Buddhism Concepts
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  • What is “Being in Rhythm” With the Universe?

    Buddhism teaches philosophical concepts, which, when you really study them, I believe are teaching us universal laws, or how the universe works. For example, one of them is the simultaneity of cause and effect. We are taught that when we create a cause through thinking, speaking or acting we have set a seed in our lives which will product an effect some time in our future when the time is right.

    Another is oneness of life and its environment. This law says that our environment is created from the inside of us to manifest in the outer world. Our outer circumstances reflect what we have projected to the universe consciously or unconsciously through those thoughts words, actions and attitudes.

    The question becomes. Can we use these laws consciously to create a future on purpose rather than by accident? And the answer is a resounding “yes”. If we are not getting the results we want in our life or through our chanting , it is important to become aware of the causes we are making with our thoughts, words, attitudes and actions, both while chanting and during the day.

    How Does This Work?

    When we chant, we are aligning ourselves with the highest part of ourselves, which, though invisible is one with the Mystic Law. President Ikeda describes it in Life, An Enigma a Precious Jewel, as the God energy of the universe. This is not an outside entity but resides at our core as our Buddha nature and exists within all of creation. We know that energy is creative, unlimited, manifests into the material world, and is not bound by any circumstance. This means that, since we are one with that energy in our Buddha nature, we have those same characteristics. When we create through our thoughts, words, actions and attitudes, that energy manifests into the real world as our life situation and circumstances.

    The Clear Mirror Guidance, he  says,  “In the inner realm of life, cause and effect occur simultaneously. With the passage of time, this causal relationship becomes manifest in the phenomenal world of daily life.” Our states of mind don’t just color our perceptions but actually determine the physical reality around us. These are the simultaneity of cause and effect and oneness of life and its environment, in action.

    Creating the Future on Purpose Not by Accident

    What am I projecting?

    If we are having the experience of things not working out, or being hit or miss, we must change the seed causes we are putting into our subconscious to manifest when the time is right in the future. If we plant negative causes we will reap negative effects. If we plant positive causes we will reap positive effects.

    There Can Be Lag Time

    Changing what you are doing definitely creates the conditions for the future. There may be a lag time between the time you have changed and the time when your new way of chanting, behaving and thinking begins to produce the effects that you want. Don’t be discouraged. Be consistent and continue keeping on until the shift happens.

    Of course when we chant with a goal in mind we are enhancing the process. Even with chanting to boost the process, we want to be aware of what we are thinking and feeling and how we are behaving during our chanting time and also all throughout the day. Awareness can help us plant the seed causes to produce the future effect we want.

    Try The Following

    If you are having trouble getting what you want, try the following:

    • Examine your thinking. Are you looking at the problem or what you want.

    • If you are discouraged, chant for courage.
    • Ask yourself, am I full of complaints or gratitude?
    • Am I dwelling on the negative side of any situation?

    Negative or positive?

    Do I really believe that outside circumstances control the outcome?

    Ask yourself. What do I want to create, a future full of problems and negativity or the outcome I want?

    Take These Steps

    1. Determine what you want, set a goal and chant for it.
    2. Take action on ideas that come to you.
    3. Pull your mind out of negative thinking during the day and refocus on what you want.
    4. Keep on keeping on until you get what you want

  • Did You Know There Are Ten Internal Hindrances to Buddhist Practice?

    When we become practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism, we take on the task of liberating ourselves from suffering. We also commit to helping others do the same. In this way we align ourselves with the positive forces of the universe.

    Both fundamental darkness and fundamental enlightenment reside in every persons life.  Fundamental darkness, negativity, it is triggered when a practitioner tries to expand their state of life with the goal of helping others to become happy. Fundamental darkness shows up as spiritual resistance. This spiritual resistance doesn’t arise because your faith is weak or faulty. It arises because your faith is strong and true.

    What Is Spiritual Resistance?

    Spiritual resistance manifests as one or another of the ten hindrances to Buddhist practice. In The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom written by Nagarjuna (150-250 B.C., these hindrances are called the ten troops. The function of the ten troops is to undermine the faith of practitioners.  Although this picture of the trees lying across the road is an outward hindrance, inward ones also prevent movement forward but are much more subtle.

    The Ten Troops

    1.Greed.   

    a young man wearing a sheepskin coat isolated over a white background holding banknotes

    Frequently when greed enters a persons life, most other things are given up in pursuit of it. When focused on “getting mine,”people can easily fall from a life of integrity, as we see in the newspapers every day.

