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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Loneliness and Hugs

Since I came back from India two and a half weeks ago, I’ve been struggling to adapt to life here in some ways. The thing I miss the most is the abundance of people to hug safely.

First I don’t have that many people to hug in Australia but second and more importantly, my connection disability means that I’m unable to connect to a hug or register the dopamine it would normally bring into a healthy person’s being.

If I’m hugging people regularly I become attuned to it and don’t suppress my emotions as much. Also, the people around me in India are my family that I have deeper bonds with and have over time become better at letting in. While here, when I hug one person a week maybe, my brain switches off the hugging receptor. It’s too overwhelming for my emotional brain to let in this hug, then not be able to process what’s going on because it’s a bit out of practice. But also the other more overwhelming aspect is, it doesn’t want to let in this hug and then crave and not have it tomorrow.

My brain has gone into the mode of protecting myself.

Writing this makes me realize that perhaps I need to chant to have a life where my brain doesn’t have to protect me, where I feel able to cope with whatever is in front of me – joy as well as sorrow.

Regardless, I’ll continue to strive in my practice and go out and engage with others for the sake of their happiness. I refuse to give up and be in my bubble. Sometimes chanting with others feels like a hug, expect that to happen plenty of times over the next week.

✌🏽

Looking forward to it.

Day of Friendship

I spent today with a friend for 6-7 hours. I’m so lucky that he cleared his calendar for me when I said I was struggling, depressed and home sick.

I came home and talked to another friend who’s been going through a rough patch too. He said to me how he thinks he’s talking to a guy, doesn’t feel self-conscious sharing his personal problems. What a great compliment, ahem with regards to his comfort.

Then I spoke to my friend who I hadn’t spoken to in a year and we had a mini crash course on each other’s lives for the last year. I saw how he seemed so “together” even with his struggles. On reflecting, I could see my daimoku reflected in his life. Maybe one day he will have the courage to chant again. Until then I’ll continue to chant for him.

So much love and joy. Now it’s past 2 am, I’m so sleepy but also happy.

💤

Neurofeedback – day 1

I found a treatment that had good results for traumatised individuals having physical health issues. Today was my first session.

Usually people feel exhausted after it, I feel a surge of energy and joy.

I’m so stoked.

What a wonderful victorious day. I’m determined to overcome all my health issues.

Funny how I’ve made so much progress in the last two months of chanting towards one million daimoku.

Daimoku is the basis of everything. Not an after thought, but the starting point of everything.

Sensei said somewhere, “Chant in every spare minute”.

In my busy life it can often be difficult to find a spare minute. Unless I take the action to chant first, then go about my busy life.

Thank you to sensei and SGI for letting me find the light of Hope in my life and my heart.

❤️

Health Journey

Shakyamuni using similes and parables inspired me this morning to try to describe my symptoms in this way. Over the last few years of seeing Chinese Medicine Doctors who always focus on my symptoms to treat me and inevitably go down the wrong path often, prompted me to think about how I can explain to them what is happening to me that perhaps makes it easier to understand or imagine.

Here’s what I wrote:

This is me a week after my period – Imagine that I am flying an aeroplane over the mountains. My mind is the aeroplane engine. The aeroplane is out of fuel and the engine keeps stopping. I use my will power to somehow use gravity to navigate to avoid crashing into the mountains right underneath the plane

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Hope for Health

Yesterday I went to a Buddhist training course. The training courses usually have a format where you break into small groups and discuss based on study or some questions. It ends up being quite an organic discussion process. When I started practising, I used to find this format quite unnerving. I enjoyed lectures more and it wasn’t my style to share my life with people. In my view, I was there to learn, I didn’t see how that should relate to me sharing about my struggles.

Over time and with chanting and study, I realised that this stemmed from a deep sense of unworthiness about my own life. Inherently I felt that, I did not deserve to occupy space. That nobody wanted to hear what I have to say and that my words were not worthy and my experiences did not matter. In the last training course, I met a member who has now become a dear friend. Speaking to her made me realise the significance of my struggle. All my life suddenly seemed to make sense, that I was preparing and training to accumulate life experience to be able to encourage her through my continued struggle to win over my negativity.

Yesterday, I was the first one to jump up to share my view of the study when they asked for volunteers. So unusual for me. Usually I am a reluctant or fugitive ‘voluntold’ rather than an enthusiastic volunteer. I still fought through my negative mind mocking me for wanting attention or limelight.

Anyway, I digress. In my group study and discussion, I talked briefly about my continued struggle with health problems and how sometimes it becomes a masochistic practice where I feel my practice is significant because I am struggling. Another member mentioned how he had digestive problems for ten years but continued to pray with determination to overcome it. After ten year he found a doctor who fixed his problems. I asked for his doctor’s details. He advised me that she is very good and usually very busy that when I call her, I could expect a 3 month wait and can get on the appointment cancellation waiting list.

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Creating Hope and Light for Myself

Reading my friend’s post today got me to study and reflect on my conviction and what it means to be the light and create hope in my life and in the life of those around me.

President Ikeda says,

“There may be times when, confronted by cruel reality, we verge on losing all hope. If we cannot feel hope, it is time to create some. We can do this by digging deeper within, searching for even a small glimmer of light, for the possibility of a way to begin to break through the impasse before us.”

and

“I believe the ultimate tragedy in life is not physical death. Rather it is the spiritual death of losing hope, giving up our own possibilities for growth.”

– Hope is a Decision, Pages 5-6

Intellectually, I can understand this. In some of my darkest times, I know this is what I need to do. Before I started chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, I had never known this light of hope inside of me. But even now, it doesn’t come about by default. It is far more natural for me to fall into despair than rise into hope.

I question then, how much I create hope for myself? What is the method that continuously works and that I can repeatedly trust and rely on? Is there a winning formula for me to create hope that works by default when I am deadlocked and paralysed with fear and anxiety?

The last few months have helped me unpack some of the variables that go into a winning formula for my life.

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Nine Realisations of my Power

Today has been a day of many realisations that for now would have to be in a bulleted list because I want to get to sleep, yet not lose this sweet victorious moment.

  1. What’s happening in my life doesn’t matter as long as I am happy within. What brings that happiness within me is connection with myself and others. What brings that connection in my life is kosen rufu – the whole package – chanting, faith, study, engaging with others and striving to go to meetings/host meetings. Ultimately I could be like the happy 50 year old single ultrasound technician who has a cat and lives in a two bedroom apartment in a suburb alone – it really does not matter what is on the outside. I can strive to create happiness in whichever way, whatever takes me and motivates me to sit in front of the Gohonzon and chant.
  2. My realisations will evolve as I grow and the decisions I take will change. This is ok. It’s the journey of my growth and human revolution.
  3. True friendship is my greatest benefit in faith, including learning to befriend myself. Continue reading “Nine Realisations of my Power”

Fighting toward 16 Mar

My study and determination yesterday led to me chanting 107 minutes since I wrote the last post less than 24 hours ago. This morning as I read through the New Human Revolution Volume 2, I came across this passage:

Shin’ichi thought to himself:

“The battle is now underway. There is only one more month left to this year and I want to make sure to bring it to a successful close The real struggle has now begun – each day is win or lose!” His passionate fighting spirit intensified.

With a month left to March 16, it was just the guidance I needed.

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