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Real Life

Why do we have to chant every day?

Dave Goodman

A: Your practice of reciting the sutra morning and evening and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is not an obligation—it is a right.The Gohonzon will never demand that you chant to it. An attitude of appreciation in being able to chant to the Gohonzon is the heart of faith. The more you exert yourselves in faith—in reciting the sutra morning and evening—the more you stand to gain. …

Of course, it’s possible to get by in life without practicing Nichiren Buddhism. But sometimes we are confronted by karma over which we seem to have no control, or are buffeted about because of an inner weakness. What a tragic loss it would be
if we could never change ourselves, if we could never exclaim confidently at the end of our days what a wonderful life we’ve led. That is precisely why a guiding philosophy in life is essential.

My mentor, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, said: “For what reason have we been born? As the Lotus Sutra passage ‘living beings enjoy themselves at ease’ (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p. 272) states, we have been born to enjoy ourselves. How dull it would be, then, if we did not do so! When we believe in the Gohonzon with all our heart, we will savor a state of being in which life itself, and everything we do, is a source of joy.”

President Toda used the term absolute happiness to describe the state of mind in which we can feel that life itself is a joy. If you persevere in faith, you will definitely come to experience this. 

Our Buddhist practice boosts the power of our “engine,” strengthening our life force so that we can always declare, “I’m ready for anything!” When our engine is weak, even a small slope will leave us gasping and struggling painfully as we attempt to surmount it. (Discussions on Youth, pp. 221–28)

Q: As time passes and my contemporaries and loved ones pass away, I feel the weight of my own mortality. How can I live with hope and purpose?

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