When we find ourselves up against a thick wall of suffering and feel like we can’t go on, we have arrived at a crucial crossroads. Will we open the gateway to obtaining Buddhahood through strong
faith or will we close the path to happiness by forsaking our faith. We’re up against one of the fundamental reasons we practice, to transform our karma.
Each of us must confront and deal with our destiny ourselves. No one else can do it for us. But the good news is that we have the power within us to change any karma. We’re not meant to live our
lives in resigned acceptance fixated on our past situation or to ignore the present and only focus on the future.
If you’re tempted to crumble ask yourself the following questions.
“Am I listening to that quiet little voice within?” I’m sure you haven’t been paying attention to that little voice within, which is always nudging us to the next best step.
Have I been following through with ideas that have come to me through my chanting? If not, ask yourself, “Am I not moving forward due to fears? Am I afraid to let go of something?”
Or, “Am I living my life based on what other people or my culture thinks I should be doing? Am I trying to give away my power to someone else, to solve this for me?”
As we have discussed in the past, our life is our curriculum. This means that our current situation is an important opportunity to change our own karma and our circumstances have come to us to help us to grow.
You have the power within you to change anything in your life. Use your practice to chant about it, and then to take action on the ideas you receive. If you’re stuck due to fears, chant for courage.
Why do hardships arise, anyway?
In the teachings for Victory, volume 1, Ikeda points out that Nichiren says that the Devil King of the 6ᵗʰ heaven might be negatively influencing someone to prevent them from attaining enlightenment. However, that circumstance
doesn’t happen very often. P. 80
It’s much more likely we are dealing with karma from past lifetimes. This is usually what we are dealing with, when we treated others as though they did not have the Buddha nature. This is considered disbelief and disrespect for the Mystic Law
and is called slandering the Law. Nichiren says that all negative karma arises from this cause.
Karma develops from thoughts words and deeds which set a seed in the core of our lives that will manifest at some time in the future. When dealing with this kind of karma it’s important to realize that we set the causes which are now
manifesting. But that same law of cause and effect can work for us now. We must set different more positive causes which will then manifest in the future.The most positive cause of all is to set a goal of how you want your life to be, the end result and
then chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to bring out your Buddha nature from within to surmount any circumstance you might be facing. Your future self will be determined by what you do in the present. When you chant and bring out your Buddha nature, then you strengthen yourself and take a
step towards Buddhahood.
Nichiren says, that engaging and transforming ourselves through facing and overcoming an obstacle is a way to lesson karmic retribution, experience it in a lesser and lighter form in the present, “through the blessings obtained by protecting the Law” WND-1, 497,
by practicing the teaching. In this way we can fundamentally change our karma for the future.
There is a third reason for the development of hardships.
In the teachings for Victory, Vol 1, Nichiren explains that
“Ordeals are devised by heavenly deities, the protective functions of the universe, to test the strength of a person’s faith. It provides an opportunity to forge and develop one’s life with the view to attaining Buddhahood.“
When the obstacles, karma, has appeared for this reason you are dealing with a tempering process. As Ikeda points out, when iron is heated and hammered, impurities are driven out and the iron
becomes stronger. The process of confronting and challenging our karma enables us to polish our lives and greatly strengthen our faith. So you must be resolved to challenge your karma to the very end.
President Toda, the second president of the SGI, said,
“To soar serenely in the skies of attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime, we must launch headlong
into the fierce winds of adversity. Faith that remains undefeated by any hardship is what enables
us to build a palace of eternal happiness in our lives. There is no obstacle we cannot surmount