Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Julia's Experience!!!

Dear Chant For Happiness Readers,
There is perhaps no greater happiness than an occasion to honor one's debt of gratitude towards a mentor in Buddhism. A Buddhist mentor
is perhaps the most honorable person in one's life because they give us the means by which we can attain absolute happiness and
develop indestructible life strength that endures from lifetime to lifetime, throughout eternity, the cause of a permanent, positive upward spiral
that makes the heart dance for joy, even when there's no apparent reason to do so.
Jamie is just such such a mentor in my life.
Some of you may remember me from an earlier post here on Chant For Happiness. Jamie Silver Shakubuked me "with her life."
When Jamie first talked to me about the practice we discussed how it worked. Over a decade later  when I saw her again she didn't have to say a thing about Buddhism, because her life spoke for itself. The changes were unmistakable and I realized I had to start chanting right away. 
I received the Gohonzon nearly two years ago now. The benefits of chanting have been mounting for me lately. Most notably, as of this week, I have not only received
clarity about my mission I have been chanting for since 2012 began, but also, concrete actual proof that has literally enthralled even my skeptical husband.

I grew up in a very competitive culture in New York City where the arts were something you did as a child, "lessons" and the like, but were not considered something one should pursue into adulthood. In my case, this was not a source of conscious pain or sadness because I had not yet developed enough of my talent to realize what I was missing.
I became a therapist and a published author, a yoga instructor and healer. This all felt wonderful to me as I was helping other people, which has always been a passion of mine, and
reveling in a life of accomplishment. But deep down inside I was not happy. In fact, not only was I unhappy, I was getting sicker and sicker until finally the stress of my 
life landed me on the "permanently disabled" list.

When I first came down with the acute symptoms of CFS/Fibromyalgia/Chronic Lyme disease, I cracked up. I felt I had committed myself to a worthy spiritual and productive
life--how could it have failed me so miserably? I was sick all over, and I mean all over, and further more, I felt like an epic failure. A healer who gets sick? Who wants to be one of those?

Jamie chanted for me throughout several years of acute illness. I now realize that this, combined with the little spates of Daimoku I had chanted with her
over the years, is what enabled me to begin a sincere transformation of poison into medicine in my life. Before I became a Nichiren Buddhist, music took on something 
of the role of spiritual practice in the vacuum of my life as a chronically disabled person. However, as I have learned, there is no practice like the correct practice of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo , and though music
filled my life with meaning, goals, breakthroughs and eventually a community of others similarly devoted to self perfection in the service of its craft,
music on its own did not bring me happiness and fulillment. In fact, it was something of "nectar in a sieve" by which Aristotle defined hedonism.

As an adult learner, I always felt physically awkward with

my instrument. A severe case of TMJ made singing

physically unpleasant and downright frustrating.

As I became more
proficient, against these odds, and with tons of patient support from my husband, Cliff, who was also my principal music teacher, I found my new role as rhythm guitarist for our duo very challenging. My husband, a powerful improvisational player, would speed up during his solos and I would be left holding on for dear life as the tunes we played became too fast to enjoy, in my case, and I felt the sensuality and nobility of strong music eluded me.

All of this changed forever for me this week and this is why I am writing.  I have had the "big breakthrough" and there is not a shadow of a doubt about it. Music is my Dharma.
I now see even my disability has been part of my mission all along. Let me back up first in order to go forwards...

About ten years ago, towards the end of my tenure as a therapist in private practice I was waiting in line to pay for my car at the Ellis-O'Farrell garage in downtown San Francisco, near Union Square. I was wearing my guitar in a back-pack over a cashmere prayer shawl my husband, Cliff, had bought in India. The woman behind me tapped me on the shoulder and asked me where I was playing. "in my office between clients" was my answer. 

She said, "Oh," then added, "I'm a psychic and I was reading your aura while we were in line and I definitely saw that you are a healer who works through your music, and I wanted very much to come out and hear you sing."
I laughed and thanked her, but told her I only played for myself as a kind of centering between counseling clients. I was no where near comfortable enough with what I was doing to even imagine singing/playing solo (without Cliff) let alone heal anyone by doing so. 

I felt she must have misread me, that it must have been the prayer shawl, but I never forgot the event. And now that I am writing you I am realizing its significance. 

I struggled so much with my singing due to jaw and breathing problems over the years, and hand problems from playing guitar, that this summer, in despair, I told Cliff I was 
just too sick to continue with music. The symptoms of peri-menopause on top of my chronic condition was making the whole thing just too difficult. Shows were leaving me 
drained and I was demoralized by my trouble commanding a strong enough rhythm to make us sound professional.
Cliff tried to argue against me, on my own behalf, ironically, but I would not have any of it. I decided it was just too painful to continue to struggle with so little satisfaction.

