Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Incredible Buddhist Quotes for Overcoming Illness - Please share

Inspiring Quotes for Overcoming Illness

(The person who originally compiled these quotes was able to use the practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo  - meaning: I fuse my life with the mystic law of cause and effect through sound vibration and modern medicine to overcome breast cancer completely. She now lives in total health!) 

To learn more about the practice of Practical Buddhism you can click on the SGI link to the right. There are practitioners in 193 countries who would love to help you! 

From Jamie Lee Silver from ChantforHappiness.com

Quotes 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. 

“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

“Becoming ill in itself is certainly not a sign of defeat.  Even the Buddha, who is said to have ‘few ills and few worries’ (LS, 214), struggles with sickness from time to time.  Accordingly, there will be times when we are confronted with illness.  The important point above all is not to be defeated mentally or emotionally by the prospect of being ill.  Faith is the source of the fighting spirit to stand up to illness.  Therefore, as we noted earlier, Nichiren Daishonin first of all talks about the ‘treasure of faith’.  Pg 77

“As Nichiren says, ‘Illness gives rise to the resolve to attain the way’ (The Good Medicine for All Ills, WND-1, 937).  If a practitioner who upholds faith in the Mystic Law becomes ill, it definitely has some profound meaning.  It could be said that confronting illness is one route to awakening to the eternity of life.  President Toda often said, ‘A person who has overcome a major illness knows how to deeply savor life.’” Pg78

From Matilda Buck’s guidance, World Tribune 4/27/01 pg 10 “When We Face Disappointment” – regarding SGI leaders who overcame cancer and chanted this way:  

Through this experience, 
I will become someone 
who does not doubt the Gohonzon (my life), 
no matter what happens.
As a Bodhisattva of the Earth, 
I have the mission to experience this, 
and as a Bodhisattva of the Earth, 
I have the mission to create a victory.
I will share the power of Buddhism with others, 
even as I grapple with this experience.
I won’t let my spirits stay down.  
I won’t make a place in my life for negativity to settle!

From The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra Volume 6:  “Praying with doubt is like trying to keep water in a bathtub with the plug pulled.  Our good fortune and benefit will drain away.  A passage from the ‘Perceiver of the World’s Sounds’ chapter reads, ‘from thought to thought never entertaining doubt!’  A confident prayer will reverberate powerfully throughout the entire universe.”  Pg 88

From Buddhism Day by Day:

“Buddhism views illness as an opportunity to attain a higher, nobler state of life.  It teaches that, instead of agonizing over a serious disease, or despairing of ever overcoming it, we should use illness as a means to build a strong, compassionate self, which in turn will make it possible for us to be truly victorious.”  pg 300

“No matter what the circumstances, 
you should never concede defeat.  
Never conclude that you’ve reached a dead end, 
that everything is finished.  
You possess a glorious future.  
And precisely because of that, 
you must persevere and study.  
Life is eternal.  
We need to focus on the two existences 
of the present and the future 
and not get caught up in the past.  
We must always have the spirit to begin anew 
‘from this moment,’ 
to initiate a new struggle each day.” Pg. 315

“The air around us 
is filled with radio waves of various frequencies.  
While these are invisible, 
a television set can collect them 
and turn them into visible images.  
The practice of chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo 
aligns the rhythm of our own lives with the world of Buddhahood in the universe.  
it ‘tunes’ our lives, so to speak, 
so that we can manifest 
the power of Buddhahood in our very beings.”  Pg 314

From For Today and Tomorrow Daily Encouragement by Daisaku Ikeda:

Sept 20 pg. 288:  

When your determination changes, 
everything else will begin to move 
in the direction you desire.  
The moment you resolve to be victorious, 
every nerve and fiber in your being 
will immediately orient itself toward your success.  
On the other hand, 
if you think 
“This is never going to work out,” 
then at that instant 
every cell in your being will be deflated 
and give up the fight, 
and then everything really will 
move in the direction of failure.

