The United Prayer Chart
By Lillian Lau

Hi! My name is Lillian, and I was born into the practice. I never knew how the Gohonzon works, but I did know that it brought happiness, peace, and security to my family.

I always chanted and got what I wanted. Therefore, I would only chant if I needed something.

I thought my life was simple — free time to play, to hang out with friends, and fall in love. I thought that’s how life should be — play, eat, hangout, go to a good school, and get a good job, and that’s it.

It was not until after I graduated from college, that I asked myself, what is life all about? Is this who I am?

I knew what chanting does for my family, but I never understood how it could help me out, and why it was so important to chant for others.

I was lazy, not wanting to care about others. I only cared about myself. My practice was self-centered. That’s what I thought life was all about … survival of the fittest. I was angry at the world, but mostly I was angry with myself.

I always depended my happiness on others, envying celebrities, or wanting to be other people, but not myself. Even though I did have some negativity in my life, I just thought, “Oh well.” I thought my life was a waste. Just work, and work, sleep, go to activities, hang out with friends, and that’s it. Not until I watched violent movies, watched violent reality on the internet, and read stories about rape, murder, etc. — then I only thought, well, that shouldn’t happen to me, I’m a Buddhist, and I am protected no matter what. But that wasn’t the case. 

When I received the united prayer daimoku campaign chart, I didn’t know what it was all about. Chanting for others? I didn’t think so! This is for myself, I thought about how selfish I am. I didn’t care. I just wanted that chart for myself.

The first week I started chanting, I had my first anxiety/panic attack. I couldn’t figure out why. Images of Iraq, WWII, holocaust, murders, and rape were haunting me. And they were haunting me so bad, that I thought I was going crazy. These images were so negative. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, and couldn’t think straight, and cried day and night. I had to talk to somebody about this.

I was so fortunate to have my parents and the Blue Bell District for support.

The first week, I wanted those images to go away. But they didn’t. They were getting worse and worse, I felt like I was being a victim of my own mind. John told me “You must find the cause of this.” My parents said, “Maybe you’re a little Shakamuni.” My dad explained how Shakamuni Buddha was a prince, and how he wanted to change people’s lives when he went out of his kingdom and saw that the world was suffering. I still didn’t understand it, and I didn’t want to listen to my dad. I just thought, I want to get this over with, and I’m going to fight it. Everyday I chanted 3-4 hours. In the morning, I would get up and chant an hour along with gongyo, and then in the afternoon, I tried to chant as much as I could. 

Even though I felt better, something inside me still felt those thoughts, those negative haunting thoughts. I said OK, there must be something terribly wrong with me. And I had other negative thoughts like labeling myself as crazy.

I went to the doctor who told me I was fine. He suggested that maybe I can try cognitive therapy or take some anti-depressants. I felt relieved that I was healthy, but didn’t want to rely on medications. My mom told me “No, if you do, you will lose, only chanting can heal you. Don’t give up, just chant.”

I read in Nichiren Daishonin’s writing that devils/obstacles occur and can become gods when one holds true faith. I just wanted a quick recovery, that’s all, to live a normal life again. I still kept my head up high, still went to meetings, and still chanting, however the images were still there. I looked for some serious guidance, and found: “View your fear as positive. Trust that fear will create breakthroughs, and to bring you strength of character. Trust the harmony of your life.” 

How can I view fear as positive?

After many hours of chanting, something clicked in me. I realized why I was having all these thoughts. I realized that the world is suffering, and they needed my help. I realized that I shouldn’t be selfish about my own goals but also care about others. I started to understand what it means to have worldwide kosen-rufu. Even though I couldn’t do anything about the past, I understand that the world is suffering, and needs our help — now and in the future. This is how I came to understand that human revolution, kosen-rufu, and chanting for others is so important. 

During those weeks I planted seeds of Buddhism with over 14 people, and I am continuing to spread seeds of Buddhism. Everyday when I chant, I feel like I am winning. I feel like I have more confidence, I feel stronger, and I feel my positive thinking melting my negative thinking like dew in the warm sun.

Anxiety can be a serious disease, but with chanting and a strong determination anything is possible.

Everyday I wake up happy to be me, happy to challenge myself everyday. I take each moment of life and treasure it in my heart. I may not be perfect at times, sometimes negative images come up in my mind, but I know with chanting, I can view them as positive, as something to motivate me and reminding me to chant for kosen-rufu. 

A senior leader explained in the meeting “Don’t ever be scared of obstacles, they are a great opportunity to change your life for better.” When I look back at myself the way I was before, with low-self esteem, selfishness, stubbornness, bad ego, and laziness, I feel appreciate to the Gohonzon that I went through this for helping me realize what kind of person I was, and making me realize that I have unlimited potential to do anything I want with strong determination and confidence! In 3 and ½ weeks, I finished my united prayer chart, and now I am determined to win NO MATTER WHAT! 

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo! 

Get the United Prayer Daimoku Chart as a Word document.