chanting practice
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  • Why Chanting is Not Magic

    Chanting is not Magic

    Some people talk about this practice as if it is magic. Chanting is not magic. Our circumstances change as we change from within. There is no question that chanting gives us ideas about what to do. When we take action unseen connections are made that we could never have foreseen ourselves. Sometimes it seems like magic when we are not aware of the changes we have made in ourselves.

    I know a new person who is working on learning about leadership. She was having a problem with someone under her, who was causing difficulties. As she chanted about the issue, she loosened her control on the project he was working on. The problem disappeared as he assumed responsibility and moved ahead with the project. She said, “I don’t know how it happened.” It seemed like magic to her. But as I listened carefully, it was clear she had let go of micromanaging the project and her co-worker responded well. She had changed, so her circumstances changed.

    How do We Make Personal Changes From Within?

    First: Chant about an issue. As we align ourselves daily with the Mystic Law, that universal energy, we let go of the lesser side of our nature step by step and gradually come to embody our higher nature.

    Second: Listen to those little inner nudges do one thing or another. In the Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, Vol 2, Daisaku Ikeda says,
    ”We are in constant exchange and communication with the cosmos, our lives reverberating with it as one living entity.”

    Guidance comes through your connection with the universe through those little internal nudges to do this or don‘t do that, and through those ideas that are better than any you would have thought of yourself. That guidance comes with an absolute knowing. Pay attention to that knowing. We all have heard that little voice, but it’s so quiet that it’s easy to ignore, or talk ourselves out of following it.  How many times have you had the feeling you should do something and then not done it?

    Third: Take action on those ideas that come with the knowing.

    Fourth: Study the daily encouragement available to us. That might be only a paragraph a day. Reading just a little each day allows you to absorb the thought, think about it and then look for opportunities to put it into practice. Our mentor is a living example of how to apply the Buddhist teachings in everyday life.

    Fifth: Support others. It’s remarkable how it happens, but when you chant, study and support others you put your life on the fast track of personal development. That’s how to make changes the most quickly.

    Personal Experience

    Though out my adult life until I started this practice, I tended to be a loner. I regretted it, but I didn’t know what to do to change it. I was working at an agency doing international adoptions and feeling isolated once again, this time at work.  

    By then I had been studying Buddhist concepts and knew that our lives come from the inside out. I realized my isolation came from me, and that if I wanted it to change, I had to do something differently. I had the realization, while chanting one day, that I was sitting at my desk in my office but not getting out to say good morning or ask about the lives of other people. I took a deep breath, went against some long term habits. I walked out of my office, and made an effort to say good morning and inquire about what was going on in the lives of my co-workers. One day I realized to my delight, I was no longer isolated.

    Even though I had chanted about it, this change wasn’t magic. I received the realization from chanting, but then I changed my behavior and my coworkers responded. By the way, that change transformed the rest of my life. I’m now part of a wonderful community of people whom I love.

     Summary

    1. Chant about the issue
    2. Listen to those little nudges and ideas that come with the knowing this is the right thing to do.
    3. Take action on those nudges and ideas.
    4. Study the encouragement from our mentor.
    5. Support others

    Please comment and share how you have made changes.  We can all help one another.

  • 8 Steps to Master The Way You Think

    Why is It Important to Master Negative Thinking?

    We are one with the Mystic Law, that creative, unlimited life force, in the core of our lives, our Buddha nature. Because of that connection, we human beings have an amazing ability. Our thoughts take form in the physical world. Our habitual, characteristic, predominant mental attitude shows up in the conditions, environment, health, and experiences of our daily life. As Daisaku Ikeda says in Faith into Action,

    “In accordance with 3000 realms in a single moment of life, pessimistic thoughts or feelings take form just as they are, in reality, producing negative results. People who have negative thoughts create effects for themselves that perfectly match their thinking. So its important to be optimistic.”

    In the same way our positive thoughts and mental attitudes take form as positive experiences and circumstances. In this way we build our circumstances from our inner life to manifest in the outer world.

    Accept Responsibility & Take Charge of Your Life

    No matter what your life circumstances you are not a victim. To believe, that anything outside of yourself is creating your circumstances, is to believe an illusion.
    To take charge of your life you have to take full responsibility for having created your current life circumstances. Until you understand the power you have, and use it on purpose, you will continue to create your life by accident.

