It is said that with Nichiren Buddhism no prayer goes unanswered. But this doesn’t mean every prayer will be answered right away by magic. Some prayers require making changes in our lives before they can be answered. We will have to make efforts, take action to realize them.
Something of Substance Doesn’t Happen Overnight
It’s not being realistic if we think we can build something of substance in a day. The purpose of Buddhist practice is to transform our lives on the deepest level. Imagine a mature tree. We are transforming our lives at the level of the root, not on the outer level of the leaves.
When we chant we may be addressing a root level issue, something deeply etched through repetition in our lives. When we think, act and speak, we plant a seed in the depths of our life, which will produce an effect at a later time. Some actions may have been repeated just a few times, but others might have been deeply etched. Dealing with the former, we might see results quickly when chanting for a goal. But if we are dealing with something of a deeper nature, it may take longer.
Let’s see how this worked in the life of Mark. He was a new practitioner, and a practicing alcoholic. He drove trucks and the driving jobs he had had for the last twenty years had been marginal, changed frequently, and only brought him minimum wage. He was tired of living from hand to mouth. But as long as he was a practicing alcoholic, he couldn’t envision anything more. After he started chanting and realized this was a way to change his life, he started to chant for a career level job in his field.
Identifying the Problem
When we first start to chant for a goal, we may not know what needs to change.
For Mark to have a position with this kind of potential, the first thing that had to change was his use of alcohol. He didn’t understand this when he began to chant for his goal.
Soon after he started chanting for his goal, he had a devastating fight with his girlfriend. He moved out of their house and went to live with two family members who were strong practitioners. His friends told him that he got so paranoid when he drank, that he was close to being admitted to an inpatient mental health hospital. On the surface it would have appeared that his life was getting worse not better.
Horrified by the fight, the loss of his girlfriend, and the view of his drinking shown to him by his friends, Mark recognized he had a serious problem. He made the decision to turn his life around and stop drinking. He attended meetings at AA, and began to work the twelve steps. Since he was now living in the household of two practitioners, he began to chant regularly.
Gradually he pulled out of the mental fog created by the drinking. He rested a lot allowing his body to recover from the debilitating effects of the long daily use of alcohol.
As he cleared mentally, he looked carefully at his life. He was fifty. He had nothing to show for his life and nothing to support him in his retirement. There was no future at the place where he worked.
He continued to chant for his goal while a period of months passed with no obvious change.
Making a Determination
Feelings long dormant returned. One of these was a belief in himself. He became absolutely determined to achieve his career level job, to leave behind his marginal lifestyle.
He deepened his practice chanting more and more frequently behind the wheel of his truck, as he made his rounds, sometimes for many hours a day. He attended meetings and listened to experiences for encouragement. He chanted many hours on the weekend as well.
He put out applications all over town. He followed up the applications with many interviews but didn’t land a job. More months passed
Then Mark interviewed for a position that was the kind of job opportunity he wanted. He would have health insurance, and shares in the company. He could build something in this company. To his dismay, someone else was offered the position, but he understood why that person was chosen from a friend who worked there.
Never Give Up
He continued to chant, continued to work on his life, remained focused and positive, his eye on his goal. He had been sober for a year. He went and got the highest certification in his field, something he had avoided doing when he had been drinking. He wore a tee shirt that said Never Give Up.
Sometime later another interview came up with this same company and after a period of suspense he got the position. The company turned out to be everything he had hoped for, well run and owned by the employees. Mark had had a major success.
Summary of the Steps Mark Took
- Identify the problem
- Make a determination
- Deepen your faith
- Attend meetings and get encouragement
- Take Action
- Never give up
Everything Will Move You in the Direction of Happiness
You can count on the fact that once you start to pray about something all of your prayers will move you in the direction of happiness, even though sometimes it might not appear that way on the surface. When you chant Nam-myoho-renge –kyo you will definitely gain the best result. If it seems to take a long time to achieve your goal, you may be dealing with something at the root of your life.
Set your goal, chant, identify the problem, make a determination, deepen your faith, attend meetings and get encouragement, take action and never give up until you achieve your goal.