Saturday, September 29, 2012

Exercising that MUSCLE of faith!

Good beautiful Saturday Morning!!!

This is such a unique practice! You don't HAVE to believe that chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo works because it is a LAW. It doesn't have a personality. It doesn't CARE whether you believe it works. It works turning on a light. 

You chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and you tap into the life force of the universe that is your birthright. We are children of the universe...that is not just some song from the sixties! Our eyes are the stars, our veins are the rivers, our hair is the trees, we ARE microcosms of the universe and we have always known this.  And now, because of some very brave people who risked (and lost) their lives - we can now tap into the life force by chanting the name of the rhythm of life itself NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO! 

When we chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo we TELL our lives what we want. That's what we are doing when we chant. 

I posted an experience by Kathy Fisher a couple of weeks ago. She chanted for the perfect job and it took her a while to find it....and this job is totally amazing. She got everything she chanted for and more. I'm asking her to write a new experience to tell you how incredibly cool her first month has appreciated she she feels she has found a perfectly she understands her role there and how much she loves the actual job and the people. It is HER job, and that's what she was chanting for. She didn't get discouraged because it didn't appear for a while. She kept chanting...undaunted...and she kept encouraging people...and bringing people to meetings...and she KNEW she would be victorious. 

That's how we ALL need to be. 

Chant for what you want and don't give up.!!!! Some things take longer than others. Some happen that very same day (as you know!) but the important thing is to not give up. 

There are a few key things I want to pass along to you today. Remember when you are having challenges with ANY PERSON...ANYWHERE to chant sincerely for their happiness. It works 100% of the time. Don't believe me! Try it yourself. We are ALL connected. Chanting for others brings happiness to them, to you, to all of life. This is Buddhism. This is the pure energy of interconnectivity that we live in. Isn't it wonderful!

And another are WORTHY of EVERY HAPPINESS and EVERY DESIRE! You are WORTHY! You were born worthy! You are so wonderful and precious, so beautiful and new. The world has never seen a more beautiful being with a bigger heart than YOU! Please chant for ANYTHING you desire...even if your friends tell you you shouldn't. Tapping into your real, honest and true desire will lead you to chant sincerely and become the happiest YOU possible. 

And one other thing, and I KNOW I say this all the time...please make sure to join the orbit of faith and meet your friends along the path at your local SGI meetings! They are there to teach you and to learn from you! Send me a note if you need help finding your local meeting. They take place all over the world. 

And send me your comments and experiences! You know how I love hearing from you!!! I'd LOVE to post YOUR experiences in faith on this blog! THink of how much you can help others by inspiring them! 

I am heading out into a lovely day filled with people and adventures I have brought into my life through chanting for my desires. I am living the life of my dreams. I wish you ALL a wonderful joy-filled day!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Testing the Limits of our Faith

First of all I want to thank my friend in France for writing this comment: 

"I must say that I have been following your blog for quite sometime. I love everything that I have received from you. I am based in Europe in France. Practising for twelve years and facing challenges of my own. Our lives seem to be in tune as you always seem to tap exactly what I am struggling with. Deep deep gratitude to you for your wonderful work and for your words of encouragement that touch many like me. I am inspired by you to keep on chanting, achieve my goals and overcome my karma. Thank you on How to REALLY USE THIS PRACTICE!"

Your comments are sooooo important to me. Thank you so much for taking the time to write!

This morning I want to write about testing our limits of faith. In Nichiren Buddhism FAITH IS A VERB! You have to make it happen! You have to summon it from inside your life!

I sat down today to chant for a person in my life. A person who is very close to me...and for some reason all I could hear in my brain was "this will never work". Now, I can't tell you why I heard this in my brain! All I can tell you is it was there! I always set my sights on chanting for a full hour, so sometimes when I first start chanting it is very hard to connect and rev up that chanting engine. All I hear are the voices in my own head. But I don't get up. I stay there. I keep chanting. And sooner of later the FAITH kicks in...I exercise that muscle. I make my mind focus on seeing this person with a happy face and chanting and smiling. And after a little while my "chanting muscle" is strong again and I can really see my prayer having an effect. 

When you are experiencing the limits of your faith, and you are face to face with something you don't believe will happen - don't give up! Keep chanting. As I was chanting I was realizing this was actually an opportunity to strengthen my faith. How perfect. We ALL need to strengthen our faith. What an amazing practice this much we can grow and become strong and happy and help ALL the people we love and everyone who is struggling. 

Exercise that muscle! You WILL GROW!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I received an email from a reader who is very unhappy. 

She told me she doesn't chant every day or go to meetings, but something inside her made her write to me. I offer these words to her, and to you. I have always said that practicing Buddhism is not easy. It requires courage. It not only requires courage but it helps to BUILD courage and a strong sense of self. When you practice as I've outlined here you will be strong. You can take on ANYTHING. You will be happy. It takes perseverance, but I am here to tell you that you can achieve whatever you want. You can be happier than you ever imagined possible. But it takes work! And your life and happiness is WORTH IT!

There are 5 KEY aspects to a correct practice of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.

And when we are activating them ALL we are all HAPPIER in every possible way. Until you have activated these actions in your life you will never really know your own full will be able to ROAR LIKE A LION. You will have power in your won precious life! 

