(Photo above by Annushka Ahuja / Pexels)
We all believe that a better version of ourself is out there. The person who will wake up early, exercise, make time for walks—the person who doesn’t zone out for hours watching TV and wake up holding an empty ice cream carton.
Maybe we’ve tried various manifestation techniques to bring out this better person like journaling, creating vision boards or writing down our goals over and over again. This kind of positive thinking resonates with science and Buddhism.
Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda writes that we are the author and hero of our life.
To perform your play well, it is important you pound the script into your head so thoroughly that you can see it vividly before your eyes. You may need to rehearse in your mind. Sometimes it helps to write down your goals ... copying them over and over until they are burned into your heart.
My Dear Friends in America, p. 416
In other words, making a vision for what we want to achieve and believing we can do it against all odds is a necessary and powerful part of accomplishing something incredible.
Psychologist Tchiki Davis explains that believing you can do something and having positive expectations of yourself makes you more likely to succeed. She writes, “That means that our beliefs about our ability to learn, grow and succeed—our growth mindset—can indeed affect whether we effectively manifest what we desire. Importantly, this research suggests that if we truly believe we can achieve something, we are willing to do the hard work to achieve it.”
Dr. Davis makes the key point that while envisioning a better version of ourselves or a brighter future is powerful, it must be combined with hard work and action in order to actually manifest the things we want. Buddhism teaches that when we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and then take action based on our chanting, we can achieve the great dreams we have for our lives.
Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo enables us to create a powerful vision for our lives
Dr. Davis notes, “Research shows that if we’re already feeling bad, we’re more likely to interpret neutral circumstances in a negative way.” When we are filled with doubts about ourselves and our abilities, our capacity to envision a better future contracts, and we feel confined. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo allows us to overcome such negativity or ignorance of our Buddhability. To chant is to call forth and recognize our inherent wisdom, courage and compassion or Buddhability. Based on seeing this true version of ourselves, we can imagine a bright future. Chanting is the most powerful way to construct an exciting vision for our future.
Chanting is the most powerful way to construct an exciting vision for our future.
The formula is to chant and take action
Of course, if we only chanted and took no action to study for a test or practice an instrument, we couldn’t expect to get the results we were hoping for. One of the purposes of chanting is to inspire us to overcome our fears or inertia and take action.
On a trip to Brazil in 1960, Daisaku Ikeda was asked by a farmer who practiced Buddhism why his crops failed? Ikeda then asked him detailed questions about his farming techniques and the condition of his soil, to which the farmer struggled to respond. Ikeda then said:
Buddhism is a teaching of unsurpassed reason. Therefore, the strength of your faith must manifest itself in the form of studying, exercising your ingenuity, and making twice as much effort as anyone else. Earnest chanting is the wellspring for the energy to challenge these things. ... Of course, there are many ways of praying. Some people may pray that everything just falls into their laps without having to make any effort. But a religion that encourages such prayer will lead people to ruin. ... It is also important that we establish clear and concrete goals for what we hope to achieve each day and then pray and challenge ourselves to achieve each of them. This earnest determination gives rise to wisdom and resourcefulness, thereby leading to success. In short, to win in life we need determination and prayer, effort and ingenuity. It is misguided to dream of getting rich quick, expecting to encounter a rare stroke of luck or some shrewd money-making scheme. This is not faith. It is mere fantasy.
The New Human Revolution, vol. 1, pp. 365–66
One of the aims of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is to rouse ourselves to take brave, bold action. Chanting gives us the courage to work hard and make our dreams happen, so we are never stuck. When we do that, we can achieve anything. It’s next-level manifesting.