Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Our True Battle Against Despair and Apathy ~

"In life when we feel we have reached a limit, that is when the true battle begins. Just when you despair and think it is impossible to go any further, will you become apathetic, or will you say it’s not over and stand up with an unyielding spirit? The battle is decided by this single determination."

Daisaku Ikeda

Powerful Power Prayers!

Our thoughts while chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo are very important.

We can aim our thoughts like a laser towards what is really important, and we can use them to raise our life condition and strengthen the core of our lives - which in turn makes us stronger and more capable of achieving our goals and being truly happy from the inside of your lives - regardless of day-to-day circumstances. 

We can't always control everything that goes on in our lives. This is a fact of life. There are some things we experience that we wish we could just NOT experience. But at the heart of our lives we can have a powerful power prayer. 

Here are some examples of POWER PRAYERS:

LIFE! Right here, right now I am raising my life condition and strengthening my life so that NO MATTER WHAT I will be able to greet each day with appreciation, and have a high enough life condition to overcome anything!

LIFE! I am determined to expand my capacity in every way. Today I expand my capacity for JOY! I expand my capacity for APPRECIATION! I expand my capacity to appreciate each moment as it comes, and to express appreciation as much as I can possibly can all day. I expand my capacity for powerful determination and concentrated thought. I expand my capacity for brain power! I expand my capacity to HELP OTHERS! 

LIFE! I WILL WIN in every aspect of my life! Job, love life, wealth creation, friendships and ability to lead and help others. I MUST be an example that this practice works. I chant to change the inside of my life so that all the things I truly desire can come to me as a reflection of the inner changes I have made through my chanting and strong determination!

LIFE! I chant specifically to achieve this outcome ______________________. (Fill in the blank)
Or something better! I am determined to make these internal changes to activate these results!

Chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo with passion and determination activates the law within your life. Remember that you are aligning with the mystic law, and not asking anyone or anything for favors. 


Let me hear from you. My email is chantforhappiness@gmail.com
Also you can Like us on facebook at Chant for Happiness 
and easily share posts. Also remember the translation button on the top right allows you to translate this blog into any language. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Quote from Daisaku Ikeda - push back the boundaries of your life!

"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, 
From Ikedaquotes.org

Inspiring Power Prayer Experience from Morag in the UK

(This experience is from Morag in Hythe, UK. Thanks Morag, you are an inspiration! 
If any of you have Power Prayer experiences please send them to chantforhappiness@gmail.com. We are collecting Power Prayer quotes and experiences for our soon-to-be released Power Prayer book)

"I came across Jamie's blog sometime in the middle of last year, 2012.  Right from the start I thought her enthusiasm and mission to share Nichiren Buddhism leapt from the computer screen.  I had been practising for just over 5 years, going to local meetings and studying  quite diligently.  It's a wide district geographically, members are very spread out, so you tend to see the same faces all the time.  I felt at a bit of plateau, chanting regularly and getting small consistant benefits and proofs  but no  'oomph.'  

After reading a few blogs I started to forward them to other members.  I remember two phrases that burned into my heart and stayed there;  

'If you don't like something about your SGI meetings, chant to change it' and 'I determine to be a shining example that this practice works and to meet people who want to hear about it.'  

I incorporated that last one straight into morning Gongyo, started carrying cards around with me to hand out whenever anyone showed the slightest interest in me or Buddhism. That phrase alone changed my whole outlook and my confidence talking about my practice to anyone has grown since then.

I had not heard the term 'power prayer'. I like to think Nichiren would recognize it as he described chanting with the determination as if to get fire from damp wood.  I liked it as a way of encompassing determinations and really focusing my daimoku.  I set up a file on my computer; 'Buddhist Prayers' with a background picture of a lotus blossom and started writing them down and printing them off. (Yes I know, way too much time on my hands).  

As Buddhists, all our prayers should be linked or based on the desire for Kosen-Rufu, and I preface each one with that now. And try to mean it right into my heart.  Surprisingly, for someone who likes reading and writing; essays, letters, whatever, I actually keep my power  prayers very short. I distill my determinations right down to concentrated essence.  But I do write them down.

Towards  the end of last year, I wanted to encourage new members, really push for a shakabuku meeting in my area.  Jamie's enthusiasm was infectious.  I found a venue for a shakubuku meeting and proposed it at an SGI  meeting and got a rather downbeat response.  Hm, 'if you want to change something....' so I started chanting and wrote:  'for kosen-rufu and the growth of this district I will have meetings at the Light Railway Hall.' 