Aug 15 pg. 249:  

The first thing is to pray.  
From the moment we begin to pray, 
things start moving.  
The darker the night, 
the closer the dawn.  
From the moment we chant daimoku 
with a deep and powerful resolve, 
the sun begins to rise in our hearts.  
Hope – prayer is the sun of hope.  
To chant daimoku each time we face a problem, overcoming it 
and elevating our life-condition as a result – 
this is the path of 
“changing earthly desires into enlightenment,” 
taught in Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism.

Thank you so much my friends. Thank you for your emails and your Daimoku! I am here having a quiet week as I heal from my hernia surgery. I am determined that from this moment forth I am more healthy, more vibrant, more energetic and focused than ever before. But for today...I am slow...I am quiet...I am in the process of healing. 
I plan on writing a series of posts to commemorate this blog's 5th anniversary. (This week) Would you like to contribute? I'd like to have a section from readers about how something you read at chanforhappiness.com led you to take action in your practice or your life...email me at chantforhappiness@gmail.com as always. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

4 Ways to Strengthen our Practice and our Lives

Flowers in Gratitude for you!

Thank you so much. I am healing very nicely, and just basking in the glow of all the Daimoku you are chanting for me. No surgery is really fun, but I feel like I will heal in no time because of you. Here I share with you a popular post from a few months ago: 

"First you must be strong. There is no hope of winning in this chaotic world if you are weak. No matter what others do or say, it is important to develop your ability and put that ability to use. Strong faith, of course, is the best means for drawing out one's inner strength. You each have a very important mission and I hope you will awaken to it and take pride in that mission." 
Daisaku Ikeda, Faith in Action, page 139

I received a letters from a reader recently. She wrote that she chants consistently for one week, and then stops chanting for a week and her anxiety and depression immediately comes back. Every other week she forces herself to chant again, and then stops. She said she was struggling and not overcoming her problems. 

Chanting inconsistently is a very difficult way to practice. It is much easier to establish a twice a day practice and stick with it. But how do we do this? 

How can we reinforce our determination to practice twice a day every day, strengthen our lives and create unshakable benefit? 

The benefits of consistent practice are many. 
For one, it's easier. Once you establish the practice you just greet your life twice a day in front of the Gohonzon without having to force yourself to do it. It just becomes part of your life. With consistent practice we strengthen our lives and raise our life conditions. 

With consistent practice chanting is easier, life is easier, benefits flow more consistently, and we change our karma, embrace our challenges and win over any challenge we face. With consistent practice we change our lives for the better. This is the way it works. 

Positive Psychologists talk about something called "Activation Energy." 
It is the energy to get something new up and running. 

We can compare the launching our consistent practice to an airplane taking off. Each airplane has to advance down the runway with engines firing. Once the plane gets in the air it switches to a steady maintenance energy, but it HAS to fire those rockets to get off the ground. 

How do you fire your own rockets? 

Three ways to Strengthen Your Practice:

1. Be active in the SGI

Being a part of the SGI, attending meetings and practicing with your friends in faith is essential. (You can click on the SGI Portal to the right to find your local SGI, if you're not connected yet. Remember there are no dues or rules or priests. The SGI is an organization of people working together for their own happiness and the sake of others.) 

The friends you make in the SGI are friends who will help you get those engines firing and help you lift into the air. And the beautiful thing is, as another is helping YOU, they are also helping themselves. That is just the way it works. And you can be this friend for others and help them chant too. TO join, use the link at the right or go to SGI-USA.org

"The mind of faith is invisible. Those who advance together with the organization dedicated to Kosen-rufu will evolve the correct mind of faith that matches the time. With this mind of faith, you can fill the canvas of your lives with portraits of happiness in which all your wishes are fulfilled."
Daisaku Ikeda, Faith in Action, Page. 138

2. Chant as often as possible 
with your Friends in Faith

When I was first chanting my SGI friend and mentor came to my house every morning for a few weeks to help me generate "activation energy" for my practice, and establish a consistent practice. I liked the feeling of doing gongyo consistently, and was able to keep my plane in the air after that. 

