Wednesday, October 28, 2015

This is not the Buddhism of "Learning from our Karma," It's the Buddhism of CHANGING IT!

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The other day a practicing Buddhist said to me "Well I guess I just have to keep going through this until I learn the lesson from it. That's what life is, learning lessons from our suffering." and I said 'That is not what Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism is all about!" 

Yes, I know the Gosho says 'Suffer what there is to suffer and enjoy what there is to enjoy." (From Happiness in This World by Nichiren Daishonin.)  But the Gosho "Reply to Kyo'o" states: "A sword will be useless in the hands of a coward." 

As Buddhas we can be fearless! 

I do not think it's important to "learn from our karma". Of course we can learn from the causes we make, and stop making negative causes...but that is not the same as having the belief that we have to repeat karma over and over again until we "learn" from it."

I think it's important to change it! 

When I first began chanting in San Francisco I got a job with an abusive, screaming, swearing boss. He wasn't swearing and screaming at me, but that was not something I ever wanted to experience again. Every morning, I chanted a solid hour of daimoku to CHANGE THIS KARMA forever...and never, ever have an abusive boss again. I chanted for this boss's happiness, and the happiness of all involved. After chanting this way for a significant amount of time I gained the strength to stand up to this man and stop him when he abused my coworkers. 

Eventually, that job ended and I had a series of wonderful bosses, and lots of business success. Some time later that karma resurfaced, but not in quite as bad a way. I got a boss who drove me crazy with her anxiety. At this time I did not say to myself "Wow, this Buddhism doesn't work, I can't believe I got another boss who makes me suffer."

No. I just dug right back into my practice, made a new determination and chanted with all my might for her happiness, for my success, for my future and all my dreams. At the time, I really wanted to move from San Francisco. This boss ended up giving me a substantial severance package - enough so that I could take the holiday season off to be with my babies and then move back to Chicago to raise my kids close to my Mom in the good old midwest. 

Did I "learn" from these instances. YES! I learned I can change whatever karma I want by chanting. I learned I am a powerful Buddha. 
I did not have to learn "why am I attracting this into my life?" No! I just learned to change it! 


As Daisaku Ikeda writes in the October 16th, 2015 World Tribune, in the essay "Making Hope", page 6:

"I do not believe that people are powerless. The philosophical tradition that I embrace, on the most fundamental dimension - that of life itself - teaches that each human life partakes of the limitless life force of the cosmos. The same power that moves the universe exists within our own lives. Each individual has immense potential, and a great change in the inner dimension of one individual's life has the power to touch the lives of others and transform society. Everything begins with us." 

Monday, October 26, 2015

7 Keys to WINNING in all Aspects of our Lives!

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What does it mean to "Win over all aspects of our life and center our lives on this practice?" This is a phrase we've heard over and over since we began to chant, but what does it really mean? 

Here's my take on this. I write from my heart as an enthusiastic 30+ year practicing Buddhist. I do not represent the SGI in any official capacity. 

7 Keys to
Winning in all aspects of our lives!

1. Always look inside for the cure. Stop blaming anything or anyone for anything. Stop complaining. 
As Buddhists, we know the answer lies within, and the real battle involves winning over ourselves...winning over our negativity, winning over that voice inside that says "I can't." This is the real battle ground of kosen rufu! 
When we win over ourselves we win every battle everywhere, and ignite the world for peace. We may not be able to change everything, but we can win over what we can't change as long as we persevere. We can be determined to win no matter what the outcome. 

2. Set your chanting Goal
My goal is to chant two hours every single day. As I do this I feel enormous amounts of strength welling forth. 
I do not reach that goal every day, but I enthusiastically reach it as often as I can. It's a guideline for me, and I make it most days. There's something about chanting that amount of time that really works for me...especially NOW when I need to strengthen my life more than ever. You don't have to have that goal, of course, but I do believe striving for a goal really works. 

3. Chant at the same time each day to the best of your ability. 
And this may include waking up earlier. I chant from 7:00 to 8:00 am every day as much as possible. Over the past few months I've had some difficulty sleeping at night, so I've had to adjust timing some days. I've been sleeping better since last Tuesday when I celebrated my 30th Gohonzon birthday by starting a new health/eating/exercising plan. 

