I’m Bomb Proof

I'm Bomb ProofThe 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.

On The Question Of Purity

MirrorsNichiren said,

“If the minds of living beings are impure, their land is also impure, but if their minds are pure, so is their land.

There are not two lands, pure or impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds. It is the same with a Buddha and an ordinary being.

While deluded, one is called an ordinary being, but when enlightened, one is called a Buddha. This is similar to a tarnished mirror that will shine like a jewel when polished.”

We can all purify our minds, follow the path to enlightenment and strive towards Buddhahood.

Get polishing those mirrors folks!

Another Year

Balloons For Another YearYet again,  today is the anniversary of my blog, and there’s been a post of some description each and every day.

As it says in the About it is the story of my path to enlightenment, but it also logs the past four years highs and lows of life.

I would like to think that you can see the progress, gradual though it may be, that I have made since last September.

It’s a fascinating journey as many of you know, and everyone’s is different. I would really like to thank all the people who have left comments on here or on Facebook or Twitter, they are all greatly appreciated and very often show that we are all learning as we go along.

When I wrote the first post, I was determined to keep it up. Whilst I cannot, hand on heart, say that there haven’t been days when I’ve though ‘Oh bum, it’s late, I’m tired and I still haven’t written today’s post’ but I have always made the effort.

As with my practice, it’s the routine of it that makes the difference. It’s the discipline needed to keep going that adds to the progress through the practice, so when you feel like giving up on something, don’t !!!

Barring fire, pestilence or flood, I’ll still be here, blogging away this time next year, and I hope that you are all still reading the posts too.

The Buddha

The BuddhaThe Sanskrit word Buddha means “One who is awakened [to the truth].” While the term was widely employed by various schools of the time, it eventually came to be used exclusively in reference to Shakyamuni. At the same time, the word Buddha implies “to bloom.”

A person who causes flowers of lofty character to brilliantly bloom and who bears the fruits of good fortune and benefit in abundance is a Buddha. Such a person manifests the benefit of the Law and shines with character overflowing with blessings.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

The Learning Process

Look Both WaysI love the way this poem beautifully encapsulates the stages of learning, and the long, long road to enlightenment …

  1. I walk down the street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
    I fall in.
    I am lost…
    I am hopeless.
    It isn’t my fault.
    It takes forever to find a way out.
  2. I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I pretend I don’t see it.
    I fall in again.
    I can’t believe I’m in the same place.
    But it isn’t my fault.
    It still takes a long time to get out.
  3. I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I see it is there.
    I still fall in…it’s a habit
    My eyes are open; I know where I am;
    It is my fault.
    I get out immediately.
  4. I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I walk around it.
  5. I walk down another street.
~ Portia Nelson

On The Purpose Of Prayer

The Chosen PathPrayer, in Nichiren Buddhism, is unlike that in most other faiths, in that they are not directed to a higher power for help or consideration for the subject of the prayer.

When Nichiren Buddhists pray, they are making themselves more mindful of the effects they wish to see in their lives, and raising their life-state in order to enable them to create the causes to achieve those effects.

It is important to remember that our prayers reflect our life state. In that respect, prayer is a solemn means to raise our life-state or condition. To receive exactly the results for which we are praying, it is crucial to make a determined, single minded effort toward that goal.

This is the true path of manifesting faith in our daily life. Those of us who proceed along this narrow path, day after day, month after month, year after year, will develop, without fail. Just as a sapling grows into a mighty tree, to become a person of outstanding strength and character, one with wisdom, courage and compassion, relies on us remaining true to our chosen path.

Learn To Know Thyself

Socrates - 'Know Thyself'The path to enlightenment involves a lot of learning, much of it about ourselves. My growing emphasis on mindfulness leads to much self examination, of feelings, thoughts and of the workings of the mind.

Wisdom is rooted in the souls of human beings. The way to acquire it is to follow the simple advice of Socrates – ‘Know Thyself’.

This is the starting point for the establishment of a sense of human dignity, preventing the degradation of human beings into anonymous, interchangeable cogs in a machine.

The basis of all true knowledge is self knowledge.

Choose Happiness

Choose HappinessIt may seem to be a strange thing to say, but our happiness, or otherwise, is actually a choice we make for ourselves. It’s basically tied to the way we view the challenges that life throws at us.

When something happens, something we would rather hadn’t happened, we have a choice to make. Do we throw our hands in the air and go into a mood of depression, or do we face the issue head on?

If we take the former route, only seeing the bad side of things, the issue will seem to get bigger and worse than it actually is. Our depression will make things even worse, and a negative spiral ensues. This is not a good route to a positive outcome, and even if we were to conquer the problem, it would take us longer and require more effort in the long run. How often have you got into a state over something, only to realise, in the fullness of time, that it really wasn’t as bad as you thought?

The other way to approach things, is to remain calm, look for the positives, and there will be some, rather than focussing on the negatives. A calm mind works better than a frantic mind. Focussing on the positives actually raises our life-state, which makes us feel more energetic and more able to do what needs to be done and meet the challenges head on.

Enlightenment has been described as a state in which we are continuously happy. Now that might sound a bit far fetched, but if we make the right choices, consciously and subconsciously, we can maintain a state of happiness.

To attain the ability to control our minds to such a degree that we make the right choices every time is no small matter, which is why the path to enlightenment is long and winding. But I know that I am further down the path each day, and the goal is worth every ounce of effort.

A Sudden Realisation

A Sudden ThoughtOccasionally I really surprise myself, or rather something that in all truth should be blindingly obvious, suddenly permeates my grey matter and comes as a bit of a shock.

I’ve been writing my blog for nearly four years now, and over eighty thousand people have visited it in that time, but it struck me today that the whole purpose behind it and my practice, is to help myself and others, to reach a state of enlightenment.

Sensei says this of enlightenment, or the state of Buddhahood:

If we attain the state of Buddhahood in this lifetime, that state will forever pervade our lives. Throughout the cycle of birth and death, in each new lifetime, we are endowed with good health, wealth and intelligence, along with a supportive, comfortable environment, and lead lives that overflow with good fortune. Each of us will also possess a unique mission and be born in an appropriate form to fulfil it.

Quite a powerful statement, but really, just how amazing will that be? And there was the shock, that my practice and my musings about it each day are actually helping me, and hopefully you, along the long and winding path to a most amazing goal.

Maybe I am a bit dim, ok there’s no maybe about it, and perhaps I should have realised it sooner, but I hope that my posts help others, even if it is only a simple thought that strikes a chord.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Onward, Ever Onward

Onwards And UpwardsWe all find ourselves confronted by challenges, or in situations, which take us outside our comfort zone. It may be as important as a life changing decision, or something as trivial as whether to risk your street cred by riding with a new cycling group.

My own thinking in such circumstances, is to feel the pain and do it anyway. Not that I have always made the right decision, far from it, but for me, doing nothing is not an option.

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

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

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