I inaugurated my second daimoku log and put in "Clarity about my mission for Kosen Rufu and profound strength" as my chanting goals, along with "faith like flowing water."
Well, just after my declaration to Cliff that I was giving up, inconspicuous benefit finally yielded to very conspicuous benefit, what we commonly call "miracles."
First, my insurance finally consented to cover treatment for my TMJ. And this only happened because a woman in the orthodontist's office who does such things went to war on my behalf. Her name, turns out, is "Charity." And yes, I gave her a NMHRK card!
Around this time I finally fully engraved into my life the Gosho that I first fell in love with when I received the Gohonzon, "A Sword will be useless in the hands of a Coward." Jamie had told me that this sounded to her like the Gosho that would guide me to happiness!
I realized, in tears one night before the Gohonzon that I wanted more than anything to sing beautifully! And with pleasure. And to feel myself developing dynamically as a musician. I began to chant lustily, passionately, as I never had before for anything. I let myself sob when necessary as I unblocked my heart from my true desire. My district leader here in Ukiah had told me "Every tear you cry in front of the Gohonzon will become a diamond in your life." This gave me the permission and the faith I needed to feel my feelings while praying, without any fear that I would be wallowing in my misery. And yes, the tears, each time, gave way to exalted states of real joy, even as they were still drying on my cheeks.

I began chanting for two hours a day. Sure enough, though he could make me no guarantee up front, my orthodontist (who turns out to be one of the nation's experts in resolving TMJ) has been more effective than I could have dreamed in changing not only my bite, but in releasing me from untold amounts of tension in my neck and shoulders, and all the way down my spine.

I wear my splint 14 hours a day, and even enjoy singing with it because it gives me incentive to open up my mouth more and more. 

This was just the tip of the iceberg. Soon miracles and benefits began pouring in from all sides.

Next, the most amazing thing of all. 

I began dancing for joy. 

In every sense of the words. A pattern called a paradiddle that drummers use began insinuating itself into my hands and I began to be able to tap it out for longer and longer periods without messing up. I found myself doing it on the steering wheel of my car. And soon, on my legs, while I was chanting. To my surprise, the paradiddle matched
the interlocking cycles of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, which is six beats, and comes out perfectly in time with the drumming pattern every second daimoku. Wow, what a feeling!

Soon I was on the internet listening to my favorite trad music jam band called "Donna the Buffalo" and drumming to the polyrhythmic beat of my favorite tunes. Then, and this is what gives me joy-goose-bumps even to write it, I began drumming (with shakers) on my hips, while dancing to the tunes, and as of last night, drumming, dancing, and SINGING... ALL at the SAME TIME!

Woooooohoooo. This is what I call "Dancing for Joy!" It's amazing. I am dancing to express the joy I feel at healing to this degree, and the dancing itself fires up deep stores of joy in my body. It feels wonderful! I began to feel much healthier too. How could I not? 

Being this happy makes a person well. It's probably the only thing that really does. Happiness, that is. 

I have LOVED my last two performances. 
Completely different than EVERYTHING that has come before. Full of mystery and present moment satisfaction. Hearing my own voice with pleasure and having a talent scout come up to me and telling me I have "a golden voice, one like the honey that .... that...drips" 

I kid you not. It truly happened that way.

I called Jamie last night and shared excitedly about what has happened here. I asked her if I could share it with all of you. She said, yes, and had even recently downloaded a wonderful photo of me singing with Cliff that someone posted just around the time all of this started happening for me.
Dance for joy!
May you all find the profound strength within your life to chant for your true mission. Its worth the wait. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.

Stay Tuned

Today, the day after the full moon. Remember the cry of your soul remember what you really want...and remember those who need our prayers. We are chanting for the East Coast...we are chanting for a world safe for everyone. We are chanting for a world without suffering.

Keep zeroing in on what you really want and do not give up hope, keep chanting no matter what. If I can be happy and free from the kind of longing that causes actual physical pain...you can achieve all of your dreams too. I have chanted to change in any way possible to be happy. I have engraved Daisaku Ikeda's heart for world peace and for the happiness of each person into my heart. Today study his words. Today chant. Today advance.

Later today I will post an experience that makes your heart sing from one of my closerst Buddhist friends! Stay tuned!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Human Revolution ~ Happiness

To be STRONG~  
that is the key to happiness. 

Thank you Daisaku Ikeda. These are the wisest words. 

If you are suffering in any way...please chat for strength with all of your heart. 

We are chanting for you all on the East Coast. 
Please send word - we would all love to hear from you! 