    Chant for clarity if you don’t know what to do. I suspect that if you examine your thinking you will see what the issue is.  Awareness is the first step.  See margaretblaine.com/know-why to see how our thoughts often flow when chanting for a goal.

     How Can I Master a Habit of Negative Thinking?

    What can we do to change, if we know we have the habit of negative thinking? Let’s look at a specific example with the understanding that this applies to any concern you might have.
    Let’s say you want a beautiful home but currently don’t have the money to manifest it. One day you become aware that when you think about that beautiful home, you are envisioning a lack of money to do it. Don’t envision needing money, while you chant, or as you go about your day. That perpetuates the thought of lack. You don’t want to continue to produce the life circumstance of not having enough.

    Instead envision your home as beautiful and opulent as you want it to be. Imagine how it would feel to live in such a home. Imagine having plenty of money to create your dream home. Spend some time each day envisioning your home in detail, as you wish it to be. Any time you find yourself envisioning the lack of money, substitute a constructive thought for the destructive one and re-envision the home exactly as you wish it to be. You are creating a new habit of thought and as time goes on with regular practice your mind will automatically go to what you want, not to your doubts or fears.

    Even though you have an earnest desire, the general plan may be dim at first but gradually an outline will form, then the details. Each day, see the picture more and more clearly and the ways and means of manifestation will appear. Thought has the vitality of the life force behind it. It grows what is planted just as a plant grows out of a seed planted in a garden. Keep an open mind and be ready to take action when the time comes.   Don’t dig up the seed every day to see if it is growing. If you dig up a seed planted in a garden every day, it won’t germinate. That is true with the seeds in your mental garden as well.

    Try it as an experiment and see what happens.

    When the ways and means of creating what you want appear, take action.

    Some Goals Take Longer Than Others

    It’s important to recognize that some goals are going to take longer than others. All goals manifest when the time is right. Maybe you need to develop a skill. Or perhaps there is a life change that must happen. Perhaps you need to grow in some way. Whatever it is, do whatever comes up to be addressed one step at a time, while keeping your focus on what you want.

    Be Patient with Yourself

    We’ve all grown up in a society which has taught us to do the exact opposite of what I’m describing here. If we don’t like our circumstances we have been taught to try to change them rather than understanding the cause that created them. In other words, try to change the effect rather than understand the cause.

    The 8 Steps

    1. Accept that your life is what you have created the past.
    2. Pay attention to how you are thinking now. Awareness is the first step.
    3. When you catch yourself looking at your fears, or what you don’t want, re-envision what you want. Practice, practice, practice. Habit change happens a little change each day.
    4. Focus on what you want each day, seeing the details.
    5. Take action when ideas come up to move forward towards your goal.
    6. Accept that some goals take longer than others.
    7. Be patient with yourself.
    8. Keep on until you have achieved your goal.

  • 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

  • Do You Know Why Your Thoughts Are So Important?

    We’re taught that our thoughts don‘t really matter unless we act on them. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

    We are one with the creative life force in the core of our lives, so our minds have the same creative capacity as the life force itself. This means our minds are unlimited and can create the circumstances we desire.

    In the Buddhist dictionary, we are told that the mind possesses the potential of 3000 realms in a moment of life and encompasses the simultaneity of cause and effect.


    This means that every thought, we have, sets a seed in our lives that will manifest in the future when the time is right. Our outer life today is the “visible” manifestation of the “invisible” workings of our mind of yesterday. So, the thoughts, we dwell upon the most, create our life in the future. Until we learn about this we just let any old thoughts, and beliefs run through our minds, unaware we are in fact creating our future life circumstances. The beauty? We possess the ability to consciously change what we are doing to get better results.

    As President Ikeda writes in My Dear Friends in America, ‘belief and thought alter reality’. This capacity of our minds is truly miraculous. Most of the time we are either unaware of what we have, take it for granted or doubt we really have it. We not only project our thoughts out to the universe while chanting, but we unconsciously do it all day long. Since the universe reflects our thoughts back to us, it is important that we become aware of what we are projecting.