1. It is important to be in the ORBIT OF FAITH! Attending SGI meetings is crucial. We really can't practice adequately alone. We all act as mirrors for each other. Our meetings serve to deepen our ties to each other and our ties to the world. If there is something you don't like about your meetings, chant to change them! How you feel about your Buddhist meetings is really a reflection of your own tendencies. If you "look down" on all the people at the meetings, you also "look down" on people everywhere. Have patience with yourself. See if you can summon the Ichinen (will put into action) to make a difference. Many of us have struggled with this at some time. I love being a leader because I infuse each meeting with energy. I chant at least an hour for the success of each meeting...I chant for every member to have a deep and meaningful experience at every meeting - refreshed in faith, more determined, happier!

2. Help others! Encouraging others in their faith is crucial. And telling others about chanting is crucial too...even just giving them a Nam Myoho Renge card. I give out cards every single day. I have to. I feel I have discovered the key to absolute happiness and it fills me with joy to pass it on to others. I went to the doctor yesterday and the two lovely nurses may come to a meeting soon. I always give cards to people who help me in stores. They are always happy to get them. I love makeup and perfume and love to spend time trying new things. Last night I got a call from someone who I gave a card to TWO years ago at Sephora (a makeup store). She said she now works in the makeup department of another of my favorite stores and she told someone about me, and they had one of my cards too. Tonight she is coming to my study meeting!

3. Chant every morning and evening. You decide how long you will chant. I know that the more effort I put into my daily practice, the harder I work to stay focused, the MORE I connect with the Gohonzon (which is my life itself) the easier the rest of my life goes. I chant a minimum of an hour in my "laboratory of my life" every day. When I began this blog I was chanting a minimum of two hours a day. I often find I chant more when I have a lot of challenges, and the more I chant the more I WANT TO chant. Try it!

4. Study with the intention of deepening your faith.  In Nichiren Buddhism FAITH IS A VERB. It is the power you muster while you are chanting to activate the power of your prayer. Studying is like working the muscle of faith. It will help you produce results. It will strengthen your faith. Studying the Gosho by Nichiren Daishonin, and the words of our mentor, Daisaku Ikeda will help you become happier and healthier and stronger in every way!

5. MAKE A STRONG DETERMINATION. Write it down. Really, writing it down is powerful! What do you want? What do you really want? How do you want to feel? What do you want to make happen? Who do you want to BE? Avoid the tendency to blame your environment. Blaming the people, things, jobs etc. is not useful. Instead, accept that your karma is your karma and vow to change it! That is where your power lies! Not in complaint!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Grateful for the "Laboratory" of my Daimoku

I just finished my morning Gongyo and Daimoku. I am filled with gratitude for this practice. Every day I get to sit down and stir things up in the laboratory that is my life. 

I get to dig deep into life itself and direct my thought, my intentions and my prayers in any way I want. 

When I chant I am having a conversation with my life, with all of life, with the rhythm of the universe itself. 

Today I told my life:

"Throw open the doors of my heart and let me see my the way clear to advance. I am determined to have the courage, the wisdom, the fortitude and the discipline and correct ACTION to shore up the areas of my life where I am determined to change and create the results I want to see...I am determined to be absolutely victorious in all areas of my! Show me what I don't know that I don't know! I am ready for more growth, more happiness, and to break down the door of what I THINK I know! I am ready, I am ready! Direct the flow of my life with  President Ikeda's so I can tap into the vast resources of creating peace and happiness along with him! And I have to break down these doors and get to the next level so I can help others to achieve a level of happiness that they can hardly imagine is possible!" 

How wonderful that we are living this life together! 

I wish you the happiest of days, and a deep and meaningful and fun time in front of your own Gohonzon in YOUR laboratory of life!!!

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Best Birthday Ever!

This is my birthday weekend! And I have absolutely broken through so much! 

I post those gorgeous flowers to show you my actual proof. These flowers are from the man who has been so special in my life and who I used to be filled with happiness and suffering over. I know a lot of you know just what I mean. And the flowers are so beautiful to me because I am not suffering over this wonderful man any longer...I am not in the world of hunger or longing...I have moved straight into the world of appreciation! 

I hear from so many of you about the ONE MAN who will fulfill you, and OH do I ever know how you feel. But the truth, as we all know deep inside, is that only YOU can fulfill YOU! But it is a battle that needs to be fought in front of the Gohonzon. You will know that you have broken through when you are happy NO MATTER WHAT! It may not happen overnight. But it will happen if you persevere! 

Have you ever spent time chanting - and you KNOW beyond a shadow of the doubt that in this session you got down to a level of karma, faced it and KNOW you will never be the same? This happened for me this week. 

On Thursday I had a date scheduled with a new wonderful man, but we hadn't set the exact time and I was waiting to hear from him, and I was chanting sincerely. I realized that my pattern, my karma, was to usually expect the worst, and usually be disappointed in my relationships.  I reviewed every relationship from my kindergarten first love Russell who moved away, to Gary in 7th grade who listened to his friends when they mocked him about liking me so he dropped me...and on and on and on.  I chanted and said to my life "I will change in ANY WAY I need to change to no longer expect the worst from men. I take full responsibility for generating this energy, and I vow to change it. I know I can! I am digging deep to change this karma, I will change this karma and my relationships will bring me joy not sadness!" And as I got up from that half hour I actually felt different. As you can imagine I had a wonderful evening that night...and it is continuing on and on...I have been generating love and acceptance for my own sweet self, and focusing on receiving all the good the universe has for me, and it is working!! I feel so great and I had the best birthday I have ever had! 

