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.
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.
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 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
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.