Nov 16, 2010

Which Way Are You Practicing?

Vice President Karwei's Guidance, 1996

Prayers need to have a specific focus. Just chanting daimoku does not constitute prayer with desired results. Prayers equal practice. It means to pray specifically for what you want, by when, and by what means. If you chant for specific results, you will achieve them. If you are putting in half-hearted efforts, it is like taking a walk with no objective or destination in mind and returning home with nothing achieved. Just praying and having aimless actions won’t end in results. You must have specific goals in mind and then take action. This is the correct method. 

The clear objectives of desiring to change one’s self, heart, lifestyle, environment, problems, etc., are important. Nichiren Daishonin says one must reflect to see if he or she is advancing or regressing . If one is not aware, then they are lazy and may be considered taiten (not practicing). You could be exerting yourself but if you are not advancing, then you are considered to be in a non-practicing state (taiten). You are practicing to change yourself, not just to practice hard. If you haven’t experienced much change in yourself, you have not made enough effort to do so. If you just logically study and understand this Buddhism, you will not change. Sensei always says, “The heart is the most important. No one says just try hard. You can make a change, depending on the state of your heart.” Determination is the key. A person with no determination to change will not change.

Progressive Practice- people who are practicing with a strong desire to change.

Lateral-moving practice- people who are practicing out of obligation.

Reverse-moving practice- people who are practicing with suspicion, complaint and negativity.

The people who are moving forward will continue to progress and grow. The people who are moving sideways are moving in circles. The people who are moving backwards will continue to regress and eventually quit the practice.

Don’t take action just for the sake of taking action. Participating in SGI activities is not a substitute for sincere practice. The determination or heart behind the action is the most important (ichinen). The type of determination behind the action determines what type of results you get. 

How can we experience actual proof?
If you yourself have experienced benefits, then you will have no doubts. But if conviction is weak, and a problem occurs, faith wavers. Members who have no experience are weak. If you don’t have actual proof in this faith, you are not practicing this faith.

Having the objective to change yourself is important. Make specific goals and then take actions toward those goals. First, entrust your life to the Gohonzon (Nam). Chant specifically about a certain goal or problem. If you have a way out to resolve the problem, you can try it; for something impossible, you have to chant to the Gohonzon. It has to be a pure and strong prayer. This is the correct attitude in this faith. 

An impossible situation is actually a great opportunity. It is a chance to improve and overcome the situation. If you chant with strong determination you will definitely get results. A weak attitude such as, “as long as I practice, I will be okay”, will not produce benefits, but if your determination is strong, you will experience the benefit. 

It may seem to defy logic, but nothing is impossible for the Gohonzon. We chant to the Gohonzon to change the impossible to possible. Don’t think about it too logically or dwell on it! Just direct your desires and prayers to the Gohonzon. This is what faith is all about.

What does the Gohonzon symbolize? What is Nam myoho renge kyo?
The concept of the Ten Worlds, also known as the Ten Life States, forms one of the fundamental principles of Buddhism. It teaches that everyone possesses the Ten Worlds within their life, and everyone has the ability to perceive, as well as the potential to manifest these states. Our life state changes from moment to moment, depending on our interaction with the environment. In other words, at any given moment one of the Ten Worlds is visible, while the rest of the Ten Worlds remain hidden. From lowest to highest these are: Hell State, Hunger, Animality, Anger, Tranquility, Rapture, learning and Realization, Bodhisattva and Buddhahood.

Richard Causton: Buddha in Daily Life

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