I woke up yesterday, September 22nd, chanted, talked to dear friends from all over, then I took out my guitar and played and sang for an hour and a half. After that, I had a rapturous lunch with Ben, my sweet son who came all the way from Oxford Ohio to help me celebrate my birthday. I came home to receive a delivery of gorgeous flowers, took a walk with a dear friend, and received a telephone call from KATE (from LA) that she was in the airport in Chicago and could come and spend the night and go to my party. I raced to the airport, then the party where I played guitar and sang and so did both my boys. And every single moment of the day I was singing the praises of my wonderful life in my heart. There is absolutely no trace of the "poor me...why me" thoughts that used to appear so trace of any dissatisfaction with a single moment...and I've been feeling this way for some time. 

I have really broken through. As a Buddha we need to realize that we just can't blame our environment for anything! We ARE our environment and the only thing that is of ANY USE is to change ourselves, and then everything will change. 

I know this is a deeply personal post, and some of you will probably be thinking "Who IS this woman" but for those of you who have been reading for some time, I hope you realize that I am writing this to encourage you that NO MATTER WHAT PAIN YOU ARE IN. No matter what you are struggling with....if you persevere you can fly on wings of happiness just like I am. But you can't blame your environment! You can't BLAME anything, not even yourself. You must instead accept responsibility, and face it and stare it down in front of the Gohonzon! We must ROAR like LIONS and realize that WE DESERVE TO BE HAPPY! And we have the ultimate tool to create it. How did I do it? I continued to chant for what I really wanted...what I really wanted...and it has led me to fulfillment and happiness! 

Don't give up! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Quote to engrave in our lives!

This is from the same person I posted about the other day! Here is her follow up. 
Thank you soooo much for writing and sharing your determination and one of my favorite quotes ever! 

"Thank you Jamie for your encouragement. I haven't chanted for two days but now I realized that I didn't know what type of job I wanted but thanks to doing the homework assignment (even thought I didn't get the interview) and chanting I realized it's a position I am interested in and I think that's the kinda job I want to focus on getting! I would never have discovered that if I didn't do the required research to gain more insight on the position.

Also last night this quote popped up on my facebook page

"When your determination changes, 

everything else will begin to move in the direction 

you desire. 

The moment you resolve to be victorious, 

every nerve and fiber in your being 

will immediately orient itself toward your success.

 On the other hand, if you think 

"This is never going to work out," 

then at that instant every cell in your being 

will be deflated and give up the fight, 

and then everything really will move in the direction 

of failure."- President Ikeda 

Today I am making a determination to get a job at a better company that will hire me for the same position.I will be getting back in touch with you to share my victory:)


And thank YOU for writing to me and allowing me to share your encouraging experience! I am really looking forward to hearing of your brilliant success! With this kind of attitude you will definitely WIN!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why don't we get everything we want - and how do we deal with disappointment and keep our determination STRONG?

I received this comment/question from a reader today:

"So I've been chanting a lot for this one job 60-90 mins a day +morning/evening gongyo+studying+attending meetings.It was my dream company and a position I was really interested in.I got a phone interview after which they gave me an assignment to complete and if I passed that they would call me for an interview.I kept chanting and worked really hard on the assignment. 3 weeks later they sent me an email saying I didn't pass the homework round.I am so confused and upset because I gave it my all and I chanted with a lot of determination focusing all my daimoku on getting this position. I know I shouldn't doubt the practice but how am I suppose to have faith when my prayers go 

Thank you so much for writing to me. 

I know how hard this is...when you feel like you've been making all the right causes and your benefit is still on its way. 

This is a crucial moment for you...a crucial moment to REALLY grow and learn and deepen your faith. 

THIS is why I say this practice is not easy, and why we say a sword will be useless in the hands of a coward. 
It is important to not turn outward and blame anyone or anything for the fact that you did not get this job. The "Universe" is not to blame, and neither are you. Now is the time to reflect upon yourself. Now is the time to continue taking action and avoid feeling sorry for yourself. 
Just dig in, make a new determination, make your list of what you want and keep chanting and encouraging others no matter what! 

Please do not lose hope or give up your faith. Did you read kathy's experience in finding a job. I don't want to discourage you, but she did take quite a while...and there were many jobs along the way that she thought were "HER" jobs, that turned out NOT to be her jobs at all. 

She did not give up...she stayed the course. She continued chanting, helping and encouraging others, studying, chanting and chanting and taking steady action every single day towards finding her job. And the job she found has benefits overflowing in about a million different ways. I posted her experience about a month ago and I am going to ask her to write more. She wrote her experience before she started, and since then she has had benefit after benefit unfold every day for her at work. It really IS her job!!!  Do not give up!!! Be even MORE determined. Many of us have not had our prayer answered yet...but it is our fierce determination that strengthens our characters and I ASSURE you...your prayer will be answered if you don't give up!!!

From Daisaku Ikeda: 

"There are many times our prayers seem to take ages to be fulfilled, or when they remain unrealized despite the most impassioned chanting of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. But the important thing to remember is to keep chanting until they ARE answered. Our continued chanting gives us the chance to take a good hard look at ourselves, leading to positive changes on our daily lives. It's like work ~ you get a job, and go to work but you don't get paid on the first day. Or it's like gardening ~ you plant a sapling and water it every day, but it still takes a long time for it to grow into a tall tree...all good things come from continual, repeated efforts." 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Encouragement !

