Wednesday, December 31, 2014

7 Questions to Start the New Year Powerfully!

I always begin a new year by evaluating the last year...
I ask myself the following questions: 

1. What am I proud of - 
what are my main accomplishments from 2014? 
2. What COULD I be proud of? 
3. What did I read?
4. What did I learn? 
5. What new idea/modality/practice did I experience? 
6. What will I write down in my journal for the end of 2014? 
7. Who's lives did I impact? 

And I write out a list of positive accomplishments in all areas of my life, mind-body-spirit. 

And I also take a look at the not-so-positive aspects of last year. 

1. What can I do better? 
2. What behavior will I commit to changing? 
3. What behavior will I commit to doing consistently? 

I also like to write out a vision of what I want my life to be. I do that every year. I write it in present tense and put in all the elements I want. Then I read it often. 


Looking back on last year is a humbling experience for me. Last year was rough. It was easy to get caught up in the drama of what was happening in my life. And as a Buddhist, I know enough not to be swayed by the eight winds, but sometimes they blow me over anyway. 

So the new year is a great time say: 

"Hon Nim Myo! From this moment forth!" 

Here is what I resolve:

No matter what - no matter WHAT, I will chant a solid hour of Daimoku every morning with my phone in the other room. I will put my full concentration, love, passion and focus into my wonderful hour in dialogue with my one and only precious life! 

I will BE Kosen Rufu in action. Through my thoughts, words and deeds I will inspire others! 

I will spend deepen my faith every day through study. Every day. No matter what. Even if I only read a few lines from the Gosho!

I will be vigilant with myself and not complain - not blame, and never, ever feel sorry for myself! No matter what is happening in my life, complaint does not help anything! The more we complain - the more we have to complain about! The more we express gratitude - the more we have to be grateful for! 

I will encourage at least one person every single day - whether by phone or email, or in person. 

I will listen to my body - do my body meditations, do my tapping exercises and really focus on eating the very best things for my health. 

I will set concrete goals for all areas of my life - financial, health, social. 

I wish you all a wonderful, productive and happy New Year! 


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Time to Write New Year's Determinations!

Hi, I'm so sorry I haven't written lately. I've been ill. I think all of the tension of the past few months just caught up with me. Now I am on the mend!

My son Ben is good right now. 

He is still in the hospital. And we are looking for a place for him ~ where he can be happy and continue getting better. At the moment, he is much more himself, but he still has a lot of fear. The illness he is suffering from is illness that seems like an epidemic among young men in America right now. He is better after treatment, but we want him to somehow get over the fear he feels. I chant about it every day. 

He has returned to himself in so many ways. He is smiling. Yesterday he asked me if it was too late to apply to Soka University! I know your Daimoku, our Daimoku, is working! It is great to hear him thinking about a future. I want him to have hope for his life. 

In the future, I picture him in front of young people, telling his story, inspiring THEM. But we still have a way to go. He turned 22 while in the hospital. He's been there since November 9th. 

And NOW is the time for me to prepare the groundwork for the New year. 

I plan on writing out my goals in several ways. 

I will write concrete goals. 
I will write feeling goals. - How do I want to feel about things? 

Then I will chant about them on New Year's Eve, and join my fellow members at the Chicago SGI Center on New Year's Day. 

I hope you are all well and are joining your friends to chant in the New year. Throughout my Buddhist practice, no matter where I was in the World, New York, Chicago, LA, San Francisco...I ALWAYS chanted a solid hour of heartfelt Daimoku on New Year's Day. This year I will chant more than an hour, but that is always my bottom line. 

I am praying for you all - my treasured friends! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Practicing Buddhism = Banishing Fear

Embracing Nichiren Buddhism 
gives us access to living a fearless life. 
I can personally say that chanting the name of the mystic law - Nam-myoho-renge-kyo has been my key to tapping into the vital life resources that has moved me from a life of depression and unhappiness into a life of never-ending wonder and happiness. 

As Daisaku Ikeda writes in Faith into Action, page 110:(available through the SGI website - see the link to the right) 

People who have strong faith are fearless,
they can overcome anything. 
There is no obstacle or adversity 
that they cannot surmount. 
In the very depths of their lives, 
no matter what happens 
they lead lives of "the greatest of all joys." (6/10/96) 

When I first started this blog - 5 1/2 years ago, I was frequently crushingly depressed. There were days I had to just put one foot in front of the other and struggle not to cry all day. 
I began writing this blog with the determination to practice harder than I ever had before, chant at least 2 hours a day, and to prove through my efforts and results - through my life itself that ANYTHING was possible. 

If I could free myself from the depression I'd had my whole life, and that my mother also experienced...I would show that the impossible is possible, and be able to inspire countless others. Now the depression is gone and close to 35,000 people see this blog every month! 

Thank you so much for passing the link to your friends. Countless people have joined or reconnected to the SGI through this humble portal!
Many have accessed the SGI thorough the SGI link to the right:

And now, I have entered my 30th year of practice and I see this fearlessness blooming in my life like never before. 

We talk about conspicuous and inconspicuous benefits. We can SEE conspicuous benefits. They are all around us. We get the job, we make the money, we fall in love etc. But inconspicuous benefits are the treasures of the heart we build day after day after day as we sit in front of the Gohonzon (the scroll that is the mirror of our lives) and chant to bring forth our Buddha nature, chant to do our human revolution, chant to strengthen our lives. 

THAT is where the true fortune lies. For what is a new house, a new car, a new job or a new relationship when we are cowering in fear...we are afraid it is ephemeral...we're afraid we'll lose it, we're afraid of death, of life, of rejection etc. 

This practice gives us the keys to the inner kingdom where the real treasure lies. 
Fresh Determination

Whatever is troubling you, 
whatever you are desiring, 
whatever you do 
KEEP CHANTING every day twice a day, 
KEEP STUDYING Daisaku Ikeda and the Gosho 
with your life!
and your life will unfold 
into a beautiful chapter you have written...
with every tear...with every smile...and with every effort you've made to sit down, face your life and chant!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

3 Point Vow for World Peace and Self Transformation

The words above may be a bit hard to read. 
They are:
Even if today may seem to be a time of total darkness, 
it will not last forever. 
The dawn will surely come if you advance, 
ever forward, without being defeated. 
The day will definitely come 
when you can look back fondly and declare, 
"I am savoring this happiness 
because I struggled back then."
It is those who know the bitterness of winter 
that can savor the true joy of spring. 
Aren't these wise words? Aren't all of Daisaku Ikeda's words full of wisdom, practical wisdom for our lives? I feel such gratitude to be able to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo along with my mentor, Daisaku Ikeda, and along with all of you, my friends all over the world. I have been hearing from so many of you...all my courageous friends. 

We all live noble lives as Votaries of the Lotus Sutra. Our great vow in life is to usher in the new age of light, of happiness, of respect and love. We call it kosen rufu, and I believe every person longs for this new world. Everyone longs for a world of peace, a world of no violence, a world of love. How do we do this? We do it through our own Human Revolution. 

We do our Human Revolution by making our great vow for kosen-rufu. What does this mean for each of us? Here is my interpretation 

As you know, last November 18th the Soka Gakkai opened the Hall of the Great Vow for Kosen Rufu. We can now travel to the hall to renew our vow for Kosen Rufu. (There are specifications for entry. Please check with your local SGI center) 

Please do not cut and paste the following. 

3 Point Vow for Kosen Rufu 
By Jamie Lee Silver, from 

1. I vow to use my life for Kosen Rufu. I vow to use every thought, every action, every word and every prayer to transform my life, to discard the transient and reveal the true, and to change my life and the world through tapping into the power my life inherently possesses through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, studying Buddhism, doing shakubuku and deepening my connection with my mentor-in-life Daisaku Ikeda.  This vow gives rise to the wisdom to take the right actions in all areas of my life! 

2. I vow to live my life as an example that happiness, absolute happiness, is possible. I vow to use my life as an inspiration for people to learn about chanting, and tap into their own limitless potential. 

3. I vow to win in all areas of my life, health, love, happiness, friendships, family, (both my real family and my Gakkai family) work, writings and fortune for the sake of Kosen Rufu. 

