Sometimes we may have set a goal which might limit us, but we don’t know that. While we keep our eye on our initial goal that seems to take forever, our lives might be growing in ways we would never have imagined. But this growth is not obvious; it happens out of sight. The greatness of Buddhism allows us to unearth the depth behind our desires to realize a greater happiness than we could ever have imagined.
Let me give you two examples.
Brad, the Actor
The first is a young actor named Brad. He wanted to go to acting graduate school. He chanted hard for that goal and sent in applications. He was called back but didn’t get into any of the schools. As time passed and nothing happened he began to question his faith.
As he chanted for his goal, other developments occurred in his life. He was introduced to a group of humanists working for peace. He developed a new respect and passion for peace work. He discovered his mission for kosen–rufu when he supported several SGI-UN symposia on creating a culture of peace. He developed his skills as an artist in the theater and connected with an artistic community, who shared the same way of approaching his kind of work.
One day he came to the realization that had he achieved his goal of going to acting school, he would have greatly limited his life. The scope of his life and interests had expanded way beyond his original goal. He was deriving deep satisfaction in his peace work.
Tom, a Graphic Designer
Tom worked for a federal program in a research and training center for a university. He was a graphic designer and viewed his work as a way to make money using his artistic skills. He used those skills to help teachers and therapists communicate their ideas to help people who had disabilities. The program was supported on soft money and after 20 years the grant was turned down. Tom was faced with having to find a job.
He decided this was his opportunity to do something different. Over recent months, he had felt restless in his work. He knew his MFA training qualified him to teach photography. So, he chanted for a job as a teacher. Time passed. Nothing happened. The center approached its closing date. Tom helped other staff members get their resumes together, but nothing was happening for him. The pressure to find another job became stronger.
The day before the center was due to close, the director of multiple federal programs came down to talk to Tom. He asked Tom if he would like to work for him. Tom, had no prospects so he accepted. He continued to chant.
As he chanted it came to him that what he was doing wasn’t just a job to make money. He was working with therapists and teachers, who were helping people with disabilities and problems function in the world. He was helping them communicate their ideas so others would have ways to help this population. He realized that what he was really doing was what he had always wanted to do, help people communicate to support vulnerable populations. “It was like taking a veil off of my eyes,” he said.
With that realization the pressure to find another sort of job disappeared. He had discovered deep satisfaction and meaning in his work.
Even though their goals seemed to take forever, each man was inconspicuously growing in the direction of his happiness. But the growth in their lives was happening out of sight.
Both Brad and Tom unearthed the depth behind their goal desire to realize a greater happiness than they could ever have imagined.
If you are feeling your goal is taking forever,
- Read the promises: “Though one might point at the earth and miss it, though one might bind up the sky, though the tides might cease to ebb and flow and the sun rise in the west, it could never come about that the prayers of the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra would go unanswered.” WND, p. 34
- Remind yourself:
- Any circumstances you find yourself in are the perfect circumstances for your growth
- Chanting always moves you in the direction of your happiness.
- Keep chanting.