Just Seek Within

Nichiren DaishoninThere is an expansive life-state of profound, secure happiness, that transcends any material or social advantage.

It is called faith; it is called the life-state of Buddhahood.

As Nichiren reminds us:

“It is the heart that is important.”

It is in the heart of faith that Buddhahood resides and boundless and immeasurable happiness shines forth. Happiness is not something located far away.

We must realise that it exists within our own lives. Nichiren Buddhism teaches this and shows us how to attain indestructible happiness.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

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.

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 Remaining Strong

The Reflected MoonSome days we are strong, some days not so strong. Remaining strong requires understanding our faith, Nichiren explains …

When water is clear, the moon is reflected. When the wind blows, the trees shake. Our minds are like the water.

Faith that is weak is like muddy water, while faith that is brave is like clear water. Understand that the trees are like principles, and the wind that shakes them is like the recitation of the sutra.

                                                   ~ Nichiren

Tolpuddle, A Name From History

Tolpuddle MarchToday has been a joyous celebration of a hugely important part of British, and arguably World history. In a rather unplanned manner, three of us set off to the historic Dorset village of Tolpuddle.

Now many of you may never have heard of Tolpuddle, but if you have ever been a member of a workers union, been on strike to register your opposition to a change in working conditions or in a demand for a rise in pay, Tolpuddle is inextricably linked to those actions. A group of six men from the village made history, and paid temporarily with their freedom, when they formed the first workers union. Wikipedia says this of them …

The Tolpuddle Martyrs were a group of 19th century Dorset agricultural labourers who were arrested for and convicted of swearing a secret oath as members of the Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers. The rules of the society show it was clearly structured as a friendly society and operated as a trade-specific benefit society. But at the time, friendly societies had strong elements of what are now considered to be the predominant role of trade unions. The Tolpuddle Martyrs were subsequently sentenced to transportation to Australia.

Before 1824/25 the Combination Acts had outlawed “combining” or organising to gain better working conditions. In 1824/25 these Acts were repealed, so trade unions were no longer illegal. In 1832, the year of a Reform Act which extended the vote in England but did not grant universal suffrage, six men from Tolpuddle in Dorset founded the Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers to protest against the gradual lowering of agricultural wages in the 1830s caused by the surplus supply of labour in an era when mechanisation was beginning to have an impact on agricultural working practices for the first time. This was a particular problem in remote parts of southern England, such as Dorset, where farmers did not have to compete with the higher wages paid to workers in London and in the northern towns experiencing the Industrial Revolution. They refused to work for less than 10 shillings a week, although by this time wages had been reduced to seven shillings a week and were due to be further reduced to six shillings. The society, led by George Loveless, a Methodist local preacher, met in the house of Thomas Standfield.

In 1834 James Frampton, a local landowner, wrote to the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, to complain about the union, invoking an obscure law from 1797 prohibiting people from swearing oaths to each other, which the members of the Friendly Society had done. James Brine, James Hammett, George Loveless, George’s brother James Loveless, George’s brother in-law Thomas Standfield, and Thomas’s son John Standfield were arrested, tried before Judge Baron John Williams in R v Lovelass and Others. They were found guilty, and transported to Australia.

When sentenced to seven years’ transportation, George Loveless wrote on a scrap of paper the following lines:

God is our guide! from field, from wave,
From plough, from anvil, and from loom;
We come, our country’s rights to save,
And speak a tyrant faction’s doom:
We raise the watch-word liberty;
We will, we will, we will be free!

They became popular heroes and 800,000 signatures were collected for their release. Their supporters organised a political march, one of the first successful marches in the UK, and all, except James Hammett (who had a previous criminal record for theft) were released in 1836, with the support of Lord John Russell, who had recently become Home Secretary. Four of the six returned to England, disembarking at Plymouth, a popular stopping point for transportation ships.

