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What's the difference between positive thinking and chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo?

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By Kathy Aitken from UKE January 1998 Look in any bookshop, anywhere, and the chances are you'll find a section devoted to 'self-help' titles. These shelves are the domains of the 'positive thinking' manuals - modern day guides to the business of living. Some of them are bestsellers. Each of these offerings has a slightly different slant, but closer examination will reveal common themes: how to develop self-esteem; how to cast off pessimism and start thinking 'big'; how to set goals and then achieve them; how to improve your relationships. The basic message running throughout is: change your thinking and you change your life. It's a laudable theory, but how far does it go? In Buddhism, the workings of the mind are elucidated by the doctrine called the nine consciousnesses. The first five comprise 'the senses' - sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. It is through these that we have awareness of the world around us. The sixth is the conscious mind which processes the perceptions made ... more
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