motivation to chant daimoku

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nichiren-123
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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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

nichiren-123
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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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Queequeg
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Posts: 6113
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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

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

narhwal90
Posts: 652
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.

illarraza
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Re: motivation to chant daimoku

Post by illarraza » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:31 am

Hi. If one practices according to the preachings, one will gain the motivation to chant by being assailed by the Three Obstacles and Four Devils on a daily basis.

Mark

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Minobu
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Re: motivation to chant daimoku

Post by Minobu » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:53 am

illarraza wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:31 am
Hi. If one practices according to the preachings, one will gain the motivation to chant by being assailed by the Three Obstacles and Four Devils on a daily basis.

Mark
this sounds like a barrel of laughs.

dude
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Re: motivation to chant daimoku

Post by dude » Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:43 pm

You don't get sansho shima if you don't practice.

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Minobu
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Re: motivation to chant daimoku

Post by Minobu » Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:41 pm

dude wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:43 pm
You don't get sansho shima if you don't practice.
this is not sansho shima...this is a daily practice of adversity and never ending hell....
this is not what i signed up for
illarraza wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:31 am
Hi. If one practices according to the preachings, one will gain the motivation to chant by being assailed by the Three Obstacles and Four Devils on a daily basis.

Mark
What happened to winter never fails to turn to spring.

illarraza
Posts: 618
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:30 am

Re: motivation to chant daimoku

Post by illarraza » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:09 am

Minobu wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:41 pm
dude wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:43 pm
You don't get sansho shima if you don't practice.
this is not sansho shima...this is a daily practice of adversity and never ending hell....
this is not what i signed up for
illarraza wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:31 am
Hi. If one practices according to the preachings, one will gain the motivation to chant by being assailed by the Three Obstacles and Four Devils on a daily basis.

Mark
What happened to winter never fails to turn to spring.
Nichiren writes:

"Moreover, even though one may encounter a wise teacher and the true sutra and thereby embrace the correct teaching, when one resolves to break free from the sufferings of birth and death and attain Buddhahood, one will inevitably encounter seven grave matters known as the three obstacles and four devils, just as surely as a shadow follows the body and clouds accompany rain. Even if you should manage to overcome the first six, if you are defeated by the seventh, you will not be able to become a Buddha."

Overcoming the Three Obstacles and Four Devils is winter turning to spring.

Mark

illarraza
Posts: 618
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:30 am

Re: motivation to chant daimoku

Post by illarraza » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:26 am

More on the Three Obstacles and Four Devils

"The fifth volume of Great Concentration and Insight states, “As practice progresses and understanding grows, the three obstacles and four devils emerge in confusing form, vying with one another to interfere.” It also states, “It will only be like a boar rubbing against the golden mountain; like the various rivers flowing into the sea; like logs making a fire burn more briskly; or like the wind swelling the body of the kālakula insect.” These passages mean that, if one understands and practices the Lotus Sutra just as it teaches, in accordance with the people’s capacity and at the right time, then these seven obstacles and devils will confront one. Among them, the devil king of the sixth heaven [is the most powerful. He] will possess one’s sovereign, parents, wife or children, lay supporters, or evil persons, and through them will attempt in a friendly manner to divert one from one’s practice of the Lotus Sutra, or will oppose one outright. The practice of Buddhism is always accompanied by persecutions and difficulties corresponding in severity to whichever sutra one may uphold. To practice the Lotus Sutra will provoke particularly harsh persecutions. To practice as it teaches, and in accordance with the time and the people’s capacity, will incite truly agonizing ordeals.

The eighth volume of The Annotations on “Great Concentration and Insight” states, “So long as a person does not try to depart from the sufferings of birth and death and aspire to the Buddha vehicle, the devil will watch over him like a parent.” This passage means that, even though a person may cultivate roots of goodness, so long as he practices Nembutsu, True Word, Zen, Precepts, or any teaching other than the Lotus Sutra, he will have the devil king for a parent. The devil king will possess and cause other persons to respect him and give him alms, and people will be deluded into believing that he is a truly enlightened priest. If he is honored by the sovereign, for instance, the people are sure to offer him alms. On the other hand, a priest who incurs the enmity of the ruler and others [because of the Lotus Sutra] is surely practicing the correct teaching.

Devadatta was the foremost good friend to the Thus Come One Shakyamuni. In this age as well, it is not one’s allies but one’s powerful enemies who assist one’s progress...."

In another writing we read:

"In the Latter Day of the Law, the votary of the Lotus Sutra will appear without fail. The greater the hardships befalling him, the greater the delight he feels, because of his strong faith. Doesn’t a fire burn more briskly when logs are added? All rivers flow into the sea, but does the sea turn back their waters? The currents of hardship pour into the sea of the Lotus Sutra and rush against its votary. The river is not rejected by the ocean; nor does the votary reject suffering. Were it not for the flowing rivers, there would be no sea. Likewise, without tribulation there would be no votary of the Lotus Sutra. As T’ien-t’ai stated, “The various rivers flow into the sea, and logs make a fire burn more briskly.”

We didn't sign up for an easy and secure existence. We signed up for Supreme and Perfect Enlightenment. Nichiren quotes the Nirvana Sutra, "The Nirvana Sutra states, 'By suffering an untimely death, rebuke, curses or humiliation, beatings with a whip or rod, imprisonment, starvation, adversity, or other MINOR HARDSHIPS in this lifetime, one can avoid falling into hell.'” In other words, I hope you are prepared to meet difficulties and devils of a magnitude not even imagined by Tientai, Dengyo, Nagarjuna, and Vasubandu. Seeking single-mindedly for Buddhahood, even suffering an untimely death, is hardly an obstacle that can't be overcome.

Mark

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Minobu
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Re: motivation to chant daimoku

Post by Minobu » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:59 pm

illarraza wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:09 am
Minobu wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:41 pm
dude wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:43 pm
You don't get sansho shima if you don't practice.
this is not sansho shima...this is a daily practice of adversity and never ending hell....
this is not what i signed up for
illarraza wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:31 am
Hi. If one practices according to the preachings, one will gain the motivation to chant by being assailed by the Three Obstacles and Four Devils on a daily basis.

Mark
What happened to winter never fails to turn to spring.
Nichiren writes:

"Moreover, even though one may encounter a wise teacher and the true sutra and thereby embrace the correct teaching, when one resolves to break free from the sufferings of birth and death and attain Buddhahood, one will inevitably encounter seven grave matters known as the three obstacles and four devils, just as surely as a shadow follows the body and clouds accompany rain. Even if you should manage to overcome the first six, if you are defeated by the seventh, you will not be able to become a Buddha."

Overcoming the Three Obstacles and Four Devils is winter turning to spring.

Mark
thanks Mark...always respect your input even though i seem to lash out at it at times...
your a great reminder of the path and what to expect...

a true warrior at heart....

thanks again
d

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