Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A New Friend and Buddhist

This Saturday...the view from my patio...

Here I was looking at the clouds and feeling appreciative. I was loving the fact that I could just sit here, on a Saturday night, all by myself, enjoying my own company and not longing to be anywhere else or with anyone else. I wasn't longing for ANYTHING! I felt totally at peace and happy. 

A woman was walking on the walkway in front of my patio. She stopped for a moment and we smiled at each other. I said "Aren't the clouds amazing? What a beautiful evening!" The next thing I knew she was sitting next to me with tears flowing from her eyes. She was in the exact same emotional  state of longing and heart break that I have experienced in the past. Longing...pain... both emotional and physical. The more we talked the more our similar situations were revealed. But I was on the other side of this pain and able to give her hope. 

"I know! I know!" I told her. "I felt exactly the same way! And I chanted Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and used that pain as a springboard for creating happiness in my life. I know it's hard to believe, but one day you may thank this man in your heart...because this pain has led you to discover the way to be happy, and you have encountered this incredible practice for the first time!"

 I invited her in to chant. We chanted three Daimoku and I gave her the gong for the bell. I told her when she was finished chanting she could ring it and we would stop.  We chanted for about 15 minutes. She felt better immediately...but was still raw from her recent heart break. Then on Sunday she came to the Chicago Buddhist Center with me to hear Linda Johnson speak. 

Then last night she joined me and a fellow member and chanted almost a full hour of Daimoku...really surprising herself! She told me that today, because of chanting this weekend, she was able to focus at work, be productive and she had a good day! Wonderful! She is on her way to healing! 

I am chanting for her to have a lifetime of happiness now that she has encountered this practice. I KNOW she can get over her broken heart and create a deeper level of happiness not based on anyone or anybody. 

There are no coincidences!!!! There is nothing, truly, that makes me happier than introducing someone to the mystic law. I know my new friend will never be the same. She WILL become happy, and she will be able to fulfill her own mission of helping others! Doing Shakubuku is such a joy!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Aaron's First Day of Medical School!

Aaron and me last night. Paul took the artsy/crooked photo!

Aaron posted on Facebook yesterday: 

"Tomorrow I begin the first day of 17th Grade!" 

Today is his first day at the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola. 

We are all so proud and happy.

What a wonderful coincidence that this is happening on the exact day that I began this blog three years ago. 

What tremendous actual proof!!

And last night we went over 7,000 readers for the month! 
Thank YOU for spreading the word! 
If you want to be a guest writer let me know!

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Happy Three Year Anniversary of this blog! Here is a reprint from 7/30/09:

Join me!
I chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo (pronounced Nahm Meeyoho Raingay Kyo)
It means - I fuse my life with the law of cause and effect through sound vibration, or I am one with the flow of life, or I am the Buddha myself! Chanting these words has a profound and practical impact on my life....and it can on anyone's life.
When you chant these words you tap into the eternal universe that's already inside you...the one you know is there, that you've always known is there. Chanting these words allows you to tap the great power you have always had.
On October 20th of 2009 I will have been chanting these words every day...twice a day for 25 years! Between now and October 20th I will be chanting two hours every single day. By October 20th I will have chanted a million daimoku (pron: diemoku, and it means chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo over and over) with a goal to accomplish many dreams: (As you know I continued chanting and continued blogging after October 20th 2009)
Here are my determinations: (from 2009, July 30th)
I wish to inspire others through sharing my heart, my struggles and my successes.
I wish to share the heart of my mentor Daisaku Ikeda (President of the Soka Gakkai International) with the world.
I will release my life from the underlying sadness I have always felt...the sadness that has no name and no real cause. I believe I was born with this sadness, and that it is my mission in this life to free myself from it.
I will have a body that is pain free! I will be able to move in any way I want. For several years I have been battling with a painful right leg. I believe it is arthritis, but I keep thinking I can solve the pain through some other means than surgery. I have never had surgery and never want to have it! (As many of you know I DID have the surgery - it was the only solution - and I have been happily pain free for 2 years. I shared my story with my Dad and he is pain free and walking more than ever after HIS surgery!)
I will be on the way to losing the rest of the weight I've been challenged with my entire life. (I've already lost 50 pounds).

I will naturally attract opportunities that delight me!

I will make lots of new friends and connections!

I will become a published author!

