Tuesday, September 29, 2015

5 Essential Points Every Shakubuku Wants to Know - And a PowerPrayer to Introduce Others

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Our lives blossom when we introduce others to this practice. (Shakubuku) When we introduce others we are doing the work of the Buddha. There are many ways to do shakubuku...in this post I focus on planting seeds. Three people had to tell me about Nam-myoho-renge-kyo before I started chanting. I had three seeds. Then I embraced this practice fully when an extremely articulate and passion woman (Kate Randolph) and I spent a day together. We'd been total strangers. After a day with her I began a dedicated practice with the wonderful San Francisco members who raised me as a Buddhist. 

You never know when seeds will sprout. Some of my friends began chanting right after I started. My Mom jumped right in after a year saying "I want what you've got!" and chanted the rest of her life. Many times with me and my two boys. 

So I plant seeds.

We are the Buddha after all. 

As my friend Kate says: 

The Gohonzon cannot get down off the wall 
and tell people about chanting. 
Only we can do it. 
And THIS is one of the main reasons 
we are worthy votaries of the Lotus Sutra. 
When we help others learn to practice 
our lives expand and we change our karma. 

Shakubuku is easy, not hard. 

It all starts with Daimoku. And a sky-high life condition! When we are beaming and happy people want to know our secret. And we want to tell them.

I chant this PowerPrayer to meet the people who are seeking this practice.
I firmly believe that there are Bodhisattvas out who made the vow to return at this time to prove the power of this law, but they haven't found it yet. YOU can be the one who helps them live out their vow.

There are so many people who are seeking the solution to their problems. There are so many who are suffering with no solution. But look at us...we know we can transform any poison into medicine. We are changing our karma right here, right now. I do shakubuku out of compassion for those who are still searching.

Five Things I Tell People About Chanting:

1. You can chant for whatever you want. And if you don't get exactly what you want, you will get something better. You get to KEEP your Desires! And that includes chanting for people you love. You can help others through your chanting. In this practice desires are NOT the cause of your suffering. They are the fuel for your happiness. How refreshing!  (Life is long. Patience is important. Not giving up is KEY.) 

2. You don't have to convert. It's like meditation. Anyone can do it. After chanting for a while, you may want to fully embrace this practice. After seeing the actual proof you will probably want to. But you can test it first and watch your own results. It works. 

3. You don't have to believe it will work. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the law of cause and effect. We don't have to understand it. When we turn on the light do we UNDERSTAND why electricity works? Most likely not. But it works. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is a law. The law of the universe. You can these words and you will see an effect in your life. It will work. 

4. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo means "I fuse my life with the mystic law of cause and effect through sound vibration.It is the name of the rhythm of life itself. If you intone the name of the rhythm of life itself while focusing on your desires you tap into the energy of the universe...your highest potential...to make your dreams come true. Internal change is where it startsChanting works because chanting creates an effect on the INSIDE of your life. And because we are connected to our environment our environment HAS to change. It HAS to. And it will. 

5. Chanting has No rules. No paths to memorize. No uncomfortable positions or clothing. All people regardless of race or sexual orientation are welcome. 

If people have time to talk I also discuss the SGI, President Ikeda and the benefits of being part of this incredible organization. 

As many of you know, I looked for this practice for the first half of my life. I knew it HAD to exist. I kept finding practices that said my desires were the cause of my suffering.... Somehow I KNEW that my desires weren't bad...that they were a part of me, a lovely, beautiful part of me. So I kept searching until I found this practice. I know others are out there...just like I was...searching. That's why I write this blog! And I have been so grateful for the last 30 years to be able to chant and sing the story ~ CREATE the story of my life.

So everywhere I go I bring cards. I made them myself, and you can usually buy them at the SGI Centers. I have the words Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and the phonetic pronunciation. They also say: Chant these words and become happier than you ever imagined, and the contact info for the Chicago Center are on them. If appropriate I invite them to a meeting.

I hand people a card, even if I've just met them for a moment at a store, or in line somewhere. 

