Tuesday, June 30, 2015

We are ALL Changing the Face of Aging!

Today I'm giving my speech "Goddesses Never Age" based on Christiane Northrup MD's book of the same name, and my own research. 

It is all about how our thoughts WORDS and deeds determine how we "move through time" (Not AGE!) 

She says what we consider "aging" is actually the effect of the lack of resistance to gravity. In other words, we can NOT decline as we advance through time  -  if we continue to move our bodies, expand our minds, redefine our language, and keep our social structures strong by having positive tribes of friends around us. 

This applies to men as well as women! 

We need to redefine aging...and stop thinking we are declining. Doesn't this accord perfectly with the wisdom of Buddhism. Hon-nim-myo! From this moment forth life begins! We must reprogram ourselves to thrive and advance joyfully through time! 

We need to look forward to our lives and have the same outlook centenarians (who are growing at the rate of 70,000 a year in the states) have - they are future oriented, they are rebels, and they stand up for themselves! They savor life. Theres a new department of "savoring" at Loyola University in Chicago. I'm going to look into that! 

Science is backing up the idea that finding pleasure and joy in life can actually override our genes. (And they've already found that how we age is only 25% genes and 75% lifestyle.) And we can even override that 25% based on the findings of the new study of Epigenetics. There is so much to learn and report! 

Check this out! 
There's a woman named Barbara Beskind, who, at the age of 93, wrote an introductory letter to the Silicon Valley company IDEO (which designs products for older adults.) She told them "I have never stopped learning. I have been an inventor my whole life, and now I have more wisdom than ever, and I AM your target market. You should hire me." 
And they DID. At 93! She has low vision and takes the train and a bus from her retirement community. She loves her job and her colleagues love her!

We must always have something to look forward to. Life is getting better - not declining. It's up to us! 

Christiane suggests we should not tell our age. And, if asked, we can either say "My biological age is 35 and getting younger, and my wisdom age is about 300!" or say "I'm in my ageless years." Aren't both of those responses wonderful! 

And as always, I prepare for this speech as I do for every Buddhist meeting I have ever held or attended...I chant for every single person to be forever changed in a positive way...for EACH person to leave permanently refreshed, exuberant and enlivened...with new tools to enhance their outlooks! Yes! 

I could go on and on,  but I have a speech to give! More later! Have a great day! 

Monday, June 29, 2015

12 Quotes on Strength by Daisaku Ikeda

The struggle of life is, and always will be, a struggle against your own weaknesses. Will you become cowardly and think, "I can't do this. I'm certain to fail"? Or will you challenge the difficulties that lie ahead with the conviction, "I am strong. And I can become stronger still"? Your destiny in life will vary greatly depending on the spirit that you maintain.

Resolving to take action is proof that you are progressing. Even if you have the tendency to make a determination but only stick to it for two or three days, just keep renewing that determination. Then you will become the kind of person who can persevere and reach their goals.

One cannot become a starring player in life if one is easily swayed by one’s emotions over every little thing. Strength of character lies in performing the drama of life with courage and confidence, practicing self-reflection and self-control under any circumstances.

When we decide to live each instant fully, with all our might, to live true to ourselves and make the present moment shine, we discover and bring forth immense and unimagined strength.

In life when we feel we have reached a limit, that is when the true battle begins. Just when you despair and think it is impossible to go any further, will you become apathetic, or will you say it’s not over and stand up with an unyielding spirit? The battle is decided by this single determination.

Whether we regard difficulties in life as misfortunes or whether we view them as good fortune depends entirely on how much we have forged our inner determination. It all depends on our attitude or inner state of life. With a dauntless spirit, we can lead a cheerful and thoroughly enjoyable life. We can develop a “self” of such fortitude that we are able to look forward to life’s trials and tribulations with a sense of joy.

Just being good-natured is not enough. If you are good-natured but fail to stand up to injustice, you cannot protect anyone. Instead, you will tend to be taken lightly, enabling those who perpetrate injustice to only grow stronger.

Every hardship is an opportunity to strengthen ourselves, to temper our life and make it shine with greater luster.

Even if things don’t unfold the way you expected, don’t be disheartened or give up. One who continues to advance will win in the end.

