Certain behaviors lead to happiness, others to unhappiness. Buddhist writings have many suggestions on how to improve behavior, so we won’t live with regret. Nichiren wrote letters to his followers with suggestions on how to handle certain situations, and we have many pieces written by President Ikeda which suggest behavior changes, which can lead to a life of happiness and wisdom.
For example, In March Living Buddhism he comments on some behaviors which lead to happiness. Here are a few of them.
Choose a life of fulfillment rather than self-indulgence
Choose self-improvement over pleasure
Choose serious effort over stagnation
Dare rather than retreat.
Act with compassion rather than arrogance
Act with courage rather than fear
Choose unity over disharmony
In order to embody these teachings, we need to practice applying them in everyday life. Let’s see how Bridgit transformed her work situation by chanting then taking action to change her behavior by applying a Buddhist teaching.
About a year into her practice, Bridgit started chanting to have less stress at work. Not too long after, she was unexpectedly let go from her highly paid media role. She had never had any problems finding employment and so wasn’t worried at the beginning. But eight weeks later she hadn’t had one call for an interview. it was like approaching a precipice.
She decided to get guidance from a senior leader who gave her three pieces of advice.
Chant as though your life depends on it.
Learn and study to deepen your faith.
Take inspired action after chanting.
She made a strong determination to go to every study meeting she could and over a week she chanted vigorously and attended 10 study meetings. After that, any day she wasn’t working she tried to attend a study meeting.
One afternoon, while chanting, an idea came to her to do some temp work. At least it would cover living expenses. She found an administrative job inputting applications for a building company. The work was well below her capacity, and to her dismay, she was treated as a lower level worker, spoken to like a junior. She found the whole process quite demeaning.
She continued to chant and attend meetings but her feelings about her situation didn’t change. At work she sometimes cried and had a poor attitude.
Applying the Teachings
As she studied, she came across a teaching of President Ikeda, which advised turning up at work with a positive attitude no matter what. She determined to apply this advice and try and enjoy her role at work. She chanted to have a high enough life state so that she wouldn’t be offended by the manner in which her employer spoke to her. She resolved to leave her ego at the door when she came in. She tried to be positive during the work day. She realized she hadn’t connected with anyone in the office thinking she wouldn’t be there for long but now she took an interest in others and tried to establish relationships.
She continued to read President Ikeda’s guidance, while attempting to apply it. She made amends with people in her life she had hurt. She stared at herself in the mirror each night as she chanted and found ways to improve her behavior, doing her human revolution.
One day the sales director spoke to her in the tea room and they discussed her previous background. He had noticed her positive attitude and had decided she was the right person for a position which had opened up, National Sales and Training Manager. The job came with a perk, a car. He offered her the job without even having an interview, because of her great attitude. She had been chanting for a Ford Focus and even though the cars provided by the company were usually Hyundai’s, she was given a Ford Focus.
Application of the Principle of Cause and Effect
Bridgit made use of the principle of cause and effect, by focusing on her own behavior, and applying the guidance available in Buddhist teachings. She knew if she changed her behavior, the cause, she would receive a different sort of response, the effect. When she followed through elevating her state of life, negative causes were transformed into positive ones, her life transformed, and she successfully crossed the abyss.
Bridgit would recommend the following:
Chant as though your life depends on it.
Study. then take action. Apply what you are studying to your situation.
Understand your internal changes are going to reflect in external changes.
Keep on keeping on, until your situation changes.
Experiences, like Bridgit’s and Katie’s in my last post, can give practical examples of how to chant and apply Buddhist teachings so as to be successful with reaching goals. If any one of you has an experience where you have been successful and could help someone else, please send it to me at www.margaretblaine.com.