Only those who practice twice a day know how great it is ~ 
My dear "Baby Buddha" (the nickname she chose for herself) heard me tell her for two years to chant every morning and evening, and she replied that she doesn't do ANYTHING consistently and wasn't going to do this. No way. I kept chanting for her and inviting her to chant. And one day, she just made the decision to try chanting twice a day to see how it felt. She couldn't believe how different she felt. She also realized a deep desire and began to chant for it to happen. Now she lives in Colorado - she got what she was chanting for! THIS is why we practice. Our desires are worth chanting for! 

3. Chant with Others Even if You're Not Together

When I began this blog and my two-hour a day chanting campaign, my friend Melissa and I would text each other twice a day when we began chanting. She lived far away so we only chanted together about once a week, but just knowing we were chanting at the same time really helped. Sometimes we would call each other before we chanted and tell each other what we were focusing on for that hour so we could chant specifically for each other's desires. 

5. Chant to Strengthen your Practice and Your Life!
Having a strong prayer to strengthen your practice will really help!

You may have other ways of creating and maintaining your consistent practice. Please share them with me and I'll share them with the other readers of this blog. Email me at chantforhappiness.com with your ideas, questions, suggestions, victories and challenges. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

10 Positivity Essentials!

We all have them! Many challenges!
Here are ten of my favorite tips for sailing through difficult times!

As so many of you know, this blog is based on a practice that is new to this country and new to the world. The practice of ordinary people chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo  - and thus tapping into the universe within themselves with no intermediary - has its origins as the Title of the Buddha's highest teaching, The Lotus Sutra. But most people did not begin the chanting of this title until the Soka Gakkai SGI was founded by the educator Tsunesaburu Makiguchi in war-time Japan in 1930. He later died in prison for refusing to support the war efforts of Japan. His follower, Josei Toda accompanied him to prison, and lived to be released to lay the great foundation for kosen-rufu (world peace). Our living mentor, Daisaku Ikeda, was Josei Toda's disciple, and has dedicated his entire life to us, and to the many future generations who will look back upon this historical time in respect and wonder. These three men, and all of us chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo today, are ALL pioneers of a great movement for peace. We chant for our desires, we chant for other people's desires, we chant for wisdom for ourselves and for the world. 
I highly recommend the new book "Waking the Buddha" by Clark Strand, available on Amazon.com for a really enlightening chronicle of our revolutionary new form of Buddhism.

What follows is a blog post going out to the 35,000 readers of Chantforhappiness.com. I invite you to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this post. I am looking for a web guru who can help me convert this blog into a more flexible format...probably wordpress. Would you like to help? Please email me at chantforhappiness@gmail.com if you'd like to submit your ideas and/or expertise. As always, I do not officially represent the SGI although I am an enthusiastic member in the Chicago area, and owe my strong practice to ALL my wonderful mentors who have helped me along the way, including many readers!

10 Positivity Essentials!

1. Realize you are a Boddhisatva of the earth. You are important. You deserve every happiness.

2. Make a list of what you want, or write out a narrative of how your life could be. I write my narrative in the present tense, and rewrite it whenever I feel like I need a refresher.

3. Assemble your team of friends in faith. Chant to break through in deepening your relationships with fellow members. We are all the most wonderful family. We need to appreciate each other! 

4. Assemble your team of inspiring people who do mot practice. Some of my friends are healers, poets, writers who do not practice but with whom I still share a great bond. 

5. Establish the strongest practice EVER!
Set a minumum level of daimoku a day - I chant at least an hour. When people ask me how can I do that the answer is simple. I HAVE to do it because my happiness is important to me and everyone I touch. Being in rhythm makes me happy. Helping others become happier is my raison d'etre - (reason to be alive!) There are days I chant more than an hour a day - as often as I can. Are there days I chant less? Yes, occasionally, but I get back on the hour a day as soon as I can because I can feel the difference. I tend to go to bed early and wake up three hours before I need to leave the house so I can chant an hour, write for you for an hour and get ready for the day.

6. Chant with people often!

7. Study, study, study the works of Daisaku Ikeda and the Gosho. Get your local SGI publication

8. Watch your mind. Guard against negativity.

9. Watch Your WORDS. Oh so important!

10. Always be learning

I'm here on my patio and it's a lovely morning. I just have to assume my surgery went well, and that I am healing correctly. I'm in a lot of pain, but only when I move. My son Aaron is here with me. And I'm writing to you. 
Good morning, and once again, thank you with all my heart for your emails and daimoku!

