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Thursday, December 24, 2015

SGI new age self-help teachings or the Lotus Sutra Buddhism of Nichiren?

SGI teachings: How to become Men/Women of Unlimited Self Esteem

You can analyze your situation all you want. You have to get to the root of why “I don’t believe in the greatness of my life”. You have to grab it by the roots and yank it out of your life. The answer is probably so simple, but we tend to over-analyze, it gets complicated and the solution seems far away. Your mission as a Buddhist is to become happy – not to master suffering. We have the negative and positive sides of us – one says, “who are you kidding”, the other, “you can do it”. You have to fight to not to give in to your negativity. This is not about being a writer, an artist, an actor, etc. It is about becoming the man or woman that you always wanted to become, a man or woman who really values his/her life.

The obstacles you face are the answer to your prayer.

Those feelings of self-doubt, those feelings that “I am a failure” – those are the feelings that I have to face and to address. How you feel about yourself, that feeling of self-loathing, of not being good enough, of being a sham. Those are the feelings you have to face. Your talent is not being questioned; it is about how you feel about yourself. That is the karma. You have to value your own life, to appreciate that it has nothing to do with anybody else validating you. Follow your heart; follow your Buddhahood and the effect from that, the benefit from that will be massive.

You need to follow your heart, truly treasure your life. When Nichiren Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon, he was already chanting daimoku out of the greatness of his life, his Buddhahood, his enlightened state; he inscribed the Gohonzon for all humanity so that everyone could relieve his or her suffering. When you sit in front of the Gohonzon and chant, you have to have the most reverence for your life, the same as the Daishonin’s; therefore your life deserves that kind of reverence.

If you chant for two weeks to really be a person of unlimited self-esteem and to really, truly appreciate your life including your flaws, your accomplishments, your defeats and your losses, your victories, all that you have created and to truly appreciate your talent as XYZ for two weeks, everything will change.

Forget about the past garbage. Put it away. That will only make you feel impotent. From today on, really chant about being that man/woman of unlimited self-esteem. Really appreciate everything about your life; all the things that make you incredibly unique and wonderful. All your sufferings, problems, heartaches, will be the stuff you need, in order to share your experience, to encourage and to inspire others. Focus on really, truly awakening to your greatness. This is the opportunity (sufferings, obstacles, lack of self-esteem) you needed to go through in order to become outrageously successful – so you can fulfil your dream. If you focus on this – really valuing your life now, then everything will fall into place in a much bigger way. This is something no one can give you; the universe is showing you what you need to tackle. When you first chant this way, a lot of garbage may come out of your life, a lot of negativity, awful feelings may surface. We always bring into our lives what matches our life condition. So chant to feel incredible joy about your worth and you will feel and know self worth and greatness.

You not being able to do whatever you determine is a manifestation deep down of your feeling of fear, that you are not good enough, that you do not have it in you. You must get yourself to a place where there is the greatness of your life, then everything will be transformed. We have to believe in our Buddhahood. When we face the Gohonzon, we should say, “I am going to praise my wonderful life”. It is important to awaken to your own greatness. Your life is the Gohonzon. Now is the time for you to start over.

When you pray to a deity, your prayer becomes passive. Our voice is the Mystic Law. This law is not outside of you. When you get a benefit, it was you who created it. You must awaken to your greatness, appreciate and value your own life. It is no different to the enlightened life of Nichiren Daishonin, embodied in the Gohonzon.

Just as a beautiful piece of art elicits a response, or a great book touches your life in a certain way, we must elicit the Buddha nature from our own lives. It is right here, and the Gohonzon is the perfect vehicle to bring out that strength, joy and vibrant life condition; then you take that to the world and change the environment. We are not necessarily chanting for the house, the car, the job, the relationship, but we are chanting to elevate our life condition to attract that happiness. The results that we see in our lives are a reflection of our life condition. Every day as you chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo consciously call forth your Buddhahood to manifest itself consistently. Chant to rise above your basic tendency of disbelief, or continually thinking that you are a common mortal who does not deserve good fortune in this life. Do not negate your life when you sit in front of the Gohonzon. Do not beg. Do not scream. Do not berate the Gohonzon. Believe in the greatness of your life; manifest the extraordinary side of you. The Gohonzon is the tool we need to bring out our Buddhahood. My life is the Gohonzon. Do not slander your life. The doubt is necessary to prove to myself that “I am a Buddha. I will fulfil every one of my dreams for myself”. We already possess something incredible – our Buddha nature, the Gohonzon. But we do not believe that the good fortune, the “million dollars” is truly mine. I will not be able to get it, or to enjoy it. Trust that the Gohonzon, your prayer, is the absolute means for you to transform your life. Trust and faith are the key words.

Chant with the expectation that every one of your wildest dreams will be fulfilled beyond your wildest imagination. Chant to believe in your Buddhahood. Trust in the greatness of your life. In “On Attaining Buddhahood”, Nichiren Daishonin made a primary point: to free ourselves from the suffering of birth and death which we have endured in lifetime after lifetime, and to attain absolute happiness, we need to awaken to the mystic truth that has always been within our lives. That truth is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. That truth is “I am a Buddha”. Trust that you have everything you need for your happiness.


