A Terrible Dilemma

A Terrible DilemaTomorrow, Charlotte may have to decide whether to save her unborn child or to save herself. It may be that the oncology specialist can offer a course of treatment that allows her to do both. If not, I cannot imagine a more difficult decision with which to be faced.

As a helpless observer, I can do little but chant and pray for a fortunate outcome. As her father, I would willingly swap places with Charlotte if it would save her the pain and distress she is going through.

From the first day we knew about her condition, we have all been trying to maintain a positive attitude. Knowing that the Oneness of Self and the Environment is so important in such situations, we must believe that we can influence the outcome through our own mental strength.

If you are a practicing Buddhist, I would ask, most respectfully, for you to chant for Charlotte. If you are of another denomination, please pray for her wellbeing.

The greater the efforts. on her behalf, the more influence we will achieve.

Just Like Riding A Bicycle

Just Like Riding A BicycleDo you remember the day you mastered the art of riding a bicycle? Of course you do. For me, it was the culmination of a rather lengthy, and very frustrating process, and but for the perseverance  of my father, I might never have learned at all.

I just couldn’t seem to get it. It looked so simple, but the harder I tried, the worse I got. Then suddenly it clicked, I had it nailed, and from that day on I have been able to ride a bike.

Ok, so it’s no huge revelation, but I think learning about Buddhism is a bit like learning to ride a bike.

As you learn, about The Oneness of Self and the Universe, about Karma, about Life-Energy or The Ten Worlds, you also learn to see yourself, life and the Universe in a different way. And just in the way that having learned to ride a bicycle, you never unlearn the skill, once you learn to see the world through different eyes, you never unlearn that either.

Deep in my heart, I know that I am different for having Buddhism at the centre of my life. Some people have noticed that change, others ask what has changed and how I know that it’s a real change, not just a fad, or ‘a phase I’m going through’.

Well as I say, once you see the world differently, you just can’t unsee it that way. It’s a wonderful change, and I’m very confident, not to say delighted, that it’s a permanent change.

A Wonderfully Positive Day

The Savage FamilyI have to admit to having had a few worries about how the day was going to play out as I drove the seventy miles to Bristol this morning.

I need not have worried. I spend a wonderfully positive day with Charlotte, Rob and the boys. We had lots of time to talk about the situation, as well as the hopes and fears raised by the upcoming meeting with the oncology specialist.

So we have another few days waiting for clarification of the treatment regime that will be recommended.

But all in all I left Longwell Green feeling much better, knowing that everyone is pulling together and seeing the positives from a rather worrying prognosis. All I can do is to chant and pray for good news on Tuesday, something I will continue to do until Charlotte is fully recovered and the cancer is beaten.

Always Learning

The World of LearningSince finding Nichiren Buddhism last year, even though I have been a Buddhist for over ten years, I have developed a huge thirst for learning.

I have a growing collection of books, only today the Soka Gakkai Dictionary of Buddhism arrived from Amazon. Over 1000 pages of definitions, days, months and years of fascination.

Every day I try to add a little to my knowledge of the religion, either the tradition, the practice or the background. Every bit makes my life more complete and like a snowball rolling down a hill, the greater the knowledge, the more momentum it gains.

I have also found a study group, in Salisbury, and although I’ve missed the first couple of lessons, on ‘What do we mean by Happiness?’ and ‘States of Mind – The Ten Worlds’, the next one is ‘What is Karma all about?’ which will be very interesting.

Another interesting discovery, on Edward Canfor-Dumas’ website, that other people have been giving away copies of his book, The Buddha, Geoff and Me. As you know, I am a huge fan of the book and my Bodhisattva nature compels me to pass on the good news.

So, the more I learn, the more I find Buddhism working. I realise it may not be for everyone, and that many have their own beliefs. But if you are looking for a way to make your life happier, more fulfilling and need an anchor to steady the ship, I thoroughly recommend giving it a try.

The Oneness Of Body And Mind

Shikishin-FuniWe must never underestimate the power the mind has over our bodies. If we can remain positive, with high life-energy and in one of the higher worlds, our bodies will respond positively. If we allow negativity to creep in, the battle will be all the harder.

The Nichiren phrase for this connection between our body and mind is Shikishin-Funi. Two, but not two, not two, but two, meaning that they are separate, but cannot function alone.

[色心不二] (Jpn shikishin-funi )

Also, non-duality of body and mind. The principle that the two seemingly distinct phenomena of body, or the physical aspect of life, and mind, or its spiritual aspect, are essentially non-dual, being two integral phases of a single reality. One of the ten onenesses formulated by Miao-lo (711-782) in his Annotations on “The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra.” In the Japanese term shikishin-funi, shiki means that which has form and colour, or physical existence, while shin means that which has neither form nor colour, or spiritual existence, such as the mind, heart, and soul. Funi is an abbreviation of nini-funi, which indicates “two (in phenomena) but not two (in essence).” This means that the material and the spiritual are two separate classes of phenomena, but non-dual and indivisible in essence, because they are both aspects of the same reality. In the above annotations, Miao-lo states that, from the viewpoints of the whole and its components, life at a single moment is the whole, while body and mind are its components. Neither body nor mind is a separate entity; there is not one without the other. They are inseparable components of life. In the Lotus Sutra, the principle of the ten factors of life represents the oneness of body and mind. The ten factors are listed in the “Expedient Means” (second) chapter of the sutra, where it states that the true aspect of all phenomena consists of “appearance, nature, entity, power, influence, internal cause, relation, latent effect, manifest effect, and their consistency from beginning to end.” On “The Profound Meaning” states: “Appearance exists only in what is material; nature exists only in what is spiritual. Entity, power, influence, and relation in principle combine both the material and the spiritual. Internal cause and latent effect are purely spiritual; manifest effect exists only in what is material.” The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings reads, “[Concerning the term dedication of one’s life ] ‘dedication’ refers to the element of physical form as it pertains to us, while ‘life’ refers to the element of mind as it pertains to us. But the ultimate teaching tells us that form and mind are not two.” – Taken from the SGI Dictionary of Buddhism

Now that’s a lot to take in, but in our current situation it basically means that staying positive in our minds will help heal our bodies. Which is exactly what Charlotte needs right now.