As we near the end of the year I hope you are feeling strong, and continuing to strengthen your practice. It starts with the vow in your heart! Strength is the source of happiness! I am chanting for strength, and to experience life as the Buddha I am. 

I am always chanting my vow of kosen-rufu. "Life! let me accomplish THIS ________so I can inspire others!" Your prayer is the same. Chant for what you want...exactly what you want. We all deserve to have our dreams come true. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

PowerPrayer for Absolute Victory Over Our Biggest Challenge!

When dealing with the extreme challenges of life...those problems that we KNOW are going to make us better people, strengthen our faith and develop our lives, how do we keep going when things get rough? 

How do we keep putting one foot in front of the other when it can appear our efforts aren't doing any good? 

As you know, I am in the throes of the biggest challenge of my life - finding victory for my son who has an illness that confounds even the most seasoned professionals. 

I am the Buddha on the team devoted to healing him and keeping him safe. I chant for his doctors, his counselors and the others who are surrounding him. I bring them information and resources that may help Ben, and they trust and work with me. We respect each other. And my family is all working in harmony as well...fueled by my daimoku and all of our determination.  

And sometimes, even though I am a Buddha, even though I chant Daimoku, I feel a moment of defeat. I am human. 

Yesterday I felt all I'd done was never going to be enough and the situation was hopeless. 

So what did I do? I called two of my Buddhist mentors. One encouraged me that giving up was not an option (I knew this in my heart). And the other praised me for doing my best at every moment and helping to reveal what needed to be revealed in the situation. She helped me see the benefit in all I have been doing. She helped me to appreciate the benefit in the moment. 

I felt so great after talking to her! THIS is why it is so important to find a mentor in faith whom we can talk to...who can share our struggles and encourage us when the going gets rough. 

The Soka Gakkai is FILLED with glorious mentors and warm hearts. We all need to reach out and develop these relationships. Finding and developing mentors is up to US! I have mentors because I have chanted to find people who inspire me. I have chanted to connect with my leaders. You can too. 

If you are hiding your heart, please consider that there may be another way. You can chant to connect with mentors who will inspire that you can be a mentor to others and inspire them. That's what it means to be a Buddha. Reach out! Ask for guidance from your local leaders. Chant to really find someone who can share your heart. It is so important. 

In the November 21st World Tribune, Nick Wilkinson quoted from the Gosho 

A Ship to Cross the Sea of Suffering.

"The currents of hardship 
pour into the sea of the Lotus Sutra 
and rush against its votary. 
The river is not rejected by the ocean; 
nor does the votary reject suffering. 
Were it not for the flowing rivers, 
there would be no sea. 
Likewise, without tribulation 
there would be no votary of the Lotus Sutra."
(The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p.3

Here is my offering to you today: 

PowerPrayer for Absolute Victory Over Our Biggest Challenge! 
by Jamie Lee Silver of

Oh life!

Even through my tears I will win over this HUGE obstacle!

Even when I feel defeated I know I will rise! 
I won't give up
I can't give up!

My daimoku at this very second 

infuses my life with wisdom. 
I infuse this moment with correct action. 

I KNOW what to do! 

This is my time! 

Defeating this obstacle will clear the path for me!


I am the Buddha
I am the Buddha!

Thank you, LIFE,  for this immense challenge! 

Thank you for this opportunity to grow!
Thank you for having this challenge in my life:
___________________________________________________and I am appreciating these things as I fight this great battle. I am protected in these areas:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Conspicuous and Inconspicuous Benefit - What is revealed and what we see later

No Matter what ~ Don't give up. 

And don't waste your energy on worrying. When my sweet Mommy was alive she would tell me she was worrying and I'd say "Don't worry! Chant Instead!" and sometimes she would follow my advice, and immediately feel better.  

Even when we do not see the benefits we are chanting for appear right now, our fortune is accruing through chanting. Sensei once talked about each Gongyo being a sheet of paper on our desks. It builds slowly...but it does build. And sooner or later the inconspicuous benefits will reveal themselves in our lives...just when we need them most. Dont' take my word for it. Prove it to yourself. 

