Challenging for Great Accomplishment

In April, I went to the monthly SGI meeting. The general director in his lecture mentioned how when he was stuck in a toxic work environment he started chanting to find the right opportunity that enabled him to use his beliefs, skills and values to contribute to society and kosen-rufu. I realised that my own projects at work were about to end in a couple of months and I didn’t know what I wanted next. I started chanting for this too with a target of 3 July.

A couple of weeks later I received an email from a recruiter at one of the top organisations in my field of work. An organisation I’d applied to before but had only received rejections. This time they were asking me. I setup a call with them and later rescheduled it – I just wasn’t functioning when I got back from India 3 weeks ago.

Finally I spoke to them last week. They said they would like me to apply for a role. I said that I would think about it and get back to them. I expressed my interest on the next day.

In a way, I felt overwhelmed and intimidated at the thought of going through this rigorous process. I thought I was reasonably happy at my job and why would I want to do this. I realised that I need to challenge myself and get out of comfort zone. That when I don’t do this, I end up with other difficult situations because then I’m growing because of problems rather than because of great accomplishment of challenging my tendencies.

Earlier in the year my determination was to use great vision rather than great suffering to show actual proof in my life and advance kosen-rufu.

Now I understand all this but I also feel very lost. I don’t know how to do my best to accomplish this goal and win for the sake of kosen-rufu.

Thinking “aloud” perhaps this is what I need to do next:

  1. Reply to the email, thank them and tell them when I would provide them with my availability.
  2. Update my resume
  3. Apply to the position formally.
  4. Send my availability for the first round of interviews
  5. Look at the interview prep resources and start making some notes so it is easier for me to revise later.

This is the first hash. For now, I am in a plane and don’t have access to the Internet.

Soon I will and I will aim to do item no. 1 today.

There, now I feel a bit ok… I can only focus on what I can do today, tomorrow will be another day.

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What is Karma?

“Karma” has almost become a swear word in pop culture. It is assumed to be this linear equation of when you do something bad, something bad happens to you or when something bad is happening to you then it is a result of your past negative actions. I guess this definition works until a person finds themselves suffering a deep struggle for no apparent reason. They feel powerless and this leads to depression, suicidal tendencies or anger and blaming our environment or God depending on our values and philosophy of life (of lack thereof).

Varying religious or philosophical schools of thought tend to explain this onset of suffering in varying ways, some of which I’ve heard/read over the years:

  • Bad things happen to everyone at some point. It just varies, depending on some kind of a law of averages
  • Bad things are a result of one’s sins
  • Lack of belief in God or violating of religious laws leads to God punishing you

All of these views don’t shed light on how to have power over the situation other than wait for things to somehow get better or “this too shall pass”.

From a Buddhist point of view, Karma is not a description of our current reality. Instead, ‘karma’ describes our tendencies. When we have difficult, heavy karma, it indicates the tendencies that we find the hardest to act against or change. When we have karma that has been carried across generations, it is tendencies that have been carried across generations e.g. via genetics, imprinting in our subconscious and by learning from observing those around us.

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Handing out relationship advice

One would think that given I’m by myself and have been for the better part of the last decade, I won’t have much to offer in terms of relationship advice. I guess I don’t.

Today I had a friend reach out to me to help work through relationship struggles. I was skeptical about offering a guy relationship advice, because evidently I haven’t found a suitable one yet.

However, last year’s failed relationship with Mike has been quite a learning experience. I wish I had been chanting regularly then. I wish I’d been more open, loving, and given him more freedom. It still may not have worked but I wouldn’t have regrets. I do know with my prayer that what happened was for the best and I can see it in my life.

Ultimately, it is about creating supreme happiness in my life that isn’t driven by external circumstances. Inline with that perhaps one day I won’t care about how happy chocolate brownies make me. 😝

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Strength – constant struggle

Much too tired to write for the last couple of days. But I wanted to share this from my study today:

My life hinging on every word.

Update an hour later-

I found myself at unease and unrest after doing this study. Almost as though reading this made me weak just as I read it.

An hour later I could step away from it and realise how it was devilish functions at work again. My negative voice telling me that “oh you’re never going to be strong. You are never going to win. You’re so weak, unhappy and such a failure.”

It’s amazing how Nichiren reminds us again and again how devilish functions will come in confusing forms, sometimes subtly and sometimes with force. You have to have strong life force and high life state to recognize them for what they are.

I’m glad I could see it and now I can use my faith to walk past my negativity and show it the door.

Also realised how my uncle has endured a deep struggle throughout his life. It would break most. In his case it turned to anger but I’m kind of intrigued and inspired that it didn’t apparently manifest as self deprecation. And how he could continue to love and respect many when his own life would have been so testing.

