Thursday, 23 December 2010

What is the real difference between the Temple and the SGI?

Many people have asked what is the difference between being a part of SGI and being part of a different school of Nichiren Buddhism. There are some clear differences.

What I think I like about SGI is that things have not remained the same. Mistakes have been made but things are have changed for the better, and they continue to change. 

Human beings are not perfect, none of us are perfect, we all have our flaws and our vices.

As with any organisation that has human elements, ego always has to rear its ugly head. I have spoken to many people from Youtube, who have had all sorts of stories about various SGI members who have wronged them, or treated them badly, or been rude to them or acted in an egotistical way.

And what I have realised is that, it all comes down to the law of cause and effect. We have no way to control how other people behave, only how we behave and how we react to this treatment.

I know that I am a good and honest person, that my goal for Kosen Rufu (world peace and happiness for all, or to spread the law or the knowledge of the lotus sutra) is authentic. Each time I chant, go to meetings, or do my best to tell others about the Lotus Sutra, I am doing my part to spread the knowledge that we are all filled with a deep and limitless potential.

At the beginning of my practice, I found it hard to be "part of an organisation" as this felt so much like being Catholic, or being a Scientologist. I was subscribing to a system, with rules and regulations.

In many ways this brought a sort of fear to me, and I was worried that I would become a bit like a walking drone or a robot, following rules and regulations, and talking in a language as part of this big organisation.

There are people in SGI who are like this, but their hearts are in the right place and they mean well. Not everyone has the ability to be self aware to the point where they see their behaviour as a little strange to some people.

I have subsequently realised that SGI is what I make it. Since we the youth, are the organisation it gives us a chance to have a say in how things go and how the future of the organisation looks.

I think the trouble with words, in human language, is that they have so may connotations. When I say organisation, you will immediately have a painted a intricate picture in your head of exactly what you think the word means and what is is associated with, based on your previous experience in life.

Every word we speak, we understand, based on association with the past, or what you have been told.

So, with that in mind. I think it would be much better to translate the word from organisation to family instead. 

Coming from Zimbabwe, and being part of a very staunch Christian community, it has been difficult for me to feel part of SGI, with out feeling that fear of pressure or obligation.

I have always associated organised religion with pressure, guilt and judgment.

But in our practice in Nichiren Buddhism there is no judgement. As every action in our lives is followed by an effect. So no matter how "good" or how "bad" we appear to be in our lives, we will always reap the benefits or lack of benefit from our choices or our causes.

So here is a bit about SGI and its difference with the Temple or other schools of Nichiren Buddhism.

The difference between the SOKA Gakkai International and Nichiren Shoshu clearly can be seen in at least four key areas:

1) View of Equality
The Lotus Sutra is a teaching of absolute equality - it affirms that all people, regardless of station, gender or background, are potentially Buddhas.
Nichiren Daishonin reaffirms this in many places throughout his writings. To a lay believer named Abutsubo, he writes:
You, yourself, are a true Buddha who possesses the three enlightened properties. You should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with this conviction. (MW-I, 30)
In another letter he writes:
There should be no discrimination among those who propagate the five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo in the Latter Day of the Law, be they men or women. (MW-I, 93)
While the SGI bases itself on absolute respect for the individual, and its activities focus on thorough dialogue with people on all levels of society, Nichiren Shoshu staunchly asserts that it is a "sin" to speak of the equality of priests and lay practitioners, as we can see in a letter to the SGI from the temple's chief administrator, Nichijun Fujimoto:  To talk about the priesthood and laity with a sense of equality are expressions of great conceit. In fact, they correspond to the five cardinal sins.... (January 12, 1991)
Representative of such beliefs is the following comment from a priest's sermon at a temple in Japan:
A priest who wears this robe is special and different from lay believers. He is always seated with the Gohonzon behind him, but whatever the priest may do on other occasions and no matter how luxuriant his lifestyle, it is totally all right.You lay believers are confused about this point. These matters are of no account. (Seido Oyabu, at Horin-ji, January 1991)
Around this doctrine of absolute clerical superiority, it created an atmosphere in which the actions and intentions of priests can never be questioned; in which lay believers are obliged to serve priests, but priests have no obligation to serve the believers. Even funeral and memorial services are conducted with the expectation of receiving donations, and with undisguised dissatisfaction if those donations fall below par. This is in stark contrast to the attitude of Nichiren Daishonin, which was one of appreciation, respect, service and support of the believers.
2) View of the Gohonzon
Nichiren Daishonin clearly indicates in the Gosho that the Gohonzon is a manifestation of his life as an enlightened human being, and that it is no different from the enlightened potential within all ordinary people.
He writes:
Never seek this Gohonzon outside yourself. The Gohonzon exists only within the mortal flesh of us ordinary people who embrace the Lotus Sutra and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. (MW-1, 213)
In another letter, he writes: "Abutsu-bo is the Treasure Tower itself, and the Treasure Tower is Abutsu-bo himself. No other knowledge is purposeful" NW-1, 30). Later in the same letter, the Daishonin equates the "Treasure Tower" to the Gohonzon.
Nichiren Shoshu's position is that these teachings by the Daishonin are to be interpreted by priests only, not by lay believers. Their teaching on the Gohonzon is as follows: The Law of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is not inherent in all phenomena or in the lives of ordinary people. It exists only in the physical object of the Dai-Gohonzon and in the life of the current high priest, who has received it through a secret ceremony conducted with his predecessor. Only the high priest can empower a Gohonzon by personally conducting a special ceremony. Any benefit comes to the believer directly through the auspices and sanction of the office of the high priest. Temple publications state, "The sanctioning of the object of worship by the High
Priest, who is the only person to be bequeathed the Daishonin's Buddhism, is what makes the attainment of Buddhahood possible" (From an NST publication, Refuting the Soka Gakkai's Counterfeit Object of Worship" 100 Questions and Answers, P. 36).
The temple's stance is that believing the Law or the Gohonzon to exist within one's own life will send that person to hell.
Nichiren Shoshu's position on the Gohonzon stands in stark contrast with that of the Daishonin himself. The Soka Gakkai embraces the Daishonin's view that the Gohonzon is the embodiment of the Buddha's wisdom and compassion. The Daishonin inscribed it so that we can awaken the same wisdom and compassion within us. One's power of faith and practice to the Gohonzon enables him or her to tap the power of the Gohonzon within to which the Daishonin so adamantly refers. For the high priest or anyone to claim sole possession of the Law and control over the power of the Gohonzon is the basest form of exploitation of the Daishonin's teachings.
3) View of the "Heritage" of the Law
In his letter "Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life," Nichiren Daishonin clearly describes and defines what it means to receive the "heritage" or "lifeblood" of faith in his Buddhism:
Shakyamuni, who attained enlightenment countless aeons ago, the Lotus Sutra which leads all people to Buddhahood, and we ordinary human beings are in no way different or separate from each other. Therefore, to chant Myoho-renge-kyo with this realization is to inherit the ultimate law of life and death. (MW-1, 22)
In addition, the Daishonin writes:
All disciples and believers of Nichiren should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with one mind, transcending all differences among themselves to become as inseparable as fish and the water in which they swim. This spiritual bond is the basis for the universal transmission of the ultimate law of life and death. (MW- 1, 23)
Be resolved to summon forth the great power of your faith, and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the prayer that your faith will be steadfast and correct at the moment of your death. Never seek any other way to inherit the ultimate law and manifest it in your life. (MW-1, 25)
Before 1991, Nikken himself supported the view of the heritage as expressed by the Daishonin in these passages, saying: "This lifeblood of faith is inherited not only by a high priest. It is also inherited by all priests and lay believers who inherit the true teaching. When these priests and
lay believers carry out pure faith in the true teaching and practice accordingly, they unlock the pure water of the law within their lives and equally attain enlightenment through believing in and understanding the Law." (Dai-Nichiren, April 1987) The priesthood today repeatedly refers to the exclusive transmission of the heritage of the Law to the high priest through what it calls the "Face to Face Bestowal of the Living Essence of the Law," insisting that the nature of this bestowal is beyond the capacity of ordinary people to comprehend. In a section called "Absolute Faith in and Strict Obedience to the High Priest," we see the following passage:
When the priests and lay believers of the faith of Nichiren Shoshu have the occasion to be in the presence of the High Priest, with palms pressed earnestly together in sincere gratitude, we pay prayer- like reverence to him as the Master who embodies the Living Essence of the Body of the entirety of the Law of all existence.... In short, with perfectly sincere faith and self-imposed, strict obedience, we should hold the High Priest's instruction in deepest reverence and we must realize that it is right there (sic) that the great, direct path of the true relationship of unfiltered, unrestricted faith between Master and disciple, which leads to ultimate enlightenment in this lifetime, is to be found. (Dai-Nichiren, Special Edition: On the Soka Gakkai Problem (11) pp. 13-14)
The SGI firmly rejects this idea of the exclusive possession and bestowal of an intangible "essence" of all Buddhism to a single individual by virtue of his religious position. Not only does Nichiren Daishonin never mention such a rite, he clearly refutes it.
4) Attitude and Behavior
The most essential difference lies in the realm of commitment and action taken toward the accomplishment of kosen-rufu and the people's happiness, toward securing a peaceful world based on the spread of the Daishonin's Buddhism.
SGI members have continuously exerted themselves for decades to spread Buddhism, devoting their evenings and weekends to chant and work for the happiness of their friends. SGI President Ikeda, in particular, has met with one person after another, Buddhists and non-Buddhists of all nations and fields of society, to share his commitment to peace and engender an understanding of Buddhist humanism.
It is evident, however, that priests have played a far more passive role, spending most of their time at the temple attending primarily to ceremonies and services. While many Gakkai members were at activities in the evenings, visiting and encouraging friends or studying Buddhism together, most priests remained at home. It also became clear that many were indulging themselves by joining expensive country clubs or frequenting night-clubs, lavishly and frivolously spending money earned from the members' donations.
Nevertheless, Nichiren Shoshu priests continued to maintain an air of superiority and even condescension toward hard-working Gakkai members. Their aloofness toward the laity is still evident in their relationship with Hokkeko or temple members. For example, at a May 1997 ceremony at a temple in Los Angeles after which the lay temple members held a pot-luck lunch in the parking lot, the dozen or so priests in attendance quickly exited to a separate room to enjoy their own catered feast. There was no exchange or interaction with the laity, other than with a few appointed representatives.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Showing Gratitude

