hardship is an opportunity to strengthen ourselves, to temper our life and make it shine with greater luster.

Even if things don’t unfold the way you expected, don’t be disheartened or give up. One who continues to advance will win in the end.

Truly strong people are not arrogant. Cowardice on the other hand causes arrogance. Cowards hide behind their own power and authority.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Excellent Family-Karma-Changing Experience

  

Hi….this  is Surashree. I am a part of Bsg family from last year. I  belong to a small city Raipur.  My relationship with my parents  has a void as both my parents  and  grandparents  were working and  maids took care of us. As parents did not have any time I always held a grudge  against them also felt  alone and frustrated. Also from childhood I was a stubborn person and a loner who avoided  people. When I completed my schooling all these qualities surfaced even more . My sister was facing the same issues. She suffered from obesity and was always  irritable. Till date, she has no  friend. Sometimes she used to speak very harshly. And I’ve seen her crying too. My sister and I always had problems with each other.  I am also suffering from a skin disorder. Overall, We were facing deep relationship karma within the family.
The first person from our family who encountered the Nichiren Buddhism was my elder sister. She introduced my mother too.  I went to Nagpur for my Graduation. More than studies to get  away from  parents. When I was in Nagpur, Didi and Maa both started practicing Nichiren Buddhism and each time I  returned home on vacations, I always noticed some improvement in my family environment. Everyone started taking responsibilities rather than blaming each other. I saw my sister becoming calmer and mature; and my mother became more serious about the family.
Still being a stubborn person, I used to fight repeatedly blaming my parents for never having time for me. One day my mother said sorry to me for not spending much time with us. My mother told me that if you want your karma to change, accept the hard realities of my life. This is only way that move towards happiness. After this, our family bonding  grew stronger , though  She also told me about the practice, but I ignored it.
Almost  8 years after this incident, When I saw huge victories in my mothers life, I thought of giving this practice a try. I seriously wanted change in my life. I was struggling with my office responsibilities, and I was tired of being alone also  very confused about the  course of my  life . As a girl in mid 20s, I thought It is better to spend some time with the family  so in spite of others opposition I resigned from my job and returned back to my hometown. I felt very  positive  that everything will be good from here on-wards.
I'm happy to report that it was then when I started practicing. I came across lines from Sensei Ikeda, ”You must have impossible dreams and then the courage to challenge them so that you can prove the power of the Mystic Law.”  Buddhism is the mirror that perfectly reflects the depths of our lives.” Soon  I realized that I never put any efforts in my relationships. I always behaved selfishly.  It was due to my own karma that I have suffered. And Buddhism is the way through which I can change my destiny.
Gradually, My relationship with my mother became good, though my  relationship with sister and father was not that great. I determined change the relationship with my father. He  is a very calm and fun loving person. He had issues with me due to my stubborn behavior. He  always wanted us to pursue music as career as we hail from a music family. It was only  after resigning, I started working on small stage shows with my father and helped him emotionally. After sometime, he started trusting me and our relationship grew stronger.
One day while studying, I came across gosho lines from the chapter, On Prolonging Life, “One day of life is more valuable than all the treasures of the universe, so first you must muster sincere faith.”  It explained how we can have an influence on our environment by practicing Buddhism and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. I realized avoiding  problems will not help me. So, I strongly determined few things:
First, I would no longer hold my life back through fear and insecurity.
Second, No matter what, I’ll  strengthen my faith as much as possible for which I started reading about the concepts or books related to Nichiren Buddhism as much as possible.
Third, I determine to always put the concept of “ten worlds” in my daily life and to constantly check myself not to fall towards lower 4 worlds. Anytime time if I feel I'm spending more time in any of the lower worlds, I try to pull myself out from the situation and try to work on myself to become better. Sometimes I fail, but my practice gave me the strength to try again.
Fourth, I decided that I will have no hatred or anger towards anyone. Whenever I do, I confess it front of the Gohonzon and pray to give me the strength to overcome these negative feelings. Also, If I am angry on someone or I dislike someone, I pray for his/her happiness and their Buddha nature to emerge. I’ve experienced that if you chant for the happiness of the person who made you unhappy, the environment works for you, and everything will fall into place making your situation and those relations smoother than before.
Sensei says, “Dialogue requires heart-to-heart connection. You can have dialogue in your heart with anyone anywhere at any time, living or dead. The first step to touch another person's heart is “Appreciation”. Chant to develop appreciation. The path of the Bodhisattva lies in developing and expressing appreciation. Appreciation and joy multiply our good fortune. Complaint and negativity erase it”. After reading these lines, I took my fifth determination that I will always try to do heart to heart dialogue with everyone around me. I’ll appreciate every effort made by anyone surrounding me, no matter who that person is or which community he belongs to.
It is my observation that Even if any practitioner applies simple & small concepts from the book, “Basics of Buddhism”, One will surely receive tremendous benefits, conspicuous and inconspicuous both.
I got married last year. As a newly married, I started facing adjustment issues in the new environment, which even lead to arguments between me and my husband Saurabh. The drastic lifestyle-change became a huge challenge for me.  My practice gives me the courage to see the obstacles in life as an opportunity to change my karma. Instead of blaming others, I began to feel more confident in coping with problems in life and learned to live more creatively. My life has changed and become better since I started practicing this Buddhism. My husband and I are now great friends. He helps me in household chores and other things.  sometimes,  in office or in personal lives I face difficulty  I remember  Sensei Ikeda’s words, “Even if things don’t work out the way you hoped or imagined, when you look back later, you’ll understand on a much more profound level that it was the best possible result. This is tremendous inconspicuous benefit.”
I am happy to report that Environment in my family is much better and peaceful than what it was 12 years back. We all have very good & friendly relation with each other. I determine that I'll pray for my sister’s health & happiness and I’ll struggle and change my family karma completely. I’ll win no matter what…..

Lastly I would like to thank all my district members who always encouraged me whenever I needed. I would also like to thank my husband  who always supported me . I  thank my mom who introduced me into this practice and changed our lives completely.