Saturday, August 31, 2013

How to Chant Joyfully for Longer Times

I know many of us are challenging ourselves to chant more than ever...aiming towards November 18th and the opening of the WorldWide SGI headquarters. I wrote this a while ago and repost it from time to time.

When I first began chanting a leader told me our lives and our karma can be compared to a glass with dirt at the bottom...the dirt represents the karma that exists inside our lives. She said when you start to chant you stir up that dirt and see it swirling around...and if you want to really dig deep and clear it out, you might want to chant for a really long period of do a Daimoku Tozo as we call it. 

(Now, none of us ever HAS to chant for a long period of time. This is something that is entirely optional and comes from your deep desire. It's perfectly okay if you don't choose to do a long tozo. As long as you are chanting every day, studying, attending as many meetings as you can, you will definitely change your life for the better.) 

A reader requested I share some ideas about chanting joyfully, especially since so many of you are challenging yourselves to chant for longer periods of time. Thank you for asking.

How to joyfully chant for longer times.

1. Realize that what you are about to extended chant...a tozo...has profound significance for your life. Give  yourself credit for this worthy goal, and set a chanting time goal for yourself. 

2. Write your goal or goals for the tozo. (Some of these goals may occur to you naturally as you're chanting) Write yourself a Power Prayer connected to the greater the real difference you want to make in the world. Remember that you are a precious votary of the Lotus Sutra and when you break through, the energy is forever changed. You are paving the way for others to break through. So address that in your goals and in your chanting For instance: 
"I am determined to have the most beautiful, loving relationship so that I can totally inspire other people that great relationships are possible ...I can show actual proof with my life, and be able to introduce others to this practice!" In one of the tozos I chanted, I'd read President Ikeda's guidance saying you can chant to have 10,000 times more power in your prayer. So I spent the first hour chanting to increase the power of my daimoku by 10,000 times! That hour flew!

3. Have your favorite drinks close by...tea...water...soft drinks...whatever you like. 

4. DEMAND your results! YOU are the Buddha! Do not beg favors from a 'higher power." Remember the Gohonzon cannot get down off the scroll and do the Buddha's work in the world. YOU actually are the Gohonzon; it is inside your life. The scroll is a reflection of the highest life condition that exists within your own life. So when you are chanting CLAIM what is yours! Yes, the Gohonzon consists of the functions in the universe that are in our lives. Tell your life what you want. And know that all real change comes from within.

5. All change comes from within. Take responsibility for your life...not blame. Realize whatever you are going through, whatever is causing you to's your karma..not your FAULT. Chant to reach the very core of that karma and change it forever. THEN your life circumstances and environment will change to reflect it. You don't have to figure out the deeper cause, don't worry about getting it right. Chanting is experiential, not an intellectual exercise.  

6. Keep your favorite study material close by...whatever touches your heart when you read it. And if you find yourself losing focus open it up to any page you want. I have "For Today and Tomorrow" next to me right now. I just opened it for you right now...I read "When we chant sonorous daimoku, the sun rises in our hearts. We are filled with power. Compassion wells forth. Our lives are lit with joy. Our wisdom shines. All Buddhas and Buddhist deities throughout the universe go to work on our behalf. Life becomes exhilarating." Read your passage and get right back to chanting!!!

7. Invite others for all or part of your tozo. 

8. Have pen and paper handy. You'll want to write down those brilliant ideas that come into your mind while you're chanting. You'll also want to write down some of those pesky thoughts and reminders that keep coming back...things like "remember to buy dog food." Just write it down and eject it from your brain so you can focus on what really matters.

9. Put your telephone away. Tell people you are busy. 

10. After the tozo write in your journal. You never want to forget this day. Write to me too. I love to hear your successes and your challenges. 

11. Expect some obstacles to arise after your tozo. And just say "Hello obstacles! I was expecting you!" When you chant for an extended time you can compare it to turning your speedboat to HIGH. The faster you go, the more resistance you feel. Sometimes after a tozo I experience some obstacles, sometimes I don't. But if you do, please remember obstacles are fuel for your happiness and not to be feared. Face them and chant them away. 

I am chanting for you to accomplish your goals and shine with happiness!
I am chanting for you to connect with the SGI and President Ikeda and all your Soka Gakkai friends. 
I'd love to hear from those of you who have connected to the SGI through my blog. I am sharing your stories with Daisaku Ikeda, Sensei. Send your experiences to


  1. Hi Jamie,

    I recently discovered Nam Myoho Renge Kyo on youtube and its really grown on me. While going about my daily activities, I have noticed that its become my go to chant. I connect with it on some level, which I can't fathom. However, I am not a Buddhist nor planning to take up the religion. Will chanting Nam me regardless?