Sometimes we can spend all our lives feeling miserable and complaining about what we don't have, that we forget to show gratitude & be thankful for what we do have, already in our lives.

I wish I had a bigger house, I wish my husband was more patient, I wish my life was simpler, I wish I had more money, I wish I had a better job, I wish I had a better body.

Focusing your mind and your heart on that lack, will only have your life reflect back to you, that lack.

Because this is all your heart and mind will see.

You will spend your days missing out on the good things and wonderful people who already have a permanent place with in your life and your heart.

The holiday seasons is fast approaching and at this time of year, make sure you show love & gratitude to the people & things around you.

2011 is a new year with plenty of opportunity to manifest the things you want in life.

So stop for a moment and give thanks & gratitude for 2010, both good & bad, they're all lessons on the path of life.

Be thankful for being alive, being human and having the opportunity to be a part of this experience. No matter how dark things are, always remember, you have the potential to have your prayers answered.

But you must focus on what you want, your determinations. Not on your lack, or your loss.

Happy Holidays everyone.


Nam myoho renge kyo

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The Buddha In Daily Life: An Introduction to the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin

When beginning your journey in to Nichiren Buddhism, there can be many questions. When I first began two years ago, I found this book to be incredibly helpful.

I began practicing Nichiren Buddhism because I wanted to find out what was missing in my life. I had been living in London for almost 10 years and still didn't feel very fulfilled in my career and my general surroundings.

I came across this practice of chanting nam myoho renge kyo from a friend. I went along to a SGI meeting and heard the chanting for the first time.

I found it strange at first and felt really out of place. What were these strange words? Why was everyone sitting facing this box? What was the box? Is this a cult? What am I doing here?

All these questions were racing through my head.