After I thank them for helping me,  I say "I have something special for you. I just have to let you know about this- Have you ever heard of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo? When you chant these words and think about what you want you become happier than you ever imagined."

Everyone says Thank You!
Almost NEVER does anyone respond negatively. 
And with each person I am planting a seed. It might not sprout now, but it might sprout when the NEXT person tells them, or when a family member starts chanting.  At any rate it a great cause for YOUR life too!

PowerPrayer for Shakubuku 
(to introduce others to this practice) 
By Jamie Lee Silver from Chantforhappiness.com

When you are experiencing benefits and your life is glowing like the sun, you will naturally want to share your secret with other people. 
Simply put, Shakubuku means sharing Nichiren Buddhism with others. From the Japanese, it means “to clear away illusions that prevent one from recognizing the ultimate truth or reality.” This truth is that we are all Buddhas. Every time you share Nichiren Buddhism with others you are doing the work of the Buddha, in helping others to attain happiness by realizing that they are Buddhas, too. Each time, you bring people one important step closer to knowing who they are and their absolute happiness. Please do not cut and paster this PowerPrayer. If you want to share please use the buttons at the bottom of this post. 


I chant for kosen-rufu Now! 
I deeply desire a world of respect for all of life. 
Let me meet the people who want to practice right now!
Give me the courage to tell them 
about Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
and the heart and wisdom to touch their lives.
Increase my level to really CARE about others, and to be articulate in sharing this practice. 
Give me the confidence and 
let my life SHINE with BENEFITS and ACTUAL PROOF 
so that people want to know my secret! 
Let my life SHINE! 

Do you have any shakubuku tips for the readers of this blog? Email me at chantforhappiness@gmail.com. Also send your experiences with a picture and a bio so you can share your inspiring practice on the blog! 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Chanting and Crying Yes or No?

I'm in Asheville, North Carolina visiting my Dad. This is my new friend Arlene from the New Morning Gallery in the Biltmore Village. I can happily peruse galleries all day long! 

I'm continuing my 2-hour a day Daimoku Campaign. The second day of the campaign, as I was chanting I started to cry. 

Sometimes doing Daimoku helps you tap into emotions under the surface.  

I think it's important to know that just getting choked up is not a reason to stop chanting - especially if you've committed to chanting a certain amount of time. Throughout that whole hour I chanted, cried, and got right back into my deep, deep prayer. It felt invigorating! I did not stop! I won in that hour! 

I have a phrase...I'm not quite sure of the origin, although my dear YWD attributes it to me: "Every tear cried in front of the Gohonzon is a diamond in your life."

Chanting and crying is fine. 
Grab some tissues and go for it! 
Just keep forging ahead like the Buddha You ARE. 
GO Buddha GO!!! 

Karma = Mission! Passage from the New Human Revolution by Daisaku Ikeda

I'm in Asheville, North Carolina in the Smoky Mountains visiting my Dad and stepmom Janis. I love the passage I'm sharing with you today...enjoy!

THE GREAT DRAMA OF HUMAN REVOLUTION - The New Human Revolution Vol 1 - “Pioneers” chapter - May 2015 issue Daibyakurenge. By Daisaku Ikeda