Here is a quote for your day:

"There are two kinds of benefit 
that derive from faith in the Gohonzon: 
conspicuous and inconspicuous. 
Conspicuous benefit is the obvious, 
visible benefit of being protected 
or being quickly able 
to surmount a problem when it arises, 
be it an illness 
or a conflict in a personal relationship. 
Inconspicuous benefit 
is good fortune accumulated slowly but steadily, 
like the growth of a tree 
or the rising of the tide, 
which results in the forging 
of a rich and expansive state of life. 
We might not discern any change from day to day, 
but as the years pass, 
it will be clear that we've become happy, 
that we've grown as individuals. "

Daisaku Ikeda

Monday, December 8, 2014

12 Ways You Can Love Yourself Now - by Louise Hay

12 Ways You Can Love Yourself Now
By Louise Hay

I have found that there is only one thing that heals every
and that is: to love yourself. 
When people start to love themselves more each day, 
it’s amazing how their lives get better. 
They feel better. 
They get the jobs they want. 
They have the money they need. 
Their relationships either improve, 
or the negative ones dissolve and new ones begin.

Loving yourself is a wonderful adventure; 
it’s like learning to fly. 
Imagine if we all had the power to fly at will? 
How exciting it would be! Let’s begin to love 
ourselves now.

Here are 
12 Commandments to help you learn how to love yourself:

1. Stop All Criticism.

Criticism never changes a thing. 
Refuse to criticize yourself. 
Accept yourself exactly as you are. 
Everybody changes. 
When you criticize yourself, 
your changes are negative. 
When you approve of yourself, your changes are positive.

2. Forgive Yourself.

Let the past go. 
You did the best you could at the time 
with the understanding, awareness, and knowledge 
that you had. 
Now you are growing and changing, and you will live life 

3. Don’t Scare Yourself.

Stop terrorizing yourself with your thoughts. 
It's a dreadful way to live. 
Find a mental image that gives you pleasure, and 
immediately switch your scary thought to a pleasure thought.

4. Be Gentle and Kind and Patient.

Be gentle with yourself. 
Be kind to yourself. 
Be patient with yourself 
as you learn the new ways of thinking. 
Treat yourself as you would someone you really loved.

5. Be Kind to Your Mind.

Self-hatred is only hating your own thoughts. 
Don't hate yourself for having the thoughts. 
Gently change your thoughts.

6. Praise Yourself.

Criticism breaks down the inner spirit. 
Praise builds it up. 
Praise yourself as much as you can. 
Tell yourself how well you are doing with every little thing.

7. Support Yourself.

Find ways to support yourself. 
Reach out to friends and allow them to help you. 
It is being strong to ask for help when you need it.

8. Be Loving to Your Negatives.

Acknowledge that you created them to fulfill a need. 
Now you are finding new, positive ways 
to fulfill those needs. 
So lovingly release the old negative patterns.

9. Take Care of Your Body.

Learn about nutrition. 
What kind of fuel does your body need 
in order to have optimum energy and vitality? 
Learn about exercise. 
What kind of exercise do you enjoy? 
Cherish and revere the temple you live in.

10. Do Mirror Work.

Look into your eyes often.
Express this growing sense of love you have for yourself
Forgive yourself while looking into the mirror. 
Talk to your parents while looking into the mirror. 
Forgive them, too. 
At least once a day, say, I love you, I really love you!

11. Love Yourself . . . Do It Now.

Don't wait until you get well, 
or lose the weight, 
or get the new job, 
or find the new relationship. 
Begin now—and do the best you can.

12. Have Fun.

Remember the things that gave you joy as a child.
 Incorporate them into your life now. 
Find a way to have fun with everything you do. 
Let yourself express the joy of living. 
Rejoice, and the Universe rejoices with you!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

5 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, and study.

powerful practice 
has these cornerstones: 

    • 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. I invite you to 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:

    Five 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 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 our 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. Move Our bodies
    When there's movement in our bodies, there's movement in our lives!

    4. Listen to Music
    Listening to music we love lowers our blood pressure and calms stress. Stress is what leads to inflammation and inflammation leads to all kinds of diseases.  

    5. Take Time to Play
    Yes, we all have responsibilities but we all NEED time to enjoy our lives...time to laugh...time to have fun. When is the last time you did something purely for the fun of it! Let's enjoy ourselves! 

