Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Heart Full of Gratitude Towards all Humanity

I am so grateful for my Gakkai family...for my Gakkai family here in Chicago, throughout California and for all of you readers who are my Gakkai family too. Many are celebrating holidays at this time of year. I hope you are warm and happy end reveling in friendships and family. 

According to Nichiren Buddhism we really are family. 

In the study guide for the Essentials Exam part three there is an essay on the Gosho "The Four Virtues and the Four Debts of Gratitude." On page 31, Daisaku Ikeda writes about the debt that each one of has for all of humankind and why:

"The third is the debt of gratitude to all living beings. Life is eternal, extending through the three existences of past, present and future; the sutras teach that we have been born in the world after having undergone the cycle of birth and death infinite times. From that point of view, at one time or another in the past, all men have been our father and all women have been our mothers  (See the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin - 2, 637). Buddhism sees us all as related and owing debts of gratitude to one another.

Friday, March 29, 2013

You are the Buddha ~ A quote from Daisaku Ikeda

A Buddha is definitely not an absolute being living a 

static existence. 

A Buddha shares the sufferings of others 

and, sensing the condition of the time,

earnestly ponders how to transform that condition. 

A Buddha vows to struggle 

in order to lead the people and the age to 


The strength of this vow 

causes the 

Buddha's enlightenment to

mature into rich wisdom.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

One Person Can Change the World

This month is almost over, and many people in America are involved in taking the essentials exam. I've been studying and helping others study. Studying together is one of my favorite Buddhist activities. 

As I was posting this beautiful picture, which makes me think that Spring will finally be here at some point, I was taking a look at our study material. Those of us who have been practicing for a while know this quote well, and I love hearing it over and over and deepening my understanding of it:

President Ikeda States:

"A great human revolution 

in just a single individual 
will help achieve a change 
in the destiny of a nation 
and further, 
will enable a change 
in the destiny of all humankind."

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Great Soka Gakkai Meetings

We had the best Soka Gakkai Meeting last night at my house.  It was going to be a one hour tozo, but since we had three guests we only chanted half an hour. It was such beautiful chanting. It felt so good. After we finished I turned to everyone and explained why we do Gongyo: 

I said, "How did that feel? That was an experience of you being the Buddha. When we chant these words we are reciting the Lotus Sutra, the words of the Buddha. We are experiencing life as a Buddha. That means we are experiencing being the infinite source and power of the universe. Doing Gongyo and Daimoku is our moment to elevate our lives into Buddhahood. We do it twice a day because sometimes we forget!" And everyone laughed. 

Hope is Life's Treasure

"Hope Is Life's Treasure"

Hope is
life's treasure.

who have hope
are always happy.

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

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

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Inspiring Encouragement for Illness

For any of you who are facing illness - this should raise your spirits! 
The person who originally compiled these quotes 
was able to use this practice and modern medicine 
to overcome breast cancer completely. 
Please feel free to forward a link to this blogpost 
to anyone who is suffering from illness. 

From President Ikeda's Lecture series "The Hope-filled Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin: On Prolonging One's Life Span - Faith for Leading a Long and healthy Life" in the July-August 08 Living Buddhism. (Thank you to my friend Melissa Bradford for compiling these great quotes!)

“Suffering from illness is a means by which you can eradicate your negative karma.”  
President Toda, as quoted by President Ikeda. - pg 70 

“To see illness as an opportunity to transform our karma – this strong spirit and resolve can break through all obstacles and devilish functions and open wide the path to happiness.  Like a rocket blasting out of the earth’s atmosphere, the passionate conviction of faith that comes from viewing illness as an opportunity to transform our karma can become a powerful engine propelling us forward not only in this existence but throughout eternity, enabling us to freely savor everlasting happiness.”  Pg 74

Power Prayer for Today's Full Moon

Today's Moonrise over the Lake, 
posted by my friend Mojo in Louisiana.

March 27th Daily Guidance from Daisaku Ikeda from For Today and Tomorrow:

"While controlling your mind, 
which is at once both extremely subtle 
and solemnly profound, 
you should strive to elevate your faith 
with freshness and vigor. 
When you do so, 
both your life and your surroundings 
will open wide before you 
and every action you take 
will become a source of benefit. 
Understanding the subtle workings of one's mind 
is the key to faith 
and attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime."