In the novel The New Human Revolution, Shin’ichi Yamamoto (Daisaku Ikeda) encourages a woman who is filled with despair;
Ikeda Sensei’s Guidance:
"Toward the end of the question-and-answer session, Shin’ichi noticed a woman in the back row who had been hesitantly raising her hand and putting it down again throughout the session. Somewhere in her mid-30s, her face was gaunt and tired-looking.
“You have a question, don’t you? Please go ahead,” he encouraged her.
She stood up listlessly and said: “Um, you see, my husband died from illness. I just don’t know how I’m going to survive from now on.”
The woman and her husband had emigrated from Japan to Brazil as contract laborers with their children and had been working the land. Deprived of her husband’s crucial involvement, however, she was unable to keep farming, as she still had several small children to look after.
Just as thoughts of suicide began to cross her mind, she learned about the Daishonin’s Buddhism from a Soka Gakkai member living nearby. She had started her practice only one week before the meeting, and in that short period had found a job at a factory in São Paulo, which also provided her lodging.
“But,” she continued, “when I think of living here in a foreign country I know nothing about, struggling to provide for my children, I can’t help feeling anxious. I think I must have awfully heavy karma. And I have no idea what may happen in the future. Just thinking about it is unbearable.”
Shin’ichi smiled at her and said: “Please don’t worry. As long as you continue exerting yourself in faith, you can definitely become happy. That’s what Buddhism is for. Also, your current suffering and misfortune exist so that you may fulfill your own unique and noble mission. Everything will turn to defeat if all you do is worry about your karma and let it make you miserable.”
The woman gazed at Shin’ichi with a puzzled look. The member who had introduced her to the practice had told her that the reason she had to suffer the loss of her husband was because of negative karma she had accumulated from offenses committed in past lifetimes.
It is true that Buddhism teaches that one who commits evil deeds against others will receive the negative effects of those actions and live an unhappy life. This is just one aspect, however. Were it the entire teaching on karma, then people would be doomed to live under a cloud of guilt and vague anxiety, not knowing what offenses they might have committed in past lives. It would also mean that people’s destiny was fixed—a concept that could easily rob them of their energy and passion.
The Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin goes far beyond the framework of superficial causality. It elucidates the most fundamental cause and shows us the way to return to the pure life within that has existed since time without beginning. The way we achieve this is by awakening to our mission as Bodhisattvas of the Earth and dedicating ourselves to the widespread propagation of the Law.
Shin’ichi said: “Buddhism teaches the principle of ‘voluntarily assuming the appropriate karma.’ This means that although through Buddhist practice we had accumulated the benefit to be born in favorable circumstances, we purposely chose to be born in the midst of those who are suffering and there propagate the Mystic Law.
“For example, if someone who had always lived like a queen and enjoyed every luxury were to say, ‘I became happy as a result of my Buddhist practice,’ no one would bat an eye. But if a person who is sick, whose family is poor, and who is shunned by people because of these things becomes happy through her Buddhist practice and goes on to become a leader in society, this will be splendid proof of the greatness of Nichiren Buddhism. Don’t you agree that this would make others want to start practicing, too?
“By triumphing over great poverty, a person who has been poor can give hope to others who are struggling with financial hardship. By regaining vitality and good health, someone who has been battling illness can light a flame of courage in the hearts of those in similar straits. By creating a happy and harmonious family, a person who has suffered great anguish over discord in the home can become a model for others plagued by family problems.
“Similarly, if you—a woman who has been left widowed in a foreign land where she does not speak the language—become happy and raise your children to be fine adults, you’ll be a shining example for all women who have lost their partners. Even those who don’t practice faith will admire you and come to seek your advice.
“So you see, the deeper and greater the suffering, the more magnificently one can show proof of the powerful benefit of Buddhism. You could say that karma is another name for mission.
“I myself am the son of a poor seaweed farmer. I worked by Mr. Toda’s side throughout the bitter trials of his company’s bankruptcy, even though I was frail in health and afflicted with tuberculosis. Because I have experienced hardship and suffering just like everyone else, it’s possible for me to take leadership for kosen-rufu in this way as a representative of the common people.”
Shin’ichi continued with even greater emphasis: “Each of you may think that you have just happened to come to Brazil because of various personal circumstances. But this is not the case. You have been born as a Bodhisattva of the Earth in order to achieve kosen-rufu in Brazil, to lead the people of this country to happiness and to create an eternal realm of peace and harmony in this land. Indeed, you have been called here by Nichiren Daishonin. When you realize your great mission as a Bodhisattva of the Earth and dedicate yourself to kosen-rufu, the sun that has existed within you since time without beginning will start to shine forth. All offenses you have committed in past lifetimes will vanish like dew, and you will open the way to a wonderful life filled with deep joy and happiness.”
Addressing the woman who had lost her husband, Shin’ichi went on: “Viewed from the profound perspective of Buddhism, your suffering is like that portrayed by a brilliant, highly successful stage actress cast in the role of a tragic heroine. When the play is finished, the actress goes home to a life of ease and comfort. Your life is the same. Moreover, the play you are performing on the stage of life’s theater is one that will have a happy ending. There is no need to worry. You will definitely become happy. I say this with absolute certainty. Just as a great actress relishes performing her tragic role, please enact a magnificent drama of human revolution in which you rise triumphantly from the depths of your sorrow.
“All people are pioneers traveling the frontiers of life. Therefore, it is up to you alone to cultivate and develop your own life. You must wield the hoe of faith, sow the seeds of happiness and persevere tenaciously. The sweat of your efforts for kosen-rufu will become precious gems of good fortune, forever dignifying your life. Please become the happiest person in Brazil!”