Strength doesn’t have only one form. It isn’t binary. It is not a river you cross and reach the other side. It is a constant battle with varying demons. Even if you win over some of them, you are strong. Each win is the springboard for the next. Keep adding to your strength my lovelies!

❤ again!

Supporting family from afar

Today was a testing day. My beloved uncle is in the hospital in India. He underwent a triple bypass open heart surgery last night after having a massive cardiac event.

This day has shown me how the practice works for me. Earlier with losing my friends and classmates, I’ve been distraught and out of whack and crying for weeks.

Today I woke up at 5.30 am and saw my sister’s message asking me to chant for my uncle with a brief about what happened. First of all it’s so mystic how I even woke up that early. On Wednesday night I was dead to the world at 8.30 pm, it is not a frequent occurrence. It’s almost as though everything was setup so I could send daimoku to my uncle while he was in surgery.

I saw the message and kind of jolted awake. Took me thirty minutes to open my eyes enough to start chanting. By the time I went to work I had calmly chanted 40 minutes and I chanted another 20 minutes on the train. Usually I don’t chant on the train, it’s mostly study time but today I couldn’t keep myself from chanting. I also asked my friends for support to chant for my uncle, I’m truly blessed to have such a close network to lean on for support. Thereafter it was a usual day at work.

During lunch time I called home, my brother in law said my uncle was still in surgery. It was early morning there. It suddenly sank in that open heart surgery is long, no wonder it was still going. My heart sank a bit. I hung up and sat by the wharf to chant more daimoku quietly.

It was revealing in the sense of where I still harbored doubts about whether my daimoku was helpful. Today helped me investigate and close the holes in my conviction. Thanks to my uncle.

His surgery went well and he is in intensive Care on ventilator. The next 48-72 hours are crucial. I’m going to continue to chant for his absolute protection and full recovery for me to really see the power of this practice so I can use my practice to show great proof in my life and my health too.

Later in the evening I spent 2-3 hours talking to my friends in faith, not lamenting about my life and problems but encouraging them and being fully present and listening to them. Usually I would be a wreck and think that my problem is the biggest and how can someone talk about their “mundane” problems when my uncle is battling life and death.

My calmness and determination today showed me the actual proof of my practice.

As it says in the Gosho lecture on “On Attaining Buddhahood in this Lifetime”,

Practicing Nichiren Buddhism means not being swayed this way and that way; it means constructing a self that is solid and resolute like towering Mount Fuji. 

Also:

Our daily realities are filled with an endless succession of problems. But with the firm belief that our lives are Myoho-renge-kyo, we should strive to boldly challenge everything with the unwavering conviction that we can overcome all hardships and become happy without fail. When we maintain deep faith based on the foundation that “I am Myoho-renge-kyo,” we can take on any problem with courage. The key to victory in life lies in whether we can bring forth courage. Not a shrinking timidity but a challenging courage— this is what we need to have!

And also:

Nichiren Buddhism starts from the realization that the supreme lifecondition of Buddhahood exists in each of us. It is a teaching that makes it possible for us to achieve the profoundest inner transformation—a transformation of our fundamental attitude or mindset. That’s why Nichiren emphasizes the importance of our minds, of what’s in our hearts.

My determination for kosen rufu and my conviction in the power of mystic law enabled me to win over my weakness today.

And tomorrow, I redetermine and restart all over again. Chant for my uncle. Rinse and repeat.

Answers in Metaphysical Realm

I spent all weekend studying numerology books. It was like binge eating, stimulation addiction. I didn’t sleep, cook, just studied numerology.

It threw my system out of whack, as all such binges do. I couldn’t go to my Buddhist meeting on Sunday morning because I was so sleep deprived. I did somehow cook lunch for Monday but worked from home.

Today I was so exhausted that I needed to take a sick day. Clearly didn’t do so well in looking after my delicate self.

Some good things came out of the binge though:

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Recognizing systemic panic

Today I recognized how my body resists things that would help relieve its suffering. Instead it tends to hold onto stress and what keeps creating that stress. This happens especially during PMS. E.g. I would be curiously dehydrated. I’ll try to reach for water but my body instead wants different textures like chocolate (creamy), chips (crisp), polenta (soft) and so on, gulping those down on auto pilot, while shutting down my attempts to drink water.

The dehydration and PMS and this kind of eating would lead to bloating, lack of sleep, sore eyes and severe shoulder pain. Then my body starts to store stress it’s not able to detox.

Usually this kind of realisation would send me into panic and a frenzy of trying to find the health professional who would be able to help me because clearly the current one can’t catch it. That would create more stress and make things worse and I’d feel helpless, useless, weak and begrudge my life.

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