President Ikeda, author of many books on Buddhism and the leader of the Nichiren Buddhist movement for 60 years, points out in his Clear Mirror Guidance, the universe acts as a mirror, when we are chanting for a goal, and reflects our state of mind back to us.
Let’s look at some states of mind we might be projecting to the universe and ask ourselves.
- Am I chanting as a Buddha or a beggar?
If you are confronting a difficult challenge, the temptation is to chant as a beggar, please let me keep my house, please let me…. Chanting as a beggar sets you up as being weak, depending on an outside force to solve the problem. You hope but don’t really believe that the solution to the problem lies within your hands.
In fact, you have the Buddha nature within. This means you are connected to universal energy and intelligence and can bring them out to tackle anything which might come up. When you chant based on the Mystic Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, (link) you tap into everything you need to resolve any challenge.
So chant as a Buddha with the absolute determination that this end result will come about. See the desired end result clearly in your mind. Let the universe know that you are resolved to do anything necessary to bring it to fruition.
- Am I focusing on the end goal or on the obstacles to reaching it?
When you focus on the obstacles you are projecting them to the universe and they will be reflected back to you. Keep your attention on the end you want and let the positive forces in the universe work out the path to get there.
You will never be deadlocked if you base everything on the Mystic Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. You will discover ways around obstacles or they may just disappear. As a matter of fact it’s a great adventure to see how the steps to your goal work out. Completely unexpected twists and turns can occur.
- Am I trying to force my goal?
You don’t have to force anything. Just let your attention be on your goal when you sit down to chant and then let go. Chanting for a goal is an interesting balance between being in charge and letting go. You are in charge when you set the direction you want – the end goal. You let go when you relax and let the positive forces in the universe work out the path. Trying to force a goal doesn’t let that behind the scenes activity work in the way it should.
- Am I strategizing or chanting with the end in mind?
Most of us have been taught that we have to have a plan. But in Nichiren Buddhism that is putting the cart before the horse. When you chant with the end goal in mind first, then ideas, people and circumstances will come to you to work out your goal. You don’t need to work out a plan all by yourself.
- Am I chanting with desperation or gratitude?
When you chant with desperation, you are letting the universe now that you don’t believe this goal can be achieved. You may be focusing on the obstacles rather than the end result.
When you chant with gratitude you have relaxed, letting the universe know that you absolutely believe this goal is going to come about.
These five considerations can make the difference between chanting like a Buddha and achieving a goal or struggling with disbelief and mixed results. Give it a try and see.
If you are new to chanting you might be interested in Stepping
Stones my workbook and guide to Buddhism, where you have a step by step guide in learning to chant.
Next Post: Goals Require Action
This is the third post in the series on goals.
What if you don’t believe it will work for THIS problem? Then I’m chanting out of disbelief and will get poor results or none. Can you discuss belief and non belief? How long should it take to get my answer before I realize 5 years later the answer is NO ?? How do I know I’m on the right track to my benefit? I’m full of unanswered questions. Thanks Margaret!
It’s good to get these questions sorted out.
Doubt is a crisis of belief. When this happens we fundamental darkness is obscuring the truth of our lives, that we have the Buddha Nature and have everything we need within us to overcome this obstacle. If this is happening, and it happens to everyone from time to time, I would do whatever is necessary to strengthen your faith.
• I would study the promises For example, See WND, p. 345. See WND, p. 412. Read Faith into Action on Goals and Determination. Check the index.
• Make sure you attend meetings on a regular basis so you can hear and be inspired by the experiences of other people.
• Chant until you can feel your life condition become more positive and confident
• You might want to get a chanting buddy to allow you to put in more chanting time if you aren’t feeling your life condition rise in the time you are chanting.
• Remind yourself there are lessons to be learned when confronting obstacles. One of them is perseverance no matter what. This question, how long should I wait before giving up came up at a meeting with two SGI leaders. They responded immediately, “Never give up.”
Hope this helps. Send me your other questions and I will try to answer them in the blog or in an e-course I am putting together on dealing with difficult obstacles.
At present, and for the past 3 months I have been chanting for a house we love. We are moving and have been for over a year, we have had 2 buyers and been let down by both. Trouble is when we had buyers, we put an offer in, which was accepted, for a house we love, since then our buyers have let us down and we are now holding on day by day, hoping that the agent dosn’t re-market the property we love. It is so hard to focus at the moment, because we are desperate not to lose the house and also because my daughter who also practices nichiren buddhism, is suffering a miscarriage with a much longed for baby, I have been with her every step of the way and this is why I am having trouble with focusing. I have been practicing since December 14′ and received Gohonzon on May 3rd, I have read both of your books but could do with some advice on this matter.