Truly strong people are not arrogant. Cowardice on the other hand causes arrogance. Cowards hide behind their own power and authority.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

4 Surprising Reasons Nichiren Buddhists are so Happy ~ Please Share!

Why are Nichiren (Practical) Buddhist so Happy? 
What is so special 
about this twice-daily practice 
of chanting 

What is a Nichiren Buddhist? Why are we also called "Practical Buddhists?" The two titles are interchangeable. 
Practical Buddhists chant every morning and evening and EVERY MORNING and evening. We study the works of Nichiren Daishonin, and the writings of Daisaku Ikeda, to learn the workings of the practice, and how and why chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo  (meaning I fuse my life with the Mystic Law of Cause and Effect Through Sound Vibration) draws forth the power innate in every life to find fulfillment and become happy. The more we study, the more we deepen our ability to tap this power. We encourage each other and attend Soka Gakkai meetings.  We introduce others to the practice because we are delighted with the results we see in our own lives from chanting. 

We are known by several names:
SGI Buddhists (there are different names in different countries)
Soka Gakkai Members ~ SGI Members, 
(For more about the SGI click on the link to the right) 
Practical Buddhists
Nichiren Buddhists  

4 Surprising Reasons 
Nichiren Buddhists are so HAPPY ~

1. Our Happiness is not based on our happiness alone. And we base our practice on RESULTS! We GET what we chant for, or something better, as long as we don't give up! 

Our happiness has a higher purpose. Don't get me wrong...happiness for any reason is great. Happiness is the purpose of our practice, and we join our own happiness with the happiness of ALL. We call this kosen-rufu. We chant to be happy so that we can prove through our own lives the validity of chanting the name of the Mystic Law - and to prove everyone can generate happiness if they chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. 

With every problem we face we chant: 

"I will defeat THIS problem for the sake of Kosen-rufu 
(the happiness of ALL) 
And one by one I will knock all my problems down. 
I achieve all my goals. 
I will succeed is all areas of my life to prove the power of the law! 
I vow to win in all areas of my life!"

2. We KNOW we have the POWER, and the TOOL to overcome our own negativity ~ and raise our "Life Condition" and become happy! To us, Happiness means winning over ourselves. 

It's true. When we chant the name of the rhythm of life itself ~ Nam-myoho-renge-kyo ~ we see results. And what will we WIN over? Ourselves. We are fighting and winning the biggest and most worthy battle of all...the battle over our own negativity. And the thing is, no one can do that but US. We are the only ones. And our negativity never entirely goes away, but our daily practice keeps it away, and is the source of our happiness. We talk about the "evil twin" in our minds telling us we can't do it, that we aren't strong enough and who do we think we are? When we chant consistently that voice recedes, and our true and powerful Buddha nature emerges.  And we DO succeed!

3. We KNOW we can change our karma and make the impossible possible. And we do it together with our fellow SGI Members. 

Whether we have studied eastern religions or not, we are all familiar with karma no matter what name we call it. Cause and Effect ~ Karma. Karma is passed down from one generation to another. Karma is reoccurring problems...you know, the way in which people marry one person, move on to the next and have the exact same problems crop up. 
Nichiren Buddhists know Karma is nothing to be afraid of. Karma is the sum total of every cause we have ever made through every existence we have ever had. And since, according to Nichiren Daishonin, those existences number more than grains of sand in the ocean, what need is there to fret about karma? And we do not need to spend countless lifetimes trying to undo every negative thing we have ever done. How could we? We don't even know what these things were. What we can do, is make the absolute most positive causes NOW. When we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo we are making the most positive cause for our lives. When we introduce others, these causes are magnified across many existences because we have introduced them to the power to change their own and their family's karma. 
And chanting with and for our fellow members is a huge part of our practice. We join our "family" for meetings and individually to surmount challenges. If you have not yet found your SGI family you can use the SGI-USA.org link to the right or search on Soka Gakkai International. 

4. We are aware of the interconnectivity of life and know that when we change our inner life, our outer life changes as well. We are Power-FULL not Power-LESS and we can chant for others as well! 

There's a Buddhist term called "Esho Funi". It means that we see and experience ourselves as separate from our environment (our environment is everything outside of our skin - the air we breathe, the couch we are sitting on, the music we hear, and each person, thing, animal in our environment and throughout the entire universe). But we are intricately connected to everything. That is why we can chant and change our lives. We change our inner lives, and because of the interconnectivity of life (also called "dependent origination") we are able to influence our environment. This is the fulcrum of true happiness and true power in our lives. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

11 Powerful Quotes from Daisaku Ikeda on Jobs, Careers and Winning in Life!

 Daisaku Ikeda's 
words on 
Jobs, Careers 
and Winning in Life

As Buddhists, we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo 
while focusing our minds on our determinations. 
We are all determined to show actual proof of the power of our practice, 
so we can encourage others. 
We chant to be the shining examples that there IS a solution to suffering...there IS a way to succeed and help others to succeed along the way. 
We are chanting TO our own lives, 
to summon forth our immense and immeasurable power. 
As each of us heads into the work week 
I offer you these quotes by Daisaku Ikeda for some added inspiration. 