I went to New Year Gongyo at a house in Ashford, which has more members.  Up till then I had not had any meetings at my own home as my husband, while not opposed to my practice, does not want to be at home while meetings go on.  That new year I vowed, ' For kosen-rufu and growth of this district I will hold meetings in our home and hold New Year Gongyo in 2014.'  I wrote that one down too.

My husband and middle son have been motocross enthusiasts for years, my son is a champion.  This year is the busiest yet for week-end meetings.  As soon as I saw the list, I asked lightly, 'would you mind if I had meetings here if you are away?'  That was fine.
So I contacted the scheduler, (who has been wholeheartedly supporting the goal for new members) and booked meetings in our home every month till october (when the season officially ends). 
Even if alone, I decided I would have home Tozos towards the goal of new members.  (Ding ding! round one.)

Then at last months meeting, almost as a throw away line, a leader said 'Yes, we'll do something about your Idea for shakabuku meetings.'  (Ding ding! round two.)

That's great I thought, I already have the leaflets and posters printed and 99% of my script.  I'm up for it!  

This week I booked the hall for a shakubuku meeting on July 1st.  

This month's SGI magazine had a section dedicated to the experience of shakabuku meetings. Perfect. 

Power prayers are ongoing; one thing I am learning is patience. 

 I felt a bit bit poetic this week and wrote:
'For kosen rufu and the growth of this district, I use my Buddha strength to draw the bow of the Lotus Sutra, aim my arrows of daimoku to win in all my determinations.'

NMRK Morag.x  

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Quote from Sensei

"Do you give up the struggle to overcome your own limitations on the first attempt, or do you keep on with it, trying a second time, a third time, and continuing on in the challenge for the rest of your life? That is the only difference between the genius and the ordinary person."

Daisaku Ikeda, from Ikedaquotes.org

760 Years Ago Today...Nichiren first chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo

And on that day he changed our lives forever. 
This picture is of a 1,000 year old tree at Seichi-ji Temple. It was there in 1253 when Nichiren first chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and reclaimed the practice of Buddhism for the happiness of us all. 

It's fascinating to imagine what it would have been like for him that day. I wonder what he felt when he was pondering the true practice for the age. Remember, he'd made a vow at the age of twelve to be the wisest man in Japan. He'd traveled to Buddhist temples all over reading the sacred scrolls and asking himself the same question over and over: 

"What is the REAL practice for this age? What will lead people to happiness? What is the true lifeblood of Buddhism NOW?" 

He put every cell of his body into finding the answer to this question. There were many forms of Buddhism at the time. All of them promised rewards in the future, but no fulfillment right now. The Pure Land sect said the only happiness you could ever have came only after death when you were born again in the Pure Land. Other sects said you had to attone for every single negative cause you had ever made and after many, many lifetimes attain Buddhahood. Others said you had to be reborn as a man. 

But NONE said that Happiness exists in the here and now, and you can attain Buddhahood, happiness, enlightenment, right here right now in your present form. 

And THAT school was the one Nichiren founded, beginning 760 years ago today by chanting the title of the Lotus Sutra for the first time. I can just imagine the shivers going through his body. I can just imagine the responses of the people around him who were all attached to their own particular beliefs. It took an amazing amount of energy and strength. 

And he continued his religious revolution every day from then on. In the face of multiple persecutions, attacks, hatred...you name it. But he KNEW. He KNEW that one day you and I would be chanting this phrase and changing the world by infusing our lives with the energy of this vibration, and advancing, step by step with Nichiren and our mentor in faith Daisaku Ikeda. 

What courage. What strength. 

Those of us who have read the writings Nichiren wrote to his followers know what he went through...being exiled to a gardener's hut with holes in the walls and the ceiling with no provisions in the cold of winter in a graveyard no less...not even a graveyard actually, a place where dead bodies were just left on Sado Island. People were told not to go near the hut or help this man or they would be killed. And it was from this hut where he wrote the Opening of the Eyes and many of his most important letters "Gosho" saying "I am the happiest man in all japan!" Why was he so happy? Because his persecutions confirmed that this was the correct teachings. We can learn so much through his actions and attitude. I could go on and on. 

But today marks the first time he chanted. Today marks the establishment of Practical Buddhism for the Latter Day of the Law. Breathtaking really. 

The following passage is largely taken from the SGI website on Nichiren's Life. 

