Monday, February 27, 2012

Two kinds of benefits

I got an email from someone who recently started chanting 15 minutes a day. They said the first few months they saw lots of felt like miracles were happening...but now, the benefits have slowed down for a time and they don't see any changes. 

My first response is to keep going and do not give up. My second is to say fight even harder for your life!

When you are not seeing huge benefits coming forth you are still getting results from your practice. I'll explain how it works. 

There are two kinds of benefits, the kind you see right away, Conspicuous benefits, and the kind that go deep into your life creating fortune just when you need it, called Inconspicuous benefits. You are getting both kinds every time you chant. It can be frustrating to think "I'm chanting and nothing is happening" but that is really not the case. Seasoned buddhists know exactly what I'm talking about. The fortune from chanting is building a daimoku bank for you. Those inconspicuous benefits will emerge from your life just when you need a crucial moment!

I remember in the early days of my the first year or two. I spoke to a senior leader (one who'd been chanting much longer than myself) about an aspect of my life I was challenging through my prayer. I think it was job related. She compared my life to a glass of water that had dirt in it. She said we easily stir up the dirt at the top when we first begin chanting, but to get to the dirt (karma - things we want to change) on the bottom we had to really dig deeper. That was the day I sat down on a bright and beautiful day and determined to chant 10 hours to change this suffering. 

Believe me...I saw changes right away after that. I felt like I was walking on air for days.

The person who wrote me the email said they'd been chanting 15 minutes a day for some time. I think 15 minutes a day is great, and your life will tell you when you're ready to chant for longer periods of time. Perhaps that is what this person should do...increase their level of daimoku. And study! And go to as many meetings as possible, and encourage others to chant. If your benefits slow down...that is the time to dig deeper, go further, be even more determined than ever you show proof of the power of this practice, and don't give up!!!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chant to Open the Way Forward

How do you chant when you really don't know what to chant for? What if you feel stuck and there doesn't seem to be a good least one that you can think of? 

You can chant to open the way forward and keep increasing your capacity to help more and more people. 

I chanted to increase my capacity and my territory was expanded three times at work. I am making new friends and have the chance to use my talents on two new campuses. And through this transition I am focusing on several things. The first is to honor and praise my life. My drive time is over a half hour to these new campuses, so I'm chanting an hour before I leave and then all the way in the car. 
The second is to open the way forward into my expanded capacity to fulfill my vow as a Boddhisatva of the earth. I don't have to know this very second how it is all going to turn out. I just have to keep focused on fulfilling my vow and moving forward every day...seeing my district members grow, and hearing from the readers of this blog. 

I am interested in you. Do you have things you would like me to write about? Do you have experiences you would like me to share on the blog? Do you have questions?  Please let me know. This blog is for YOU. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hope is Life's Treasure

The purpose of this blog is to give you keep that fire burning in you --- even when it seems like everything is rising up against you. Hope is the most important thing. It is important for me. It is important for you. It is important for all those around you that you maintain hope!
I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I do.
I am reading it over and over as I face the challenges in my life!

Daisaku Ikeda wrote this for us on January 2nd, 2012...his 84th birthday.

 "Hope Is Life's Treasure"

Hope is
life's treasure.

who have hope
are always happy.

One can have
all the wealth, power and fame
in the world,
but if one loses hope,
one will falter and stumble
in life.

The ancient Roman orator
Cicero wrote:
"Our capital is invested in hope
rather than in money;
if that hope be abandoned,
all else will be amassed
only to be lost later on."

The arrogant
who ridicule the hopeful
invariably fall in defeat,
left with naught but regret.

On no account
must we ruin
our lives,
which shine with such promise!

Hope is
a jewel that inspires and uplifts.
As long as we have hope,
we will never be deadlocked.

Victory always awaits
and happy smiles spread
where there is hope.

In the words of
the admirable Wangari Maathai,
the Kenyan environmental activist
and friend whom my wife and I
will never forget:
"Hope is like a flower,
which, when it blooms,
does so no matter
what mood it's in
or who is watching.
It always gives its best.
We can too."

Hope is
a flower that blossoms
in effort and perseverance.
Hope is
the noble visible reward
of those who accumulate unseen virtue.

People who live out their lives
with hope
never become jaded
or apathetic.