7/29/12 As you know, I have been living pain free and I have released my life from the deep sadness. I am happy and writing my first book for you! This blog is now up to 7,000 readers a month! Thank you so much for copying the URL of your favorite posts and sending them on to your friends! It is because of YOU that this blog has grown!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

How Do You Mend a Broken Heart?

This is a question that is on many of our minds. 
How do we mend a broken heart? How do we move on and attract that one person who is right for us...that one person we will choose to be with for this journey called life? Who will be our partner for Kosen Rufu (World Peace)?

Let's start by talking about what I'm hearing from you, and what I know from experiences of my own.

Break ups are painful. Heart ache actually hurts. I feel it in my belly...others feel it in the center of their body. Some people can't eat...others want to eat all the time. Some of us can't think...and can't even function. Some people have a hard time breathing and/or can't sleep at night.

We find ourselves asking "why...Why...WHY!" But we know, that even if we knew why...it wouldn't matter, it wouldn't help, it would still hurt.

So what can I tell you about practicing Buddhism and getting over a broken heart? A lot.

Do any of you remember why I first began this blog? Yup. Heart Break. I was very aware that this heart break was tapping into sadness that I had carried with me into this life...an underlying sadness that was always with me in some form or other, and had bloomed and blossomed with my broken heart.

So I started with making a determination to change this karma forever...I chanted to be happy no matter what. I chanted to tear this sadness out by the roots. Remember, it's not important to know all the WHYS. It is only important to make the determination to become happy in the depths of your being. We are Buddhas revealing the depths of our own Buddhahood.  This is a good start for getting over a broken heart...
We must all realize that right now...at this moment when we are chanting...that we have the ultimate tool to make our lives happy forever. No Matter WHAT!!! 

A few other tips for getting over a broken heart:

Make a list of ALL THE THINGS YOU WILL NOT MISS about the person, and the situation. Keep it handy and read it often. And every time you find yourself thinking "Why me?" Think "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo! and NEXT" 

Strengthen your faith more than ever! 

And stay BUSY!!! 

Do any of you have stories to share?

Friday, July 27, 2012

More Congratulations for Tania and a reader question

This question was sent by a reader yesterday:

Tania, congrats! I was at a new members meeting tonight and thinking that my time may soon come. Well, I'm not officially a member, still a guest. I had a question for this blog that Jamie can answer. How does chanting affect our subconscious mind? Can it heal our subconsciousness so that we are able to behave differently? This came up in the meeting tonight and would love to see a post on it. Because there is so much talk about our subconscious thoughts sabotaging our lives in new age thinking and books. THANK YOU!! 

I will do my best to answer this question based on my own experience and knowledge of Buddhism. I have also asked my dear friend Julia to make a comment on this question. She will be able to give us her insights in a few days. She is a therapist and practicing SGI Buddhist so I'm sure she'll have an interesting post for us. 

My answer:

From my own experience I can say that my subconscious mind has definitely changed through practicing Buddhism, and that this key factor is one of the MAIN POINTS of practicing. 

When I first started chanting I got my Gohonzon as soon as I possibly could. I realized the value of having the highest life condition...my highest potential in front of me as I chanted! 

 I thought of myself as a pretty positive person, but as I learned through my Daimoku (chanting of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo)  as my subconscious mind was revealed to me by my strong prayer, I realized I was actually pretty terrified and angry a lot of the time. 

When you chant your inner life comes forth so you can see it. 

Chanting is like looking into a mirror of your inner life. 

When you see what is revealed, you have the ultimate choice... 
Do you look your life square in the eye and say "I AM THE BUDDHA! I will not tolerate this behavior or these thoughts any longer?  I am determined to change this aspect of my life." 

And when we change our inner life, our environment HAS to change to reflect our inner change. This is the core of what we call Human Revolution.

Human Revolution is not easy. It means retraining the subconscious mind....resetting the DNA...changing behaviors that we've been used to our whole lives. It is one of the reasons we practice together in the SGI - so we can support each other! 

It's so much easier to do what most of the rest of the world does : blame their circumstances...blame something in their environment. 

This outlook will not change anything! 

This is the profound truth of Practical Buddhism. All the answers lie by changing our inner life. That is where you get leverage over our lives. But it takes real courage. REAL courage. And sometimes tears. 
For some people it is very difficult, and some embrace the challenge! 

We can run away from the truth in our lives or we can say "Wow! I have discovered something I can change!" and then chant to change it. 

