Friday, July 31, 2015

8 Great Quotes on Hope by Daisaku Ikeda

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Resolve to be the “sun.” 
Then no matter what problems you may face, 
the dawn will always break, 
fine weather will always return, 
and spring will never fail to come.

Hope is the secret to a robust life force.

Material wealth does not necessarily make for happiness. Nor does fame. 
Hope is life’s greatest treasure. 
A life without hope is bleak and gray. 
If you have no hope, create some.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Throwing the Windows Of Our Lives Wide Open!

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Six years ago today, July 30th, 2009,  I made the determination to root sadness and depression out of my life by chanting 2 hours a day. I joined with my dear friend Melissa Bradford, and made a pact to chant 2 hours a day together by texting when we started and ended, called each other frequently, and chanted together in person as often as possible.

During the first hour of Daimoku, I thought about how long I searched to find this I spent years in bookstores, only finding books on Buddhism that said the cause of my suffering was my desire...and thinking "Buddhism really sounds good on so many levels, but I don't think I want to separate from my desires!" and I kept looking for the practice I KNEW had to exist. 
I moved to California searching for this practice, found it in 1985, (Thank you, Kate Randolph! Delores Hepburn, Gene O'Connell, Amos Snell, Diane Douglass and countless others who raised me!) and have gratefully embraced my daily practice ever since. 

As I was chanting that first hour of my campaign in 2009, I thought "YES! I WILL alleviate my lifelong depression, AND I will take the world with me and spend the rest of my life proving the validity of this practice through my own life." I envisioned people all over the world sitting down at their computers thinking "Happiness has to be in here somewhere!" and I wanted to help each one find it! So I called the blog 

Since then I have permanently changed my emotional karma. I have a full range of emotions, I am happy, sad, thoughtful, you name it, but I no longer wake up with a veil of depression blanketing me and thinking "Oh no, I just have to get through this day." (As I had so many days in my life - and I am certain my mother also felt) I have changed this karma by constantly challenging it in front of the Gohonzon and roaring "NOT AGAIN! NOT TODAY! With this Daimoku right now I'M FOREVER VANQUISHING THIS FEELING!" every time it resurfaced. Boom. 

And of course, so many things have happened in these six years, great life changes, including a much-needed divorce that has been so amicable it has inspired people to chant, honing my skills as a public speaker and writer, and challenging my life at every moment. Including when my dear son Ben became sick two years ago. Ben began his next journey four weeks ago today. On a full moon. 
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo Ben! Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

Nothing can stop me now. My worst fear has happened, and I am still living, more determined to create value with my life ~  to live my life as an example that anything is possible through chanting the name of the Mystic law, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with my mentor in life, Daisaku Ikeda, and the glorious SGI at my side. 

And YOU, my precious friends, have been with me, comrades in faith! At first one, then ten, then many have come along to read this blog and be inspired to become happy. Your communications have lighted my way as much as my blogs have lighted yours. Together, along with our mentor we care changing the world through our own Human Revolution. You are now 60,000 strong a month and growing. Thank you for sharing this blog and your heart with the world, and with me! 

In the July 3rd World Tribune, Daisaku Ikeda states:

"The Buddhist principle 
of three thousand realms in a single moment of life 
teaches us that 
each moment contains possibilities as vast as the universe. Nichiren Daishonin writes, 
"As life does not go beyond the moment, 
the Buddha expounded the blessings 
that come from a single moment of rejoicing 
[on hearing the Lotus Sutra]" 
("Embracing the Lotus Sutra" The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol.1, p. 62). 

Don't let the present moment slip by. 
Like throwing the windows wide open, 
open your lives to the fullest, 
and manifest the joy-filled 
wisdom and power 
of the Buddha. 
Faith in the Mystic Law enables us to do this. 
Every moment is a challenge, 
every moment is a win-or-lose struggle. 
It's a waste to limit your potential 
by locking yourself away 
and letting yourself be ruled by fear, 
Challenge yourself 
with an eager and optimistic spirit. 

When things are tough, 
warmly encourage one another as good friends in faith, 
and move resolutely toward victory 
by bringing forth 
the invincible power of the Buddha and the Law 
through the dynamic power of faith and practice." 