I just got off the phone from speaking with a young woman. I am now offering personal coaching by phone. As soon as I have it set up I will let you know about it. In the meantime I am going to share with you the encouragement I gave her this morning. It is universal encouragement and should help all kinds of suffering. 

She called me in a deep state of suffering and discouragement. She is having health problems, relationship problems and depression. 

I understand. 

I also know that she can be happy. She knows about the mystic law. She can chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. She doesn't have a Gohonzon yet, but she can make a determination to get one. 

Here is my main message to her...and I share this with you to encourage you or anyone you know who needs encouragement. 

Encouragement: (meaning to give courage!)

Your life can change profoundly as of this very moment
This conversation, these words that I am speaking and you are reading now can be the beginning of a totally new outcome and new life for you. It all depends on you and on your determination. Make a bold new determination. Up to now your life has been pushing you this way and that way. 

Now it is time for YOU to take charge and tell your life what it is you want. And you can do that because you know how to chant! 

Chant to strengthen your body, mind and emotions. 

Chant to be strong NO MATTER WHAT is going on in your life. 

Chant to experience life as the strong wonderful BUDDHA you already are. 

Chant to feel that power welling forth in your life. 

Chant to get a Gohonzon if you don't have one - as soon as possible! And to connect with the Soka Gakkai International (The BSG in India) and to connect with the life blood of faith and President Ikeda! Read his guidance and chant, chant, chant,chant!!!

Look in the mirror and say "TODAY IS A NEW DAY! I AM CHANGING FROM NOW ON! I AM USHERING IN A NEW LIFE OF HAPPINESS,  STRENGTH AND FULFILLMENT, and I know sometime in the future I will be able to help others with what I have been through!" 

Write your new determination and put it up on the wall. 
"All the best is coming to me now!!!
I am DETERMINED TO become stronger every single day! I am becoming happier every day." And chant to make it so. 
When you feel negative thoughts creep into your mind tell those thoughts: "NOT TODAY! I am NOT thinking negative thoughts today! Today I am chanting to be strong and happy and to PRAISE MY LIFE!" 

And keep chanting!

Have a great day!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's Sunday Morning Here in Chicago

And we have another spectacular day!

I'm just about to sit down and chant for all of you. 

I am chanting for each of you to become so happy that you can't NOT introduce others to this practice. I'm chanting that your lives are overflowing with benefit and that you feel the power of this practice with every cell in your body. 

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is like the Roar of a Lion! What Sickness can therefore be an obstacle? 

In this case, "sickness" can be anything. It can be any suffering we are still encountering...everything from a broken heart to an actual physical sickness. This week was filled with obstacles for me. I woke up unable to move because of pain in my back (that was a first, and hopefully a last) and my windshield broke for no reason while just sitting in a parking lot. Those were annoying obstacles, but I kept going on and I kept chanting. 

On Friday I attended an all day workshop about providing blog readers with really cool benefits...I'll let you know as soon as I have some things up and running. 

In the meantime, please tell me what you want! What can I do for you? Are there subjects you want me to write about? Are there questions you have about chanting? Questions about life? Please write me! 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Keep Your Spirits High

Chanting always works. 

Even if you don't believe it works.

That's part of the beauty of chanting. 


Here are some of the things I do to bolster my mood and keep moving forward:

I have a saying that I've embedded in my mind, and I say it to myself whenever I feel myself losing a little energy, or getting a bit discouraged...I say 


I have posted these signs for myself and I really use them and appreciate them! 

And the best part is...they are true! All the best IS coming to me now! All GOOD THINGS are on their way to me! I joyfully receive them! I am open to receiving all kinds of wonderful people into my life, wonderful experiences, love and laughter and fun!

The first thing I think when I open my eyes in the morning is "All the best is coming to me today!" Then I list at least ten things I am grateful for in my life before I even get out of bed. This helps to set the tone for the entire rest of the day. 

Then I get up and chant in an attitude of gratitude for my wonderful life. Chanting in gratitude is such a joy. See if you can generate this for yourself! 

I am chanting for you every day! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How to Chant for the First Time!

How to Chant. Please share with anyone interested in becoming happy!

How to be Happy! How to Chant for the first time. 

A great post to share with first time chanters.  Please forward this on!

(I had a request from a reader to teach her how to chant - this is my response, and part of the book I'm writing. Please forward this to anyone you'd like to introduce to this amazing practice!)

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 to read Daisaku Ikeda's words. He is lighting the way for us all...and for YOU!

Obstacles are SUPPOSED to Happen

Last night I was reading from one of my favorite books "The Hope Filled Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin. SGI President Ikeda's lecture series in order to prepare for the Wednesday night meeting at my house. 
I read the Dragon Gate Gosho on page 113. It talks about the difficulty of obtaining Buddhahood and how easy it is to give in to our obstacles...unless we make a great vow and fight alongside our mentor. And it reminded me that obstacles are supposed to happen. They are a necessary part of our practice. Oh Yes, right! I know, I know, but sometimes it is good to be reminded. 
I have been chanting to share President Ikeda's heart and prayer for world peace. I have been chanting alongside my district members for them to overcome their problems. It is only natural that I should experience some obstacles of my own! 

