Saturday, June 24, 2017

What Does Nam-myoho-renge-kyo Mean, and Why do We Chant it?

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

By Jamie Lee Silver of - 

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Translate button is at the top right.)

The literal translation of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo 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 historical Buddha's highest teaching 
that declares  
ALL people possess the Buddha Nature...
all people ARE Buddhas...
and we can access  
our own Buddhahood ~ our inherent wisdom, determination, power to take the best action for our lives while benefiting others, sense of vitality, ability to make a difference, find fulfillment and happiness, and the strength to turn 
~by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. 

That's it. We don't need to change our diets, memorize lists of paths, change our lifestyles, shave our heads, wear robes, or "purify our desires." This form of Buddhism is radically different than most forms you may have encountered. SGI (Soka Gakkai Buddhism is accessible to ALL. 

AND the most important aspect of our prayer is to do our own human master our lives...and write the beautiful script of our own lives. We chant for "Kosen-Rufu," a world of respect for all life, and for all who are suffering to be happy. Through our own happiness, we create happiness for all. We can all win in life together. 

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. 

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. Make sure to write your list, and rewrite it when you achieve those goals.

We chant for others, we chant for our planet, our countries, and ourselves. 
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. 

We are in this life together...sharing our challenges and our successes. If you are not yet connected to the SGI please go to and find your local members. You will be so glad you did. 
If you live in or around St. Pete Beach Florida you can connect with me through 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~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

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Apartment Finding Victory!

Here's the View from my apartment!

Hello from rainy Chicago. It's green. It's beautiful. But the rain has to stop by Ben's Memorial Mile on Saturday. Check it out at So exciting. Costume mile! Children's activities, fast runners, slower runners, and walkers...all raising money for schizophrenia research and suicide prevention, in the name of my sweet son. 

Continuing from the last blog post...
Here's how I got those walls to turn into little pebbles at my feet. In the last blog I wrote about getting guidance, and chanting to change myself in ways that felt unchangeable. This prayer lead me to breaking through. 

For the past few weeks, apartment hunting has been my full time job. The owner of my apartment wants to move back in after June. The housing market is incredibly hot where I live in Florida. It's been tough! Many apartments were rented already when I called...and what was available was, for the most part, not so great. Every day I woke up to scale this mountain, and every day I was frustrated!

I had a deadline. I had to find my new place before I left for Ben's Memorial Mile on the 13th. It felt impossible. But I'm a Buddha, just like YOU are! We practice to make the impossible happen. We have the ultimate tool for changing our lives - Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

So, I got guidance, started chanting three hours a day...and deepening my prayer. What does this mean? I told the life...that I had the courage to see what I didn't have the courage to see change my basic life tendencies that are holding me back.

And on Monday...(the day before I was to leave for Chicago) I finished my three hours of chanting and the phone rang. It was my friend Mikaela. She told me she'd been outside her apartment (not far from where I live) and a couple came by on their bikes. They told her they live in the building I live in. (It's an historic building right on the beach). They said they live on the first floor and have been trying to sell a one bedroom apartment on the fourth floor.

Boom. I knew exactly what would happen. I knew their fourth floor apartment was going to be mine! I contacted them. They showed me their gorgeous place, but weren't sure they wanted to rent it. I connected them with the person I'm renting from now, so he could give me a glowing reference...and I chanted another three hours the next morning.  


We signed the lease agreement half an hour before I left for the airport for Ben's Memorial Mile. The apartment is so beautiful! All updated...bigger than where I live, and unfurnished so I will have a fun project when I get back. The view is just like mine...overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. I took off for Chicago relieved...happy...victorious! 

Whatever your walls can break through them too. You can seek guidance from your seniors in faith. You can grow in ways you can't even imagine. 

Never give up hope!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

How to Break Through Those Walls!

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Have you ever felt like you were stopped at every turn? That, somehow there were thick walls between you and everything you want? Have you ever been making positive causes, chanting, and still the walls getting higher and higher? 

I have felt walled in lately - and I am in the process of breaking through - I know it. I know there's a bright expanse on the other side of these walls! 

Here's how I am turning these walls into tiny little pebbles that I will just step over. 

This week I made a call to one of my treasured friends in faith, and she had some wise words for me. 

