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When we chant Daimoku to the Gohonzon, even if we are motivated by a BASE desire, the Gohonzon elevates our life condition such that as we continue praying over many months and years, gradually our prayer will become a more enlightened prayer.

That is because the characters on the Gohonzon show the lower nine worlds all arranged around the world of Buddhahood. This causes our own lower worlds to reveal the enlightened potential they inherently possess, i.e. our Buddhahood, as we chant Daimoku to the Gohonzon.

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So how do we practice Diamoku correctly? How do we get the best possible results from our practice?

(Suggested reading: Nichiren Buddhism: Nam Myoho Renge Kyo - Meaning)

How To Practice Daimoku?

  • Half your Daimoku each day should be for the happiness of others, not yourself.

  • When you chant for something material, pray that the Gohonzon will grant your wish so that you can demonstrate the power of Buddhism to others.

  • Chant more about your life condition than specifically for material benefits. After all, as you raise your life condition, your material benefits will come of themselves without your seeking them.

  • Remember that even if you chant for a BMW, your Daimoku to the Gohonzon is elevating your life condition, because that’s how the Gohonzon works, and it’s the improvement in your life condition that really matters, not the BMW. The BMW is useful only because it provides a motivation for you to chant to the Gohonzon.

  • Remember that your Daimoku to the Gohonzon for a BMW is working to give you wisdom and life force, and to strengthen your character attributes, such as being hard-working and responsible. This way you will be able to save your money faster, and earn more money. Your Daimoku is also reaching your environment so that you can form external connections that will give you more opportunities to make money.

In the end, just remember that the practice of Diamoku is all about "cause" and "effect". The very act of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, for ANY desire or intent, creates a "cause" that "effects" an ALL-ROUND improvement in your life condition. It is like boarding a train to "Buddhahood", and no matter where (i.e. which world) you boarded the train from, you WILL reach the destination if you remain on the train.

(Suggested reading: SGI-Experiences | SGI-Guidance)

Don't Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight
Author: Rujuta Diwekar
ISBN: 978-8184001051

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Don't Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight, by Rujuta Diwekar, teaches you how to lose weight without giving up all your favorite foods. No crash dieting, no carbohydrate deprivation, no unbidden cravings. Losing weight doesn't mean having to go hungry. Losing weight is not as much about WHAT to eat, as it is about HOW MUCH to eat and WHEN to eat. And that, in a nutshell, is what this book is all about.

I bought this book a couple of years ago, because it was highly recommended by a few people I know personally. I was not so impressed by it.

First of all, the language in the book was too 'Mumbaiya' for my taste. Perhaps, this kind of over-casual tone appeals to some readers. It was a turn-off for me.

Secondly, the author keeps throwing in names of her high-profile clients to impress/dazzle the readers. Frankly, I don't care. I bought the book to learn about losing weight in a healthy manner, not to read up on her impressive resume. This obvious attempt at flaunting was quite irritating.

Then there was this huge section (rather a complete chapter) in the beginning, devoted to writing off other weight-loss systems. There was so much negative writing about other weight-loss programs and clinics that I almost put the book away. (Talk about over-doing something!)

Coming now to the actual content of Don't Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight... the information for which people buy this book... well, I didn't find anything new to take home. The facts/concepts presented by the author are the same ones that you keep seeing off and on in newspapers and weight-loss sites on the internet... eat shorter meals, eat more frequent meals, don't skip breakfast, eat light dinner, etc. In short, very generalized knowledge. No life-changing philosophy, at least not for me.

Some of it was pretty good advice - like crash diets do more harm than good, so do carb-less diets, and that we should stick to what we've been eating during our growing-up years because our digestive systems are familiar with processing those foods. Rujuta also highlighted the psychosomatic causes of weight gain - stress and lack of self-love.

However, some of the advice given in Don't Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight was not very practical. For example, eating every 2 hours. Not everybody will be able to do that. It would mean that you spend practically the entire day preparing and then eating your meals! Also, the few sample menus she has outlined in the book will require a full-time cook, but all of us are not "Page 3 celebrities" like her high-profile clients! The best that a common man can do perhaps is split his usual 3 meals into 6, i.e. divide the same meal in two sittings instead of just one.

One really good advice in the book is to "cook you own meals". Fry your own chips, have an aloo-ka-paratha instead of a ready-made burger from McDs, go for those home-made fried suhalis and mathris instead of the packed cookies & biscuits, and the halwa or kheer in place of ready-to-eat pastries and doughnuts! One - you'll probably be too lazy, most of the time, to do so much cooking that you'll decide to go without them! Two - in case you do feel up to all that cooking, at least you'll end up burning some of those calories! LOL!

My rating: 3 out of 5. Don't Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight, by Rujuta Diwekar, is an over-hyped book. Just a good compilation of basic common sense regarding nutrition. Nothing new really, but it is all in one place, and does save you the internet research time. I would say: go for it, but don't expect to be spoon-fed. Try to get the basic under-lying principles beneath all those fancy frills in the book.