Chanting for the Protection of the Shoten Zenjin

If you have been anywhere near a source of news in the last few days you know that a huge storm, a SuperStorm (as they are calling it) is on it's way to the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. 

There was an excellent article in the New York TImes this morning about all the transportation, schools, businesses being shut down across a wide area in the east. They say power might be out for as long as ten days. 

I was in San Francisco in 1989 when the earthquake struck. I was totally protected. At the time I was in escrow on my house. And my apartment, house and place of business were all on hills. I found out that hills were bedrock, low lying lands liquified and moved. But hills were solid. I remember it as the only time that neighbors actually talked to each other. Sometimes things like this bring out the best in people. But no one really chooses them to happen. I am chanting for everyone on the east coast. 

I am concentrating my prayers on summoning the Shoten Zenjin to bring protection of this area. Do you remember the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan? We all got together and chanted for 12 hours for the people of Japan. I envisioned protective forces coming from all points in the universe to the power plant. It felt so good to chant so strongly. 

Today I wish I could gather with others and chant all day, but things are pretty normal here in Chicago. They say that we will feel the effects of the storm somewhat, but really nothing out of the ordinary.  

I am about to start chanting this morning. Please join me in chanting for the Shoten Zenjin (protective forces within all life) to protect the people of the Eastern Seaboard...and all of the East Coast of America. 

The Shoten Zenjin are forces within all of life, forces WITHIN our lives that serve to protect us. I am chanting to focus them in the area they are most needed. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Who or What are we Chanting to?

A wise friend of mine once asked me this...
Who or what am I chanting to?

I told him this:

When you chant, you are chanting to the ALL, your highest self, the universe, the law that exists within your own life and within all of life...you are accessing your OWN Buddhahood.

You don't have to be reborn lifetime after lifetime to realize your Buddhahood. Chanting right now brings it right out of your own life!

That may sound like gobledygook to you, and that's ok.
Chanting is experiential...you don't know until you try!
It's hard to explain. The only way to really feel it is to chant!

See for yourself.

My friend Amos started chanting to prove to his wife that she was wasting her time chanting.
He chanted to PROVE it didn't work.
40 years later he is still chanting! And he's one of the most inspiring people I know!
It doesn't matter if you "believe it".
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is a law.
It doesn't have opinions.
Remember it means "I fuse my life with the mystic (unfathomable) law of cause and effect sutra (or through sound vibration)."
Give yourself a number of days to try it...100 is good, and chant every morning and evening, and look up your city in the SGI website (the link is on this blog) and go to a meetings...then write me and let me know what happens!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Happy Saturday! Want to Chant 2 hours with us today?

Yayyy Saturday is here! 

Today, October 27th, I will have a group of people here chanting from 11am-1pm Chicago (Central) time. Please join us from wherever you are! It is a great day to chant. 

What are we doing when we chant? We are tapping into the life force of the entire universe and directing our prayers to our own life...which IS the life of the universe. We don't have to beg or ask for favors. We are not asking something OUTSIDE of ourselves to help us with anything. No. We are tapping into the rhythm that runs through every cell of every thing and every person everywhere. We are tapping into the greater connectedness of everything. THat is why your prayers are so effective. That is why you can chant for someone across the world and see the effect. 

One time many years ago, I saw a picture of a boy who had been burned in one of our many wars. All you could see was his angelic face and a woman hovering above his head holding it and talking to him. I cut this out of the newspaper and put it up by my altar. Something about that picture just moved me to action. I chanted for that little boy. I chanted for his healing and an end to all war and for the woman with him. Later, someone was at my house and saw the picture. She told me his story had continued with him being airlifted into Canada for advanced burn treatment. Our prayers work...whether we see the result that day or not. 

And our prayers build up over time. There are two types of benefit, conspicuous and inconspicuous. Of course you see conspicuous right away. But inconspicuous goes deep in your life and is there for when you really need it...like stopping that car accident from happening, or a lvele of well being just growing and growing in your life. 

Last week was a long week for me and I'm happy to have time to tidy my apartment (and CAR), have a few hours to chant with some others and just be grateful to be a live and healthy and happy. Chicago has wildly fluctuating temperatures and in this week we've had almost a 40 degree drop in temps. People are sick all over. So far I am still crossing my fingers and feel fine. I take a lot of vitamin D, a multivitamin and drink a lot of water. I also exercise at least 5 times a week. I just like the way it improves my spirits and helps get rid of that feeling that I am going to gain the wright back. (For those of you new to this blog I've lost 50 pounds permanently) This was absolutely something I tried to do all my life, and accomplished within the past few years. I carry around my before and after pictures and people don't recognize me from the picture. 