From the Essay "July 3rd and the Spirit of mentor and Disciple" by President Ikeda, in the July 3rd, 2015 World Tribune, page 4

Here is my first post: 

Join me!
I chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo (pronounced Nahm Meeyoho Raingay Kyo)
It means - I fuse my life with the law of cause and effect through sound vibration, or I am one with the flow of life, or I am the Buddha myself! Chanting these words has a profound and practical impact on my life....and it can on anyone's life.
When you chant these words you tap into the eternal universe that's already inside you...the one you know is there, that you've always known is there. Chanting these words allows you to tap the great power you have always had.
On October 20th of 2009 I will have been chanting these words every day...twice a day for 25 years! Between now and October 20th I will be chanting two hours every single day. By October 20th I will have chanted a million daimoku (pron: diemoku, and it means chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo over and over) with a goal to accomplish many dreams:

Here are my determinations:
I wish to inspire others through sharing my heart, my struggles and my successes.
I wish to share the heart of my mentor Daisaku Ikeda (President of the Soka Gakkai International) with the world.
I will release my life from the underlying sadness I have always felt...the sadness that has no name and no real cause. I believe I was born with this sadness, and that it is my mission in this life to free myself from it.
I will have a body that is pain free! I will be able to move in any way I want. For several years I have been battling with a painful right leg. I believe it is arthritis, but I keep thinking I can solve the pain through some other means than surgery. I have never had surgery and never want to have it! (I completed this surgery in 2010 and have been pain-free ever since)
I will be on the way to losing the rest of the weight I've been challenged with my entire life. (I've already lost 50 pounds). 
I will naturally attract opportunities that delight me!
I will make lots of new friends and connections!
I will become a published author!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Gongyo is a Grand and Noble Rite" By Daisaku Ikeda

Yesterday I posted about Gongyo. 
Here is my favorite essay by Daisaku Ikeda that I have engraved in my heart. 
You can translate it using the translate button to the right. 


Gongyo is a Grand and Noble Rite: 

"I would like to take the opportunity provided by today’s training session of the youth division to present a succinct and easily comprehensible discussion of the significance of gongyo. Because of the limitations of time I cannot pursue the subject in all its details, so I would like all of you to consider and explore this topic on your own afterwards as well. 

Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism teaches that our existence is identical to the universe as a whole, and the universe as a whole is identical to our existence. Each individual human life is a microcosm. 

The practice of gongyo is a grand and noble rite to achieve the vital communication to the microcosm of each person’s existence with the universe, based on the Gohonzon. 

The correspondence of each part of our bodies to parts of the universe is proof that our existence is a microcosm. Our heads are round like the heavens above us are round, and our eyes are like the sun and the moon. We close them and open them, like day and night. Our hair shines like the sparkling stars. Our eyebrows are like the seven stars of the Big Dipper. 

Our breath is the wind, 
and the quiet breathing from our nostrils is like the still air of the valleys and dales. 

There are some 360 joints in the human body
 and they stand for the days of the year. 
The twelve major joints signify the twelve months. 

The warm, front side of our body — our abdomen and stomach — is spring and summer. The cold hard back is fall and winter. 

Our blood vessels and arteries are streams and rivers. 
When we suffer a cerebral hemorrhage, it is as if a dam or dike has burst. 
Our bones are stones, and our skin and muscle are like the earth. 
Our body hair is a forest. 
Buddhist scriptures discuss in detail these correspondences i
ncluding each of the internal organs, 
teaching that our body is indeed a universe in miniature. 

There are clouds in the heavens. The wind blows, the stars twinkle. There are oceans on earth. The rivers flow. Volcanoes erupt. And great quantities of metals and minerals — gold, silver, copper, potassium, calcium — lie in the earth’s depths. 

The activities and qualities of all these materials are also incorporated in our bodies. 

The infinite elementary particles of the cosmos — atoms, protons, photons, electrons, neutrons, and all the rest — microscopic animals such as bacteria, the activities of good and evil, and the laws of gravity, the conservation of mass and energy, and all other laws of the universe also apply in almost the same fashion to the microcosm of our bodies. 

A look at the operation of our bodies suggests that they are great pharmaceutical plants. They have the capability to produce the drugs we need to preserve our health. They take in food and transform it into nourishment and energy. 

The human brain has the capability of a giant computer — even though we may not always be able to use it! 

The sixty trillion cells of our bodies work together 
in their established order in a perfect biorhythm. This is the original order of things. 

