All Together Now

Happiness - A Feeling Better SharedHappiness, as my brother and I discussed today, is connected to everything, and connected with nothing. It cannot be bought or sold and it cannot be measured against any physical scale. It is determined by a combination of our circumstances and the way in which we are controlled by, or are dealing with, those circumstances.

To be concerned only with one’s own happiness is egoism. To claim you care only about the happiness of others is hypocrisy. Genuine happiness is becoming happy together with others. Josei Toda said: “Just becoming happy oneself – there’s nothing difficult to that. It’s easy. Helping others become happy is the foundation of our faith.”

How Long Before They Listen?

You, Yes You, When Will You Listen? - A Tanker Washed Up On Staten IslandHurricane Sandy, the latest, and most destructive storm system so far to hit North America, is today wreaking havoc across a huge part of the eastern seaboard. The states of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have so far born the brunt of the onslaught, but others are bracing themselves as the storm is predicted to head north into Canada.

Of course, we who are watching from the safety of the other side of the Atlantic can only pray for the safety of all those affected, family members included. Nature, when it shows its raw power, can be a devastating and deadly force.

But should we really be surprised that these storms are becoming ever more powerful and frequent? As with all energy systems, the more energy that is available, the more force that can be delivered by that system.

The energy system in question here, is the global climate, and the energy in that system is growing and growing as we, and particularly North America, continue to burn fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow. It is therefore no surprise when we see ever increasingly destructive climatic events around the world.

As a Buddhist, I pin my faith on the unquestionable connection between cause and effect. When we make causes for things we want, we are only too happy to see the effects we desired. But if we continually make causes for things we don’t want, we cannot be upset, or even surprised, when the bad things come along in the same way.

The USA has been dragging its feet in terms of committing itself to measures to stop, or reverse, global warming. It is top of the list when it comes to energy usage per citizen and seems to be oblivious of the effect that is having on climate systems globally.

Maybe, just maybe, now New York has been so badly affected by hurricane Sandy, the American people as a whole, will take global warming seriously and put pressure on the politicians and energy companies to make serious inroads into cutting their impact on the climate.

Shine On …

Shine_onAs you meet various trials and difficulties, thus polishing all the many facets of the jewel which is life, you will learn to walk that supreme pathway of humanity.

Of this, I am confident, and I am confident too that those who embrace life’s native creativity now stand and will continue to stand in the vanguard of history.

Bringing the creativity of life to its fullest flowering is the work of human revolution. Carrying out this kind of human revolution is your mission now as it will be throughout your lives.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

Have Faith

The Lotus SutraBe resolved to summon forth the great power of faith, and chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo with the prayer that your faith will be steadfast and correct at the moment of death.

Never seek any other way to inherit the ultimate Law of life and death, and manifest it in your life. Only then will you realize that earthly desires are enlightenment, and that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana. Even embracing the Lotus Sutra would be useless without the heritage of faith.

~ Nichiren

Keep Trying

SmileIn one of his writings, renowned microbiologist René Dubos, stated. “History teaches that man without effort is sure to deteriorate; man cannot progress without effort, and man cannot be happy without effort.” This is indisputable.

You may be experiencing various hardships now, but because you continue to make efforts in the midst of those challenges, no matter how painful they are, you will definitely become happy. Effort and happiness are indivisible.

A Little Light

A Little LightSometimes situations seem so painful, and we have so little control, that there is a real chance of losing hope. In the past, before I found Nichiren Buddhism, I might have struggled to cope with the pain and anguish that Charlotte has been suffering this past week.

Being at arms length, unable to make any real difference to the situation, and having to rely on reports from Rob, Hannah and Karen to try to stay connected to what was happening is tough. I’m pretty hopeless at letting things lie at the best of times, but something like this is really difficult.

So I am pleased to be able to say that there is a light at the end of this long tunnel. Charlotte has been discharged from hospital and is on her way home. The staff must be confident that she is stable enough to leave, though none of us are under any misapprehension that there is still a long way to go before she is healed.

At least she will be back in familiar surroundings and will have her boys around her. Jake is old enough to understand what has been going on, and that he must be careful. Oliver is probably still too little to be much trouble. But Zach, who is a little bulldozer at times, will have to be ‘educated’ about being gentle with his mummy.