"While Nichiren demonstrated a severely critical stance toward what he regarded as distortion or corruption of the core message of Buddhism, his letters of guidance and encouragement to his followers record a tender concern for people who were disregarded within medieval Japanese society."

Nichiren (1222-1282), the priest who established the form of Buddhism practiced by the members of the SGI, is a unique figure in Japanese social and religious history. In a society where great emphasis has often been placed on keeping conflict hidden from sight, Nichiren was outspoken in his criticism of the established Buddhist sects and secular authorities. His chosen method of propagation was "shakubuku"--a sharp and relentless dialectic between different perspectives in quest of truth...

For instance, he wrote many letters to female lay believers in which he showed a remarkable understanding of their sufferings and emphasized the Lotus Sutra's message that all people can become enlightened as they are, men and women.

Nichiren's sympathy for the downtrodden in society is related to the circumstances of his birth. His father was a fisherman on the seacoast to the east of what is now Tokyo, and as such Nichiren identified himself as "the son of a chandala [untouchable caste] family." Life in feudal Japan was harsh and brutal, especially for the masses at the bottom of the strict social hierarchy. Experiencing firsthand the misery of the common people, Nichiren had from an early age been driven by a powerful desire to find a way of resolving the problem of human suffering.

SGI President Daisaku Ikeda has noted that the wisdom we are able to unleash from within is proportionate to our sense of responsibility. The young Nichiren was moved by a burning sense of responsibility to alleviate the enormous misery he saw about him, and it was this that enabled him to gain insight into the essential nature of human life and reality.

Nichiren began an exhaustive study of the multitude of often contradictory teachings and sutras of Buddhism. From age 16 to 32, Nichiren traveled to Kamakura and Kyoto, visiting the major centers of Buddhism, studying the massive volume of sutras, treatises and commentaries. The conclusion he reached was that the heart of Shakyamuni's enlightenment is to be found in the Lotus Sutra and that the principle or law to which all Buddhas are enlightened is expressed in the phrase "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo," from the title, or daimoku, of that sutra.

At the same time, he understood clearly that to promote faith in the Lotus Sutra as the exclusive vehicle for enlightenment would be to engage in public criticism of existing schools of Buddhism, many of which taught that access to the Buddha Land was only possible after death. While Nichiren advocated using Buddhist practice to challenge one's circumstances and develop inner strength, the traditional schools encouraged resignation and passivity. A strong counterreaction could be anticipated, and Nichiren writes of his own inner struggle over the question of whether or not to speak out.


Deciding that to remain silent would be to lack compassion, on the 28th day of the fourth month (according to the lunar calendar) of 1253, Nichiren made a public declaration of his beliefs. As anticipated, his insistence on the sole efficacy of the Lotus Sutra--with its core tenet that all people are in fact Buddhas--in the present era of confusion and corruption was met with disbelief and hostility. The steward of the region, a devout follower of the Pure Land school, took steps to have Nichiren arrested. And from this point on, Nichiren's life would be a succession of harassment, persecution and abuse.

One reason for this is that the authorities recognized Nichiren's uncompromising insistence on the equality of all people as a direct threat to the established power structure, which victimized the impoverished majority. The established schools of Buddhism had been incorporated into this structure, providing an effective means for the feudal authorities to strengthen and extend their power over the populace. Priests of these schools, who occupied a privileged position within the social hierarchy, were deeply implicated in this exploitative system and had no reason to challenge the status quo. This is a further reason why Nichiren was able to attract a significant following despite the risks that such allegiance would entail.

The Lotus Sutra predicts that those who attempt to spread its teachings in the corrupt latter days will meet severe trials. Nichiren interpreted the persecutions that befell him as evidence that he was fulfilling his mission in life.

In 1260, in the wake of a series of devastating natural disasters, Nichiren wrote his most famous tract, the Rissho ankoku ron (On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land). In it, he developed the idea that only by reviving a spirit of reverence for the sanctity and perfectibility of human life through faith in the Lotus Sutra could a truly peaceful order be restored and further disaster forestalled. He presented this treatise to the highest political authorities of Japan and urged them to sponsor a public debate with representatives of other schools of Buddhism. The call for public debate--which Nichiren would repeat throughout his life--was ignored, and he was banished to the Izu Peninsula.

The years that followed brought further banishment and the decisive crisis of his life--an attempt to execute him on the beach of Tatsunokuchi. By his account, moments before the executioner's sword was to fall, a luminous object--perhaps a meteor--traversed the sky with such brilliance that the terrified officials called off the execution. Nichiren was banished to Sado Island where, amidst extreme deprivation, he continued to make converts and write treatises and letters.

