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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

  • 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

  • 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: 426

  • Are You Aware of External Hindrances to Buddhist Practice?

    Buddhism is the practice and philosophy for transforming all of our lives, providing the path to becoming absolutely happy. Because of this it deals with the impulses which can either assist or hinder our attainment of unshakeable happiness.  Both the impulses which assist, arising from fundamental enlightenment, and the forces which impede our progress, originating in fundamental darkness, exist in an eternal tension in our lives.

    In the post titled The Ten Troops, we discussed ten hindrances to Buddhist practice which come from inside our own lives. These can hinder our efforts to awaken our inherent Buddha nature. These included greed, care and worry, hunger and thirst, love of pleasure, fear, doubts and regret, drowsiness and languor, anger, preoccupation with wealth and fame, and arrogance and contempt for others.

    Today we are going to discuss hindrances to Buddhist practice which come from outside ourselves. These kinds of hindrances can come from family members, or other significant people close to us, who oppose our practice. Some of these can be very difficult tests. Let me give you some examples.

    Family Tests

    Alicia and Tom’s Experience –

    Alicia and Tom were married. They had practiced separately and together for 45 years and were strong practitioners. Then one day Tom started questioning everything about the practice and became more and more negative about it. He had reverted to the substance abuse of his youth.

    Her must trusted relationship, her husband, had turned against the very foundation of their marriage. Initially she began to be swayed by him. But then realizing what was happening, Alicia geared in and chanted an increasing number of hours a day. Tom was not only trying to pull her away from her practice, but was threatening her income as well.

    Recognizing the threat, she determined not to allow him succeed on either front. She resolved to remain firm in her practice and to stabilize her income. Ultimately they divorced. After the separation he took her to court, where he lost. Then one day, for no apparent reason, he stopped threatening her income and started paying her double what he owed her. It was a stunning reversal.

    The Ikegami Brother’s Experience

    Their father, who opposed their practice,  threatened to disinherit the oldest boy if he didn’t give up his belief in the Daishonin’s Buddhism and tempted the younger to trade his beliefs to claim  his brother’s inheritance. This happened to the Ikegami brothers but could happen today just as easily. Instead of being divided, the brothers and their wives united.  The father who had tried to divide them ended up becoming a practitioner.

    Standing up to Secular Pressure

    Rocky obstacle to waves in the sea

    Shijo Kingo’s Experience –

    Shijo Kingo, one of Nichiren Daishonin’s disciples, tried to convert his lord, Ema, to the Daishonin’s teachings. Lord Ema did not respond in a positive manner. On the contrary he reduced the size of Kingo’s landholdings and threatened to send him away. His colleagues said terrible things about him and he was accused of formenting trouble. Losing his holdings could be very serious in feudal Japan. Everything was based on one’s place in society.

    The Daishonin instructed Kingo on the best course of behavior under the circumstances.. Nichiren told Kingo that when the Buddha nature manifests itself from within, it will receive protection from without. How do we do that? By chanting with determination.

    Nichiren also instructed Kingo in the way to behave. Don’t give in to temper, stay calm, observe what develops, don’t lament about how hard it is, respect and have concern for other people, and don’t give unreserved expression to what you are thinking. Your behavior is most important.

    Later that year Lord Ema fell ill and Kingo, using his medical skills, cured him. Ema was most grateful. He not only restored but also increased Kingo’s landholdings.

    Toda and Makaguichi’s Experience –

    These kinds of hindrances don’t exist just in Nichiren’s time. They exist today.  The first two presidents of the SGI, Toda and Makaguichi had to stand firm against the Japanese military government during World War Two. They were pressured to do something against their faith and were sent to prison for refusing to do it. That could happen anywhere, particularly if religious prejudice is condoned in a society.

    Tests from Religious Authority

    Inspirational Motivated Quote. Mountains. Motivational Banner with Quotes Concept. Achievement target Concept. Motivation to overcome for win future victory. Vector Illustration

    President Ikeda

    President Ikeda confronted the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood about their corruption of the teachings of Nichiren. After he did this, the head priest made him step down from his leadership role and then excommunicated the entire SGI. Through the solid practice of both President Ikeda and the rest of the practitioners, this test resulted in the teachings of Nichiren being spread to the whole world rather than being confined to a small group in Japan.

    Tests through Strong Negative Karma

    Strong negative karma can threaten to disrupt one’s practice, particularly when it takes a long time, many years, to resolve an issue. Such challenges should be viewed as an opportunity to purge oneself of bad karma from the past.

