Happy 2015 !!!

New Year Fireworks - London 2014Wow, what a frantic time of year, and particularly when you are moving house, starting a new job and taking your relationship to the next level.

2014 has been the typical mix of highs and lows, but as with most things in life, if you finish on a high, the lows are more easily forgotten.

I wish you all the very best for the coming year, and I hope to see you on TSFE on a regular basis.

Namaste ~ Anupadin

Look Backwards, To Move Forward

Looking Backwards, To Move ForwardThere are situations and challenges in life, when the almost overwhelming tendency is to look inwards, to examine repeatedly, the reasons and causes that have brought us to this point in time.

We may have certain regrets about things we did, or indeed didn’t do, but the fact of the matter is that the past is set in stone.

Of course, making sense of situations, and the events that brought them about, can be very useful if we are to avoid making repeated mistakes or errors of judgement. But a continuous process of navel gazing is never going to get us back out into the big wide world. Imagine what you would miss, if you were to sit and stare at your hands, neatly folded in your lap, every time you went on a train, a plane, or a car journey.

So whilst we must take care to learn from the lessons in life. We must also look forward to using those lessons as we move forward towards a brighter and happier future, buoyed by the knowledge that we are better prepared to meet whatever we might encounter around the next exciting corner.

Indestructible

One Hundred Per CentThe true victors in life are those who, having endured repeated challenges and setbacks, have sent the roots of their spiritual being to such a depth, that nothing can ever shake them loose.

By practicing Nichiren Buddhism, with all our heart and mind, on a daily basis, can allow us to grow our own spiritual roots to a great depth. Whilst our practice takes us along the road to enlightenment, this is a powerful side-effect that makes us able to defeat anything that life throws at us.

Life Can Be Proper Tricky

Life Can Be Proper TrickySorting out our life can be a bit like solving a Rubik’s cube, each part is like one of the faces, separate but all connected.

We work to get one face, let’s say Blue sorted out.

On it’s own that task is pretty easy and we complete it quite quickly. So we move on to to the Red face, again it’s pretty easy, in isolation, so we get it sorted and we feel a satisfaction in that.

But then we turn the cube back to the Blue side, and it’s all messed up again, because it is connected to the Red side.

Life is like that. Every aspect of life is connected, to our family, our friends, our work, every other aspect. Just like Rubik’s cube, unless you know the rules for arranging the sides, it can be pretty impossible. The only way to get our lives sorted, is to learn the rules governing how they fit together. I say rules, but there’s nothing written down anywhere that will teach you. So it’s a case of trial and error, to some degree. Hopefully our parents teach us the ground rules, but every situation is different, so it’s necessary to modify or adapt the rules so they fit.

There are two big differences between life and Rubik’s cube. The first is that unlike the cube, life is no game, obviously, and second, life is nowhere as simple as getting six coloured faces sorted out. So whether you are playing with a Rubik’s cube, or trying to sort your life out, I wish you good fortune. Wisdom, courage and compassion in huge and equal measure will go a long way in many respects. From my point of view, the news is mixed. I’m getting better, but still learning to do both.

An All Round Better Way

Stop That Finger PointingWhen you become submerged in difficult situations, when the way forward looks bleak and less than inviting, it can be tempting to start pointing a finger at others to lay the blame at their door.

But there is an old Buddhist saying about pointing. When you point, one finger points out, away from you, towards the one you are blaming.

But look at your hand, three fingers are pointing back, at you, towards the person who is also to blame. Meaning that for each inference you point at others, three will be pointed back at you. But there is another way.

If you are honest with yourself, really, truly honest, and you examine the situation from all angles, you will almost certainly find that you are indeed responsible for making some of the causes that, in conjunction with another or others, has contributed to the outcome in which you find yourself.

Rather than trying to apportion blame, take responsibility for your own mistakes, you will find it a very cathartic experience, I know, I’ve been there. The unsurprising side effect is that it will also change the way in which others perceive you. They will recognise the Wisdom, Courage and Compassion in your new found attitude, and will respect you for all it represents.

Use All Your Courage

Use All Your CourageWe all have choices to make in life. Everything from whether to take tea or coffee to the major life-changing decisions regarding money, relationships, children and careers.

Whatever the choice you have to make, make it with wisdom, courage and compassion.

If you summon your courage to challenge something, you will never regret it. It would be so sad to spend your life wishing, “If only I had a little more courage.”

Whatever the outcome, the important thing is to take a step forward on the path that you believe is right.

Do not worry too much about what others may think. It is your life. Be true to yourself.

Change Can Make Us Better

Life is made of funny stuffLife is made of funny stuff, isn’t it?

I’m currently going through major changes in my life, in my job, where I live, everything.

Now I have been very careful to scrutinise each and every situation, and make educated guesses at what these changes might encompass.

But we can never be sure of the outcome, no matter how carefully we plan. That’s the excitement that life provides, the not knowing.

Going back over your mistakes, asking yourself painful questions and giving honest answers is a difficult, but cathartic experience.

We’ve all made mistakes in life, some more serious than others, but thinking them through, trying to explain why you made that decision at that point in time, makes you re-examine your own values. In my case, having changed through my Buddhist Practice, it also becomes clear that I would have made different decisions in many cases.

Our history is set in stone, we cannot go back and make those decisions anew. But we can try to make amends, apologise for any hurt we have caused, and, above all, be honest with ourselves and others.

The changes in myself, that I see and feel, the way I view life, and my responsibility for events affecting me and people around me, have come about through my Practice and my study of Nichiren Buddhism.

As I have said before, once you see things in a different light, you cannot undo that change. Nor would I want to, because even though I know I will make other mistakes in the future, I know that those mistakes will be made despite honourable intentions, and with a great deal more Wisdom, Courage and Compassion.

Carry On Reading

Carry On ReadingSo few of us manage to read enough these days, particularly books of real substance, we are besotted with instant web text.

Reading is a dialogue with ourselves, it is self-reflection, which cultivates profound humanity. Reading is essential to our self development.

It expands and enriches the personality like a seed that germinates after a long time and sends forth a multitude of blossom-laden branches.

People who can say of a book ‘this changed my life’ truly understand the meaning of inner happiness. Reading that sparks inner revolution is urgently needed to help us escape drowning in the rapidly advancing information society.

Reading is far more than simple intellectual ornamentation, it is a battle for the establishment and preservation of the self, a ceaseless challenge that keeps us young and vigorous.

Staying On Course

Staying On CourseDealing with the ever changing aspects of life is a little like sailing a yacht in a squally breeze.

There are external influences that push and pull on the direction of our path.

Our role as skipper of our own craft, is to deal with the challenges that those influences bring, whilst trying to steer in the direction we want our lives to go.

The similarity to sailing is most evident when you compare the way a yacht has to sail across the wind, in a direction as close to, but rarely directly towards, the desired goal. So there has to be a degree of compromise in order to make progress towards that goal.

Life is exactly the same. It is pretty rare to find, that the influences on our lives, push or pull us directly towards our goals. The old adage of ‘two steps forward and one step back’ is often very accurate. A little progress in the right direction is often followed by a period of consolidation, during which we may even find that we have slipped back a little.

It is good to remember that, as illustrated in The Buddha, Geoff and Me, resistance is not only inevitable, and a measure of our progress, but is essential for some processes to work at all.

On Making 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.

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