Friday, September 22, 2017

The Key to True Wealth and Good Fortune

Hello! After two weeks away because of Hurricane Irma I am back in St. Pete Beach in time for my birthday today!

My trip was amazing. A week in Asheville with my Daddy and my Janis, then a week in Chicago. And, because of all the incredible fortune of the last two weeks,  I  want to talk about fortune and inconspicuous benefit.

I set off on my trip on Wednesday before most people evacuated, although it was an arduous drive. I was the sole driver, and kept faith in my ability to be protected, even though there were accidents all over the road. I was easily able to get gas. I chanted most of the way and knew all would be well in this courageous journey. I drove 18 hours to reach my Dad in two days. 

My stay in Asheville was full of magical moments with my Dad and Janis. We read books together, went for long walks and enjoyed absolutely perfect warm weather in the mountains. The hurricane came over St. Pete Beach and did not destroy it! 

Then my "wasband," my dear friend, and father of my two boys gave me miles to fly to Chicago. Every single moment I was filled with appreciation and love for my friends in Chicago. I got the best massage of my life, I enjoyed incredible weather and brightly turning trees, and made golden memories with my sister and all my friends. I flew back to Asheville, and yesterday drove for 12 hours and got back to my perfect apartment. 

I am not telling you these things to "brag." I am sharing this with you because throughout my "Hurrication" I felt my strong life force. I felt my "inconspicuous benefits" becoming conspicuous at jus the right time. I knew I was protected. I chanted in appreciation every day, and I based my life on the Gohonzon, (my own life), and my faith in my life. Today. On my birthday, I've arranged for a party at a gorgeous roof-top deck. On Monday I start a new job. All is incredibly well. 

Daisaku Ikeda, in the May-June Living Buddhism from 2011, has an essay called "Become People of True Wealth" This essay is also in My Dear Friends in America. In it he states: 

"A person of true success 
is one who enjoys a free and unrestrained state of life. 
The supraworthy wealthy person is the Buddha. 
Attaining Buddhahood is true success; 
the Buddha is the eternal wealthy person. 
The Buddha possesses the treasure of the law, 
as well as all good qualities and all virtues. 
He/she defeats all obstacles 
and attains all kinds of wisdom. 
His/her heart is as vast as the ocean, 
and he/she always abides 
in a state of limitless freedom and bliss...
"In other words, the Buddha, 
or suprawordly wealthy person 
is characterized by abundant and strong life force...
Put simply "mind-observing" 
means to observe one's own mind 
and find the world of Buddhahood 
inherent within oneself, 
or to realize that in our lives 
we possess the limitless treasure house 
of all riches gathered from throughout the universe...
Like the lion King, 
we fear nothing 
and are unaffected by fleeting joys and sorrows. 
In Nichiren Buddhism to "observe one's own mind" 
means faith in the Gohonzon...
Such a wealthy person 
is one who believes and perceives 
that his or her life 
is itself the supreme treasure house 
and who opens this treasure house."

I wish for you all to know you possess this power, and can access it by chanting daily to the Gohonzon, doing shakubuku, studying, and being close with your friends and faith! If I can feel this way, so can you!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

PowerPrayer (Fresh Determination) to go from Hope-less to Hope-FULL Right Here Right Now

"No matter how hopeless or bleak things appear, the moment always comes when suddenly our spirit revives, and hope is reborn. That is why we must never give up."

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Here in Asheville North Carolina Riding out Hurricane Irma

Wow. What a time of turmoil. I guess it's now or never, right? A huge hurricane, over 500 miles wide is baring down on Florida, my lovely, lovely paradise. And I don't know when I'll be able to return. I am so fortunate to have my Dad and Janis in North Carolina. When I talked to them on Tuesday they invited me up and said "Get the heck out of Dodge!" So I lowered my hurricane shutters, did a last gongyo in my beautiful apartment directly on the Gulf of Mexico in St. Pete Beach and joined many other cars heading up the narrow state. Even though I was alone, i chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for most of the long journey. The first day I only stopped for a few moments at the rest stops as I inched my way up the state. I drove for 11 hours. My sister was able to get me a room in a hotel for the night in Perry, Atlanta. The next day I drove about 6 hours to get here through gorgeous countryside and chanted the whole way. I was hoarse when I got here! 