Painfully Sharp Focus

Poison Into MedicineEven though we have been aware that Charlotte has breast cancer for more than a week, the details of the type of cancer and the stage that it has reached, were a nasty jolt today.

Hope springs eternal, but can be dashed by a few words from a specialist. The difference between hoping something and knowing something is quite profound. Finding out that what we now know was worse than we had hoped was painful.

But the laws of the Universe demand that even when something is essentially bad, there must be an equal and opposite good, to balance the equation. Having experienced the bad, I immediately saw the good, in the bravery and stoicism of Charlotte herself.

There is at least one more consultation before Charlotte embarks on the process of healing and recuperation, so there will certainly be other twists along the way.

I will try to bring out my bodhisattva nature to help me to help Charlotte through the ups and downs that she will experience, through the power of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. Hopefully we can turn this evil poison into medicine together.

Spring Is Sprung

Despite the gloomy weather and our difficult family situation, it is so heart warming to see the green shoots of Spring.

Of course, in Buddhist terms, Spring is the first chapter in the year’s Wheel of Life. The reincarnation of nature, following the apparent demise of trees, flowers and shrubs over the Winter months.

In the same way we all expect day to follow night and Spring to follow Winter, our rebirth follows the death of our earthly bodies. Exactly the same way plants use Winter to build their reserves for the Spring, so we use death to recharge our souls ready for rebirth.

It is a time of lengthening days, warmer sunshine and the emergence of banks of daffodils  and other Spring flowers.


This photo was taken today, just outside our office, of a a collection of catkins, bright against the dark Winter foliage of brambles around the base of an old Holly tree.

The Wheel of Life continues to turn, today, tomorrow and for Eternity.

Focus On The Positives

Sunshine On A Rainy DayEvery day we have highs and lows, wins and losses, good things happen, bad things happen, every single day.

Problems are an everyday reality, they are part of life and ignoring them will never make them go away.

So focus on what’s good, what’s going right, enjoy that brief spell of sunshine on an otherwise rainy day.

Smile, laugh when you can, and always focus on the positives.

Make the most of every minute, you will never have the opportunity to use that minute again, so don’t waste it.

Make causes today, to make tomorrow better and never give in to the inevitable resistance that you feel when you are nearing your goal.

Don’t be afraid to speak your mind, never fear the truth, use the Wisdom , Courage and Compassion, we all possess, to help others to be positive, it will increase your own life-energy as you encourage them to increase theirs.

Patience Is A Virtue

The UniverseWaiting for important news can be a stressful time, whether that news is potentially good or bad.

My whole family is waiting for the outcome of my daughter’s biopsy, and at times it feels like time has come to a standstill. So what is the secret for dealing with such situations?

Well my way of coping is to be patient, to refuse to worry about possible outcomes, concentrating on what is real, in the here and now and offering support on that basis. Of course, being calm, collected and rational in such an emotional situation could be seen as lacking in compassion or feeling.

However you look at things, I am not an oncology specialist, so I can’t help in any medical way. How I can help, is by being rational and supporting my daughter and the rest of the family.

I must say that I have obviously thought about the various scenarios that might play out. But rather than waste my life-energy worrying about what might happen, I am saving it for when we know the path that must be taken.

I am also looking for the positives that are coming out of the situation. The whole family is coming together as a unit, to support Charlotte en mass. The silly little squabbles, that occur in all families, are being resolved or forgotten. So although the reason for this unity is something for which we would never wish, even if adversity, there are good things coming out of it.

As you might expect, I am chanting my heart out, to keep my life-energy and life-state as high as possible. I’m praying for us all come out of this in a positive way as well as telling my daughters how much I love them, at every opportunity.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Problems Or Challenges?

Nam Myoho Renge KyoLife is punctuated by a series of  problems and challenges, but what is the real difference between them?

Generally speaking we call situations we can deal with, challenges, and those we fear we cannot deal with, problems. But actually, the difference is in our own heads and depends more on our life-state at the time the situation arises.

If we are in a higher life-state, we look upon the situation as a challenge. We concentrate our energies to resolving the situation and pride ourselves that we rose to the challenge.

If, on the other hand, we are depressed and in a lower life-state, we tend to get further depressed by the situation, our life-energies are reduced and the problem, as we now call it, becomes insurmountable.

So the question is, how do we keep our life-energy, and hence our life-state, as high as possible in order to enable us to confront situations with confidence.

That’s where chanting comes in. When I chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, I can feel my life-energy increasing. The more I chant, the louder I chant, the higher my life-state rises, so when situations arise, as they always will, I am in a better position to deal with them.

It works for me, and it works for millions of people across the world, so why not give it a go and see whether it will work for you, I’m sure it will.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: