Monday, August 10, 2009

Make your own list!

If you want to start chanting make a list of what you want!

You will be amazed at the changes you see, but you may forget where they came from if you don't make your list. I often look back on my journal writings from the fall of 1985 and wish I'd written in more detail about the early days of chanting. My main wish was "Get me out of this! I've been happy before I can be happy again! Get me out of this" and after a very short time I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel...I got a job...and so much more. I'll give you the full story later, but until then --- make your list!

What do you want?
What are your real desires?
What do you believe is impossible?

Buddhism is for everything!

It's okay to chant for anything...

"Earthly Desires are Enlightenment"

Go for it!

Make your list!
Dream big...dream small! Give detail! Put your list by your altar. Share it with me if you want! I'll be chanting for you too!

Benefits! Benefits! Benefits!

WOW! Such breakthroughs! You know how it feels on those days when the stars just seem to be aligned in your favor? I'm just feeling like that all the time! After my two hours of chanting in the morning yesterday I was thinking
" Man! It's finally warm in Chicago! I would love to go to the beach...but which one?"
and then Ben had an invitation to go to the beach and I went along with the kids and parents and discovered a whole new beach at 31st and Lake Michigan. There was no traffic getting there...and from the beach the clouds were amazing. I'm teaching Ben to see the billowing of the clouds. Have you ever seen it? Only certain clouds actually billow - the huge thunderheads. When you look at the top the clouds rise up from the back and cascade down the front. Honest. Years of sunbathing taught me this. It's so awesome to see! Yesterday ended up being one of my favorite days of the summer...hanging out with my sixteen year old son and watching the clouds billow! Life is good!
Earlier in the morning I had chanted to purify my desires...I chanted to yearn for the things and events that are best for my life, and for those I
love...and I chanted to appreciate each moment! So I ended up with a glorious, glorious day! Thank you my life!!!!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

How to start chanting

OK, so I'm back to the blue type! Sorry about that. It was such a busy week. I didn't realize how long it had been since I posted. Fitting two hours of Daimoku into my life is a challenge...but not impossible!

It's not even noon and already I have chanted 2 hours today.

What does it look like to chant?
Well, all practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism have an altar in their home.
Everyone has a "Gohonzon". The Gohonzon is a scroll that we focus our eyes on when we chant. I'll talk more about that later. When you accept a Gohonzon into your home, you celebrate a new have a new life...that is yours to discover.
Usually you get a Gohonzon after you've decided you really want to challenge your life with this practice...but you can try it out right now, even without the scroll.
This part is easy:
Pick a place in your home where you feeel comfortable...where no one will disturb you. Sit comfortably (another reason why I like this practice - no pain is required!)
Focus on something in front of you. I was chanting to a moon in a poster of Mono Lake when I first started. Hold your hands together in front of your heart and chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo three times slowly (we call that doing "sansho"...we begin and end every chanting session with sansho) then chant the words over and over again. Place the picture you are focusing on a little bit above you are looking up and into your life! Onward and upward! Strive for 5 minutes every morning and evening. That was hard for me at the beginning!
And look at the SGI-USA website to connect with people who chant in your area.We need to practice together. We make new friends...and we all support each other.

Deeper Realizations and Healing

It's just amazing how it works when you flood your life with Daimoku.

I am having so many realizations ~ and I am working on healing my pain!

Check this out:
I'm currently seeing three practitioners to relieve the pain that his been in the right side of my body for several years. I have assembled a team of professionals to help me. One of them is working with me on emotional release (for I do believe that pain has an emotional component) I'm working on that with Jaja...of Sky Thai Massage. She's helping me so much! As I've mentioned before, releasing emotional pain is one of my determinations. She helps me to be "curious" within the pain...and to set it free.

I go to a Physical Therapist called Mary Lou Savino, owner of Be Fit Physical Therapy. She does "manual physical therapy"...she manually stretches the muscles. She helps to relieve the pain. The muscles need to be stretched and trained into operating together so they don't pull at each other.
I am determined to heal this pain!
I haven't been able to walk as much as I like in way too long! But I am determined! I will move freely! I will be pain free! I will hike again! No doubt about it! I have a Gohonzon and I can chat. I will not give up.

So, I had an interesting incident at yoga. The leader had us do "partner yoga" - which I have never liked. I had to drape my body over the sweaty body of a man I don't know. Then we did some partner stretching exercises that left me in pain and limping for several days. A few days later I talked to the yoga instructor about this, and he jumped all over me......he was very upset when I told him I wasn't going to do partner yoga again. I listened, I talked, I made my point and let it go. In this conversation I realized my life is becoming stronger in unexpected ways.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


OK, what am I talking about now?
This is the REAL reasaon I started chanting:

This form of Buddhism says that "Earthly Desires ARE Enlightenment" and
can chant for anything you want!


Believe it or not!

I know people who have begun this practice to PROVE that it didn't work...and 30 or more years later they are still practicing because they accessed the power of their own lives...even while chanting for it not to work! Hello Amos Snell! Amos helped me really learn this practice by telling me it was way too hard for me, and that I'd never do it...way back when I was a baby Buddhist in San Francisco. Thank you so much Amos! No one's going to tell ME what I cannot do, no way!