4. Invite people to chant with you as much as possible, and take on their challenges as your own in your Daimoku. 
I'm working with a couple of people right now and chanting sincerely for them to win in all aspects of their life, and I am committed to them winning! 

5. STUDY! The words of Daisaku Ikeda and Nichiren Daishonin should be etched into all of our lives daily! We can always refresh our practice with study. 

6. Go to SGI Meetings and participate. 
This is OUR organization. Chant for it. Chant for your district. Rather than complain, CHANT. Gather members to chant. Encourage everyone. This is our organization, and our ability to encourage each other is one of the hallmarks of the SGI. It's one of the focuses of Clark Strand in his book "Waking the Buddha." How we encourage each other across all lines is how we do the work of the Buddha - our own life's work. 

7. If you don't have an SGI near you - this is your opportunity to be a real leader and start one! You can read the New Human Revolution about the birth of the SGI and chant to form your own district and make a difference in your community and for kosen-rufu. 
These are no small things, but the payoff is great. I stand here stronger than ever, undaunted in the face of the greatest obstacle a parent could ever face. I am optimistic, I am strong and I am even more determined to make THE difference with my life, even through my tears. 

What are your dreams? What do you wish to change inside your own heart and in the community at large. What don't you like about your life? You job? Your boss? Your family relationships? BOOM You can change them. Put your practice at the center of your life and you will gain more strength than you can possibly believe.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Happy Saturday Morning of Your New Life!

We are Buddhists. We chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo...we begin our new life each and every moment!

I just finished two powerful hours of daimoku with two members who came here to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with me. We chanted non-stop, and I am filled with hope, excitement for my life, and for my mission in this world. I created a breakthrough for myself through my determinations on my Gohonzon Birthday. I feel ready to begin anew, I HAVE begun anew already.

This week I started exercising and eating more consciously. There is now way to describe how great that makes me feel. THAT ALONE can help me rise from the sadness of my loss. Oh, I know I still have time to grieve, and that I should grieve, but I like feeling good. I want to feel good...and having a powerful, strong and healthy body just makes me ready to embrace life and take it on.

Our story is not yet written - is not yet told. I do not know my future. I know that every morning and evening I connect to the source of the power in the entire universe. 

Here is to you and fulfilling your deep, deep missions!

Claiming Our Power as Women! Marianne Williamson speaking to us all

Be Bold! Be Fearless on our Path to Kosen-Rufu!  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Creative Ways to Celebrate Our Gohonzon Birthdays

Yesterday was my 30th Gohonzon birthday. I have chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo every morning and evening and EVERY morning and evening for thirty years! It is hard to even imagine where I would be without this "engine of energy vibration" that taps into my highest potential every day. My life is better in every single way for invoking the energy of the entire universe through my life every day. 

I use this anniversary each year to deepen my faith, and deepen "the depth at which I live" - see the quote from Daisaku Ikeda below. I celebrate every year. There are several things I do to make my Gohonzon Birthday Week Memorable. I share these with you today with a sense of gratitude. Thank you for sharing our journeys of faith together. What follows is not a prescription or SGI's just what I do and have done for years. 

Here are some Ideas for Celebrating Gohonzon Birthdays - feel free to adopt, change, or add to these. Share your ideas with me at

1. I set aside at least three hours to chant. I chant these in a row or spread them out. 

2. I call my sponsors and the people who have supported me in the practice to thank them. 
(Or I call them sometime during the week of my Gohonzon Birthday)

3. I make fresh determinations. What are my NEXT thirty years going to hold? 

4. I begin something new - set off in a fresh direction. Yesterday I began a healthier eating and working out regime. 

5. I treat this day as a spiritual day just for me. I do something I really hike in the woods, or get a massage. Sometimes you can't fit it in all in one day - I'm getting a massage tonight. 

Yesterday I chanted for at least three hours centering on my district, my own goals, and appreciation for my practice. I took long walks in our woods which are filled with golden leaves. I also reminisced and took time to journal about ten years ago, 20 years ago, thirty years ago, thinking about how fast time flies...and how we really have to cherish each moment. Who thought ten years could fly so fast? Who could even imagine thirty years flying by so quickly? 

As Daisaku Ikeda states in "The Heart of the Lotus Sutra, page 211: 

'What matters most is the "depth of which we live," the "power of thought" we manifest. A person who leads such a truly profound life can make each day worth ten days or even a month. In a year, he or she can create the value of ten or even a hundred years, This is the true measure of one's lifespan; it is not decided simply on the superficial basis of length of time.

