shadow

Inner Change

I chanted for an hour this morning. While I was chanting the voices were telling me not to chant, or to put a time limit on how much I chant. Then they said I couldn’t write in my blog about them, or collect state disability. Someone else said they (the voices) were working very hard at coming to an agreement. After that, I stopped listening. I found an encouraging quote in my Daily Encouragement book. It reads “Whether we regard difficulties in life as misfortunes or whether we view them as good fortune depends entirely on how much we have forged our inner determination. It all depends on our attitude or inner state of life. With a dauntless spirit, we can lead a cheerful and thoroughly enjoyable life. We can develop a ‘self’ of such fortitude that we can look forward to life’s trial and tribulations with a sense of profound elation and joy: “Come on obstacles! I’ve been expecting you! This is the chance that I’ve been waiting for!” Buddhism teaches that obstacles are our opportunity to change our lives for the better. Although I admit that it is not always easy to view difficulties from this perspective. Many people don’t. I think it takes a lot of effort and discipline, and for me, a lot of chanting. Even then, I will get discouraged. It is a constant battle.

The founder of this Buddhism, Nichiren Daishonin stresses the crucial importance of the heart or mind. Daisaku Ikeda states, “It is in this inner realm of life that the potential resides for dramatic shifts from evil to good or from good to evil. That is why the Daishonin’s teaching of enlightenment can be viewed as a process that begins with inner change. In other words, through the power of faith, we can defeat the negative functions inside us – workings that are governed by the fundamental darkness that resides in all human hearts – and manifest the positive functions of life that are one with the Dharma nature – that is, our Buddhahood.”

We must not look outside ourselves on the path to enlightenment. This means not blaming others for our circumstances. It also means taking responsibility for our own lives and our own happiness. Our happiness cannot be dependent on something outside of us, rather it must come from within. Learning how to be happy amidst life’s difficulties is definitely a struggle. I am going to continue to chant, and not give up.

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