Fueled By Daimoku

On April 10th, 2010, my friend and I decided to begin an ambitious Daimoku campaign. With exactly one month left of our study abroad in China, we became determined to leave Shanghai with a major break through. Determined to be victorious, we vowed to chant 250,000 daimoku within the next 4 weeks, which would mean 3 hours a day, with the hopes of chanting one million daimoku by July 10, 2010 (date of the West Territory Rock the Era festival).

This is just a running diary of my daily thoughts, obstacles, benefits and whatever else I may encounter on this journey towards Buddhahood.

:)
~ Wednesday, June 23 ~
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June 22, 2010

Holy crap. It’s been over 6 weeks since I wrote in this. 

Let’s see.. I left China having chanted well over 250,000 daimoku, which was my goal. Yay! I accomplished many things that I had written down at the beginning of my daimoku campaign 

- Financial breakthrough - Not only did my dad receive his paycheck, but he has been receiving more steady jobs in the past 2 months. Also received a generous Soka grant in addition to my merit scholarship, which covers about half of my tuition. Major breakthrough since I never previously received any financial aid. 

- Spirit Department President - Although I didn’t have much (or any) competition, I was appointed as Spirit Dept President for the 2010-2011 year. Looking forward for this opportunity to work with my class and contribute to SUA in my own way

- All 3 of my friends that were waitlisted for SUA were accepted as Class of 2014! Super happy for their victories

- Alex and I got the room we wanted for senior year :P 

-Support Rock the Era - After only attending one practice, I was appointed as a Socal West YPG rep, basically helping out Kumi and Lisa and communicating to other YPG reps and helping plan morning meetings and making sure practices run smoothly. And then 2 weeks ago I was also appointed as the Socal West Fife and Drum Corps Drumline leader. I’ve also been able to invite many guests who plan on attending Rock the Era, some of my cousins included. 

- My previous employer contacted me and I will be working with them again once the season starts again and I was just accepted for an internship at ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) which I will be able to continue with during the fall semester. I didn’t even have to apply for anything, opportunities just came up! 

- A- study abroad grade. Yeah, I REALLY wanted an A, but an A- is still a victory. I know I worked hard, but I didn’t study nearly as much as I could have. And it’s perfectly understandable. The important thing is that my GPA is not affected in a negative way and I’m happy with that

Overall,by the end of my study abroad experience I definitely got the BREAK THROUGH I was seeking. Learning the STAND ALONE SPIRIT, or course with the help and support of my friends and family, I was able to set and accomplish goals in just a matter of weeks. 

Right now I’m struggling in consistency. My faith has been like fire, burning with passion for about a month, and then going out for another few weeks. 

There are 18 days left until the West Territory Rock the Era festival and I am determined to be VICTORIOUS in every aspect of my life! 

Restarting my daimoku campaign…now :) 


1 note
~ Thursday, May 6 ~
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May 5, 2010 

All I have to say is 

oneness of self and environment.


~ Tuesday, May 4 ~
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May 4, 2010 

Oops, it’s been over a week since I’ve updated. The past week was extremely difficult. After taking my final test, I felt SO discouraged and defeated. I know I didn’t do well on the test. I’ve never done so poorly on a test, and knowing that I did so badly on my final just made me so upset and difficult to enjoy my final days in Shanghai. Others tell me “don’t worry, you did fine” No. I know I didn’t. I should have studied more, and there’s nothing I can do now.. except work 100 times harder on my next final.

I also fell behind on my daimoku. For this week, I feel behind a total of 4 hours. Over the weekend I consistently kept up with my 3 hrs/day and I caught up on 2 out of 4 hours. I still have 2 more hours to go, which I’ll be sure to complete by the end of the week. 

I think I avoided updating my blog because I didn’t want to face my failures and write about them. But if I’m going to be completely honest about my whole “journey” then I shouldn’t be afraid to share my struggles too. 

A few excerpts from A Youthful Diary that struck me: 

"The faith that can change destiny cannot be carried out easily. Must not doubt. The fundamental cause lies in my own determination and faith.

I have a mission. Without a mission, a Bodhisattva of the Earth has no reason to exist. Human beings must never forget their mission. Since this is the case, my only choice is to courageously carry out powerful, unyielding, indomitable faith.”

— Daisaku Ikeda, October 10, 1953 


~ Wednesday, April 28 ~
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April 27, 2010 

Exhausted — mentally and physically. 

School from 8:40am - 5pm. Not only did I perform in my class skit, but was also the MC for the program (basically another presentation in itself). Skit went well, our teachers and classmates definitely enjoyed it. 

Tonight I memorized my 10 minute final presentation for my Intensive class, and finished studying for my last vocab quiz EVER. Feels weird now that we’re finally starting to wrap things up here. I’m anxious to go home, but I still have a long way to go. 