Friday, July 25, 2014

At Home Resting ~ Let the Healing Begin

Sending love!
I'm sitting on my patio enjoying the nice evening.
I can feel all your Daimoku!

Surgery Today ~ Thank you for Chanting!

I will be brief, because I want to chant for an hour before I go to Elmhurst Hospital for surgery to repair a tear in my abdominal wall that is not causing me any trouble, but the experts say could get worse if I do not fix it. 

All day yesterday I heard from you. And my appreciation is boundless. Knowing you are chanting for me, and hearing about how my words ~ my heart ~ has touched your lives is warming my soul. One day, I hope to write the story of this blog, (which is about to celebrate its 5th year!) and include YOU because you are why I write. I am saving all your letters and emails and one day you may be in it, my friends. 

It is 6:10am ~ my sister picks me up at 7:10 and the surgery should be around 9:00 if all goes well. Then, they sew me up and send me home.  

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is like the roar of a lion, what sickness could therefore be an obstacle? 

Going off to roar now!

You can email me at chantforhappiness@gmail.com, or at Jamie Lee Silver 17W702 Butterfield Rd, #104, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181 USA

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Going into Surgery with Strength

Hi, tomorrow I go in for surgery.

All week I have been going from emotion to emotion about this. Yesterday I had some acupuncture done and have felt much calmer since then. 

Last night we had a great meeting here on the nature of absolute happiness. Happiness is not things. It is not status. There is no end to wanting those things. I have a friend who has everything, family, nice home, you name it...and he once lamented about the Bentley car a neighbor had. There is no end to the search for happiness derived from fleeting things of this world. 

That is why I concentrate on chanting for strength. When you have strength life itself is a joy. Life Itself is a joy. In this month's Living Buddhism on page 33, in the New Human Revolution Volume 26, chapter 2, installments 30-42 Daisaku Ikeda writes:

"Strong people can be said to have a firm sense of purpose in life, or deeply held convictions or true friends. We, in the Soka Gakkai, have all three. We have the lofty purpose of realizing kosen-rufu and attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime. And we have the unshakable conviction that in upholding Nichiren Buddhism we can achieve indestructible happiness for ourselves and others. Finally, we have trusted comrades in faith and a Soka family united in a network of friendship, where we mutually encourage and support one another."

So I enter into surgery tomorrow in a high life state. I will be chanting for some time later...and focusing on showing actual proof through my life, and focusing on having a little bit of time to accomplish some goals as I am healing. It is hernia surgery...not related to any illness...just a repair that needs to be fixed. This will happen tomorrow the 25th, not sure what time yet. 

Thanks for your Daimoku!

Thank you for your notes of encouragement! 
My heart is with all of YOU! 

Write me at chantforhappiness@gmail.com, Or, if you'd like to send a written note my address is 17W702 Butterfield, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181. USA

Saturday, July 19, 2014

"I Summoned This Storm!" PowerPrayer to move from Victim to Victor! The most important realization you will ever have.

According to Daisaku Ikeda, we summon the exact set of obstacles we need to springboard our lives to the next level of practice and happiness. 
We will be better off for them!  
We summoned these storms. 
Realizing THIS takes our lives from Victim to Victory! This simple change in perspective brings incredible power to our Daimoku. When we are chanting we can address our lives and roar like the lions (Buddhas!) we are. What follows is a powerprayer I offer you to reclaim your life and move from Victim to Victor. As always, I offer you my writings from my heart, not as an official SGI representative, although I love the organization and encourage everyone to participate - if you are not yet a member please use this link to connect: sgi-usa.org 

For Reclaiming My Own Life 
and Moving 
From Victim to VICTOR 
Read this before you chant 
and hold its spirit in your heart and mind - that's what a PowerPrayer - A Fresh Determination is...
by Jamie Lee Silver from Chantforhappiness.com. Excerpt from the soon to be published book PowerPrayers for Chanting Your Way to Absolute Happiness and Success:

LIFE !! 
I get it! 
I summoned this storm and I will WIN over it !
Shoten Zenjin (protective forces of the universe within all life) 
I now command you to fulfill these prayers!__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
I am a precious Votary of the Lotus Sutra 
and I vow to PROVE the POWER of the MYSTIC LAW 
through my own victories - 
so I can encourage everyone that 
I will NOW raise my life condition to a level I have never before experienced. 

