The Shortest Day – Woo Hoo !!!

The Shortest DayToday is the shortest day of the year, here in the UK, and strangely some may say, it’s my favourite day of the year. Why, I can hear you asking, isn’t the longest day of the year more favoured, all those lovely hours of daylight, and often sunshine too. Well it’s because today marks the nadir of the year in terms of daylight. From now on we get an extra minute or so more light each day, and that’s something to look forward to.

Daisaku Ikeda has some very wise words for these long dark days, and offers a welcome ray of hope …

“Even if today may seem to be a time of total darkness, it will not last forever. The dawn will surely come if you advance, ever forward, without being defeated.

The day will definitely come when you can look back fondly and declare, “I am savouring this happiness because I struggled back then.” It is those who know the bitterness of winter that can savour the true joy of spring.”

~ Daisaku Ikeda

Be Fearless

In The Fullness Of TimeSometimes, we may have to  summon the courage to speak out against injustice.

Nichiren Daishonin illustrated why we should do just that, most eloquently …

“To speak out without fearing others and without flinching before society—this is what the sutra means when it says, “We care nothing for our bodies or lives but are anxious only for the unsurpassed way.”

It is not that one does not recall the calumny, the staves and stones that were suffered by Bodhisattva Never Disparaging. It is not that one is unafraid of the world. It is just that the censure of the Lotus Sutra is even more severe.”

In other words, to speak out may cause one pain, but to not speak out will be even more painful in the fullness of time.

Rotten To The Core

rotten_coreThere seems to be a tidal wave of corruption, skulduggery, cheating, malpractice, you name it, coming out of the woodwork all at once. Not that I believe for one instant, that this kind of thing hasn’t always gone of in one form or another. But there seems to be a form of cleansing going through society, where the guilty are being brought to book.

Further allegations regarding the BBC documentary about Jimmy Savile, revelations about possible Police collaboration over the Andrew Mitchell ‘Plebs’ case, the Dominique Strauss-Kahn ‘pimping’ case proceeding to court, UBS being fined $1.5bn for LIBOR fixing. Every single day, we are confronted by further evidence that many people who are in positions of power or authority are totally unfit for office.

Whilst it might seem like a depressing stream of bad news, tales of deceit, fraud, miss-use of power, and exploitation of the weak and innocent, it is in fact, a fast growing pressure by society in general, the everyday man and woman in the street, to rid ourselves of these liars, leaches and larcenists, and we must not stop here, we must press on.

There will be a force of resistance to this cleansing. The culprits are clever and powerful people, and are in a position to manipulate and hide evidence of their wrongdoings. As with the revelations that brought about the banking crisis, news of this kind will not be good for the economy and will most likely have serious consequences.

But having got our foot on their necks, we must not let then slither away. We must press home our advantages, maintain this impetus, and not rest until the work is done. Then, when honour, trust and confidence are restored, we must never let this filth rise to the top again.

Good Will To All Men?

Stolen WreathsWith Christmas just around the corner, you would like to think that the spirit of Peace on Earth and Good Will to All Men might have kicked in by now. Sadly there’s not a sign of it. With wreaths being stolen off graves in Ringwood and presents donated for children at Great Ormond Street Hospital also being taken, you wonder at the sickness in our society.

Presumably these things are being taken so that the perpetrators can sell them on. With the economy in tatters and the advertising agencies plugging the latest must have Christmas items, it is little surprise that people are out to make a quick buck or spot a bargain. But where is the honesty and compassion, or have we just stopped caring.

It seems to me, that the more the economic cuts are felt, the less people are prepared to extend the hand of friendship. The ‘me and mine first’ attitude is understandable in times of austerity, but that must not come at any price. So if you are tempted to buy a nice Christmas wreath for the door, or a child’s toy for a knock-down price, from a dodgy bloke in a pub, think again.

Just imagine the emotional suffering that may have been caused by the theft of that item, and if that doesn’t sway you, remember the bad karma that will follow you round until it’s time for you to feel the effects. Remember, just because you may not believe in karma, doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply to you. Karma is not a punishment, just the result of the causes you make for yourself.