And how do we do this? How do we understand the subtle workings of our mind? 
We are so fortunate to have discovered the key of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. We can chant to understand the subtle workings of our mind. We can chant to see our minds in action. We can chant for the realizations that will keep leading us to victory in our lives, and enable us to help others become happy right alongside us. These prayers alone refresh our faith.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tips for Beginning Chanting ~

(Periodically I post this passage about chanting for the first time. If you're new to the practice I welcome you with open arms. If you're strengthening your own practice I congratulate you, and if you are forwarding the post to someone who wants to try chanting, that is awesome.) 

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 fresh 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. So don't worry about your current desires. Chanting is progressive, both you and your desires will evolve. I know people who began a very rewarding practice chanting for things others might consider wrong or strange. One of my friends chanted for a month to prove to his wife that this practice doesn't work. More than 40 years later he is still practicing. In Nichiren Buddhism your desires ARE enlightenment. It is okay to desire whatever you desire, whether it's money, the happiness of someone else, a relationship, a job, or peace of mind and contentment.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Turn "Why me? to "YES ME!"

Each one of us is a Boddhisatva of the earth. We are the ones here on earth proving the power of the law. 

We can take each one of our challenges and realize that it is our mission, our sacred beautiful mission to change our karma. Because we are interconnected with all of life (dependent origination), whenever we break through, we break through for our families, friends, for the web of life itself. 

When we can take our problems and elevate them to being our mission we have more power and strength. 

We can turn our lives from  "Why me? to YES ME!" and use or faith, and power in our daimoku to open the door through which many will flow after us. 

We are Boddhisatvas of the earth or we would not be chanting Daimoku. How lucky we are! But the minute we start saying "Why me?" and feeling sorry for ourselves we erode our strength and our life force drains our lives.

The next time you are wondering "Why me?" turn it into a "YES ME!" Embrace your challenges. You would not have them if you couldn't change them. 

In the February 15th World Tribune there was a message to the women and young women from SGI Honorary Women's Leader Kaneko Ikeda called "Precious Flowers Blooming in the Garden of Kosen Rufu." 

Kaneko Ikeda states: 

"Times of suffering are times when our faith is put to the test. Our Buddhist practice enables us to face such difficult and painful times with wisdom and fortitude and, supported by the warm encouragement of our fellow members, to move in a positive direction, a direction of hope and fresh growth. 

In his writings, the Daishonin teaches that we can lessen our karmic retribution through our efforts in faith to spread the Mystic Law. It can be said, therefore, that whatever daunting hardships and karmic trials may befall us, they appear precisely because we have the power to transform them. 

From the perpective of Buddhism, everything that happens in our life has a profound meaning. Based on the law of cause and effect, the greater the efforts we make for kosen-rufu, the greater our future happiness. This is something that will become clearly apparent when we look back later." 

(Page C, February 15th World Tribune") 

So today, see if you can turn every "Why me?" Into a "YES ME!" and appreciate and embrace your karma and unique challenges. Make a firm determination that you CAN change anything in your life, and lead others to happiness through your example. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Appreciation Power Prayer

I am on a roll of chanting in Appreciation. 

Power Prayer of Appreciation:

Thank you life! I appreciate all the wonderful people, opportunities, money, love, fun, and treasured moments that are flowing into my life right now. I feel every cell in my body vibrating and radiating happiness. My whole being shimmers in happiness and contentment as I let my light shine. Thank you life, thank you, thank you! 

I'll bet you can write a great appreciation power prayer for your own life. 

Every time I sit down to chant I focus on appreciation and feel my heart swelling in happiness...a feeling of peace comes over me.

I chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the name of the rhythm of life itself, and I feel the rhythm within myself and in all of life. Everyone who chants these words can have this experience. This is not something reserved for an elite few.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Creating A Powerful Practice

TO create a Powerful Buddhist practice and a powerful life, remember that you are not chanting to something outside your are chanting to your very life itself...
and the life of the entire universe.  

Through chanting Daimoku 
you have the keys to access the power of the universe. There is no need to beg. 

There is a need to VOW, and DETERMINE...and to clearly tell your life that you want results from your chanting NOW!!!

That's the power of chanting Daimoku. And please, do not chant under your breath! Chant as if you mean it! You are speaking to the strong. Take deep breaths, remember to breathe. Breathe from your belly...feel the energy surging through your body. SIT UP STRAIGHT! Be STRONG! You're chanting!

What you Focus on Increases

It is so easy to think of all the things we want to change in our lives. It is so easy to focus on what we don't want, rather than concentrating on all of the good things, in our lives and in ourselves. I received some positive feedback this week about one of the blogs postings. 

A reader wrote me to tell me that she'd made a sign for her Butsudan that says: 

What you focus on increases. 

It is true. 