In part because the predictions he had made in the Rissho ankoku ron had come true, after almost two and a half years on Sado, Nichiren was pardoned and returned to the political center of Kamakura. It is said he was offered a temple and official patronage if he would desist from his criticism of other schools of Buddhism, but he refused. Nichiren retreated to Mount Minobu, and there he wrote copiously and trained his successors.


During this period, the priest Nikko, who had accompanied Nichiren throughout his tumultuous career and would inherit the teachings, was gaining converts in nearby Atsuhara village. The priests of a Tendai temple in the area, angered at this, began harassing the converts. Eventually, they instigated an attack by samurai against unarmed peasant converts and their arrest on false charges of theft. Twenty of the peasants were arrested and tortured, and three were executed in 1279.

Where earlier persecutions had targeted Nichiren himself, this time it was the lay believers who were the victims. Despite their lack of an in-depth theoretical knowledge of their newly adopted faith, these peasant followers remained steadfast in the face of the ultimate threat. For Nichiren, this signaled a crucial turning point, inspiring his confidence that his teachings would be maintained and practiced after his own passing. Where he had to date inscribed sacred mandalas (Gohonzon) for individual believers, he now inscribed the mandala explicitly dedicated to the happiness and enlightenment of all humankind. This symbolized the establishment of Nichiren Buddhism as a universal faith. Nichiren died of old age three years later, his mission complete. Transmission of his teachings and the fulfillment of his vision of peace founded on respect for the sanctity of life is the central inspiration for SGI members worldwide.

[Courtesy October 2004 SGI Quarterly]

Saturday, April 27, 2013

So Grateful for YOU

People whose hearts are full of gratitude 
and appreciation 
are truly beautiful. 
A humble heart 
is the wellspring 
of great growth and development.
Daisaku Ikeda, from Ikedaquotes.org

Right now I am filled with gratitude for you. 
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this blog, for your emails and postings, and for spreading the happiness of this practice to your friends by forwarding the url: chantforhappiness.com.
(Also you can like the "Chant for Happiness" page on facebook and share postings on facebook. 

It is such an honor to be friends with people all over the world sincerely putting their hearts into this practice. 

Thank you for sharing your hearts with me. 

Quote from Daisaku Ikeda

Friday, April 26, 2013

Strengthen Your Life with Gratitude ~ Questions and answers with a reader

There is no one 
as strong 
as a person whose heart 
is always filled with gratitude.

Daisaku Ikeda, from Ikedaquotes.org under "Attitude"

Dear Jamie,

Life seems directionless and full of despair. I have no job. My dearest friend who is all I had in life has fought bitterly and says he doesn't want any communication with me. He has developed hatred which am not able to tolerate. I can't imagine a life without his presence. The very thought that I may not be able to meet him again is making me nervous. 

I am chanting Nam myoho renge kyo everyday.  Just writing to you to lighten my heart. No friends to share my pain.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Dear Discouraged, 

I am chanting for you right now. 

Please do not give up hope. 

Today I want you to make a list of all the things you appreciate in your life. Take one page and write a topic at the top- like "my body" and write all the things you appreciate about your body...start with simple things like the fact that you can see. The fact that you have hands that can feel. The fact that you can breathe. 

Then move on to another page...put "my family" and think of everything you appreciate about your family. Make a page "my mind" and appreciate your mind...other page titles might be your town, this world, nature, your practice, and on and on. 
I call this a rampage of appreciation. I guarantee that writing these things out will cheer you up. 

And before you close your eyes to sleep think of ten things you appreciate. Make yourself do this. Do the same before you get out of bed in the morning. This will absolutely help you but only if you DO it. Please do it. 

Love, Jamie
Dear Jamie, 

Thanks for the quick response and for keeping me in your prayer. I will do as suggested. I want my friend back, my source of strength and happiness.


Feeling a Little Better

Dear Feeling a Little Better, 

You need to chant for strength. You are your own source of strength and comfort! Please chant for this. Also please follow the 5 keys for a successful Nichiren Buddhist practice that you received when you input your email address to the right of this post. Chant consistently, make a strong determination or power prayer for your life, attend your Soka Gakkai meetings, help others to the best of your ability and study, study, study! 