    Friday, December 5, 2014

    Go Buddha GO! Tell Your Life Exactly What You Want! ROARRRRR!


    As practitioners of the Lotus Sutra, we chant the Mystic Law every single day. Intoning Nam-myoho-renge-kyo (which means: I fuse my life with the Mystic law of cause and effect through sound vibration) is a noble cause. It elevates our life condition, and the life condition and vibration of all of life. 
    We chant for ourselves. 
    We chant for others. 
    We chant for this life and this world. 
    We change our karma 
    for the sake of changing the whole world's karma.  
    We are the noble Boddhisatvas of the earth 
    and Votaries of the Lotus Sutra. 
    We TELL our lives what we want. 
    We do not ask for favors from a force outside of our lives. 
    We ARE Nam-myoho-renge-kyo! 
    We know that the goal of our practice is to have faith like flowing we chant every day, twice a day...we study...we encourage each other, introduce others and attend our SGI meetings. 

    And....Sometimes it seems like it is taking FOREVER for a benefit to come or an obstacle to go away, doesn't it? Even though we KNOW the answer lies within our own karma, and in doing our human revolution, sometimes we just have to get mad at our own life and wake those Shoten Zenjin UP!

    In the February Living Buddhism Magazine
    (published by the SGI-USA and available by calling 800-835-4558) one of my favorite Gosho passages appeared. In this Gosho, Nichiren Daishonin has been persecuted by the government and is being taken away to Tatsunokuchi Beach to be beheaded. On the way, he sees a statue of Hachiman, one of the Buddhist deities (which represent functions within our own lives). 

    He makes the entourage stop so he can address the statue. (The full quote is at the end of this blogpost)

    What I love about this moment in the Gosho is that he basically yells at the Buddhist God and says you had better show your support to me RIGHT NOW because that is the pledge you made. If I die I will report you! Get to work! Of course, after he yells at the statue, when Nichiren is taken to the beach to be beheaded, a huge orb comes out of the sky lighting up the faces of his would-be assassins, they all run scared, and he is saved from death. 

    Nichiren's indignant attitude when he addresses the statue shows us we can summon our anger at the forces within our life. We can all pray in front of our own Gohonzons with fury and with fire. 

    I just finished two and a half hours of Daimoku chanted with this kind of energy. As I was chanting I had this in mind: 

    PowerPrayer to MAKE IT HAPPEN!
    I kept this prayer in my mind while chanting...picturing the Shoten Zenjin rushing to my aid, the country's aid, and the world's aid right now!  
    By Jamie Lee Silver of

    Shoten Zenjin! 
    this HAS TO CHANGE NOW!!! 
    I Don't know HOW to make it happen. 
    I just know it HAS TO!!
    It is time for me to see results in this area. 
    I demand: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    We can all summon this fiery attitude at the crucial moment - we are ALL dignified votaries of the Lotus Sutra, we can all command the fundamental forces that are within our lives and represented on the Gohonzon. 

    Here is the Gosho passage: 

    Nichiren stops at the statue and shouts: 

    'Great Boddhisatva Hachiman, are you truly a god?...Now I, Nichiren, and the foremost votary of the Lotus Sutra in all of Japan, and am entirely without guilt. I have expounded the doctrine to save all the people of Japan from falling into the great citadel of the hell of incessant suffering for slandering the Lotus Sutra....When Shakyamuni Buddha expounded the Lotus Sutra, Many Treasures Buddha and the Buddhas and Boddhisatvas of the ten-directions gathered, shining like so many suns and moons, stars and mirrors. In the presence of the countless heavenly gods as well as the benevolent deities and sages of India, China and Japan. Shakyamuni Buddha urged each one to submit a written pledge to protect the votary of the Lotus Sutra at all times. Each and every one of you gods made this pledge. I should not have to remind you. Why do you not appear at once to fulfill your solemn oath? ....If I am executed tonight and go to the pure land of Eagle Peak, I will dare to report to Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, that the Sun Goddess and Great Boddhisatva Hachiman are the deities who have broken their oath to him. If you feel this will go hard with you, you had better do something about it right away!' (WND - 1, 766-67)