Looks like I’ll be cramming for my Intensive Final tomorrow night. I was really trying to avoid that, but I NEED to sleep tonight. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t meet my chanting goal for the day, only chanted 2 hours. I will do my best to complete my goal tomorrow. Considering doing a toso over the weekend (I have a 5 day holiday coming up!)

Rock the Era stuck out in my mind today. It’s so significant that the West Territory festival is in Long Beach, my hometown. There have even been practices held at my old high school. In all of LB region, I am one of the few that can say that. :) I want to do my best to support this movement in as many ways as possible. More specifically, I want to open up my family’s house for kosen rufu! I have friends traveling from out of state to LB for the festival, and I’d love for them to be able to stay at my house. Unfortunately, our roof has a leak at the moment and my parents say it’s unsuitable for guests. Must find a way to open up our house and support RTE :) 

Almost 2 am, time for bed. I’ll wake up in 4 hours. 


~ Tuesday, April 27 ~
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April 26, 2010 

“Devote yourself single-mindedly to faith with the aim of reaching Eagle Peak”  —“The Swords of Good and Evil” (WND, 452) 

1 am, just finished chanting my 3 hours for the day. 

Received my test from last week, got a 90. I was hoping for a higher score, but this is still the highest test score I’ve received in this specific class, so I guess that’s a slight victory. What used to be the easiest sections are now the sections that I miss the most points. Will definitely need to work harder towards my final.

I also received my essay back. I jokingly asked my teacher why she’s such a hard grader. I only received 2 marks on my paper, but received a 9.5, she looked at it again and then changed my grade to a 9.8. Only a few points, but anything will help towards that A.. :) 

I spent the majority of my afternoon working on a script because I was one of 2 people chosen to MC tomorrow’s “Chinese Performance”. I agreed because I figured it would be a good way to improve my Chinese, but I never imagined how time consuming this task would be. In total, I spent 4 1/2 hours in her office working on this script. I was really flustered because I felt like I was thrown off schedule. I just began my finals week, and I couldn’t help but think how that time could have been used towards my final presentations or studying for my final :(

As soon as I got home, I chanted 1 hr 40 minutes, and it calmed my nerves down a bit. I caught up in my “schedule” and finished my homework and daimoku at around the same time I usually do. I originally wanted to finish my other presentation and study for my test, but I still have a couple of days for that. 

Didn’t get to read as much of A Youthful Diary as I usually do, will make an extra effort to read more tomorrow. 


~ Monday, April 26 ~
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April 25, 2010 

Finally, a day where I have chanted 3 hours of daimoku and I’m not behind on my schedule. Whee! The past week I chanted more than 3 hours almost every day because I fell behind over the weekend, but now I’m finally completely caught up. Hopefully from here on out, I will be able to keep up with my schedule and maybe even chant extra daimoku too (Gotta start planning ahead, especially since I’ll be going on a one week trip to Beijing and Xi’an, which will make it even more difficult to keep up.)

This morning I thought of many ideas towards next year’s Spirit Department. I’m really excited to actualize these ideas. I know elections already finished for 2012 and 2013, and elections for 2011 begin this week. I’m praying to have the best team to work with. It’s a difficult decision and I’m not sure who I’m voting for yet, because I see the potential in each candidate. Regardless, I know next year will be an amazing year. 

I have a tough week ahead of me, but I don’t feel worried at all. Just a few weeks ago, I would have been freaking out over finals, but at this very moment I feel like I have everything under control. It’s a great feeling, and I know I owe this to chanting NMRK :) 

Lastly, I talked to my mom today. My dad has finally received his paycheck! After nearly 2 months, he finally got paid. Mom said “Keep chanting, Gosho says daughter’s daimoku works faster.” lol I wonder what Gosho actually says that. 

For Today and Tomorrow daily encouragement from this weekend are exceptionally suitable: 

 

Daily Encouragement by Daisaku Ikeda

Saturday, April 24, 2010

When youth are awakened to a sense of mission, their power is limitless. Ultimately, we have to entrust our hopes and visions for the future to the youth. This is a golden rule. Youth is pure. Youth will rise up to fulfill their ideals without calculation or self-interest. The fundamental spirit of a leader must be to reach out to such young people, work with them and bring out their capabilities and direct their youthful energies in a positive direction.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Adversity gives birth to greatness. The greater the challenges and difficulties we face, the greater opportunity we have to grow and develop as people. A life without adversity, a life of ease and comfort, produces nothing and leaves us with nothing. This is one of the indisputable facts of life.

Continued reading A Youthful Diary. Definitely recommended! Sensei never fails to encourage me :) 


~ Sunday, April 25 ~
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April 24, 2010 

Yay! I’m all caught up in my daimoku, and then some. Chanted 4 hours today, feeling good.