Saturday, September 26, 2015

7 Steps to Changing Our Karma

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The other day I found an article on the internet that said according to Buddhism "Life is Suffering." Well...Not this Buddhism! The goal of this Buddhism, and of life itself is Happiness. And it is never to late to claim and create our own happiness. It starts with US!  

Many of us practitioners of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism have changed various aspects of our karma. It starts with each one of us...how courageous can we be to change ourselves? 
As Daisaku Ikeda writes:
The course of our lives is determined by how we react  - what we decide and what we do - at the darkest of times. The nature of that response determines a person's true worth and greatness. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I was in an extreme place of sadness when I started this blog, and there is one important thing I realized that I really want you to understand too. 
It is true, that my suffering was triggered by an event in my life. This can't be denied. But somewhere in the depths of my life I knew that the tears I was shedding were WITHIN my life, and had always been within my life. These were not new feelings of despair. Yes, they were intensified by my recent event, but I realized that I had carried these feelings INTO this life, and that my Mom, my sweet Mommy, had also experienced a lot of these feelings. 

I realized that this sadness was my karma and because I am a NICHIREN Buddhist - I can change it!
Karma in some sects means something you have to ENDURE, in others, it's something you have to LEARN FROM. and In Nichiren Buddhism, also known as SGI Buddhism, also known as Practical Buddhism ~  where we chant the name of the Mystic Law - Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Karma is something that we can change, in fact, it is our MISSION to change our karma. 

7 Steps to Changing Our Karma

by Jamie Lee Silver of Chantforhappiness.com. 
Please do not cut and paste. Please do share the post using the links at the bottom.  

1. Recognize karma for what it is. 
Whatever we are suffering about...we have to own it. To "own it" means to embrace it as our own and realize that yes, this is my karma, and therefore mine to change. There is no one to blame, not even ourselves. If it is causing us suffering, it is ours. Years ago I had a boss that caused me great suffering. I took it on and embraced it. I followed the steps outlined below and permanently changed that karma by changing something in myself. Read on...

2. Make a fierce determination to change your karma, and take the actions to change it. 
Chant to root the cause of your suffering FOREVER OUT OF YOUR LIFE. 
Many of you have written that you just can't chant, you can't go to meetings, you're too depressed and too busy. Somehow, you just have to overcome this through sheer determination. That's why we have our wonderful organization, the Soka Gakkai. It is entirely up to you! Your friends in faith are waiting to hear from you, chant with you, win with you. Connect to the SGI (use the link sgi-usa.org). And call your SGI friends. I have always chanted to make strong friends in faith who inspire me. You can do this too, and go to them for guidance. (Sometimes, when I am facing an obstacle, I ask for guidance on the most effective way to chant to achieve victory)

3. Take action. 
In my case, five years ago, I formed a connection with a strong and inspiring member and we determined to chant two hours a day "together" to change our karma. Sometimes we chanted in the same room, sometimes by phone or text. We didn't always chant at the exact same time, but somehow, knowing we had the shared commitment was very important. Also, take concrete action. You may want to write your goals on paper. Chant for wisdom, and take the actions that arise from your prayers. 