"I have based my life and worked hard with this awareness, and I am determined to continue to do so. Therefore, no matter what happens, I have no fear. I cna overcome anything with composure, with the spirit of a lion king. 

"When we base ourselves on the view that life spans past, present and future, we can overcome the suffering of birth and death. We can manifest a state imbued with great peace of mind like that of the Buddha. Then we need fear nothing. We can wholeheartedly devote ourselves to the happiness of all people and the realization of world peace - to the eternal struggle to create value, which is the Buddha's will. Each of us is a child of this Buddha who can lead a dignified and noble existence.  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

How Much Daimoku Should We Chant?

DAIMOKU charges our batteries. 
If we take care to regularly charge our batteries, 
then we'll always be full of energy and vitality. 
If we fail to keep our batteries charged, 
we won't have energy when we need it most 
and as a result may be defeated by our environment.
Daisaku Ikeda, Daily Guidance, October 17th

President Ikeda's guidance on how much daimoku we should Chant:

"Chanting is a process of polishing and forging our lives, which is why our faith is so important. 
Consequently, the benefit of chanting 
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo 
is absolutely not dependent on the amount we chant. 
What matters is that we chant to our own heart's content, the amount that feels right and satisfying for us. 
Nowhere in his writings 
does the Daishonin say 
we should chant a specific quantity. 
The efficacy of our prayers 
is influenced by the strength and depth of our faith, 
and by our determination and attitude. 
At the same time, sincerely resolving 
to chant a specific amount is also an expression of faith. 
We can chant the amount we've decided on each day, 
while continually renewing and deepening our resolve. 
It's also important that we chant honestly and openly, 
just as we are. 
All of us face times of worry, 
anguish and sadness in our lives. 
When we do, we can feel free 
to go straight to the Gohonzon with our suffering 
and chant about it wholeheartedly, 
just like a child seeking its mother's warm embrace."
"There’s no need to worry. 
You don’t need to feel pressured 
about the amount of daimoku you have to chant. 
Even chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo just once 
has incredible power.
Nichiren Daishonin writes: 
“If you recite . . . the daimoku [even] once, 
then the Buddha nature of all living beings 
will be summoned and gather around you” (WND-1, 131). You will receive tremendous benefit 
from just a single, sincere utterance 
of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. 
That’s how powerful the Mystic Law is. 
On the other hand, just because that’s true, doesn’t mean we should use it as an excuse to avoid chanting Daimoku! After all, as the Daishonin says: 
Living Buddhism, Sep./Oct. 2011, pg. 74 & 75

In the picture above I'm sitting looking across the Rio Grande river, near Aspen, Colorado, into a beautiful glade. The river is rushing over the rocks and continuing on its path. I'm watching the yellow aspen leaves falling, dancing, glowing in the sun, and the river, going right over those boulders. I'm thinking of how on Tuesday, the 20th of October, I will be celebrating the completion of 30 years of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo every morning and every evening, in serious practice for my life, and all of life. 

My practice has been a flowing river with various sizes of boulders. Unquestionably the biggest boulders have been this year, when I completed my divorce and my son Ben died. And as I'm watching that water go right around that boulder I'm reflecting on the resiliency of my own life ~ and strengthening my determination that my next 30 years of practice will be even stronger, and more magnificent, not in spite of my son dying, but because of it. 

I can't say I understand it all yet, but I feel much stronger, and more connected to people who are suffering. 

I posted that quote by Sensei because I made a determination to chant two hours a day a few weeks ago, and I make it most days, and there are a few days I don't, and I don't beat myself up over it. I know I've strengthened my determination for kosen-rufu, and am working harder for my fellow members. 

And I feel great. I've gotten more invitations to give my speech "Growing older, Bolder, BETTER" and I'm moving forward. This week I had to replace all my electronics and I forged fearlessly ahead on my own! 

Last night I attended a concert at the Chicago Culture Center after bringing a member for guidance. This morning I am spending with my son Aaron! Wonderful! 
I hope you enjoy your day! 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Strong Determination is the Key to Everything!

Strong determination is the key to everything. Once we begin chanting we realize that everything is under our control...not everything that happens necessarily, but ALL of our reactions, responses, and how we create our lives. Our environment reflects our inner life. This is fundamental to Nichiren Buddhist workings. 