(Compiled by Bob Hasegawa)
NOTE- Emphasis and headings added

1.Beauty, benefit and good

Mr. Makiguchi taught that there are three kinds of value: beauty, benefit and good. In the working world the value of beauty means to find a job you like; the value of benefit is to get a job that earns you a salary that can support your daily life; the value of good means to find a job that helps others and contributes to society. 
(Faith Into Action, page 45)

2No more moaning...no complaining!

President Toda said that the most important thing is to first become indispensable wherever you are. Instead of moaning that a job differs from what you'd like to be doing, he said, become a first-class individual at the job. This will open the path leading to your next phase in life, during which you should also continue doing your best. Such continuous efforts are guaranteed to land you a job that you like, that supports your life, and that allows you to contribute to society. 
(Faith Into Action, page 45.)

3. The Fundamental Cause of Unhappiness

Problems as we have seen, are not in themselves the fundamental cause of unhappiness. Lack of power and wisdom to solve them is the real cause. Fortunately we all innately possess infinite power and wisdom;  and Buddhism shows us how to develop these qualities.
When in the depths of despair or grappling with a difficult problem, it may be hard to believe that our lives possess unlimited potential. But this is the essence of one of the profoundest Buddhist teachings, known as three thousand realms in a single moment of life, which we will explore in this chapter. 
(Unlocking the Mysteries of Birth and Death, page 105.)

4. Success Means Not Giving Up

I hope each of you will realize success in your respective fields, fully recognizing that success means not giving up halfway but resolutely pursuing the path you have chosen. To this end, it is also important that you realize that the place where you work is a place for forging your character and growing as a human being. By extension, therefore, it is a place for your Buddhist practice, a place for practicing your faith. When you view things from this angle, all your complaints will disappear. No one is more pathetic than someone who is constantly complaining. 
(For Today and Tomorrow, Daily Encouragement, page 283.)

5. Excel at something

There is a saying that urges us, "Excel at something!" It is important to become trusted by others wherever you are and to shine with excellence. Sometimes people may dislike their job at first but grow to love it once they become serious about doing their best. "What one likes, one will do well," goes another saying. Growing to like your job will also enable you to develop your talent. 
(Faith Into Action, page 46.)

6. Never be defeated!

Buddhism is an earnest struggle to win. This is what the Daishonin teaches. A Buddhist must not be defeated. I hope you will maintain an alert and winning spirit in your work and daily life, taking courageous action and showing triumphant actual proof time and time again. 
(Faith Into Action, page 3.)

7. What is actual proof?

When we speak of showing actual proof, it doesn't mean we have to try to put on a show of being any more knowledgeable or accomplished than we are. It is my hope that, in the manner that best suits your situation, you will prove the validity of this Buddhism by steadily improving in your daily life, your family, place of work and community and by polishing your character. (Faith Into Action, page 4.)

8. Chant to become people of strong will

Life is a struggle with ourselves. It is a tug-of-war between progress and regression, between happiness and unhappiness. Those short on willpower or self-motivation should chant Daimoku with conviction to become people of strong will who can tackle any problems with seriousness and determination. (Faith Into Action, page 109.)

9. What is faith?

Everything is contained in a single word faith. It encompasses truth, courage, wisdom and good fortune. It includes compassion and humanity as well as peace, culture, and happiness.
Faith is eternal hope; it is the secret to limitless self-development. Faith is the most basic principle of growth. (Discussions On Youth, Volume 2, pages 163-164.)

10. Faith and Work

Faith and daily life, faith and work these are not separate things. They are one and the same. To think of them as separate ~ faith is faith, and ~ work is work is theoretical faith. Based on the recognition that work and faith are the same, we should put one hundred percent of our energy into our jobs and one hundred percent into faith, too. When we resolve to do this, we enter the path of victory in life. Faith means to show irrefutable proof of victory amid the realities of society and in our own daily lives. 
(For Today and Tomorrow, Daily Encouragement, page 175.)