A friend lent me a copy of this book some time later and it answered most of my questions.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Where is my good karma? When will it arrive?

This is you. Waiting for your good karma to arrive!

Dear Robbie,

I hope you remember me from few weeks, I wrote to you a letter about how I have some difficulties over the job situation I have. Since receiving your letter I have looked in to the positive side of things and have started to chant.

Since then I did come across few challenges and few things that have disturbed me in somewhat ways. If you remember I mentioned in the previous video but didn't elaborate on so much about the people who have betrayed me but it has become a challenge for myself to overcome. I have helped many people over the last few years, somehow I have always ended up getting hurt by them.

I have helped people to find jobs as well as helping them to apply for Uni's by helping them write applications for these, over the past years the only people who have back stabbed me and said things to me, spread bad rumours about me and used me are mainly the people I have helped.

Long story short, today I finally decided to confront a person who I have helped I asked them why they did what they did by back stabbing and not even have the mildest consciousness in them to understand that treating bad is not the way to do things and when someone has helped them they should understand and recognise it, and yes I was not in the right mood and I did lash at the person when I confronted her. The person who I have helped said so many bad things back to me and called me names and said that basically I'm not worthy. Although the words didn't really hurt me the fact that I have helped this girl and she was saying things to me hurt me more than anything.

I spoke to my fiancé and told him that from here after I would not help any person, please understand that this doesn't mean that I'm going to be rude to every single person, I’m just going to stay away from trouble. My fiancé explained that this is not the way to go and we all should help people and once they have betrayed you, that’s when we should leave it at that and move on and never ever help these people again, because one day this person will need your help and that's how karma works in this life.

I never doubted that helping people will bring you bad and grief but I just don't understand why I keep attracting the wrong people to my life. Robbie please help me to understand how I can stay away from bad energy, bad people in this world. It’s just hurts as a Buddhist that waiting for good Karma never seem to arrive... and wondering why bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people....

I hope you could give some sense to my life...


My response:

Hey K

Thanks for your letter. Of course I remember you. It wasn't that long ago! :D

I am sorry to hear that you are experiencing obstacles in your life and you feel that your good karma hasn't arrived yet.

I would challenge you on this, as having a fiance and being in love, is wonderfully good karma if you ask me.

Sometimes, we can become so transfixed by our problems that we forget about our blessings.

I would recommend that you write a list of all the things you are really and truly grateful for. Keep them next to you when you chant each morning and night.

You MUST focus on the positive things in your life. Because your life is like a mirror and your mind a magnet. The more you fixate on these people, pushing out the universe, "oh why me, oh poor me, why does all this happen to me, why do bad people always seem to find me?"

The more you put this energy out there each and every day, the more it will be reflected back to you. With out exception.

Each time you do this, you miss out the wonderful things you already have in your life and you dont show them the attention and gratitude they deserve.

Have a read of this post I did a while ago about why bad things happen to good people.

Then let me know what you think about what I have said above.

At the end of the day, I encourage you to chant for the wisdom to deal with this situation.

I would chant for the happiness of that person that let you down. Chant for their total and absolute happiness. That is what the Buddha would have told you to do.

Holding on to resentment in your heart is like poison. It will ruin your day, your life and your future.

With every passing moment, you lay down karmic ripples. With your thoughts, your words and your actions. Always be aware of what you think, say and do because these all have latent and manifest effects at some point.

Focus on your diamoku and focus on improving your life and your goals. Give your self clear and strong determinations and even put dates next to them. Have 6 month goals. 1 year goals. 5 year goals.

Forget about people who dont appreciate you. Let them go. You can not change other people. No matter how hard you try, and how loud you shout. They will not change. The only way to change them is to change the way you see them. This happens in your heart.

To give love, help and attention with true compassion is to give with-out any requirement for something back.

Think about it this way.

You have this belief deep inside you, that people will betray you, people will let you down, no-one is to be trusted.

When you go around doing good things for other people, you are setting your-self up. You are setting your own trap.

People dissapoint and let you down. And your inner mind and deep self goes.. AHHH HAAA YOU SEE I WAS RIGHT!!! NO ONE IS TO BE TRUSTED!