Today in my chanting I am going to focus on my career, the members of my district, my family and YOU, the readers of this blog. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Request for Experiences

You can use your experience to inspire others. 
I am looking for written experiences. 

Here's what I would like:

Tell us what was happening before the experience...and what your challenge was. 
Tell us what guidance you used, and what quotes inspired you and how you chanted. 
Tell us what happened. 

Pictures are always a plus. 

My email is chantforhappiness.com

The process of writing an experience is good for your life. You can present your experience at an SGI meeting and have me publish it here. Your benefits will multiply!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Life is Eternal...John Denver and Me

This is a picture of my first meeting with John Denver, singer, environmental enthusiast and Hunger Project founder. Meeting him was one of my first benefits from chanting. It was in 1985 right after I began chanting. I was giving him a quartz crystal. I began listening to his music when I was young, and his music sustained me through many hard times. He sang uplifting songs about the interconnectedness of life...he was a Buddhist without even knowing it. 
Because of him I learned to play guitar, I did the est training, met my husband and moved to San Francisco. Every year I'd see him sing. One year I realized he was going through a down period. I wrote him a letter about my appreciation for him, and told him about chanting. And I chanted for him every day. I met him one more time...and he seemed not so good. The people accompanying him were not the type of people I like to have around me. I kept chanting for him. 

In 1997 I was in Pacific Grove with my two sons visiting a friend. I was right on the sand, very close to him, when his plane went into the water and he died. I chanted for his future...for all his dreams to come to fruition...for him to accomplish all his goals in his eternal life. And that night...as I was at the ocean playing and singing for him, I was filmed and photographed. I ended up singing for John Denver on the evening news as they announced his death. I sang for John Denver. And my picture was taken and went out on the AP wires. My boys and I were in color on the cover of the Denver Post newspaper, and many other places. Here's that picture:
So here I am singing for John Denver with my full and open heart. My prayers reached his life. Mystical, mystical, mystical. And I chant for him every day. There is a generation of people who don't know his music. Our story is not over....may never, ever be over....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Living as a Buddhist - What does this mean?

First of all, living as a Buddhist is living a life of action. Some people think of Buddhists as sitting on a high mountain top somewhere ~ contemplating the wonders of the universe, and that's not an accurate depiction as a modern-day SGI Buddhist. 

Yes, SGI Buddhists are vastly different than any other kind of Buddhist. 

Here I will just say briefly that SGI Buddhists do not pray to Buddha as a substitute for God, and do not believe that happiness exists in some far off place that can only be attained by quieting the mind so completely that it is devoid of any desires. 

NO! SGI Buddhist USE their desires as fuel for happiness, just as they use their problems as fuel for happiness. We realize our fundamental challenge in life is to overcome our notion that we are not Buddhas. We live our lives to keep awakening the knowledge, keep shedding light on...keep en-lighten-ing the very fact that we ARE the universe and we ARE the power in our lives. 

The illusion many people on earth have is of their own weakness. SGI Buddhists serve as bright lights to illuminate their own, and everyone else's power. This is done by realizing our negativity is the MAIN BARRIER we need to confront and conquer. 

When we get negative, the important thing is to FACE IT and chant to rid our lives of it. And we do this by chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. 

We also see our lives as part of the great web of life. As Daisaku Ikeda puts it:

The misfortune of others is our misfortune. Our happiness is the happiness of others. To see ourselves in others and feel an inner oneness and sense of unity with them represents a fundamental revolution in the way we view and live our lives. Therefore, discriminating against another person is the same as discriminating against oneself. When we hurt another, we are hurting ourselves. And when we respect others, we respect and elevate our own lives as well." - Daisaku Ikeda

Each day I awaken and sit in front of my life...my altar...my very own heart that is represented in the scroll that Nichiren Daishonin inscribed called the Gohonzon. I face it and chant for one hour. Some  people chant for less time...others for more. And some days I chant longer, other days for shorter amounts. 

In that time I connect with the life flow that is within me. I chant in appreciation, I chant with desire, I chant for other people. I chant for my country, the world, and for anything that is on my mind. I chant to realize my own Buddhahood and to expand the life that is within me so that my light (the light of us all, the light of the universe ) can glow stronger and stronger through me and that those who are still suffering can have hope. 

Suffering is mainly a lack of hope, and lack of strength. 

Suffering is a feeling, a fear, a dread and a lack of light and life and warmth. 

And if I can raise from the depths of the deep, deep longing without hope that I was in most of my life, well, so can anyone else. Anyone who chants these words can be happy. 