Please do not let your problems defeat you! 
Remember that the Gosho 
"The Ship to Cross the Sea of Suffering" 
"Doesn't a fire burn more brightly when more logs are added?" 

Our problems, challenges and obstacles are exactly the logs that we need to fuel the fire that ultimately creates our happiness...even if it doesn't really look like it, or feel like it at the time. As long as we do not give up, ans we stay in the circle of faith...WE WILL ALL WIN!!! 
Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

More positive Self Talk! Affirmation Suggestions for you!

Did you like Etjen's experience from yesterday? 

Etjen and I have been friends since the early 80's. 

She has always been a vivacious and wonderful woman. 

I love how she talks about positive self-talk, and I think it's really important! 

This weekend I developed a few phrases and posted them all around my dressing room. 
I suggest doing your version of this. 

Each of us can benefit from positive words. 

Our words frame the thoughts in our minds...our thoughts and the words we speak predict our future outcomes. 

Here are some of the phrases I am posting and saying every day:

All the Best is Coming to Me Now!

I am grateful for me ever-increasing health - wealth and beauty!

All the best is coming to me now! And I deserve the best!

It is fall, and time to spiff up my wardrobe so I posted on my closet: 

All the BEST clothes are coming to me now! I always look and feel my best!!!

I also have one for drawing an excellent, incredible man into my life. 

And, like Etjen, I also look in the mirror and say:

"You're beautiful! Look at you!"

And I smile at myself. Loving ourselves in where it all starts. Recognizing my own Buddhahood....recognizing your won Buddhahood...that's what it's all about! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Friend Etjen's Love Experience!

It’s been a year and a half since I got out of a relationship with a pathological narcissist.  I can now start looking at the profiles on Plenty of Fish (an online dating site) without feeling of dread and repulsion in the pit of my stomach that was there when I started looking several months ago.
When I first got out of that near-death experience (jobless, spiritually and emotionally devastated, physically drained), I began a long journey for some serious self reflection.  How could I, a person who has done an amazing amount of self development work and chanting find myself at 50-something looking back at her relationship track record, finding that ALL of her romantic relationships have been unhealthy in some form.  I had them all, the whole range: – the physically abusive, the emotionally distant, the addict, the mentally ill and the personality disordered.  The realization was devastating.  I had wasted all this time struggling in dramatic love connections.  
I brought this discovery to my chanting and chanted to know what the lesson is here. The clarity came to me: This is great news!  I have so much street education about unhealthy relationships now – that I have so much to teach and help other people plus – there is no way I will ever find myself involved in a situation like this again! I now have a mission and a new powerful way to live emerged. Previously, I had a drive to be in a romantic relationship, always in a desperate search.  This time, I proceeded to do what everyone knows and that is to focus on myself and learn to truly love myself.   I declared a vacation  from all romantic endeavors for a year (something I have never ever done). We’ve all heard that before – “you gotta love yourself before you can love someone else”.  I thought I had already learned this one but this past year, I took it on like a real practice and got that lesson deeply  I’d look in the mirror and into my eyes with love and say out loud things like – “I love you”, “You’re great”, “You are really sexy”.  I’d do healthy things like eat well, chant, exercise, write, spend fun time with my kids, my girlfriends.  I paid more attention to  all the people in my life who love me, appreciate the great city I live in, kept my home cleaner, got rid of clutter.  I’d ask great questions of myself like “If I was my own best friend, how would I talk to myself”?  My self talk shifted – I found myself saying things to myself like : “wow, look how happy people are around you”, “You bring laughter and joy to people”, “It’s okay, don’t be so hard on yourself”, “you are really smart” and lots more.  These practices have really helped me cultivate a higher self esteem and sense of joy for myself and my own life.
Back to the "Plenty of Fish"dating web site!  Part of my mission is to create a great, healthy relationship.  After a couple of failed coffee dates, I chanted to meet that man who will fit with my newly re-established  life and stronger sense of self.  I met him a couple of days later.  Our first date was a Full Moon Hike a couple of months ago.  This is the first man I have been with who I describe as “sweet” (among other things).  When he said to me: “you are a beautiful person”, it felt like a vibration resonating with that love I had cultivated for myself, rather than something for me to argue with.  In that moment, I knew why that “loving yourself” thing is so highly recommended.
We have been dating for a couple of months now and there is still the crazy up and down “new relationship” experience at play.  Now however, it is in a context of balance and peace.  This self love that I have is the foundation and I am centered in a place that I have a deep sense of knowing that I am fine no matter what happens here.  If he went away, I would be okay – I would be left with a sense of gratitude for what we have shared thus far.  There is no more “needing a man to make me whole”.  A great saying I heard is “the man is not the cake, he is the icing.  Your life is the cake”.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Soka Gakkai is for all of US!

What is this Blog About? 

And what is the Soka Gakkai? 

Literally Soka Gakkai means Value Creating Society, and that's exactly what it is! There are Soka Gakkai members in 192 countries, all doing Gongyo (reciting from the Lotus Sutra) and Daimoku (Chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo over and over) twice a day every day. We meet in people's homes and form family-like districts of people who love and support each other. There are no temples and there is no clergy, although we do have community centers in most major cities where members gather. 