Others have chanted for all sorts of "unenlightened" things...yes...even those types of things...and ended up with huge benefits when after a while...their desires began to change! And all they had to do was chant.

What CAN'T you chant for? NOTHING!

You can chant, and should chant...for whatever is in your heart. These days I mostly chant for World Peace (we call it Kosen Rufu). I chant to share my prayers with those of my mentor, Daisaku Ikeda. And I chant for the people I love...and for business success and family happiness. And there are other dreams I share when I chant.
Here's the thing: when you chant you change your Karma...and any reason for chanting is good! What would you chant for?

What does it mean to be a Buddha?

What is the experience of accessing your own Buddha Nature -
of BEING a Buddha?

I'll tell you a little about how I use this practice. First of all, I'm a person who has pretty extremes of highs and lows. I have always had these extremes...and of course they are GREAT when I'm high, and terrible when I'm low.
When I chant through my lows I can always see the light at the end of the tunnel...and I turn them around faster. My goal through this daimoku campaign is to raise the level of my lows!

Practicing Buddhism does not mean that you never have problems. But there is something about practicing that gives me fresh determination to conquer those problems. I know FOR SURE that not only will I overturn a problem, but I will create a benefit from them.

Let me give you an example.
Since I've begun this Daimoku campaign:

I feel more confident about my future.
I am experiencing a little less anxiety.
Some of the sadness has lifted...
I have a list of what I want to see happen in my life but I no longer have to "figure it out".
I know that every step I take is leading me closer and closer to what I want to see and experience in my life.

I feel more in rhythm with my surroundings. I'm sure you know the feeling of being in the right place at the right is more consistent when I'm chanting this much.
I'm in less of a hurry.

I appreciate each moment more. I'm more "present"...not thinking of the past and the future.

I'm appreciating every person...I'm feeling more open to learning from others.

Each moment is a time to be be basking have its own delights.

These last few days I have:

Learned more about some new dear friends...(and found out one of my new friends shares my exact birthdate and YEAR!)

Enjoyed myself at several fun parties...

Learned more about oil painting in my class...
Added a wonderful new person to my network who will help me give my speeches more often...
Laughed with my sons and my family... and enjoyed every minute.
I had a great time with my Mom, and am working out the kinks in her new living arrangement. More about that later...maybe.
And my Dad and Stepmom are here for a visit so we are all enjoying their company! (Thank you Alison (my sister) for hosting the party today!)

I even found the perfect purse ~ and that is no mean feat! It didn't cost a bundle and it will last a long, long time!
Some of these things were easy...others more surprising...some people might be able to relate to finding the purse. I am not kidding you when I say that I look at purses about once a month and never buy one. They are all too expensive or too big, or too ugly. Finding the right one is an art form. And no, I don't need a dozen...just one that feels right to me! And now, I'm good for a long time! Whoohoo!

The chanting itself has been such a delight. I get to sit and spill my heart and my love and my determination for two hours EVERY DAY! It brings me into such vibrational harmony that I am literally "walking on air". Now, don't get me wrong, but you don't have to chant two hours a day to experience benefits from chanting. When I first started I was chanting 5 minutes a day every morning and evening and immediately I felt my spirits lifting from that amount of chanting.
And I started because I leaned "Earthly Desires are Enlightenment!" See next post!

Your own Buddha Nature~You Buddha YOU!

When you're chanting daimoku (Nam Myoho Renge Kyo) so many great things're just in rhythm with the universe and every moment is a miracle. Of course, many Buddhists would say "There are no "miracles" in Buddhism ! it is cause and effect. You make the cause and you get the effect...and they would be right!

Since I've begun this chanting so many of my dreams have come true...I have a career I love, and absolutely amazing children...and every day I have a breakthrough or a realization of some kind...
Just this last week I worked with the therapists on my hip (where I have some pain I am releasing) and it's getting better and better all the time, and I KNOW I will conquer this pain. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Enlightenment and Buddhahood

First I want to tell you some basics of Buddhism:
Every person is a BUDDHA.
You can all access that Buddha nature or Buddhahood right here and right now. What is Buddhahood anyway?

Here's my favorite definition, from the first book of the Gosho, (letters of Nichiren Daishonin's) published in 1979:

"Enlightenment (Buddhahood) is not a mystical or transcendental state, as many might assume. Rather it is a condition of highest wisdom, vitality and good fortune wherein the individual can shape his or her own destiny, find fulfillment in daily activities, and come to understand his or her purpose in being alive."

This is pretty amazing stuff.

Wait! You mean I don't have to be reborn a man? (As all the other forms of Buddhism at the time asserted) Wait, you mean I don't have to be reborn in lifetime after lifetime and suffer many austerities before attaining Buddhahood? (Also a very common belief ) I can attain Buddhahood without suffering? OMG!!!

This amazing practice, based on Nichiren Daishonin's writings, and the guidance of Daisaku Ikeda, which I like to call "Practical Buddhism" says that:

YOU, just as YOU ARE, can attain Buddhahood right now. All you have to do is chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. It's very simple...yet complex. You may think "What's complex about that? It sounds so easy...just chant that one phrase over and over again. Big deal." That's right. It's simple. The first day...and the second...but the more you chant, the deeper you look into the mirror of your life ~ and you may not like what you see...but if you keep chanting...oh the amazing results you'll begin to see!