She said that when she was experiencing walls, she learned that there was something deep in her life, and in her the very depths of her human revolution that needed to change. She asked me some questions and I could clearly see the action I needed to take, and the Daimoku I needed to chant. 
I went to the Gohonzon and chanted to learn what I needed to change. Some things came to tendency to get defensive in the face of criticism, and the need to develop the skill of understanding the other person's point of view and not letting my emotions overrun my brain. In front of the Gohonzon I chanted with all my heart to have the courage to see my shortcomings...and the courage to change them. 

As James Hermann in Chicago once said: "We don't chant so we can say "That's just the way I am." We chant to CHANGE  what we see needs to be changed! 

So, for the past few days, I've been chanting three hours a day and I am on the verge of a huge breakthrough! I know this because three of my good friends are coming to the meeting on Tuesday when I will be giving my experience.
I also uncovered something important about my finances and made two new dear friends. Treasures of the heart! 

It's not complete yet, but I'll tell you all about it when it's done! 

Today I fly off for Ben's Memorial Mile! It will be Saturday the 17th of June at Downers Grove North Illinois High School's outdoor track at 5:00. Join us if you can! Here's the link:

This week I'll see my whole family and around 500 wonderful friends in Downers Grove. Hope for the Day, National Alliance of Mental Illness, Your Story Counseling and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will all have booths. There are children's events and a costume mile, great music, laughter, cheers and fun. Al Carius, the coach of the century will be speaking. 

It's hard to believe it has been almost two years since my precious boy became eternal! 

I can hardly breathe I'm so excited! Nam-myoho-renge-kyo! 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Inspiring Shakubuku Story!


Here's a story to inspire YOU!

Doing shakubuku is my greatest joy. There is NOTHING that makes me happier. And I, along with all of you, have been chanting to introduce our youth to this life-affirming, practical practice. When I was at FNCC (SGI's Florida Nature Culture Center) they said: "The youth will teach us how to shakubuku the youth." And I thought, "How wise." Here's Sam's story:

A few weeks ago I planned some time with a new friend who lives in my building. We went swimming, and she came upstairs and learned to chant with me, then we walked down the street for dinner. We had a great time with our beautiful and vivacious server. I thought to myself "This young woman is so beautiful and warm and energetic. She exudes happiness...maybe she doesn't need the Gohonzon." But, of course, at the end of the meal I told her about Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. I didn't have a NMRK card with me so I wrote the words out on one of my business cards, and told her chanting was a means to tap into our highest life potential.

When she heard this she said "Boy do I need this! My Mom's in the hospital crying in pain and the doctors can't help her and I'm her main caretaker, all alone!" So I said, "When do you get off work? Want to come over and chant with me tonight?" And she said "Yes!" 

At 11:30pm, Sam came over and we chanted and talked until 1:00am. She came over the next night too! Sam told me her life story. She's a resilient young woman who has had many challenges, and has a great dream to be a prosthetics practitioner. She believes anyone with a prosthetic has a story, and she wants to help them. 

For various reasons, she wasn't able to finish High School, and wanted to take her High School equivalency exam, but the thought of taking that exam filled her with fear. She told me "I'm going to schedule that exam and use chanting to help me pass it!" Less than a week after beginning to chant, she passed the GED and got her High School Diploma! When she took the exam her usual anxiety was gone, and she could just feel the right answers throughout the test. What a great accomplishment! 

Also, her Mom was released from the Hospital two days after Sam came over to chant with me, and has now had surgery to help her. Sam and I continue to chant for her Mom. 

And right after she began chanting she lost her job. I, of course, said "Congratulations!" and knew she'd get a better one right away. (She already has) 

I had to go to Chicago for Ben's Memorial Mile prep, so I encouraged her to go to the Buddhist meeting without me, and she went. That night I was out to dinner in Chicago with my wonderful son Aaron, and my "wusband" (ex-husband) Paul, feeling emotional about our family being three, not four...happy to be with them, but missing my Ben (who died almost two years ago now). In the middle of dinner Sam called and told me she'd applied to get her Gohonzon! I thought "My family is growing! Look at all the benefits I have!" 

On Sunday, Sam received her Gohonzon and we enshrined it for her. Her bright smile and life condition is going to help lead more and more youth to chant. She's telling everyone about her new practice! Kosen Rufu in action. That's what it's all about. Sam is now applying to college...working on fulfilling her dream. 

Each of us makes a difference! Don't hold back! Tell everyone about this practice with all the love in your heart! Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!