A Whole Year

Anniversay PartyAmazingly, today is the anniversary of my blog, and there’s been a post each and every day. As it says in the About it is the story of my path to enlightenment, but it also logs the past twelve months highs and lows of life.

I would like to think that you can see the progress, slight though it may be, that I have made since last September, it’s a fascinating journey as many of you know, and everyone’s is different. I would really like to thank all the people who have left comments on here or on Facebook or Twitter, they are all greatly appreciated and very often show that we are all learning as we go along.

When I wrote the first post, I was determined to keep it up. Whilst I cannot, hand on heart, say that there haven’t been days when I’ve though ‘Oh bum, it’s late, I’m tired and I still haven’t written today’s post’ but I have always made the effort. As with my practice, it’s the routine of it that makes the difference. It’s the discipline needed to keep going that adds to the progress through the practice, so when you feel like giving up on something don’t !!!

Barring fire, pestilence or flood, I’ll still be here, blogging away this time next year, and I hope that you are all still reading the posts too.

Still Holding Our Breath

Charlotte and OliverThe initial tests Charlotte has had have come back with very good results, but they want to do more to find out why she feels a bit wobbly now and then. In my mind, it’s hardly surprising seeing as she in in the middle of a course of aggressive chemotherapy and is looking after three little boys at the same time.

Having said that, it is important that they do the tests properly and in-depth, and whilst Charlotte is pining to be back with her family, it’s worth having the patience to let them do that.

I’m confident that she is in the right place to get the test and treatment that she needs, but until we get the full picture, I am chanting for a positive outcome and we are all still holding our breath.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Poor Charlotte

Poor CharlotteA very quick post tonight.

Just when we were hoping that things were getting back on track, Charlotte has been admitted to the Bristol Royal Infirmary oncology unit for a series of tests.

I shall be chanting for her, Rob and the boys and doing all I can to help. Your daimoku will be gratefully received. More news when I have some.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.

Not All Bad News

BAE SystemsOn the day when BAE Systems announce losses of nearly 3000 jobs, whilst it is the worst of news for those employees, for humanity, there is also a glimmer of hope. The reason for those losses is that the UK government, along with many others around the world, are cutting back their spending on ‘defence’.

Obviously, sympathy goes out to the families of the people who find themselves suddenly out of work, but we have to be happy at the underlying reason. The less money that is spent on military hardware, the more money is available to spend on productive, constructive schemes to help those in our society who need it.

Not only that, but if countries are less well armed, potentially the less likely they are to wage war against their neighbours. And a more peaceful world can never be a bad thing, can it. Just imagine if the $3.6 billion, that the US are spending on the Afghanistan campaign, was pumped back into the US economy.

So on a personal basis, this is bad news for those skilled workers from BAE Systems, but on a global level, it’s the best of news, even if the peace is coming at such a high price for the world economy.

A Force For Good

SGI UKThe SGI is a gathering of ordinary people. We struggle to ensure that people are not despised or exploited by those more powerful. To help all people become strong and wise, we are developing a network of peace and culture and putting great emphasis on education.

By nature, SGI people are strong, wise, cheerful and warm. Faith in Nichiren Buddhism has the power to bring out these qualities. The result of our faith is not to turn people into sheep, it is to make them wise, strong and confident.

Wisdom is not using knowledge to cause suffering to others, it is using enlightened insight to improve everyone’s life, including our own.

2011 is the 50th anniversary of SGI Europe.

No Answers

Rugby World CupWhat a strange weekend. A eclectic mix of work, sport, walking, sleeping and lots of chanting. I’m not sure that getting up in the middle of the night to watch the Rugby World Cup is having a beneficial effect on me, especially when Scotland managed to lose to Argentina in the last few minutes of their match this morning. Not the end of the world (cup), for them or for England or Argentina, but not the result I have hoped for.

The walk on the heather in the New Forest was great, and that at least solved a few questions, but there are still more requiring answers. Usually, chanting seems to bring situations into clear focus, but not this weekend. Each answer seems to have brought more questions, and each chanting session has brought more doubt.

The answer is, of course, to press on with even more determination. My practice is not the problem, my progress is not the problem either, so I will press on. The problem is my impatience with getting answers. Modern life is all about getting everything now, not later, instant access, not waiting, and realising that, is I guess, another part of the answer.

Tomorrow is the start of another working week, so an early night, followed by an early start will get me off and running. My search for enlightenment goes on, and sometimes, just standing still, rather than regressing, can be seen as progress.

Honesty – The Best Policy

HonestyWhen you find yourself in a situation where you have to decide what happens next, you must be completely honest, with everyone concerned, including yourself. When that decision is possibly not what others expect or want, you must be compassionate when you announce it.

Of course you can hurt others if when your decision is contrary to theirs, but you will hurt them more by delaying or by going along with them, just to go with the flow. Eventually, your feelings will show and the result will only be more angst for all.

So when you feel that you have to make a decision that will be difficult for others to accept, make it quickly, announce it gently but firmly, and reduce the pain, to you and those affected, to the minimum.


King MidasSometimes, we find ourselves in situations, or potential situations, were we are a little unsure of what the outcome may be. Our minds race, we mull over the possibilities, the what ifs, the maybes, and it can be all too easy to form ideas in our minds as to how things will pan out.

That’s fine, and perfectly normal, as long as we don’t let these expectations run away with us. Having a preconceived idea is one thing, but pinning our hopes on that idea is a recipe for disaster. Things rarely, if ever go exactly as we imagine.

So the trick is to keep a level head, let events unfold as they will, and be tolerant, or the inevitable differences between what we expect, or would like, and what actually comes to pass.

As someone once said ‘Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it’. Conversely it has also been said that ‘That thing you wished for, the thing you never got, might have been the most fortunate moment you could ever imagine’. So muse way, daydream to your hearts content, but remember that, at the end of the day, the reality of the situation will become clear soon enough.

Spread The Word

Spread The WordMy own experiences with Nichiren Buddhism have shown me how powerfully it can change your life. Whether that is simply making you a happier person or helping you see situations from a different perspective, that may help you solve your problems in a better way. As with all good things, you want to tell people about it, so they can share the benefits.

So the greatest feeling, for me, is when someone actually comes straight out and asks. At that point, it’s important to offer as much, or as little as they request. Force feeding them will kill that spark as surely as piling logs onto a smouldering ember. So be enthusiastic, but be reserved as well. Let them set the pace, be there for them to ask for more, and just see what happens.

Giving people a gift is a great feeling, that shining smile you see when they open it and are delighted by what they find. Giving people the way to find Nichiren Buddhism is just like that, only a million times better.

Make That Change

All ChangeWhen your life isn’t going the way you want it to, change it! We are all in control of our own lives, though at times that may seem a little hard to believe. We are all where we are today, doing what we are doing and being what we are being, because of the choices we have made along the way.

Karma is a perfectly imperfect science. Perfect because, as with everything in the universe, every effect has a cause, every cause has an effect. Imperfect because, with karma, the effect will only appear when the situation is right, so it’s rather difficult to predict. But that doesn’t detract from the truth, that everything we think, say or do has some form of effect, on us or others.

So if you are in a rut, if you are unhappy with your lot, if it feels as though the world has a personal grudge against you, change it. Sitting there feeling sorry for yourself will not help, sitting there blaming everything from the economy, your partner, your boss, all the way to the dog, will not help. Fix your mind on the changes you want to see in your life, decide the best route to achieving those changes, then make causes to bring that change about. Don’t wait, set about it with determination, there has never been a better time to make that change.

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