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Changing Karma – A Nichiren Buddhist Perspective

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I’m still not sure what is happening with the people who are following me around everywhere I go. I’m hoping they don’t join me on my next trip to visit my family in Colorado! I’ve set a new goal to chant 3 hours each day until they are gone, although I don’t always reach this goal. Yesterday I only chanted for 2 1/2 hours instead of 3, but today I think I will reach my goal. I started my own chanting (daimoku) campaign for this nightmare to end during the summer of 2010, so it’s been almost 5 years! I still struggle with a lot of negativity, and it isn’t always easy to stay positive. I find myself constantly questioning other people’s behavior. Why did he do that? Why did she say this? Why didn’t this person respond to my email? Why didn’t that person return my phone call? Why don’t these people leave me alone? Why would anyone ever do what these people have done? Why won’t anyone talk to me about it? There are many unanswered questions. I’ve been chanting for answers as well as for a resolution to this problem, yet it seems nothing is clear or easily understood.

In Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, we do not blame our circumstances on others. We take responsibility and change ourselves first. This is a constant struggle for me. The behavior of the insane people following me around has little, if anything to do with me personally. It certainly isn’t due to anything I ever said or did (with the possible exception of a former employer I worked for in Washington, DC for approximately 2-3 months in 2000). From a Buddhist perspective, my circumstances are due to my karma – the effects of my thoughts, words and actions (although probably not in this lifetime).

A quote from SGI President Ikeda reads:

You must never slacken in your efforts to build new lives for yourselves. Creativeness means pushing open the heavy door to life. This is not an easy struggle. Indeed, it may be the hardest task in the world. For opening the door to your own life is more difficult than opening the doors to the mysteries of the universe.

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This is very true. It is very difficult to look for the answers, the strength, and the courage within. Every day I feel I am making the effort to draw forth more strength and courage to deal with these challenges. I once heard an SGI leader state that “changing our karma” (changing our lives) is similar to drawing forth water from a deep well. We just have to keep lowering the bucket down and pulling the water back up, time and time again, until we reach a solution. In other words, we must never give up.

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