I see through the eyes of the Buddha, 
I feel with the heart of the Buddha
I AM the Buddha! 
The universe exists within ME! 
I am CLAIMING power over my own life. 
No more complaining for me! 
No More "Woe is me!" 
Starting today ~ with this Daimoku ~ 
I bring forth all the wisdom I need
                             to know what I need to do - 
All the courage I need ~ 
                             to take the right action 
All the perfect timing I need ~ 
                             to accomplish what I want
And the People and Resources I need ~ 
                             ALL appear right now! 
I am a powerful being waging a powerful war against the fundamental darkness inherent in all of life and I will WIN. 
Starting today 
I will win in:______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


This PowerPrayer has been inspired by the Gosho Study that permanently changed my life from the August of 2013 Living Buddhism "The Three Obstacles and Four Devils" written in November 1277 to the youngest Ikegami brother, Munenega, after his brother had been disowned by his father for his faith in Nichiren Buddhism. 

President Ikeda's lecture from the August Living Buddhism on this Gosho includes these words: 

"Though we speak of the "three obstacles and four devils" appearing, no one wishes to have to face adversity. 
That is surely a natural human reaction. 
But Nichiren says that 
the appearance of the three obstacles and four devils 
is a source of JOY. 
How could that be? 
It doesn't seem possible. 
But it is, in fact, 
by overcoming the steep hills and inclines of obstacles 
we can forge our lives 
and ascend the summit of Buddhahood, 
where we can savor the sublime vista of 
eternity, happiness, true self and purity."

He goes on to say:

"We need to "own" them (our obstacles) as something we ourselves have summoned up...we are in charge, we are the protagonists...the struggle against the three obstacles and four devils is indeed a great joy."

President Ikeda goes on to say:
"As Nichiren Daishonin writes: "When a tiger roars, gales blow; when a dragon intones, clouds gather" (The Workings of Brahma and Shakra," WND-1, 799) When we adopt this attitude ~ "I summoned this storm!~ our hearts will be filled with the bright sense of hope and purpose." (All quotes from the 2013 August Living Buddhism, pages 21, 22) 

Write me your victories at Chantforhappiness@gmail.com! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

18 Types of Fortune and 3 Ways we BUILD Fortune in Our Lives

I get many emails asking how to get money  ~ and asking "Is it ok to chant for money? 
As you know, I am an enthusiastic SGI member, and this blog is not an official SGI blog. Here I share my heart of faith with you. 
First I would would like to say to chant for exactly what you want. If you need money chant for money~! You deserve to have what you need. There are many, many examples of people chanting for money and getting it. I chanted for 5K and got it immediately. 

But underlying the need for money there is a deeper and more exciting benefit that we can access within our lives. We can access and build TRUE FORTUNE into our lives. 

What is FORTUNE? How do we build it for ourselves?

First of all, fortune is self made. No matter what our levels of fortune may be before we begin practicing Buddhism, once we begin intoning the name of the Law of Cause and Effect, the Mystic Law itself, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, our lives begin to move in the direction of fortune. 

With our Daimoku (chanting) we begin "changing from the inside out", the ONLY way to affect true and lasting change. 

And with each passing day of chanting, studying, encouraging others and introducing people to this practice our fortune grows and grows.

Fortune :

Daisaku Ikeda states: "Governments come and go, economies rise and fall, and society changes constantly. Only the good fortune we accumulate during our lives lasts forever. True victors are those who cultivate the tree of Buddhahood in the vast earth of their lives while achieving success both in society and in their personal lives through true faith and a true way of living. (Faith in Action page 110)

Fortune is being in rhythm so that we KNOW what to do, and have the spirit, conviction and courage to make the best possible causes at all times! 

