A Positive Thought For The Day

Buddha, Siddhārtha GautamaThe purpose behind my Buddhist Practice is to bring me a little closer to Buddhahood, each and every day.

That is to say, to emulate, as closely as possible, the Buddha himself, in the way he was able to see all things in a pure clarity.

Siddhārtha Gautama was a man, albeit a prince, who forsaking his life of comfort and position, went out into the world to meditate on the causes of, and ways to reduce or remove, the suffering of life.

In Nichiren Buddhism we learn about the Ten Worlds, from Hell to Buddhahood.

The Buddha state originates from the very depths of life, called the amala consciousness, meaning the fundamentally pure life force or consciousness. The function of the Buddha state is to bring out the positive side of the other nine worlds.

The principle of the Ten Worlds shows that the Buddha state is a naturally occurring condition of life in every living being. The purpose of Buddhist practice is to enable us to cause the Buddha state to appear; to have it working strongly in us.

In Nichiren Buddhism, therefore, the Buddha is not some perfect, ideal being, but is rather an ordinary person living in rhythm with the law of the universe, taking wise, courageous and compassionate action for the benefit of others, through the functioning of the nine worlds in daily life.

The more I practice, the closer I come to Buddhahood, and I think that is a very positive thought for today.

Give Peace A Chance

Global PeaceWith Russian troops being put on high alert in Ukraine, as a result of the recent political unrest, it is clear that the goal of world peace, Kosen-Rufu, still requires much effort if it is ever to come to fruition.

The sanctity of life is known to everyone. At the same time, there is universal confusion about the essential meaning of life’s sanctity.

If the sanctity of life can become a solid touchstone of wisdom for all people, then humankind’s destiny to experience war and misery repeatedly can be transformed.

As Sensei explains it: “Kosen means ‘to widely declare.’ Widely implies speaking out to the world, to an ever-greater number and ever-broader spectrum of people. Declare means ‘to proclaim one’s ideals, principles and philosophy.’ The ru of rufu means ‘a current like that of a great river.’ And fu means ‘to spread out like a roll of cloth.’

“The teaching of the Mystic Law has nothing to do with appearance, form or pride. It flows out freely to all humanity the world over. Like a cloth unfolding, it spreads out and covers all. So rufu means ‘to flow freely, to reach all.’

“Just like a cloth, kosen-rufu is woven from vertical and horizontal threads. The vertical threads represent the passing of Nichiren Daishonin’s teaching from mentor to disciple, parent to child, senior to junior. The horizontal threads represent the impartial spread of this teaching, transcending national borders, social classes and all other distinctions. Simply put, kosen-rufu is the movement to communicate the ultimate way to happiness—to communicate the highest principle of peace to people of all classes and nations through the correct philosophy and teaching of Nichiren”It is toward this end, towards Kosen-Rufu, that we Nichiren Buddhists are struggling.

It is toward this end, towards Kosen-Rufu, that we Nichiren Buddhists are struggling.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Social Values

ShameEvery day, online, in the press, on radio and TV, we hear reports of people in positions of power or authority, abusing those positions in order to gain yet more wealth or power. It is said that power corrupts, and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. It seems, with the ever growing gap between rich and poor, that responsibility and being held to account, are fast fading traits from a bygone age.

As Daisaku Ikeda says, “We must establish the correct standard of value upon the foundation of the dignity of life. Leaders of society, including politicians and schoolteachers, should teach children the distinction between good and evil and lead society in the direction of goodness. Today, however, the higher the status that people achieve, the more wrongdoings they tend to commit. Those in high status think only of their selfish interests while exploiting ordinary people. The “me first” attitude prevails. Looking at those adults, children cannot possibly grow upright. Such social trends, in a sense, are destroying our children. Adults must first reflect on their own way of life. Without self-reflection, adults are not qualified to scold children.”

History shows us, that given sufficient provocation, citizens who feel a total lack of power or hope for their future, will take matters into their own hands, often with catastrophic consequences. Remember the French and Russian revolutions, bloody events where the citizens of the country took back control.

How long will it be before we begin to see, that our leaders, and those with wealth and power, have started to heed the lessons of history, and are using wisdom, courage and compassion to reverse the ugly trend towards increasing greed, selfishness and elitism?

Taking Back Control

Taking Back ControlDo you ever find yourself getting into a state over a situation that is mainly in your own head?

If your world is not anchored by your faith and is dependant on factors outside your control, your imagination can run riot.

Our Fundamental Darkness, or my Dark Passenger, is a devious character and will use everything to get it’s way. Your imagination is one of it’s most powerful weapons.

This is how I was until I found Nichiren Buddhism, and it is a very precarious state in which to live. Each day can be up, or down, at the whim of something or someone else, and that’s no way to go through life, particularly if that something or someone cannot be relied upon. Everything, everyone changes over time, so basing your happiness on them is bound to fail, sooner or later.

Taking back control of your life is simple, it is a state of mind, a determination to re-centre, re-focus your life. That certainly doesn’t mean that you have to rid yourself of the something or someone, and it doesn’t mean that your relationship with them is any less important. It’s just that your life centres around something infinitely stable, and that can make all the difference in the world.