A reader wrote me the other day and asked how I can be a practicing Buddhist and have a son who died. That's a very good question. I know other strong Buddhists have lost children. I know "bad things" happen to good people. At any rate, I can't change the past and I can't bring him back.

What I CAN do is to continue to advance with hope in my heart, passion in my life, and even, sometimes, a song in my heart. Yes, I am still grieving. Yes -  it comes and goes in waves...but I am still ME. I am still Jamie Lee Silver, and I still have my deepest passion in passion for ending the suffering of other. And I know in my heart that helping others end their suffering is the path to ultimate happiness...not just the PATH, but also that I can be happy along the way...not waiting for anything.

If I can do this - advance steadily, show continual actual proof, and even enjoy my life - if I can do this, YOU can do anything! 

This past week in Aspen was like being in heaven with many like-minded people from all over the world. It was a vision of kosen-rufu (world peace, a world of respect for all) in miniature. 
And I came home to discover virtually all of my technology needed to be updated. So I have spent the week upgrading my internet connection, my phone and taking my computer in to be serviced. 

This is a big deal for me. I'm a person who would rather have another person do some of these things for me - usually a man! But I am determined to be self-sufficient in all ways.  So I am chanting to be able to do this myself, and not have to pay the cable guy. 

As I mentioned, I am still myself, and next Tuesday will be the 30th anniversary of the day I received my Gohonzon. When I chant, I feel more connected to my mission than ever. And I know, with this feeling, I can't lose! 

As an aside, for my politically minded American friends: 

Here in the states we are in the run-up to an election. And all of the media is owned by several companies. I found it astonishing that I could not watch the Democratic debate without upgrading my cable package by $20 a month, which they will probably try to raise at some time in the future...but I went ahead and upgraded it to see Bernie Sanders. He's a man who is telling the truth about the takeover of America by corporations. 

Ever since "Citizens United" was voted in by the Supreme Court, allowing "Corporations to be people" and contribute unlimited amounts of money into political campaigns, this country has not been our own, and the rich have been getting richer, while normal working people have seen their incomes shrink. Safety nets for the disadvantaged have been being taken away. And I see this in action. I see people who NEED these safety nets, not because they are lazy, but because they need them for health reasons. 

Interestingly enough, CNN had a live feed going on during the debate, where we could vote live as the debate went on. Anyone could tell that Sanders overwhelmingly won the debate. And as soon as it ended, CNN, owned by Time Warner, Hillary Clinton's 7th biggest funding source, declared she had won the election. This is outrageous. And it is up to US, the people to rise up and use our votes, use our voices, to take back this country. The next few months are going to be very interesting indeed! 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

9 Keys for Starting or Refreshing Your Chanting Practice

By chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo you can transform all of your sufferings into benefit, and crystallize every desire into a blooming flower in our lives. You can become happier than you ever imagined...happier, more resourceful and more courageous in taking action.  

We can change anything through chanting because we tap into our inner realm of unlimited possibility when we chant. You are a Buddha of infinite potential! 

When we chant the Mystic law we see changes in our life - whether we believe they will happen or not. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo means "I fuse my life with the mystic law of cause and effect through sound vibration" or, as some say "I tune my life to the rhythm of all life." Saying these words is a great cause that breaks through all suffering and creates a life of happiness. It works! 

"Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is like the roar of a Lion. 
What sickness could therefore be an obstacle?" 

Nichiren Daishonin 

9 Keys for Beginning to Chant 

By Jamie Lee Silver from

1. Make Your list!

Make a list of what you really want in life. Take a fresh look at your desires and write them down.  Dream big. What do you really want? What do you want for yourself? What do you want for others? What do you want for the world? Make a list. Write it down and put the date on it. 

Many people began chanting with desires that later transformed into other desires. So don't worry about whether your desires are "right" desires to have. Chanting is progressive, both you and your desires will evolve. I know people who began a very rewarding practice chanting for things that were important at the time, but later changed into other desires. 

One of my friends chanted for a month to prove to his wife that this practice doesn't work. Well, he found out it DID work and more than 40 years later he is still practicing. In Nichiren Buddhism your desires ARE enlightenment. It is okay to desire whatever you desire, whether it's money, the happiness of someone else, a relationship, a job, or peace of mind and contentment. With continued practice you will see that your dreams for yourself actually become tied to the dreams of happiness for all. 

