How Can I strengthen My Faith More Than Ever?

What is Faith?

So what is faith anyway. It’s the experience of being one with the Mystic Law and ‘getting‘ that
it is the center of our lives. That means we make a major shift from looking to circumstances and
conditions outside of ourselves as the causes of the conditions of our life to increasingly
depending on the Mystic Law within ourselves.

The Three Legs of Practice

We have talked about the three legs of the stool, faith, practice and study. Working the three legs
strengthens faith, so let’s see how that happens.

Faith

The practice of faith means chanting and doing Gongyo twice a day. It also means using the practice to address the problems and concerns of everyday life.
When someone new comes to the practice, we give them the 90-day challenge. Pick a concrete goal, so you’ll know when you get it, and plan to chant for it for 90 days. This is a prove-it-to-yourself practice and creating actual proof is the first step in building faith.
We learn the concept of Oneness of Life and its Environment and understand we are creating future effects with the causes we are making now. Then as we overcome one obstacle after another turning negative situations into positive value creating ones, our faith is built step by step. This
becomes a life-long process as we take on greater and greater challenges. With the resolution of each one, our faith in the Mystic Law is strengthened and we come to understand more and more that we are one with it.

As we grow in faith, our success or lack of success in achieving our goals, is an impetus to start asking, what is influencing these results? Step by step we begin to learn how to master our minds. We read things like this,

“In accordance with the principle of 3000 realms in a single moment of life, pessimistic thoughts and feelings take form as they are, in reality, producing negative
results. People who have negative thoughts create effects for themselves that perfectly match their thinking , so it is important to be positive.: Faith into Action. pg 10

As Nichiren stressed you should become the master of your mind and not let your mind master you. We learn to discipline our minds so that we can produce the results we want. This means looking at our beliefs, our doubts and seeing how theyare influencing our results. Then we learn to master what we are thinking to produce the life we want.

We also start to overcome our self-centeredness as we chant for ourselves and others.

Faith is increased when we see our lives taking an increasing upward trajectory.

Practice

Daily practice. Our daily practice works like someone dyeing something with the indigo plant.

“If one dyes something repeatedly in indigo, it becomes even bluer than the indigo leaves. The Lotus
Sutra is like the indigo and the strength of one’s practice is like the deepening blue.” Hell is
the Land of Tranquil Light, WND. 457

Through our efforts everyday, our life is increasingly imbued with Nam Myoho- renge-kyo. Our awareness expands and we come to know that at our core we are one with the generative power of the universe itself.

We strengthen our practice through working for kosen-rufu. This includes supporting the practice of others in discussion meetings and home visits. Answering questions and explaining concepts. working for kosen-rufu encourages us to study and grow and increases our own understanding of what we are doing. Chanting with someone who is struggling, expands our own heart and faith.

Practice includes encouraging and teach people new to the practice. In my experience when you work with new people your own life force is strengthened and your life begins to fly. That in turn increases your faith.

Study

Study is a wonderful way to come to truly understand the concepts, the universal laws that work to influence our lives. It also can help us deepen our own understanding so that we can help other people more effectively.
I discovered that study can surprise you. I was studying the Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life one day when suddenly I “saw’ my life extending way into the past and way into the future and understood deeply that I am eternal. I think this was one of the greatest gifts of the practice as
it took away the fear of death. It certainly increased my faith.

Look Back Over Your Practice

Look back over your practice. If you have been practicing for a few years, look back at where you were when you began and where you are now. I did that when I was going to give a talk and I knew that the people there were going to ask me what the practice had done for me. I was astounded at
what I found. I saw a multitude of inconspicuous benefits, which I had not recognized at the time, which were moving my life in the direction of my purpose for being here and towards the life I would love living the most. I saw how the Mystic Law was increasingly moving me in the direction of
happiness.

Comments

I would be interested in how you all have strengthened your faith over the years. Please describe what you did in the comments. Your experience might help someone else.

Thank you for listening. I love getting ideas for topics as well as hearing what you are thinking.  See you all on the first Thursday of next month.

  • Susan Howes says:

    Thank you Margaret. I have been practising for 28 years. Back in June, I began a 90 day challenge to support my son and absolutely prove this practice to others. I extended the 90 days until the last day of August. There was a small victory, one of the goals we’d been chanting for, but not the massive victory we’d been determining. I have reset and redetermined for the last day in September; this I have done before, not giving in. I have found it very hard to chant twice a day as my grandchildren moved in for the summer holidays, we already had my three year old granddaughter living with us during the week. I ensured I did 15 minutes chanting every morning, occasionally they joined in.

    I felt I had not proved this practice to my son, and could not show it as absolute proof to others. I felt down and teary. I was not able to go to my Gohonzon at that moment, I was washing up in fact. I chanted there, over the dishes and bubbles, to be happy and connect with the mystic law within, to connect with my eternal self. Within ten minutes the darkness lifted and my life state was elevated.

    I loved your experience of seeing your eternal life btw.😊.

    Regarding shakabuku, I wrack my brains trying to think of ways of doing this. Since retirement, I don’t have the contacts I used to have. I have posted on local FB groups, to no avail. I am trying to force this too much maybe? Today I am going to focus on meeting someone who is seeking a spiritual direction, who needs to hear about NMHRK. I used to do what I’ve heard Sandie Shaw used to do, envisage a Gohonzon in every local street. If anyone has any other ideas, I’d love to know.

  • M Pisco says:

    Hi Margaret, thank you for the great video. Listen to you inspire me and helps me to be more focused in my life. I chant everyday morning and night just before bedtime and pray for the world to be back like it use to be.

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