11. Strength is Happiness

Strength is itself victory. In weakness and cowardice there is no happiness. When you wage a struggle, you might win or you might lose. But regardless of the short-term outcome, the very fact of your continuing to struggle is proof of your victory as a human being. A strong spirit, strong faith and strong prayer ~ developing these is victory and the world of Buddhahood. (For Today and Tomorrow, Daily Encouragement, page 50.)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Problems are Like Push Ups ~ They Strengthen Our Muscles of Faith!

This picture was a gift to Ben from a reader! Thank You!
You can now subscribe to this blog by putting your email in the box to the right! 
Wow ~ it has been a week! It's only Thursday night, but I feel like I've lived a year this week. My life condition is sky high with all I am going through. It is so true that problems, once embraced and challenged, are the "weights" that build our muscle of faith. 
I feel incredibly strong, and on Tuesday I'm giving an important speech based on Christiane Northrup's book "Goddesses are Ageless." My life is so exciting. 

When we Nichiren Buddhists say "faith" we mean ichinen (desire put into action) and showing actual proof of this practice in our lives. This is Practical Buddhism. We change our lives by chanting the name of the Mystic Law of Cause and Effect through sound vibration - Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. 
"Muscle of Faith" means absolute certainty that our practice will produce the result. It's our ichinen put into action to produce the result. 

How strong is our mind while sitting in front of our Gohonzon? How focused are we? How certain are we that WE are the Buddha commanding our life? 
This week I have been certain. I am praising my life. I am appreciating the challenges and obstacles I'm facing. I'm studying Daisaku Ikeda's words, chanting focused uninterrupted gongyo and daimoku - no phone - no nothing. At night, I come home and get in front of the Gohonzon FIRST. Not last. I can feel the difference in my life. Our practice matters! 

Problems strengthen our muscle of faith! As long as we don't run from them. Earlier this month I wanted to run. I almost picked up and moved to another state, where it is warmer, and I think Ben and I would be happier. I wanted to pave the way for him. But I can't leave without Ben. We have to win here first. (Or find him a facility in a warm state) Then we can move and find the sun and warmth. 

Since I could not leave without Ben, I stayed here to fight...fight my karma...fight my own darkness...fight discouragement...create value where I am right now. 

And I am winning! I have brought almost a month's worth of business into my company this week...I have booked many speeches, and met many key business partners. My work involves helping seniors and their families. It's very fulfilling. 

And on Tuesday I got a call from the hospital. They said we were going to have to start paying the hospital $2000 a day because Ben's insurance was no longer going to pay. 

This has happened before. This winter they threatened to release him to us - instead of finding a place that could help him - and I got physically ill. I was sick for a month. But this time I was stronger. 
I flew into action and did not even feel scared. I took swift action. I called the case manager at the insurance company and his case is being reviewed. I called the CEO of the hospital and said I need extra help here. How can we find a place for Ben and keep him safe in the mean time? So far no residential treatment facility is accepting him because of his past suicide attempts. He clearly needs to go somewhere and I am certain we will find that place. We need to find the best place for him to get better...or the right treatment somehow. Schizophrenia is such an enigma. There MUST be something that can help!

Today I am launching a campaign called 
Books for Ben
He is reading all the time. He likes to write in his books. He needs books that are for ages 12-16 or so. He's incredibly intelligent, but this illness has changed his brain...and he needs simpler stories of inspiration. If you have any books for younger people that you're not using anymore (used is FINE), Ben could use them. He likes stories of people who have gone through difficult times and come through. He likes all kinds of books and magazines. He likes humor. If you would like to contribute, you can use my address: 
Jamie Lee Silver, 
17w702 Butterfield #104, 
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181. USA

If you send anything, please consider including a note of encouragement. He'd love to hear from you! I tell him he has friends all around the world. 
I think it would mean a lot to my sweet boy. His running team from High School is also going to contribute. I am so grateful for all the warm hearts around me! 

You are all the best. 
We are all winning together. 
You inspire me and countless others every day! 

Saying "Thank You" Makes Our Hearts Sparkle!

How are you doing during the 100 day Gongyo Challenge? I know it can be hard to be perfect...hard to chant a sonorous and meaningful song to your own life every morning and evening.  And sometimes it's easy, right? Sometimes we spring out of bed and can't wait to chant and connect with our own highest wisdom and inspiration. The 100-day challenge is not about being perfect...it's about striving to have the best possible practice so we can be the happiest people on earth...and create a happier world for everyone. Join us! 

Today as I sat to chant, the first thought that flooded my mind was all my desires. And, as you know, it's perfectly all right to chant for our desires. But today I stopped myself and said "Today I will chant in appreciation for all I've already received and all that's yet to come. YES" 

Before I posted this blog I read every word in the April Living Buddhism  ~  published by the Soka Gakkai. It's the monthly American publication available in the US by calling 310-260-8900. I am grateful for this publication and our wonderful SGI organization. Click on the link to the right to learn more and connect to your local members. 

In April's issue there is an article by Daisaku Ikeda called 

"The Power of Thank You.
Praise, gratitude and appreciation brings happiness." 

In this article, Daisaku Ikeda says that during all of his travels he always learned the local word for thank you ~ because it is the most important sentiment and word. 

"A person who can sincerely say thank you 
has a healthy, vital spirit, 
and each time we say it 
our hearts sparkle 
and our life force rises up powerfully 
from the depths of our being...

When we cannot say thank you, 
our personal growth stops. 
When we are growing 
we can see how wonderful others are, too. 
When we stop growing, 
all we see are other people's faults."


The spirit of gratitude generates the energy of life in our bodies and our hearts.

Right now, as many of you know,my son Ben is in the hospital. So far, no community will take him. All I can feel is gratitude for this wonderful son who makes me chant so much. My life has grown because of him! I am happier, stronger, healthier and wiser because of the Daimoku I have chanted for him. And I am deeply grateful that he is alive, and that I gave birth to this Buddha Boy. As I was chanting my hour this morning, my heart was overflowing with gratitude...to him...to my life...to Daisaku Ikeda...to you...and to all who have helped and supported me on this journey. I know Ben will win and encourage many people. He already has! 

Daisaku Ikeda is right! Gratitude brings Happiness. 
How many people can you thank today? 
How many gifts of heart can you bestow today? 
How many ways can you make your own heart sparkle by saying Thank You today? 

Monday, June 22, 2015

When a Problem Persists - Compassion for Ourselves!

Welcome to Chantforhappiness.com, a blog about drawing forth our own power, our own entire universe of Buddhahood, from within our lives by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo (Meaning: I fuse my life with the mystic law of cause and effect through sound vibration) You can now receive these blogs by email by putting your email address in the box to the right. 

This blog is written by a 30 year practitioner of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism...a practice that enables us all to strengthen our muscles of faith by showing actual proof and turning every problem into medicine ~  while encouraging others through our own lives. 

It is a noble and fulfilling practice. I began this blog almost 6 years ago when I was suffering from severe depression after a breakup. I determined to chant two hours a day - and permanently alleviate the depression that had been in my life since before I was born---was part of my karma, my mother's karma, and my family karma for countless generations. I made a stand to forever root this karma of depression out of my life and take the world along with me by writing this blog. I was successful. I no longer have any depression. I do not wake up with a veil of sadness that follows me through the day. It is gone.

We, as Nichiren Buddhists, know that problems and challenges are part of life...that they actually are part of the fulfillment of a vow we made before we were born to prove the validity of this mystic law. Our challenges are, in fact, the answer to our prayers and our means to strengthen our faith (and when we say faith we do not mean just belief - we mean belief put into action to get results). 

And sometimes our problems are daunting and persist. How do we deal with those? 

Frequent readers of this blog know that I have a 22-year-old son who has been sick for some time. He is still in the hospital and he's quite sad right now. He became ill over two years ago with what they call Schizophrenia, but from time to time I wonder if that's really what's wrong. And the problem persists. 

It is very difficult to have a child who is suffering, and every day I am grateful that he is alive and we have more chances to find the right treatment and find the right place to help him. 

And, even though I practice this incredible law, and have seen its benefits in my life for over 30 years, I must say this is a long and confounding challenge. Many of you are facing such challenges. I know. We are challenging our karma together. And I endeavor to use my life as an example to encourage you and give you hope. 

What I can say right now is to give Your SELF some compassion. It's easy to get down on ourselves when we have long challenges. It's easy to think "If I had more faith, I'd have solved this problem by now." But that type of thinking does not get us anywhere, does it? It only gets us down on ourselves and rattles our faith more and more. 

