If you decide to try the chant for 90 days, questions might come up from family members. In the words of one person new to the practice, “How do I explain what I am doing to my friends and family?” In this blog, I am going to give you some ideas of how to answer them.
This is an Experiment
Explain to your family that you are doing an experiment. You have heard from members, that you can become happy, and that chanting is a way to deal with problems so your life will work better. Or you could share what you’ve heard people say about the practice that particularly appeals to you. For example, you might repeat an experience you heard from a member. They can go to How Can I Learn to Chant to see what you are doing.
Describe What You’re Doing
Tell them, “I am setting a goal and then chanting about it.” Friends may look at you, as though this sounds weird. Don’t argue with them. Tell them if they think it is crazy, they might be right, but you want to try it and see what happens. I think they’ll be relieved that you are investigating it, and aren’t being taken in. Promise to let them know the results of the experiment.
Reassure them that this is not a cult. There is no leader that is enlightened while everyone else follows. On the contrary Daisaku Ikeda, the president of international organization for the SGI, reminds us that every person has the Buddha Nature and the ability to transform his or her life.
Tell them you won’t have to do anything that might embarrass or worry them, like wear some kind of robes or eat differently, or live on an ashram in the mountains. All you will do is add a simple chanting practice to your current way of life.
You do not have to give a big donation to be a part of the group. Of course there are expenses, as there are in any organization, but people make their own decisions about what they want to donate once a year and there are no requirements.
Chant in a room where you can be private and unobtrusive. Chant quietly so you don’t bother them.
Give Them Something to Read
Books are available to help you explain the practice. You can give them, Buddha in Your Mirror, or my book Your Path to Unshakeable Happiness. I have written the book for someone who knows nothing about Buddhism, to show how this form of Buddhism works in someone’s life. The Winning Life is a pamphlet which explains basic Buddhist philosophy, and can be found in SGI Buddhist Centers and on the SGI website. Here are two websites they can visit, the website for the international SGI organization. All kinds of books, videos, and articles are available on this website. The other is my website, created especially for anyone interested in learning about Buddhism.
Ask an Experienced Member Help You
Experienced practitioners are available to help you explain what you are doing. If you’re not in touch with a group you can find one close to you by going to the SGI-USA website, and go to Find Us Another alternative, you can send their questions to me on my website blog where you can comment. I can answer you directly or discuss the topic on the blog.
Wait and See
I’m sure the people, who know you, are going to be watching to see the results of the experiment. This happens fairly frequently. Once they see what happens in your life, they may want to try it themselves.