Since I started practising in 2013, I have often struggled with anxiety plus analysis-paralysis of what if I’ve set the incorrect goal or incorrect prayer. Last year I developed some insight into how to have lofty prayer. As promised in this post, here’s my take on it!
First, have a goal that inspires us to chant
“Whatever takes you in front of the Gohonzon is a benefit.”– Daisaku Ikeda
If we don’t have goals then it becomes a drag to chant everyday. It becomes mechanical. Or at times we might not chant consistently because we don’t have a spirit of challenge. We are simply going through the motions of life. So the important thing is to pick a goal, any goal, that motivates us to chant.
Second, make the goal tangible, perceivable
Without a goal, we also have no signpost to be able to reflect on how or where our life has shifted. However, vague goals are like driving without a destination. Sure, the journey can be enjoyable but how do we know we are not driving around in a video game. That can be disappointing if we actually wanted to become happy, not just get caught up in momentary pleasures.
Third, strive the hardest towards the goal
No matter what the goal we set for ourselves, we must strive our hardest in faith. Striving in faith means making efforts to consistently do gongyo, chant in abundant quality and quantity, study Nichiren Daishonin’s writings and President Ikeda’s writings and engage with others. This process leads to immense training and growth and actually helps to make us ready for other challenges. Most of all, we expand our capacity to make persistent and consistent efforts, to persevere no matter what.
The Daishonin teaches us, “Where there is unseen virtue, there will be visible reward.” Nothing goes to waste in our practice of Nichiren Buddhism. Based on our faith, all endeavours and perseverances we make or encounter for the sake of kosen-rufu never fail to bear the fruits of victory.Translation of “To My Friends” published in the Seikyo Shimbun, based on President Ikeda’s guidance
Feel free to change and adapt goals
So even if we pray for the wrong thing, as we make consistent efforts, our state of live is elevated. As we rise above our problem, we start to see our negativity and narrow-mindedness and then can see other creative solutions. At times, this means changing our prayer. We must be willing to let go of our preconceived notions and chasing after outcomes we think will make us happy. As we iterate on and do this, we will slowly start to realise our life purpose.
Life is about scaling one mountain, then facing the next one, followed by the one after that. Those who persevere and finally succeed in conquering the highest mountain are victors in life. On the other hand, those who avoid such challenges and take the easy route, descending into the valleys, will end in defeat. To put it simply, we have two choices in life: We can either climb the mountain before us or descend into the valley.Daisaku Ikeda – https://innerself.com/content/personal/happiness-and-self-help/life-changes/4086-finding-your-mission.html
Keep persevering, no matter what!