The Great Law That Pervades Individual Existence and the Universe 
Our existence is the universe, and its life processes are sublime. A slight change in the heat of the sun will enormously affect not only the Earth but all the other planets. If the Earth’s rotation were to stop for the briefest instant, or if its axis were to tilt the slightest degree, all living things would be threatened with extinction. 

That is how subtle the natural order is. And further, a firm and irrevocable law of the universe exists. This holds true for the microcosm as well. 

It is science that pursues this invisible but truly existent law, and technology is the invention of machines and other devices based on the fruits of scientific research. 

Nichiren Daishonin discovered and awoke to the great law of all existence that underlies all the partial laws governing all spiritual and physical phenomena, and it was he who revealed that law to humanity as Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. This Mystic Law applies equally to the universe as a whole and to each and every individual human existence. The universe and the individual are one in this Mystic Law. 

Under certain circumstances, an invisible law takes form as a visible existence. The individual human existence, for example, emerges out of its state of fusion with the rest of the universe by taking shape in the womb and being born in the world. 

A ship can be regarded as a tangible representation of the law of buoyancy, just as an airplane is a representation of the laws of aerodynamics, a radio or television program a representation of the law of electromagnetic waves. All of these objects give shape to invisible laws. 

The fundamental law of the universe and individual existence is also invisible. The Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon as a visual representation of that Mystic Law for the people of the world. The Lotus Sutra and other Buddhist scriptures are the instruction manuals for the Gohonzon. 

Josei Toda, my teacher and the second president of the Soka Gakkai, explained the Gohonzon in an easily comprehensible way as "a machine to produce happiness." 

When we practice gongyo and chant daimoku before the Gohonzon, our individual existence is perfectly harmonized with the universe. 

Both the universe and our individual existence are the concrete manifestation of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as is the Gohonzon. That is why when we practice gongyo and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with faith in the Gohonzon, our existence and the universe mesh as perfectly as two gears, and with an initial creak begin to work together. 

The single life-moment (ichinen) of the individual becomes one with the three thousand (sanzen) factors and realms of the universe and begins to produce great value. This is the concrete practice of ichinen sanzen. 

Through that practice we can acquire wisdom and good fortune, 
and glow with the energy to overcome any obstacle throughout the four seasons, 
three hundred sixty-five days a year; 
we can enter the way to the eternal happiness 
and attain eternity, joy, true self and purity (jo raku ga jo). 

Gongyo is a practice 
which calls forth and activates 
the infinite power that the microcosm 
inherently possesses. 
It transforms your fate, 
breaks through any apparent dead end 
and converts sufferings into happiness. 
It creates a transformation, 
a revolution of the microcosm. 
It is a diagram in miniature of kosen-rufu in our lives. 

The kosen-rufu that is our aim is a movement to transform the universe, the Earth and human society into a world of peace, comfort and harmony in accord with the rhythm of the Mystic Law. 

The Practice of Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime, Which Leads to Eternal Happiness 
If you let an automobile or any other machine fall into disuse, it will rust and stop working correctly. You have to use it and maintain it regularly and properly. Why, the same thing is even true of the hair on our heads: If we don’t wash it regularly we’ll be encrusted with dandruff! 

Gongyo and chanting daimoku 
are like starting the automobile’s engine every day 
and driving in the direction of happiness and truth. 

By doing so day after day, you will gradually attain perfect unity with the universe and the Law. That state is the state of the Buddha. 

Once that has happened, you will be able to enjoy yourself with complete freedom for all eternity. Your existence will be a diamond that will never perish throughout the three existences. 

To attain Buddhahood in this life, the Daishonin warns us with firm concern that we must never retreat in our practice. 

Even though we may experience a period of sadness 
or depression, 
the principle that earthly desires are enlightenment 
teaches us that great sufferings 
are bound to be transformed 
into equally great joy, progress and value. 
There is nothing to fear, 
since the Gohonzon possesses 
the infinite power of the Law and the Buddha. 

We often say that strong faith, valiant and untiring practice and courageous acts are important. This is an expression of the truth that without a strong will and courageous practice it is impossible to achieve great things. 

You will not be able to communicate in a discussion with another unless you are clear and direct. If you lack the courage of your convictions and mumble vague things, you won’t make any impression on your listener. Nor can you strike a chord in his heart. And of course you will not be able to move or convince him. To do that you need to be very determined and sure.