A contributive life
of giving hope
to those who are suffering
is a source of growth,
and solidarity.

The great Spanish author
Miguel de Cervantes wrote,
"Just as light shines
more brightly in darkness,
so hope should be
more steadfast in trials."

Hope is the hallmark
of invincible fortitude.
Life is a struggle -
hence, our challenge is to live
with optimism and strength,
year after year.

the great Tohoku-born educator,
friend of first Soka Gakkai president
Tsunesaburo Makiguchi,
declared that hope
can be found
even in the darkest gloom.

Such hope, he said,
is "visible only
to the eye of
faith and courage."

Even while imprisones dor his beliefs,
President Makiguchi wrote serenely,
"Depending on one's frame of mind,
even hell can be enjoyable."

Josei Toda later said
in gratitude to his martyred mentor,
"In your vast and boundless compassion,
you let me accompany you
even to prison."

As the third Soka Gakkai president,
I have steadfastly walked
the profoundly solemn
path of selfless dedication
of mentor and disciple.

I have given my life
to realizing all
the cherished hopes of
my mentor.
My heart is clear and bright,
without a cloud of regret.

As Nichiren Daishonin writes,
"The sun breaks through
the pitch-black dark."
Courageous faith is
the sun of limitless hope.

Mentor and disciple
committed to the noblest cause
will rise above all trials and adversity;
the unsurpassed brilliance of their lives
shining on forever.

Infinite hope!
The mystic law is the source.
A boundless state of life!
Faith and practice are the key.

In the Lotus Sutra,
we find these truly generous words:
"We beg that the merit (we have) gained...
may be spread far and wide to everyone,
so that we and other beings
all together may attain the Buddha way."

Kosen-rufu us
the supreme and colossal hope
of elevating
all humanity
to a vast life-state
of peace and happiness.

Hope! Hope! Hope!
Hope is life's treasure.

At the start of a new year,
a new day,
let us set forth,
brimming with bright hope,
the sun of time without beginning
brimming in our hearts!

Let us boldly break through
even the deepest turmoil
of these troubled times,
and be the ones to create new hope!

Let us advance in triumph,
imparting the hope
of absolute victory
to one person after another!

The French writer and activist
Romain Rolland said,
"The last hope of our day
lies in youth."

I now wish to declare for all to hear:
"The greatest hope for the future lies in Soka youth."

My young friends,
never be defeated!

No matter what trials and hardships
may befall you,
never lose sight of
the golden light of hope!

Oh my friends,
my beloved friends
whom I trust with all my heart,
live out your lives with hope!
Be victorious without fail!

Daisaku Ikeda
--on my 84th birthday,
January 2nd, 2012


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Treasures of the Heart

Valentine's Day is always a challenging day for we are in the middle of's dark...dreary...and I am mindful of the people who used to be in my life who have I chanted really strongly this morning, and came home after work and headed straight for the Gohonzon...vowing one more time to be absolutely happy for the sake of Kosen Rufu...

And now I'm taking a moment to share the following with you:

As Nichiren Daishonin says, the treasures of the heart are most important of all. 
This is the Valentine I received today from my sweet Benjamin who is a freshman at Miami University of Ohio. 
He wrote this for me, and gave me permission to share it with you:


You make me strong
You make me creative
You make me compassionate
You make me courageous

You brighten my world from an uninspired monotony
You help me see beyond my narrow-mindedness
You love me fully even when I am difficult
You accept me fully not just my future potential

Its amazing to have a mom like you
...unbelievable really
I don't know who I would be today
If I didn't have your love and support

Love You Mom!


What beautiful words from my spectacular boy. I love words more than anything...more than flowers (well, I love flowers too) and more than almost anything else!

Sending all my love out to you, my blog readers! May you bask in whatever love means to you today...all day...and every day! Love Jamie

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A great experience of someone who reconnected with the SGI

Here is an experience I received just the other day...
so inspiring!!!

