The first time I chanted the words Nam Myoho Renge Kyo it was new and different. I knew it was part of this ancient Buddhism and I was told that chanting for a long period of time would be very difficult. I think because I knew it was going to be difficult to sit in one place for a set period of time staring at a scroll and repeating the same words over and over I had the feeling of determination within myself. It’s my competitive side. I said to myself, “Yeah I’ve meditated for hours before, this will be no different! I’ll prove to these Buddhists I got what it takes.” After a little while of chanting something happened. The words started blending together, my mind cleared. I started to feel really good, energized, lighter. I wanted to chant again as soon as possible. That was the beginning.
At the time I didn’t realize it but upon my first time chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo I broke through into the spirit of chanting. Perseverance. It’s one of the most important aspect of Buddhahood. The Buddha has the utmost faith in himself and I expressed that by engaging in something new and difficult for the first time and trying my hardest at it. Because I was so focused and determined on getting it done I broke through all my resistances and experienced something that until recently I’ve been unable to explain.
I’ve only been chanting for about two months now and my attitude has taken a definite turn for the better in the last month or so. After that first chanting experience I tried to recapture the feeling. I figured more chanting would to it. The words must be special, there must be something to the practice. But one of the things taught by the practice is the key does not exist outside yourself and if you think it exists outside you will be struggling for a very long time.
And that’s just what I did. I struggled. I looked for more spiritual teachings to fill me but all they seemed to do was make the unrest within myself more apparent. I still felt incomplete, not quite real enough to take on the challenges that presented themselves to me. I started to lose faith in the practice. I was wondering when the magic was going to kick in.
It was then I realized with the help of some friends in the Buddhist organization known as the SGI that it was something I needed to bring out from myself. The chanting is just words. The scroll which we chant to is just paper, unless you truly realize that you need to bring out that unlimited potential within yourself . You need to chant and bring out that feeling that you can overcome any obstacle. Since I had this realization I’ve had more benefit from chanting and I’ve been more active in my life, engaging in activities with a new optimism that is beyond positive thinking.