Fortune is being in the right place at the right time. 

Fortune is Happiness and the ability to overcome any suffering and turn poison into medicine.

Fortune is strength and resiliency. 

Fortune is getting a call from an associate about a job opportunity that happens to be perfect for you. 

Fortune is having the courage and wisdom to say what must be said and do what must be done at the crucial moment. 
I had one of these crucial moments yesterday and I trusted myself to take the correct action and I'm really satisfied that I did the right thing... the absolute right action. buddhist wisdom in action. That's fortune. 

Fortune is always having what you need when you need it. 

Fortune is having the time to chant to our heart's content and encourage others, too. 

Fortune is being able to join harmoniously with our fellow SGI members creating a new kind of family for us all. 

Fortune is being born at the same time as Daisaku Ikeda and learning how to engrave the mentor disciple relationship into our lives so that it is a living, powerful source of energy and wisdom in our lives.  

Fortune is the finding solace and peace even when we have lost a loved one. 

Fortune is experiencing the true depth of friendship... knowing how to be a friend, attracting, keeping and appreciating quality people in our lives.  

Fortune is experiencing how to love and be loved in return. 

Fortune is the freedom to live our lives as we want...traveling freely and happily. 

Fortune is health. 

Fortune is the ability to laugh.  

Fortune is the ability to sit in front or our Gohonzons and cary out a meaningful dialogue within our own lives that makes the impossible possible,and brings happiness to ourselves and our families, friends and world.

Fortune is seeing that advertisement for exactly what we need when we need it. A few years ago I kick started my 70 pound weight loss by turning on the TV and seeing a weight loss program being advertised that I ordered and really worked for me. Another time I googled "Agents looking for authors" and found out about a Writer's Digest Conference in New York. A week later I was on a plane to a conference that really forwarded my writing career. 

How do we build fortune for ourselves?

1. First we must build a strong practice 
The more "work" we put into building our practice...the less "work" we have to put into our lives...the less struggling we have to do. We can use all the resources at our disposal to CREATE the discipline to be able to chant twice a day every day and participate in activities. Being a part of the SGI is crucial. Click on the link to the right or send me an email if you need help finding your local organization. Having the wisdom to ask for assistance is crucial. Having a seeking mind to understand how and why the Mystic law can have such a profound effect on our lives is important. Studying our SGI publications is important. We call this having a seeking spirit. Chanting at least an hour a day is the fuel most people need to get the motor of their lives started. Some people prefer two hours or more. (If you don't have this time right now you can chant to have more time to chant!)

Fortune Comes from Having the spirit and the prayer: 

"I will WIN because my life is important. I will use my life as a shining example that this practice works!! My winning will be a real "win/win" because I will inspire others to the greatness of their own lives! I will win for kosen-rufu. I will win over my own negativity. I will absolutely do this!" 

2. Determine and believe we DESERVE what we want fuels our fortune. Every action we take all day long is a cause for our happiness. What do we want? Why do we want it? What can we do to fuel that desire? When I was 70 pounds heavier I wrote all the reasons I wanted to be thin. And I read that list all the time. I still have it. I found pictures of how I wanted to look, and I looked at them frequently. I visualized walking into a store and being able to buy any clothes I wanted! I fueled my determination. I fueled the conviction that losing weight was possible for me because I chant, and all my past failures just didn't count. 
Hon Nim Myo - "from this moment forth". Every time we chant we begin life anew. From this moment forth I will win. From this moment forth is EVERY MOMENT. We have the power to change. NOW. We chant the MYSTIC LAW underlying all of life. Wow. We are filled with fortune!

3. Chant for what we want, and Chant for STRENGTH of practice and strength of mind and heart! If we want money, we chant for money. If we want to NEVER WORRY ABOUT MONEY AGAIN - we chant with this in mind. If we want a job we chant for it. The world is OURS. We chant for exactly what we want!

What does fortune mean for you? Write me at chantforhappiness@gmail.com with your experiences and comments! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

3 Ways to Bring More Joy Into Our Lives

Yes! We can all Have SUCH JOY!