My anchor, my honzon is my practice, and I’m a better, calmer, more contented person for that. I am happier for that, and at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all seek from life, a little more happiness?

Just Wishing

Be Careful What You Wish ForSo many of us wish for things we would like, or wish to be things we aren’t. Short people wish they were taller, plump people wish they were thin, people with straight hair wish it was curly, people with curly hair wish it was straight.

Of course we are all ‘trained’ to want things from an early age, it’s a product of the consumerist society, and we are all urged to be dissatisfied with what we have, in favour of what the ad men can tempt us into buying.

But surely this way of going about things is a recipe for a certain degree of unhappiness. There are bound to be things we cannot have, maybe because it’s a physical impossibility, being taller when you are short, curly haired when your own is straight. So maybe there is a better way to look at things.

How about concentrating on the good aspects of our lives? You only have to take a few moments to think about it, and you will find that there are dozens, if not hundreds of things you are happy to have.

Maybe it’s your partner, family and friends. Maybe it’s good health, a decent job or even just having enough. So rather than thinking about the things you would like to have, take time to celebrate the things you already have, that are so precious to you, and things you would not like to live without.

And remember, you should always be careful about what you wish for. As a wise man once said, ‘Don’t wish for the stars, after all, where would you keep them all?’

Through Fresh Eyes

Through Fresh EyesA great work of art is one that truly moves and inspires you. The test is when you yourself are moved. Don’t look at art with anyone else’s eyes. Don’t listen to music with others’ ears. You should view art with your own feelings, your own heart and mind.

If you allow yourself to be swayed by the opinions of others, ‘It must be good, because everyone else is raving about it’ or ‘It must be bad, because nobody else likes it’, your feelings, your sensibilities, even your confidence, which are the basis of every artistic experience, may wither and die.

To enjoy art to the fullest, you must abandon any preconceived notions, and look at things through fresh eyes. You should then confront the work directly, with your whole being. If you find that you are deeply moved, then for you, that is a great work of art.

Precisely the same applies to your faith. What moves you is a personal thing, it should not be based on what other people feel, nor should they influence you in any way. Have the wisdom, courage and compassion to stand firm and hold onto your own beliefs.

From Another Angle

From Another AngleHaving confidence in yourself, in your faith, and in my case, my practice is a really comfortable place to be. But simply having someone else question that confidence can be a good thing at times, even though it might leave you questioning yourself.

When you find yourself being quizzed about aspects of your life, it is all too easy to become defensive, even annoyed by the questions. Who does this person think they are, putting my self confidence under the microscope?

But taking the time to think carefully about the questions, to see things from their point of view and to reflect upon what you see, is a good thing.

Of course it can make you question your own beliefs, about yourself, about the way things really are, and not just the way you see them. It can cause you to pull up short and may even make you realise that the situation is not quite the way you had imagined.

But it also gives you the opportunity to take stock and, where necessary, make changes to align your world view with the real world. Our own little universe is sometimes at odds with the way things really are, so if someone asks you awkward questions, don’t come out with all guns blazing, it may just be that they have a more realistic idea of the situation.

Greener Grass?

Greener Grass?Do not become depressed or downhearted. Do not dwell on every tiny setback in the course of pursuing your chosen path. To do so would be foolish.

Victory or defeat is determined by what we make of our own lives.

What is enviable about the pretentious rich? What is so great about conceited celebrities? What is admirable about political leaders who gained their positions of power by treating others with disdain and contempt?

There is no need to go seeking greener fields. Dig right where you are, for there lies a seam of untold riches. Our Karma fits us like a glove, and no matter what the situation we are trying to change, we are always in exactly the right place to make the causes that will, given time, effect that change.


The Lotus FlowerThe human being is not, as some people seem to believe, a frail wretch at the mercy of fate.

Shakyamuni insisted that to change oneself now is to change the future on a vast scale.

The Western impression that Buddhism is all about meditation is alien to the spirit of Shakyamuni.

The goal of Nichiren Buddhism is neither to escape from reality nor to tread a path of passive acceptance. It is to live strongly, proactively, in such a way as to refine one’s own life and reform society through a constant exchange between the outside world and the individual’s inner world.

The transformation, of self and society, will come about through the process of Human Revolution. Not the waving of placards, although that sometimes happens, but the deep seated change of the ideals and morals of society, all around the world.

Green Energy

The Ultimate Renewable Green EnergyWhen we practice gongyo and chant daimoku before the Gohonzon, the good and evil capacities of our lives begin to function as the exalted form of fundamental existence.

Lives that are full of the pain of Hell, lives that are in the world of Hunger, lives warped by the world of Anger – such lives too begin to move in the direction of creating their own personal happiness and value.

Lives being pulled toward misfortune and unhappiness are redirected and pulled in the opposite direction, toward fortune and happiness, when we make the Mystic Law our base.

Chant daimoku with all your heart, chant whenever you feel downcast, whenever you feel listless or lacking in focus.

Chanting daimoku connects us directly to chi, the Universal energy, the ultimate renewable green energy, so chant and raise your life-state, your life-energy and put your life back on track.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

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