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Nam-myoho-renge-kyo

Buddha Blogs

Formerly Horizon Newsletter
January 1, 2023

BLOGITORIAL… by Linda Segall Anable

I have a fundamental need to be creative, like all the time. Unable to be a mere observer of life, I need to create it myself. That’s why I chant. I don’t ask for fortune to come to me; I make my own fortune, through the power of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Being a creative type (i.e. full-tilt right-brained) works for me because I am not a logical person (my left-brain doesn’t understand me).I ponder outside the box, suck at tech, am a poor driver, an innovative cook; cannot follow the simplest directions – just do it my way; pull what information I need down from my personal cloud and sometimes from other dimensions. I’m a little weird but in a good way.

 

                    My main occupation is writing; I wrote a novel at age ten (still unfinished), worked in movies and television, and always loved making art. When I started practicing Nichiren Buddhism in 1981, I found I could create amazing benefits just by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. It can make almost anything happen! Chanting appeals to me on so many levels, not the least of which: it’s the most creative activity ever! I also fell in love with Buddhist practice’s most charming accessory: prayer beads, and learned how to make them (self-taught, of course, since I can’t follow directions).

When I first started making Juzu, about 20 years ago, I used the wrong stringing materials and all of them broke. Every last one. Amazing how much friction beads endure, even if you’re not rubbing them (and don’t do that). Hands express our life condition and when you’re tormented inside, you might take it out on your beads. Breakage can result – which is a very sad experience.

          Having learned which materials work and which do not, I now make Juzu with invisible fishing line instead of beading wire or other types of cord. Unlike wire, fishing line won’t wear and break at the junctures, and it’s more supple than the thinnest beading wire. With fishing line, you could be lost in a rubbing frenzy and your beads still won’t fall apart.

          But, again, don’t! Rubbing will cause damage to any beads: wood, glass or gemstones, so I urge everyone to please, please avoid rubbing your beads. However, if you occasionally slip into a fretful state when you’re chanting, have a pair of old wooden beads that you can abuse when stressed – that can take a beating. 

           As serenity is not my signature life condition, working with beads is about the best thing there is to calm me down that isn’t a drug. Stringing tiny things together and keeping them connected requires singular focus. Handling beads in an anxious or distracted state invites disaster in the form of a bead spill. When beads fall, they lose their minds and go places you’d never think possible. One taste of freedom and they can’t be stopped. Sometimes I’ll find one a month later. Or hear that ominous clicking noise when they’re sucked up in the vacuum cleaner. So disturbing.

       

  I created my bead parlor (which once was a child’s bedroom with a four-poster bed) to look like an old cavern with brick walls. I painted the outside-facing sides of the woom in trompe l’oeil bricks, and the interior walls as faux concrete. Strung some old chandelier crystals around a plain fixture, and voila – a chandelier. Then I removed the door to the room and replaced it with a bead curtain that took many, many hours of tedious stringing, but it looks great and it’s fun. I was concerned that my dog Jasper would avoid the bead curtain, but he seems to like going in and out of it; the beads making that soft, delightful clattering sound. Jasper always closes his eyes when he pokes through, as he uses his nose to part the beads.

 

           Beads are only an accessory, not essential for attaining enlightenment – but they do have meaning and they take on your energy when you chant with them. While Juzu styles vary, there are a few basic elements: there are 108 beads in the main circle, representing earthly desires, and four smaller beads that represent the enlightened qualities of eternity, tranquility, true self, and purity. Your ten fingers placed together in prayer represent the Ten Worlds. Beads help you focus on the Gohonzon, the scroll that we chant to that represents our enlightened lives and are calming to those of us with nervous hands.

I’m very excited about my new beading adventure. After 30 years of publishing, the Horizon finally has a sponsor: Juzu! My interest in commerce is negligible; I’m in it for the creativity, not the selling. But I’m learning a lot about business by binge-watching Shark Tank and was recently a seller at a holiday market with my dear friend Lindsey, partner in beads and other crafty things. We sold sunglass wranglers (you will never lose your sunglasses again), Xmas mobiles, and holiday earrings. Not only was it a great learning experience, but we also sold a fair amount of merch.

         

   A tremendous amount of work, but worth it. The star of the holiday market turned out to be my dog Jasper, a true Buddha who is spending a physical life down here on crazy planet Earth showing us what enlightenment looks like. Jasper met and gave love to so many people at the holiday market. One woman came by, purchased a couple of sunglass wranglers, then dropped to the floor and had a profound interaction with Jasper: clearly a karmic reunion from the distant past. She even came back the next week to see him again. Many other people exchanged energies with Jasper and were uplifted. Witnessing these encounters was a special experience. Jasper has grown up with the Gohonzon in his life. It shows.

So, from now on the Horizon will be brought to you by… custom made Juzu. If you’re interested in purchasing, here’s how it will go: You list the materials, colors and style – as many details as you can conjure – and I’ll create beads inspired by those criteria. Or, if you have no ideas, I can help with that as well.

Then, I hope you’ll love the beads so much that they’ll inspire you chant more daimoku… which can only hasten the arrival of world peace. That’s a merchandising scheme I can totally get behind. My new website will be up sometime in January. I will send out a notice. If you’d like to discuss bead making in the meantime, please email me at funglamwrangler@gmail.com@gmail.com and be sure to put “Juzu” or “Beads” in the subject line.

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I have been practicing Nichiren Buddhism for 40+ years and making beaded jewelry for 25 years, specializing in Buddhist chanting beads, also known as JUZU.

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