Everything From Nothing

Everything From NothingThere is the temptation, whilst continuing to practice, to wonder whether we will ever become a Buddha or doubt whether Buddhahood even resides within us. With his usual wisdom, Nichiren showed us the truth of the matter in his simple words.

“A bird’s egg contains nothing but liquid, yet by itself this develops into a beak, two eyes, and all the other parts, and the bird soars into the sky.

We, too, are the eggs of ignorance, which are pitiful things, but when nurtured by the chanting of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, which is like the warmth of the mother bird, we develop the beak of the thirty-two features and the feathers of the eighty characteristics and are free to soar into the skies of the true aspect of all phenomena and the reality of all things.”

~ Nichiren Daishonin

Being There

Bridge Over Troubled WaterI was watching the Imagine documentary about the famous duo Simon and Garfunkel  and although it has been said many, many times before, Bridge Over Trouble Water is an amazing track. The documentary explored the development of the song, from a two verse gospel hymn, into the beautifully produced anthem it finally became. Although that was very interesting, and gave an insight into the way the duo worked together to produce the song and the album of the same name, nothing can compare to the power and simplicity of the lyrics.

Read them, then read them again, and see how they relate, in such a simple but powerful way, to the supporting role of being there for someone who needs you …

Bridge Over Troubled Water
When you’re weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes,
I will dry them all
I’m on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you
I’ll take your part
When darkness comes
And pain is all around

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on silver girl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine
When you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

Paul Simon, 1969

I couldn’t have put it better myself and even Paul Simon himself believes it is the best song he ever wrote.

Time For A Change

US Gun Laws - Time For A ChangeAs the details of the latest shooting tragedy in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, USA start to sink in, it is surely time for all sane people to get behind President Obama’s heartfelt call for a change to the gun laws.

Those of us outside the United States find it difficult to understand the almost manic determination to protect the second amendment, allowing each US citizen to bear arms. A couple of hundred years ago, when settlers were faced by mountain lions and (understandably) angry native Indians, having a gun was arguably necessary.

That is no longer the case, and the short-sighted politics that allow this situation to continue, is also allowing these incidents of mass murder to continue too. Surely, apart from the arms and ammunition manufacturers, everyone would be far better off without this proliferation of weapons.

Please see sense. Please use the wisdom, courage and compassion necessary to make the changes to your constitution, before we are once again talking about dead innocents. Following the Hungerford shootings in the UK, our gun laws were tightened and although we cannot claim that we have cracked gun crime, the incidence of mass shootings is tiny compared to the US. Surely it really is time for a change.

Just As You Are

Flowers Of HappinessYour happiness and victory in life hinge on whether you can grasp, while you are still young, the fact that happiness lies within.

That’s why there is no need for you to compare yourselves to others but instead strive powerfully and cheerfully to develop your state of life, aiming to improve yourselves each day.

From that struggle will bloom noble flowers of mission, flowers of happiness that are yours and yours alone. Shine as you are, live true to yourselves, and advance in your own unique way.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

Onwards, Ever Onwards

Life Is A StruggleThere is no self-improvement without effort.

Without taking action, happiness will never come, no matter how long you wait. A life without peaks and valleys is a fairy tale. Reality is strict, because it is a win or lose struggle.

This is the way it is for human beings. Therefore, you should not allow yourselves to be battered about by reality but rather willingly rise to its challenges and use them as opportunities to train and strengthen yourselves.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

Heartfelt Happiness

Heartfelt HappinessHappiness is a matter of the heart. This is not mere spiritualism. Our hearts are precious vessels endowed with the treasure of Buddhahood.

When we strive earnestly in faith and practice and reveal our Buddhahood, we can walk along the sure and steady path to happiness and attain a state of complete fulfilment and satisfaction.

Nichiren writes: “Fortune comes from one’s heart and makes one worthy of respect.”

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

%d bloggers like this: