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.
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.
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.