The Buddhist challenge.

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You might know I’m a Buddhist. I’ve been really lax in terms of my practice since the babies were born, though I’ve not wavered in my belief in the basic philosophy. Lately I’ve been thinking I need to step it up a notch. I won’t get you bogged down in what that means, but the most basic – and essential – practice is chanting a phrase. This is ‘Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.’

Nam –  like Vietnam shortened (but not sounding like ‘am’ More like ‘om’) . Actually just  like nom – you know, what babies do to things.

Myo – uh, cats say meow, gangsters say yo, put ’em together into one syllable and you’ve got ‘myo’

Ho – like that girl you went to high school with

Renge – like ‘reggae,’ but with an ‘n’

Kyo – Like Toyko, but again one syllable

Again, I won’t explain what each of these mean, but if you’re interested in Buddhism do get in touch. (Or read The Buddha in Daily Life by Richard Causton – my favourite book on Buddhism, but be warned, it’s theory heavy. But good!! If you like a lighter read, I can recommend other books.)

So ANYWAY. You repeat this phrase out loud over and over.  This sort of Buddhism encourages chanting for ‘actual proof,’ namely, things that you aim to achieve – and then see if the Buddhism helps you. Buddhism is an humanist philosophy/religion, so you are not asking some outside deity to sort your life out. More like you are getting yourself into the best, strongest position to help you take action and improve your life.

We have chanted for things in the past and had astounding results. One being getting our twins on our first cycle!

However, I don’t find ‘things’ as alluring as how generally good Buddhism makes me feel. Every time I chant, particularly when doing it every day, I just feel more positive, proactive, creative, joyful.

Now, the other thing about Buddhism is that you don’t have to sell your soul. Chanting is for anyone to try out, and then if it works, great. If not, they may choose to move on to something else or try later – also fine. I met a man when I was working on a Buddhist magazine a few years ago (oh, there are so many things about me you do not know! I am like Phoebe on Friends!) who said he’d been introduced to Buddhism via the ‘Daz Challenge.’

Daz being a washing powder that claims to make your whites whiter, etc. Essentially, this guy was told to try chanting every day for 100 days straight – say, for five minutes a day. He was told to just give it a go and see what happened. Well, he found himself feeling more grounded and healthy.

Now, I’m already won over by Buddhism. It makes sense for my life. I like the idea of being responsible for effecting change in myself and my community. But I have decided to do a little Daz Challenge myself, to remind myself why I once vigourously practiced, and to get back into the swing of things. Buddhism also encourages you to write down your ‘determinations;’ mine is to be completely healed by 1 May. We’ll see.

All I know is that three days ago I started my Daz Challenge. And you all know how shit I’ve been feeling lately, how hopeless about my pelvis and my subsequent parenting ability. On that day, minutes after chanting, I looked outside and suddenly felt very able. It was sunny out, so I stepped out to check the temperature. Next thing you know, I was hanging out in our garden with my twins for the first time ever.

Yesterday, TMD worked till 9 (and thank you to all who left comments on the babywearing blog. She was SO chuffed and wants to make videos now!). I did some chanting in the evening, and then when the babies were testy, I babywore (is this a word?) both of them. It also just popped into my head to balance my camera on top of some stuff and make videos of how to do babywearing. I felt strong and able. I was filled with joy.

Physically I am feeling pretty good, but emotionally and mentally I feel strong. And when it comes to Buddhism, here is my proof:

Should you choose to give Buddhism a try, let me know! I’ll be curious to see what you think. There is more to it than just chanting, but that is the basic practice. I am tweeting about my 100 days at at the hashtag #dazchallenge, so feel free to follow along over there or join in!

So far as I know, there aren’t massive conflicts between Buddhism and other faiths, so you aren’t, like, pissing in the eye of your god if you try chanting. Wow, that was crass.

Now, I need to return to Day Three!!

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10 Responses to “The Buddhist challenge.”

  1. Anna Says:

    I’m going to try the chanting, starting as soon as I’ve finished here. For strength and energy and faith in the future. For peaceful feelings towards my recently dead stepmother. Ya know, that kind of thing. xx

  2. Anna Says:

    Is it a sitting still, staring at a candle kind of thing, or a going about your business one? The phone kept ringing toiday but I shall try again tomorrow anyway. x

    • existere Says:

      Ha! Sansho shima. That’s the technical term for when you are about to do something really good, starting to shift your life, life pushes back and puts obstacles in your way. It’s a good sign, really!

      I think it’s probably easiest to stare at a blank wall, though you can really chant anywhere. TMD does it driving, I do it walking, etc.

      • existere Says:

        Thought actually I would amend this to say doing it in front of a blank wall, roughly the same time every day is probably the ‘best.’ We do the other going about your business when we have not had time to sit down, or when we need a little boost of courage or something…

  3. Anna Says:

    Thanks x

  4. Anna Says:

    http://www.sgi-uk.org/index.php/buddhism/nam-myoho-renge-kyo

    I looked up the meaning. Perfect timing

    • existere Says:

      Yeah, should you get keenish, there are local discussion groups. People get together to chant and talk about BUddhism. Not as freaky deeky happy clappy as it sounds, I swear. And usually ends with wine. Ha!

      A disproportionate number of people who follow this sort of Buddhism are writers, poets, musicians – it’s uncanny. Shouldn’t be surprised you are curious!!

  5. Christy Says:

    This sounds so interesting. I am so going to give it a try. Thank you for the great information and the super lovely pictures.

    by the way is being chuffed a good thing?

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