By starting to chant daily begin with 10 minutes every morning and every night, writing down your "determinations" you want for your life, with dates and when you want things to change by, setting firm goals for your life will assure you quicker results. At the end of the day its about your intention and what is in yoru heart. Chanting without faith wont have much effect.
The main point is be consistent.
Study... it is important that you read, and learn more about this form of Buddhism, life, people, and the heart of humanity.
If you are seeking answers to life's big questions; practice (chant). study (read and learn) and have faith.
Those three things daily will assure your life moves in the direction you wish it to.
How does Gongyo work and is it like some sort of supernatural power that people are tapping into?
It depends on what you mean by supernatural power. The Gohonzon isn't a genie in a bottle, it is the physical manifestation of an enlightened state. When we chant WITH IT, we elevate our life state, which gives us the ability to make the right choices, go after things, people and situations that will enrich our lives and the lives of the people around us.
Watch my video about the Gohonzon....attached
How do you receive a Gohonzon?
When you are ready and you feel you can make sense of it all, you would go to a center in a city and there is a lovely ceremony where you will receive it. Free of charge.
Once you have received it you are considered part of SGI network, or part of the sgi family. BUT you are under NO obligation to continue with your practice or study.
Buddhist practice is a gift not an obligation and you should never feel obliged to chant, go to meetings or study. You are doing it FOR YOUR SELF and no-one else.
There are no learning centers near me so where do I begin?
Books, people like me on youtube, other websites... faith that you will connect with the right people.... you are on the path of exploration now.
Tina Turner practices and in the beginning she couldnt go to meetings. Look her up on youtube
What advice does Nichiren Buddhism have to offer regarding dealing with negative emotions, thoughts, etc? Also, what is the best way to maintain a positive, joyful outlook in our everyday lives?
That is a difficult question and I dont think there is a simple answer. All I can do is speak from experience. When I chant daily 1/2 hour in the morning and 1/2 hour at night my day is wonderful. When I chant I feel bliss and happiness but that is becuase I have faith but faith isnt something that comes instantly, you develop your faith, through experience, testing the practice and study.
A joyful outlook on life is something that you have to foster and develop.
You dont just wake up one day and every thing is fine and life has no problems.
N Buddhism will teach you that problems in life are part of life and when we practice buddhism it teaches us that its not the problem that is the problem, it is how we see it, our view point.
The earth quake in Haiti is a tragedy to us humans with all that loss of life, and from our point of view it is a terrible thing. We throw our hands up to the heavens and cry, why does this happen? The point is that earth quakes are a natural part of the earths cycle and with out them, and the moving plates of the planet, life wouldnt exsist as we know it. We just happen to be caught up in the middle of this natural process. From our viewpoint it is suffering, but from the viewpoint of earth and the universe it is as natural as breathing.
You begin to learn that life doesn't HAPPEN TO YOU, you are your life and you make your choices, you are ultimately responsible for your life.
There isnt a point where you suddenly stop suffering and stop feeling it, as long as you are human you will have you down days and your struggles, but the more you learn that life is just one big illusion you will begin to handle these situations differently.
I would encourage you to study Eastern religions and learn and read and listen and absorb. I am learning every day and it is all very interesting.
Are the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path reckognized in Nichiren Buddhism?
I have heard those mentioned, but I am not sure how they fit in, you would have to ask someone who has been studying longer then I have. I have only been practicing for 1 year.
What are the main beliefs or teachings of Nichiren Buddhism?
- Have faith in your self as a human being
- Chant daily nam myoho renge kyo
- Study the teachings of the Lotus Sutra
- Embrace your struggles and realize that they are fuel to your enlightenment
- Always remember that kosen rufu (world peace) starts in the heart of each one of us one heart at a time.
- We dont need to suffer lifetime after life time to achieve enlightenment, it is a process that can offer in one lifetime.
- Enlightenment is'nt a place you get to and stop, it is a continuous growth in to the infinite future. Think of the number 8, infinity. We weave in and out of existence forever.