Hi, I feel so fortunate to have found your blog.~! 
You are my inspiration. 
I read it everyday, & the entry 
"What does Nam Myoho Renge Kyo mean?" often.  
You help me to stay focused. 
I finally noticed the link to finding
Saturday. I immediately called the number, 
& I went to the meeting/service today = Sunday.  
I'm excited to be embarking on a new journey. 
I have been chanting at home alone since September, 
like 2X /day for at least 10 minutes. 
I learned how to chant "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo" 
& received Gohonzon in 1992
 in Rancho Cucamonga CA. 
I can not do any of the whole prayer 
that they did at Center this morning.  
Thank You for reading this. 
I started chanting hoping to find happiness, 
it is already here. 
Now, if i could just find the right man 
to share my happy life with..... 
Sincerely John St Louis, MO

Friday, February 10, 2012

Here's my experience live and in person! Listen here~!

I gave this experience this evening as encouragement for the upcoming Women's Division Victory Meetings. 
Go to to find the local victory meeting by you. 
(I know these are happening in the US, not sure about other countries!)

Click below to hear my experience from when I started this blog to now:

Voice Recorder >>

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Clear Mirror Guidance from Daisaku Ikeda to Share with You!

This is the month we traditionally reread, reread and reread the Clear Mirror Guidance from Daisaku Ikeda. So I've attached it here for you! Although Daisaku Ikeda originally wrote this message for women. It is for us all. It brings the law of cause and effect to life. 

Enjoy! Click Below for the Clear Mirror Guidance...absolutely fantastic!! 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Expanding My Capacity

Enjoying my life! I went to an "Alien" party this weekend...see the antennae? I think I was just BORN to wear them!!!

Today begins a bold new journey of expanding my capacity. I am taking on two new campuses as part of my job responsibilities. Today I go to the campus in the northern part of the Chicago Area. I will be meeting my new team, and have various responsibilities and events I intend to fulfill with them. 

So this morning I greet my life in front of the Gohonzon and chant like this: 
ALL POSITIVITY !!! No complaints! 
Banish any negative thought in my head! I appreciate this opportunity to make new friends, expand my mission, be the Buddha, have an impact on these students, administrators and educator's lives! I will shine like the sun. Just like the the quote I put in my signature at the bottom of my emails 
"When One sun rises everything is illuminated" 
by Daisaku Ikeda. 

Today I am also thinking of the magnificent Gene Marie O'Connell. She was my chapter leader in the SGI when I was a "baby Buddhist" in San Francisco. I personally saw her rise from the ranks of nursing student to nursing administrator to CEO of the largest hospital in San Francisco...the one responsible for helping everyone in the city. She constantly asked herself "What would President Ikeda do in this situation?" Every day. She was, and still is, an inspiring example of what is possible when you are determined to manifest your own Buddhahood at every moment of every day. Thank you Gene!

That is how I set out today...with the sun in my heart...with Daisaku Ikeda at my side. 
I wish you all a magnificent, powerful, fulfilling day!!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What is this Blog about? Happiness...Buddhahood!

Hi welcome to the blog
If you're a returning reader welcome back, and if you're a new reader let me give you a taste of what this blog is all about.

This blog is all about revealing your own life as the life of the universe with all its power and majesty. It is, according to many, the truest form of Buddhism that exists. There are no rules and no one telling anyone what to do. It is based on the deep desire for the happiness of all people, based on each individual taking responsibility for their own happiness.

The primary practice is the chanting of the words:

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

These words mean I devote my life (Nam) to the Mystic, unfathomable, (Myo) Law (Ho) of Cause and Effect (Renge, literally Lotus flower) Sutra, or teaching or vibration (kyo)

~~Again:  I devote my life to the mystic law of cause and effect through sound vibration. It is the name of the rhythm of life itself...the same rhythm that turns the tides...moves the seasons...pulses in us and in every single thing at every moment of every single day. It is a literal calling forth of the name of the rhythm of life. You know how important it is to call something by its name. If you don't use its name it won't respond. Well this is the name of the law of life itself...the law of cause and effect. When you chant these words you tap into the power that is within you in a very profound way.

This morning I attended a meeting with my two new friends who just started chanting. They both told the rest of the group about the way their lives have been going since they started chanting...both of them talked about being in rhythm...naturally...and attracting just what they need at exactly the right moment. One is a healer/physician/surgeon. The other is a musician/songwriter/computer genius. It is so exciting seeing their lives expanding and growing...increasing in capacity...expanding to all that is possible. They loved attending this gathering of SGI Buddhists. When we practice together our benefits expand exponentially. Please give yourself the gift of attending SGI meetings and getting to know your new friends! Go to to find your local center, give them a call and get connected to someone by you!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Two More Comments! Thank you for Writing!