4. Be consistent. Practice correctly. 
I know, I know, I say this all the time because it is really important. Go to meetings, study the writings of Nichiren Daishonin and Daisaku Ikeda, and introduce others to the practice to the best of your ability. No seed planted is ever wasted. If they don't start practicing today they may down the line. The seed is within their life. 

5. Realize that obstacles will arise. 
Don't let them stop you. 
Chant through your tears. Chant through your tears. A leader once told me that Every tear cried in front of the Gohonzon is a diamond in your life. Keep Chanting through your tears. Don't stop! Embrace it. Get out the tissues and get that karma out of your life, not just for you, but for the generations ahead of you! 

6. Don't give up. 
Whatever you do, don't give up. 
Do whatever you have to do to keep going. Karma changing doesn't usually happen overnight. Call on your friends. Start a journal. Realize that what you are doing is REALLY important.

7. WIN and share your Victory with others! 
Document your experience. Write down the challenges you faced and how you overcame them through chanting. Write down the quotes and guidance that inspired you. 

We would all love to hear your victories. You can share them on Chantforhappiness.com. Just send a picture, a little about yourself - where you live, how long you've been practicing, and your experience to chantforhappiness@gmail.com. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Universal PowerPrayer to Break Through ALL Our Obstacles

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As Nichiren Buddhists, we are the Buddha  ~  
as we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo summoning our fathomless wisdom while steering our life in the direction of our innermost desires...both for ourselves and for others. 

We chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo over and over and over again. We call this "chanting Daimoku"(Die-MOH-Koo). Daimoku means title. The title of the Lotus Sutra (Shakyamuni Buddha’s self-proclaimed highest teaching) is  Myoho-Renge-Kyo.  

Nichiren Daishonin added "Nam" (devotion - focusing) before Myoho-renge-kyo to make the phrase mean “I devote my life to the mystic law of cause and effect through sound vibration,” or, “I am one with the very rhythm of life.”

Myoho-renge-kyo is the name of the ultimate mystic truth, and Nam-myoho-renge-kyo  is the name of the life state of Buddhas who embody and reveal this truth.” 
p.28 Lectures on “On Attaining Buddhahood in this Lifetime”, Daisaku Ikeda

What follows is a Universal PowerPrayer to tap into our desire for happiness for all beings...the real vow we all make as Buddhas! 

Universal PowerPrayer 
for the Happiness for ALL
By Jamie Lee Silver of Chantforhappiness.com

Every Daimoku I chant 
remakes my VOW as a Buddha 
for Victory in my own life 
so that all others can achieve VICTORY in theirs! 
reaches every other person who is chanting. 
I see everyone chanting...
tapping into the deepest prayer they have ever felt ~
At this moment 
I deepen the power of my prayer by 10,000 times
Just like my mentor describes ~
so that all who are chanting can also deepen their faith, 
and bring forth the results they desire 
as we 
spread the word of this great teaching 
to those still suffering
we all become absolutely happy
and create a happy and peaceful world!

I chant that every single person who is chanting 
feels the full power 
sees the full power
experiences the full power
of this faith in their lives. 

I chant for all members to have faith
receive incredible 
and to know, and feel 
within every cell in their body
the power welling forth 
with each Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!!

Together we create kosen-rufu
the total energy shift of our planet! 

Daimoku Campaign Tips

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"Anyone who has ever made a resolution discovers that the strength of that determination fades in time. The moment you feel that is when you should make a fresh determination. Tell yourself, “OK! I will start again from now!” If you fall down seven times, get up an eighth. Don’t give up when you feel discouraged—just pick yourself up and renew your determination each time."

Daisaku Ikeda, Ikedaquotes.org

I started my two hour a day Daimoku Campaign on Sunday, and the whole world looks different today. 

No matter how many years I have been chanting, I am still blown away by the power of Daimoku, the power within my own life. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo taps into that brilliance, that power within. 