"Everything becomes a source of value, 
everything is brought to life, 
when we base ourselves on Daimoku. 
The Daishonin teaches that 
myo in Nam-myoho-renge-kyo 
means "to revive, to return to life." 
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo rejuvenates all knowledge, 
it revitalizes our daily lives. "

From Faith Into Action p.118 by Daisaku Ikeda

To build a life of happiness, strength and vigor we start with consistent practice...faith, practice and study.

I know, I know. I am constantly telling you that chanting twice a day - every day, studying, going to SGI meetings, encouraging others, and introducing people to chanting are the keystones of a powerful practice. I tell you these things because they are true. Please don't take my word for it. Please see for yourself. It cannot be described. It has to be experienced! And along with a solid practice, here are some other proven ways to build your happiness:

Three Ways 
to Bring More Joy Into Our Lives

1. Smile! 
Spreading joy will bring more joy into your life. 
WE create our joy...our environment doesn't do it for us. We can find joy anywhere...in noticing the beauty of the sky, in a flower, in a smile. The scientific research I am reporting in my speeches prove that EMOTIONS are contagious. We can spread our smiles and make a cause for everyone's happiness. Our smiles literally light up the happiness emotion in another person's brain - whether they smile back at us or not! 

2. Improve Your Word Choices
Our words both express and determine how we feel. Why feel overwhelmed when you can choose to feel "In demand" instead. Why be "stressed" when you could be "blessed"? Our words are so much more powerful than we think!  

3. Exercise and Listen to Music
In my research I've also learned that science has proven that exercise releases "feel good" hormones in our bodies. And so does listening to music we love. It lowers our blood pressure and calms stress. Stress is what leads to inflammation and inflammation leads to all kinds of diseases.  Now, I'm not a doctor, but I can tell you exercise will make you happier. But only if you do it!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Great Victory for My Sons

Aaron and Meg

Aaron and Meg (his wonderful girl friend) just completed their second year of Medical School here in Chicago at the Stritch Loyola School of Medicine and just took the most important test of their lives - their medical boards. 

This test determined their options for residency - the higher the score - the more options open to them in terms of types of medical practice they can do. 

Several years ago I shared Aaron's experience of getting into medical school...how he chanted every day for months and months to get into the right medical school for his life. 

All I can say is Stritch is a very special place, and he has had one wonderful experience after another ~ including meeting the incredible Meg, who came from California (where Aaron was born) to go to school here.

This year Aaron challenged the Boards test with all his might. He upped his level of Daimoku and made sure to chant every day. Several times we chanted an hour together. And he and Meg NAILED this test! ANY realm of medicine is open to them. Even the more competitive areas. They will spend the next year exploring what it's actually like to practice as they practice and work with various types of doctors. 

And my son Ben is doing well too! He is enjoying his life. The other day I called him and he was at Great America Amusement Park and had just gone on the Big Drop three times and was full of excitement and enthusiasm. Nothing could make me happier. Thank you to all of you who chanted for Ben during this difficult year. Thank you with all my heart! 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Inspiration Comes in While Chanting

Why do I chant an hour a day?  
Why would anyone do this? 

I like life to be easy...free...and to flow. 

I like going into the new week with a feeling of assurance and an absence of fear. I call it "walking on a pillow of Daimoku" and I have a certain level I need to chant to feel that way. Maybe everyone is different. I can't speak for other people...I can only report my own observations and results. 

This week is packed with speaking engagements, and I really want to make a difference in the lives I will be touching. As you may know, I work in the field of senior living. I believe that here in America we need to change the way we think about aging, and the words that we use to express this experience. Even the word "aging" is becoming unpopular...so what do we call it? I am doing my own personal survey. Do you have some ideas for me? I am fascinated by the way the baby boomers are changing the experience of growing older. I am continually inspired by stories of people achieving great things late in life, and seeing them glow with a youthful burning spirit. 

One community here in the Chicago area has redefined retirement as rePRIORment. I love this. I know many who will not retire, but will reprioritize their lives and continue moving forward. How will each of us change as we enter our later years. What new words will WE use to describe our experiences? 