Happiness is something we build from inside our lives. It is totally unattached to what is happening in our lives. I know this is hard to believe at time, and at other times it makes perfect sense. I know sometimes we lose a loved one to death, and we think we will never be the same. I know that the people I have loved who have died are here with me everyday. I talk to them, they converse with me, and I'm not crazy. 

Life is eternal. My Mom is right here. 

So is my friend Danny, and lately I am really in sync with john Denver. It has been 15 years since he died and I will write about what happened between the two of us on this blog soon. It is a fascinating story of how Nam Myoho Renge Kyo reaches into the depths of life, whether we see it THIS MOMENT or not. 

Today chant to praise your life and to wipe away any thoughts of doubt in your life. Doubt is what holds us back. In SGI Buddhism faith is a muscle, faith is a verb. It is up to you to strengthen it....and YOU CAN DO IT! 

Chant to strengthen your faith. Chant to have the kind of benefit that blows you away! Chant for those you love and those your really don't love and you can watch your life grow in amazing ways. Compassion is also like a muscle. You grow your compassion and you grow your own ability to revel in the beauty all around you...including the beauty of your very own soul. 

Happy Tuesday. Happy Chanting. Happy Life my dear friends!!! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

About Setting Deadlines for Results

I received a note from a reader about deadlines. They were wondering what to do when the deadline has passed, but the result has not happened. What does this mean...and what do you do next?

Kate is my guest blogger for this question:

We set deadlines to motivate OURSELVES into action. A deadline is not for the universe to respond to us. We chant. We take action. The deadline comes. We either win or we don't. If we don't get the result by the deadline we pick ourselves right up again and redetermine. The goal is to never be defeated. Sensei always says "To win in life is to never be defeated." That does not mean that we will never fail. It's our spirit that matters. The battle we fight is not with the universe. It's with our inner demons...the ones that say things like "obviously chanting doesn't work because I did not get my dream by my deadline...or...maybe I should have a different goal...maybe I wasn't MEANT to have that thing!....or what am I doing wrong? Maybe I wasn't chanting the RIGHT way!" It is at that juncture that we must recognize the opportunity to deepen our faith and our understanding of the profundity of Buddhism. ANYTHING that DRAINS OUR LIFE FORCE is the negative function. Any inner voice that causes us doubt and hopelessness IS the negative function. Once we decide we will win no matter what ~ we need only to continue. We've already won. The battle is with the negative function within. 
Ultimately, deadlines are irrelevant. Set them if you need them to motivate yourself. But decide from the onset that you will win no matter what. And hold YOURSELF accountable. Not the universe. If it is a crucial moment and you are in a dire predicament, financially, or health-wise, it is time to DEMAND the protection of the Shoten Zenjin. No prayer of a votary of the Lotus Sutra will go unanswered. If your prayer is going unanswered find out what it means to be a votary of the Lotus Sutra. STUDY. And as you are chanting DEMAND the result that you want through your prayer. Awaken to your mission and realize that all your suffering is your opportunity to encourage other people. That is what is meant by turning Karma into Mission."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Determination for Financial Fortune - a Power Prayer for you...

Here is a power prayer you might want to use. 
It is general, if you wish you can make it more specific ~

When you are chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo have this determination in your head:

"I am determined to never again worry about Money! I am determined to be financially free and financially savvy. I am very comfortable with my money and always have enough to be able to do whatever I want to do...whenever I want to do it! I have enough money to live the life I want to live, to travel, to give gifts, to donate and to plan for the future. I feel secure and happy and know I always have enough money. I am receiving all I ever need all the time. My foundation is solid and I am secure. Every day I learn more about money and enjoy the process. I do wonderful work and am  wonderfully rewarded!" 

Anything is POSSIBLE!

Hello! Good Morning! 

It's my 27th Gohonzon Birthday!! 

Today I enter my 28th year of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. 

I am more determined than ever not to limit my life...to go for my dreams and to appreciate each moment along the way. 

The sun is shining and I am sitting down to send Daimoku to YOU to the world, the universe, my country, my family and friends. We are all in this life together for a reason. 

I keep thinking about this month's Gosho. It says that we have all been related as family...literally every person on earth has been a family member of ours, and we all owe EVERYONE a debt of gratitude. Isn't that a beautiful way of looking at life? Yes. I know why I always chant for those in need and do what I can to help them. I DO owe them a debt of gratitude. And I will spend the rest of my life fulfilling the vow for Kosen Rufu...working to share Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and love and excitement and hope and gratitude with as many people as I possibly can. 

Thank you for reading my blog and being here with me! Thank you for passing it on to your friends and fellow members! 