It’s sometimes hard to trust your universal connection but hang in there. Go to your local group and find people to chant with you and support you. We all need this when we are facing difficult challenges. there will be experienced practitioners there who can show you how they dealt with big challenges in their lives. Confronting adversity is how we transform our destiny and ultimately attain Buddhahood.
You might read ‘On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime’ for a discussion of the spiritual struggle you are engaged with. And it is a spiritual struggle, to keep manifesting our Buddha nature and not fall into disbelieving it. If doubts are coming up, make sure you resolve them. You can get ‘On Attaining Buddhahood’ at your local SGI bookstore or online at http://www.sgi-usa.org.
Let me know what happens.
i have a question
February 28th, 2020
I have been following Nichiren Buddhism since ‘’2016-present! I haven’t received my Gohonzon, but am trying to attain it! I’ve already been chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
since then! I’ve moved into and chanted for this move and it came about! But, what I’m having trouble
with is my financial gain when I’m
trying to attain it! Is it quantity/ or quality! I can’t seem to obtain enough
of either one! And I might find myself moving, again if circumstances doesn’t permit me to be here! I want to move into a lil garden 🏡 just for me 2bd/2ba home is my dream! But, first I have to sustain enough money and I’m on a Fixed Income!? I’m struggling and can hardly pay the rest of my bills and keep afloat from month/month! I need to know how to chant correctly to obtain that! I used to keep money in my pockets all of the time! Now, it seems to just slip away on rent, utilities, insurance, other bills!?
Chant with more than enough money to meet yor goals. Then, when doubts come up, return your focus back to your goal.
When I chant I feel good with closed eyes. Is my daimoku going unanswered
I try to keep eyes open but still closed eyes feels good I am a beginner what should I do please help.me
What will happen if I chant for my own death?
With life being so precious, why are you thinking about that.
Extremely well explained thank you
I’d like to give a view about how long you should chant before giving up on a goal.
The answer in my experience is: there is no set time. Ideally put a deadline of daimoku and time. For example, 2 hours daimoku for a month, or a full million daimoku. Or I want to have an answer by X date.
There is an impact on your life. But my suggestion is, don’t give up on a goal until you’re happy with the answer that you receive. Eventually you might get something much better than you imagined.
If you don’t get what you want by the deadline, renew with another deadline, until the answer you get is satisfying.
I am very new to the practice is it necessary to set a specific time to chant for a goal like 1 hour or 20 minutes
Congratulations on started the practice. You have begun a lifelong adventure.
When it comes to chanting for a goal there is no set time. You chant until you feel satisfied. When there have been life and death goals people have chanted for 24 hours. Sometimes all people do is just chant Nnam Myoho Renge Kyo as they race out the door and everything in between. Since you’re really new, I’d set a concrete goal that will be something of a stretch and plan to chant for it maybe ten minutes a day for the next 90 days and see what happens.
There is an app where you can hear gongyo at different speeds, so it’s very helpful with pronounciation and during this time of isolation, you can chant with other people. Go to your phone’s playstore and put in SGi. The app is free. Also I have written two books for newcomers, Your Path to Unshakeable Happiness which will show you how we use the practice and introduce you to the basics. It’s an easy read. The other is Stepping Stones, a workbook and guide to Buddhist practice where I discuss how to set goals and chant for them.
Thank you so much mam for Ur guidance
Dear Margaret, I really gotten away from my practice and allowed devilish function to enter my life/thoughts, as a result I haven’t been able to stay consistent with work/job. I recently had to quit a job after 2 months because I took advantage of a task that was only a few hours and was on it the whole day and got caught using my phone. I totally angered the parts guy and the other guys I worked with didn’t want me to work with them for some reason that wasn’t clear. Anyway I brought all this on myself. I have know one to blame but myself. Now I’m experiencing self pity, beating myself up. I feel like an absolute disgrace and feeling paralyzed with fear. I’ve got to get back on track and really be determined to change this karma. I can’t continue to go from job to job. This isn’t right. I feel like a failure. However in spite of this I have been chanting. Ron