When facing worrisome problems which seem to have no forthcoming resolution, I turn to the life philosophy of my Buddhist practice for the strength of endurance and perseverance. In fact, another name for Buddha*, is ‘one who endures.’
Especially when the world’s darkness and/or my personal difficulties loom larger and thicker than expected, I reach for a way to create hope where there seems to be none. The way that works for me to bring myself up from the ground is through renewed prayer.
I have found that relying on prayer raises my optimism, and boosts my awareness of, and ability to hone, the qualities needed to navigate through the storm. I find that prayer also cuts my suffering in half, enabling me to surmount challenges with less angst and more positive energy.
Prayer also has a revolutionizing impact, starting from the microcosm of my inner life, and manifesting in the macrocosm of my environment. Like Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see.”
When I don’t like what I see, whether it’s the mirror, my circumstances, someone else or the world, it all boils down to taking full responsibility. As Buddhist Priest, Nichiren, stated, “If you want to understand the causes that existed in the past, look at the results as they are manifested in the present. And if you want to understand what results will be manifested in the future, look at the causes that exist in the present.” (Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Vol 2 P.172.)
I share my current prayer (note that Buddhist prayer is a determination, not a plea for external help) with the sincere intent that it brings you hope and encouragement:
I’m determined to defeat old karmic patterns of self-doubt and fear with the unbeatable strength of the Mentor/Disciple** vow. This is my promise to use all my difficulties to transform myself and my environment into the land of the Buddha–a realm of harmony, prosperity, peace, joy and confidence. This change is ignited by my focus on the expansive growth of my compassion, which is the root of the Mentor/Disciple spirit.
I pray to develop compassion. I pray to envelop my life, the lives of those around me, and the world with the unlimited, protective power of the universe. I pray to feel the immeasurably loving essence of the universe and for this force to surround and nurture each person connected to me, and everyone in the entire world.
I pray to tap and unleash the qualities of my Greater Self (Buddha nature), through my vow to win with the Mentor/Disciple spirit and show irrefutable actual proof of my inner-power, which is one and the same as the boundless power of the universe.
I pray to counter fundamental darkness (fear, doubt, anger, greed, apathy, etc) with the power of faith in my infinite potential and that of each person. I pray to believe in and trust in my inherent goodness and capability and in the goodness and capability of others.
I pray with deep appreciation for everything and everyone in my life. I pray to create value from my circumstances. I pray with gratitude for the opportunity to use hard times to develop my character and to become a better, well-rounded human being.
I pray to go forward with cheerfulness and joy, proving that happiness is not dependent on external circumstances, but is forged authentically from inside the heart.
This is my vow. I pray to win without fail.
*A Buddha is simply an ordinary person enlightened to the sanctity and preciousness of all life. A Buddha displays qualities such as compassion, wisdom, confidence, cheerfulness, and vigor.
**Mentor/Disciple spirit or vow pertains to the idea that a disciple of a Buddhist faith mentor (such as Nichiren, Shakymuni, or present-day SGI President Daisaku Ikeda) takes the mentor’s vision for peace as his/her own, with the same intensity of resolute conviction as the mentor. In SGI Nichiren Buddhism, the mentor’s vision is the compassionate desire for world peace, based on individual happiness. Buddhism teaches that the Mentor/Disciple spirit is more powerful than any obstacle or difficulty.