Happiness is . . .

 

daisaku Ikeda guidance

I met a man today as I was picking up my belongings to leave physical therapy. He was on one of the bike type machines. Stationary bikes are boring. I had just finished fifteen minutes myself, determined to get my strength back, healing from an injury.

It looked like the effort of the exercise was causing him discomfort so I told him, “Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine I’m climbing a mountain.” I didn’t quite hear his answer but it didn’t look as though climbing a mountain seemed very appealing to him so I said next, “How about running down a beach and listening to the waves?”

His eyes welled up with tears and he looked about to cry. “No, I never want to go to another beach.” He then poured out his pain of what happened to him and the memories he had of the beach, and how through that his life fell apart. He had moved some time ago within a half hour of a beach with his wife and children. His wife had never been to a beach and she became obsessed with it. Every day she had to go to the beach, even on Christmas.  He really wanted to have Christmas at home.  She was never home. She was always at the beach.  Eventually she left him – for a woman.

Later he met another woman. He fell in love with her and asked her to marry him. She did. They were happy for awhile. He didn’t know she had an old boyfriend in prison. When he got out she left him to to go back to this man. He said, “I’m done. I can’t do this anymore. I have nothing to live for.”

I asked him,”Have you ever heard the words nam myoho renge kyo?” He had been looking down. When I said those words his eyes snapped up to mine in immediate attention. Startled. It was an unusually strong emotion for someone who had never heard the words before. But even though we don’t understand the song of birds, the birds do. Something inside him recognized what I said, even if he wasn’t conscious of it. “No, What is it?” he managed to say.

I repeated the phrase three times and he tried to say it with me without my asking him, which is unusual, especially when someone doesn’t know what it is. Why would they try to say it?

“This is the law of cause and effect,” I gave him the translation. “It doesn’t have to be like this. You are misunderstanding what happiness is. It isn’t something that completes you, that can be taken away by . Goes away. Happiness caused by things outside yourself is fleeting. That is relative happiness. What you wasn’t is absolute happiness, indestructible happiness.” With this he looked at me as though a small part of himself had found relief.

“Do you want to know more?” I gently asked him, not wanting to press too hard and scare him off. It was painful watching someone so desperately unhappy and not understanding how to change it. It takes more than wanting it or it would have been changed already. It only took the smallest kindness and a little time to show him he wasn’t invisible. I believe he felt very alone. I told him we could talk again if he wanted. He looked me in the eye and said, “I’d like that.”

The Roar of a Lion

lion

If we meekly go through life with a begging mentality, asking whatever we think is “up there” to fix whatever problem we have, we never tap into the strength we have to change it with our own focus and determination. If we meekly accept that our problem wasn’t fixed because it was the will of some entity then you have missed the chance to learn, through your own wisdom and determination, to change something that causes you unhappiness. Having faith is not about having a wonderful place to go after you die – it is about having a wonderful life while you are alive! Have appreciation for being alive and having determination to succeed. Faith is about having the tools to change the part of your human nature that causes you to do and say the things that cause you unhappiness, so we can stop making the same causes over and over. Cause and effect – or reap what you sow is the same for everyone.

I read an article on a Christian website the other day where a supposedly religious scholar wrote that it really wasn’t important to pay attention to the phrase, “you real what you sow”, even though it is mentioned numerous times, because Jesus died for your sins.  WHAT??? You don’t have to worry about the negative causes you make???  But these are the very things that  bring unhappiness into your life that lead you to need to pray to have an outside source fix them, after you caused it to happen to your life through your actions. I will end today with this daily encouragement from Daisaku Ikeda:

“The daimoku (nam myoho renge kyo) we chant is not a weak imploring plea for something. It is a lions roar that reverberates with all of our being, and is powered by making a personal vow, setting our minds on realizing it and aligning our lives with the fundamental law of the universe. There is no force stronger or more sublime.”

“Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is like the roar of a lion. Therefore what illness can be an obstacle”

Don’t beg or plead or make promises if only your prayers could be answered. That is the prayer of a coward. Summon inside yourself “no doubt – at all” that your goal will be realized, regardless of the faith you believe to be true.

http://sgi-usa.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Encouragement for July 17

FOR TODAY AND TOMORROW

Life isn’t always smooth. If it were we would never grow and develop as human beings. If we succeed we are envied;if we fail we re ridiculed and attacked. Sadly, this is how people are. Unexpected grief and suffering may lie ahead of you. But it is precisely when you encounter such trying times that you must not be defeated. Never give up. Never retreat.

Daisaku Ikeda   SGI-USA

Lay Nichiren Buddhist organization based on the Lotus Sutra

sgi-usaPeople often have a phrase or motto that sees them through difficult or important times.  A short saying, a few words, can determine the course of one’s entire life. Nam myoho renge kyo  Nam nyoho renge kyo