Tragic Tuesday

Memories and pipe dreams - maybe?The holiday is well and truly over and the crew are suffering. A week of not having to be anywhere at any time is a true luxury, but one to which one can quickly become accustomed.

Like a fool, I made the huge mistake, last night, of looking  at narrowboats for sale online, knowing full well that now was not the time. Sadly I found several that fitted the bill, beautiful, well equipped and (relatively) cheap.

So today I am busy getting my mind back into ‘sensible mode’ and dealing with the problems that every day life brings. Though I have to admit that I keep drifting back to last week, and an afternoon spent in the Cotton Arms in Wrenbury with Richard, a retired IT professional, now living full time on narrowboat Sarah Pay with his Welsh Collie Megan.

We all set ourselves goals and we are all guilty of looking over the fence to the greener fields, but we must use Wisdom when we navigate through these mental flights of fancy.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, at least for now, I have to concentrate on performing the role for which I am paid. The holiday is gone, albeit that the memories are still fresh in the mind. To make changes we must make causes, and to make causes we need to use our wisdom and courage. We will see, time will tell … again.

So Chilled

Bridge 43 on the Llangollen CanalThe holiday is over, the boat returned to its rightful owner intact and in good order and the crew are both back at work.

A week afloat, in beautiful countryside and always at walking pace or below is enough to slow even the most frantic heart rate. Of course there were a couple of issues, the most memorable being the deluge we encountered whilst trying to moor Kingfisher at Hurleston junction.

The rain was coming down by the bucketful and mooring spaces were at a premium, so the stress levels were raised just a little. To say it was wet would be an understatement. Everything, and I mean everything, was soaked through.

But these tiny bumps in the road we call life, are just opportunities to learn and improve, and although it was reported by First Officer Fogg, that I did use a few expletives at times, the task was accomplished and everything was dry, or drying, by the following morning.

So now I’m back in the office. Apart from the odd sensation of land sickness, where perfectly solid buildings appear to sway like a narrowboat, giving everyone the impression that one is a little intoxicated, it’s life as usual.

Whether life as usual is a good thing or not, is open to conjecture. Whether life as usual will remain life as usual was discussed on several occasions during the week afloat, so maybe watch this space for further developments.

Buddhahood Included

Buddhahood IncludedSo often, and I am as guilty as anyone, we want everything to happen now.

Our modern frantic way of life, clever marketing and the advertising bombardment we all endure, have left us all lacking a little patience.

We are encouraged to spend before we can afford it and to make unrealistic demands on ourselves and others.

So next time you are stuck behind the nervous learner driver at a busy junction, queuing at the check-in desk or tempted to have a go at that overworked shop assistant, just see things from the others viewpoint and stay cool, calm and collected.

Not only will it make your wait much more pleasant, but your calmness will transmit to those around you and help them relax too. They may even surprise you by being grateful or by going the extra mile to help.

Remember, everyone has a little Buddhahood within them, help them to let it shine through.

On The Happiness Of Others

HappinessI think I’m a pretty happy sort of chap, always joking around and generally enjoying life.

Being happy is actually a frame of mind. It is also a choice that we can all make, by seeing the glass as half full, rather than half empty.

The happiness of others is important and is something we should always try our best to promote.

Whilst their happiness is not our responsibility, using our wisdom, courage and compassion will go a long way to helping them achieve that goal.

So next time, during diamoku, concentrate on praying for the happiness of someone you know who needs a bit of cheering up. Fill your lungs, chant your heart out and you too will feel your spirits lifted.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.

Just Keeping On

Just Keeping On - Ever UpwardsIf you allow the passing of time to let you forget the lofty vows of your youth, you stand to block the source of your own boundless good fortune and sever the roots of limitless prosperity for your family and loved ones as well.

Please never let this happen. Only by remaining steadfast to the vows we have made in our youth can we shine as true victors in life.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

Cohesive Thinking

Cohesive ThinkingIt’s amazing how we and the rest of the Universe are so closely connected. The shoots of progress are suddenly showing through a fog of uncertainty, and I find myself running dozens of ‘what if’ scenarios through my head.