I have totally changed my nature. This does not make my perfect by any means...there will always be aspects I am still working on...

But the fact that I challenge my life every single day makes me a roaring lion. I will not tolerate anything but an excellent, happy, productive life of continuously becoming more happy and helping others become happy as well! I vow to accomplish this every day so that I can be an example of what is possible through chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. 

One of the biggest changes I've focused on has been the way I speak to myself in my head. My subconscious voice was often pretty angry at myself. I began to listen carefully to how I addressed myself and  how I talked about myself. I realized I used the word "idiot" and the word "stupid" quite a bit, even though if you asked me, I never would have said I thought of myself as either idiotic or stupid. But my subconscious mind did! So I determined to change the way I spoke to myself. I chanted about it, and I changed the behavior. I am now much more of a cheerleader in my head...GO Jamie Go! 

At the time I was also going through a program teaching energy healing. One of the requirements was to say "Jamie I love you" ten times before sleeping and ten times before getting out of bed. You'd think that would be easy but I was surprised by how difficult it was! 

For many years I was about 50-70 pounds heavier than I should have been for my tiny 5'1" frame. Not anymore!  I have changed that voice that was always telling me I'd feel "better" (emotionally) if I just ate something. The challenging part of it was that I DID feel better when I ate. Until I felt worse that is. Until my pants didn't fit...until the shame came on. 
It was a long journey and a long story I won't go into completely here, but I have now managed to maintain a healthy weight for several years. And I have stopped the voice telling me to eat...the cry of my subconscious mind for comfort. I have changed behaviors so I comfort myself in writing, in chanting, in meditation, walking and talking with my friends. This was not easy. It requires a tremendous shift in the subconscious and the conscious mind. 
This is just one example from my life. 
There are so many more...

Anyone care to share your thoughts? 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Reader Gets Her Gohonzon!!!

This is a post from Tania Talwar who lives in Delhi. 
Tomorrow she will be receiving her own Gohonzon (Scroll inscribed by Nichiren Daishonin ~ it represents the highest life condition possible...the life condition that is inside of us that we access through chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!) She is receiving it through the BSG in Delhi. The BSG (BSG.org) is the Indian name of the organization that is also known as the SGI International. For more information on how to connect with the life of Buddhism, meet many new friends and receive your own Gohonzon visit the website SGI.org to find the links to your local members.  

Here are Tania's words for you:

Thank you Jamie for giving me the opportunity to share something..

In 5 years of my practice, I never felt the urgency to get the Gohonzon. Because I had members all around, I would go to their place and chant in front of their Gohonzon.

Then one day I read Sensei's guidance. It said- Helping someone enshrine their Gohonzon is an event as wonderful as bringing Nichiren Daishonin to their home.

This quote really really encouraged me and I chanted very strongly that I should have my Gohonzon, my lifelong treasure with me.

And so I applied for it.

Then came the task of making a Butsudan (altar). I sincerely chanted that I should save my money and should get a beautiful altar made. To my surprise one of the fellow member gifted me her altar.(as she wanted to make a new one for herself)
I was so happy to receive it. Such a beautiful butsudan!!

In this phase I recognised many weaknesses of mine. The first step to overcome any weakness is to first recognise them, have the courage to accept it first. And I know myself, I will clean and polish my life with my gohonzon coming in my life!!

One of my leader told me that Gohonzon is our heart and Butsudan is our body! How can we not respect and believe in ourselves??

The gohonzon conferral is tomorrow and ill be chanting abundant diamoku so that everything falls in the right place.. 

Thank you

Congratulations Tania! Tomorrow is a new birthday for you! I will write more about the care of the Gohonzon soon. Please remember that since it represents your own life, it is very important to take good care of it, protect it and keep the area around it clean. You now will have a 'home' within your 'home'!!! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Does Chanting Work for Everyone?

This is a question I received recently. 

And the answer is a resounding YES! 

But the caveat is, of course, you have to make it work. 

As Nichiren Daishonin says: "A Sword will be useless in the hands of a coward." And this is the truth. Please remember that you need to change your life on the inside to be able to make your outer circumstances shine. 

Chant to be able to change whatever it is INSIDE your life so that the results you desire will come to you!

