Why consistent practice is important
All said and done, we could now assume that knowing what we know now about enlightenment is all that is required to achieve happiness.
However, it is within our human nature that we tend to forget things. Even though we may have found great delight and understanding in these few lines, and the many research efforts into the subject matter of Buddhism that is yet to follow, if we don’t keep the one essential phrase in mind, Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, we are in danger of forgetting once again who we truly are, so tells us Nichiren Daiushonin.
Thus, the Buddha’s of present and past have made it absolutely clear that there can be no ‘maintenance’ of enlightenment without consistent practice. As mentioned, in NDB regular chanting and keeping the phrase of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo in mind will remind the practitioner of the true nature of all phenomena.
Yet, many people shy away from a commitment towards practice as they see it as chains seemingly shackling them to some sort of undesired routine. They say “I want to be free” only to be trapped by their inability to overcome their own negativity eventually.
We just have to think of the smoker who can’t stop smoking, the overweight person that cannot get up and exercise, the person that cannot forget and forgive or the man or women who doesn’t believe he or she could do a certain thing, etc. Are they not chained to something more terrifying? Are they not chained to their fundamental darkness nevertheless they are under the illusion that they are in fact ‘free’ when in reality they are just ignorant.
Yet, those who discipline themselves by observing their mind and see it for what it truly is through consistent practice are seen as ‘trapped’. How could this be? Wouldn’t we be better off to have the ability to see phenomena for what they really are, and then act wisely?
We have come to understand that conflict has its cause in ‘distinction’. ‘Distinctions’ are a necessary function of the mind to have the perception of being ‘something’. The NDB practitioner aims to see distinctions for what they truly are and understands that all is ultimately one (i.e. without distinction) as highlighted by the concept of ‘dependant origination’. The practitioner furthermore understands that life as it presents itself as a function of distinctions is eternal and dynamic, and is to be enjoyed. Thus, life’s ultimate purpose is finding happiness through maintaining a high life state through practice no matter what the circumstances. Conflict in its highest state of mind is therefore seen merely as a motivator for eternal growth and cause for change and expansion, conflict in the lowest state of mind is seen as hellish function
Buddhism specifies an unenlightened person’s mind as driven by ignorance and therefore their mind is likely to create undesired consequences. Furthermore, an unenlightened person cannot ‘see’ that all effects, desired or undesired are thus ultimately self-created and can be changed as soon as the mind changes. Unenlightened persons are also unaware of their eternal existence and therefore may lack the motivation and understanding that allows for an ‘escape’ from ones action.
The enlightened person (Buddha) knows the only way to change the undesired consequences of a past action (karma) into desired consequences is through changing the current action with the power of wisdom derived from Buddhist practice. Thus, NDB holds the view that through practicing enlightenment (chanting), besides ensuring good mental health, it will also be an effective determinant for good physical health as it offers practitioners the necessary psychological coping mechanisms needed to face the daily challenges of this life and beyond.