On Being Fearless

In The Fullness Of TimeSometimes, we may have to  summon the courage to speak out against injustice.

Nichiren Daishonin illustrated why we should do just that, most eloquently …

“To speak out without fearing others and without flinching before society—this is what the sutra means when it says, “We care nothing for our bodies or lives but are anxious only for the unsurpassed way.”

It is not that one does not recall the calumny, the staves and stones that were suffered by Bodhisattva Never Disparaging. It is not that one is unafraid of the world. It is just that the censure of the Lotus Sutra is even more severe.”

In other words, to speak out may cause one pain, but to not speak out will be even more painful in the fullness of time.

Being The Voice That Is Heard

Being The Voice That Is HeardSometimes, we may have to  summon the courage to speak out against injustice.

Nichiren Daishonin illustrated why we should do just that, most eloquently …

“To speak out without fearing others and without flinching before society—this is what the sutra means when it says, “We care nothing for our bodies or lives but are anxious only for the unsurpassed way.”

It is not that one does not recall the calumny, the staves and stones that were suffered by Bodhisattva Never Disparaging. It is not that one is unafraid of the world. It is just that the censure of the Lotus Sutra is even more severe.”

In other words, to speak out may cause one pain, but not to speak out will be even more painful in the fullness of time.

Rockin’ And Rollin’

Rockin’ And Rollin’Since my birthday last month I have been on my bike every single day, either out and about, or more recently, with the colder shorter days, indoors on my training rollers. Now training rollers are a great way of staying fit, but compared to being out in the countryside, they are B-O-R-I-N-G, pedalling away for hours each week.

To make the sessions more fun, I searched on YouTube for a training video which would encourage me as well as keeping my focus. I found one, a really well made forty five minute session, using video taken during a group ride, with predetermined intervals of effort and rest, I love it and use it every second day, interspersed with thirty minute low intensity ‘days off’.

In a strange way, riding with the other guys on the video, makes me work harder, give that extra bit of effort when my lungs, heart or legs are screaming ENOUGH!!! It’s the perfect way to continue my fitness regime, and with my newly adopted vegan diet, my weight, and more importantly, my body fat levels are continuing to fall.

People have said, about my exercising, and more particularly about my diet, that because I live alone, I have no interruptions, nobody to take my focus away from my goals, nobody to tempt me with other foods or get in the way of my schedule. That of course is true, but neither do I have anyone to ‘watch over me’ to keep me on track, nobody except myself that is.

Temptation comes in many forms. The temptation to add salt to the vegetables, because I was used to the taste, the temptation to crumble under the pressure from others who think being vegan is strange and will lead to deficiencies in my diet, even the temptation, to ease off, slow down, give up, when it’s painful to carry on riding. After all, nobody would know, nobody except me.

Determination is a very satisfying trait, one which I have only fairly recently acquired, but one which pays you back, time and time again, and which stabs you, like a knife through the heart if you decide to give in. Determination is a form of fitness, the more you practice it, the stronger it becomes.

Today is day 235 of my regime. In that time I have cycled, outdoors and in, over 4000 km, burned 130,891 kcal and spent 180 hours on 152 various different sessions. When I started I weighed 100 kg, today I weigh 77 kg, and I haven’t finished yet. But believe me, in all that time, there have been numerous times when I really wanted to stop, give up and call it a day.

Now it may be that I am lucky to have the time to devote to my quest. It may be that I can please myself about what I eat. It may well be that I get an addiction to things, and certainly in the past that was the case. But I think you will agree that I’ve given it long enough to disprove the last of those three.

I’m not special. I’ve done nothing here that anyone else couldn’t do, given the determination. I’m proud of my efforts, though I am disappointed that I let myself get into the situation in the first place, but my determination gets stronger over time. If you are trying to reach a goal, keep going. If you stop, there will only be one person who is to blame, only one who will feel the pain of failure, and that is you.

Be The Voice That Is Heard

In The Fullness Of TimeSometimes, we may have to  summon the courage to speak out against injustice.

Nichiren Daishonin illustrated why we should do just that, most eloquently …

“To speak out without fearing others and without flinching before society—this is what the sutra means when it says, “We care nothing for our bodies or lives but are anxious only for the unsurpassed way.”

It is not that one does not recall the calumny, the staves and stones that were suffered by Bodhisattva Never Disparaging. It is not that one is unafraid of the world. It is just that the censure of the Lotus Sutra is even more severe.”