Chant consistently, and that means every day, every morning and evening. If you don't chant consistently it is SOOOO much harder to chant. Your inner voices will overtake you at every turn. They will be yelling into your ear "Stop wasting your time chanting!" they will say. And "Chanting doesn't work!" But if you are chanting consistently, and studying, and meeting with fellow members, that voice will be largely drowned out by all the good that is coming into your life! 

You will never know until you try it. 

No matter how big your problems are - I promise you, the law of life, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is bigger, but YOU have to make the determination and make it happen. 

You can do it!!! 

How to Chant to be Happy

This post is great for newcomers, and may have some fresh tips for those already practicing.

Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life!

Here you will learn how to chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!

First of all make a list of what you really want in life. Take a new 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. There is no such thing as a “bad” desire as long as you wish no harm on others. Many Buddhists began chanting with desires that later turned into other desires. Don’t worry about it. Chant for what is really in your heart. Be true to yourself. 
I suggest having some sort of journal to write in. Writing in a journal helps you become aware of your progress and benefits.
Choose a place to chant comfortably. You’ll want to sit in a comfortable chair. Where would you feel most at ease chanting out loud? It is helpful to have something on the wall to focus on. It's helpful to rest your eyes on something slightly above eye level. It can be anything. When I first started chanting in my little two room apartment in San Francisco, I sat on the mattress on the floor and gazed up at the moon in a poster of Mono Lake. Choose something soothing to rest your eyes on. I find it helpful to have a table nearby for my tea, and other things I like to have close when I chant. You may want to put a little table up as an altar, but you don’t need that to begin. 
Write the words Nam Myoho Renge Kyo on a piece of paper (or use the card enclosed in this book). The words are pronounced as follows: 
Nahm, rhymes with Mom, 
meeyohoh, with three long vowels, 
rain gay, 
key oh. 
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. 
Nahm Meeyohoh Rain Gay Key Oh

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 and say the words over and over and over again. 

You do not have to concentrate about what is in your mind 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. Speed of chanting is up to you. 
If you want to hear how it sounds you can go to the top left corner of this blog and chant with me. I begin slowly and speed up with more energy. 
See how it makes you feel. Can you chant for a little longer? Maybe even a little longer than that. 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 you want. You’ll see. 
When you are finished chanting you can write in your journal.
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, I could only chant five minutes a day in the morning and five minutes in the evening. 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. 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. 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!
Also - make sure to search on Soka Gakkai followed by whatever country you live in. This site will help you to connect with people who will be happy to help you learn to chant, overcome your problems, and reveal your brilliant, wonderful self!  Fellow Soka Gakka members love to help each other. 
and go to IKEDAQUOTES.org to read Daisaku Ikeda's words. He is lighting the way for us all...and for YOU!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What is the blog about? Happiness!

This blog is about chanting the words "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo" to access your highest potential in life and bring about true and everlasting happiness that is unshakable in any circumstances. 

I write this blog so that you can see the possibility and determine to create this kind of happiness for yourself. Every day I am determined to live my life as a shining example that this practice works for every single problem, and to show that living a life of undaunted happiness is possible - so that I can encourage others! 

What is happiness? Does it mean that I am never ever unhappy? No. I experience times of unhappiness, but they are less frequent and less deep than they ever were...and they last a far shorter time. The key is that I know, with absolute confidence that I am improving in all areas of my life. And there is never a problem I cannot solve. In fact, my problems are the fuel for my growth and help me to build this unshakable confidence in my own life. I have proven the validity of this practice, this law of life, over and over and over. 

Right now I've been chanting more than half the time I've been alive. Every day, twice a day!

Since I discovered chanting (and I had to move to California to find it - which is why I write this blog for you, and why I am writing my books about chanting) ~

I have rooted the deep, deep hopelessness and depression out of my life. I no longer have anxiety, or asthma, and I have lost 70 pounds. 
I was lonely for the first half of my life. Now I have friends; many sincere friends, and I make new friends every day. 

I have achieved business success in many areas, and I look forward to every day. 
I am fully expressing myself in every way. I'm a public speaker, a poet, a writer and I love to encourage others. 
I'm writing books and audio books to further encourage you. 
I have had the most marvelous time raising my two happy and successful children in this faith. They started overcoming their problems when they were tiny little guys with bad dreams. A few Nam Myoho Renge Kyos later and Boom, no more bad dreams. They solved problems of bullying, studying, and much more through chanting. As many of you know, Aaron is about to start medical school next Monday, and Ben is a Sophomore in college. I still have areas that I am working on...and I am determined to win in all areas of my life, so that I can encourage you! 