Human beings are selfish. That is how many people survive in this tough world. However... it is your job as a buddhist to see through the illusions of arrogance, anger and greed. To see beyond that and see and know that every human being is capable of compassion love and great wisdom. To honestly and truely see their Buddha nature.

Try to change your prayer and focus on the positive.

But ultimately, you must trust in your life and trust in your prayer.

namaste friend.

nam myoho renge kyo

K's response a few days ago.


Thank you so much for your prompt reply. First of all I just want to say that I really highly appreciate all your help. After reading your e-mail it made sense to me that it's in my hands to see things that we can't change, I need to change the way I think about things.

Before I received your e-mail I was still in a very disturbed and hurtful mood, so I started to chant and chant and tried not to think about or force myself not to think about things, and then when I opened my e-mail there it was a message from you, I was so happy so I start to read with a smile on my face. 

 I read word by word slowly and again and again and again. I understood everything that's going in my life and realised what was happening is a reason of not seeing things clearly.  

I then went to your blog and started to read another article that you had posted on "How to Chant Nam Myo ho Range kyo " so I read both articles and realised so many things that I knew already but was hard to understand and put it in practice. 

I have started to chant again with a smile on my face, it's hard to forgive and forget people who has done bad to you but I'm trying little by little everyday and I'm a working in progress, I know this doesn't happen overnight since we are working with our hearts and mind, but I'm using the Gohonzon and working through this. 

I spoke to my sister about the whole issue and I also showed her your site and told her that Robbie is also a Nichiren Buddhist and I write to him seeking advice on a spiritual level.

She started to read your blog and said, "wow I felt really good reading these reply's and articles I should save this blog " 

So Robbie thank you so much again, you opened my eyes, I probably didn't say thank you much for the people who have always been there for me and appreciate them for being there for me, after your e-mail I have started to look for the good in people that I love and care and concentrate on good things that I have already in my life.

Thank you again for writing to me and thank you again for understanding me, there are few people who do this type of good deeds in the world but if we have more of you then I think the world would be a better place, but that's what we are trying to achieve by practicing Buddhism.

Thank you again,
Namaste &Take Care,

What is the correct way to chant nam myoho renge kyo? How to chant nam myoho renge kyo

Focus on your chanting. The rest will come to you in good time.
Hey Robbie

I enjoy your site but I have a question that has confused me.

It's not just in things I've read from you but from books and other chanters. Often in the same paragraph it will be suggested that one thinks of little if anything at all while chanting and then the encouragement to chant for one's happiness or some specific goal or goals. This has created a deadlock in my practice because I never feel like I'm doing it correctly. I've been chanting about four years now and I don't want it to be a useless austerity. Also, your view that chanting isn't a good cause in itself raises the question about how one's life state is when we chant. If one is a negative person, wouldn't the idea be to change that through chanting?

f one already has confidence, positivity and self-belief, then why chant at all. Any help on these questions would be appreciated.

My response:

How to chant nam myoho renge kyo?


Some very good questions there indeed. So you want to know how to make chanting nam myoho renge kyo effective? Well chanting is something that anyone can do.

These are all questions I have asked my self.

The idea with chanting is that there is no right or wrong way. As long as you are sitting still, with your eyes focused on either The Gohonzon or a blank space, then that is all you must do.

Anyone who has told you to formulate your chanting is incorrect.

When you "chant for specific" things, what is best is to write them down, and then sit and chant.

The process of chanting is deeply profound and all you need do is simply chant. It matters not what is going through your mind, but it simply allows you to focus with time. It takes practice, years of practice.

Chanting can become very boring if you have no motivation and what you mentioned at the end that if you are already a very positive person, why chant?

We are told that chanting alone, is not enough, that we must have faith, practice and study (learning, reading, developing our selves) this is Buddhism and the three pillars.

I can understand your point of view about deadlock, you feel like you have got to a point and then cant go further.

I think what is very important is your attitude to the chanting. You are doing it for your self and not for anyone else. No one is forcing your or expecting you to do it and there should certainly never be any guilt for NOT doing it.