Please remember not to limit your life. We can't always figure out exactly where our future and our happiness will lie...but if we continue chanting and focusing on what we want, we are gradually getting closer and closer to it. And for me, appreciating HERE, just as much as WHERE I WANT TO GO is one of the major reasons I greet each day with a smile and no longer feel the ache of constant hunger and longing in my gut. I have truly changed that aspect of my life...and it is something I thought I would have to live with for life. It was so close to me that I didn't even realize it was changeable. I thought those feelings of hunger and longing were who I was, not an aspect of my life. Through this incredible practice I have changed that fundamental tendency forever...and ridden my life of the deepest pits of sadness forever. Anything is possible through chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. 

Please have faith in your own power to tap the deepest resources of life itself through your prayer! 
Let me hear from you!
Enjoy your sweet daimoku!

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Guest Blogger today and a GREAT QUOTE

Today I am posting an email from a reader. It came at the perfect time and says the perfect thing so I hope you will enjoy it! I have been busy reaping the benefits of my hours of chanting last weekend, and been happily running from morning until late at night for the past few days! 

The quote below is a prescription for how ALL of us can live our lives secure in the knowledge that every Daimoku is hitting every mark...every time! Let's all SUMMON our faith more than ever and release all our doubts!!!

Here is our guest blogger's encouragement:

 I am feeling very inspired, the SGI meeting I went to was about courage and faith.  Really it's in times where we feel that we cannot go on where we feel like giving up, that's when we call forward our courage and faith to go on. When we are chanting it is not about thinking through our problems how will this work out, but just deciding  how we want things to be and letting go enjoying our daimoku and allowing the buddha nature within us to come forth. Our strategizing in front of the Gohonzon, blocks the way for our innate wisdom to shine through.  I know that you have said this all before and thank you!  I would like to share a quote from President Ikeda's lectures on The One Essential Phrase, one that has touched me deeply and one which I will use to continue on my daimoku campaign:
Daimoku is like light. As the Daishonin says, "A candle can light up a place that has been dark for billions of years." Similarly, the moment we offer prayers based on daimoku, the darkness in our lives vanishes. This is the principle of the simultaneity of cause and effect. At that very instant, in the depths of our lives our prayer has been answered.
The inherent cause (nyo ze in) of a deep prayer simultaneously produces a latent effect (nyo ze ka). While it takes time for this effect to become manifest, in the depths of our lives our prayers are immediately realized. So at that moment light shines forth. The lotus flower (renge), in blooming and seeding at the same time, illustrates this principle of simultaneity of cause and effect.
Therefore, it is important that we offer prayers with great confidence. The powers of the Buddha and the Law are activated in direct proportion to the strength of our faith and practice. Strong faith is like a high voltage-it turns on a brilliant light in our lives.
Prayers are invisible, but if we pray steadfastly they will definitely effect clear results in our lives and surroundings in time. This is the principle of the true entity of all phenomena. Faith means having confidence in this invisible realm. Those who impatiently pursue only visible gains, who put on airs, or who are caught up in vanity and formalism will definitely become deadlocked.
People who base themselves on prayer are sincere. Prayer cleanses and expands the heart, and instills character.
Daimoku is also like fire. When you burn the firewood of earthly desires, then the fire of happiness-that is, of enlightenment-burns brightly. Sufferings thus become the raw material for constructing happiness. For someone who does not have faith in the Mystic Law, sufferings may be only sufferings. But for a person with strong faith, sufferings function to enable him or her to become happier still.
Faith is inextinguishable hope. The practice of faith is a struggle to realize our desires. And the basis of this practice is prayer. Through prayer, hope turns into confidence. This spirit of confidence unfolds in 3,000 ways, finally resulting in the attainment of our hopes. Therefore, we must never give up.
Even places that have been shrouded in darkness for billions of years can be illuminated. Even a stone from the bottom of a river can be used to produce fire. Our present sufferings, no matter how dark, have certainly not continued for billions of years-nor will they linger forever. The sun will definitely rise. In fact, its ascent has already begun.
To put yourself down is to denigrate the world of Buddhahood in your life. It is tantamount to slandering the Gohonzon. The same is true of setting your mind that absolutely nothing can be done about some particular problem or suffering.
Also, we must not decide in advance that a particular person or a particular area is a lost cause. It is precisely when faced with challenging circumstances that we need to pray. The key is to offer concrete prayers and take action-until results are produced.
Prayers based on the Mystic Law are not abstract. They are a concrete reality in our lives. To offer prayers is to conduct a dialogue, an exchange, with the universe. When we pray, we embrace the universe with our lives, our determination. Prayer is a struggle to expand our lives.
So prayer is not a feeble consolation; it is a powerful, unyielding conviction. And prayer must become manifest in action. To put it another way, if our prayers are in earnest, they will definitely give rise to action.
Thank you for your wonderful contributions! You make my day receiving your daily blogs, I love them and will tell more people about them.

