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." 


  1. What an admiring conviction. Just as how Daishonin asked us to believe in LS. Really you are inspiring !!!. Thanks a lot. From Meenaakshi

  2. Thanks Jamie!! The distinction you made between trying to figure out your karma and chanting to change your karma really encouraged and empowered me. I was introduced to Nichirin Buddhism only 2 months ago! And I've been chanting daimoku, doing Gongyo and studying as much as I can. But I need to join the SGI, find my district leader, go to groups, and get my Gohonzon! I have been studying a lot of the principles and concepts of Buddhism using the SGI Buddhism Dictionary online, and I find a lot of these concepts very confusing and complex. I am going to chant for wisdom and guidance to better understand the concepts and how they relate to this Buddhism. My friend who introduced me to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo lives in San Francisco and I live in New York City; but he gave me the name of a Nichirin Buddhist friend of his who can help me become an SGI member and to find study groups in my area. But for some reason, I feel hesitant and anxious about joining any 'religious organization', partly because I've had bad experiences with Christian Churches in the past. I'm very new, so I only know a bit about the SGI and its history. But I can tell that my thoughts for justifying why I shouldn't join the SGI are honestly ridiculous; I think maybe the 3 obstacles and 4 demons are trying to hinder my Buddhist practice! But I still feel this fear about it; Anyway, I'm chanting for motivation and courage to get out there and join the SGI and meet other people so I can grow in my faith. Sorry for going on and on; I love this website and thank you for all the ways you are helping me and tons of other people. :0)
    -Peter D., NYC