    I have heard people say that chanting doesn’t work. But chanting always works. The response reflects what you are thinking about the most. If you are chanting while thinking this is a waste of time, then the universe will reflect that back to you. But if you chant with the faith that you will get what you want, that result will be reflected back to you too. Awareness, of what you are thinking, will allow you to create the future life you want on purpose, through deliberate intent, rather than by accident. Awareness will allow you to achieve your goals more quickly, because you are no longer getting in your own way.

    Become Aware: What Are You  Thinking About?

    You give yourself a major advantage once you become aware of what you are thinking. It can be a challenge to notice the almost subliminal thoughts that flit by so quickly. But once you develop the habit of noticing, you will catch yourself when you are thinking about negative results, or worrying about problems. Then you can deliberately change those negative thoughts to reflect what you want to have happen and radiate that to the universe. The results will be quite different.   

    This is what is meant when Nichiren said, “Learn to master your mind. Don’t let your mind master you.”

    Pay attention and notice how you are thinking while addressing a concern. Are you addressing it with doubts or disbelief that you can change the situation? Are you focusing on your fears? Are you giving your attention to the problems and obstacles rather than the solution you want?

    How to Resolve Disbelief and Doubts

    • Notice how you are thinking.
    • Resolve doubts through study or asking questions.
    • If you discover you don’t believe you can achieve the goal you have set, then reduce it to the first step, something you can believe.
    • If you find yourself focusing on your fears, redirect your attention to what you want.

    You Can do It.

    Changing habits of thinking and beliefs may feel slow. But it can be done. Just be patient and persistent. Shortly, you will find that you are developing a positive frame of mind. And, as you chant, focusing on the what you want ( your end goal) rather than the problem, you will see your life shift into a positive direction. You can do it..

  • Do You Know You Are An Unlimited Being?

    I don’t think we recognize what we are at our core. We say we have a Buddha nature, which possesses wisdom, vitality, compassion and absolute happiness. But what is the Buddha nature, really? President Toda’s realization in prison, was that that Buddha nature is life itself.

    Buddha Nature is Life, Our Unlimited Higher Self

    Life is that eternal, conscious, vibrating intelligence at the core of creation and is one with our Buddha nature. Scientists call it the quantum field, from which all of creation emerges. Life is creative. Life possesses the incredible power of manifestation. Since you are one with it, you have the same nature, the same spark that resides in life itself, as the wave has the same qualities as the ocean. You are spirit manifesting in a physical body. You have that same unlimited capacity to create what you want in your life.

    We Don’t Believe it

    At some level we don’t believe it. We have doubts, we say, “I can’t”. When we fall into that negativity we are allowing our thinking minds to disbelieve and limit our fundamental nature. In order to allow that unique spark in us to be fully expressed in the world, we need to master our minds, and stay focused and positive. This allows us to stay in alignment with it. Then the energies can flow without impediment and benefits can show up in a miraculous way. Our creative ability to manifest, and our unique path, blooms. When we fall into doubt, negativity and disbelief, our results are constricted.

    Practice Makes Perfect

    Fortunately, we get to practice that alignment twice a day, when we sit to chant. That is when we put ourselves in rhythm with the universe, to have oneness with that energy flow. We also need to practice it during our everyday activities by:

    • Embracing rather than resisting challenges seeing them as another opportunity to become aware of what we really are.
    • Seeing them as a growth opportunity, to strengthen ourselves and practice aligning with the energies of the higher self.
    • Keeping focused on what we want
    • Not being seduced by what ‘appears to be’ and recognizing that is just surface appearance, that we have the power to change it.
    • Letting problems, the illusion go, to focus on the solution
    • Staying balanced and stable when life appears to go bottoms up.

    Our Training Limits Us

    In order to live in alignment with our Buddha nature, our higher unlimited self, we have to reorient our minds, and overcome the training of a lifetime. That training has taught us to be realistic, in other words, limited, focus on problems, doubt our own abilities and feel unworthy.

    Enlightenment is…

    This is what enlightenment is all about, developing an awareness of, and a belief in the unlimited being that you are, then manifesting your unique contribution in the world

  • Know Why You Don’t Always Get What You Want?

    Let’s say you’ve set a goal for a new house. You’ve begun to chant about it.  Do you find your thinking going like this?

    I want a new house.
    I doubt I can get it.
    I want a new house but I don’t think I can afford it.
    I want a new house in this lovely neighborhood.
    My significant other says that isn’t realistic in view of my history.