It is a daily practice to help you become closer to your self, to know your self better.

It is advised to do it daily, on waking, to greet a new day, with a positive start, and then before bed as a way to thank the universe for everything you have received that day, as a sort of gratitude practice.

When you think about it, your day is really where you live your life. If you chant morning and evening, you surround your day with the positive and life affirming process of chanting.

The chanting is a good cause, as it puts you on the right track.

I know in my self that when I do not chant, I can get very angry, very easily. I have quite a temper on me and I can loose it easily.

When I have been doing a lot of diamoku (chanting) I am calmer and I tend not to over react and to revert to my old way of being, or the behaviour I have learnt from my father or mother.

It would be interesting to learn how much study you are doing, you should defiantly consider reading a book called The Buddha in Daily Life by Richard Causton. You can get a copy on Amazon.

(Amazon UK - Check out 'The Buddha In Daily Life: An Introduction to the Buddhism of Nichiren...' by Causton, Richard G Causton ...

Now the next time you sit down and chant and feel like you are doing it wrong, just remind your self that this is for you and this is your time, alone with your thoughts.

If you dont feel like doing it, dont. If you feel like doing 2 minutes, do 2 minutes. If you feel like doing 30 minutes do 30 minutes.

There is no guilt or regret in what we do.

But, the more you do it, and the deeper the connection you have with your mind and body, the happier you will be as a person.

As the un-happiness that most people feel is an illusion, or its caused by a minded clouded by emotion.

We break through these clouds, when we spend time with our selves and connect with our true selves, our Buddha nature.

This is why there are other people (non-buddhists) who are able to manifest deep happiness as they are able to connect with this part of them selves, regularly.

Nichiren Buddhism is just one path of many.

Don't every let anyone tell you that, this is the only way to happiness. I believe there are many paths to wholeness.

It just so happens that this path is relatively free from dogma and rules and laws and temples etc

Its all about your daily life, your mind, your body, your community, and how the whole world fits together.

I do hope all this makes sense.

I am by no means a master at this stuff, but I feel I do have a deep and profound understanding of the practice.

So please just take my advice if you connect with it or feel right about it.

Never do something unless it feels right to you.

Just trust that when you are chanting, you are the Buddha and that you are able to manifest the Buddha nature in your daily life.

Namaste friend.


A little candle. A big heart.

I am only a very little candle in the massive darkness of the world but I know that if I shine as bright as possible, I am confident in my heart that I am making a difference. - Me

Friday, 10 December 2010

Good and Evil and the duality of life.

Buddhism does not view good and evil or Buddha
and devil as dualities. In other words, it does not teach
that evil is over there and good is over here, existing
independently of each other. Buddhism propounds the
view of the “oneness of good and evil.” 

As Nichiren explains, “Good and evil have been inherent in life since time without beginning”

(Spiritual Independence, p15)

(Daily Guidance from Jason Swindle)

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Finding your way back to your self.

Hi Robbie,

Thank you for the amazing videos on youtube, recently since you haven't made any recent updates on chanting or your life as a whole I started searching your page for more recent updates and came across you blog, ever since I found it , I have been on there reading different articles and updates. First of all can I say thank you very much for the amazing blog posts as they are very positive, inspirational and educating.

I have started to chant again, I have been unemployed for quite a while now and it's bit harder to get into my field. I worked as a Human Resource Advisor. I have been unemployed for a while for many reasons, one GFC, harder industry to get in and the other factors that I have faced during interviews (racism) in Australia. There have been encounters with people directly telling that " we would like to employ " White Aussies", I myself an Australian with a different ethnicity, anyways what I'm trying to say is that maybe subconsciously I have given up on trying harder to get ahead in my career or find a job? I been applying for jobs one after another, most of them are without any replies to say that I'm been accepted or rejected even if I find a contract role for a short period of time they are dead end jobs without any future in it and when I go to these jobs ( admin, payroll)I feel worse than I was before because for some reason not been able to use my education and skills makes me wonder why I have spent so much time and money studying .

