Align Your Life With the Universe
When feeling overwhelmed, it’s a good time to examine your connection to the Gohonzon and the spirit with which you pray.
Dear World Tribune:
I find myself feeling overwhelmed by work, school and life, in general, even though I try my best to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and do gongyo daily. Am I missing something?
Dear Feeling Stuck:
The spirit to sit before the Gohonzon each day and challenge your problems with faith is infinitely respectworthy. What’s more, Nichiren Daishonin assures us that no prayer goes unanswered.
Feeling overwhelmed is not necessarily a bad thing, either, because it means you’re challenging yourself and expanding your capacity. So rather than viewing your circumstances as though being under water and making a fast retreat to the shallow end of the pool, why not use it as fuel to learn how to swim?
What’s the first step? When we are feeling overwhelmed, it’s a good time to examine our connection to the Gohonzon and the spirit with which we pray.
SGI President Ikeda once shared this point regarding the importance of chanting with a mind of faith: “It’s important to want to sit before the Gohonzon as though going to meet the original Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin, and that our daily practice of reciting the sutra morning and evening and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo be enjoyable. Bearing these points in mind, what’s most important is that you continue in your Buddhist practice throughout life” (Discussions on Youth, p. 232).
President Ikeda has described reciting the sutra and chanting Nam-myoho-renge- kyo before the Gohonzon as a solemn ceremony in which our lives commune with the universe. In Buddhism, this communion is described as the “fusion of reality and wisdom” (Jpn kyochi-myogo).
Simply, when we chant Nam-myoho-renge- kyo with deep faith in the Gohonzon, we align our lives with the vast and powerful underlying rhythm of the universe, tapping the limitless life force and vast wisdom needed to propel our lives forward.
President Ikeda also offered this encouragement about how to commune strongly with the Gohonzon:
It’s best to keep your eyes open and to look at the Gohonzon. It’s generally considered impolite not to look others in the eye when speaking to them. I think this is also true when we are facing and addressing the Gohonzon as we recite the sutra and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
Of course, if you do close your eyes occasionally, there’s no need to worry. It’s just that when we close our eyes, it can be more difficult to commune strongly with the Gohonzon. (Discussions on Youth, p. 232)
In the age of the smartphone, it’s easy to be distracted by a deluge of texts, tweets, posts and calls. When feeling overwhelmed, it is a good time to reconnect to the Gohonzon, and to refresh your determination to chant and do gongyo with the mind of faith, partaking in a solemn ceremony, where you fuse your life with the universe, bring forth your Buddhahood and strengthen your life state.
Toward that end, the next time you do gongyo, why not try opening up your altar, taking in the Gohonzon for a minute or two and then pledging to do your very best gongyo “as though going to meet the original Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin.” Then make it your goal every time you chant to achieve this communion, this “fusion of reality and wisdom,” with the Gohonzon.
In doing so, you will manifest a state of life that overshadows any feelings of powerlessness; rather you will be able to see the greatness of your own life to transform any poison into medicine. President Ikeda writes:
[Nichiren] Daishonin has taught us that through gongyo and chanting daimoku [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo], we can reach an elevated state in which, while engaged in our daily lives, we traverse the entire universe . . .
When you chant to the Gohonzon, the door to your microcosm is opened to the entire universe, the macrocosm, and you experience a great, boundless joy, as if you were looking out over the entire cosmos. You feel great satisfaction and rejoicing, a great wisdom—as if you held the entire universe in your palm. The microcosm enfolded by the macrocosm reaches out to enfold the macrocosm in its own embrace.
. . . Just as we might look down on a bright, clear scene of the world below from a lofty mountain’s highest peak, we can climb the peak of the mountain of wisdom (supreme enlightenment). We can attain a state of eternal bliss, experiencing the infinite expanse and depth of life moment after moment, as if we were flying through the universe and gazing at blazing comets, the brilliantly shining Milky Way and all the beautiful stars. (My Dear Friends in America, third edition, pp. 48–49)