When I give my talk "Change Your Words, Change Your Life" I begin by telling this story:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Jyoti's Experience of Finding a Job

Jyoti's Work Experience 

I was introduced to Nichiren Buddhism 
by my dear colleague in Delhi. 

That time I was under depression
due to some personal problem going in my life.  
I came to Vadodara to my parent’s house in August 2012. 
That’s the time when I started practicing with
full faith and really chanted for hours. 
As they say 
"If you chant with a determination 
to chant until your heart sings with joy,
then your problems will melt 
like dew in the morning sun." 

I experienced this power after chanting consistently 
and gained a lot of strength and peace of mind 
with no grudges for anybody 
in fact I became more & more compassionate 
towards the people who created problems in my life.
And always pray for their happiness and Buddha nature 
to emerge. 

When I compare myself with what I was a
few months ago, I could see an incredibly positive 
change in me.  I received lot of protection benefits 

This increased my faith in the law.  

After coming out from depression 
(in just 1 month, which could have taken years 
otherwise…considering my problem) I started 
applying for jobs in September 2012. 

I was praying for a lot of other things related 
to the problem I was facing 
which made me enter this practice. 
But I never prayed for a job since I came
to Vadodara as I was always in two minds. 

I met my leader and asked her what to do. 
She said you must be in high life condition 
as you have to make efforts whether you be here 
or in Delhi. “You have to make efforts” 
these words immediately changed my perspective 
towards my situation. I should do what I can do best 
in my present situation; this thought came to my 
mind. I also prayed and asked to Gohonzon
…should I look for a job in Vadodara or should 
I wait till my problems get solved. 

I prayed to the Gohonzon that I should get some 
indication of what to do. The very next day 
I got a call from a friend in Delhi who knows 
about my problem. As soon as I picked up my call 
she said you must look for a job in
Vadodara and keep moving ahead in your life. 
She also revealed a few things which were going on
(which I can’t share with you) but her words 
kicked me to move ahead. After that call 
I was never in two minds and decided to find a job. 

I started praying sincerely 
with complete determination for my job in the
first week of November. I prayed that by Nov 19th
I must join an office in Vadodara and my salary 
should match with my Delhi salary and the job 
location should not be very far from my leader’s 
place so that I can attend evening meetings 
and chant with her after office…I prayed hard. 
Within 2-3 days I started getting calls for 
job interviews. After a few rounds of interview I got selected. 
It gives me immense pleasure
to tell you that I joined my new office from Nov 18th.

 My salary is little higher than my previous job and my
workplace is just 5 mins away from my leader’s place. 
All my wishes got fulfilled. Isn’t it amazing? It
strengthened my faith in the mystic law.
”Nam myoho renge kyo”…. 
This way I could see for myself the
great power of the Gohonzon. 

This practice has given me courage, conviction, and strength to fight all my problems. 
And the environment is giving me opportunities and responding positively towards my human

I am geared up to solve my biggest problem 
in a few days and I look forward to share with you
another very big experience. 

I would also like 
to tell you that during my struggle also I was able to
encourage 4 people to enter this practice. 
They are now chanting consistently and experiencing benefits for them. I am determined to encourage 
them to become member of SGI. Am also determined to make all the right causes to develop my block and propagate this practice. 

Thank you!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

More on Jyoti's Experience...truly inspiring

Note to readers: I am reposting Jyoti's experience because several of you wrote to ask me how long it took Jyoti to achieve the benefits she reported in the experience I posted this Sunday, March 17th. 
Jyoti first wrote me on November 12th of 2012, and I've amended the experience to reflect the short time it took her. 

Dear Jamie, 

I am Jyoti from India. 

November 12th of 2012 I emailed you 
about a problem I was facing.

I was in a very low life condition. 
Hated myself. Cried for months. 
I felt completely rejected. 

You guided me to chant for my buddha nature to emerge.

I now shine from within. 

I am chanting regularly, I got a job with good salary, 
I am enjoying my work and learning lots of things, 
and getting more opportunities to enhance my personality.
I am also participating in Gakkai activities.

My leader appreciates me always and calls me a star member. 
I am also WD leader of my block. 
I am suddenly inclined towards charity. 
I visit the orphanage and give something 
every month to the children.
I want to dedicate my new life towards kosen rufu.

I had a fear pf public speaking. 
Last month I became Master of ceremony in one zadankai. (Buddhist meeting).  
And yesterday I performed as MC in a professional technical event.

Opportunities are coming my way. 
And my fear is vanishing.
I used to get affected by anybody. 

I used to mind things a lot. 

Small criticism or harsh language could make me cry.
I never had the courage to reply back, and kept things in my mind for days, in some cases for years.