    Handling these Tests

    Any of these tests can be very challenging. As you can see from the examples these tests tend to threaten the very thing that is most important to the practitioner. Coming to understand what is actually happening may be quite confusing, but one thing will be clear. There is a hindrance to, or something pulling you away from, your practice. The real challenge is recognizing these external hindrances for what they are.

    To Handle These Tests:

    1. Identify the hindrance to your practice.
    2. Gear in and chant with determination to overcome it.
    3. Strengthen your faith, through study, getting guidance, hearing experiences.
    4. Get support – chant with other people.

    5. Be strong in your practice. Hang in there. You can transform these negative external sources into positive ones through your Buddhist practice, turning poison into medicine.

  • When I Chant, My Mind Goes to My Fears. What Should I Do?

    I received an email with this question. I try to focus properly but my mind goes to my fears. What should I do?” Since we all have fears from time to time, this is an important question.

    President Ikeda points out that there is nothing wrong with having an active mind while chanting. That that is just the way the mind works. It’s like a monkey jumping from branch to branch. We want to be ourselves in front of the Gohonzon and not try to be something we aren’t.

    When a fear comes up. You have two options.  You can act like an ostrich and refuse to look at it.  Or you can ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?” Imagine what it would be like if the issue worked out the way you want and then chant for what you want, rather than continuing to focus on your fears. Chant about every issue you are facing.

    Are These Thoughts a Distraction or Not?

    We set our intention for what we want and then start to chant. Thoughts are going to come up that represent issues that concern us at the moment. They are not a distraction. So chant about each one no matter what it might be. As you win over one after another, you will strengthen your foundation.

    Distracted chanting is different. It is sitting with your cell phone and texting or taking calls. When you chant and do this, you are going to find that you are not going to get the kinds of results you see, when you chant whole heartedly  about an issue of concern.

    Say No To Distractions placard with night lights on background

     What About Doubts?

    When you doubt whether a prayer will be answered you are expressing barriers you have created in your own life. Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, V. 5 p.154. There is no limit to the great power of daimoku. You need to overcome any doubt or confusion. Chanting with doubt and confusion is like trying to fill a tub with water without putting in the plug.

    Feed your faith by listening to experiences. Make time to study  and discuss Buddhist topics with other members. Study is the third leg of practice and there is an important reason for that.  You will find your doubts disappearing as you learn more and more.

    Inspirational motivational quote. Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death. Simple trendy design.

    There is no need to be tense or nervous while chanting.  There are no rules about how we should pray.  Whatever happens, happens.

     

    You will Become More Confident

    You will find as you chant month after month, year after year, that you will strengthen your ability to concentrate. After having one experience after another where you overcome obstacles that seemed impossible, you will develop the confidence that you can overcome this obstacle too. At some point, even though you are facing a frightening situation, you won’t become fearful.  This happens because you have had the experience many times of chanting, taking action, then seeing circumstances work out.

    As time goes you may become intensely curious about how any specific situation is going to work out. You know it will, even though you can’t see how in the present.

    Some people say that their prayers have gone unanswered. In this religion all prayers are answered. If this specific prayer is unanswered right now, you will understand why later, when you see that your whole life is moving in the best possible direction.

  • 6 Steps to Making Personal Changes When Chanting for a Goal

    Setting a Goal

    Man Hand writing Lets Get Started with black marker on visual screen. Isolated on white. Business technology internet concept. Stock Photo

    When we envision a goal, chant about it, and embark on it, we don’t usually know what it will require of us. We are excited.

    Reality Sets In

    It’s when we start to take action, that the reality of what it is going to take sets in. We discover what we are going to have to do, the ways we might have to change, the ways we will have to grow. This is the point where true change can occur and we can begin to forge a new, expanded identity.

    It’s also the sticking point where we encounter our resistance to change. All of our lives we’ve learned from the people and society around us. They’ve told us what’s right and wrong, how to do things, our capabilities, what our roles are, who we are, our place in the world, and what our limits are.

    These beliefs will be challenged when you take on a goal. And it’s not comfortable.

    Don't Limit Your Challenges - Challenge Your Limits - Workout Motivation - Fitness Center - Motivational Quote - Sport Illustration - Inspirational - Card Calligraphy Art - Typography - Background Template

    This discomfort is the beginning of change, so celebrate it.

    Have You Abandoned a Goal Due to Discomfort?