I am a District Leader in the Soka Gakkai organization, which is led by normal people just like me who have dedicated their lives to happiness for themselves and happiness for others. I have many mentors I speak with every day, and many friends who chant alongside me. And I have been lucky enough to be born during the lifetime of Daisaku Ikeda who has dedicated his life to the happiness of all of us since he was 19 years old and is now 83. He is the President of the Soka Gakkai (Value Creating organization - dedicated to Peace, Education and Culture) and I read his words every day. 

You can find his quotes at Ikedaquotes.org, and the organization's website is sgi-usa.org, or search on SGI International to find members in your area. People who chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo with the SGI are in almost every country. 
We chant together to magnify our results and encourage ourselves and others. Nothing makes us happier than meeting new people who are interested in chanting! Never be afraid to call and attend a meeting. you will be welcomed with open arms. 

I host meetings every Wednesday at 7pm in the Western Suburbs of the Chicago area, and there are meetings everywhere in the world. The SGI websites can help you connect. 

YOU are integral to the success of this blog and I chant for you, my readers every single day. I appreciate every single email I receive at silversunsinger@gmail.com, and I respond to every single one. I love hearing your successes and sharing your successes with the other blog readers. Please continue to write to me and post comments on this blog. And THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for sending this blog to your friends and those you want to encourage. All you do is send an email with chantforhappiness.com in the message

THANK YOU! Have a great day! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Encouragement for a Monday Morning


Happy Monday. 

Some days I just wake up feeling a little it down...does that ever happen to you? 

I am just so grateful I have my own laboratory to create happiness in my life. 

Every day I sit down in front of my beautiful Gohonzon and feel any heaviness in my heart lifting. 

Chanting brings back light-heartedness and hope. Only a few minutes of chanting lightens my mood considerably. 

It helps to tell the truth when you start chanting each morning. Melissa Bradford says just pour out your heart, empty it of everything troubling you in honesty. You are speaking to your own life after all. Then I recommend you fill your heart with all your hopes and dreams. Fill your heart with dreams, and fill it with hopes for this very day. 

Some of you have asked me, "Do you actually THINK these prayers while chanting or do you think them before chanting?" And the answer is a resounding YES! I chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, look at the Gohonzon (scroll on my wall that represents the entire universe that is within ME - and YOU!) and I think thoughts of determination to create the kind of life that encourages others to be happy. I must be happy so I can inspire others! You can chant this way too!

Tell your life "I praise my breath! I praise my health! I praise my determination to be happy, and to help those around me be happy! I praise my life!" 

Chanting for others always brings me joy from within. So many of you have touched my heart with your stories, and I chant for each one of you. You can write me at silversunsinger@gmail.com and I will always reply with the best I can give you. 

As Nichiren Daishonin says, the only one who can really make the determination and become happy is you, but encouragement is absolutely essential. 

My prayers are no more powerful than yours. I am not some special Buddha who is any more important than you are. My aim is to help YOU fire your own Daimoku and be the brilliant, shining example that this practice works. I want you to overflow with happiness and hope! My hope is that you are encouraging other to chant-to the best of your ability. 

You do not have to have a perfect life to encourage others, but having a spirit of hopefulness and the determination to show actual proof through your own life is the best way to start. 

I always chant for the people who are looking for this practice to cross my path. And that they will embrace this practice when I mention it to them.

I just mention my blog, or a Buddhist meeting as part of the conversation, and wait to see if they are interested in learning more. Many of these people have now entirely changed their lives for the better because they started chanting, and continue to chant. 

When you tell others about chanting you are planting a seed in their lives...and firing up your own happiness!

 It doesn't matter if they start chanting right away or not...the seed has been planted. But I'll tell you one thing...nothing makes me a happier person than hearing the positive results of someone I've introduced to this practice, or whom I've encouraged. Nothing makes me happier! I love hearing your stories!! Make a strong determination to be happier than you ever dreamed possible! 

Have a great and victorious week!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Gosho Lecture today was Incredible!

I hope you were able to go to this month's Gosho Study in your area. Ours was wonderful! It is always so great to be with other SGI members...so bright...so victorious! 

As I mentioned in the last few posts...we are the Treasure Tower. Our lives possess so much power. And it's available for us to tap into. All we need to do is chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and join the noble fellowship of the SGI. 