    And so it goes….

    When you set the goal, you have started the process of attracting it to you. Your goal is the thought that is going to draw and shape that universal life-energy and bring it into your world. If you have thoughts that doubt you can get it, or say you can’t afford it, it’s as though you’ve held up your palm and told the universe to slow down.

    According to President Ikeda, “When your determination changes, everything will begin to move in the direction you desire.  The moment you resolve to be victorious, every nerve and fiber in your being will immediately orient itself towards your success. On the other hand if you think, “This is never going to work out,” then in that instant every cell in your being will be deflated and give up the fight.  Then everything really will move in the direction of failure. Faith into action, P. 108-109.

    Keep Giving Attention to What You Want

    Maybe your goal feels like too big a stretch and you don’t believe you can get there. Don’t give up. Take the first step towards your goal. Look at houses on the internet. As you look at the beautiful homes, let yourself dwell on what you want. Flesh it out in detail. Give attention to what you want. That attention continues to strengthen the desire. Brush away any thoughts to the contrary and turn your attention back to what you want.

    Develop the Details

    As you dream about your perfect house, add in the special details that would make it your home. Allow yourself to become excited about it. Know there will be the perfect house for you when the time is right.

    Don’t keep Looking at the Defects in Your Old House

    You’ve been living with what you don’t want. That’s why you decided to set the new goal. Don’t continue to look at the defects in the old house over and over to explain why you want a new one. When you keep giving attention to them, you are creating more of the same. Focus your mind on what you want and brush away what you don’t want. This is not always easy and often requires practice.

    What is Being Realistic?

    My significant other says I’m not being realistic in view of my history. Being realistic to him/her means looking at conditions as they have been in the past. If you continue to look at what-has -been, that is what you will continue to create. What you give your attention to, grows. Don’t you want to create a new reality, something new? To do that, you must keep your attention on what you want to have happen, the something new.

    The Material World is More Changeable Than You Think

    You often think that the way life looks on the surface it is the reality. When you do this you are forgetting that all of life at the quantum level is vibration and shaped by thought. It only looks immovable. But that’s not the reality. When you persist with your thought and stay focused on what you want the “immovable conditions of life” will give way to the new creation.

    You Set the Goal: The Universe Handles How to Get There

    It’s your job to set the goal. It is the job of the universe to take care of how you are going to get there. When you decide how it is going to happen, you set road blocks in the way of the universe doing its job. When you open your mind to all the possibilities, you may well be completely surprised by what develops, sometimes things you would never have imagined.

    A Personal Experience

    My husband and I bought a fixer upper and turned it into our dream home. Next to us was a house owned by an out-0f-state landlord who was letting the house deteriorate. The renters went from a nice family to multiple renters, one couple with substance abuse problems and a nurse in training.

    We chanted that the house would be bought by someone who would fix it up and make a nice home of it. For several months, nothing happened. We could have looked at what was and decided that we couldn’t influence it. Instead, we persisted chanting with our vision in mind. I remember saying to my husband that only an explosion would change the situation there. We just couldn’t see how our goal could happen.

    One day, there was an explosion. The nurse, collected the rent, and left town to consult with his aunt, a real estate attorney. The landlord arrived two days later in a high temper. It turned out the nurse had put the rent in escrow until the landlord fixed electrical problems, which were in danger of causing a fire. The landlord harassed everyone. When the nurse returned he slapped the landlord with a restraining order which forbade him to come around the house or talk to anyone involved. We had the landlord sitting on the wall in front of our house glaring at the nurse playing his guitar on the front step of his house at 1 A.M. Then we heard rumors of court action. In the space of three days, everyone left the house.

    Nothing happened for six months, while we continued to chant, our vision in mind. Then one day, Scott drove in. He was a contractor, and had bought the house with the intention of fixing it up and selling it. He turned that house into a beautiful family home and then sold it to a man who has been an outstanding landlord, who rented it to a nice family. Anything is possible!!!

    Summary:

    1. Remember your thoughts are the builder. They form  that life force/energy into what you envision.

    2. Look at at what you want, not what you don’t want.
    3. Practice getting rid of negative thoughts by returning your attention to what you want.
    4. Don’t worry about being realistic. That is only what-has-been and you don’t want to continue to create the same old thing.
    5. What appears unchangeable is an illusion. Everything can be changed when we turn our thought energy to it and chant about it.
    6. Be open that it can happen in ways you can’t imagine. Don’t tie down the creativity of the universe by structuring ‘how’ it is going to happen.
    7.  Set a goal and try the experiment.

