Buddhahood Enclosed

Buddhahood EnclosedSo often, and I am as guilty as anyone, we want things to happen now.

Our modern frantic way of life, clever marketing and the advertising bombardment we all endure, have left us all lacking a little patience. We are encouraged to spend before we can afford it and to make unrealistic demands on ourselves and others.

So next time you are stuck behind the nervous learner driver at a busy junction, queuing at the check-in desk or tempted to have a go at that overworked shop assistant, just see things from the others viewpoint and stay cool, calm and collected.

Not only will it make your wait much more pleasant, but your calmness will transmit to those around you and help them relax too. They may even surprise you by being grateful or by going the extra mile to help.

Remember, everyone has a little Buddhahood within them, help them to let it shine through.

Staying Positive

Stay PositiveWe 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, not only will our bodies respond positively, but also those around us will feel more positive too. If we allow negativity to creep in the battle will be all the harder, and we will find that we do not inspire those who need our support to try that little bit harder to support themselves.

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

Not exactly easy to understand, but essential for us to prosper in these difficult times. By being positive, we give out positive energy to those around us. Whether we are in a difficult situation in our life, looking for a job, trying to make ends meet financially or just trying to grin and bear it in the face of seemingly unending bad news, being positive is the only way to win through.

Another Lost Cause?

Defeat Your Dark PassengerChallenges we set ourselves can be easy, or they can be hard. Generally speaking, the challenges that are worth setting, take us well out of our comfort zone. So what is the secret of success in such a situation?

Well speaking from my own experience, it is all about confidence and determination. My weight loss ‘regime’, if you can call it that, was set in motion through a determination to get into shape, both physically and in terms of my own self image. This time there is a further challenge, to stay that way for good.

It’s easy to put off till tomorrow, that which you should start today, and to give in today, promising that you will put things right tomorrow. Feelings like that are normal. It is our Fundamental Darkness talking us into wrong thoughts and deeds. The only weapon we have against it, and we all have those thoughts, is our determination to succeed. By imagining that our Dark Passenger,  as I prefer to call it, is actually something outside ourselves, we can mentally argue our case and, through determination, change our actions.

Success is sweet, failure is bitter and the only difference between the two is determination. Any goal, no matter how large or how small, is only unattainable if you lack the determination to go on. No cause is lost until you decide that it is lost. So ignore, or better still defeat your Fundamental Darkness, have confidence in yourself, be determined, and never, ever give up. In that way, you will always be a winner, will achieve your goals, and be forever tasting that sweet taste of success.

All Smoke And Mirrors

Illusions - We See What We Want To SeeIllusion about the true nature of existence is literally illusion about the nature of one’s own life. This is the fundamental source of all illusions.

If we are ignorant about the nature of our own existence, then we will be ignorant about the nature of other people’s lives too.

On the other hand, when our lives are free from illusion, we perceive the treasure that shines resplendent in all people. in all beings.

Decisions, Decisions

Fork In The RoadLife is a journey full of possibilities, for which we have to make decisions, and for which in turn, we are all accountable.

Wouldn’t it be marvellous if there was a What-If machine, which you could use to play out each possible choice, see which one worked out best, and then make your decision based on that outcome?

Sadly there isn’t, nor will there ever be. So it is left up to us to make the best decision at the time, and then live with the consequences.

Of course, many of the decisions we make are of little consequence, tea or coffee, red or white wine, vote or abstain etc. none or these will, in all probability, change your life. But there are some decisions that, whichever way you decide, change the course of your life irrevocably. Not only that, but whatever you decide, you will never, ever know how things would have turned out had you made the opposite choice.

When I find myself faced with such a conundrum I chant, and chant and chant, until the possible outcomes are clear in my head, as well as all the reasons for why I might make each of the choices available, that I have identified all the pros and cons, I make the choice, and it is made with wisdom, courage and compassion. Once it’s made, there should be no going back. There is nothing worse than flip-flopping between decisions. It does no good, and can do a lot of harm, so stick to your guns.

Sometimes, We Must Roar

Remember, a lion is a lion because he roarsNichiren wrote that wrath can be both good and bad. Self-centred anger generates evil, but wrath at social injustice becomes the driving force for reform.

Strong language that censures and combats a great evil often attracts adverse reactions from society, but this must not intimidate or deter those who believe they are right.

Remember, a lion is a lion because he roars.

Always There 4 Us

I Love My MomDoes it sound a bit sad to say that my Mom is my best friend? I don’t think anyone would describe me as a mommy’s boy, but speaking to her virtually every day, shows me that she is just that, my very best friend.

We have a similar outlook on life, albeit that we are a generation apart, and the changes in life between those two generations are vast. She doesn’t always agree with the things I say or do, and will tell me so, but she doesn’t tell me what to do, or how to live my life either.

She has always been there when I have needed support, and that is true for my brothers too. She tells me that I am her golden boy, but I’m sure she says the same to the other two too. She always tries to see both sides of a situation, and puts her point across with wisdom, courage and compassion. We always know where we stand, and we know that she will always stand by us in times of trouble.

So yes, my Mom is my best friend, and I feel very fortunate to be in that position. As someone who has lost her best friend in this lifetime, namely my father, I would like to think that I can, in some small way, reciprocate, and be her best friend now, in his absence.

If it wasn’t for the fact that she is a committed Methodist Christian, she would make a marvellous Buddhist. We talk about the differences between our beliefs, though neither of us would try to impose those beliefs on the other. We both take comfort from the other having a faith on which to base their life. I love you Mom, thank you for always being there, and I hope I can support you in any less happy times as much as you have supported me when I have needed it.

Measuring Happiness?

HappinessHappiness, as my friend and I discussed recently, is connected to everything, and connected to 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 controlling, 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.”

Challenge Everything

Lotus SutraWhat happens in your life all comes down to you. Do not rely on others, or wait for them to do something. Try to develop such a strong sense of responsibility, that you can stand up to the fiercest of challenges, confidently proclaiming, “I can do it, I will succeed”

Boldly confront reality, look it squarely in the face, and with wisdom, courage and compassion, challenge everything that lies ahead of you.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Beneficial Introspection

SocratesThe path to enlightenment involves a lot of learning, much of it about yourself.

Wisdom is rooted in the souls of human beings. The way to acquire it is to follow the simple advice of Socrates – ‘Know Thyself’.

This is the starting point for the establishment of a sense of human dignity, preventing the degradation of human beings into anonymous, interchangeable cogs in a machine.

The essence of true knowledge is self knowledge.

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