Why is it so hard for us to believe in our own brightness...out own worthiness...our own powerful universe inside us?  

I suspect the answer lies in having been born into a culture that has "original sin" embedded in it. Buddhism doesn't believe we have original sin. Yes, everyone has fundamental darkness that surfaces from time to time, but that's not the same as original sin. In Buddhism we have "original Buddhahood" and we strive to remember and bring back to life our own truly bright, authentic sparkling self. 

Please chant about this! 

Chant to PRAISE YOUR LIFE! Chant to bring forth your own Buddhahood. It is there! It is in everyone! Realize that you are an incredibly precious Buddha! 

And make your dreams come true!!!!

Noble Practitioners ~ Many in Body- One in Mind!

In this week's World Tribune ther is an essay by Daisaku Ikeda called "Fostering Young 'Tokimitzus' of a new era". On page E of the insert is a passage I want to share with you. 

I'd actually like to post all of Daisaku Ikeda's words, essays, photographs on this blog every day! His words are so important. You can find quotes at the great website Ikedaquotes.org, and you can read the World Tribune and Living Buddhism online or on paper when you subscribe by calling 800-835-4558, or by going to www.SGIsubs.org. There are publications in every county. This is the information for America's publications. For other countries you could start at the Website SGI.org.

In this essay President Ikeda is talking about how difficult it is to maintain a Buddhist practice in the Latter Day of the Law. That's the age that we are living in. 

It's a time of darkness where the land is defiled by fundamental darkness. Greed, anger and stupidity run amok. I'm sure you'll agree with that! 
He compares each practitioner to the carps from the ancient Chinese tale of the Dragon Gate. He compares all of us to the carps that are trying to swim up to the top of the waterfall, going against the tide of the times to become powerful dragons. Fierce currents assail us, fishermen, animals and birds of prey seek to stop us on our journey. Our own fundamental darkness (manifesting as the voices in our head that tell  us that chanting won't work, and in people who seek to discourage us) can be overwhelming sometimes. 

But if we persevere we become the strong shining souls I talk about in this blog. In other words, we Attain Buddhahood. 

Daisaku Ikeda states: 

"Precisely because it is so difficult to carry out faith in the Mystic Law in such an age, the bond of mentor and disciple in Buddhism takes on decisive importance. Likewise a harmonious community of fellow practitioners solidly united in purpose - in what Nichiren Daishonin terms "the spirit of many in body, one in mind" - is also indispensable. 
The Soka Gakkai possesses the bond of mentor and disciple that is strong enough to withstand any adversity. 
And its members - noble ordinary people who are polishing their lives by striving in faith with the same commitment as their mentor - are allied together in solid unity. Moreover, countless members, like magnificent dragons born through the the triumphant ascent of the waterfall, are leading lives of profound dignity and confidence forged through continually challenging themselves in their faith and self-development." 

No - it is not easy!!! But you can do it. We can all do it together. Please make sure to join with your fellow members in every country. We are so fortunate. The foundation has been forged by Daisaku Ikeda and the members who came before us. All we have to do is make sure that we are in the flow of the water by joining our local SGI members and chanting with the heart of Daisaku Ikeda. When we join our hearts with our great mentor we can accomplish ANYTHING! We can achieve our own happiness and the happiness of all those around us. Don't give up - you are not alone! Persevere towards your own happiness! 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Happiness Based on Your Own True Self!

I found this encouraging guidance from my mentor Kate, and would like to share it with you. 

This applies to whatever you are currently facing - no matter what your struggle:

Every single one of us - every single one, is standing at a door and 100,000 people are behind us waiting for us to open that door. 

We need to choose to open the door and move forward. 

One person moving forward moves the entire web of life forward. 

We want our true happiness to be built on stronger shores than just what is in our hearts and my minds. We want our happiness to be built on the core of our lives in the deepest core...our life force itself - the law of cause and effect deep in our lives. Our true...unshakable identity. 
We have seen the transience of our minds, our hearts and our emotions. We don't want to build our happiness on that. 
Following our hearts means following our instincts. We don't want our happiness to be built on moment-to-moment instincts. We want to build it on our real true selves. 

We must chant to have the kind of unshakable happiness that is based on who we really are inside. We must chant to build a SOLID, UNSHAKABLE SELF...We can chant to be the Buddha of absolute freedom. 

These are power prayers for sure!