And as if to focus my own thoughts on just what situations might be possible, I stumble across this Thought For Today from Sensei …

“When we plant the seeds of self-doubt, only noxious weeds sprout. When we limit ourselves with low expectations, the growth of the tree of happiness immediately ceases.

The power of growth, of improvement, the power to overcome all stagnation and break through every obstacle and transform a barren wasteland into a verdant field—that unstoppable power of hope resides right there in your own heart.

It will well up from the rich earth of your innermost being when you face the future without doubt or fear: “I can do more. I can grow. I can become a bigger and better human being”—life and faith are a never-ending struggle to grow.”

This is my last day before I set of with Jacqui for a week afloat. The posts may be delayed due to the lack of connectivity, but rest assured, they will be worth the wait once they arrive.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Staying Connected

Staying ConnectedBeing in a fantastic relationship is just the best thing. But we all know that even the smoothest mill pond has the occasional ripple.

It’s these ripples that teach us how to navigate more effectively through the problems they represent.

Relationship problems are opportunities to grow and mature. Such problems can be character building if you don’t let them defeat you.

That’s why it’s important not to isolate yourself. No one can exist apart from others. Remaining aloof from others cultivates selfishness, which accomplishes nothing.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

Breaking Through The Chains That Bind Us

Chains

When you realise that karma, the simple law of cause and effect, dictates the course or our lives, it really makes the events that toss us this way and that, so much easier to accept.

Our actions in previous lives are all engraved upon, this lifetime. The causes for our present suffering, our joy, happiness or misery, all lie with our own past actions. But Nichiren Buddhism enables us to fundamentally transform our destiny.

When we truly base ourselves on the Buddhist view of eternal life, we realise the first thing that must change is how we live in the present. In Nichiren Buddhism, change arises from the very depths of our being, brought about by our daily Practice.

When we practice with vigour, strong pure vitality wells forth in abundance. The chains of our destiny are broken, and our original identity, the fresh and robust world of Buddhahood, shines forth. Far from being set in stone, our destiny truly is in our own hands, through our everyday thoughts, words and deeds.

On Cultivating A State Of Mind

The Lotus SutraWe only have to watch the news on TV, listen to the radio, or even simply talk to the people around us, to be aware of the challenges and sadness that can accompany the process of living our daily lives.

Buddhism has at it’s very core, the ultimate goal of removing suffering and promoting a state of happiness in all those with whom it comes in contact. Many may think that this is an unachievable target, and that those who strive towards it are deluded.

But the principles and method for attaining such a state are encompassed by teachings contained in The Lotus Sutra. That is not to say that there is any magic bullet or instant fix to alleviate our suffering, but striving to do so is surely a task worth undertaking.

Daisaku Ikeda summarised it thus:

What is true joy in life?

This is a difficult question – and one that has occupied a great many thinkers and philosophers.

Joy can quickly give way to suffering. Joy is short and suffering long.

Also what passes for joy in society is superficial. It cannot compare with the joy derived from the Mystic Law.

The key then lies in cultivating a state of mind where we can declare without reservation that life is a joy.

This is the purpose of our Buddhist Practice.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.

A Buddhist Perspective Of Death

A Buddhist Perspective Of DeathThe sudden and tragic passing of a local chap, due to a motoring accident, led me to think about how fragile life is, and how we often take it for granted.

It also prompted me to find this well known poem about death, from the Buddhist perspective.

Though we may relinquish our body in this lifetime, we are not gone, nor will we ever be.

For me, it holds a number of consoling thoughts …

This body is not me.
I am not limited by this body.
I am life without boundaries.
I have never been born, and I have never died.
Look at the ocean and the sky filled with stars, manifestations from my wondrous true mind.
Since before time, I have been free.
Birth and death are only doors through which we pass, sacred thresholds on our journey.
Birth and death are a game of hide-and seek.
So laugh with me, hold my hand, let us say good-bye, say good-bye, to meet again soon.
We meet today.
We will meet again tomorrow.
We will meet at the source every moment.
We meet each other in all forms of life.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

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