Making a new Daimoku target and sticking with it has power in itself...it serves to draw a line in the sand for our happiness. And every time we accomplish our Daimoku goal we feel the victory in our lives. At the same time, WHILE we are chanting, wisdom is pouring into our lives. 
Solutions to problems magically appear...and inside our hearts we begin to dance. 

People write me to ask many technical questions. How long should I chant? Does it matter if I chant in the car or in front of my Gohonzon? (Yes, I think it matters, but you can chant in the care anyway - your main practice is in front of the Gohonzon!) 
How do I do a Daimoku Campaign?

Thhat there are no hard and fast "rules" in this practice. Maybe a Daimoku campaign for you is chanting 15 minutes in the evening and 15 minutes in the morning. That will change your life if you haven't been chanting that much Daimoku. 

Maybe a campaign for you is actually committing to Gongyo twice a day. Maybe it's a full hour every morning....

The important thing is to have a goal!

We can make our own campaign and build from it. 
Start with more than you are doing now. Start with a goal you can achieve. And find a buddy to do it with you!

I know from experience that two hours a day brightens my life...it helped me get through my Mom's death and it is raising me from the sadness I've been feeling with Ben's death. I still honor him every moment, but KNOW he would want me to be happy. 


"People do not grow when their environment is too comfortable, when they are not challenged. It is in the midst of suffering and hardship that strength of character is formed.

Daisaku Ikeda, Ikedaquotes.org" 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"When You Continue To Advance" By Daisaku Ikeda

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"It may be difficult indeed not to look back. 
The deep scars within your heart may not heal quickly. 
Yet brace yourself so you can look forward. 
you have to advance, even a step. 
You should strive to move on. 
Cutting through the clouds in your heart. 
As long as you advance, new hope will be born. 
The sun will rise. 
Only when you continue to advance 
can you encounter an even better, more wonderful you. 
A new life will unfold for you."

Daisaku Ikeda, Faith into Action, Love and Relationships 

These words were sent in a card from readers Karla Doane, Tama Driskill and Mina Capulin. 
They sent this card to Ben when he was requesting reading material, and they included a gift card for Barnes and Noble. Little did we all know that their words would come to comfort me today. My heart is filled with gratitude. I chant for all of you every day, as I know so many of you are chanting for me. 

Continuing in the Daimoku campaign I must mention what I call "Campaign backlash." Sometimes after a lot of daimoku, I get a bit of backlash...heightened emotions...a recurring problem...some difficulty. This is bound to happen. Challenge it and move on...consider it as transitory as a dream and forge on! 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

3 Keys to a Successful Daimoku Campaign

Happiness is not a life without worries or struggles. Happiness is the robust sense of fulfillment one feels when bravely confronting hardship. It is that elevation of the spirit, like an airplane gaining lift from the air resistance against its wings.
Daisaku Ikeda, Ikedaquotes.org

Hi! It's my birthday today. 
All the numbers are pretty cool. It's, of course, the 22nd, (my favorite number), and on the 20th of October I'll reach the end of my 30th year of practice. And today I turn 55. Great numbers! 

In case anyone thinks 55 is old - it's not! 
Old is a state of mind! 

Sunday I began a two hour a day Daimoku Campaign. I had to. I just got tired of feeling sad! Not only was I feeling sad, but I was yelling at myself in my head a lot, and I have to cut that out! So I said to myself "Jamie! You have a perfect target for a campaign - one month from now you'll have completed 30 years  -  what a great time to start a 2 hour campaign!" And on Saturday night one of my friends said she was ready to do a two hour a day campaign so we are doing it together. We're reporting when we chant and texting each other when we start. It's easy. And it's great to have a campaign buddy. 

3 Keys to a Successful Daimoku Campaign

1. Have a great reason to chant! 
I've found that setbacks, sadness, despair and unhappiness are GREAT motivators. Sooner or later I say "NO" and open myself to the great "YES" - the greater possibility of what my life can be. Or...a great goal is a perfect reason to begin a campaign. Or...a deadline. What a great motivator! 