Love, Jamie 

Financial Success Experience from Morag in the UK

In June  2011 I decided that I had had enough of my husband saying that he always took more money than I did in our business (I manage one shop, he manages the other).  I decided to challenge him and myself to take more money than him the following month.  
I knew I would have to be really strict about everything; no more sloping off 15 minutes early because I wanted to, no more judging that some jobs were worth chasing and not others, ruthless invoicing of every sale no matter how small....I knew the actions I had to take.  I read quite a bit of guidence and used examples from other businesses. I was ready for the 1st of July.
I knew I would have to chant a LOT more.  I usually managed 20 minutes in the morning.  I got up earlier, (much to his annoyance, ha!) walked the dogs then sat in front of my Gohonzon and chanted for a full hour.  I wanted to prove this practice to him.  I wanted to surpass his totals, I was burning with determination!  As I sat there, I remembered a scene from Kevin Costners film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, the bit with the arrow zooming towards the tree, and I used that to 'target' my daimoku.  That visualisation helped me a lot...............................  
'I WILL surpass his totals'  
  'I WILL chase every sale'
    'I WILL keep going to prove this practice'
and most important..............' I WILL be cheerful and optimistic no matter what happens.'

I expect that tree bristled like a porcupine by the end.  It worked. How could it be otherwise?  I had poured my guts into my daimoku everyday.  My total was twice what I had taken the same month the previous year and (hooray!) I had surpassed my husbands total by over £4000.  I was exhausted and exhilarated.

I learned a lot from that month.  I could not keep that pace  all the time and the tax bill was far more than we were used to.  
 But from that time came wider benefits; my attitude to the customers, the business, my husband/family and especially to myself and my practice all changed for the better.  I linked my prayers to being a great helpful sales person, to be more business minded, to regard myself properly as a partner who made a real contribution.  The person who had under-valued my input into the business WAS ME!

Morag lives in Hythe, in Kent. It's a coastal/ rural town, historically one of the Cinque ports. Approximately 70 miles frm London.  Ashford is a much bigger town, straight on the motorway to London.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Make Your Power Prayer Today (And a request for your Power Prayer Submission).

How do you make your own Power Prayer or Determination? 

It starts with your desire. When you think about your desire can you broaden it to be more encompassing? Can you include a vision in which the fulfillment of your prayer moves others to fulfill their own? 

Most of my best determinations and Power Prayers come when I am in front of the Gohonzon chanting. That's why I always have pen and paper handy.

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

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

A Power Prayer is more encompassing. 

Here are a few examples of mine.

Power Prayer for a Healthy Body:

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

For my Body: I am determined to be healthier, happier, and more fit than I have ever been. I'm determined to find the right practitioners and who will guide me in my path to vibrant health! I feel better and better every single day! I am determined to know which food choices contribute to my overall good health, and to use this knowledge to the best of my ability! As I get healthier and healthier I inspire others more and more through my presence, my determination, and my radiance. My health is a positive cause for me to do my best work. 

I have a vow for my love life too: 

"I VOW to create Victory in every aspect of my life! I will have the kind of love relationship that brings us both absolute joy! It will grow every day and we will spend our time together delighting in each other's happiness and having fun exploring this wonderful world! Both of us have passion and drive and we appreciate each other in ways I have never experienced in a relationship. Our love and appreciation will grow and deepen through the years. Our relationship will be an inspiration for others to have hope that love is real and true and possible. People will see us and say "I really want to chant now!" 

I have Power Prayers and determinations for many areas of my life. I believe this is integral for creating the life of my dreams and being happier than I ever thought possible. And all of this is possible for you. That's the purpose of this blog.

You can make a strong Power Prayer for every area of your life. And while you are chanting, you focus on expressing these prayers.

It's the right time to move your life. It's the right time to dig deep. 

Please share your Power Prayers with me, and share your successes. 

I am actively gathering material for the book Julia and I are writing for you and everyone you wish to inspire. We are close to publication. Have some of my posts inspired you? Would you like to be included? Have you written and chanted a Power Prayer that has made a difference in your life? Would you live to have YOUR story told? 
I will publish in your name or anonymously if you wish. We are getting close. Email me at chantforhappiness@gmail.com

Great Quote from Daisaku Ikeda

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

You Prayer Deserves YOUR Love

Loving Ourselves....
Something some of us 
find so hard to do. 
Chanting to experience 
love for ourselves...
aaaahhh what a wonderful idea! 