    We develop self-doubt and find ways to talk ourselves out of our goal so we can remain in our comfort zone. Discomfort is a normal part of the process but I suspect that many goals are dropped at this point because when we focus on our doubts, we find reasons to justify them, and we abandon the goal.

    This is when it’s time to really gear in with your chanting. It will raise your life condition and give you ideas on the changes necessary.

    As a former counselor for twenty-five years, dealing with behavioral change, there are many things from my former profession which can also help us achieve our goals and gain benefit. The first is understanding how the conscious and subconscious minds work.

    The Conscious Mind

    The conscious mind is the part of the mind we are aware of everyday.  We use it to plan, set goals and run our lives.  It’s like the 20% of an iceberg we see on the surface of the water.

    iceberg 3d illustration background with sea and blue sky

    The conscious mind is our cybernetic guidance system. Before you take an action the conscious mind sets up an image. If you don’t consciously create one, then it will unconsciously create one based on early conditioning, which may undercut what you are trying to achieve.

    The Subconscious Mind

    The subconscious mind lives below our awareness.  It is subterranean, like the 80% of the iceberg below water.  It controls automatic behaviors, like breathing,and digestion and behaviors which have become automatic.

    Behaviors become automatic through repetitious training, doing something or hearing something over and over. When given the right stimulus, automatic behaviors lock in without our even thinking about it. Initially a behavior is conscious but after many repetitions it becomes unconscious and we do it automatically. This is how we develop the habits which support us or hinder us as we move toward a goal.

    For example, think of how you learned to walk, play a sport, or drive a car. Think of the many times your parents told you not to waste money when you didn’t want to finish your meal. In response you learned to automatically clean the plate. Your subconscious mind has developed many, many such habits, which define the person you are in the present.

    When we set a goal that old conditioning and the new opportunity clash.

    The unconscious mind is protecting you from change. But your conscious mind knows it is time for change.

    Harnessing Your Subconscious to Work For You

    Let’s say you are starting a business that is going to require you to consistently contact people. You goal is to become financially free. When you encounter the reality of the work, you realize that you have been inconsistently with follow through in the past. For you to build this business you are going to have to develop the habit of consistency.

    Building the necessary behavioral changes to support your goal is a challenge. You start out to do what you need to do in the business, but old habits die hard. The old habit is to stay in bed, not get up at 7AM to call people on the other coast. You talk yourself out of getting up and your business goes downhill. You take on the challenge and make a determination to call two people a day, five days a week. Now your self-talk needs to change. From “I’m just going to stay in bed this one day.” to “Making two calls today will move me towards my goal.” And you climb out of bed. The whole change feels difficult. The old habit was easy, the new one hard.

    At this point you need to remind yourself that success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out, one small behavioral change repeated until it becomes unconscious. When thathappens your unconscious mind acts without you even having to think about it. Before, your unconscious had you act on a habit that pulled you away from your vision, staying in bed. Now through repetition you have created a habit that pulls you toward your vision, getting up and making your calls. What is hard at the beginning becomes easy in the end.

    A Personal Example

    I had a vision to become fit. Going to the gym was a struggle that lasted for over a year. I had to make myself accountable to a trainer to make me open that gym door. At some point going to the gym four days a week became a way of life and I looked forward to it. The habit of working out had become automatic. The struggle was over, and my new habit supported my new, expanded identity of being a fit person.

    6 Steps to Making the Personal Changes Needed to Reach Your Goal

    1. Chant for your new goal.
    2. Make a determination it is going to happen no matter what.
    3. Celebrate when your reluctance to move forward arrives. Remind yourself it is normal and the beginning of change, of doing your human revolution.
    4. Chant about it and thru self-reflection identify a small behavioral or attitudinal change needed.
    5. Follow through with that small change over and over.
    6. When it becomes automatic, note that what was hard has become easy. Remind yourself this will happen with the next change. Keep on keeping on.

  • Facing a Difficut Obstacle? Make Good Causes.

    What Does Compassion In Action Look Like?

    If you want the universe to fully support you, then take the time to put compassion into action. What does this mean exactly? It means putting out the antennas of the heart, becoming aware of the needs of people around you. It means giving considered thought about how you can help him or her and then taking action to help meet the need.

    One way to do this is to teach another person how to chant. This is compassionate because it is giving them the tool to come out of suffering. But this isn’t the only way. Another is to chant for someone who is suffering, or to be willing to put aside your own life, when someone needs you to support them.