  • Do You Know Why You Shouldn’t Chant About Your Fears?

    As a Nichiren Buddhist, you hear that you should chant for what you want. But what if you have a fear, or feel threatened by something. Shouldn’t you chant for what you want to change? The answer is no, not if you are looking at the problem.

    Think about it carefully. If you are holding the fear in your mind’s eye, you are giving your attention to the problem, and the problem is what you are putting out to the universe.

    Speech, Thought & Action Create Your Future

    You want to envision what you want to have happen not what you fear. Why? Because according to the law of cause and effect and 3000 realms in a moment of life, our thought, speech and action, create causes for our future. In My Dear Friends in America, President Ikeda quotes Ghandhi saying, “Your minds determine your future, your lives.” He also quotes William Hazlitt, whom he felt was an acute observer of human nature. He said that the power of belief, the power of thought, will move reality in the direction of what we believe and how we conceive it.

    Quantum Mechanics would support this. It says that at the source of all thought and matter is an ocean of pure vibrating energy and consciousness. When we have a thought or chant about a goal, we begin the process of attracting that vibrating energy into form. As you think that thought over and over it begins to show up more and more in your world. Think of all the times you started thinking about something and then found it everywhere. So you need to ask yourself. What do you want to create? Do you want to hold the thought of what you fear, or do you want to hold a thought of what you want?

    When we sit to chant, we project our thoughts and state of mind on the mirror of the universe. Then it is reflected back to us as the results we receive. The Clear Mirror Guidance, pg. 10. As President Ikeda says, “ Life is a ‘visible’ manifestation of the ‘invisible’ workings of the mind.” MDFIA 253.

    Shift Your Goal From The Problem to What You Want

    Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you are you are afraid you won’t have enough money to pay the rent. While chanting, take the fear of not being able to pay the rent, and chant about what you want to see happen, having the money to comfortably write out the check. We attract whatever circumstances we chant about when we put something out to the universe.

    When you chant about something, there is going to be a buffer of time between when you begin chanting and when the result shows up.  This is sometimes the hardest period, because you’ve changed what you are doing but haven’t yet seen the results. Be patient, keep chanting for what you want, and expect you are going to get it.

    A Personal Experience

    My husband and I  chanted for safety and protection before beginning a two-hour drive north to Portland, Oregon. Both of us had had the feeling there was potential for an accident. We were driving along the expressway in sync with the other cars going 75 miles an hour, when the cars ahead of us abruptly stopped dead, without warning. We were just able to stop, and when we looked around, the car behind us was by our left window. We were unhurt, our car untouched. To this day, I don’t take a car trip without chanting for protection and a safe trip first. I know this is a prosaic example but when you repeatedly have experiences where what you chant about comes to be, you know you are truly experiencing the mystic function of the mind.

    Try an Experiment

    To begin to master your mind, so you can focus what you want and won’t dwell upon fears. Try practicing the following steps.

    1. Identify what you want to have happen in your area of interest and chant about it.
    2. Don’t pay attention to what appears to be happening in the present, or to any fears you might have. If necessary, pull your attention fifty times a day away from those thoughts and back to what you want.  Just get back on the horse and don’t linger on your fears.
    3. If you don’t really believe you can have what you want, think about working towards it step by step, until you can believe what you are putting out to the universe. Chant for the first step with a thought that gives you hope.
    4. When you think of your goal during the day, focus on what you want and expect it to happen.
    5. Enjoy the results.

  • Do You Know How to Refresh Your Practice?

    Have you ever had a time when you felt unmotivated, study seemed like platitudes, doubts have shown up, and you are in the doldrums in your practice? You can become stale when life is comfortable, and there are no real problems on the horizon. True you might have aspects of your life you wish would change, but they aren’t anything that pressing, so you let them go. You know the practice works and you always have it if you need it. You have become complacent and before you realize it, your life and practice have become stagnant.

    Since this seems to be a universal experience of everyone from time to time, I decided to ask some experienced 30-45 year practitioners what they have done to refresh their practice.