Yesterday morning I received these two notes from different people. I'm not sure what country the first note is from, but I really appreciate it:

"Thank you for such inspiration! It's when I need it most that you reach out unknowingly and help me. 
Thank you, thank you, thank you. "

And this second note is from a new friend in Delhi:

"Its amazing how you encourage so many people across the globe by sharing ur daily experiences. 
I am tania from delhi practicing from last 5 years. Keep writing!! All the best in life. "

These emails make me so very happy. You know we all like to think that what we do makes a difference. And I think about you all the time, my blog readers. I wonder what I can say that will inspire you when you feel lost. 
I am so lucky. I have great friends in faith who can encourage me. I pick up the phone and call Kate in Los Angeles. I've written about her quite a bit in this blog. I also talk to my friends close by. 

We all need a touchstone...someone who will be able to give us that extra insight we need so that we will return to our altars and chant through our tears and determine, once again, to root our the cause of our suffering. 

According to Daisaku Ikeda and Nichiren Daishonin the cause of our suffering is the ignorance of not knowing we are Buddhas, of not accessing our power, of not demanding our happiness. So I remind you once more that happiness and Buddhahood are who you are. 

This practice is a process of revealing your own beautiful self! 

It is not easy but you must persevere for yourself, for those who love you and for all those unnamed people standing behind you waiting for YOU to BREAK THROUGH and open the door so that they can be free also. Do not hesitate. Be strong. Whenever you just don't "feel like chanting" please remember that that feeling comes from the inner part of you that doesn't want you to advance in life. Face it down and say "I will! I will advance! Inner darkness you can't stop me!" Be strong and remember that "A sword will be useless in the hands of a coward." Then return to your altar, your "home" and sit down and pour your heart into your determination to be an example, a shining light for other, that this practice works! Don't give up!

And you are not alone. If you haven't already reached out to your Sokka Gakkai family please do. You can find SGI centers in almost every big city. In these centers are people who are chanting to meet you and encourage you with their lives, and welcome you into their homes.  Give them a call! Make their day!

And, as always, I consider it an honor for you to be taking a moment to read my blog. My goal is to inspire you to become the happiest person ever!...brimming with life and enthusiasm...and when challenges hit you, just as they hit me, we forge together, along with President Ikeda to achieve VICTORY in our lives. February is the month of Victory! Let's do it together! 

Please continue to write! It warms my heart!

And also, please pass along the url to anyone and everyone. Please share in my vision for people searching the internet to discover the happiness they seek!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Daisaku Ikeda's incredible guidance on changing your karma and attaining Buddhahood and happiness

It is so easy to blame our environment for our unhappiness and discontent. But as President Ikeda says in "On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime"
"Grumbling and complaining are the principle gateways leading to general doubt and disbelief. Even if we know that such behavior is wrong, we may find ourselves doing it in spite of ourselves. Should grumbling and complaining become habitual it will act as a constant brake on our growth and cause us to forget about advancing and improving ourselves. When that happens, we effectively close off our own potential, falling into the path of seeking the law outside of us." 

Grumbling and complaining takes many forms. For me, it tends to manifest as depression and hopelessness. 

This morning, in front of the Gohonzon I vowed one more time to change the karma at the root of my suffering. I don't have to know the details of this karma...I just have to chant to defeat it, and not let it defeat me. 

Please remember that whatever is going on in your world is YOUR OPPORTUNITY to grow. 
The things you think of as problems that come at you from the environment can be fuel for your growth, fuel for your determination to reveal your own Buddhahood and create your own happiness. It is up to you though, to determine this for your own life...

Putting the fault on your environment is easy. But not helpful! You are a Buddha. Dig deeper. Get to the root source of your suffering. You do not have to figure it out. Just chant to change it. 

President Ikeda also says:

"Because our practice of faith is aimed at attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime, it is absolutely essential that we have a solidly focussed mind or attitude when chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. It is like trying to shoot an arrow: without a clear target, we will not draw the bow with any real energy or determination. In the same way, our prayers can only be realized when we replace vague yearnings with concrete determinations and confident daimoku to definitely accomplish what we hope to achieve."