    People have many needs that can benefit from compassion. Is there a shut-in on your block that is lonely and needs a warm friendly look in from time to time? Is there an older person living alone, who needs help with errands, to get the mail, or to get to bed at night? Do you try to create harmony in your neighborhood when there is conflict? Doing these things is compassion in action.

    Old people in geriatric hospice: Black doctor visiting an aged patient holding hands of a senior woman. Concept of comfort and compassion

    Then chant for the people or situations you are handling. These actions can help break through the loneliness brought about through isolation, and help to create community. Chanting and taking such actions can transform your life.

    Encourage the Law of Cause & Effect to Work For You.

    When you do these kinds of things you are encouraging the law of cause and effect to work for you. We know that when we make good causes, good effects are the result. The direct line between cause and effect may not be clear as the universe is often more indirect. Here is an example of how it works. Let’s say you help others out of compassion supporting them for a large part of the day. You arrive home at night, exhausted and don’t have any food in the refrigerator. Too tired to think of shopping you are surprised when a neighbor knocks on the door and, unasked, has brought you supper. The universe has supported your need.

    Man Hand writing Cause and Effect with marker on transparent wipe board.  Business, internet, technology concept.

    Experienced practitioners often make good causes, when facing a difficult obstacle. I have seen practitioners throw themselves into volunteer work for the organization, make an effort to support other people and find people to start in the practice. Another Buddhist practitioner has made herself the heart of her neighborhood, by helping her neighbors when needed.

    Just studying Buddhist philosophy doesn’t create the kind of transformation that putting compassion into action can create. Your whole life will become rich in relationships and community, and become an inspiration and an example to other people. You will be supported by the universe.

    Compassion is the Soul of Buddhism

    “Compassion is the very soul of Buddhism. To pray for others making their problems and anguish our own; to embrace those who are suffering, becoming their greatest ally; to continue giving them our support and encouragement until they become truly happy-it is in such humanistic actions that the Daishonin’s Buddhism lives and breathes.”
    Daisaku Ikeda, For Today & Tomorrow, p.363

    September 28, 2016 • Buddhism In Daily Life, chanting practice, faith/prayer, Uncategorized • Views: 609

  • 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

     

     

     

     

  • Guaranteed: 12 Steps to Break Through Deadlock

    When deadlocked, we are in a struggle between negative and positive forces. We don’t see the path forward: we feel up against a wall. It is then that our faith is put to the test. Are we going to succumb to negativity, doubt our Buddha nature, and give up? Or, are we going to seize the opportunity, build our faith and move forward to victory.

    Deadlock is an Opportunity

    When we face a deadlock we are presented with the opportunity to expand our lives in ways we might not imagine and certainly can’t see at the beginning. Perhaps we have a limited view of ourselves which stops us from taking the necessary action. Perhaps we have been dealing with anxiety, fears or depression which have held us back. Perhaps we have a certain way of functioning which blocks our progress.

    Building Faith, the Power Source

    Ever-stronger faith is what gives us the power and the courage to break through such deadlocks. So how can we find the way to develop our faith? If we study the experiences of practitioners who have broken-through, and produced victorious results, we’ll see each one has taken certain steps.

    1. They put the Strategy of the Lotus Sutra first. This means  chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo about their concern before trying to figure it out on their own.  They know that that connecting with and bringing out the deep wisdom available from within, they can find a way around deadlock.
    2. They chanted with focus and intensity as though they were going to shake the universe. Chanting with focus and intensity pulls you out of inertia and a laid back attitude. You can feel your energy and motivation rise.
    3. They chanted to raise their life condition and give them courage.
    4. They made a determination their goal was going to happen, even though it felt impossible.
    5. They studied the writings until they found the ones which gave them the support to move ahead.
    6. They threw themselves into encouraging the practice of others, putting the law of simultaneity of cause and effect into action.
    7. They kept their minds focused on moving forward.
    8. If they had doubts, they resolved them. They refused to fall into the abyss of doubt and despair. Sometimes that mean’t pulling their minds out of negativity fifty times a day.
    9. They went to meetings and heard experiences. Some of them got guidance for support.
    10. If isolated, they clung to the writings for instruction and example. They took action when it was required.
    11. With every set back they turned to the Lotus Sutra knowing Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the one way to find the route around any obstacle.
    12. They made the resolution to keep on until their goal was reached.

    You Can Do It Too

    If these practitioners can do it, you can too. Just put these steps into practice and if you persevere you will find your way through.

    Leave a Comment

    Please leave a comment if you have broken through deadlock. It will help someone else.

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