Just Another Day … Almost

Just Another Birthday Birthdays are funny things aren’t they When you are little, they are the best thing next to Christmas, you count down the days and they take ages to arrive.

Then you become a teenager and your life changes almost overnight. Shortly after, one day you are a child, the next you are an adult, and so it goes on.

Certain birthdays are real milestones in life. 18, 21, 30, 40, 50, 65, the list goes on. However, 60 isn’t on any list that I subscribe to, so today was really just another day, albeit a very nice one. The last twelve months have been life changing for me, my strengthening faith in Nichiren Buddhism being one of the most important aspects of that.

But now it’s nearly over, and tomorrow will literally be just another day. So it is only left for me to thank all my family and friends for the presents, the cards and the nice greetings on Facebook and the like. I am grateful that I have chalked up another year. When you see the news, every day there are many, many people who don’t. So I should really be most thankful for my good fortune, life in all it’s glory, should never be taken for granted.

Is This Happiness?

Is This Happiness?Before asking the question, maybe we should ask … what do we mean by happiness?

There may be as many answers to that as there are stars in the sky, everyone has their own idea of what makes them happy, and what doesn’t.

Maybe it is the love of a partner, being part of a family, the pay cheque at the end of the month or that new car you had always promised yourself. Whatever your idea of happiness, we all crave more of it.

We can probably agree that it is all too often a transitory state, punctuated by periods where we are unhappy, or at least a bit glum. So what would you give to have more of this illusive life-state, and how can you go about achieving a happier life?

Well speaking personally, I can almost guarantee happiness from my Buddhist practice. That might sound a little trite or even rather far-fetched, but for me it is true. My practice helps me see life from all angles, the ups and downs, from my view-point and from that of others, and it ‘smoothes’ out the emotional bumps we encounter each and every day.

The idea at the very core of Buddhism is the removal of suffering, and that in itself helps us to be happier. Seeing the beauty in nature, the best facets of another’s personality, the joy in helping others, happiness is there for us all, all of the time and all around us. Living a life that is more concerned with others than ourselves, giving more than we take, and so on, will also bring feelings of happiness. All we have to do is look out for it.

Living in a society that is more concerned about what we own, than who we really are, we all struggle to put those ideas into action. We hear about people earning ridiculous sums, whilst providing little by way of return, and wonder how they can live with the guilt. If society valued the good in people more than the goods of people, the world would be a much fairer, happier place.

Whatever flavour your own happiness comes in, I wish you more of it, now and in the future. And when it arrives, please make sure that you share it around. That way you will find it grows and grows, and that it lasts just that little bit longer.

86 Today – Happy Birthday Mom

My Mom, 86 years old today !!!It’s my Mother’s birthday today. Happy Birthday Mom, congratulations on another fabulous year!!!

I bought her a voice recorder, to help her collate the many memories compiled over the years. Now all she has to do is learn how to use it.

She is a practicing Christian, a Methodist as some of you may already know.

It’s interesting to compare the Christian background I was brought up in and Mom’s Methodist Religion, and the Buddhist Practice I now choose.

Interesting too, that Nichiren Buddhism is an atheist belief system, which fits my way of thinking much more closely.

Any way, Happy Birthday Mom, and many happy returns too.

Happy Birthday Dad

Happy Birthday DadToday would have been my Dad’s 88th birthday.

This photograph of him hangs on the wall next to my desk at home, and I look at it often and remember him with great fondness and love.

He wasn’t a religious man, only going to church for weddings and the like, though he always supported my Mom in her church activities.

As a boy, I remember him as always being at work. Back then, it was quite common for people to work on Saturdays too, and as a printer, he was always busy.

My Mom was definitely his Honzon. If ever she went away for the day, she would leave him a packed lunch, an apple cut into quarters and maybe a cheese sandwich, just to make sure he ate something. He was a bit lost whenever she wasn’t around.

His one big love in life, apart from his family, was printing. Our house was always full of books and paper and print samples, and if he was ever given a book as a present, he was far more interested in who had printed it than what it was about.

In later years, he had a passion for free pistol shooting, he kept meticulous sets of figures of his scores, and used to compile the tables of scores for the club to which he belonged. He was very angry when the Government brought in stricter gun laws, and he was unable to keep his much cherished guns. He always felt that they were punishing the innocent for the sins of the guilty.

Sadly he spent the last couple of years of his life in the World of Tranquillity. He had a heart condition that meant he didn’t have the life-energy to get out and do very much. He still read quite a lot and watched sport on TV, but he slept a lot more.

You were a great Dad, and, in your own quiet way, a great man. You were Wise, Courageous and Compassionate in so many ways, though maybe I didn’t always appreciate it at the time. I pray for you every morning and evening during Gongyo, and although I know you are back here with us somewhere, I miss you a great deal.

Happy Birthday Dad.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Mixed Emotions

More Happiness Anyone?

On the day I learned that I was being made redundant again, and coincidentally also reached the ripe old age of 59, it’s been one of mixed emotions, to say the least …

What do we mean by happiness? There may be as many answers to that as there are stars in the sky, everyone has their own idea of what makes them happy, and what doesn’t.

Maybe it is the love of a partner, being part of a family, the pay cheque at the end of the month or that new car you had always promised yourself. Whatever your idea of happiness, we all crave more of it.

We can probably agree that it is all too often a transitory state, punctuated by periods where we are unhappy, or at least a bit glum. So what would you give to have more of this illusive life-state, and how can you go about achieving a happier life?

