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Dear friends fellow Buddhist, after 21 years of practice I am stuck. I feel my faith has gone down to the plughole and I struggle enormously to chant and to do any activity. However, with enormous (really enormous) effort I keep chanting and trying to attend activities, but it is a number of years that I see no change no benefit, nothing in my life apart from a steady worsening of my situation in all aspects of life, money, work, health, social engagement, friendship, love, etc...
I feel that all depends on my daimoku. I can feel that. I remember when I managed to chant 2 hours of daimoku every morning for months, and how my daimoku was brimming with joy, full of hope and confidence and vibrant. Now, after 5 minutes daimoku I start looking at the watch, hoping for the torture of doing daimoku to end soon, being constantly distracted, fidgeting and impatient.
I don't know what has happened to me but mysteriously my capacity to chant proper daimoku has disappeared and I hope someone has had this bad experience and maybe can help me to understand and change this.
My situation began to worsen as I moved for work (which was a tremendous benefit then) from Italy to the UK. In Italy the activity is buzzing and powerful and it is impossible to get stuck because the support there is immense. In the UK instead the general faith and level of support and activity is very weak and quite reserved, and I have suffered a lot of this and in a few years I became a loner from being a person who had hundreds of people around him, both in the organisation and outside.
I am also medicated for a Bipolar Disorder which of course doesn't help, taking its toll from the mood side of things.
Thanks for reading my post and I hope to hear some hopeful comments.
Just happened to check in on the website and read your post. I am not a SGI member but I do chant daily and am still learning but then we are always learning aren't we?
I'm sorry you are facing such problems with your faith. I have never managed to chant for an hour let alone two!!! I get the feeling that you feel you have already lost your faith and maybe (i'm just assuming here so please don't be offended if im waaaayyy off the mark) a bit of a failure because of that but your neither. If you had lost faith then I don't think that you would be searching and asking for some support from fellow SGI'S.
It sounds to me that you are missing Italy, well maybe not Italy but maybe what you had there?
I know it's cheeky to ask but in what way have things worsened for you in the aspects of your life? Sometimes we get so 'stuck' and low and tired that we can only see things in one way and we miss what our lessons are supposed to be. Sometimes if you actually think about them, type them out and share them with another human being you can see them differently just cause you've shared them.Does any of that make sense or does it just sound like hippy babble? I hope not.
Maybe all you can do at the moment is share each problem one by one and carry on chanting but don't feel guilty about how long you do it for. Remember we are all constantly changing, learning and striving to do better always. Sometimes we do really well and other times we struggle. Life is everchanging with ups and down and smiles and frowns so don't be too hard on yourself. Be kind to yourself and take time to re assess and relax and maybe you can see things not just clearer but from a different angle.
I hope this helps. I wish you nothing but good thoughts.
And I hope this finds you feeling a little better.
Alex, Tanya, what a great, encouragingly compassionate response from the Heart! I agree 100% with Tanya's wise insights & encouragement. Hope you'll realize that Tanya & I and Ikeda Sensei & Nichiren are right about you. <3
Dear Alex, I can truly feel deep empathy and compassion for you and your situation. However, Ikeda Sensei's "Guidance" for today and yesterday (posted here by Frankie) holds they keys to your release from illusory prison. As you know, the Daishonin and Shakyamuni both realized that Heaven & Hell exist nowhere but the human heart-mind. You must simply take your determination to the Next Level. Blow off the delusions of inadequacy and become a great hero of SGI and the universal Way of the Bodhisattwas of Earth. That is truly your Way, for we SGI members are those Bodhisattwas of Buddha's prophecy, appearing in this degraded age as ordinary human beings, with all kinds of ordinary problems & challenges. I know you can overcome and achieve victory over your neuro-chemical dis-ease, because I won over mine and I know a young man who defeated the worst of the 3 kinds of bi-polar disorder syndrome (BPDS). He did it with help though, the ortho-molecular supplement regimen prescribed by the Grof method doctors at the Pfeiffer Clinic (north of Chicago, IL, USA). People with BPDS have very unusual deficiencies. Look for a similar clinic near you. Yet, the most important medicine is Buddha Dharma (supreme compassion & wisdom & practice) and supreme Faith. Consider this though, beside Ikeda Sensei's great encouragement for today, there is an early Gosho counseling that anyone showing real potential for great wisdom should be given instruction in Hinayana (or Shravakayana), then provisional Mahayana, then our ultimate Mahayana Way, the highest Bodhisattwa Dharma, Nichiren Buddhist practice. I am not saying that I know how that relates to your situation & whole life condition, but it seems that you may be destined to step up to a more courageous & responsible level of activity & Shakubuku for Kosenrufu. After all, that is really what the SGI, the 3rd Day Bodhisattwa Way, is really all about. Isn't it? So, if you'd like to engage in more dialog with me, I will be very glad & as supportive as I can. Still, it seems to me that you need to start communicating with Ikeda Sensei - directly - while he's still with us. If any or all of these possibilities help you achieve a breakthrough, I'm sure that your prospects are bright Alex! We have all the examples of Nichiren's victory, and our modern mentors as proof of our own potential for Victory and greatness. For instance, President Ikeda, could have died of tuberculosis, etc., and Nichiren could have died of the many hardships imposed on him, many times. What saved them? The Daishonin started against all odds, with no Sangha, zero supporters, and no external Gohonzon. To me, the living examples of Nichiren and his victorious successors, our modern mentors, are inexhaustible sources of inspiration, courage, strength and limitless power. Please reread Pres. Ikeda's Guidance of today and yesterday, and resolve to accomplish the unity of mentor and disciple and achieve a wonderful unexpected Victory wherever and anywhere you Live. Oh, and please remember, the Daishonin said that even if a person only chants Daimoku once, with great Faith & sincerity, that person will achieve the ultimate victory, inevitably. It is clearly more about quality than quantity, though quality & quantity are best. Also, it seems you may need to step up your studies. AOK? :-) Love & Blissings Brother Alex - NMRK, NMRK...!