Who knows what one may find in the lower level of the Fletcher Allen Library on any given day.
On November 9th, the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) met for a group session on the practice of the Lotus Sutra Buddhism, inviting anyone who happened to be wandering the floor that afternoon.
A warm and still atmosphere fell over the room as the members of the group began to chant "NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO" with hands pressed in prayer form in front of their faces.
According to the SGI, the chant connects the ideas of devotion, mystic law, cause and effect, and sound/vibration.
When spoken, a powerful feeling of centering and focus is seen on the faces of the group members. Serene is too simple a word to illustrate the mood.
"I feel tranquility and inner peace when I chant," Holly Schmidlapp said. Holly has been chanting and practicing the Lotus Sutra for four years.
"I use it to break away the inner darkness," she said.
This particular form of Buddhism - Nichieren Buddhism along with the Lotus Sutra - is a dynamic philosophy grounded in the realities of daily life.
The practice leads to empowerment and inner transformation or "inner evolution."
According to this sutra, or sermons of the Buddha, all people can posses sthis Buddha Nature, a state of inner freedom, which allows the person to change the value of any situation in their daily life.
If they can cultivate their good cause, then there will be a good effect, therefore changing their karma circle and ultimately their destiny.
"True happiness is the ability to face any obstacle and overcome it," Liz Joyce said when explaining how the chant centers her life. "Enlightenment comes from being grounded in reality."
Richard Rodriguez, who led the group in the chant for this meeting, claims that reaching Buddha Nature or your highest potential is an inner journey.
"Chanting reveals that higher self more readily," Rodriguez said.
The group has grown tremendously in the last four years, with practicing members of 25 years and a few newcomers who stumbled over the language of the chant.
The group is small, no more than 15 people. A member even came from Montpelier for this week's meeting.
"I would invite the community to get a correct understanding of [the Lotus Sutra]," John Gelineau, who has practiced for more than 20 years, said.
"We don't point fingers; we are looking at ourselves for that deep change," he said.
The students of the Lotus Sutra take a 13th century ideology and study it to overcome job stress, create the hope of a new love or to ultimately grant everyone the peace they have found within themselves.
"I was just curious … you just have to try it," Liz Joyce said. "You can chant for a green light, a lover, for whatever. Just try it."
10 ways to control your anger - Professional expert’s advice
I am really emotional and excitable person. I think that there are two types of anger: constructive anger and a destructive one. In order to understand the anger phenomenon I decided to investigate the nature of anger, reasons of its appearing, key factors and anger management.
What does it mean this anger? Anger is a strong indignation feeling of our emotional sphere that is attended by self-control losing. Anger is a signal of our state. Glands produce an array of hormones that have a great and deep effect on all our body. The main participants of this process are adrenaline and cortisol. They activate cardiovascular system and consequently all organs. Adrenalin causes fast heart beating, rising blood pressure. These rich oxygenated blood streams to the places are responsible for reaction. Thus some extra energy is released.
There are 4 basic ways of anger expressions:
1. Straight and immediately (verbally or nonverbally) to show your anger. It gives an opportunity to free from the negative emotions.
2. To express anger in an indirect way. In this case usually suffer persons that are weaker, not dangerous and those ones who “come to hand”, usually they are our family and close relatives. Thus we hurt our dear ones. One of the best ways is to express your anger to the person who is the source of this very anger. If it is impossible- better find some compromise.
3. Restraining anger you “drive” it deep inside. So, negative emotions store will provoke a big stress sooner or later.
4. You may foresee situation of anger feeling, try not to expand this feeling but get to know the reason, understand and solve it. A Roman philosopher Seneca said: “When you are feeling of ascending “volcano”- stand still, not doing anything- not speaking, not moving.”
Anger is a normal and natural human feeling, especially nowadays as life is really fast and we have a huge amount of information to accumulate (in comparison with our previous generations). The range of anger is rather wide: from a slight annoyance to impetuous fury. Anger can be quick and long, lasting for years in form of bitterness, vengeance or hate. Anger can lead to health issues like depression, high blood pressure, hearth diseases, stresses, alcohol dependence and obesity. If you are anger- express it. If you feel discomfort from these “negative splashes”- then we can give some techniques how to manage your emotional anger:
- 1. Take a deep and continuous breath. Count up to 50 or imagine your aggressor just naked, only in socks. This will help you to calm and smile.
- 2. Have a walk. Look at high sky. Continue to breathe deep and easily. So you appraise the situation and calm down.
- 3. Do some physical exercises. When you are angry- your body is very tensed and tough. If you stretch your muscles it will relax your body, as you will spill out all your negative energy into action. Your brains will get more oxygen and it assists to clear your thoughts.
- 4. Write down all your thoughts. Write down that you are mad and why. Avoid being rational, logical or laconic. Write on paper all you are feeling this moment. Try to write all in details. The function of this technique is to shift all your anger out of your head on paper.
- 5. Be grateful. Find someone to thank. Do you not forget about yourself. Thank that you have woken up today, thank that that the Sun is shining for you, that the sky is blue and the grass is green.
- 6. Prayer. Ask God to be with you during this anger moment and lead you.
- 7. Meditation. Close your eyes, look into solar plexus, and be all your anger, breathing deeply.
- 8. Change of places. Move yourself on your enemy’s place. And look at situation from his point of view. Better look at the situation from the ceiling. Focus on details, especially on funny and absurd ones. Strive to forgive your enemy as well as forgive truly yourself.
- 9. Go back to your childhood memories. Recollect state when you were angry. Hug this child and say: “All is ok. I am here. You are good child. I love you and I will not leave you.”
- 10. Your values. What is the most significant thing in your life? Who are the most important people in your life? What kind of person do you want to be? Think and accept that point that you are living your life, and you are living your values. There is a good man inside you that wants to help you. I wish you good luck!
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