Now we chant and wait. I chant for all my friends who stayed, and I chant for everyone in my beautiful state and everywhere around the world where there is suffering. 

I chant: "Shoten Zenjin - protective forces of the universe, come from wherever you are and protect this planet...everywhere! And weaken that hurricane right now!" 

I hope you are safe and well wherever you are! 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Life-Giving Power of Each Character of Gongyo

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Hello friends, I evacuated Florida today. I drove 11 hours in some really bad traffic and made it to halfway to Asheville, North Carolina where I'll stay with my Dad and Jan. I figure, even if the hurricane does not come to St. Pete Beach, I'll have a nice visit with my family. Thanks for your messages! All my best to you. There is so much to chant about...and remember...all real change starts with our own human revolution! 

In the Gosho "Letter to Horen," the Daishonin describes the characters of the Lotus Sutra as individual Buddhas emitting beams of to find all those, living and dead, with whom we are connected. 
What a great thing to learn about while we are all striving to perfect our Gongyo and deepen our faith. 

Daisaku Ikeda states in Living Buddhism, 
June 2015, page 32:

"...Through chanting the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we can transmit benefit even to deceased family members, relatives, friends or acquaintances who may have opposed our Buddhist practice - benefit that will warmly embrace them and lead them to a state of profound peace and comfort.

Similarly, through the power of the Mystic Law, our family members and friends who have passed away in the course of the journey for kosen-rufu - whether from illness or as a result of unexpected accidents or natural disasters - will also be able to enter the path of Buddhahood. 

The best offering we can make for the eternal happiness of the departed is to live fully and strive vibrantly for kosen-rufu in their stead..."

"The Daishonin says that 
each of the 510 characters 
of the verse section 
of the "Life Span" chapter 
of the Lotus Sutra, 
from "ji ga toku burrai" 
(Since I attained Buddhahood) (LSOC, 270) 
to "soku joju busshin" 
(quickly acquire the body of the Buddha) (LSOC, 273), changes into a sun 
and then into a Buddha. 
It emits great beams of light 
that pervade every corner of the universe, 
finding Kyoshin's father wherever he might be 
and illuminating him 
(see WND-I, 517-18).
In other words, 
each chapter 
of the verse section of the "LifeSpan" chapter 
recited by Kyoshin 
becomes the Buddha, 
shining with the brilliant light of compassion 
that reaches his deceased father
in whatever state of being he may reside, 
relieving him of his suffering 
and guiding him to enlightenment."

What a wonderful life-giving practice we have! Who do you want to reach with your Daimoku today? 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Perfecting Our Spiritual Workouts (Gongyo!) to Bring Benefit to Our Lives

As I'm sitting here watching the news about hurricane Irma barreling this way.
Please join me in chanting for Irma to veer to the right and north and miss America completely! 
Let's also chant about the flooding in India, the wildfires in the West and continued cleaning up in Texas and all other areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. Oh yes, let's not forget North Korea, and keeping the peace. 
There is so much going on. 

Here are some of my thoughts on how we can continue to leverage our spiritual muscles to change ourselves, and change the world. 

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

When Shakyamuni was meditating under the Bodhi Tree, he was assailed by many thoughts to make him stop or to throw off his meditation. 
He kept focused. He won. 
Our practice of Gongyo every day is just like this. 
We are the Buddha! 
Every day - twice a day!  
We must win! 

Gongyo is important!

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

5 Keys to Make Your Gongyo 

and Your Life Sparkle!

Don't just "do" Gongyo. Feel it. Experience it.
by Jamie Lee Silver at

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

2. Pray each silent prayer with all your heart. 

Elevate the moment from reading to praying

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

3. Begin and end Gongyo 
                     with no interruptions. 

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

4. Chant every morning and evening. 

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

5. Perfect Your Rhythm 
              and Pronunciation of Gongyo

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

Having perfect gongyo gives us confidence. 

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

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

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

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