Powerfully Turning Karma into Mission

Every step 
you take forward 
provides the path 
for others to follow  

We have such an opportunity to help others when we realize, truly realize, that we own our present sufferings, and that by embracing them, changing them by intoning the powerful vibration of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and challenging ourselves in assiduous practice and study ~ then we CAN and WILL change our sufferings into benefits for ourselves and others.   

It is truly a glorious mission 
that we have...
that we chose...
that we have the opportunity to challenge every day. 

Of course we can decide not to own our karma. We can keep blaming other people, or blaming the world and blaming our jobs. We can deflect our karma outside of us. If we blame and complain we will never change our lives. Now, if your heart is full of this type of complaint, you probably would not be reading this blog at this moment. No. You are reading this because you are ready to transform your suffering. 

As Guy McCloskey wrote in his article "Overcoming Suffering" published in the Sept-Oct Living Buddhism in 2010 (page 31):

"Although we may think no one else could be suffering to the extent that we are  ~ whether from depression, migraine headaches, cancer, AIDS or any number of other ailments ~ the fact is that there are millions of people with the same level of physical and emotional pain.

In the same article McCloskey quotes President Ikeda:

"Our actions in challenging our destiny become examples and inspiration for countless others. 
In other words, when we change our karma into mission, we transform our destiny from playing a negative role to a positive one. Those who change their karma into mission have "voluntarily assumed the appropriate karma." Therefore those who keep advancing, while regarding everything as part of their mission proceed toward the goal of transforming their destiny." (Living Buddhism, August 2003, p.14.

This doesn't mean that we just accept suffering as a state of life without a passion for overcoming it. As Nichiren Buddhists we do not believe in the inherent nobility of suffering, or that we should all become great sufferers. No. The point is to overcome our suffering, and elevate it to a mission, maybe even an honor, maybe even something we can appreciate along the way for helping us forge our brilliant and strong selves. 

That is what I did with my goal to lose weight. Some of you know that I was heavy most of my life, and lost and gained many pounds over the years, but kept a fierce 

Mission Power Prayer: 

I WILL WIN OVER THIS KARMA. I will transform my own suffering into a benefit so that I can show OTHERS THAT THIS PRACTICE WORKS, and that anyone can make the impossible possible.
No matter how long it takes, I will win! 

And I have won. I have transformed in many other ways as I have permanently lost over 50 pounds. I have increased my self esteem and my health has improved. I have strengthened my life force through this prayer. 

In the same article, Guy McCloskey quotes President Ikeda again:

"This is not just a matter of mere outlook. Changing the world starts by changing our fundamental state of mind, which is a key Buddhist principle. A powerful determination to transform even negative karma into mission can dramatically transform the real world. By changing our inner state of mind, we can change any suffering or hardship into a source of joy, regarding it as a means for forging and developing our lives. 
"To turn even sorrow into a source of creativity ~ that is the way of life of a Buddhist. Nichiren Daishonin teaches us this essential path through his own life and actions as the votary of the Lotus Sutra." (June 2005 Living Buddhism, pp. 39-40) 

And Mr. McCloskey concludes:

"If I'm going to suffer anyhow, then I will make it meaningful by transforming my suffering and helping others overcome their suffering.

Precisely. This is the way of the Buddha, and the way to overcome your suffering and help others overcome theirs. Each of us is a pioneer in this land. We are each noble votaries of the Lotus Sutra. We are each Buddhas with our own missions.  

When you face your Gohonzon every day realize that your mission is deep, grand, and powerful. 

I deeply salute you, my fellow travelers in VICTORY. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

You Can Turn Any Problem into a Benefit!

You are an alchemist who turns everything into gold. 
Through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo 
you turn every poison into medicine 
and infuse your world with love. 

No matter what your stuggles may be...no matter the pain...no matter the obstacles...YOU have the power to transform them and create medicine for your life, and for the rest of the world. 

This is the formula for kosen-rufu, world peace, and each of us are incredible participants in each and every moment. As I've often said, my prayers are no more important than yours are. We are all equal. 

How do you take a poison in your life and turn it into medicine? You realize that it is your mission to change it, and that it EXISTS just to strengthen your muscle of faith. If this obstacle is in your life you MUST overcome it. I remember growing up as a young overweight girl and thinking "I must have a mission to lose this weight and help others to do the same - otherwise I would not have this problem." I elevated my problem into a mission. 

And then, through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo I had the intense desire to change my karma, change my circumstances so that I could show actual proof of this practice and help others stop suffering. 

