What If We Set Incorrect Goals to Pray For?

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

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How to Set Goals to Pray for?

Following on from my previous post about prayer without goals, I have been reflecting on how to set goals to pray for. I have been also reflecting my own journey and the various kinds of guidance I received over the years through study and personal guidance.

Some of my key learnings are below.

Pray for What You Want…

I used to often start from what I want to change or manifest in my life. E.g. I pray to have absolute victory over my health problems so that I can freely contribute to the happiness of others. In this frame of mind, I found that I started practising diligently only when I was deeply suffering and wanting to change something. However, when this didn’t happen, it used to cause me deeper suffering and discourage me from practising.

But Don’t Chase After it

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Praying Without Goals

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to my father who has recently started practising Nichiren Buddhism with the Bharat Soka Gakkai in India. I asked him what he was chanting towards, what his goals were. He said that he prayed for everything to go well and everything to be ok, and what is wrong with chanting without goals? Here’s what I’ve learned about not having goals.

Praying without goals signals not taking responsibility for one’s life

Prayer in Nichiren Buddhism is a firm pledge of determination. If I chant without a goal, it means I am chanting and waiting for some kind of magic without taking responsibility for my life. Similar to going on a drive but not having a destination.

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