Isn’t the same thing true of love? 

It’s certainly true in a job interview. Unless you present your thoughts clearly and forcefully, you won’t make any impression on the interviewer. In other words, mental determination and courageous actions can change any situation and they possess a critical capability to produce happiness. 

The Victory Song of Life Is to Be Found in Action 
To fly, a plane needs the extra push it gets by acceleration down a runway. To get good grades in school, you need the extra push of study before a test. 

Whatever you do, to achieve something better, to reach a higher level, you need a push. 

Buddhism teaches practice for oneself and practice for others. If either one is lacking, you cannot practice properly. 

The Gohonzon is the concrete manifestation of the very existence of Nichiren Daishonin, who taught kosen-rufu. Because of that, if you only practice gongyo and chant the daimoku and don’t take any other action for the sake of kosen rufu or improving your own life, the Gohonzon will not have its true, full effect. 

If, however, you take actions to achieve kosen-rufu, they will serve as that extra push for your own life and help you leap to higher and higher states of mind in your gongyo and chanting as well. 

And it is only natural that the energy you acquire through the gongyo practice for yourself will be channeled back into your activities for others, for kosen-rufu. 

The fact is that the practice of gongyo and your actions in service of kosen-rufu will become one, and together they will unlock the infinite power of the Mystic Law in your life. 

In Buddhism, practice is faith. That means action is faith, and without action there can be no true faith. The action I speak of is the way of practice for oneself and for others that is taught in Nichiren Daishonin’s writings. 

Action is the source of blessings and merits. In propagating the teachings, for example, whether the person you are presenting the teachings to arouses faith or not is his problem. The effects of our action of propagating will vary, depending on the person’s capacities and other conditions. 

There is no need at all to rejoice or lament over each effect. You can be proud that you have practiced the truest, most wonderful law of life in the universe to the best of your ability and go forward with your head held high. One who has acted for the sake of kosen-rufu is already a great victor in life. 

The words "the heads of those who cause affliction will be split in seven pieces" are written on the Gohonzon. 

This is a warning that it is wrong to seek to harm this law of your own being. 

Abandoning the teachings or slandering them are self-destructive actions that are bound to split you apart. 

We also find the words "those who make offerings will acquire blessings surpassing the Buddha’s ten names." 
This forceful statement tells us that the merits of one who make offerings to the Gohonzon and spreads the teaching will be far greater than the magnificent merits of the one who makes offerings to Shakyamuni Buddha. This is a promise that our personal microcosm will absorb the nourishment of all the blessings in the macrocosm, the whole universe, and be elevated to a state of existence of the highest happiness itself. 

Thus we know that the children of the Buddha who strive for kosen-rufu are each guaranteed to attain the ultimate degree of happiness. There is no one who will be more blessed. 

Faith in Present and Future 
"For both the present and the future" is also written on the Gohonzon. For present and future. That is what faith is for, what the Buddhist Law is for. 

When we worship the Gohonzon, the eternal life of time without beginning wells up within us. Our faith is that every day, every instant begins from time without beginning. 

We are always setting out, full of hope, from today to the future, from this moment to eternal happiness. We are always young, always beginning. 

My message to you is that you must be absolutely certain of this and live your wonderful lives without regret, with joy and brightness, always moving forward."  

This essay is from the collected speeches of Daisaku Ikeda in "To My Young American Friends" 

Monday, July 27, 2015

5 Keys to Make Your Gongyo (and your life) Sparkle!

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Perfecting our daily recitation of Gongyo and Daimoku is our spiritual work-out for the interior of our lives, this work-out makes our environments 
(our world at every moment, 
and all the people and things and EVERYTHING in it) 
flow smoothly...and we can accomplish our goals and live fulfilling lives.  

This morning I was thinking about Shakyamuni meditating under the Bodhi Tree. He was assailed by many inner demons to make him stop or to throw off his meditation. 
He kept focused. He won. 
Our practice of Gongyo every day is just like this. 
We are the Buddha! 
Every day - twice a day!  
We must win! 
Gongyo is important!

Our concentration will pay off. Doing gongyo with the following guidelines has brought me great benefit. 
(As always ~ these writings are mine, and come from my heart to yours.)