In other words, to speak out may cause one pain, but to not speak out will be even more painful in the fullness of time.

Every Cloud

Cloud ComputingWith the cycle trip to Bristol beginning tomorrow, I’m busy tidying up some of the loose ends here at work before my much anticipated long weekend. There’s a lot going on at present, in fact it’s been this way since all the changes earlier in the year, but a company wide migration to cloud based applications is keeping us all on our toes. I want to leave the decks nice and clear before I head off for home this evening.

During times of heightened stress, albeit self imposed, I find it both enlightening and calming to take a moment to read Daisaku Ikeda’s Buddhism Day by Day during my lunch break, and I thought I would share these two I found with you today …

“There simply are no Buddhas who spend all their time in meditation. Buddhas are Buddhas precisely because they continually ponder and take action to help others resolve their worries.”

“A coward cannot become a Buddha. We cannot attain Buddhahood unless we possess the heart of a lion. The harsher the situation, the bolder the stand we must take. This is the essence of the Soka Gakkai spirit.”

A couple of rousing calls to action if ever there were.

I will try to blog while I’m on the road, but please bear with me if the posts for the next few days are a little concise or tardy. I’m determined to travel light, so the last thing I need to carry with me is a laptop or tablet, but I’m sure I’ll be able to beg, borrow or steal, ok not steal, a machine and get onto the blog, through the wonders of cloud computing.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.

Be Fearless

In The Fullness Of TimeSometimes, we may have to  summon the courage to speak out against injustice.

Nichiren Daishonin illustrated why we should do just that, most eloquently …

“To speak out without fearing others and without flinching before society—this is what the sutra means when it says, “We care nothing for our bodies or lives but are anxious only for the unsurpassed way.”

It is not that one does not recall the calumny, the staves and stones that were suffered by Bodhisattva Never Disparaging. It is not that one is unafraid of the world. It is just that the censure of the Lotus Sutra is even more severe.”

In other words, to speak out may cause one pain, but to not speak out will be even more painful in the fullness of time.

No Room For Complacency

DeterminationWhen we work hard at something, be it a task, a goal or personal trait that we wish to change or improve, we get satisfaction when we see results. Making the causes to see effects is not a one off action. Generally we need to keep the pressure on until the goal is met.

It is easy to let the feelings of euphoria, when we reach a target or goal, get the better of us. We may feel that the effort needed to complete a task can now be eased. This may be true in certain circumstances, where a material goal has been met, but that is not the case where we are striving to maintain an objective, such as compassion or courage.

Being compassionate in one instance, being courageous in a certain circumstance does not make us suddenly compassionate or courageous. We must continue to monitor ourselves, to be mindful, self-aware and to continue the effort that brought us to this point. Reaching a goal can be difficult, but maintaining that status can be just as difficult.

So next time you find yourself bathing in a self-congratulatory glow of satisfaction, take stock. It is the determination to continue the effort, to stop ourselves from back-sliding and to maintain the newly found goal that keeps us on the path to enlightenment and to greater happiness.

Take It In Both Hands

CourageWhen we find ourselves in a difficult situation, there are two choices, chicken out, turn and run, or take our courage in both hands and face the challenge. The central Buddhist principles of Wisdom, Courage and Compassion lead us to take the latter option.

So tonight, faced with a difficult situation not of my own making, I decided to face it, to turn the poison into medicine. To be fair, I had been told not to get involved, but knowing that the others involved were a little less experienced than me, I ignored the advice.

And the courage paid off. The problem was at least reduced, if not completely solved. I have no idea what the final outcome will be, but at least I feel that I gave my all and that I didn’t walk away. Tomorrow we can take a more measured look at the cause, and at how we can solve the problem once and for all.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Busy, Busy, Busy

Caring HandsHaving my mate back in the office today was great, he’s been away looking after his wife and his new baby and we’ve missed him.

Not going into details, but he also has other problems going on, and it really makes you realise that although we have problems of our own, life isn’t so bad really.

Life is actually just a series of problems, or challenges, and our job is to face these situations and having solved them, come out of the other side, stronger and wiser. Today has been super busy, so it was a fine balance of being supportive and caring, while dealing with as much of the work without taking up any of his time.

While it is very laudable to confront problems in person, there is no shame in having a little help. The difficulty from the other side is offering support without being intrusive. So maybe the very epitome of Wisdom, Courage and Compassion.

Having the courage to offer support in the first place, the wisdom to know where to draw the line and the compassion to show sensitivity in delicate situations.

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