    2. Care and worry
    Care and worry, especially focused around one’s own welfare, or that of people you care about, can pull you away from your Buddhist practice. It’s easy to be so immersed in fears and concerns that you forget to do Gongyo or decide not to go to meetings, even withdraw from the group entirely.

    man a husband on bed as patient in hospital or clinic with woman a wife take care on hospital bed side with love and care

     

    3. Hunger and Thirst
    When survival is front and foremost, everything else takes a back seat. For example, when we look at what the refugees are facing, it is understandable that we might deviate from spiritual practice in the face of such challenges. It takes a strong person to persist no matter what.

    4. Love of Pleasure
    How often do we skip Gongyo or a meeting because of something more pleasurable beckons to us?

    5. Drowsiness and Languor
    Drowsiness and languor leave us not wanting to do anything that requires effort, or would disrupt our comfort. It’s easy to turn away from doing our human revolution when we are drowsy.

    6. Fear
    You might turn away from taking the next step forward towards a goal that might require a step in your human revolution. Or you might have fear of authority like the leaders who abandoned Toda and Makaguichi to prison in war torn Japan. Or you might be fearful of a personal loss or situation, which would lead you to withdraw from parts of your practice. When dealing with fear, we need to chant for courage.

    Motivational saying that you have 2 choices with fear to either run from it or rise and take it on

    7. Doubts and Regret
    Doubts are insidious and must be resolved. Doubts hide from you that you are a Buddha and have within everything you need to handle anything that might come up. Doubts might pull you away from your Buddhist practice entirely. So when doubts arise, it is important to study, hear experiences, or get guidance in order to resolve them.

    8. Anger
    Anger at leaders or other people in the organization can readily lead to dissention and disunity. When members become angry they can slander other members. This can
    undercut the benefit they have built up. Some have withdrawn from the organization and isolated themselves, thus subverting their own practice.

    9. Preoccupation with wealth and fame
    Instead of trying to do their human revolution and become a person of character, this person is obsessed with money and fame. Spiritual considerations may be dropped by the
    wayside in that pursuit.

    10. Arrogance and Contempt for Others
    When one member becomes righteous and critical of others, it can become a real threat to the unity of the Buddhist group.

    One of the Ten troops might be the weak link in the otherwise strong chain of your life.

    Chain breaking

    Be Aware

    It’s important that each of us be aware of the ten troops, so that when they appear in our own lives, and they will, we will recognize them for what they are. Then we won’t be derailed, and will be able to persist in our human revolution to become happy and help others to do the same. This means handling whatever the situation is by doubling down with our practice to resolve it, not by giving in to one of the ten troops.

    Please Share an Experience

    Please share an experience where you have successfully engaged and won over one of the ten troops.  Tell us what you did.

    December 22, 2016 • Buddhism Concepts, chanting practice, personal growth, practical buddhism • Views: 541

  • Proven Steps to Human revolution

    Not quite sure about how to accomplish human revolution in your own life? Let’s look at what human revolution is, then three steps anyone might take to make it a reality.

    We were born to become happy and to help others do the same.  If we want to establish absolute happiness in our lives and become a light to other people, we have a big challenge, to overcome our weaknesses. This is the process of doing our human revolution.

    What Does Our Target Look Like?

    • A way of being where we can do what we need to do with courage
    • A solid inner state where the ups and downs of daily life don’t affect us
    • To have a compassionate heart.
    • To live compassion in action in daily life.
    • To manifest the wisdom of a Buddha in any circumstance
    • To have the ability to create value out of any situation
    • To have the ability to overcome any obstacle
    • To become unshakably happy & help others do the same
    • Buddhahood

    3 Steps to Realizing our Human Revolution

    Step 1: Chant

    When we have deep faith in the Mystic Law embodied in our Buddha nature, and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in front of the Gohonzon, our Buddha nature will manifest.  Then we will have joy in our hearts and the courage to challenge ourselves.  We will also have the deep wisdom to know what to do. This wisdom will show you what actions you should take next to work on your human revolution.

    Step 2: Take Action         

    Time for Action and Dont Wait Concept. Stopwatch clock ticking on dark yellow background. Modern flat design. Negative space on bottom can be used to extra wording.