4 Tips for a Powerful Gongyo
Don't just "do" Gongyo. Feel it. Experience it.
by Jamie Lee Silver at 

1. Put your phone in another room. 
                 Claim this time as YOUR OWN! 

2. Pray each silent prayer with all your heart. 

Elevate the moment from reading to praying

Read each silent prayer over and over until you can actually feel the appreciation. Read the silent prayers until they sink in...and you are praying in appreciation. If you don't know why Nichiren Daishonin and the three presidents deserve your praise, please ask a fellow member and study the history of Nichiren Buddhism and the Soka Gakkai. (Clink the link to the right to find your local SGI group) It took tremendous conviction and courage to bring this practice to us today! 
During these prayers, I bring forth the gratitude I feel for having this practice in my life.   

3. Begin and end Gongyo 
                     with no interruptions. 

I recite the silent prayers at the end of Gongyo soon after the recitation...not after finishing all my daimoku for the morning. This makes it easier to do a complete gongyo before I get up to do something else, or refresh my drink or whatever. 
I start and complete gongyo. Boom. 
Then I can do as much daimoku as I want, with gongyo done. Complete. With no interruptions. If I get interrupted in the middle of gongyo I begin again! I see this helping me complete things in my life on a much more regular basis. 

4. Chant every morning and evening. 

I know, I know, you've heard this before. The reason I keep repeating this message is that it WORKS! When we do gongyo twice a day our lives get on a roll. You have to experience it to see it! I can't tell you how it feels. I can tell you that one of my YWD (young woman) finally began chanting twice a day (after refusing to do this for two years) she was able to realize a hidden goal, bring it to the surface, chant about it, and now she's living her dream in Colorado. Chanting twice a day WORKS! 

5. Perfect Your Rhythm 
              and Pronunciation of Gongyo

In the early days of my practice, I was fortunate to have a leader who believed that perfecting gongyo was important. Everyday I showed up at her house to fine-tune my rhythm and pronunciation. You can do the same, and it will energize your practice and life. 
I suggest finding a mentor in your SGI circle who can work with you. To learn, I would bring a pencil and circle the parts I found difficult, and highlight my mistakes. The next time through I'd be aware of the challenging parts because I'd circled them. I learned it like a song. 
I love teaching gongyo to beginners because it is easier to learn it right the first time, but not impossible to fix, if learned wrong. 

Having perfect gongyo gives me confidence. 

I'd like to hear your stories of how perfecting your gongyo changes your life. Everything we do to enhance our practice is reflected in our lives. 

Gongyo and Daimoku are our laboratory 
where we create the lives of our dreams! 

One of the things I will do for you is create an echo gongyo lesson. I'll let you know when that's ready for you! But please don't wait - get started perfecting your gongyo now! 

I'm interested in hearing how you are perfecting your gongyo! 
Doing Gongyo is like lifting spiritual weights. how strong can we make our lives? 
That's what we're talking about! 
Email me at

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Changing Karma Into Mission

Today I visited Aaron and Meg in 
their new apartment in Chicago. 

From the World Tribune for August 2105, Daisaku Ikeda states: 

"To personally undergo difficulties 
in order to prevent practitioners in future ages 
from giving up 
is an expression of the Buddha's compassion. 

"In one respect, all the challenges and hardships 

we of the SGI experience today are for the sake of the eternal future of kosen-rufu 
(a world of respect for all, a world of peace and harmony. (notes mine JS) 
They will serve as a reference point for distant ages hence, a model and blueprint of kosen-rufu for future generations."

Daisaku Ikeda, Living Buddhism, August 2015, page 60.

WOW~ think about this! The above passage means that we, right here right now, are writing the stories that future generations will read. We are Shijo Kingo, we are the treasured disciples of Nichiren Daishonin and we are living alongside our mentor in life Daisaku Ikeda. Daisaku Ikeda has often said that we will be known as the Soka Gakkai Buddhists. 

So these words, and my determination are not just for this moment, but for many years from now. I write for members, for readers of this blog, and for the future. Hello, future readers. I am sure we have traveled together many times in life! I sincerely hope my words, our shared experiences will inspire you that anything is possible! 

You know, President Ikeda often writes about having the realization that we "summoned this storm"...we encounter exactly what the problems we need to advance our lives, prove the power of the Mystic law and ultimately be happy. 
And then something big happens (like losing a beloved child) and it is so easy to think "Oh no, this must be an exception. There is no way I could have summoned this. Who would ever "choose" to lose a precious child." 