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

You are the Universe...You are the Buddha...and so are we all!

This month's Living Buddhism Magazine is as amazing as always! 
 Please make sure you have your copy. Instructions for getting your subscription is at the bottom of this post. 

One of the most exciting aspects of chanting is the steady realization of how everything that is NOT BUDDHA about you is all illusion. 

When you chant to reveal - every day - the beautiful crystal clear and pure self inside,  then your life begins to shine more brightly. 

When your inner self shines more brightly your outer environment changes to reflect it. 

We call this the process of "Doing Human Revolution". There are many times when I didn't know what to chant...so I just focused my prayer on "doing my human revolution and raising my life condition." When you chant with this in mind your life will move forward...even if you don't know what to chant about. 

I know it must sound confusing. On the one hand I am always advising you to be as specific as possible in your prayer, and to write and rewrite your determinations. On the other hand I tell you that you can chant a general prayer like "raise my life condition." And truthfully, there is a place for both of these kinds of prayers. Sometimes we just don't know what we want. In the early years of my practice I chanted hours and hours to know what my mission in life was...why was I born...what am I here to do." Well, as you can tell, I did get the answer to my prayer! My life is moving forward in so many amazing ways! 
I hope yours is too!

To get your own publications:

Living Buddhism is published in America and available by calling 800-835-4558 or going to SGI-USA.org and subscribing on line. It is a beautiful monthly magazine filled with experiences and study material that will touch your heart and add fire to your prayers. The bi-monthly World Tribune comes along with your subscription. It is an essential part of practice to study these wonderful publications. I highly recommend them! 

Determination for Financial Fortune

A reader wrote in yesterday asking for me to give her examples of determinations for building financial fortune. 

Do you have one to share? 

If you have one that works for you please send me an email or post it in comments so I can share it with the readers of this blog!

My vision/determination for my life:

I am a sought after author and public speaker. Everywhere I go people tell me how my many books, talks, videos and personal emails have helped them to connect with their own lives through chanting, and generate unlimited happiness and good fortune in their lives, and in the lives of their family and friends. I generate enough income to live anywhere I wish, travel anywhere I wish, and always feel financially secure. I am honored to donate 10% of every dollar I make to the incredible Soka Gakkai organization, fostering a culture of Peace, Culture and Education for the entire world. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Determination for Health!

My dear friend Julia  has been chanting for two years on August 9th. 

We have known each other for 20 years. When we saw each other two years ago she was inspired by the person I had become through this practice and decided to begin a thorough practice of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. 

Teo years ago Julia was very ill. Although she is a young woman, her health had been failing for many years. She had not given up all hope of wellness, but she was clearly getting worse not better. 

She has vigorously embraced this practice! She is continually inspiring me! Now she is doing her life's work of helping people through telephone counseling, she is walking again, running again and beginning to become the picture of absolute health! 

Here is the determination she gave me yesterday towards creating a healthy life:

'I am determined that to create everlasting health in my body, mind and spirit. I am profoundly and irresistibly attracting any resources that will help me to become healthy. Every resource I need comes to me now....books, medicines, herbs, practices, websites, people, information flows to me now for my highest health and healing. 
I live in a state of radiant health. Everything in my environment is coming together and conspiring to make me WELL!
I have profound strength and wisdom to make the changes necessary to bring about complete health.'

Words are powerful! What are your determinations? Do you have any you'd like to share with the other blog readers? Are there any areas of determination you'd like me to address? 

Remember Determinations erase and replace complaints! Wherever you feel a sadness and need for change in your life - Make a new determination! Write it down! Chant about it! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Make a POWERFUL Determination!

Make a new determination
Make a fresh determination
Make a bold determination!

What  does this mean?

Making a determination sets your course. It's like a compass. It can move your life. It is a powerful tool. It is a cry of the heart. Once you make a determination your life begins to move in the direction you have set! 

So how do you do it?

It starts with your desire. Some of my best determinations come when I am in front of the Gohonzon chanting. That's why I always have pen and paper handy.

What's the difference between a goal and a determination?

Goals are usually short and set in time. "I will lose 20 pounds by my birthday." Sound familiar? "I will get straight "A"s this year. Get the idea?

A determination goes deeper. Here are a few examples of mine.

"I vow to create VICTORY in every aspect of my life! 