Well speaking personally, I can almost guarantee happiness from my Buddhist practice. That might sound a little trite or even rather far-fetched, but for me it is true. My practice helps me see life from all angles, the ups and downs, from my view-point and from that of others, and it ‘smoothes’ out the emotional bumps we encounter each and every day.

The idea at the very core of Buddhism is the removal of suffering, and that in itself helps us to be happier. Seeing the beauty in nature, the best facets of another’s personality, the joy in helping others, happiness is there for us all, all of the time and all around us. Living a life that is more concerned with others than ourselves, giving more than we take, and so on, will also bring feelings of happiness. All we have to do is look out for it.

Living in a society that is more concerned about what we own, than who we really are, we all struggle to put those ideas into action. We hear about people earning ridiculous sums, whilst providing little by way of return, and wonder how they can live with the guilt. If society valued the good in people more than the goods of people, the world would be a much fairer, happier place.

Whatever flavour your own happiness comes in, I wish you more of it, now and in the future. And when it arrives, please make sure that you share it around. That way you will find it grows and grows, and that it lasts just that little bit longer.

Happy Birthday Dad

DadToday would have been my Dad’s 87th birthday.

This photograph of him hangs on the wall next to my desk at home, and I look at it often and remember him with great fondness and love.

He wasn’t a religious man, only going to church for weddings and the like, though he always supported my Mom in her church activities.

As a boy, I remember him as always being at work. Back then, it was quite common for people to work on Saturdays too, and as a printer, he was always busy.

My Mom was definitely his Honzon. If ever she went away for the day, she would leave him a packed lunch, an apple cut into quarters and maybe a cheese sandwich, just to make sure he ate something. He was a bit lost whenever she wasn’t around.

His one big love in life, apart from his family, was printing. Our house was always full of books and paper and print samples, and if he was ever given a book as a present, he was far more interested in who had printed it than what it was about.

In later years, he had a passion for free pistol shooting, he kept meticulous sets of figures of his scores, and used to compile the tables of scores for the club to which he belonged. He was very angry when the Government brought in stricter gun laws, and he was unable to keep his much cherished guns. He always felt that they were punishing the innocent, for the sins of the guilty.

Sadly he spent the last couple of years of his life in the World of Tranquillity. He had a heart condition that meant he didn’t have the life-energy to get out and do very much. He still read quite a lot and watched sport on TV, but he slept a lot more.

You were a great Dad, and, in your own quiet way, a great man. You were Wise, Courageous and Compassionate in so many ways, though maybe I didn’t always appreciate it at the time. I pray for you every morning and evening during Gongyo, and although I know you are back here with us somewhere, I miss you a great deal.

Happy Birthday Dad.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

A Special Day

The Wheel Of Life Keeps TurningIt’s no great secret, but today was my birthday. 21 again, for the umpteenth time, making me officially 58, although I certainly don’t feel it, whatever that might mean. Time sneaks by, almost unnoticed and suddenly another year has passed.

Growing old gracefully is a gentle art. Growing old disgracefully, on the other hand, takes real commitment. So, many is the time that I have stated what I believe to be a fact. That a man grows old, though never quite manages to grow up. Sorry ladies, but some of us are eternal children, and long may it be so.

Anyway, apart from having to attend the institution I like to call work, it has been a very special day. I have been inundated with cards, calls, texts and messages of felicitation on all manner of social network. It is a wonderful feeling to know that I am so connected to my family and friends, and I thank you all for your kind words and loving messages.

In reciprocation, aside from the offering of cakes, which disappeared in double quick time, I will strive with all my might, to make it to the same date next year in one piece.

Party Time !!!

TriceratopsYoung Zachary is not so young today, in fact he’s just turned three, so it was all round to Charlotte and Rob’s for cake this afternoon. But what do you give a three year old for his birthday? Well, Zach is a dinosaur nut, his favourite being the Triceratops.

In the event, Zach actually chose his own presents, which were then wrapped and secreted away until the day arrived. So when he opened the parcels, a Triceratops model, a bucket of miniature dinosaurs and a book about dinosaurs, he was absolutely delighted.

The combination of perfect presents, doting grandparents, a gaggle (if that’s the correct collective noun) of cousins, a few friends and a lovely yummy birthday cake seemed to hit the spot and there were a lot of fun and frolics had by all.

In all, I think the age span of the party-goers was about 60 years. So many phases of the Wheel of Life represented. Birthdays are a regular reminder, I have one every year, just to be sure, of how time flows inexorably on. Before we know it, Zach will be all grown up and having children of his own, and so the wheel turns again.

That might be jumping the gun a little, but when you think that Triceratops became extinct around 65 million years ago, although he’s still getting invited to birthday parties, our lives are just a blink of the eye in comparison.

Just Another Day In Paradise

BirthdaysBirthdays are funny things aren’t they? When you are little, they are the best thing next to Christmas, you count down the days and they take ages to arrive.

Then you become a teenager and your life changes almost overnight. Shortly after, one day you are a child, the next you are an adult, and so it goes on.

Certain birthdays are real milestones in life. 18, 21, 30, 40, 50, 65, the list goes on. However, 57 isn’t on any list that I know of, so today was really just another day, albeit a very nice restful one. The last twelve months have been life changing for me, cementing my faith in Nichiren Buddhism being the most important aspect of that.

But now it’s nearly over, and tomorrow will literally be just another day. So it is only left for me to thank all my family and friends for the presents, the cards and the nice greetings on Facebook and the like. I suppose I should also be grateful that I have chalked up another year. When you see the news, every day there are many, many people who don’t. So I should really be most thankful for my good fortune, life should never be taken for granted.

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