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.

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

On Wiping The Slate Clean

Wiping The Slate CleanSometimes we need to wipe the slate clean, take a deep breath, and start anew. With my impending change of career, this might just be the perfect time to do so. Having new goals, new horizons and renewed vigour is just the ticket.

I know that some people fear change, are loath to relinquish all the effort put into a particular path, even if that path may be taking them in the wrong direction. I am not one of those people, I embrace change and actually find it rather exciting.

Setting sail on a new career in teaching or writing, I intend to make the most of each and every day, and when that change does arrive, I will enjoy the excitement of being reborn into a new and exciting experience.

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.

Chapter And Verse

Chapter And VerseTonight should be interesting, it’s my second appearance at the Open Mic Night, arranged by The Platform at the Mad Cucumber in Bournemouth.

Yes, the very same Mad Cucumber we frequent with our vegan chums, though tonight the audience will not be comprised entirely of veggie / vegan folk. This presents both a challenge, and an opportunity.

With luck, I’ll get time to perform four poems. One about the buzz that public performance gives you, much like chanting actually. One about how we are slowly destroying the Earth, another about our recent narrowboat holiday and the last about a certain single vegan female.

So rather varied subjects and topics, but the chance to broadcast my views about everything from Buddhism to veganism, overfishing to canal holidays. I’m sure some people will like some of the poetry better than others, some may not like it at all. But if I make one person think about things, and in some small way, change their lives for the better because of that, I will be pleased with the outcome.

Mmm … That Friday Feeling

TGIFWell it’s taken a whole seven days to get here, but finally Friday has arrived again.

I know what you are saying, you were going to fill every minute, of every day, with sixty seconds of gainful employment, and I have.

But doing that doesn’t stop me being pleased that, arguably, the best day of the week has put in a much appreciated appearance at last.

The weather looks like it’s going to be a bit pants over the weekend, but that can’t stop us having fun if we are determined to make the most of our days off.

It was a funny old week up to Wednesday, but having realised that I was beginning to wish my days away, put me in a good place to boost my life-energies through chanting and that raised my life-state.

Being in one of the higher worlds really does put a sunny outlook on everything and everyone, so I hope you can manage to join me, and that you too are going to have a really great weekend.

On Inner Happiness

develop within ourselves a brilliant inner palaceSuch things as money, fame, and material possessions offer a fleeting satisfaction, something that can be called relative happiness.

However, when we transform our lives internally, when we develop within ourselves a brilliant inner palace, then we can be said to have established absolute happiness.

If we develop a state of mind as vast and resplendent as a magnificent palace, then nothing—no matter where we go or what we may encounter in life-can undermine or destroy our happiness.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

Keeping It Real

RipplesIt appears that there are now over six hundred people following my blog, so I need to continue to think carefully about the things I post.

Each topic will be, however small, a source for potential change in those who read it.

One of the principles of Nichiren Buddhism is that of the Oneness of Self and the Environment.

If you drop a pebble, no matter how small, into a pond, the ripples spread out in all directions and interact with everything in their path.

This principle states that there is a connection between the person and others around him or her. It is therefore clear that changes in our life-state, the way we relate or react to others and changes due to our Practice will affect those whose lives we interact with.

Some of these affects are very obvious. If we walk around with a happy demeanour, we find that people are more likely to be pleasant towards us. If, on the other hand, we walk around in a bad mood, with a scowl on our face, we find that people are less friendly and may try to avoid us completely.

Ok, so no rocket science there then, but there are more subtle ways in which changes can be felt. In my own case, my Practice has allowed me to stabilise my life-state, generally I am now more often in the higher Worlds than lower ones. The result of that is that I am better placed to create value, for myself and those around me.

My Practice has changed me and those changes are affecting others. That’s why it is so important for me to ensure that as these changes take place, my Wisdom, Courage and Compassion increases too, so I can make sure the changes are all good ones.

Be That Drop Of Sunshine

Be The Sunshine

Life has it’s ups and downs, as we all know. Little things can make friends and family members unhappy or even depressed, so make it your job to make them feel better.

There are so many people, so many lives on this planet, too numerous, in fact, to count.

From this great multitude, we wondrously find ourselves together with those in our families, as parents and children, as brothers and sisters, as husbands and wives.

If we do not live joyfully and cheerfully with whom we share this profound bond, what is life for?

Should the atmosphere at home be sombre, you can be that drop of ‘sunshine’. By being a shining presence, you can cast the light of hope on your mother, father, children and indeed all of your family and friends.

On The Happiness Of Others

HappinessI think I’m a pretty happy sort of chap, always joking around and generally enjoying life.

Being happy is actually a frame of mind. It is also a choice that we can all make, by seeing the glass as half full, rather than half empty.

The happiness of others is important and is something we should always try our best to promote.

Whilst their happiness is not our responsibility, using our wisdom, courage and compassion will go a long way to helping them achieve that goal.

So next time, during diamoku, concentrate on praying for the happiness of someone you know who needs a bit of cheering up. Fill your lungs, chant your heart out and you too will feel your spirits lifted.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.

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