2.Chant for what is really in your heart. 

This is a great time to start a Journal.  It's not essential, but I think it's a great idea. Writing in a journal helps you become aware of your progress and benefits.

3. Choose a place to chant comfortably. 

Find your "home" with your home, where you can feel comfortable chanting out loud, having a dialogue with your life itself.  Sit comfortably. (Did I say this enough times?! ~ I like to be comfortable!)

4. Choose a focus point on the wall. 

Some people start by facing a blank wall; I chanted to a moon in a picture. Choose a focal point slightly above eye level. 

5. You may wish to have a small table nearby for tea or your journal. 

6. Write the words Nam Myoho Renge Kyo 
on a piece of paper. 

The words are pronounced as follows: 

Nam ~    Nahm, rhymes with Mom, 
Myoho ~ meeyohoh,  
Renge ~  rain gay, 
Kyo ~     kee oh. 
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. 
Nahm Meeyohoh Rain Gay Kee Oh
(Phonetic spelling) 

7. Begin to chant. 
Hold your hands with the palms facing in and touching each other in front of your heart. And say Nam-myoho-renge-kyo over and over and over again with your eyes OPEN looking at the wall. 

8. Don't Stress about your thoughts 
At first, you will probably only be able to concentrate on the words themselves, and that's fine.  Once you've got the chant down you can think about what you want and chant at the same time. 

9. Join the SGI
Join fellow practitioners as soon as you can. The SGI Portal to the right will help you locate a center near you, and you can call that center to connect to your local meeting house. 

Chant twice a day every day. Get in rhythm! Establishing a twice a day rhythm to your chanting is important. It gets the wheels of your life moving. 

Keep your goals in mind and you’ll remember your reasons for chanting! 

These words and this vibration go deep into the heart of your life itself. They summon forth your highest wisdom, vitality and sense of purpose. They also uproot the karma that is making you suffer, and give you the opportunity to change this karma forever. 

When you chant you are entering into a dialogue with your life itself. You are not chanting to any god or asking for favors. Instead, you are connecting with the rhythm of the universe itself. 

As Nichiren Daishonin says in the famous writing (Gosho) "On Attaining Buddhahood" :

"If you wish to free yourself from the sufferings of birth and death you have endured since time beginning and to attain without fail unsurpassed enlightenment in this lifetime, you must perceive the mystic truth that is originally inherent in all living beings. This truth is Myoho-renge-kyo. Chanting Myoho-renge-kyo will therefore enable you to grasp the mystic truth innate in all life...It is called the mystic truth because it explains the mutually inclusive relationship of life and all phenomena. 
"Life at each moment encompasses the body and mind and the self and environment of all sentient beings in the ten worlds, as well as all insentient beings in the three thousand realms, including plants, sky and earth, and even the most minute particles of dust. Life at each moment permeates the universe and is revealed in all phenomena. One awakened to this principle himself embodies this relationship. However, even though you chant and believe in Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, if you think the Law is outside yourself, you are embracing not the mystic law but some inferior teaching."
From Lectures on Attaining Buddhahood in this Lifetime by Daisaku Ikeda, 2007  

Monday, October 12, 2015

We are One Great Life Entity ~

"The world is an intricately interwoven web of infinite relations. When we apply this worldview to matter and to all living things, including people, we can see the world as one great life entity. This is the true nature of our own life."
Daisaku Ikeda,

I am about to get started on my journey home from Aspen, Colorado. Even the name is a melody. 

For almost a week I've been singing John Denver songs with people who I knew were never strangers...were always friends just waiting to be met. John Denver sang songs of the one great entity of life. 

John Denver was a Buddhist at heart. His lyrics are the heart and soul of the connectedness of all of life, appreciation, friendship and real, true, love. 

And his mountains were part of that soul. Aspen is around 7,000 feet above sea level, and the mountains, rivers, trees, and sky are magnificent. Last night we looked at the sky from a totally dark meadow...there wasn't even a moon. We could see right into the milky way. 

People were here for John Denver week from all over he world ~ Italy, Spain, the UK, Ireland, Chili, Canada, Australia, Japan, all over the States and more. Everyone who came was seeking to connect with people of like minds, in fellowship, as one big family. 