    Be Proactive

    Negative Thoughts Are your Feedback: Chant About What is Blocking You

    A roadblock barrier or barricade is split as you Break Through the obstacle and forge ahead to get where you want to go and achieve a goal or reach success

    Trudy says. “I know I’m is in trouble when study doesn’t seem inspiring and I feel completely unmotivated. In the earlier years I listened to my negative thoughts. I was convinced they were true, and I let them influence me. Now I don’t listen anymore. I know that that negativity is my barometer, my feedback that I need to change something in my life. It tells me I need to mobilize myself, start break through prayer, then chant until I sees what the blockage is. I know that the blockage is always inside of me.”

    Ken doesn’t listen to those thoughts or feelings either. He comments, “I don’t worry about how I feel anymore. I just do the basic practice. That refreshes me.”

    Angie, had this to say. “I realized I was in my own way. I had cut myself off without even realizing it. I know that when I feel disconnected it isn’t anyone else, but comes from inside me. When I feel unmotivated I need to be in contact with other members who are energized.”

    Study

    Education Student People concept - Asian student reading and researching on the study in the library. Asian student happy to study. University student.

    Ruth observed, “I realized I couldn’t always depend on other people. I had to have my own conviction. The way I’ve built that is through studying Buddhism. It helps me have a deeper understanding of what is going on in my life.”

    Help Others Become Happy

    Dick says, “I refresh my practice by addressing my mission to bring happiness to as many people as possible. While I chant, I visualize inwardly communicating with my mentor and ask what I can do towards that goal every morning.  During my evening chant I imagine reporting back. Keeping myself accountable every day to do something, keeps me motivated. I also make sure I read something from The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin everyday, even if it is short. I have found that when life is tough, those snippets come back and strengthen me.”

    Nancy comments, ” I make a choice every morning to rededicate myself towards my mission of bringing happiness to others. During the first ten minutes of practice, I ask what I can do today, towards that end. That energizes and focuses me. All of the problems of daily life recede to the background, when I focus on the mission I was born for in this world. I also make a point of having at least a weekly connection with other members who are energized.”

    Chant for Others: Explain Buddhism to Them

    Jen says, “What refreshes me is starting someone in the practice. Explaining Buddhist concepts, and chanting about the person I am starting, really gets me going again.” Another way she refreshes herself is to take action to visit and help another person. She has found that when she encourages another person, she encourages herself.

    Group therapy. Group of young people sitting in circle while one man telling something and gesturing
    John instructs students in technology in electricity, welding, sheet metal and machine maintenance. Some of what he teaches could result in injuries if he isn’t very careful and on top of his game. “I have on-going goals to have my classes go smoothly and to be alert so I can keep my students safe. These on-going goals keep me very engaged with the practice and motivated to have the clarity and confidence to be the best mentor I can be,” he says.

    Challenge Yourself

    Another way to re-motivate yourself is to challenge yourself with a big goal and a drop dead date.  If you determine you are going to accomplish it no matter what, it can bring you out of the doldrums quickly.

    They Were Proactive

    Each of these practitioners knew that their complacency and sense of disconnection was a problem that needed to be addressed, that it was a hindrance to their practice.  Then they took proactive action to address it.

    Summary:

    If unmotivated try one of the following steps to re-motivate yourself.
    1. Chant to find what is blocking you.
    2. Ignore negative thinking.
    3. Be in contact with other practitioners who are energized.
    4. Do something to encourage another person.
    5. Explain a Buddhist concept to someone else.
    6. Start someone new.
    7. Ready or not, take on a big challenge.
    8. Make a contribution to the group, a presentation for ex.
    9. Remind yourself – feeling disconnected is one of the hindrances to Buddhist practice

    Comments:

    Please share the way you have refreshed your practice.  You will help someone else.

    February 2, 2017 • chanting practice, faith/prayer, personal growth, practical buddhism • Views: 427

  • I’ve Been chanting a Lot! Why Isn’t something Happening?

    Question: I’ve been chanting two hours a day about my goal but nothing seems to be happening. I don’t have any ideas about what to do.

    If this is the case, the following are some things to consider, as they can affect movement forward towards a goal.

    Recognizing Ideas

    Look for ideas relating to what you are chanting about during you’re chanting time, but also during the day. Ideas can come in many ways, books, people etc. If you are chanting about an issue, pay attention.