2. Find a campaign buddy! 
Here's how it works:
You both set a goal of the number of hours you want to chant a day. 
You text each other in the morning when you begin to chant. 
You connect by text or phone every day to stay inspired!

3. Chant your two hours (or however many hours you have decided) every day. 
What about interruptions? What about having to use the restroom, or refreshing your drink? How about those phone calls you really have to take when you are chanting? 

Ok, for the most part, I don't take any calls while chanting, and I have my phone in the other room. Today, since it's my birthday, I kept my phone out. When I picked up the phone I noted the time, and added that much time onto the time I was going to chant. Today I was going to chant from 6:30 until 8:30, and I got a call from Aaron at 8:00. The call lasted 15 minutes, so I added 15 minutes onto my time and ended at 8:45 instead. See how that works?

I just finished a call with one of my best friends and we laughed and laughed. How nice to have such a high life condition on a day like this...a day I was thinking I would be so sad!  

Enjoy your high life condition from chanting! 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Song for you by John Denver - "For You"

John Denver ~ part of my heart and soul. 
I share this beautiful song with you from my heart to yours. 
I hope you enjoy it. You can find many more of his songs on YouTube. His heart was Buddhist, his life was lived for the entire world. He was a great and positive influence in my life from my earliest days ... and he still is...his music...his heart...lives forever! 

A few short days from now, on October 7th I'll be heading to Aspen Colorado to join a group of people who convene there every year to sing his songs, to laugh, to hike, and to be together! That a thrill!

This morning I chanted for two hours as if it were two minutes. One month from today I will complete 30 years of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon. 
I am in a deep dialogue with my life to have peace of mind, a feeling of flowing at one with the universe, happiness and purpose...

I'll be chanting two hours a day between now and my anniversary...and writing my goals. Join me! You can set your sights on any date you please, November 18th, or a significant date for you. There are no hard and fast "rules" to creating your own campaign...it is whatever works for you. I want to dig deeper...to understand more fully, and to dance as the Boddhisatva I AM...along with YOU my dear friends! 

Friday, September 18, 2015

What Does Nam-myoho-renge-kyo Mean, and Why Do We Chant It? For Sharing...

What does Nam-myoho-renge-kyo mean, 
and why do we chant it? 

By Jamie Lee Silver of ChantforHappiness.com - 

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Translate button is at the top right.)

The literal translation is:

"I fuse my life 
with the mystic law of cause and effect 
through sound vibration (or sutra)." 

It is the title of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha's highest teaching that declares that ALL people possess the Buddha Nature...all people ARE Buddhas...and we can access this nature by calling it forth in our lives using this phrase. 

Being a Buddha - 
is tapping the river of life that runs through ALL life - summoning the mystic law 
by realizing 
we ARE the Mystic Law. 
We not only chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo ~ 
we ARE Nam-myoho-renge-kyo ~the Mystic Law. 

I like to think of it as "I am one with the rhythm of all life." It is the rhythm that exists within all of life...the reason for the turning of the tides...the reason for the seasons...the atoms that exist within every single cell...from an elephant to a spec of dust...to the cells in our hearts and minds. Everything possesses this connectedness...this rhythm.  
It is all encompassing and contains the wisdom and energy of all of life itself...the whole universe. 

When we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo we tap into that energy and access it for our lives...directed towards our desires and for the fulfillment of happiness for all. In this practice, it's okay to have desires. More than okay! We don't have to alleviate them. Desires make us who we are and lead us to chant. 

When we chant we change the internal life within our lives. We change the core and fiber of our lives. We change our karma. And when we make that internal change, our ENVIRONMENT (meaning everything that is not within our own skin, our jobs, our relationships, our sense of self, everything we experience and think) ALL of that changes to reflect our internal change. We call this "Human Revolution."

When we chant we harness the energy that is our birthright. And we chant twice a day, every single day, to get and keep our lives in rhythm. 

