Think Yourself Better

Shikishin-FuniFor the past couple of weeks, I’ve been fighting this cough and cold, hoping to be well enough to go up and see Charlotte.

Following her surgery, the very last thing she needs is a tickly cough or a bout of sneezing, it would be excruciating. So I’ve been trying to keep warm, I’ve taken my meds and struggled on despite sleepless nights.

But we 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 my current situation it basically means that staying positive in our minds will help heal our bodies. Which is exactly what Charlotte and I need right now.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anthony Casson
    Nov 14, 2012 @ 22:18:19

    Now, would positive thinking help the wounded mind heal? Knowing that I feel hurt emotionally, how does one heal — still feeling pain during that process — and live happy?

    Reply

    • Anupadin
      Nov 15, 2012 @ 00:05:20

      There is no easy answer to your question, but I can tell you the way I have done it.

      First you must become mindful of exactly what is causing your pain. Then you must realign your life, your whole world. You should not base your happiness on anything upon which you cannot completely rely. For me, that constant is my Buddhist Practice. With that at the centre of my life, everything else can change, but I am still stable.

      With life in a more stable state, you can then set about putting the rest of your life in order and through mindfulness, rationalise the issue or issues that are giving you mental pain.

      I think that for mental healing, you could substitute the phrase ’emotional prioritisation’, literally putting your hearts desires in order of importance.

      One thing I did learn very early on in the process was that you must learn to be happy in your own company because you are responsible for your own happiness.

      Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

      Reply

      • Anthony Casson
        Nov 15, 2012 @ 00:15:22

        Thank you for the compassion. It feels good.

      • Anupadin
        Nov 15, 2012 @ 09:45:05

        If I were to offer one piece of advice, it would be to get hold of a copy of The Buddha, Geoff and Me by Edward Canfor-Dumas or listen to the audio book here … http://sdrv.ms/REz2cB

        It is an amazing book, and has changed my life.

        Anupadin <- Likes the compassion thing 🙂

      • Anthony Casson
        Nov 15, 2012 @ 17:01:07

        I actually just read it a few weeks ago. Your posts about it a long time ago were why I got the book. Took me a while to finally open it, but I’m glad I did.

        Any Nichiren-specific texts (including scripture) you would recommend. I don’t follow any particular lineage now; I just look for whatever makes sense. The Ten Worlds made a lot of sense.

  2. Anupadin
    Nov 16, 2012 @ 00:20:01

    Read The Reluctant Buddhist and Buddhism and the Science of Happiness, in that order, both by William Woollard. Both are superbly written and give a very personal account of his Nichiren Practice as well as giving excellent examples of how it works for him, and will work for you.

    If you really want to do directly to the source of all Nichiren Knowledge, any book by Daisaku Ikeda. A very good starting point, one that you can read bit by bit, is Wisdom for Modern Life which has a new lesson for every day of the year.

    Nam Myoho Renge Kyo,

    Anupadin

    Reply

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