There is a network for support for the District leaders and members. Each of these supporting leaders has a burning passion to help people become happy through chanting these words...and we all have a boatload of benefits to PROVE that chanting works! I am a District leader in Oakbrook Terrace, IL and my district meets every single Wednesday all year. On Sunday seven members of our district gathered together to chant for two hours for one of our members who is in Dublin now because her beloved mother just died. I am sure our friend Pamela felt the waves of support coming her way. 

You can find your local members by going to The members will welcome you with open arms! 

What is this Buddhist Practice? 
How is it different from other forms of Buddhism? 

In the Soka Gakkai, we practice Nichiren Buddhism (also called Practical Buddhism). It's called Practical Buddhism because each person experiences RESULTS from chanting. 

In this practice we are ALL Buddhas...all equal Buddhas tapping into the rich resources of our life itself and the entire universe by chanting the words Nam Myoho Renge Ko. 

Chanting these words enables us to bring forth all we desire and manifest it in this lifetime, it also brings us the resources to change what we need to change in our own characters, and in our lives, to accomplish and build lasting happiness for ourselves and others.  

We belong to the Soka Gakkai International, an organization dedicated to Peace, Culture and Education, founded by educators with vision and passion. It was founded in 1930 by Tunesaburo Makiguchi who died while imprisoned by the Japanese government for refusing to give in to their war efforts during WWII. 
His disciple, Josei Toda went to prison with him, and lived to be released, to devote the rest of his life to laying the groundwork for world wide peace (Kosen Rufu). 
His disciple, Daisaku Ikeda has been living his life with no other thought but peace, culture and education ever since he was 19 years old and met Josei Toda for the first time. 
He fought alongside his mentor tirelessly day after day, even though he was sick with tuberculosis and not expected to live a long life. 

Daisaku Ikeda has founded countless educational institutions based on Soka Education. It's main tenet is that each person should learn how to create a life of VALUE and HAPPINESS through education. There are Soka schools all over the world. Soka University in America sits on a majestic hill in Aliso Viejo, California and my friend Kate's daughter is currently spending the semester in Lima Peru while attending Soka University. It is Daisaku Ikeda's belief that only education can truly change the world and its inequities and build the culture we all where peace, life, fairness and happiness can flourish. 

Daisaku Ikeda is now 84 and living in japan. His accomplishments are too numerous to mention here. You can find his quotes at and more information about him on he has over 300 honorary doctorates from universities all over the world. These schools recognize him for creating cultural and educational exchanges among the people of the world. When people share bonds of friendship, peace can truly exist. Ikeda lived through WWII. He has a fierce determination that war is not any solution for anything, and that dialogue between people builds bridges of peace. 

Every day I chant that my heart shares his wisdom, determination and courage. He is an ordinary man; I am an ordinary woman. What sets him apart is his determination to make the world a better place, and the energy He has been expending his whole life in that effort. Through using his example, studying his words and chanting to feel and understand his determination, we can all become strong towers of wisdom, courage and determination...helping others to forge lives of happiness and strength! 

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo! 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Just 5 Minutes!

Five Minutes of chanting with your full, open heart can change your life and can change the lives of others. I am not saying that there is no value in chanting for longer periods of time...I am illustrating the fact that change can come quickly!

A Five Minute Story:

When I lived in San Francisco my dear friend, a Harvard Ph.D. had a daughter who was in trouble. Her daughter was on a downward spiral, and had been on one for quite some time. She was repeatedly running away from treatment centers, getting expelled, and had recently ended up in jail. My friend said all she wanted was for her daughter to be allowed back into the last treatment center she'd run away from. She said her daughter wanted to return to the last treatment center  also. 
It was Thanksgiving. I said "OK, FIVE MINUTES. Chant with me for FIVE minutes. I can't tell you what will happen but it will be a profound cause for each of your lives."

We chanted for FIVE MINUTES. That's all. And we chanted with all our hearts. We called her daughter and she said she wanted to chant too. My friend left my house and went to jail to see her daughter. She and her daughter chanted for 20 minutes together...for her daughter to get BACK into the place she'd just run away from. 

And guess what happened? 

NO!! She did NOT get back into the same place! NO she ended up finding out about a treatment center a million times better, a place in Colorado that would also her beautician skills that she wanted to learn, and this place would NEVER, EVER kick her out for running away. 

This place saved my friend's daughter's life. 

FIVE MINUTES of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo can be life changing. 

Just think what you can do in a longer time if you truly believe....if you truly connect with the Gohonzon and chant to deepen your faith...chant to understand Daisaku Ikeda's heart with your own life....chant to have the wisdom to see the way forward in everything you do! Chant to have the kind of benefit TODAY that will deepen your faith. 


I know we sometimes chant out of habit...because we are keeping our commitment to chant. But think about it...what could you accomplish with focus, intention, belief and determination. 

I wrote myself a new affirmation and I'll share it with you:

"I am actively creating the life of my dreams 
every single second of every day...
no matter what it looks like...
no matter how it feels...
no matter what obstacles arise. 
every day I am filled with confidence 
that I am in the right place 
at the right time
Taking action based on wisdom 
flowing from within my life
I see and I know and I move toward
all things excellent, exciting, 
wonderful, happy, successful, loving and free."

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pushing Through! One Breakthrough After another!

We must always keep our lives advancing...moving step after matter WHAT.