 I have moved cities for the time been for my fiancé’s job, therefore I don’t have the Gohanzon with me to chant, but I saw this reply to one message from you to someone else who was seeking advice (on a breakup on your blog), well what you have said this person is to face towards a wall and concentrate on what want and chant.I have tried to do this and I have been chating ever since I saw this, although I haven’t seen a progress yet in my life or the difficult situations, do you think the bad experience and the incidents I have come across works in my subconscious mind ?and that may be effecting my ability to concentrate to find a good job? I'm a well-educated person, although not having to use my knowledge and abilities have effected me a lot in so many ways, I like to be free from this pain and anger and I like to move on,....not having a job, a reason to wake up in morning makes me feel really depressed. There are so many other reasons factoring like friends betrayals (I might have mentioned this to you before I guess).

Anyways what is the best way to concentrate when chanting and also how can I gain faith and believe in myself again like I used to? In a way I think I have lost passion for life and for the future, everyday seem like I'm standing still and not moving forward.

any advice or guidance on this is highly appreciated.
Thank you,

My Response...

Dear K,

Thanks for writing. And I am terribly sorry for taking so long to get back to you. Life in London is rather hectic.

Firstly, the very fact that you are aware that there is a problem this means things will change.

With chanting what you must always remember is that is not magical lantern, everything that is happening in your life is all connected to the decisions we make.

We all have choices every day, choices in what we eat, who we talk to, where we walk, what we wear, all these causes that we lay down, no matter how small or how big, lead our lives in different directions. Health, Love, Money, Career, World Peace all of them have an impact on our lives, and the world as a whole.

Now, what you must focus on is shifting or breaking through something that is stoping you achieve your dreams. Many spiritual teachers will tell you that what is going on in your life, is a perfect reflection of your inner beliefs and inner world.

So ask your self, all this negativity that is coming from outside, do you believe any of it inside? Even justs a tiny seed of doubt can attract the wrong sort of people, situations etc.

With chanting, what we are doing is focusing on changing something inside us, when this changes, our world changes. This happens because we are all connected. Every man, woman and child, every plant animal and stone, every thing is part of "The Field of Life"

We have all become so disconnected from this field of life, that we have forgotten who we are, and we have forgotten our power.

This inner Buddhahood is limitless, and is capable of great things.

Remember that one person, can have a huge impact on the entire world, you and every single person on this planet is born with this potential.

Sadly for many, this potential is buried, under abuse, cultural suppression, famine, drugs, and a wide array of other things that keep the human potential suppressed.

Now, to begin chanting. Sit and focus a blank wall. Put your hands together and begin. Focus on the sounds coming out of our mouth and feel your entire body. Just be and be present as much as you can. Allow the thoughts and ideas to come and go and do not try to empty your mind. Just let your voice speak the words and let your body observe as you move through different thoughts and ideas.

Often when we chant, inspiration of how we might solve our situation comes to us. It also gives us that inner strength to deal with what ever life throws at us.

Why does this happen? Well it is because of this daily practice, of knowing your self. It doesn't happen over night. It takes time. Sitting there every morning and every night, just you and your thoughts, is a process of building your sense of self.

So many people spend their entire lives, distracting themselves, from themselves and their problems. Drugs, sex, bad relationships, high powered stressful jobs, extreme sports, over eating, abuse of others, these are all things that distract and detract from the issues at hand.

But this daily practice will help know yourself deeper every day.

I wanted to share with you a passage from Disaku Ikeda,

Happiness doesn't exist on the far side of distant mountains. It is within you, yourself. Not you, however, sitting in idle passivity. It is to be found in the vibrant dynamism of your own life as you struggle to challenge and overcome one obstacle after another, as you clamber up a perilous ridge in pursuit of that which lies beyond.

So just focus on your daily practice, and have faith that you will succeed.

Chanting isnt a magic lantern, it wont magically change everything. You stil must take ACTION in your life, but what is important is FAITH. Faith in your life and that you can succeed in anything that you set your mind to, that you are capable and worthy.

That your life has meaning and that you deserve to have un-shakable happiness.

No matter where you are and what you do, we are all capable of manifesting the Buddha-nature.

Fond wishes and let me know how you get on.

Namaste Friend.



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