This is where our seeking mind, and our faith like flowing water comes into action. 

And I have been busy studying, getting guidance, chanting and writing to really understand how I can take this and turn poison into medicine. Why? Because I HAVE to. I am a Bodhisattva of the earth and so are you! My life will have more value than ever through walking through the fire of having a precious son die. It is the only way!

Also from the August Living Buddhism, page 58:

"To practice Nichiren Buddhism 
is to live with the unshakable conviction 
that the most painful and trying times 
are opportunities for changing karma, 
for carrying out our human revolution 
and that, no matter how difficult the situation, 
we can ultimately and without fail 
transform them into something positive."

"The greater our problems or sorrow
the greater the happiness we can change it into. 
This is the power of chanting 

That's why those who chant do not fear anything. 
There is no need to."

By Daisaku Ikeda from the August 2015 Living Buddhism from the essay "Transforming Karma Into Mission" beginning on page 52. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

PowerPrayer for Making Friends!

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This week has been true summer in Chicago...sun...warmth...humidity...just like I like it. 
And every day I have chanted to actualize President Ikeda's dream, MY dream, OUR dream. And headed forth into my day, working and helping people. My world of work is in helping seniors stay safe in their homes, inspiring them (and their family members, through my "Older, Bolder, BETTER!" talks.

I am grateful to have work that is worthwhile. 

I have barely spent a moment alone recently. My friends are surrounding me with love, care, laughter, tears and warmth. I've mentioned before that I had a hard time making friends when I was younger. And this has been one of my most treasured benefits from this practice...maybe even my MOST treasured benefit. 
For me, it did not happen overnight. I chanted with this PowerPrayer in mind for some time. And here I am right now overflowing with appreciation for all the dear friends I have and the new ones I make every day. One of my favorite sayings is "There's always room for more friends! I love making new friends!" I 
I offer you my PowerPrayer below. You can read a PowerPrayer before chanting to inspire you in the conviction that RIGHT NOW you are making this happen! 

PowerPrayer for Making Friends
By Jamie Lee Silver of

With every Daimoku I'm chanting I am drawing friendships to me!
Every single Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is transforming me into the kind of person people WANT to have as a friend! 
I now remove any barriers to forming friendships. 
If there is something I am doing to prevent friendships - I stop doing it now!
As I am chanting I am becoming a person with many invitations ~ 
And many real, real friends. 
As I am chanting I am learning how to BE a to to CARE. 
My life is becoming rich with friendships through my Daimoku Now!
I find new ways of appreciating the friendships I have, and cultivating new ones. 
I change this karma right now! 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

9 Powerful Quotes By Daisaku Ikeda on the Power of the Heart and Mind

When the doors of your heart are shut 
and you feel dark and isolated, 
look up to the sky and greet the clouds. 
Let the blue expanse 
open wide the window to your heart
and let in beauty and light. 
Climb upon the clouds 
and let your heart soar freely in the open air!

Freedom doesn’t mean the absence of all restrictions. It means possessing unshakable conviction in the face of any obstacle. This is true freedom.
Buddhism teaches that when we change the “single element of mind”—our fundamental way of thinking—we transform ourselves and our environment changes.

The human spirit is as expansive as the cosmos. This is why it is so tragic to belittle yourself or to question your worth. No matter what happens, continue to push back the boundaries of your inner life. The confidence to prevail over any problem, the strength to overcome adversity and unbounded hope—all reside within you.

My mentor would often tell me, “So much about a person can be learned from their voice.” Treasure your voice. It is a powerful force that can give courage and comfort to others. That is why we should strengthen and refine the inner core of our lives from which our voice emanates.

To lead a life in which we are inspired and can inspire others, our hearts have to be alive; they have to be filled with passion and enthusiasm. To achieve that, we need the courage to live true to ourselves. Rather than borrowing from or imitating others, we need the conviction to be able to think for ourselves and to take action out of our own sense of responsibility.

Whatever your circumstances, whatever your past, the forces that determine your future are nowhere but within your own heart and mind. It is here that the star of your destiny shines.We need to cultivate a state of life where we can thoroughly enjoy ourselves at all times. We should have such joy that even at the time of death we can declare with a happy smile: “That was wonderful! Where shall I go next?” Faith enables us to attain the kind of generous and all-embracing state of mind where we enjoy everything in our lives.