I have received a number of questions about how to chant about various situations. Since there have been a number of questions, I think it would be good to review some of the guidelines for chanting.
Do You always Need a Goal?
You can chant with or without a goal. I know that some people think you should always have a goal, but I don’t believe that any Daimoku is ever wasted and that we are working on ourselves any time we chant. As a caveat, you want to make sure that you aren’t just being lazy or complacent, or avoiding setting a goal because you don’t think it will really happen.
Prayer in Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism should essentially be simple. When the Japanese wives came to the US and were teaching people to chant without knowing the language, their instructions might be as simple as, “You want to be happy? Chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.” This was all the instruction that the early practitioners received yet they got benefit.
Then I’ve heard. Just be yourself in front of the Gohonzon. If you’re angry be angry. If you need to cry, cry. Come to the Gohonzon as you would a loving parent.
I have a friend who had a car that kept breaking down, so she couldn’t get to meetings. One night she and her four children were stopped yet again. She was furious. When she got home she threw her anger at the Gohonzon and said emphatically, “I need a reliable car. This has to stop!” The next day her husband, who had been withholding about getting her a car, bought her a brand-new car. She has never been without reliable transportation since. If you throw anger at the Gohonzon make sure you also have a positive request.
Setting a Goal? Be Specific.
When you set a goal, be clear and specific. The universe responds to clear direction. You can be very specific. For example, I know a friend who chanted for the following. She wanted a human resources job, to land within 30 days, where she could drive against traffic, live no more than 10 minutes away, and the employer would pay for her professional education. She got everything she chanted for and the job locked in on the 30th day.
Make a determination, A Decision.
Once you have set the goal make a determination that you are going to have it no matter what. A determination is a decision that you are going to have this goal. Until that decision is made the goal is just a hope or a wish. The universe doesn’t respond very well to hopes or wishes. But when you make a decision then you will receive the ideas and resources necessary to get to your goal.
Making a determination might be difficult, because it often needs to be done when you have absolutely no idea of how you are going to get to the goal and at a time when it might be uncomfortable and inconvenient. For example, let’s say you’ve want your dream home but at the moment don’t have the money. Until you make a decision you are going to have that home, the situation might remain the same. So even though you have no idea of how you are going to get the money, this is when the commitment that you are going to have the house must be made.
You also want to set a goal that isn’t wildly impractical considering your history. For example if you’ve never made more than $30,000 a year, setting a goal of 10 million wouldn’t be believable at all. So set a goal that you really want down deep, that’s a stretch, but you can imagine yourself achieving it step by step. If you don’t know what such a goal would be, you can always chant for clarity.
Be Aware of What You Are Projecting to the Universe
While you are chanting for your goal you want to be aware of what you are projecting to the universe. For example if you chant for a goal but see it as always being in the future, this is what you are projecting to the universe. You want to see it as already achieved. So imagine yourself as having received it and how you would feel if that happened. If this is difficult, imagine that it is three years from now and you are looking back, seeing your goal as having been fulfilled.
You will also want to note if you have shifted into doubts. An occasional doubt is no problem but if you are indulging doubts, then that is what you are projecting to the universe. In The Clear Mirror Guidance, President Ikeda says,
“If you practice faith while doubting its effects, you will get results that are, at best, unsatisfactory. This is the reflection of your own weak faith on the mirror of the cosmos.
On the other hand, when you stand up with strong confidence, you will accrue limitless blessings.” My Dear Friends in America, pg 99
So what do you do if doubts threaten to take over. Just notice that it is happening and refocus your attention on your goal, what you want to have happen. You may have to do this over and over and not just during the chanting time, but during the day as well. After all, we are projecting to the universe all the time.
Never Give Up
Finally, “Never Give Up.” Keep chanting for your goal until you achieve it. Now you might not achieve it within the timeline you think is right. Maybe you need to grow in some way or people and circumstances need to be adjusted so you can achieve your goal. Be patient and just keep chanting until you achieve your goal.