Today was my mental day of rest. I didn’t worry about studying for class and just relaxed, hung out, and explored Shanghai. It was a beautiful sunny day and sky was so clear and blue — definitely rare for Shanghai, so I just had to take advantage of it. :)

I talked to a friend about buddhism. Conversations like these always make me want to study more because I often find myself with little to say. I need to study more, and also be more confident in myself. 

On another note, I’ve noticed that my cousins (coincidentally all from my father’s side of the family) have seemed really depressed/angry with their lives. I think I’m the only person in my family that could possible reach out to them and hopefully share buddhism. My mom has tried sharing buddhism with his sisters in the past, and he would get all negative and defensive.. But, why not share something that can so easily ease their sufferings and help them become happen? Hm..

Also read a lot of A Youthful Diary, and re-read Sensei’s essay on Human Revolution. So encouraging! I must keep moving forward :) 

“Patience. Weather the storms of criticism with a smile. Await the time. Create the opportunity. Step by step.

Confidence. Whatever the battle, no weapon can compare. Continue to set great waves in motion, with the full power of ‘three thousand realms in a single moment of life.’

Conviction. Amid the succession of hard struggles, how truly wonderful to survive, win and show proof of victory! History books are filled with errors. But in our own history the history written only in our hearts, we cannot record a single falsehood or embellish anything.” 

— A Youthful Diary, Thursday June 15 1950, Daisaku Ikeda


~ Saturday, April 24 ~
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April 23, 2010 

I only chanted 2 hours and 15 minutes because I fell asleep before I could do my last 45 minutes, I was just so exhausted. I had finally caught up from the previous weekend, and now I’m behind 45 minutes. Oops

Chinese test went fairly well. It’s the most confident I’ve ever felt on a test, but I don’t want to say too much until I get my results. 

Caught up with some friends, and that felt really nice. I’m really excited to go home..

Had an awkward confrontation with a friend. At first I didn’t understand what she said to me, and it took me a while to try to make meaning out of it. Trying to be more patient ad show more appreciation. 

Studied a little bit about "Oneness of Self and Environment" 

The Buddhist principle of the oneness of self and environment (esho funi) means that life (sho) and its environment (e) are inseparable (funi). Funi means “two but not two.” This means that although we perceive things around us as separate from us, there is a dimension of our lives that is one with the universe. At the most fundamental level of life itself, there is no separation between ourselves and the environment.

Buddhism teaches that life manifests itself in both a living subject and an objective environment. Nichiren wrote, “Life at each moment encompasses…both self and environment of all sentient beings in every condition of life as well as insentient beings—plants, sky and earth, on down to the most minute particles of dust.”

More on this later. Time to go!


~ Friday, April 23 ~
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April 22, 2010 

So far, I’ve completed my 3 hours for the day. I’m still about 45 minutes behind (I think) from last weekend. Will definitely catch up this weekend. 

This morning I woke up with a terrible stomachache and I didn’t feel like going to class. I did my morning daimoku, took a short nap and then ended up going to my class. That was my first victory of the day :P 

Today’s review went well. I felt well prepared, but I still plan on studying much more. I asked my teacher if she thinks I can get an A, and she seemed confident in me. That gave me some hope. 

Yesterday I was feeling discouraged on my path towards law school. My professor had asked me why I’m interested in law, and informed me that the bar exam doesn’t even cover int’l law, so then I got really confused and discouraged. I’ve been exchanging a few emails with her, telling her what I’m interested in and she gave me the contact info of a professor at Chapman University who is a Human Rights Lawyer and has worked with Cambodia/UN tribunals — my exact interests! Will definitely get in contact with him, I know he’ll be a great resource for my future. I hadn’t even considered Chapman, but the more I think about it, the more I want to go there! Not only is it a top rated Law school, but it’s located in Socal and has a professor that specializes in my specific field of interest. It’s almost too good to be true! :) 

I still have a long night of studying ahead of me. It’s okay, coffee + daimoku is a great combination for nights like this :) 


~ Thursday, April 22 ~
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April 21, 2010 

Today was a relatively relaxing day since I didn’t have much homework and no quiz to study for. I took the opportunity to begin reviewing for Friday’s test, chant 3 1/2 hours, and read parts of A Youthful Diary and some passages from the Gosho (posted the one I read today in a previous post) 

This is my first time reading A Youthful Diary from the beginning. I’ve read only parts and certain passages, mostly when I was studying with other people. I’d like to finish reading this by the time I finish my one million. It’s so inspiring to think that Sensei was just about my age at the time that he wrote this diary.

"What is today’s task? To fulfill my mission for today. What is my mission for today? To struggle to my own circumstances. What is the struggle? To advance, to the limits of my strength"

- A Youthful Diary; Sunday, September 4

Learning to embrace my struggles and cheerfully advance. I really want to support my friends. I will.