Whatever you are facing, whether it's 
illness, money challenges, relationship problems, job challenges, anxiety, depression, worrying about others, safety issues, hopelessness, fear, anxiety, shyness, and anything else...
whatever you are facing you can transform it through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. 
You just have to decide that you will do it. 
You must make a fierce determination, like you are climbing up a rock wall, that NO MATTER WHAT, you will get to the top. 
And then follow the 5 keys to a successful practice:

1. Chant every day twice a day.
2. Keep your determination fresh, and make sure it expresses your desire to show actual proof so you can help others.
3. Go to your Soka Gakkai meetings to practice with your fellow travelers and deepen your understanding and compassion. 
4. Help others to the best of your ability.
5. Study the writings of Nichiren Daishonin and Daisaku Ikeda.

Daisaku Ikeda says in Faith into Action on page 140:

"Life has the capacity like flames reaching toward heaven, to transform suffering and pain into the energy needed for value-creation, into light that illuminates darkness. Like wind traversing vast spaces unhindered, life has the power to uproot and overturn all obstacles and difficulties. Like clear flowing water, it can wash away all stains and impurities. And finally, life, like the great earth that sustains all vegetation, impartially protects all people with its compassionate, nurturing force."

You can activate this life force inside you at any time and transform any suffering into gold for your life. 

You can absolutely do this. 

We are all doing it together. 

I look forward to hearing your victories, fellow travelers. Write me at chantforhappiness.com. 
Julia and I are completing our book on Power Prayers. If you've used some of the power prayers, or they have strengthened your faith, please send me an email and you may be included in the book. More to come...
You can also go to the facebook page Chant for Happiness and share posts on your facebook page. Also, remember the translation button on the top right. Anyone can access this blog at the touch of a button. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

How to Chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo

(Periodically I post this passage about chanting for the first time. If you're new to the practice we 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. This blog can be sent to anyone who speaks any language. See the translation button in the upper right?)

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. Write it down and put the date on it. 

Many people 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. With continued practice you will see that your dreams for yourself actually become tied to the dreams of happiness for all. 

Chant for what is really in your heart. Be true to yourself. 

Click "Read more" below to see the rest of this post:

Power Prayer for Creating Positive Karma Every Moment

Every moment matters...

"If you want to understand what results will be manifested in the future, look at the causes that exist in the present." 

Daisaku Ikeda,  from "Learning from the Gosho, The Eternal Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin page 241.

I remember the first time I truly understood that quote. 

Previously, I thought of karma as being set and decided somewhere in my past, and that this life was just spent trying to cope and change that karma through chanting.

Then one day, I realize the importance of every moment and every thought... every feeling...every action at every moment...these were determining my future happiness. 
Life is cause and effect. The law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo encompasses this fact. Chanting this law IS the highest possible cause we can make for our happiness...but every other cause also matters. 

That's when I began chanting the Power Prayer for every action:

Power Prayer for Creating 

Good Fortune and 
Good Karma 
at Every Moment

I chant that every thought I have, every action I take, every word I say and think will be infused with positive energy and serve to change my karma in a positive and lasting way. Each moment I will power my life forward in a positive direction. I pray to generate positive energy for all those around me, and to live my life in total harmony with my mentor, Daisaku Ikeda...to see through his eyes, to share his heart for kosen-rufu. I am determined that my prayer will be 1000 times more powerful and expand to encompass the whole world...and for my every breath to bring every being in this world closer to realizing their own happiness. 
I'm determined to shift my thoughts from complaint to appreciation, and create good fortune every single moment of my life." 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

YOU Matter. Your Happiness Matters. Putting Your Practice First is the Key!

This picture comes from Julia 
in Northern California ~
I have gotten several emails lately from some of you who are suffering and looking for the way to become happy. I am so glad that you wrote me. The very act of writing shows that you are determined to find the solution, and have not given up. 

My answers to each of you varies but holds the same theme.

To establish Happiness,  
and lead a life of victory, 
you have to put yourself first.
And the way to put yourself first 
is to put your practice first.

You can absolutely do this. It takes strengthening your muscle of faith by making the determination that YOU MATTER. Your happiness matters. Your peace of mind matters. If you want to put your life first you really HAVE to put your practice first! Every morning you chant and set your life in action for winning. Every evening you chant again to keep your life on a roll. You don't let anything stop you from practicing. 

You just have to set a determination: 
"My practice comes first! 
My life comes first! 
When I put my practice first I will win and be happy, 
and when I win, everyone else in my life is happy too."

