Tuesday, November 26, 2013

3 Powerful Questions to Ask While Chanting

Many of us have read Daisaku Ikeda's essay "Buddhism is the Clear Mirror that Reflects our Lives."

Here is the link to the "Clear Mirror Guidance" that asserts "The Gohonzon (scroll we face while chanting) is the clearest of all mirrors that reflects the entire universe exactly as it is. When you chant to the Gohonzon, you can perceive the true aspect of your life and tap the inexhaustible life force of Buddhahood.

Read the entire guidance through this link:


I've been doing some soul-searching lately. Maybe you have too. November 18th has come and gone. We have achieved some of our goals, and some of them we are still working on. 

We know that we have to maintain hope and we know we will succeed, and we turn to the words of Daisaku Ikeda and Nichiren Daishonin for encouragement.  It is a great time for some self-reflection. We know that change in our environment and achieving our goals comes from Human Revolution ~  inner change in the core of our lives triggering corresponding change in our environment.  We know this intellectually, but how can we deepen our understanding and leveraging of this great truth?  

Sensei has said that our ability to bring our own wisdom to the surface through chanting is the key. How can we expand our ability to do exactly that? 

3 Important Questions to ask our lives while Chanting:

1. Life! Illuminate what I need to change...what I need to see and how I can improve. 
2. Life! What can I reveal to myself about the inner workings of my mind, my life, my actions and words that will free me from the blocks that still exist for me? 
3. Life! What actions do I need to take so that I can affect real, lasting, positive change in my life?

See what these questions reveal for you. This kind of inquiry takes concentration and courage. 

I get many emails from readers who are living in situations where they have difficulty expressing themselves and are experiencing hopelessness. My goal is to explore and challenge true and respectful expression in my own life, so that I can deepen my wisdom to help others. I am dialoguing in prayer. For today, I slowed the speed of my Daimoku. I put my phone in the other room for this hour of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. 

Putting the phone away is key...the world is always calling isn't it? Emails...texting...calls...it goes on and on. As Buddhas we must be able to put the world aside and focus, and that, for some of us, involves putting the phone in another room. 

As I sat down to write for you today I opened "My Dear American Friends" and turned to the essay "The Age of Soft Power" that Daisaku Ikeda delivered at Harvard University on September 26th of 1991. In it he states: 

"One of the important Buddhist concepts, dependent origination holds that all beings and phenomena exist or occur in relation to other beings or phenomena.  All things are linked in an intricate web of causation and connection, and nothing, whether in the realm of human affairs or natural phenomenon, can exist or occur solely of its own accord. 
...It is the fusion of the self and others. At the same time it is the expansion of the limited, ego-shackled self toward a greater self whose scale is as limitless and unbounded as the universe...In practical terms, the most important question for us as individuals is how to activate the inner sources sof energy and wisdom existing within our lives...
...Our society today urgently needs the kind of inwardly directed spirituality to strengthen self-control and restraint. It is a quality that deepens our respect for the dignity of life. In a world where interpersonal relationships are becoming increasingly tenuous, greater self-control and discipline would also help restore and rejuvenate endangered feelings, including friendship, trust, and love, for without them there can be no meaningful bonds between people."

We have the capacity to use our Buddhist practice to gain self-control, express ourselves clearly, with composure, forethought, and mutual respect to strengthen our relationships, and build our environments into worlds of absolute happiness and fulfillment. 

This is a worthwhile endeavor, don't you think?

I offer you some additional quotes from
"For Today Onward" by Daisaku Ikeda:

"Why is it that sometimes our prayer seems not to be answered? This is a manifestation of the Buddha's wisdom - so that we can deepen our prayers, become stronger people, live more profound lives and secure deeper, more lasting good fortune. If our slightest prayer were answered immediately, we'd become lazy and degenerate. And we couldn't hope to build a life of great dignity and substance."  Page 89. 

"There may be times when life seems gloomy and dull. When we feel stuck in some situation or other, when we are negative toward 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 hearts, and flowers start to blossom."
Page 88. 

"Viewing events and situations in a positive light is important. The strength, wisdom and cheerfulness that accompany such an attitude lead to happiness. To regard everything in a positive light or with a spirit of goodwill, however, does not mean being foolishly gullible and allowing people to take advantage of our good nature. It means having the wisdom and perception to actually move things in a positive direction by seeing things in their best light, while all the time keeping our eyes firmly focused on reality."
Page 29.

As always, thank you so much for passing along the url to this blog to others, and for sending me your comments, questions and victories at chantforhappiness@gmail.com. I answer every email.


  1. Thank you Jamie Lee for writing this blog... as a practising member who has moved away from my home a few months ago and now have no group to practice with this is an inspiration to me. Is there any way to subscribe to your blog so I can receive you latest posts.

  2. Jamie thanks a ton for creating such an inspirational blog. Simply put as "its darkest before the dawn"

  3. Hermoso y muy acertado el enfoque. Me ayudó mucho para seguir mi senda de auto disciplina. Mil gracias.