Some of you know I lost 70 pounds. 
Here was my determination: 

For my Body: I am determined to be healthier, happier, and more fit than I have ever been. I'm determined to find the right practitioners and who will guide me in my path to vibrant health! I feel better and better every single day! I am determined to know which food choices contribute to my overall good health, and to use this knowledge to the best of my ability! 

And when I knew it was time to move on from my marriage I determined to have the kind of divorce that was so positive and uplifting that people would be inspired to chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. And two of my friends who saw us going through the divorce process were so inspired they began chanting and have since changed their lives in amazing ways. One of them had her mother receive the Gohonzon just last night! 

I have a vow for my love life too: 
"I VOW to create Victory in every aspect of my life! I will have the kind of love relationship that brings us both absolute joy! It will grow every day and we will spend our time together delighting in each other's happiness and having fun exploring this wonderful world! Both of us have passion and drive and We will appreciate each other in ways I have never experienced in a relationship, and our love and appreciation will grow and deepen through the years.

I have determinations for many areas of my life. I believe this is very important for creating the life of my dreams and being happier than I ever thought possible! And all of this is possible for you! That's why I write this blog!!!

You can make a strong determination in every area of your life. And while you are chanting, you can focus on expressing these determinations to your life!

It's the right time to move your life! It's the right time to dig deep! Please share your determinations with me, and share your successes. I am actively gathering material for the book I am writing for you and everyone you wish to inspire. Wouldn't you love to have YOUR story in it? Join me! 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Response to A Question



"I have been chanting for about a year and a half but my life doesn't seem to have improved. It even seems worse. Please tell me what I can do."


Examine your practice! Focus on the basics!

Prescriptions for a Powerful Practice!

Here are a few questions for you to consider~ all of these things contribute to having a powerful practice. When you have a POWERFUL PRACTICE you are able to raise your life condition high enough to overcome your challenges and get the engine of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo running in your life and be happy! 

1. Do you have a Gohonzon (altar) in your home? 
2. Do you go to SGI meetings regularly? (SGI websites can connect you to your local group of friendly people!)
3. Have you made a personal connection with SGI members who inspire you?
4. Do you study and read President Ikeda's writings and the writings of Nichiren Daishonin? 
5. Do you chant twice a day, every day? 
6. Do you have an attitude of gratitude - are you able to focus on the positive in your life? 
7. Are you introducing others to the practice to the best of your ability? 
8. Do you have fresh determinations about the changes you want to make in your life? 
9. When you are chanting are you focusing your mind? Are you VOWING to achieve victory in all aspect of your life? 

You are so much more powerful than you realize!

If you are doing all of these things your life will become unstoppable! Your challenges will disappear one after the other...new challenges will arise but you won't be afraid of them. 

If you are chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and wish to change your life you must be the one to pick your life up from the floor- make a fresh determination and ROAR like a lion when you chant. Tell your life exactly what you want. Write your determination for your life. Send it to me. I will chant for you too, but it is YOUR determination that will create your results. 

You can do it!

Make your determination! 

Chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo! Chant to raise your life condition! 

Write me again! 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

An Honored Birthday ~ and New Beginnings

Today would have been my sweet Mommy's 81st birthday. 
I know that sounds old to many of you...but to some I'm sure it doesn't. You know I spent many years working in a nursing home. I once heard a 99 year old man call an 83 year old woman a "youngster"

It really seems fitting that I began the day by chanting two hours of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo with six of the members in my district. It felt so good!  We all have many challenges and much to chant about. That is our benefit. ALL of us are strengthening our life conditions and turning poison into benefit. 

We have also been celebrating the fact that it has been a full year since my teenage friend Shazara "went missing" from her home in the depths of despair and ended up on my doorstep...a complete stranger... but not for long. I invited her in and invited her to chant. One she started, she didn't want to stop. Today she is a very different young lady...she has solved her lifetime problem of being bullied, she is filled with life and enthusiasm and determined to help other teenagers end their pain like she did. This year will be her senior year in High School. I can't wait to see what she will accomplish! 

And it also was just perfect, that on Mom's birthday, Ben and I helped Aaron move into his new rental house close to the Loyola Medical School Campus. He starts Med school on the 30th of August. 
Wow! He has planned for this for so many years. 
He has chanted so much to prepare his life!

I am inspired! And my Mom...she is thrilled and proud! 

Born in San Francisco, a 49er fan for life!
Aaron's shared rental house
Great Colors!