And the music was incredible. When I get more time I can share some clips from the tribute bands who came from all over the world. I lost count of the number of bands and concerts. Many of them were at the same time, so we had to make a choice...and sometimes we had to skip the concerts to see the aspens quaking in the sun.

And even with all the concerts, and the nightly sing-a-longs we didn't hear every one of his songs. 

For me, this was a way to return to my spiritual roots, to return to a time before I became an adult, when John Denver's music sustained me through the cold...

"For the spirit fills the darkness of the heavens
It fills the endless yearning of the soul. 
It lives within the star too far to dream of
It lives within the part and in the whole.
It's the fire and the wings to fly us home
Fly us home.
Fly us home." 
From "Spirit" 
by John Denver

It was also a time of healing...
Nam myoho renge kyo!

Saturday, October 10, 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 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 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, October 9, 2015

Nothing is in Vain!

Aspen Trees in the Sun 10/9/15

Hi! Here I am in the Colorado Rocky mountains returning to the music of my youth, along with many others who share the John Denver Connection. It's gorgeous and warm. Here's a picture I took on the hike today. I am overflowing with gratitude toward my own life, toward this practice, and for all the new friends I am making. There are people here from New Zealand, Spain, Japan, the Philippines, and right here in Colorado.  

Today this passage jumped out at me. Nothing is in Vain! 


From Living Buddhism, October 2015 Daisaku Ikeda's lecture "On Repaying Debts of Gratitude", page 37.

"I have consistently stressed that 
those who have suffered the most 
deserve to become the happiest. 
Buddhism exists for those enduring the greatest suffering. The light of compassion shines 
when we empathise with such people, 
when we feel their suffering as our own, 
when we take action putting ourselves in their shoes. 

...What is essential to rising above suffering? 
It is being aware of the preciousness of life, 
and trusting and respecting people. 
This is because the fundamental cause of suffering 
lies in denying the preciousness of life 
and distrusting others. 

When we awaken to the fact 
that all life is absolutely precious, 
that nothing is in vain, 
and that we ourselves are also precious treasures, 
there emerges within us a powerful self-confidence, 
an unshakable sense of security and limitless gratitude. 
The recognition that the lives of all others, too, 
are infinitely precious 
engenders a deep respect for people, 
a firm trust in them and an all-encompassing compassion."

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Heading to Aspen

I'm about to get on a plane to Aspen Colorado. It's been a busy few days getting ready. I'm going with many new friends I haven't met yet to celebrate the life and the spirit of John Denver, and return to my spiritual roots. John was Buddhist at heart. 
"And oh, I love the life around me
I feel a part of everything I see.
And oh, I love the life within me
A part of everything is here in me." 
From Seasons on the Rocky Mountain High Album

I'll writ emore from 6,000 feet up!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

11 Quotes for Overcoming Obstacles by Daisaku Ikeda

Al quotes from by Daisaku Ikeda:

Rather than becoming discouraged, know that encountering a wall is proof of the progress that you have made so far.

Anyone can hit a wall. The anguish felt then is proof of one’s desire to move forward. But all is for naught if you falter at that moment. Action—that is the key to breaking through an impasse.

There is a saying that the earth upon which we fall is the same ground which enables us to push ourselves up again. There’s another which maintains that barley grows better after it has been trampled on. It is up to us to decide to live a life free from self-doubt and despair in spite of our failures. Indeed, it is during our most humbling moments that we should show greatest poise and grace.

When facing adversity, we may think we’ve reached our limit, but actually the more trying the circumstances, the closer we are to making a breakthrough. The darker the night, the nearer the dawn. Victory in life is decided by that last concentrated burst of energy filled with the resolve to win.

We are not defeated by adversity but by the loss of the will to strive. However devastated you may feel, so long as you have the will to fight on, you can surely triumph.

Just as physical training can bring forth the unseen capacities of our bodies and intellectual training develops our minds, our hearts can be trained and strengthened. Through the process of overcoming grief, for example, it is possible for us to see beyond our own suffering to develop a more expansive and robust sense of self. This experience can inspire us to care for others who feel the same pain.

Just as the pure white lotus flower blooms unsoiled in muddy water, our lives, which are supremely noble, can continue to shine even amid life’s harshest realities.

