I am a Nichiren Buddhist and proud member of SGI-USA, and I am going to sporadically post encouragement and inspiring quotes that I find in other places on the web so that I can easily find them later.

This is a lecture from SGI Vice President Tsuji.

 

….Correct Attitude in Prayer….

Guidance from Vice President Tsuji

Once you make a determination that you are going to succeed with a wonderful opportunity, then you have to guard your inner, subjective world against the onslaught or the subtle insinuations of the negative voices, 'Nothing's going to change, it's always going to be the same.' If you are susceptible to that, which most of us are until we're strong enough inside to deflect those voices automatically, you listen to them. And you allow them to influence you. The longer you listen, the more it erodes your prayer. So, internally, you start replacing your prayer. At some point, you start to agree with the negative voice, because that's what most people have always done most of their lives. At that point, your prayer becomes NOT to succeed. When you chant daimoku it is what you are thinking and feeling that is being projected into the universe. And, because the Law is impartial, you have free will.

It is like a mirror. So, if you change your prayer unknowingly, then the Law accepts that as what you want. It is non judgmental.

So it is your responsibility, if you want something, to hold that prayer and not allow that negative voice to discourage you, because you start compromising and before you know it, you have given up on the prayer. Once you set your determination don't compromise. Buddhism is win or lose. It is not compromise. Compromise is something you have done all of your life.

So set the determination and chant daimoku for that. Once you set the determination, how you get it and all that becomes the Gohonzon's responsibility to work it out. Your responsibility is to hold to the prayer without being swayed internally or externally. It is important every morning to chant to manifest Buddhahood. That's the primary point, because if we cannot manifest Buddhahood, then we cannot have much effect with our prayers anyway. If you do not understand this point, you will spend all of your time just chanting for what you want.

What is important, too, is the concept that you have a Buddha nature. Life itself is Buddha. Our whole life is Buddha. Everything born into this world is Buddha. We must not allow ourselves to think of this Buddha nature as something outside of ourselves. It is one and it is inseparable. The Gohonzon is an external object, but it is a catalyst to bring forth Buddhahood from the depths of life. The Buddhahood within us, and that which embodies the Gohonzon, is the same reality. It looks like two separate things, but the unchanging, eternal truth is BUDDHA IS LIFE ITSELF. YOU ARE BUDDHA NOW. When you realize this, you start to appreciate and recognize the dignity and the power and the unlimited aspects of your life.

This means YOU ARE THE BUDDHA IN CHARGE OF YOUR OWN LIFE, no one else. You can make life what you want it to be, NOT what the environment would like it to be. When you realize that your life is Buddha, when you transfer that to a feeling, that is ICHINEN SANZEN. Then you can draw forth that power to transform or create a Buddha's land where you stand. It is not some place else, or in the future.

The past is just a dream, no matter how good or bad it was; nothing more than a dream. The future is nothing more than imagination, either positive or negative imagination. In and of itself it has no existence. THE ESSENCE OF LIFE -- WHICH IS MYO -- IS ETERNAL AND UNCHANGING. THE MORE THAT YOU REALIZE YOUR LIFE IS BUDDHA, THEN THE MORE CONVICTION YOU'LL HAVE IN YOUR DAIMOKU.

The ultimate ichinen of the Gohonzon is to make the people of any given world equal to themselves. That's why a Buddha appears, to allow all people to open the palace of their own enlightenment and wisdom. If you do not understand this, you are like beggars chanting. At some point, the Gohonzon will cease to answer your prayers, because if you continue this way, you cannot attain enlightenment. You are missing the whole point. What you feel about the Gohonzon, you can feel about the living Gohonzon inside of yourself.

Buddhism is vertical. This present moment is infinite and unlimited and eternal. There comes a point where you consciously have to start working out your own enlightenment. You cannot just drift along. You could practice all your life still looking at it the wrong way, but by consciously being aware, you can perceive that your life itself is Buddha. YOU MUST PERCEIVE THE NATURE OF YOUR OWN LIFE. If you cannot realize this, then every time a problem comes up you suffer. You feel hopeless and helpless. But, when you realize your life IS Buddha, then whenever a problem comes up great confidence or conviction arises -- 'Because my life IS Buddha, I can transform this into a great benefit.'

When you deepen the conviction that your life itself is the entity of Buddha just as you are now -- not when you become some perfect being -- then when something comes up you can feel no fear or anxiety. It is just another opportunity to transform it into a greater benefit and transform suffering into joy. Supreme optimist, she/he has no fear of the future, no regret of the past. Your life is Buddha. You can transform anything and make any situation manifest its’ latent Buddhahood. So, even in a situation of hell, because you have this deep conviction that your life itself is Buddha, you manifest that conviction and the Buddhahood innate within that phenomena or situation rises up to match that.

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