I am really happy to have some good news, and would like to thank all the good people who have sent messages of support for Charlotte and the rest of the family. You know who you are, and we are privileged to be surrounded by such lovely caring folk.

Namaste ~ Anupadin


Charlotte and OliverCharlotte is not having a good time with this surgery at all. She is in a lot of pain, has tubes coming out of her, so can’t even get into a comfortable position, and is on a ward with other women who are also suffering post operative discomfort in various forms.

She is being given morphine to help her cope with the pain, but she has never been good with anaesthetics, they make her feel sick. So you can imagine that she is feeling very low, doesn’t want to see or talk to anyone because she doesn’t want to upset them.

All I can do, being stuck here in Poole, is to be there if she texts or calls, to concentrate my practice on chanting and praying for a good outcome to all this and to help Charlotte and the rest of the family stay positive. Several people have been in to see her, and that might help cheer her a little, but the sooner she is home and on the mend, the better.

Every Child

Every Child Is PreciousWith my thoughts being dominated by Charlotte, and her slow and painful recovery from the latest surgery, whilst remembering that she is but one of my three children, I was reminded of this explanation, by Daisaku Ikeda, of a relevant parable from the Lotus Sutra.

Every child is precious. The Lotus Sutra tells the parable of the three kinds of medicinal herbs and two kinds of trees. There are many different kinds of plants; their shape, size and nature come in myriad varieties. Some plants grow fast while others take time to mature. In this parable, however, the heavens rain upon all the plants equally, nurturing their growth. And the plants blossom and bear fruits according to their own unique character.

This parable symbolizes the Buddha’s vast compassion to nurture all living beings despite their differences. All children are different; each possesses his or her wonderful unique quality. We must pour upon all children our great love and compassion so that each child can blossom, true to his or her unique quality.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

The Root Of All Evil

Trump sticks two fingers up at local residentsMoney, or rather the love of money, is said to be the root of all evil. I think that is a little harsh on money, there are many, many roots of evil, but watching a program last night about Donald Trump did provide a deal of evidence to support the premise.

The much publicised Trump International Golf Links in Blamedie, Aberdeenshire was hailed as a shot in the arm for the local economy when it was planned in 1995. Mr Trump visited the area and made all the right noises about creating jobs and attracting tourists to the area.

What he, and his good buddy Alex Salmond failed to say, was that he was going to ‘sanitize’ the area, clearing residents from their land and family homes, in order to save his visitors from having to look out over ‘slums’ and ‘pig stys’ whilst playing golf on his new course.

He also failed to mention that far from sculpting the course to fit the rare and protected dune habitat, his course designers and architects would completely rebuild the area in order to force nature to fit the course.

In a documentary that mimicked ‘Local Hero’, a film about Scottish locals fighting against the development of the oil industry in their own back yard, You’ve Been Trumped takes us through the battles and underhand tactics used against a small number of locals.

If I were Scottish, and considering my choices in the upcoming independence referendum, I would be very concerned by the way that Alex Salmond has not only bowed to financial pressure, but literally sold his true fellow Scots down the river.

In a modern re-enactment of the infamous Highland Clearances, the Trump organisation, the Scottish government, the local constabulary and the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, left morals and decency back in the club house as they turned a blind eye to the use of strong arm tactics against defenceless residents.

Watch the documentary and then write to Trump or Salmond to tell them just where they can stick their mashie niblicks.

Higher Priorities

The Final StepSpending the majority of the day waiting for news regarding Charlotte’s latest, and hopefully last operation, on her path to defeating cancer, puts life’s priorities into proper order. The reconstruction procedure sounds almost barbaric, and worse even than the operation to remove the cancerous tissues in the first place.

Having had Charlotte recovered and well after the chemotherapy had lulled me into a false sense of well-being. This final part of the jigsaw, albeit necessary to finish the job the oncology specialists started two years ago, shows yet again, just how brave Charlotte really has been.

The news from the hospital, news that took rather longer than expected, is that although she is rather poorly after the procedure, all went well, and she is expected to be able to come home in a few days. Actually, that will be the start of a long and painful period of recuperation, during which we can only offer her our full support, and chant and pray for a successful outcome.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

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