Nichiren Buddhists use a chanting practice to address all kinds of problems in daily life. When you chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo you connect with the universal part of yourself at the core of your life, your Buddha nature. When you connect with the universal wisdom and compassion that is part of you, you will be able to bring that wisdom out to address the issues that arise every day.
Why do I Need to Set a Goal?
In my experience, if you really want something to happen in your life and you have a challenge or a difficult obstacle, it is ideal to set a goal. It is our job to set the end goal; it is the responsibility of the universe to work out the way to get there. President Ikeda, author of many books on Buddhism and the current President of the SGI, (link) says that to live without regret we should have a concrete purpose and continuously set goals and challenges for ourselves, continuing to move forward towards them one step at a time.
Let’s say you were a pilot starting across the Pacific Ocean? Wouldn’t you want a map and a clear idea of where you were going? Without clarity the plane might go off course, or wander in circles and take longer than necessary to find its destination.
Goal setting is similar to this. You are taking your life into your own hands, as you are the pilot of your life. If you’re not clear about what you want, how can the universe work out the way to get there?
Seeing the results created by experienced practitioners, having a clear goal allows you to be quite specific and end up with the result you want.
Is this Your Goal or Someone Else’s?
Make sure that your goal is important to you, not just to someone else. If you are chanting for goals to please someone else, you will never be able to put full effort either into your prayer or into the actions needed to accomplish the goal. You will also be hampered if you are of two minds about a given goal. When you set a goal, in order to be effective you need to be one pointed. A split feeling will produce an unclear result.
Clarifying Your Goal
Maybe you’re not yet sure what you want. If you’re not clear, then it is time to chant for clarity. Pay attention to those little internal nudges in one direction or another or ideas which come to you. In time your direction will become clear.
The Difference Between a Negative and Positive Goal
Sometimes when faced with a crisis like the loss of a home or a serious health problem, the temptation is to chant in the following way. Please don’t let me lose my home. Please get rid of this physical issue. I want to lose five pounds. This way of chanting keeps the focus on what you don’t want, such as losing your home, having the disease or the five extra pounds.
Instead chant for what you do want. In the house example, chant for a stable financial situation where you can pay your mortgage with ease. If you are dealing with a physical problem chant for perfect health and the best doctor. If you want to lose weight, chant to weigh your goal weight. Positive goals create a clear image of what you want.
If you’re a newcomer trying out the practice or a longer time practitioner with a challenge, try setting a specific positive goal and see what happens.