    In order to do our human revolution, chanting alone is not enough. We also must take action to overcome our negativity and weakness. So what might this look like? A few examples:

    • Challenge yourself to do something that makes you uncomfortable.
    • Make a phone call to connect when you are more comfortable with texting.
    • If you tend to be lazy? Get up out of your chair to do something.
    • Refuse to dwell in a negative conversation about another person.
    • Empathize with the challenges of another person although those challenges might be inconvenient
    • Help others
    • Work on giving up complaints, even though sorely tempted.
    • Do something right away instead of procrastinating.
    • Refuse to indulge negative thoughts. Instead focus on how to create value in the situation.
    • Set a goal that is a stretch. Chant and then accomplish one action at a time needed to
      accomplish that goal. This will help you accomplish your human revolution and expand
      your life.

    As we take these small actions one at a time, persistently working a little each day to improve
    ourselves, these small actions lead to big changes over time.

    Step 3: Study Buddhist Teachings

    Study something from the Buddhist teachings every day. Maybe you won’t understand the ideas
    initially but at some point you will have flashes of insight and can grasp them. Study is vitally
    important for us to understand what we are doing, the process and where we are going. Even a
    paragraph a day from the calendar or an encouragement book will keep you going. There is aintro to Buddhism
    great new booklet out called Introduction to Buddhism which has small easy-to-read articles,
    each focusing on one concept. http://bookstore.sgi-usa.org/category_s/12.htm 

    This booklet is published by the SGI study department. http://margaretblaine.com/about-the-sgi-usa/

    Congratulations

    If you have been working on your human revolution and have an instance where you did it successfully, please share your experience with us.

     Flat design style modern vector illustration concept of a manual vintage stylish typewriter with share your story text on a paper list. Isolated on stylish color background

  • Are You Chanting for Benefit or to Change Karma?

    There comes a time in our practice, probably after chanting for a number of years, when we are faced with a particularly difficult obstacle or challenge and we begin to notice we have been here in this position before, possibly many times.  Maybe you never have enough money and even though you get it, before long  there’s not enough again.  Perhaps one relationship after another goes south.  Maybe you suffer from depression recurrent or anxiety. Possibly you are battling chronic overweight.  Whatever the situation, you have that feeling  that it is much too familiar.

    When we first start to chant, we chant for benefits.  They allow us to prove the practice to ourselves and are always helpful in resolving other concerns.

    In this situation chanting for a benefit might solve the problem for a while but then…. that problem returns.  You lose 20 lbs and gain it back.  You find the perfect partner and then discover he or she has developed the same problem you vowed to leave behind.

    Recognizing Karma When You See it.

    When you find problems recurring, you are dealing with karma. Karma is tendencies laid down by actions which, repeated over and over, have become habits over time. They can be good or bad. Some examples of bad karma would be compulsive gambling or overeating. An example of good karma, would include the unerring ability to establish good relationships.

    Or, karma might also manifest as the tendency to attract the same kind of circumstances over and over. One example is a man who finds one job after another. He blames his bosses for bad decisions, loses his temper and is fired. An example of good karma, someone who always seems to be in the right place at the right time.

    Our current circumstances are the result of our past choices and actions positive or negative. You see this in partners of alcoholics, who divorce one partner and then find another alcoholic. You also see it in people who are born with a lucky spoon in their mouths.

    4 Ways to Change Karma

    1. Shift the way you chant

    As you chant for an end goal you might ask this question, “What do I need to know to keep this from happening again?” Or, “What do I need to change in myself so that this won’t continue to occur? “ Or, “ I need to know the truth about myself.” Chanting in this way moves your practice to a deeper level. Here you can address established patterns which repeatedly bring you to back to the same place. Changing karma is one of the reasons we have the practice.

    2. Apply the Concept of Oneness of Self and Environment

    Chanting in this way means that you have taken responsibility for creating your situation, even though, on the surface it may appear it is someone elses problem.  You are applying the Buddhist concept of oneness of life and its environment. Buddhism teaches that when you change yourself your circumstances will change.

    3. Chant with Intensity and Determination

    Challenging difficult obstacles is the fast track to overcome karma. It is in the midst of tremendous hardships that it is possible to transform one’s karma at a fundamental level. Laid back chanting will not work. You must chant with powerful intention, intensity and determination and follow through with action accordingly.

    4. Encourage the Practice of Others

    You can change karma more quickly by encouraging the practice of others and teaching others how to chant along with chanting about your concern.  This is a powerful positive cause for your life and places your life on the fast track to enlightenment.

    Changing Karma Can Be done

    Changing karma is not easy but it can be done.  Go to www.sgi-usa.org  and read many life experiences where people have changed their karma through the Nichiren Buddhist chanting practice.

    Notes: Teachings for Victory, Vol 1, p. 45-49 has an important discussion about changing karma. To find this book, go to www.sgi-usa.org, the online bookstore

     

     

     

     

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