Why Do We Chant?

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In SGI, we have a daily practice of gongyo and chanting morning and evening. We are allowed, if not encouraged, to chant for stuff or personal enrichment. We are also allowed and encouraged to attend meetings with other SGI members where we discuss Nichiren’s Buddhism, our daily lives and, usually, some SGI politics. This how most of us started our relationship with Nichiren Buddhism.
Thousands, if not millions, of people only know the ways of the SGI. Some SGI members know of and maybe know a little about other Nichiren groups/sects/sangas, but have found their place in the SGI.
Then something happens. A “leader” says something or does something or doesn’t do something or doesn’t say something and some members become discouraged. These folks can’t seem to reconcile their feelings and begin to drift away from the SGI. They have a connection to Nichiren Buddhism, but believe they can go it alone or converse with like-minded people on the ‘net – they don’t need the SGI. In some cases, these groups/sects/sangas (g/s/s)are actually founded on how misguided the SGI is. The SGI doesn’t chant the right words or study the right stuff.

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How to Chant

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How do I chant?
What should I think about?
I know I shouldn’t beg, but should I demand or expect or ask?
I think we all have asked these questions. I have heard many different answers.
Some people make affirmations – “I will get this job!”
Some people visualize what they want – i.e. imagining a tumor shrinking.
Still others just think “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo”

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This was “Think It Over” electronic baby weekend for my 15 year old daughter. For health class she had to care for an electronic baby doll. It screamed… alot. She had to feed it, change it’s diaper and burp it. She picked it up Friday after school. We stopped by my parents’ house and when my daughter gave it to my mother it started to scream. The big problem with this is that it didn’t “Turn on” until 10:00 Friday night. It screamed for 30 minutes and we couldn’t do anything to stop it.
It was a rough 3 nights. I think the thing is programed to keep the teenager from getting any REM sleep. My poor daughter was dragging all weekend. Now we all tense up when we hear a baby cry. I think we have PEBSS (Post Electronic Baby Stress Syndrome). My daughter never left the house the entire weekend. My younger daughter helped out during the day and I got up a few times in the night and my husband fed and burped it Sunday afternoon. We were at school 20 minutes early Monday to return the baby.
When my friend died, my younger daughter started chanting with us at meetings. She has attended a Women’s General Meeting, a few district chanting meetings, a Young Women’s Division meeting and was the MC for Sunday’s World Peace Prayer. My older daughter says she will also attend the YWD meeting this Friday.That is something I wasn’t expecting.
Also at WPP, a member came who we haven’t seen in about 8 years. I have been sending him a calendar every month, but it started to come back with no forwarding address. That’s another interesting thing – we are bringing back our Men’s Division members. Tonight we are home visiting one and last night I home visited another. I am looking forward to more MD members at meetings. I am not looking forward to the next electronic baby doll weekend when my younger daughter has to do it.
Nancy