When we are in rhythm we are in the right place at the right time... to find out about and get the job...or to meet the man of our dreams...or to protect our child from danger. When we are in rhythm life isn't so much of a struggle as it is a joy...we see the beauty in everything and we feel our lives overflowing with appreciation. 

We chant for something and get it or something better. We get access to internal happiness and strength that cannot be blown away by any event or obstacles. 

In fact we view obstacles themselves as benefits, as strange as that may sound....because obstacles make us chant more, and when we chant more we draw even higher life conditions and deeper satisfaction into our lives. 

What can we chant FOR? Anything. We chant for others, we chant for our planet, our countries, and ouselves. 
We can chant for whatever our desire may be...even if it might not be the "right" desire for us. In the act of chanting, we will change our karma and our desires themselves will naturally begin to shift. We will open our lives to the deeper wisdom within...the deeper yearning, the REAL desires that we have forgotten or given up on. We will grow. We will prosper and we will blossom. 

We will gain the wisdom of the right action to take - because ACTION springs from wisdom. 

The challenge is...we need to DO it. We have to chant to bring all this rhythm and harmony out. And that's why we practice together as an organization, the SGI, The Soka Gakkai, our fellowship of friends who support each other, chant for each other, and create a new Soka family for each practitioner. We are so fortunate. 

I hear from people all over the world, and some have strong SGI groups in their towns and others are completely alone. I love that we can connect through the power of the internet. From the moment I began chanting almost 30 years ago I have had the deep desire to share this practice, this practice that WORKS, with everyone who is looking for the real, practical means of creating happiness and results in their lives. 

We are in this life together...sharing our challenges and our successes. If you are not yet connected to the SGI please go to sgi-usa.com and find your local members. You will be so glad you did. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Some Powerful Quotes from Daisaku Ikeda:

THIS moment, this instant, is important, 
not some unknown time in the future. 
Today, this very day is what matters. 
You must put your whole being 
into the time that exists now. 
For future victory rests in the present moment.

BUDDHISM holds that 

everything is in a constant state of flux. 
Thus, the question is 
whether we are to accept change passively 
and be swept away by it, 
or whether we are to take the lead 
and create positive changes on our own initiative. 
While conservatism and self-protection
might be likened to winter, night and death, 

the spirit of pioneering and attempting to realize 
the ideals evokes the images of spring,
morning and birth.

DO gongyo and chant daimoku with a fresh spirit. 

And, filled with renewed vitality, 

build a history of accumulating fresh benefit.

All quotes from Ikedaquotes.org

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Loving Chanting Daimoku = Loving the Moment

A few days ago I saw a picture on Facebook. It was a much older woman, next to a younger woman saying "time flies" enjoy the moment. And it really made me reflect. 

When I was a young mother I knew I had to enjoy the moments with my kids...I wanted to freeze time. I cried at every year's "first day of school" and wished they could stay young forever. Yes. 

But many times now, I just feel I want to speed things up...like I have to get TO somewhere...but I'm not sure where...just moving...and moving...
And although I feel appreciation in my heart...sometimes I don't "stop to smell the roses." I think it is partly the time we are in...the culture we belong to...we are all in such a hurry, right? (At least here int he States)

Seeing this picture of the old woman telling the young woman how time flies, I decided to experiment with chanting a little more slowly, and relishing each Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. A mentor of mine in San Francisco said you should approach the Gohonzon as if you were approaching a lover...or eating the finest food. Relishing each moment. 

So I slowed it down for part of my hour. 

Later that day, after an energy alignment session with my dear friend Joy, of Path to Joy Wellness, I went for a walk, and decided to just enjoy moving my body, not going as fast as I usually do. 

Now, I don't think I got a great aerobic workout, but I sure did love being in my body...feeling the air, moving my hips. It just felt so good....

So, I'm not saying we should slow down or speed up chanting...I think the speed we chant is up to each person. I just thought this was interesting and wanted to share it with you.