When I look at our own mentor I am so inspired. In the June 2014 World Tribune President Ikeda writes that he has made it to the year 1978 in the writing of his memoir...his chronicle of kosen-rufu in action, and the growth of our movement. He is writing every day and not stopping for a minute in his work for kosen rufu. He's in his mid eighties.
And he'll never re"tire"!

Right after I wrote the above passage I chanted the about an hour and a half and new ideas for my speech came pouring into my head. I love this practice! 

Have a great day! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

What Does Nam-myoho-renge-kyo Mean and Why do We Chant it?

What does Nam-myoho-renge-kyo mean, 
and why do we chant it? 

The literal translation is 
"I fuse my life 
with the mystic law of cause and effect 
through sound vibration." 

It is the title of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha's highest teaching that declares that ALL people possess the Buddha Nature...all people ARE Buddhas...and we can access this nature by calling it forth in our lives using this phrase. 

I like to think of it as "I am one with the rhythm of all life." It is the rhythm that exists within all of life...the reason for the turning of the tides...the reason for the seasons...the atoms that exist within every single cell...from an elephant to a spec of dust. Everything possesses this connectedness...this rhythm.  It is all encompassing and contains the wisdom and energy of all of life itself...the whole universe. 

And when we chant we tap into that energy and access it for our lives...directed towards our desires. In this practice it's okay to have desires. We don't have to alleviate them. Desires make us who we are and cause us to chant. 

When we chant we harness the energy that is our birthright. And we chant twice a day, every single day, to get and keep our lives in rhythm. 

When we are in rhythm we are in the right place at the right time... to find out about the job...or to meet the man of our dreams...or to protect our child from danger. When we are in rhythm life isn't so much of a struggle as it is a joy...we see the beauty in everything and we feel our lives overflowing with appreciation. We chant for something and get it or something better. We get access to emotions and a level of internal happiness and strength that cannot be blown away by any event or obstacles. In fact we view obstacles themselves as benefits, as strange as that may sound....because obstacles make us chant more, and when we chant more we draw even higher life conditions and deeper satisfaction into our lives. 

What can we chant FOR? Anything. That's right, anything. We can chant for whatever our desire may be...even if it might not be the "right" desire for us. In the act of chanting we will change our karma and our desires themselves will naturally begin to shift. We will open our lives to the deeper wisdom within...the deeper yearning, the REAL desires that we have forgotten or given up on. We will grow. We will prosper and we will blossom. 

The challenge is...we have to DO it. We have to chant to bring all this rhythm and harmony about. And that's why we practice together as an organization, the SGI, The Soka Gakkai, our fellowship of friends who support each other, chant for each other, and create a new Soka family for each practitioner. We are so fortunate. 

I hear from people all over the world, and some have strong SGI groups in their towns and others are completely alone. I love that we can connect through the power of the internet. From the moment I began chanting almost 30 years ago I have had the deep desire to share this practice, this practice that WORKS, with everyone who is looking for the real, practical means of creating happiness and results in their lives. 

We are in this life together...sharing our challenges and our successes. If you are not yet connected to the SGI please go to sgi-usa.com and find your local members. You will be so glad you did. 

Some Powerful Quotes from Daisaku Ikeda:

THIS moment, this instant, is important, not some unknown time in the
future. Today, this very day is what matters. You must put your whole
being into the time that exists now. For future victory rests in the
present moment.

BUDDHISM holds that everything is in a constant state of flux. Thus,
the question is whether we are to accept change passively and be swept
away by it, or whether we are to take the lead and create positive
changes on our own initiative. While conservatism and self-protection
might be likened to winter, night and death, the spirit of pioneering
and attempting to realise the ideals evokes the images of spring,
morning and birth.

DO gongyo and chant daimoku with a fresh spirit. And, filled with
renewed vitality, build a history of accumulating fresh benefit.

Write me at chantforhappiness@gmail.com. I am currently collecting stories from chantforhappiness.com readers who have been inspired by this blog to connect or reconnect to the SGI, or who have achieved victories and/or been inspired by these writings. You are all my awesome friends! We are all connected to each other.