WP_20140720_16_51_39_ProMembers of unions from all over the country, as well as a large number of non-members, converge on the village each year, to commemorate the anniversary of the historic events, listen to speeches, enjoy music, and generally have fun. The impromptu manner of the day only further added to the enjoyment of the day. The commemorative march was remarkable, walking in the footsteps of some very famous people. The highlight, for me however, was a performance by Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, previously of the band Beautiful South with the band playing some of the classics, a great day out had by all.

An Adventure Every Day

Exploring LifeEvery day can be an adventure into the unknown. If we allow ourselves to go with the flow of events, we can find ourselves in new situations, with new challenges.

Making assumptions about where life will take us, to expect the mundane, the ordinary, the usual, may mean that we walk straight past the very opportunity we need to take our lives in a completely different and exciting direction.

The belief taught in the Lotus Sutra provides no easy answers, no escape route from the difficulties of human life. In fact it firmly rejects such easy answers, and instead implores us to take up the two tools for exploring life.

The use of those tools, belief and understanding, allows us to continually challenge, and work to perfect, ourselves. When combined with the practice of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, they also provide us with the wisdom, courage and compassion and the energy to do just that.

Remain True To Your Beliefs

The Ungrateful ScorpionShortly after he had finished his practice, an old man opened his eyes to see a scorpion floating helplessly in the river that was flowing slowly past his feet.

As the scorpion was washed closer to the tree, the old man quickly stretched himself out on one of the long roots that branched out into the river and reached out to rescue the drowning creature.

As soon as he touched it, the scorpion stung him. Instinctively the man withdrew his hand. A minute later, after he had regained his balance, he stretched himself out again on the roots to save the scorpion. This time the scorpion stung him so badly with its poisonous tail that his hand became swollen and bloody and his face contorted with pain.

At that moment, a passer-by saw the old man stretched out on the roots struggling with the scorpion and shouted: “Hey, stupid old man, what’s wrong with you? Only a fool would risk his life for the sake of an ugly, evil creature. Don’t you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?”

The old man turned his head. Looking into the stranger’s eyes he said calmly, “My friend, just because it is the scorpion’s nature to sting, that does not change my own nature to save”. There are times when, despite adversities, we need to hold true to our beliefs and faith, even when it may attract ridicule and criticism from others.

Cultivating Wisdom

Cultivating WisdomFaith in Buddhism is not blind faith that rejects reason. It is in fact a rational function, a process of the cultivation of wisdom that begins with a spirit of reverent searching.

The impulse of true reason is to continuously and eternally transcend the confines of the present self. It aims to reach beyond its grasp, always higher, always transcending itself.

The source of energy and foundation for that constant search is faith in something larger than oneself. Faith purifies reason, strengthens and elevates it.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

The Answer Lies Within

The Answer Lies WithinThere is an expansive life-state of profound, secure happiness, that transcends any material or social advantage.

It is called faith; it is called the life-state of Buddhahood.

As Nichiren reminds us:

“It is the heart that is important.”

It is in the heart of faith that Buddhahood resides and boundless and immeasurable happiness shines forth. Happiness is not something located far away.

We must realise that it exists within our own lives. Nichiren Buddhism teaches this and shows us how to attain indestructible happiness.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

You Have Full Control

Two Headed CoinOnce upon a time, there was a general who was leading his army into battle against an enemy ten times the size of his own.

Along the way to the battle field, the troops stopped by a small temple to pray for victory.

The general held up a coin and told his troops, “I am going to implore the gods to help us crush our enemy.

If this coin lands with the heads on top, we’ll win. If it’s tails, we’ll lose. Our fate is in the hands of the gods. Let’s pray wholeheartedly.”

After a short prayer, the general tossed the coin high into the air. It landed with the heads on top. The troops were overjoyed and went into the battle in high spirits.

Just as the coin predicted, the smaller army won the battle.

The soldiers were exalted, “It’s good to have the gods on our side! No one can change what they have determined.”

“Really?” asked the general, and showed them the coin … there was a head on both sides.

Previous Older Entries

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: