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 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 chant with his same 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 fellow colleagues...and YOU! 

4. Be part of our incredible Soka Gakkai organization. There are such riches 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! 

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