It is so hard for me to say what is truly in my heart because the language of the world, like the world itself, is very compromising. For this reason, I have the tool of writing which can convey what on-the-spot conversation makes very difficult, less because of the conversation itself than because I get nervous around people of telling them my inner truth because it has been my experience that they never understand so I’ve grown up and grown accustomed to “lying”, embellishing the truth with the common parlance of the day. That is also why reading is very helpful to all people, because it enables them to be exposed to the thoughts of people removed from what has to seem popular and acceptable. Of course, when it comes to best-sellers and money-making, then even literature is not safe from the harm of embellishment or outright distortion. But we try our best anyway.
I said to you “when I find ‘the secret’…”, but was that really “the secret”? And what did I mean anyway? And what did you think I meant? I suspect you thought I meant the secret to longevity. I meant the secret of love. But the real secret is the thing I mentioned in the course of conversation, not even thinking to speak of it in the right context, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. First, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo contains the key to unlocking all the other secrets to the mystery of life, of living well and happily. The chant unlocks within all people the ability they already have to attain supreme happiness in this life. Without it, we are fettered by chains and ties of karma. Karma is the collection of all the actions we have committed, positive and negative, since time without beginning, over countless lifetimes. While we are fundamentally free and therefore literally unfettered by anything, the reality as it is for all people in this world is that cause and effect is real, so that if the amount of causes is sufficient enough, it is like a heavy weight that a single human being cannot move no matter how hard he tries. So we end up bound and fettered by the accumulation of countless causes we have made in the past, positive and negative, such that we can’t overturn that karma and make different causes in this lifetime unless we have something very powerful like a lifting crane strong enough to lift that huge weight of causes we’ve made. It is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo which is that lifting crane strong enough of overturn the negative causes we’ve made in lifetime after lifetime, the karmic pattern we’ve tied ourselves up in by the causes we’ve made, so that we can make different causes starting this moment. For example, some people are born into this life to live a short life, and they live short lives lifetime after lifetime, while there are other people who have made good karmic causes that cause them to be born in each subsequent life with longevity. They do not need to chant to change their karma unless they hate years of being old. That is a different kind of negative karma, the kind where you get so sick and tired of tying your shoes, of hearing the same bad jokes told generation after generation, only in different form, of hearing the same bad love songs on the radio, only different as the style changes from decade to decade, until they get so fed up they just get sick so they can be released from this world. But it is not for long, for soon they find themselves repeating the same cycle in another life.
The same is true of love. Some have made causes such that they live their entire lives pining away for love yet nothing they do is able to change that karma whereas others spend their lives filled with love, yet still others live lifetime after lifetime in bad relationships suffocating eternity away wishing they could break free from the husband or wife they can’t stand yet unable to find any relief, even though they may go through ten marriages in each of their umpteen billions of lives. As you said, there is nothing you can do about it. That is your fate and you have to live with it. EXCEPT. EXCEPT if you chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the secret and I have already found it. I am not old yet. Will I get old? Of course some day unless I die first. It is not longevity I want so much as love. I am one of those destined by my own past causes to suffer my lives alone. But now, as I was trying to tell you, that I have found Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, I am changing that karma so I can enjoy love and companionship throughout my lives from this moment into the future. Already, I have won through my blood, sweat and toil, a wonderful marriage. Sure this marriage had problems, but I have so many wonderful memories with H____ that revolutionized my experience of living and changed my destiny forever. So even though it is tough now finding fulfillment of this change of destiny and my old karma, with tremendous and powerful angry venomous force, is fighting back with a vengeance, I will win and not stop fighting till I do. That is why I push myself up the stairs and down the street. I am sure I burn less calories in total than you do carrying Tutsie, though you seem to have a wonderful even-keel way that you do it. Which is a lesson I can learn from you and a help to helping me change my karma with more appreciation and acceptance.
But as for the secret, I have found it. The point is I am changing eons-long karma, something nobody does. Unless they chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. I felt I had to not leave our conversation as it was but clarify why I understand. Please feel free to respond as you understand.
P.S. The bottom line for people, for life and for Buddhism is happiness. It is not longevity, not prosperity, not being loved. They are important but only insofar as they support ourselves to be happy. Buddhism, that is the Buddhism of Nichiren and the SGI, not other kinds, teaches that we already possess within us happiness; the work is in bringing it out so we can enjoy and savor it, just like billions of dollars worth of gold could be buried in the ground but it will be useless unless we do the work of finding it and bringing it out. It is for this purpose that the practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo so we can naturally become aware of the happiness inside and not look for it on the outside. It is so that we can not have to resign ourselves to the limited happiness we are born with but fight to make full use of the unlimited reservoir of happiness that each human being contains as much as we all contain blood, a liver, a heart, two hands, two legs, two eyes….you get my drift. Nichiren Daishonin, the founder of the Buddhism of Nam-myoho-renge-=kyo stated, “We ordinary people can see neither our own eyelashes, which are so close, nor the heavens in the distance” (The Writings of Nichiren, vol I, p1137), and in this way explains why it is hard to see the happiness that already exists within each of us without exception. And SGI President Daisaku Ikeda states, “The fundamental causes of the emotions of happiness and suffering we experience are not something outside us, but exist ultimately in our hearts. The pain of hell and the limitless joy of Buddhahood (happiness) are nowhere but within the depths of our own lives” (The Teachings for Victory). He also states, “In early Buddhist scriptures, one of the many honorable titles by which Shakyamuni Buddha was known ws the ‘Happy One’” (ibid.)
“We ourselves embody happiness. No one can take that happiness away. No one can destroy it…..With the most powerful life force, one can stand surrounded by good fortune and dwell at ease in a beautiful ‘magnificent palace’ of happiness. Such happiness is not self-centered. Rather, it is an inexhaustible happiness, happiness that can embrace both oneself and others.” This is the secret I should have told you before, but part of what I said was true. By knowing this secret, I know that I don’t have to resign myself to fate but I can forge with undefeated determination the destiny I intend to create for myself in the future, always free, always increasingly happy, with such beautiful branches as longevity, youth that fades slowly and love deeper than the ocean.