But now when somebody gets harsh on me I actually laugh inside and think why is that person talking in this way? 

I resolve the matter very calmly.
At least I put forward what I have to say with courage 
and never think about it again.
This is happening very naturally, as if something inside has completely transformed within me. 
I am in love with myself and feel life is beautiful.

On Attaining Buddhahood

Thank you to all of you who have been emailing me at, 
commenting on posts 
and forwarding the link to 
to your fellow members and friends.  

I respond to all emails. I appreciate them all - the questions, the comments and the experiences of victory. 

Yesterday 600 people visited Without you forwarding a link to this blog to your friends and fellow members that couldn't be possible. 

The purpose of this blog is to reach and inspire people who are looking for the key to solve their problems and become happy, connect them with the Soka Gakka and President Ikeda, and to inspire them to break through and become happy. This is not an easy practice, but a fully rewarding one. Staying inspired every day definitely leads to a successful life. 
(Visit for more information and links to the Soka Gakkai)

Thank you for your heart to help people. 

Helping other people learn to chant, and inspiring others is a key aspect of our own practice. 

I've recently been re-reading one of my favorite books based on the Gosho by Nichiren Daishonin called "On Attaining Buddhahood." This is a Gosho I memorized during my early days of chanting, and read aloud to Aaron when I was carrying him in my womb and chanting a million daimoku for his life. It is a fundamental Gosho explaining the key nature of why chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is so powerful. 

In  Lectures On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime, by Daisaku Ikeda, published in 2007 by Soka Gakkai, Malaysia, President Ikeda comments on this famous Gosho Passage:

"If you wish to free yourself from the sufferings of birth, and death you have endured since time without beginning and to attain without fail unsurpassed enlightenment in this lifetime, you must perceive the mystic truth that is originally inherent in all living beings. This truth is Myoho-renge-kyo. Chanting Myoho-renge-kyo will therefore enable you to grasp the the mystic truth innate in all life." (p. 4, On Attaining Buddhahood) 

And on page 6 of the same book he makes this important distinction:

"There are two aspects of the daimoku in Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism: the daimoku of faith and the daimoku of practice. The daimoku of faith refers to the spiritual aspect of our practice. This essentially consists of the struggle we wage in our hearts against our inner delusion or darkness; a battle against the negative and destructive forces within us. It means breaking through the darkness clouding our Buddha nature and bringing forth the life-state of Buddhahood through the power of faith. The daimoku of practice, meanwhile, refers to chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo ourselves and also teaching it to others. It means making efforts in word and deed for the happiness of ourselves and others as evidence of our spiritual struggle against inner negativity and delusion. " (p.6 On attaining Buddhahood in this Lifetime, by daisaku Ikeda, 2007, Soka Gakkai Malaysia) 


Chanting daimoku is key for us to reveal our own Buddha nature and defeat the negative voices I addressed in yesterday's blog post. 

Crucial to our development is also our efforts to help others become happy, or, as Daisaku Ikeda expresses it, the daimoku of practice. Our efforts in this area expand infinitely and bring joy into our lives and the lives of others. 

I am so grateful to all of you as partners in creating Kosen Rufu; a world of happiness and respect for all of life. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Appreciate YourSELF!

Your words DO have great power. 
Make sure when you speak to yourself 
that you use kind and loving words. 
Often we are hardest on our own selves, right? 

I received an email from a reader who has been practicing sincerely for some time. He tells me that he chants in apology every day, and is seeking guidance to bring more joy and appreciation into his life. 

I have wonderful news for him.  A change of focus in his prayer will result in what I believe will be a quick change in his environment. I cannot wait to share his experience of victory with you, because I know he will have one.   

As in all things, what you focus on is what increases. 

So I am suggesting to him that he entirely change his focus from what he sees he is doing wrong, to what he sees he is doing right. 

As far as I am concerned, society is always telling us what we are doing WRONG. School reinforces what is wrong with us. People who are insecure reinforce what is wrong with us. 
It is up to each one of us to reinforce what is RIGHT with us, and to switch our focus away from the feeling that we are guilty or bad. Changing our focus to the positive is at the core of revealing our own Buddha Nature. I love Buddhism, because its very focus is on what is RIGHT with us. 

Of course, as we all know, the law of cause and effect operates in our lives all the time. If we focus our daimoku on what we are doing right, chant to make positive causes, and to reveal our Buddha Nature, we will see positive effects in our lives. 

