Thursday, June 2, 2016

Tuesdays at Forty: My Faith is Nichiren Buddhism

My first exposure to Buddhism, in terms of going to a gathering/meeting, was about ten years ago shortly after I arrived at Dover AFB.  An Air Force Chief told me about the group that he was a part of and I attended as his guest; but only that one time.  A few years later, a friend of mine reintroduced the idea of it when she called me a Bodhisattva of the Earth.  I was intrigued and sought to learn more.  I started attending weekly chanting sessions and felt a welcoming that I hadn't felt in a long time.

Now, I have to be honest.  I was wary of this welcoming.  I had felt something similar when I first started attending "success meetings" in mary kay.  And those turned out to be all facade--mary kay is big on "fake it 'til you make it" and I didn't want this new feeling to also be a facade as well.  One key difference between the two is that I could actually express my concerns to my Buddhism group.

Unlike the mary kay meetings, my concerns weren't dismissed or poo-poo'd away, I was allowed and encouraged to express my concerns.  The other big difference: my group didn't want anything from me; except to help me find my own personal happiness.  I didn't need to buy or sell anything.  I didn't need to recruit anyone into the group.  My attending meetings and gatherings wasn't a reflection of how successful they were but, instead, it was about my own personal growth in the faith.  As a result, I WANTED to share my journey with everyone.  I didn't have to manipulate conversations down a path to which I could share anything.  If it came up, sure, I shared but, in most cases, it was just me and my outlook that conveyed that something was different in my life.

Now, each day, I'm excited to see the growth of those whom I've introduced to the faith.  They see, like I did, that there is no judgement in the following of Nichiren Buddhism.  Through chanting, you control how you react to changes in your life and you're able to realize even more options to the decisions that come your way.  The mere act of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo helps to center you and helps you to tune out the distractions of the day.

I offer up this clip from "What's Love Got To Do With It" to show a nugget of what is entailed in our chanting sessions:

If this post piques your interest, you can search on the SGI website for more information or search "Soka Gakkai Buddhism (local city/state)" in your favorite search engine.

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