These last few days I've posted encouraging blogs for you and for me. Sometimes I have to really dig deep to see my own beauty and my own strength....and to know that when I visit Ben, even if I can't "fix" him, I have still made a difference just by being there...and that my daily chanting for him, for kosen-rufu, for you and for this world makes a difference even if I can't see it right in front of my eyes this very minute. 
It's been 4 weeks now since he was rescued off the top of a 6-story parking structure while threatening to jump. It's been a long six months where he has given up many times, and yet, he is still alive and has a great mission. The shoten zengin (protective forces of the universe) have come to his aid time and time again. I absolutely cannot give up on him, or denigrate myself for not having "fixed" this problem yet.

So please don't do that to yourself. Together we must boldly advance every day doing what we know we need to do...studying the words of Daisaku Ikeda, our wise, wise encourager, and reading the Gosho of Nichiren Daishonin, the man who realized that chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo was the most powerful teaching for our time and endured persecution after persecution. He didn't say "Oh, this persecution is a sign that my faith is weak." He didn't get down on himself when he was exiled to Sado Island. No. He saw these challenges as proof of this faith, and we have to do the same. Being part of the SGI, going to local meetings, and chanting every morning and evening is our great, great fortune and a gift we give ourselves. 

Whatever you are challenging in your life, I invite you today to appreciate yourself anew. Do something nice for yourself. Be your own best friend. Think about ten things you appreciate about yourself. Write a note to yourself. Get a massage. Do something nice for yourself. Honor your strength, courage, beauty and wisdom. 

Winter always turns to Spring! Do not give up! Let's keep persevering together! 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Become a Person of Unlimited Self-Esteem - Believe in Your Own Greatness!

We chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo  - Meaning: I fuse my life with the mystic law of cause and effect through sound vibration. Chanting this prayer brings forth the universe of power within our lives, within all of life, to make our dreams come true, and ultimately, change the entire world. 

You can now subscribe to this blog by putting your email in the box to the right. 

This guidance has been circulating for many years, and is attributed to Danny Nagashima. I hope you find it beneficial! 

How to become Men/Women 
of Unlimited Self Esteem
By Danny Nagashima, SGI General Director (USA)

You can analyze your situation all you want. 

You have to get to the root of why “I don’t believe in the greatness of my life”. 

You have to grab it by the roots and yank it out of your life. 
The answer is probably so simple, but we tend to over-analyze, it gets complicated and the solution seems far away. Your mission as a Buddhist is to become happy – not to master suffering. 

We have the negative and positive sides of us – one says, “who are you kidding”, the other, “you can do it”. 

You have to fight to not to give in to your negativity. This is not about being a writer, an artist, an actor, etc. It is about becoming the man or woman that you always wanted to become, a man or woman who really values his/her life.

The obstacles you face 
are the answer to your prayer.

Those feelings of self-doubt, those feelings that “I am a failure” – those are the feelings that you have to face and to address. 

How you feel about yourself, that feeling of self-loathing, of not being good enough, of being a sham. Those are the feelings you have to face. Your talent is not being questioned; it is about how you feel about yourself. 
That is the karma. 

You have to value your own life, 
to appreciate 
that it has nothing to do 
with anybody else validating you. 

Follow your heart; follow your Buddhahood and the effect from that, the benefit from that will be massive.

You need to follow your heart, truly treasure your life. When Nichiren Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon, he was already chanting daimoku out of the greatness of his life, his Buddhahood, his enlightened state; he inscribed the Gohonzon for all humanity so that everyone could relieve his or her suffering. 
When you sit in front of the Gohonzon and chant, you have to have the most reverence for your life, the same as the Daishonin’s; therefore your life deserves that kind of reverence.

If you chant for two weeks to really be a person of unlimited self-esteem and to really, truly appreciate your life including your flaws, your accomplishments, your defeats and your losses, your victories, all that you have created and to truly appreciate your talent as XYZ for two weeks, everything will change.

Forget about the past garbage. Put it away. That will only make you feel impotent. From today on, really chant about being that man/woman of unlimited self-esteem. 

Really appreciate everything about your life; all the things that make you incredibly unique and wonderful. All your sufferings, problems, heartaches, will be the stuff you need, in order to share your experience, to encourage and to inspire others. Focus on really, truly awakening to your greatness. This is the opportunity (sufferings, obstacles, lack of self-esteem) you needed to go through in order to become outrageously successful – so you can fulfill your dream. If you focus on this – really valuing your life now, then everything will fall into place in a much bigger way. 
This is something no one can give you; the universe is showing you what you need to tackle. When you first chant this way, a lot of garbage may come out of your life, a lot of negativity, awful feelings may surface. We always bring into our lives what matches our life condition. So chant to feel incredible joy about your worth and you will feel and know self worth and greatness.