Happiness is contagious. When you are happy and fulfilled, your happiness spreads to other people. THis has actually been scientifically proven recently. When one person smiles at another, the person being smiled AT has happiness brain waves generated. Buddhism is reason. Buddhism is common sense. 

When you practice, study, go to SGI meetings and encourage others, you will experience a life of strength. Sometimes doing these things is not easy, and it is PRECISELY at this point, when you have to win over yourself or your obstacles, that you are strengthening your muscle of faith. 

In Learning from the Gosho, The Eternal Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin, Daisaku states on page 240:

"The extent to which we can receive and use the vast, profound joy derived form the law depends entirely on our faith. Will we take a small cup of water from the ocean, or will we fill up a large swimming pool? Can we freely receive and use still more? This is determined entirely by faith.

"If somewhere in your heart you have decided, "I alone am incapable of becoming happy." "Only I cannot become a capable person" or, "Only my sufferings will forever remain unresolved." then that one factor of your mind or determination will obstruct your benefit."

Daisaku Ikeda

It's truly up to you. When we decide to become happy we can become happy. That is the beauty of this practice. I hope you've enjoyed the experiences from the last few days. These are some of the members in my district...such a joy to see their growth and determination. 

Please share your victories with me and the rest of the readers. My email is chantforhappiness@gmail.com. And thank you for sending links to chantforhappiness.com and posting Chant For Happiness posts on your facebook page! 

Friday, April 19, 2013

What a Moment in Time ~ Let's Strengthen our Faith More Than Ever

Here we are in the Midwest by Chicago...
under water, flooding everywhere
with the rivers still rising. 
The windchill here is around 25 degrees 
on April 18th, and it's snowing. 

And we're all keeping an eye on Boston. 
I'm about to return to the Gohonzon and chant another hour for justice, and for kosen-rufu. Whoever is behind the Boston bombing...let it be revealed now. 

I'm chanting for the happiness of all of humanity. 
I'm redetermining that through my own prayers there will be peace on earth...through my own transformation and in front of my own Gohonzon kosen rufu is born.
All of us make such a difference 
through our own determination.  

Let's not give up hope! 


Bhavya's Experience of Victory

Bhavya and Ayaan

My name is Bhavya Sawhney 
I have been practicing this beautiful philosophy for the last 7 years. I am the mother of two-kosen rufu kids, one 6-year girl Aashina, and a 5-month-old boy, Ayaan. With this practice I have had lots of victories and today I will share the most recent one.

Last week was very tough for me. I had an important test on Friday the 12th of this month, but since Monday the 8th Ayaan had severe stomach flu. He had become very cranky and wouldn’t leave me.  I was getting very tense since I had to study as well as take care of him. If I tried to leave him with my mother in law or my husband he would just cry for hours.

This time, instead of getting stressed and applying my own strategies, I made the Gohonzon my center and put my practice first.  I  also read Sensei’s guidance often. 

“There may be times when life seems gloomy and dull when we feel stuck in some situation or other when we are negative towards everything when we feel lost and bewildered, not sure which way to turn. At such times we must transform our passive mind set and determine “I will proceed along this path I will pursue my mission today”. When we do so, a genuine springtime arrives in our heart and flowers start to bloom.”

 Also I reached out to Jamie and requested her support so every day of that week I made a determination to chant one hour of daimoku together no matter what, to excel in my exam and for Ayaan to get over this flu. On Monday the doctor told me it could take 2 weeks for him to get better! When Jamie and I were discussing about this we said “No way! He will get well immediately with our Daimoku! It has to be out a.s.a.p!”

This daimoku was setting a victory every day for me, a mission that was getting closer and closer.  By chanting an hour every day I was able to focus more on my studies. This daimoku was giving me a rhythm to study and concentrate and not to get tense. In every way, I was putting my practice first. Ayaan would be with us doing daimoku too for the full hour. It is difficult to do that. Many people strategize things but won’t get up to chant. But for me it was my practice. 

I stopped strategizing and started doing winning daimoku that no matter what I will be able to study, and the day of test my little monster will be ok. He won’t bother my mother in law and my husband.

Here I stand to report my victory. 

I went to take my test and my son was perfectly fine. He had overcome the flu that very same day!


I am determined to work for kosen rufu whole heartedly... to be the sun of my family...to never doubt this Gohonzon no matter whatever happens. I will do morning and evening gongyo consistently to introduce my friends and family to this practice.