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Review: Awareness-The Key to Living in Balance by Osho
Awareness - The Key to Living in Balance
Author: Osho
ISBN: 978-0312275631

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Awareness - The Key to Living in Balance, by Osho, is the very first book of this great mystic that I have read. For a less-than-200-page read, this book contains a wealth of life-changing philosophy, though it is impossible to read it in one go. I finished all the four books in the Egyptian series by Wilbur Smith in about half the time it took me to finish this one book! And not because of lack of interest, but because of the depth of the content presented in the book! It is difficult to read more than a few pages at a time.

Blurb from Awareness - The Key to Living in Balance:
Underlying all meditation techniques, including martial arts-and in fact underlying all great athletic performances-is a quality of being awake and present to the moment, a quality that Osho calls awareness. Once we can identify and understand what this quality of awareness is, we have the key to self-mastery in virtually every area of our lives.

According to great masters like Lao Tzu or Buddha, most of us move through our lives like sleepwalkers. Never really present in what we are doing, never fully alert to our environment, and not even aware of what motivates us to do and say the things we do.
In this book, Osho uses incidents from everyday life, anecdotes from Mulla Nassruddin, examples from Buddhist teachings, quotes from Enlightened Masters and findings of famous philosophers, to challenge readers to review their pre-conditioned belief systems and break free from them. He teaches the essence of meditation and living in the present moment. He shows how, with practice, we can avoid being entrapped in the vicious circle of our thoughts. He explains the techniques for relaxing our mind and body, and letting go of all tensions. He points out the difference between religion and spirituality, between character and consciousness, and between a man of quality and a man of awareness.

Awareness - The Key to Living in Balance is written in Osho's characteristic style -- full of wisdom and understanding, insightful and challenging, humorous and down-to-earth, yet, at times, exasperatingly all-knowing and condescending (especially when he talks about the Western world). The book tends to get a bit repetitive at some places, especially in the first half, but that may be deliberate to make sure the concepts sink in. Besides, you'll be flipping back through the pages anyway, re-reading certain paragraphs.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5. Awareness - The Key to Living in Balance, by Osho, is a strong and much needed book in today's stressful living conditions. I will highly recommend it to everyone. Buy it for yourself and gift it to the people you care about, especially those who may be experiencing a low tide in life.

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"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself." - Albert Einstein

Reiki is a very simple technique when it comes to application. There is no intellectual process involved in learning it. Thus, even children can learn it.

(Suggested reading: What is Reiki?)

Learning Reiki consists of receiving attunements from recognized Reiki Grandmasters who have been trained in Dr. Usui's method.

How to learn Reiki?

In Usui Reiki, the teaching process involves several steps, which are now known as 'Degrees'.
  • The First Degree will enable you to transfer Reiki to yourself and others by "touch-therapy", that is, by placing your hands on the recipient's affected area. It can usually be learned in a full-day class, where the student receives a permanent attunement to the Reiki energy. Some Reiki teachers prefer to conduct this class over 2 consecutive days instead of one. Anybody aged 8 years or above is eligible.

  • The Second Degree Reiki grants you greater flexibility, while increasing the effectiveness of treatment to a considerable extent. It also enables you to send treatments across distances now (absentee healing). You are taught the three Usui Reiki Symbols in this 2-days workshop. You must have completed 21 days after the First Degree to be eligible.

  • Then comes the A.R.T. (Advanced Reiki Training) Degree of Reiki, commonly known as Level 3A. The effectiveness of Reiki healings increases many times over after receiving this Degree. You also learn the Usui Reiki Master Symbol. You must have completed at least 6 months after the Second Degree to be eligible.

After these three Reiki Healer levels, there are two Reiki Teacher levels.
  • Reiki Master/Teacher Level, after which you will be able to give First & Second Degree attunements. Attaining this level is upon the sole discretion of the Reiki Teacher. Candidates are initiated only on the basis of their aptitude and energy levels.

  • Reiki Grandmaster Level, after which you will be able to initiate other Reiki Masters and Grandmasters. Once again, attaining this level is also upon the sole discretion of the Reiki Teacher. Candidates are initiated only on the basis of their aptitude and energy levels.
Some Reiki teachers prefer to combine these two Mastership levels into a single Grandmaster Level. Both are okay.

It must be noted here that Reiki is not affiliated to any particular religion. Nor does it require belief in the Reiki system to be effective. It is available to anyone who wishes to learn it.

(Suggested reading: How does Reiki work?)

Also, Reiki cannot be learnt by books or CDs or DVDs. People interested in learning this ancient art of healing must get "initiated" into the Reiki system, by going through the series of attunements as outlined above.

Truly beneficial mantras are not merely rhythmical devices. They also have a deep and positive content - a hopeful, empathetic, and empowering message. "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo", the mantra employed in Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, is one such mantra.

Mantra (and Sutra) recitation should be syllabic, rhythmic and seamless, and at a moderate pace, not rushed. In the beginning, slow is OK. "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo" is chanted as "Nam-myo-ho-ren-ge-kyo”, i.e. 6 syllables.