You not being able to do whatever you determine is a manifestation deep down of your feeling of fear, that you are not good enough, that you do not have it in you. 

You must get yourself to a place where there is the greatness of your life, then everything will be transformed. We have to believe in our Buddhahood. When we face the Gohonzon, we should say, “I am going to praise my wonderful life”. It is important to awaken to your own greatness. Your life is the Gohonzon. Now is the time for you to start over.

When you pray to a deity, your prayer becomes passive. Our voice is the Mystic Law. This law is not outside of you. When you get a benefit, it was you who created it. You must awaken to your greatness, appreciate and value your own life. It is no different to the enlightened life of Nichiren Daishonin, embodied in the Gohonzon.

Just as a beautiful piece of art elicits a response, or a great book touches your life in a certain way, we must elicit the Buddha nature from our own lives. It is right here, and the Gohonzon is the perfect vehicle to bring out that strength, joy and vibrant life condition; then you take that to the world and change the environment. 

We are not necessarily chanting for the house, the car, the job, the relationship, but we are chanting to elevate our life condition to attract that happiness. The results that we see in our lives are a reflection of our life condition. 

Every day as you chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo consciously call forth your Buddhahood to manifest itself consistently. 

Chant to rise above your basic tendency of disbelief, or continually thinking that you are a common mortal who does not deserve good fortune in this life. Do not negate your life when you sit in front of the Gohonzon. Do not beg. Do not scream. Do not berate the Gohonzon. Believe in the greatness of your life; manifest the extraordinary side of you. The Gohonzon is the tool we need to bring out our Buddhahood. "My life is the Gohonzon." Do not slander your life. The doubt is necessary to prove to myself that “I am a Buddha. I will fulfill every one of my dreams for myself”.

We already possess something incredible – our Buddha nature, the Gohonzon. But we do not believe that the good fortune, the “million dollars” is truly mine. I will not be able to get it, or to enjoy it. Trust that the Gohonzon, your prayer, is the absolute means for you to transform your life. Trust and faith are the key words.

Chant with the expectation that every one of your wildest dreams will be fulfilled beyond your wildest imagination. Chant to believe in your Buddhahood. Trust in the greatness of your life. 

In “On Attaining Buddhahood”, Nichiren Daishonin made a primary point: to free ourselves from the suffering of birth and death which we have endured in lifetime after lifetime, and to attain absolute happiness, we need to awaken to the mystic truth that has always been within our lives. That truth is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. That truth is “I am a Buddha”. Trust that you have everything you need for your happiness.


1. Chant to become a person of unlimited self-esteem
2. Chant to awaken to your own greatness
3. Chant to appreciate your life, including flaws, accomplishments, defeats, losses, and victories and truly appreciate all that makes you a unique and wonderful person
4. Chant to make the impossible possible
5. Chant to consistently manifest your Buddha nature and rise above your basic tendencies and overcome your inherent negativities in your life
6. Believe that you are a Buddha and create all the benefits for yourself
7. Believe you are the Gohonzon
8. Trust that in the Gohonzon, (your life itself) you have the means to fulfill each and every desire to become extraordinarily happy
9. Chant to display your Buddhahood and to bring forth that strength, joy, vibrant life condition

10. And then take it to the world and change the environment.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

4 Ways to Summon the Heart of the Lion King

" 'Lion' in "lion king" is written with the Chinese characters for teacher and child, representing mentor and disciple. In other words, when disciples align their spirit with their mentor and stand up with the  same commitment, they can summon forth the bold and fearless heart of the lion king within them. 

"Each day I tell myself: "As a disciple of President Toda I will respond to his aspirations! I will create a record of kosen-rufu that would make him proud!" By doing so, no matter what difficulty I may encounter, I can bring forth the courage to never be disheartened. 

"Those who always remember their mentor's spirit in their heart, who always are living together with their mentor, will never stray from the correct path in life, the path to happiness. When we live with our mentor in our heart we cannot allow ourselves to be cowardly or lazy; we are spurred to be courageous, challenge ourselves and cast aside our arrogance. We may be able to deceive others, but not the mentor in our hearts. 

...It is important, therefore, that when we are facing a challenging situation, we always think deeply about what our mentor would have done or said."

