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

"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 with your ideas, questions, suggestions, victories and challenges. 

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