So, my ideas for changing a negatively focused life to a positively focused one follow:

1. Before you get out of bed in the morning think of at least 10 things you are grateful for. They can be anything from health to friendships to ANYTHING. What are you grateful for? I advised my sweet Mommy to do this when she was feeling depressed, and she said it entirely lifted her depression. This is one of those things that sounds like a good idea, but really, if you try it, it does make a difference. 

2. When you chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo every morning and evening, start with a feeling of gratitude. SUMMON gratitude. Work your spiritual muscle. Think of what you are grateful for, and make your own life, and your own self be part of that prayer. We are all so fortunate to have heard of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.  We are all fortunate to be practicing, to have a Gohonzon, and to be a part of the Soka Gakkai organization with our mentor Daisaku Ikeda and countless sincere members worldwide.  Bring forth that feeling of appreciation when you chant. 

3. Chant to reveal your Buddha nature. Chant to believe in the goodness within yourself. Chant to shine your life from within. 

4. Stop apologizing in your prayer.When you focus on your life being the actual proof that this practice works you will see benefit. When you focus on being an example, and having your life and actions inspire others to begin chanting, you will see benefit flowing in all directions into your life. Chant to do shakubuku and help others become happy, and you will experience greater joy than ever before. 

5. Realize that you ARE the Buddha. You are the walking, talking embodiment of someone who is awakened to the law of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. This realization alone is a great cause for your happiness. Chant to see yourself as a Buddha and to feel yourself as the true Buddha you are. 

6. I chant to see the world through Daisaku Ikeda's eyes and to share his heart for Kosen Rufu. Sometimes when I chant I imagine him sitting here with me, and that our prayers for the happiness of all people are joined. 

Power Prayer for revealing your Buddha Nature and Appreciating YourSELF

"I chant to reveal the pure, sparkling Diamond
 of resilience, strength, wisdom and heart
 that lies within me. 
I chant to be more and more aware 
of how wonderful I am every single day. 
I chant that every cause I make, 
at every single moment of every single day 
leads me to see more and more of my Buddha nature. 
I chant that my Buddha Nature emerge 
and flow from my life touching everyone I see. 
I chant that I see my life 
as the brilliant sparkling Diamond that it is. 
I chant that throughout the day 
I say only nice words to myself. 
I chant to praise myself with my every thought. 
I chant to believe in my own goodness 
and to see it revealed in my actions. 
I pray to realize my life as the Buddha I am.
I chant that those around me are inspired to begin chanting, just by seeing my happiness flow. 
I chant to meet the people who are looking for this law, 
and to be able to help them practice"

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Jyoti Now Shines From Within - A portrait of Human Revolution

Dear Jamie, 

I am Jyoti from India. 

Mid-November of 2012 I emailed you about a problem I was facing.

I was in a very low life condition. 
Hated myself. Cried for months. 
I felt completely rejected. 

You guided me to chant for my buddha nature to emerge.

I now shine from within. 

I am chanting regularly, I got a job with good salary, 
I am enjoying my work and learning lots of things, 
and getting more opportunities to enhance my personality.
I am also participating in Gakkai activities.

My leader appreciates me always and calls me a star member. I am also WD leader of my block. 
I am suddenly inclined towards charity. I visit the orphanage and give something every month to the children.
I want to dedicate my new life towards kosen rufu.

I had a fear pf public speaking. 
Last month I became Master of ceremony in one zadankai. (Buddhist meeting).  
And yesterday I performed as MC in a professional technical event.

Opportunities are coming my way. 
And my fear is vanishing.
I used to get affected by anybody. 

I Used to mind things a lot. 

Small criticism or harsh language could make me cry.
I never had the courage to reply back, and kept things in my  mind for days, in some cases for years.

But now when somebody gets harsh on me I actually laugh inside 
and think why is that person talking in this way? 

I resolve the matter very calmly.
At least I put forward what I have to say with courage and never think about it again.
This is happening very naturally, as if something inside has completely transformed within me. 
I am in love with myself and feel life is beautiful.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Chanting in Appreciation


Chanting in Appreciation.

 Feeling totally fulfilled and happy. 

At any time 
we can fill our hearts with joy 
and chant 
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. 

We are such fortunate Buddhas 
who have heard and listened 
to the law of cause and effect. 
We are Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Our lives are overflowing with fortune, 
even though sometimes it is hard for us to see. 

It is a sweet feeling 
to fill our hearts with joy 
and chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo 
in the full appreciation of being alive, 
at this wonderful moment, 
and joining hearts 
with all our SGI friends all over the world. 

There will always be room for improvement. 
There will always be more that we desire...for ourselves...for our loved ones and for the world. 

But at times, it is so wonderful 
to just flood our hearts with joy 
and chant from that space of