 I recently had a huge breakthrough in terms of clearing something that had been weighing on my mind, and changing patterns (karma) that no longer served me. I succeeded.
I used the power of my emotions and daimoku to decide what I needed to change. Then I chanted,  made my strong determination to never again let this particular situaiton bring me pain. And I and changed something that had been bothering me for my whole life. Without going into detail ... I will say that No MATTER WHAT YOU ARE SUFFERING FROM....NO MATTER WHAT!  You can change it if you persevere. Keep on Keeping on! Keep chanting no matter what.

Then......after having a breakthrough

                                                       ...guess what happens?

Suddenly the NEXT MOST IMPOSSIBLE  (and most important) ISSUE  looms up and I know it is the next karma/pattern/suffering for me to transform and break through.

At first it looks and feels impossible!

But I know, that in order to keep inspiring YOU, and my members, I must keep advancing.

With this Gohonzon, with my determination, heart, intelligence and deep sense of mission to help people who are suffering, ANYTHING is possible. I have been reading The New Human Revolution. It is amazing. Volume 20 is blowing me away. In it Shinichi Yamamoto (Daisaku Ikeda's pen name for himse;f so that he can write the novel in third person, and not in first person having to say "me" and "I" all the time, does the coolest thing ever.

You know he went throught World War II in Japan. He saw his mother change forever on the day she got the notice that her older son (Shinishi's brother) had been killed in the war. He saw a lot of suffering and he became deeply determined to erase war from this planet's landscape. He has devoted his entire life to creating a culture of Peace, through Educational a Cultural exchanges.

He first set his sights on China and Japanese relations. They had fought on opposite sides during WWII. He got an invitation from the Government. While there he was touring a school and the children showed him the bomb shelter they were going to be living in after Russia attacked. Shinishi's heart went out to all of them and he said to himself (and I paraphrase) "WOW , I must go to Russia to see if this is true, and do whatever I can to stop it if it is."

So he got an official state invitation from Russia (I am simplifying here) In Russia he asked the leaders there if they planned on attacking China. They said absolutely not. So he went back to China to let them know....and dissipated the tension.

 Isn't that brilliant?

 What one person can do....

So inspiring. I am chanting to have President Ikeda's spirit be present in everything I do. He is not a God, only a person, a Buddha like me. The oneness fo Mentor and Disciple is a profound Buddhist Principle. President Ikeda speaks of his beloved mentor Josei Toda every single day...and lives to affirm the correct actions Josei Toda took in establishing the foundation of The Soka Gakkai (Value Creating Society)and building the platform from which world-wide Kosen Rufu can be built.

Kosen Rufu (World peace) is based on each and every person building a strong, unshakable sense of self that is not swayed by defeat, by censure, by blame, by failure...but continues to tise, day by day...and that through each person's HUMAN REVOLUTION that a society borne of peace, happiness, true self and purity can be born. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo! That is what I am doing and what YOU are doing. We are noble and pure Buddhas!

Today I am writing all the things I am grateful for in my journal. I am writing forth a Rampage of Appreciation for all things goood and great and magnificent in my life!!! This brings more great things into being.

I am thinking of you and chanting for you. Let me hear from you please! I love your emails and comments.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Joining together as an SGI District

Tonight the entire District that meets at my house chanted incredible Daimoku for one hour together for one of our members who is heading to Dublin to see her sick 97 year old mum. And we chanted for another of our members who has been in the hospital. And another of our members is having a childcare problem. 

My apartment vibrated in incredible rhythm, joy and unity for a solid hour. If it could have taken off and flown into the stars it would have! 

I was chanting for every single member to have a breakthrough from our hour together. 

Have you ever chanted so deeply, connected to the Gohonzon (which is your life itself) sooooo strongly time ceased to exist? That's what tonight's chanting was like for all of us. It felt like doing a spiritual marathon and that's exactly what it was!!! Chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is exercising your spiritual muscles. Really. I think we were all sweating in the energy we were producing. 

I felt the deep, deep honor of being a District leader and having the responsibility to suppor these wonderful members. I chanted for all of the members to experience being a leader themselves...there is nothing like it. Chanting for yourself AND OTHERS is the key to this practice. 

When you have your whole heart in the practice...when you chant, study, help and encourage others...your life is UNSTOPPABLE and all your worries and challenges disappear! 

If you are not affiliated with the Soka Gakkai International you are really missing out. Go to the website. There are links to help you find local practitioners. You can also go to to find districts all over the world! 

Monday, September 3, 2012

How to get rid of despair - 16 tips and ideas to get you there!

This was one of the most popular posts this year. I thought some of the newer readers might appreciate reading it:

Here's a question I received from a reader, and the answer follows:


"How are you doing? I read your blog everyday and it makes me soo encouraged.

Lately I haven't been able to chant much due to some or the other reason (even though I try hard to take out time)
and now after almost 4 days of not doing regular gongyo and daimoku, today I am sitting in my office feeling completely lost and low and negative and depressed.
Have been crying sitting at my seat. Like everyones shooting at my weaknesses and trying to let me down.
I know these are the devilish functions working, but I'm not able to gather up the courage to stand up and chant again.

Please share with me anything you like. I've never felt so low in life.
All of a sudden I see a problem everywhere, in everyone, in every aspect of my life be it relationship, work, health ..everything..