    3d render of signpost of words listen and ignore

    Are You Talking Yourself Out of Ideas?

    What do you do once an idea appears? Are you by any chance talking yourself out of ideas that come, because you don’t see how you would get from the beginning to the end? If this is the case, take the first step in the direction pointed out, even though you can’t see any further. That will allow you to see further down the path.

    Are You Taking Action?

    Chanting alone won’t take you where you want to go. The universe wants to support you but you must start taking action before that can happen. It’s like the rice farmer who chants for an abundant harvest, but never plants the rice. The universe works through us when we start to move forward.

    The Path Will Unfold Under Your Feet

    Sometimes we have to move forward not knowing where we are going. It’s like walking blind, and it requires faith in the process to take those steps. But when you begin first one step and then the next, you will be able to see further down the path. Its’ as though the path unfolds under your feet as you move forward.

    Rolling Out The Red Carpet

    When you take action the universe can support you.

    Let me give you an example. “I was talking with my friend about my uncertainty about how to market my book, Your Path to Unshakeable Happiness. She suggested I go to Womenspace, an agency that deals with domestic violence, and drop off two books. Since I had been chanting about this issue, and looking for answers, I followed up on her suggestion. A client read the book and loved it.

    That client participated in an addictions program as well. She requested that the recovery program have a Buddhist group there. We taught people, who then went to live all over the state. But if I had not paid attention to my friend’s idea, taken action in spite of my fears, and dropped off the books, none of this would have happened.

    Keep your eye on what you want to see happen, your goal. And as you take the first step chant about the second, then the third and so on. Then act on ideas as they come to you.

    Is Fear Stopping You?

    Sometimes we chant but don’t move forward because we are fearful of doing what is necessary to take the next step. Since we’re doing our human revolution it is natural that we might have fears when trying to expand our lives.

    Chant until you shift your life condition into courage. http://margaretblaine.com/three-steps-to-finding-courage/ Don’t procrastinate. Take the action that you are afraid of, quickly.

    Are You Focusing on the Obstacles or Your Goal?

    Ask yourself. Are you keeping your eye on the goal or dwelling on the obstacles? We have to remember that what we focus on we find, and what we focus on will grow. So do you want to manifest the obstacles or do you want to manifest your goal?

    While chanting, if you may become aware that your mind has gone to the obstacles, gently bring it back to what you want. Do this over and over, while you are chanting and also when you find yourself focusing on obstacles during the day. You are creating a new habit that will support you in moving towards your goals. In time you will find that it becomes easier to focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.

    Are You Resisting Personal Change?

    When we set a goal, we are saying, “This is the person I want to be.” That means you have declared your intention to grow. Now see all know that when we decide to grow there is going to be resistance. This is because our subconscious mind wants life to stay the way it is. http://margaretblaine.com/6-steps-to-making-personal-changes-when-chanting-for-a-goal For the first time, we see all the steps we are going to have to take. It would be so much more comfortable if change would just magically happen. But it isn’t magic.

    Chanting means we are going to change. If we are resisting it, then the goal can take much longer. Since often we are not aware this is happening, the linked article will help to recognize how we talk ourselves out of moving forward. (http://margaretblaine.com/resistance-personal-change-stop-achieving-goals/) Once we can recognize what we are doing, we can make a decision to do something differently, and continue to make progress.

    When you take these steps,  you will break through and things will start to move.

    Oneness of Self and the Environment

    We can’t stay the same and expect different results. That, I’ve been told, is the definition of insanity. Remember the Buddhist concept of ‘Oneness of Life and Its Environment’? http://margaretblaine.com/basics/oneness-of-life-and-its-environment/When we change, the environment around us changes. It happens from the inside out.

    Summary:

    If nothing is happening and you have been chanting about an issue, run through this checklist of considerations.

    1. Are you recognizing the ideas coming to you?
    2. Are you talking yourself out of ideas?
    3. Are you taking action?
    4. Are you letting the path unfold under your feet?
    5. Are you letting fear stop you?
    6. Are you focusing on the obstacles or your goal?
    7. Are you resisting personal change?
    8. Have you familiarized yourself with the Buddhist concept of oneness of life and its environment?
  • 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: 542

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