Exactly, what is faith and how do you find it?
In Nichiren Buddhism, faith doesn’t just appear from nowhere. It is built step-by-step. If you decide to practice, I can tell you that chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo will enable your life to work, but you’ll need to prove to yourself. You can start by sitting and chanting about any concerns you might have. See www.margaretblaine.com/newcomers for instructions on how to chant.
Some examples of things you might chant about :
- Clarity to resolve a conflict about which direction to take
- An obstacle which is blocking something in your life
- A solution to a relationship problem
- A negative character trait you want to change
- Needing a new job
Anything that comes up in life can be grist for the mill. Try chanting about your concern for 90 days and see what happens.
A New Way to Handle a Problem
Stop worrying and going round and round trying to figure out how to solve your problem. Instead, envision what you want and don’t worry about strategizing the steps to get there.
Sit and chant with the end goal clearly in mind. Your job is to set your intention and then let the universe work it out. Strategizing just gets in the way. Chanting activates your internal connection with the universe through connecting with your Buddha nature.
Be Brave; Try An Experiment
Start a conversation with the universe by setting your intention, our goal, then chanting about it. You’ll receive a response. You’ll find that you receive ideas about steps to take. Follow up by acting on these ideas. As you chant about the issue day after day, you’ll discover the people and things you need to achieve your goal will be drawn to you. The perfect information may arrive unexpectedly. Just the right person may arrive to support you, exactly when needed. You know you hadn’t expected these ideas, this kind of support. They seem to have come to you; you don’t know how. You may find you are really surprised by what happens; you never imagined this way to the solution. It’s okay, this is how faith grows.
Steps in the Development of Faith
After you achieve one goal, then try another one. Stretch yourself. Over time, as you address one goal then another, you will find that when you chant about something, it seems to work out. You sense you have invisible forces upon which you can rely. This is a subtle, but unmistakable, experience and is the beginning of faith.
The next step in the development of faith is to take on challenges you don’t really believe you can handle, a further reach. You continue to test that universal connection to see if you can rely upon it. When, after multiple experiences, you find you can, only then do you begin to trust it, have faith in it.
Relax, You Don’t Have to Worry
When a problem arises, rather than worry about it, you chant about it, envisioning what you want to have happen. Worrying gives way to a quiet confidence that if you chant about it and take action, that anything can work out. If you’ve tried chanting for concrete goals, you’ll discover you have the ability to manifest anything you need. At this point you stop worrying about not having what you need and know there is nothing to fear. Embraced by this knowledge, you’ll find yourself relaxing deep inside.
An Anchor in the Storms of Life
Before starting to chant, the winds of life had the power to toss you to and fro. Often you would be afraid and worried. After chanting for a while, the ability of life to throw you off balance grows less and less. As you develop the faith that you can rely on Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, it’s as though you have an invisible anchor, a stable point to stand on, no matter what storms may be churning on the surface of life.
Proactive Versus Reactive
Over time, another subtle yet definite shift occurs. Instead of being passive and reactive to everything saying, “Well that’s just what’s supposed to happen”, you take your life into your own hands. You challenge obstacles and difficult circumstances to overcome them. You establish direction and goals, chanting about them and moving your life forward. You’ve become a proactive person and you are unfolding the potentials of your life.
Faith in Daily Life
Faith and work are not separate things. You don’t go to a retreat and practice faith and then come out in the world to work. Your faith is worked out through chanting about everyday challenges and, when you overcome problems and obstacles, this is done in the arena of daily life. Daily life becomes the proving ground where you can see the results of your faith.
So, What is Faith?
Now it’s time to answer the question, what is faith? In Nichiren Buddhism, faith is reliance and trust in the Mystic law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. With it comes an an expectation that when you sit before the Gohonzon with a new concern, it will work out. Faith is a sense of security no matter what happens and a profound knowing that you are supported by the unseen forces of the universe. President Ikeda describes it this way: …”the unshakeable state of life we develop through faith in Nam-myoho-renge-kyo represents our greatest spiritual treasure.”
Join the Conversation
What kind of experiences have you had in the development of your faith? Are they different? If so, how?