Thank you in advance. You are truly an inspiration for many people!!"

Dear friend! 
You are just out of rhythm, and you can so easily get back into it! Here are a few words of encouragement from my heart. First of all, whether you believe it or not we have all been there! We have all been immersed in times where everything around us is darkness and there seems to be no light no matter where you turn. It goes without saying that the sooner you can start doing gongyo twice a day, the sooner things will get better, and I AM SURE that things WILL GET BETTER! You have the ultimate tool for happiness...sometimes it gets very hard to pick it up and use it. I know. We all know! I hope this post helps! 

Here are 16 ideas and tips to pull you through:

There are a few quotes I've embedded in my life: 

"Suffer what there is to suffer and enjoy what there is to enjoy, and continue chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo no matter what happens...then you will experience boundless joy from the law."
From Happiness in This World

Sometimes I interpret this as "It's all right to cry" and I stop resisting feeling bad and just allow myself to cry and release the feelings. 

Another is 
"Winter always turns to Spring"

And it does, doesn't it? Every single year! Sometimes it seems to take longer! But the seasons DO change! 

One of my favorite quotes from Daisaku Ikeda (from the book Learning from the writings. The Hope-Filled Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin. Page 277:

"Seen from the perspective of Buddhism, 
everything has profound meaning
There is no need whatsoever to vacillate between elation and despair at each turn of events. 
There is no such thing as a storm that will 
continue blowing and wreaking havoc without end. 
In the same way, there is no hardship that will continue forever. There are clear days and there are rainy days. If we are swayed by our environment, rejoicing one moment and despairing the next amid ever-changing circumstances, then we will not be able to accomplish a true revolution in our state of life.
The important thing is to always believe in the mystic law and to enter the powerful orbit of faith, practice and study. Entering the orbit - the orbit of human revolution and of  changing our karma - is the way to construct a life of good fortune and happiness that will endure throughout eternity. No matter what happens, we will enjoy the unerring protection of the Gohonzon. Instead of drawing conclusions about the world of faith from a superficial viewpoint, we need to calmly discern the true reality and significance of things and keep pressing forward. 
With the passage of time, it will definitely become clear that everything has unfolded in the best possible manner." 

When I feel despair ~
I write. I write all the sadness out. Sometimes I write to my Mom who, as some of you know, died almost 3 years ago. I just write what I am feeling and it makes me feel better. 

I take plenty of Vitamin D. For me, sometimes I just need more Vitamin D. 
Also drink a LOT of water! 


Encourage someone else! Give a stranger a Nam Myoho Renge Kyo card. Talk to someone you know about past benefits you've had. Doing this will remind you of how you've broken through in the past, and you'll gain more hope for the present. 

Take a bath with salt in it...the more salt the better! 

Clean your Butsudan and altar area. The altar in your home is a reflection of your own life. When you treat it with respect, your environment and all the people in it treat you with respect. If you do not yet have a Gohonzon you can still set up an altar where you chant with offerings to your life...fruit, water, a plant, candles, and incense if you like. 

Call a true friend. And if you don't have one, put that on your chanting list as something you are chanting for...I did this. I have many true friends now, and chanted for friends for quite some time. 

As soon as you can, get back in front of the altar to chant. And don't be afraid to cry in front of the Gohonzon or while you are chanting. heck, for the first couple of years I cried all the time when I chanted. It was as if my life had to release years and years of  emotion. 

Move your body. Go for a walk! Get your energy and your blood flowing! 

Read the Gosho or President Ikeda's writings! When you read these things - read them with your life. Choose a phrase or a passage and chant to realize its deeper meaning with your life. Chant to share the heart of Daisaku Ikeda. He has a heart beating with the fervent drum of Kosen Rufu. WHen your heart shares this reason it will push feelings of despair away! 

Ask someone to chant with you!
Get support! 

12. Change what you are saying to yourself in your mind. If your constant refrain is "Why me? How can this be happening to me again." it is important to just change that thought. Replace it with a more positive thought. You choose that thought. How about "Things are getting better and better for me, I just know it...sometimes it is hard to see, but I am definitely on my way!" or "Don't give up (insert your name) it's always darkest before the dawn!" 

13. Breathe deeply. When we are low we tend to breathe in a really shallow way, and it adds to our depression to breathe this way. Sit down and focus on your breathing. Fill your body with air. Picture that air as a bright light coming down from the top of your head...slowly moving down your body as your grey depressive mood seeps out your fingers and toes. Try this. It really does work! 

14. Smile! Go look at yourself in the mirror and smile. Look in your eyes and smile. Did you know it is almost impossible to be depressed when you are smiling?

15. Look up! That's right, look up. Tony Robbins, the inspirational success coach and mentor says that looking down has been proven to actually bring people down, while looking up has the opposite effect. 

16. When you are chanting - direct your thoughts like this:

"Gohonzon (my life itself!) Now is the time for me to rise from these emotions so I can show actual proof of the power of this law. NOW is the time for me to vanquish these feelings of hopelessness. I will NO LONGER allow these feelings to run my life. NOW I CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY! I am a precious child of the Buddha, I will not stand for these feelings anymore. I vow to win in all aspects of my life. I vow to win!" 

All will be well. All will be well. All will be well. 
You will one day be encouraging others. And you will have sooooo much compassion!! 

I am thinking of you and chanting for you, and for all!