Mar 27, 2011

Faith and Attitude

Written by By SGI-UK Advisor Mitsuhiro Kaneda, UK Express March 2000 

Today I’d like to talk to you about how to make your prayers as effective as possible.
Firstly, it is very important to set clear goals. If you are sick, your goal will be to get better as quickly as possible; if you have problems with human relationships, you will want to get over these as soon as possible; and if you have financial difficulties, then of course you should be setting goals accordingly.

Once you have decided on the goal, the most important thing to do next is make a strong determination: ‘Whatever happens, I absolutely will attain that goal’. A firm determination like this is very important. The next stage, of course, is prayer. And after chanting daimoku, the next step necessary is to take action in order to realize your goal. Of course, after we’ve done all that, we know what the effect will be: actual proof. If we do not achieve the goal we have set then, in certain cases, we may need to review the determination, set a new goal, and once again strive to achieve it.

Why we need to pray
There are three reasons why we should pray. Firstly, so we can have the same wisdom as the Buddha. Secondly, so that we can have life-force, in other words the energy, the courage, to take action. Thirdly, so that we can benefit from the protection of the shoten zenjin, the Buddhist ‘gods’, the protective functions within the universe.

One point I’d like to make sure that you really understand, is that the shoten zenjin only start to take action and protect us when we ourselves undertake action. So, in order for us to achieve a goal, we need to act. We need to move. We need to make efforts. And it is important that our actions and our efforts are the best we can possibly undertake. To ensure that our actions and efforts are efficient, we need wisdom. Furthermore, if we are to attain the goal we have set ourselves, we need to make constant efforts – and we also need courage.

So we pray to the Gohonzon to have the wisdom to take the best, most efficient action possible; to have the life-force to make constant efforts; and to attract the protection of the shoten zenjin when we take an action. However, even if we chant ever so hard, it will be very difficult to boil that pot of spaghetti unless we take action. And to make sure that we not only boil the spaghetti, but that it is al dente, we need wisdom and we need experience.

Quality of prayer
The quality of our prayer is also extremely important. For example, someone who is sick may simply pray to overcome their illness. Or they may pray to regain their health in order to fight for kosen rufu. There is a very big difference between these two types of prayer.

To take another example, suppose there’s a couple who have been unable to have children, despite trying for a long time. While they may be chanting to have a child as soon as possible, what are their reasons for wanting a child? Are their reasons purely personal, because it would make them happy, because they want to have children? Or are they chanting to have a child do that they can bring this child up to become someone who will be a capable person for kosen rufu? There is a huge difference between these two in terms of quality of prayer.

The reason it is very important for us to focus on the quality of our prayer is that President Ikeda has said that true and sincere prayers for kosen rufu (not prayers aimed dimply at justifying our own point of view) will be answered without fail.

Taking action
Very often, however, members chant a lot of daimoku but do not take any action. Some people don’t take action because they are afraid of the results they might see. They are afraid that they won’t see the result they want, so they don’t take any action. For example, a salaried employee with a fixed income might want to become self-employed, or start his or her own business, but might not take any action for fear of accumulating a lot of debt.

Another common example is found amongst young people who want to get married. Because they’re not sure that the marriage will work out, and that they will live happily ever after, they are full of anxiety. So, before they get married, they think, “Well, maybe we should live together.” Some end up not getting married as a result of having lived together.

So, even when people chant a lot of daimoku, other factors such as personality and human character come into play and prevent people from taking action, even if they are praying.
Of course, taking action also includes Soka Gakkai activities. When you participate in Soka Gakkai activities, you are encouraging others. So you are actually working as a messenger of the Buddha. Inevitably, therefore, all those who participate in Gakkai activities will accumulate good fortune. And because these people accumulate good fortune, they will be able to achieve their goals and show actual proof.

I know that all of us have very different circumstances and situations – some of us may not have that much free time. Nevertheless, I really want to encourage all of you to participate in Gakkai activities because this will allow not only you, but your whole family, to be bathed in good fortune. So in order to achieve our goals, not only do we need to take concrete action, we also need good fortune. That is why Soka Gakkai activities are crucial.

Make up your mind
In Italy, we have a couple who have been living together for fourteen years. Once they came to me because they wanted to receive guidance. I said to them, “You’ve been trying out your relationship by living together for fourteen years now. The fact that it has continued this long, is this not a sign that it is working?

Even though their relationship had been successful and they still wanted to live together, they still weren’t sure whether they should get married. Of course I gave them all kinds of encouragement, but there is one particular point that I would like to share with you. I asked them, “In order to make a firm determination, how much time do you need?” To make a determination requires less than one second. So I asked, “How many seconds there have been in fourteen years?”

You may laugh at this story but please, reflect on your own life.
To sum up, to put Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism into practice, we need to decide, chant and take action.


Clarify the goal and make a determination
If you have a problem,
Chant one million daimoku
Make maximum effort;
strive to resolve the problem
Accumulating experiences deepens one’s faith
Theories without experiences are
no more than pure idealism
Show actual proof DON’T DOUBT
Faith means having no doubts

1 comment:

Abhishek said...

wow ..that was amazing ..we often make a mistake of not taking action..!