1. Chant to become a person of unlimited self-esteem
2. Chant to awaken to your own greatness
3. Chant to appreciate your life, including flaws, accomplishments, defeats, losses, and victories and truly appreciate all that makes you a unique and wonderful person
4. Chant to make the impossible possible
5. Chant to consistently manifest your Buddha nature and rise above your basic tendencies and overcome your inherent negativities in your life
6. Believe that you are a Buddha and create all the benefits for yourself
7. Believe you are the Gohonzon
8. Trust that in the Gohonzon, you have the means to fulfill each and every desire to become extraordinarily happy
9. Chant to display your Buddhahood and to bring forth that strength, joy, vibrant life condition
10 And then take it to the world and change the environment 

Nichiren Lotus Sutra teachings:

"In the Lotus Sutra, however, it is written, 'We care nothing for our bodies or lives but are anxious only for the unsurpassed way.' And the Nirvana Sutra warns, '[It is like a royal envoy who] would rather, even though it costs him his life, in the end conceal none of the words of his ruler.'

If in this present existence I am so fearful for my life that I fail to speak out, then in what future existence will I ever attain Buddhahood? Or in what future existence will I ever be able to bring salvation to my parents and my teacher? With thoughts such as these uppermost in my mind, I decided that I must begin to speak out. And, just as I had expected, I was ousted, I was vilified, I was attacked, and I suffered wounds. Finally, on the twelfth day of the fifth month in the first year of the Kōchō era (1261), the year with the cyclical sign kanoto-tori, having incurred the wrath of the authorities, I was banished to Ito in the province of Izu. Eventually, on the twenty-second day of the second month in the third year of Kōchō, cyclical sign mizunoto-i, I was pardoned and allowed to return.

After that, I became more determined than ever to attain enlightenment and continued to speak out. Accordingly, the difficulties I encountered became increasingly severe, like great waves that rise up in a gale. I experienced with my own body the kind of attacks with sticks and staves that Bodhisattva Never Disparaging suffered in ancient times. It would seem that even the persecutions suffered by the monk Realization of Virtue in the latter age after the passing of the Buddha Joy Increasing could not compare to my trials. Nowhere in all the sixty-six provinces and the two offshore islands of Japan, not for a day, not for an hour, could I find a place to rest in safety.

Even sages who persevere in their practice as earnestly as did Rāhula in ancient times, strictly observing all the two hundred and fifty precepts, or men who are as wise as Pūrna, speak evil of Nichiren when they encounter him. Even worthies who are as honest and upright as the court officials Wei Cheng and Fujiwara no Yoshifusa, when they see Nichiren, forsake reason and treat him unjustly.

How much more so is this the case with the ordinary people of the day! They behave like dogs who have seen a monkey, or hunters in pursuit of a deer. Throughout the whole of Japan, there is not a single person who says, “Perhaps this man has some reason for his behavior.”

But that is only to be expected. For whenever I come upon a person who recites the Nembutsu, I tell him that those who believe in the Nembutsu will fall into the hell of incessant suffering. Whenever I come upon a person who honors the True Word teachings, I tell him that True Word is an evil doctrine that will destroy the nation. And to the ruler of the nation, who honors the Zen school, I declare that Zen is the invention of the heavenly devil.

Since I willingly bring these troubles upon myself, when others vilify me, I do not rebuke them. Even if I wanted to rebuke them, there are too many of them. And even when they strike me, I feel no pain, for I have been prepared for their blows from the very beginning.

And so I went about with ever increasing vigor and ever less concern for my safety, trying to persuade others to change their ways. As a result, several hundred Zen priests, several thousand Nembutsu believers, and even more True Word teachers went to the magistrate or the men of powerful families, or to their wives or their widows who were lay nuns, and filled their ears with endless slanders concerning me.

Finally, all were convinced that I was the gravest offender in the entire nation, for it was said that in my capacity as a priest I was saying prayers and spells for the destruction of Japan, and that I had reported that the late lay priests of Saimyō-ji and Gokuraku-ji had fallen into the hell of incessant suffering. Those widows who were lay nuns insisted that investigation was unnecessary; rather, I should have my head cut off at once, and my disciples should likewise be beheaded or exiled to distant lands or placed in confinement. So infuriated were they that their demands for punishment were immediately carried out.

On the night of the twelfth day of the ninth month in the eighth year of Bun’ei (1271), cyclical sign kanoto-hitsuji, I was to have been beheaded at Tatsunokuchi in the province of Sagami. But for some reason the execution was postponed, and that night I was taken to a place called Echi. On the night of the thirteenth day, people made a great uproar, saying I had been pardoned. But, again for reasons that are unclear, I was ordered into exile in the province of Sado.

While people speculated from one day to the next if I would be beheaded, I passed four years on Sado. Then on the fourteenth day of the second month in the eleventh year of Bun’ei, cyclical sign kinoe-inu, I was pardoned. On the twenty-sixth day of the third month of the same year, I returned to Kamakura, and on the eighth day of the fourth month I met with Hei no Saemon-no-jō. I reported on various matters and informed him that the Mongols would certainly invade Japan within that year. Then on the twelfth day of the fifth month, I left Kamakura and came to this mountain where I am now living.

All these things I have done solely to repay the debt I owe to my parents, the debt I owe to my teacher, the debt I owe to the three treasures of Buddhism, and the debt I owe to my country. For their sake I have been willing to destroy my body and to give up my life, though as it turns out, I have not been put to death after all." -- Repaying Debts of Gratitude

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