A Blog A Day

It\’s a blog where I write about the extraordinary and the ordinary things going on in my life.

Choose Happiness

My life changed drastically since I became a Buddhist. I never believed it at first that just by repeating a mantra over and over again, I would gain unimaginable insight into the nature of existence. Ever since I became a Buddhist, I realized that I knew nothing. And I have to start from scratch.

I also have to learn to live with my negativity. I’ve experienced days when I’d be overflowing with positivity and gratitude. People would notice it in my appearance. Something is just different. But sadly, I am only human. And my negativity somehow manages to pull me back down to earth again.

I realized that I’ve been so keen on increasing my spirituality but I forgot to take care of my body. The night shift exactly hasn’t been good for my body. And ever since I worked at a call center, I started getting asthma attacks. I don’t want to ignore my body anymore. I’ll start taking care of it once I get well.

Right now, I’m having a hard time breathing. I feel as if my lungs are drowning. And breathing is such a struggle, I wonder if I’ll reach my thirtieth birthday.

There are times when I’m emotionally and physically exhausted that I just want to give up. I’ve lived long enough. But then, a part of me, wants to experience the joys of motherhood and of being a wife. I really want to have a happy family. Something that I never really had while growing up. My parents were absentee parents. And I used to be an affectionate child. But I was mostly ignored while growing up.

I want to raise a loving family and a happy family. And to be able to guide my children well. I feel that I know so much about human nature and about humanity in general, that I’m ready to teach my children. And also, because I was inspired by my psychotherapist. She was the one who gave me hope.

At the peak of my nervous breakdown, she said, ” You must plant good seeds. So that you can start a family that is free from all that bad karma.”

My family tree is rotten to the very core. Most of my relatives have something wrong with them. And the worst of that would be incest. But I want it all to stop with me. I want to create something good out of something bad.

In the Lotus Sutra, the phrase ‘turning poison into medicine’ is often mentioned. And during my practice, I’ve experienced that many times. I’ve had moments of profound wisdom that I could see the positive in the negative. I can see the positive in the tragic episodes of my life. There was a time when I was grateful for my childhood trauma. And I still am. That was my karma. And because of it, I was humbled. Because of it, I have become who I am.

My goal is to turn my life around before I hit thirty. I want to completely change my mindset. I want to be more positive than negative. I have experienced negativity for so long now. Unhappiness has dominated my life for more than twenty years now. It’s about time I be happy. And I know I will be happy. I’m already on my way there.

I’m really grateful for Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo. That’s our mantra. Nam is a Sanskrit word for devotion. Myoho is the mystic law of the universe. Renge is cause and effect. And Kyo is the universal sound. And I truly believe that it has extended my life.

Several months ago, I would have given up. I was about to take anti-depressants that sadly would have made me dependent on them. My psychotherapist said, ” Once you take anti-depressants, you would become suicidal for the first few weeks of taking it. Then, you will start to feel better. ” I asked, ” How long am I going to take this.” She answered, ” More than six months to two years.”

But at that time, I was already losing hope. I was about to give up. I am sure that if I haven’t found Buddhism, I would have taken my own life.

Depression is spiritual death. And Buddhism has somehow managed to to take me out of that state. I may feel tired right now, but I’m still writing this. And this email has a positive message.

I know that there have been negative feedback on Sokka Gakai. But I’ve learned to live with them. I still don’t agree with institutionalized religion. I don’t want to label Buddhism as a religion because essentially it is not. It’s mental science. It’s the quest for the true self. And religion is about destroying the true self and turning people into sheep. So, essentially, Buddhism isn’t a religion.

Buddhism has removed God from the equation. A non-Buddhist would assume that Buddhists don’t believe in a God. That has been the fallacy so far. Buddhists don’t have to state the obvious. Once you find your true self, it is inevitable that you don’t find God. It’s the old concept of God that Buddhists have discarded.

I am grateful for Sokka Gakai though for bringing an obscure type of Buddhism–Nichiren Buddhism– to the masses. Nichiren was one of the few Buddhist monks who believed that anyone can achieve enlightenment where they are and as who they are. Theravedan Buddhism believes that we should shun reality and our lives to gain enlightenment. But if you try too hard to achieve enlightenment, it escapes you.

Nirvana is a state of finding the happiness within. Of being grateful for the life that you’ve been given. Nirvana is the bliss of the NOW. I’ve experienced moments of rapture and I’m unsure if it’s real Nirvana or just a glimpse of Nirvana. But I know that I’ll eventually find that within me.

According to some Buddhist sutras, when, Buddha revealed his final message, the monks who had gathered to hear him were displeased by his important message. Buddha announced that everyone has the potential of  becoming a Buddha. Everyone has Buddha-nature. And becoming a monk and living a cloistered existence doesn’t have to be the answer. You can unlock the Buddha within just by being an ordinary person. And shunning your life doesn’t have to be the answer.

The Lotus Sutra, some Buddhists claim, is the highest teaching of Buddha. He tried to teach it to his followers for eight years leading up to his death. On his deathbed, it is claimed that BUddha said these words: Be a lamp upon yourselves.

It is true. Buddha was right. With our minds, we create our own reality. It is up to us, to find the treasure within. It is up to us to find the light within. Happiness and unhappiness is just a point of view. And once you know that, you know that happiness and unhappiness is a choice. And I choose happiness.

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