Reality is harsh. It can be cruel and ugly. Yet no matter how much we grieve over our environment and circumstances nothing will change. What is important is not to be defeated, to forge ahead bravely. If we do this, a path will open before us.

Suffering only gets worse when we try to run from it rather than facing it.

A person’s true nature is revealed at times of the greatest adversity.

It’s important to have the courage to ask yourself what it is that you should be doing now, at this very moment.

All quotes are from 

And from Jamie: 
Let's not give up! No matter what! My life is filled with challenges, just like yours. But every time we bravely face our own lives...every time we open that Butsudan (box that houses our Gohonzons), every time we look at the Gohonzon and Chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo we are making a step forward. We are making a profound cause. We are facing our own troubles and finding our way around those walls! 
And when we do this twice a day our lives get "on a roll!" Join me in our 100-day challenge to chant every morning and every evening....Gongyo and Daimoku. 
Start now! Strengthen that muscle of faith! 

Friday, October 2, 2015

PowerPrayer For Moving From VICTIM to VICTOR

According to Daisaku Ikeda, we summon the exact set of obstacles we need to springboard our lives to the next level of practice and happiness. 
We will be better off for them!  
We summoned these storms. 
Realizing this takes our lives from Victim to Victory! This simple change in perspective brings incredible power to our Daimoku. When we are chanting we can address our lives and roar like the lions (Buddhas!) we are. What follows is a PowerPrayer I offer you to reclaim your life and move from Victim to Victor. As always, I offer you my writings from my heart, not as an official SGI representative, although I love the organization and encourage everyone to participate - if you are not yet a member please use this link to connect: 


For Reclaiming My Own Life 
and Moving 
From Victim to VICTOR 

Read this before you chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
and hold its spirit in your heart and mind - that's what a PowerPrayer - A Fresh Determination is...

by Jamie Lee Silver from 

LIFE !! 
I get it! 
I summoned this storm and I will WIN over it !
Shoten Zenjin (protective forces of the universe within all life) 
I now command you to fulfill these prayers!__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
I am a precious Votary of the Lotus Sutra 
and I vow to PROVE the POWER of the MYSTIC LAW 
through my own victories - 
so I can encourage everyone that 
I will NOW raise my life condition to a level I have never before experienced. 

I see through the eyes of the Buddha, 
I feel with the heart of the Buddha
I AM the Buddha! 
The universe exists within ME! 
I am CLAIMING power over my own life. 
No more complaining for me! 
No More "Woe is me!" 
Starting today ~ with this Daimoku ~ 
I bring forth all the wisdom I need
                             to know what I need to do - 
All the courage I need ~ 
                             to take the right action 
All the perfect timing I need ~ 
                             to accomplish what I want
And the People and Resources I need ~ 
                             ALL appear right now! 
I am a powerful being waging a powerful war against the fundamental darkness inherent in all of life and I will WIN. 
Starting today 
I will win in:______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


This PowerPrayer has been inspired by the Gosho Study from the August of 2013 Living Buddhism "The Three Obstacles and Four Devils" written in November 1277 to the youngest Ikegami brother, Munenega, after his brother had been disowned by his father for his faith in Nichiren Buddhism. 
President Ikeda's lecture from the August 2013 
Living Buddhism on this Gosho includes these words: 

"Though we speak of the "three obstacles and four devils" appearing, no one wishes to have to face adversity. 
That is surely a natural human reaction. 
But Nichiren says that 
the appearance of the three obstacles and four devils 
is a source of JOY. 
How could that be? 
It doesn't seem possible. 
But it is, in fact, 
by overcoming the steep hills and inclines of obstacles 
we can forge our lives 
and ascend the summit of Buddhahood, 
where we can savor the sublime vista of 
eternity, happiness, true self and purity."

He goes on to say:

"We need to "own" them (our obstacles) as something we ourselves have summoned up...we are in charge, we are the protagonists...the struggle against the three obstacles and four devils is indeed a great joy."

President Ikeda goes on to say:
"As Nichiren Daishonin writes: "When a tiger roars, gales blow; when a dragon intones, clouds gather" (The Workings of Brahma and Shakra," WND-1, 799) When we adopt this attitude ~ "I summoned this storm!~ our hearts will be filled with the bright sense of hope and purpose." (All quotes from the 2013 August Living Buddhism, pages 21, 22) 

Write me your victories at!