Breaking Down The Challenge

Old Harry Rocks From The South West Coastal PathThe alarm went off at 7:00am, the same as it would on any Monday morning, but this morning was all about making the most of the Bank holiday. My challenge was to complete my Purbecks Figure O’ Eight ride, a round trip of close to 70km, before the roads filled up with visitors and holidaymakers.

Ok, so it’s no Tour de France stage, but neither is it a trip to the corner shop either. Rather than looking at the ride as a whole, I set myself a series of small challenges, getting to the ferry, rounding the corner at Old Harry Rocks, reaching Swanage etc.

Breaking a task into little steps makes it more achievable and cycling is no different. When the going gets tough the tasks get shorter, the climb up Creech Hill for example, gets broken into the individual slopes that make up the whole hill. The 20% incline is only about 15 to 20 metres, but it’s a challenge all of its own.

Similarly, in Nichiren Buddhism, attaining enlightenment is not about embarking on some inconceivably long journey to become a resplendent, godlike Buddha, it is about accomplishing a transformation in the depths of one’s being.

In other words, it is not a matter of practicing in order to scale the highest summit of enlightenment at some point in the distant future. Rather it is a constant, moment to moment, inner struggle between revealing our innate Dharma nature or allowing ourselves to be ruled by our fundamental darkness and delusion.

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