Meaning of "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo"

NAM (rhymes with "Mum")

NAM is a contraction of NAMU, i.e. NAM+U. NAM means devotion to something, and U means getting back appropriate effects, based on your target and intensity of devotion. For example, some businessmen are devoted to making profit. That’s their NAM. Their U is both good and bad – wealth, and health problems perhaps. Buddhists choose the Universal Law, or the Buddha Nature, as their NAM, which includes and embraces all the lesser NAMs, such as making money. So, a businessman who devotes himself to the Universal Law will succeed at business more than he ever did previously.

MYOHO (each syllable rhymes with "Go")

MYO means the Mystic Law - the cause and maintainer of all that exists. It is the Eternal Truth, or the all-pervading Life Force. It exists within each one of us and within all things, but it cannot be sensed directly. It is the ultimate source of goodness, capability, wisdom, fortune and compassion. HO comprises of all the phenomenal manifestations (or expressions) of MYO - both physical and spiritual. HO is that part which can be grasped through the senses. So MYOHO, together, means the Mystic Law (or the Universal Life Force) and all its manifestations.

RENGE (pronounced as "Wren-Gay")

RENGE stands for the Lotus Flower, which flowers and seeds at the same time. Thus the Lotus Flower is a symbol for the simultaneity of cause and effect. When we chant, our Buddha Nature emerges simultaneously. But to make Buddhahood the central tendency in our lives, it takes years of repeated daily chanting. Also, the Lotus Flower blooms from a muddy swamp, yet it remains untainted by the mud. This symbolizes how Buddhahood can emerge from the life of an ordinary person, by devoting oneself to the Mystic Law and chanting.

KYO (rhymes with "Go")

KYO stands for Teaching (or Sutra). Specifically, it stands for the Lotus Sutra, the teaching that bridges the gap between the Buddha and the common mortal. KYO also means voice. Everything we utter is some kind of cause. It can be positive or negative, and the highest cause we can make is to use our voices to chant our devotion to the Mystic Law. KYO also means the warp of cloth, which symbolizes continuity. Nichiren Buddhism is over seven centuries old, and it comes from a long lineage of earlier Buddhist teachings going all the way back to Shakyamuni, 2500 years ago in India.

As a whole, NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO can be translated as "Devotion to the Mystic Law of cause and effect through sound." But that is only one possible translation. MYOHO RENGE KYO is the title of the Lotus Sutra. By adding NAM, Nichiren discovered the mantra that actually taps the Buddha Nature, or the Law of the Universe.

- Sourced from

(Suggested reading: SGI-Experiences | SGI-Guidance)

Practical Approach To Reiki
Author: Chetan Chhugani
ISBN: 978-8120724549

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Over the years, I have read many training manuals and books on Reiki, both in print and as pdfs. Practical Approach To Reiki, by Chetan Chhugani, is perhaps the simplest reading material I've come across on this subject. A pocket book (sized roughly 4 inches by 5 inches) with 159 pages, it is the most concise, yet comprehensive, Reiki manual... from Usui Reiki 1 to 3B (Teachership).

My Reiki teacher in Jaipur had a photocopy of this book that she gave me to read and copy, if I liked it. She had got that photocopy from someone long time ago and had no idea where she could buy it. She had been giving it to all of her students to make copies, 'coz it's such a good book. By the time I received her copy, it was in a badly tattered state with a couple of pages missing. I was really disappointed 'coz the book has some very useful information presented in very clear and concise manner. Just for the heck of it, I decided to look it up on flipkart... and I found it! And only for Rs. 50! Getting it photocopied would have cost me 40 bucks! I immediately called up my Reiki teacher and asked her if I should order one for her too. She said yes. Eventually, I've bought 4 copies of this book from flipkart so far (for different people).

From the introduction and history of Reiki, to Crystal Grids and Psychic Surgery, this little book covers everything. Hand positions, Usui symbols and their uses, distance healing, group healing, holistic concept of healing, advance programming with Reiki, general treatment guides for various diseases, Reiki meditation, chakras, colors, common myths regarding Reiki, setting up one's own Reiki healing/teaching practice... like I said, Practical Approach To Reiki is a complete manual. It even has an extra set of 15 non-Usui symbols that I had seen before, but didn't know exactly what they were for. I especially liked the sections on chakras, symbols and colors. Would like to share some excerpts from the chapter on chakras from this book:
1. Survival.
2. Stability.
3. Will-power (self-confidence, self-love).
4. Relationships (love).
5. Expression (of ideas and emotions).
6. Intellect (ideas, imagination).
7. Spirituality (intuition, guidance, belief in some divine energy).
These are the seven general categories that our life is made up of.
... or the seven main life issues, each governed by one of the seven main chakras in the human body.
To keep our body healthy, we not only need to feed it with food, water and oxygen but also with emotional energy.
A block in a chakra means nothing but that because of some reason, there is no healthy exchange of energy through this chakra.
Can you make it any more simpler than that? I've read huge books on chakras, but never came across such a clear and simple explanation of how they get blocked in the first place!

My rating: 4.5 out of 5. Practical Approach To Reiki, by Chetan Chhugani, contains no hocus-focus about Reiki. As the name of the book says, it really is a practical approach to Reiki. I will highly recommend this book to all Reiki initiates. In fact, I would even recommend Reiki teachers to give this book to their students as the official 'Reiki manual' with their course!

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