From the New Human Revolution, By Daisaku Ikeda, Volume 26, Chapter 4, installments 51-67, as written in the April 2015 Living Buddhism, page 39.

When I read this passage, I think of one of my mentors in faith, Gene O'Connell. When I lived in San Francisco she was my chapter leader, and she helped to raise me as a "baby Buddhist." She was working her way up the ladder at San Francisco General Hospital. 
When Gene started chanting she was a Mom on welfare. She put herself through nursing school, then got another advanced administrative degree and eventually, by always asking herself "What would President Ikeda do?" she became the CEO of San Francisco General Hospital. 
She was a great example of living the master/disciple relationship. 
I strive to be an example myself...by asking that question of myself as well. And when I am chanting, I often chant to see the world through Daisaku Ikeda's eyes, and to feel with his heart....and most of all...to chant with his same strength...to somehow reach into the lives of all beings suffering anywhere ...anywhere...and have my daimoku touch the entire fabric of life. I don't know if that is what Sensei has in mind when he chants, but one day, if I ever have the chance to sit and chat with him, that is what I would ask him. "When you chant, what do you think about? How do you encompass the whole world in your prayers? And how can I do the same?" 

All of us feel the master/disciple relationship in many ways. And we can grow in understanding as time passes. Reading his writings every day is a great place to start. 

Here are 3 Ways to Summon the Heart of the Lion King: 

1. Practice consistently  - every morning and evening. I know, I know, I say this all the time, and there's a reason for it. When you're chanting consistently, your life condition is higher and more resilient. You'll still have problems, because life is full of hardships, but you'll greet them with an invigorated heart! Please don't believe me when I say this - if you aren't already doing this, try it. Do the 100 day Gongyo Challenge with us! Start anytime. Readers of this blog are challenging themselves to do the most perfect gongyo possible every day, twice a day for 100 days. Join us! (Of course the goal is then to continue for the rest of their lives, but it's nice to start somewhere~)

2. Study Daisaku Ikeda's writings and the Gosho every day...even a single line. Early in my practice I engraved the phrase "Suffer what there is to suffer and enjoy what there is to enjoy" into my life. 

3. Tell your life what you want. Do not beg! Draw the power of your own life through your prayer. I picture all the power of the universe behind me...coming through my back, into my hands, into the Gohonzon, and channelled to fulfill my prayers, for myself and for others...my family...my friends...my fellow members...my colleagues...and YOU! 

4. Be part of our incredible Soka Gakkai organization. There are such riches there...so many friendships...such inspiration and strong determination. Whenever you go to a meeting you get encouragement and encourage others by sharing your own struggles and victories. We are all building the heart of the lion king together! 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

What is True Happiness? By Daisaku Ikeda

"What are the ingredients for happiness? 

This is one of life's fundamental questions. 

The most crucial determinant for happiness 
is our inner state of life.  

Those with an expansive 
inner state of being 
are happy. 

They live out their days with an open and confident spirit. 

People with a strong state of life are happy. They are not defeated by suffering and can calmly enjoy life as it unfolds. 

Those with a profound state of life are happy. Savoring the deep significance of life, they are able to create a record of meaningful and enduring value. 

People with a pure state of life are happy. They are always spreading refreshing joy to those around them. 

There are countless individuals who are blessed with wealth, social status, and other material advantages, but are unhappy. And such external circumstances are changeable and impermanent; no one knows how long they will last. 

But when you have established an unshakable inner state of happiness, no one can destroy it. Nothing can violate it. Creating this great life state is the aim of your Buddhist practice. The important thing is to never stray from the Gohonzon, to never stop advancing in faith. 

In the course of life, you are bound to face all kinds of difficulties. At times, you may become stuck. That is when you need to strengthen your faith and chant daimoku in earnest. Difficult as it might be, once you surmount the steep mountain of your karma, a new horizon will open wide before you. Buddhist practice is the repetition of this process. Eventually, you will reach a state of absolute happiness that will never be destroyed. 

Develop deep, strongly rooted faith. As long as a sapling has strong roots and receives enough sunshine and water, it will grow into a tall, sturdy tree, even if it is buffeted by the elements. The same is true of our Buddhist practice and our lives. 
I hope that all of you will be courageous individuals who cheerfully spread the great light of happiness throughout this troubled world, your lives serving as personal proof of the true greatness of Nichiren Buddhism. "

From the February 2015 issue of the Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai's monthly study journal, as quoted in the May 2015 Living Buddhism.