motivation to chant daimoku

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nichiren-123
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Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:07 pm

motivation to chant daimoku

Post by nichiren-123 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:46 pm

OK guys,
I'm struggling to find the motivation to chant regularly.
Mostly because of doubt and because I can't see how chanting could even work.
I was brought up Buddhist but stopped practicing around 10-11 yrs old. I came back to the practice at the start of 2017 because the theory of Buddhism makes allot of sense to me... but not the actual practice itself...
I'm hoping you guys can help me out with this?

thanks
N-123

narhwal90
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Re: motivation to chant daimoku

Post by narhwal90 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:34 pm

Been there too, a lot.

The regular SGI line with all the mystic power business never resonated with me at all. I don't think I've ever felt a mystic anything. I suppose everyone has to find their own reasons to do it. For my part, learning about traditions other than Nichiren helped very much. In a way its me trying to better hold up my end of the bargain- do the training, get the results kind of thing. But I think its more related to the zazen and vipassana making the activity in my head more clear, thus I can use daimoku to get at the mind in a different way. I have less use for the SGI branding now but chanting and gongyo are much more important to me than before.

I've recently been working on the old SGI/NSA long form juryo chapter, that was always a tongue-twister for me in the old days.. still is now lol but a deeper engagement in the recitation is nice.

Personally, I think the Nichiren practice is not served well by gongyo/daimoku only, the forensic level of instruction on observation of the mind seen in zen practices, vipassana (presumably I should start that list with Zhiyi lol) brings a level of clarity to the practice that no amount of chanting has ever done for me in the past. That said I've no inclination to dispense with daimoku in favor of the others- it has its own appeal. The question of how to relate to SGI remains with me though.. I'm far more inclined towards a sangha kind of thing than the SGI organizational model but neither do I want to walk away. We'll see.

OTOH perhaps the above is nothing more than the reasons that work for me...

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Queequeg
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Re: motivation to chant daimoku

Post by Queequeg » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:06 pm

Do I feel motivated to chant?

Do I feel motivated to go to the gym?

Do I feel motivated to floss?

Generally, no to all that.

If I were to analogize my practice to an iceberg, Daimoku is only the visible part, and maybe then only part of the visible part. Most of my practice is study, reflection, contemplation, sharing with others. The Daimoku is the keystone of the ritual practice that frames the rest the practice.

To understand what place Gongyo traditionally holds, it might be helpful to look at ritual practices in Japanese Buddhism in general, and Tientai/Tendai more specifically. You might start with the manual for the Lotus Repentance Samadhi - you might see how gongyo generally follows that structure. Also, you might consider looking at Mohezhikuan and consider what the purpose of chants such as the six syllable Avalokitesvara invocation are recommended for. And also the point of *gasp* Nembutsu (hint, look at my signature).
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

nichiren-123
Posts: 96
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:07 pm

Re: motivation to chant daimoku

Post by nichiren-123 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:38 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:06 pm
Do I feel motivated to chant?

Do I feel motivated to go to the gym?

Do I feel motivated to floss?

Generally, no to all that.

If I were to analogize my practice to an iceberg, Daimoku is only the visible part, and maybe then only part of the visible part. Most of my practice is study, reflection, contemplation, sharing with others. The Daimoku is the keystone of the ritual practice that frames the rest the practice.

To understand what place Gongyo traditionally holds, it might be helpful to look at ritual practices in Japanese Buddhism in general, and Tientai/Tendai more specifically. You might start with the manual for the Lotus Repentance Samadhi - you might see how gongyo generally follows that structure. Also, you might consider looking at Mohezhikuan and consider what the purpose of chants such as the six syllable Avalokitesvara invocation are recommended for. And also the point of *gasp* Nembutsu (hint, look at my signature).
But what if I'm not sure of daimoku is good for me? I haven't seen much of a change in myself since I've started to practice... well, that's a lie. I've improved in many ways but I can't pin any of those effects down to chanting daimoku. I've been on drugs and special circumstances which could all have a part to play, so it's confusing... So, I can't tell if the daimoku is doing any good... maybe I just haven't been chanting regularly (enough)???

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Queequeg
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Re: motivation to chant daimoku

Post by Queequeg » Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:52 pm

I will now leave this beneficial medicine here. You should take it. Do not worry about not recovering.
-Shakyamuni Buddha
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Queequeg
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Re: motivation to chant daimoku

Post by Queequeg » Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:46 pm

I suppose I should elaborate on that.

You wrote: "the theory of Buddhism makes allot of sense to me."

In the Lotus Sutra, in connection with the medicine, it is examined and it is found, "the medicine has fine color, aroma, and flavor."

Theory amounts to little until it is put into practice. Its like a bird with one wing. Practice is where the theory is put to the test. Through practice, the theory is confirmed and theory is replaced by wisdom.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Queequeg
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Re: motivation to chant daimoku

Post by Queequeg » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:34 pm

In judging the relative merit of Buddhist doctrines, I, Nichiren, believe that the best standards are those of reason and documentary proof. And even more valuable than reason and documentary proof is the proof of actual fact.
Does the effect of the practice manifest in your life or not? That's the question of actual proof.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

narhwal90
Posts: 596
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:10 am

Re: motivation to chant daimoku

Post by narhwal90 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:01 pm

nichiren-123 wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:38 pm

But what if I'm not sure of daimoku is good for me? I haven't seen much of a change in myself since I've started to practice... well, that's a lie. I've improved in many ways but I can't pin any of those effects down to chanting daimoku. I've been on drugs and special circumstances which could all have a part to play, so it's confusing... So, I can't tell if the daimoku is doing any good... maybe I just haven't been chanting regularly (enough)???
Change as a consequence from the practice might take many forms; improved awareness about oneself could lead to better self-care and so improvement in health, outlook etc. I like to keep it simple; keep doing what you're doing and you'll keep getting what you're getting.

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