And thank YOU friend for sending this incredible quote on this wonderful day!!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Great Quote for you!

The human spirit is as expansive as the cosmos. 
This is why it is so tragic to belittle yourself or to question your worth. 
No matter what happens, 
continue to push back the boundaries of your inner life. 
The confidence to prevail over any problem, 
the strength to overcome adversity and unbounded hope
—all reside within you.

Daisaku Ikeda

Your Comments? 

Beautiful Fall Here in the Midwest!

What is it about fall...such a wonderful feeling is fall...time of change...time of remembering. I have been spending time in my lovely arboretum. It's a wonderful park-like area with roads and paths. There's a part of the Arboretum that turns all golden..like this:

And there is gold on the ground and gold in the trees...so lovely...

I have been reading and re-reading the Gosho from the October Living Buddhism magazine about repaying ones debts of gratitude. "The Four Virtues and the Four Debts of Gratitude". 

Do you know it says that all of us beings...ALL of us beings, have lived so many times that we have all been related to each other at one time or another? I think I have always known this, and it is why I write this blog...to reach out to all of my family members...YOU.. and all of the future readers of this blog. 

I am chanting for the growth of this blog...that it reach more and more and more people.... not because I want fame or fortune...just because I want to reach all who are suffering, or longing for the secret to happiness to come to them. 

You and I, and all those who chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo share a great secret. We KNOW that the rhythm of the universe is within US...and accessible to us. 

We can strengthen our lives at every moment through chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, and raise the vibrational level of our lives, and everyone on the planet...and the entire universe through our chanting. We can fulfill our dreams and live lives of happiness, not fearing death...not fearing ANYTHING. All humans long for this.  

It is our honor and birthright to share it with ALL. It is our way of repaying our debt of gratitude to all living beings. 

Thank you for joining me and all of us in this mission!

Thank you so much for attaching the link to this blog to your facebook pages, and your emails. Thank you so much for joining with me to help all people become happy. 

Becoming happy, and spreading happiness is the greatest joy. 

I have decided to write my book along with Julia, my incredible friend in Ukiah California. She is a published author, a therapist, and has an incredible grasp of this practice. We are both chanting for the fulfillment of our shared dream of Kosen Rufu through each person's happiness. She has a unique voice that is a bit different from mine...more scholarly. Our goal is to reach everyone in their own way and in their own place. 

Here is some wonderful guidance from President Ikeda sent through a new friend in the UK:

The way to practise is to have the attitude while we are chanting that we are in no way different or separate from the eternal Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, or the Buddhas who are enlightened to that Law. The key is to praise one’s inherent Buddhahood and then go out into the world and practise as a bodhisattva, treasuring others, encouraging them to experience their Buddhahood too.

This is a gradual process. When we practise to the Gohonzon, Nichiren Daishonin said we are simultaneously in the state of Buddhahood or enlightenment, but we cannot easily discern that life condition with our minds; therefore we do not always act accordingly. However, through our constant relationship with the Gohonzon, we gradually challenge and overcome the influence of negativity arising from our karma. As we open up our hearts we can begin to experience all those qualities of Buddhahood working naturally and vibrantly inside us and affecting everything that we think and say and do.
President Ikeda has recently described the process as this: ‘When we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo while practising for ourselves and others, with the Gohonzon of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo manifested by the Buddha as our clear mirror, and with deep confidence in the Gohonzon existing in our own lives, Myoho-renge-kyo within us resonates with the Myoho-renge-kyo outside us, and the world of Buddhahood emerges within us.’ [World of Nichiren Daishonin's Writings Part 12].

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wonderful Benefit! A Poem from my son Ben

My wonderful son is about to turn twenty...and is going through a transformation in how he sees his life...and how he sees his place in life. I've posted about my sons before...Aaron and Ben. I have adored every moment of being their mother. I have loved playing with them, chanting with them, watching them run, and encouraging them with all my heart. I raised my sons as Buddhists...teaching them to chant for everything...to end bad dreams, to solve relationship problems, to stop bullies. We have chanted together since they were babies. I believe in them...I believe in their happiness and their hearts! Here is Ben's heartfelt poem he gave to me on last week in honor of my birthday in September. Oh thank you Ben!!

