When confronting a difficult obstacle, we may have doubts that we can ever overcome it. “Can I really overcome this situation using this practice?” we ask ourselves. This fog of illusion results in our inability to see our unlimited potential. Doubts about our unlimited potential can translate into doubts about the practice. We can’t see our way. We start to believe we are weak and can’t change our circumstances. If not addressed, these doubts can lead us down a negative spiral.
There’s another way to look at doubts. Doubts are not a problem but rather an opportunity to deepen your faith. As Nichiren says, “If you do not question and resolve your doubts, you cannot dispel the dark clouds of illusion, any more than you could travel a thousand miles without legs.” (WND, 1031)
The good news is, we are not alone in this battle. Everyone faces it. When Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha, warred with the negative forces of Mara, during his final all-out battle the last night before his enlightenment, he was confronting the same internal choices that we have when facing a difficult obstacle. Was he going to give in to distractions and doubts? Was he going to disbelieve in his Buddha nature, his unlimited potential, and fall into the clouds of illusion telling him he was separated and weak? Or was he going to be able to bring out his Buddhahood and show actual proof. He won his battle and became the historical Buddha.
Steps to Deepen Your Faith
When we address our doubts through study and questioning, they become the natural next steps in the deepening of our faith. So take the following steps:
1. Chant to be able to overcome your doubts.
2. Examine how you are thinking while chanting.
Are you thinking, I can’t do this, I can’t win over this problem? Remind yourself what Nichiren Daishonin and all the presidents tell us. When you chant and tap your Buddha nature you have everything you need to win. Then change your self-talk to encourage yourself.
3. Do some regular daily study
Do a little daily study and from time to time volunteer to give a presentation on a Buddhist concept at a meeting to help others grow in their practice. Sometimes we think that study is not our strong point. That’s all right. It’s important to dip into the writings available to us. As President Ikeda says, “Even if you forget what you read, something profound will be engraved in the depths of your life.” As you read a paragraph or two day after day, you will find yourself working through your doubts and deepening your faith.
4. Remind yourself of the principle of oneness of self and environment.
When our minds change our circumstances follow.
5. Make a determination and challenge yourself.
6. Keep chanting, visualizing your problem solved.
7. Take the action steps that come to you and never give up