Mother Oh Mother

I've been wandering around 
Wasting my youth in a stupor
A sheet of incomplete understanding was pulled over my eyes
Only to disguise
What I could not see

Always alone and always right
I searched and searched for people to help legitimize
My feelings of knowing everything
Though I could not see, this was my irrational belief 

I judged and I judged
And I judged the judgers who judged me
I ignored those loving souls
By thinking they were more people that I had to beat

I ignored those around me 
Who loved me 
Despite me closing them off
And mother oh mother I ignored you most of all

I thought I was so separate
In a different world that was untouchable
But now that our worlds have collided I see I am no different at all
Just another soul, searching, sometimes loitering
I thought I had to figure everything out myself

Mother oh mother 
You've always been so warm
You welcomed me to this world 
To you I was a whole world in your arms

You've understood my journey from the very beginning
You created a self-fulfilling prophecy inside of me

You held me so tight that the world was alright
You told me you always knew that I was going to be fine

That despite my mind,
I know I will always have your love

Despite my foolishness you know I am somewhere
Maybe too far away and ignorant at the moment
But you stuck around and waited patiently guiding me from above 
Swooping and watching and loving like a dove

You fed me and clothed me, and made sure I was healthy
In a time where I was too defiant to realize you were always showing your love for me

I thought I was a bad child
But you were too smart
You helped me discover 
That I had a great big heart

You instilled in me a love
As selflessly as anyone can do anything
You opened my eyes to the amazing world of spiritualism

All in all when I look back I picture
That I was a little pup and you were so tender
And that little pup grew an ego, 
Some self-righteousness, insecurities and an agenda,

But when he finally yawned and stretched out his paws,
He awoke to this world sure of nothing but your love.
Mother, oh mother I love you with all my heart
I could cry at how beautiful a person you are.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Have a Powerful Week!

I chanted a LOT this weekend...

I probably chanted 5 or 6 hours all told. On Saturday morning I chanted about two hours but I was distracted by the phone, texts and my own mind. I really battled to stay connected to my prayer, and I know I had an impact, but it was not a continuous flow of chanting. I was chanting for my son and his college Cross Country race. 

It turns out he got a cramp in the race and barely finished, but talking to him later ~ his life-condition was sky high. He had actually had a great day and didn't feel defeated at all!  See, that's one of the key points of the Buddhism of the SUN...How we deal with and react to what life presents. 

We wish we could control everything sometimes. But we really can't....at least not every minute of every day. Right? So what do we do? How do we live those precious minutes in the midst of our disappointment? On Saturday night I thought I was going to have something lined up with someone...and when it fell through what did I do? I ran across the pond (well, not literally!) and walked on the treadmill for almost an hour listening to uplifting music and I felt GREAT! 

Chanting gives you the High Life Condition to soar in life like an eagle - NO MATTER WHAT! And it gives you the tools to make your dreams come true...but we HAVE to persevere because some of those dreams take longer than others! 

I knew my Daimoku had been distracted on Saturday morning, so I made a determination to chant for three hours on Sunday morning...a SOLID three hours with no phone and no distractions. I sent an email to my District and three wonderful people came to chant the last hour with me. It wasn't easy, but I have so much to chant about and such determinations to fulfill. 

I feel absolutely great. I am making steady progress in all areas of my life. I am chanting for benefits to share with YOU to inspire YOU. And every day I see benefits...I am fearless...I am happy.  For various reasons I can't share every single one of them with you, but I'll share as many as I can. 

Here is one benefit. You know how I love it when you write your thoughts and share your inspiration with me, right? 
This morning I got an email from a new friend in the UK, and I'll share it with you now:

"Thank you for your encouragement, I am fighting the Glums today and your post made me look at the quote I have attached to my computer to remind me to just keep chanting.  
How big are my problems, really?  I am not exiled in a hut in the middle of a graveyard in the depths of winter, yet his faith made it a caribbean holiday to him.... (she is talking about Nichiren Daishonin,  who first chanted Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, inscribed the Gohonzon and started this modern practice of Buddhism that had been predicted by Shakyamuni Buddha - He was exiled to a hut on Sado island and wrote some of his most important letters (Gosho) from there, declaring he was "the happiest man in all of Japan". 

The quote is:
" Do not have doubts simply because heaven does not lend you protection.  Do not be discouraged because you do not enjoy an easy and secure existance in this life...Foolish men are likely to forget the promises they have made when the crucial moment comes." 
And Pres Ikeda states our promise was appear as a bodhisattva of the earth and accomplish kosen-rufu.  Best get to work then."

THANK YOU friend in the UK! Thanks for reminding us all that we made a vow to return during this dark age and that the problems we face are the EXACT ones we need to change our karma for our entire families and all of humanity. We ALL have such a noble mission. 

Please remember that whatever YOU are facing...YOU are the one chanting and opening the door to happiness for the millions of people waiting. You are so important. You are a Buddha...THE Buddha, as are we all. Let's make it a powerful week! We can change anything!