On Observation

TranquillityThe advent of each day brings us joys and challenges, each of which have the ability to alter our life-state in some way. Joys tend to raise our life-state, challenges may lower it if we let them, and therein lies the conundrum. We need to be vigilant, to observe our life-state from moment to moment, but in doing so, we affect that life-state.

Just as in quantum physics, the mere act of observation affects the phenomenon being observed, self observation of our life-state can, and most likely will affect it too. Imagine a situation where you become angry because something has not gone the way you would like. Initially you may be reacting instinctively, in an animalistic fashion. But as soon as you realise that you are reacting in such a manner, in other words, you observe your life-state, there is a large chance that you will change to that of a more calm and reflective mood, even into a state of tranquility.

So we have this little test for ourselves. We must be, as far as possible, aware of our life-state. Ideally we want to be in one of the higher states, not grubbing around in the worlds of Hell, Hunger, Animality or Anger, but in Learning, Realisation, Bodhisattva or even Buddhahood. The act of testing can help us raise our life-state through awareness, which is a good thing. But be warned, when the results come back, and you find you are in one of the lower worlds, that can be a sobering moment, when you realise that you are not as far along the path to enlightenment as you would like to be.

Capital P For Practice

Capital P For PracticeAs you know, my Buddhist Practice is a way of life. A routine that I go through every day, Gongyo, Daimoku, even writing this blog. But routine is also another word for boring, mundane or even hum-drum, so it’s important to keep in mind why we Practice.

We Practice for several reasons …

  • To raise our life-energy levels …
  • To chant for certain outcomes …
  • To move us along the road to Buddhahood …
  • To give a stable anchor in our lives …

and there are many others, often different for every individual.

As a novice, I find that I can learn a little more each day Let’s face it, Buddhism has been around for well over two thousand years, so there’s plenty to learn about.. I can improve or seek to perfect my Practice and to maintain a more focussed attention to the subject of my chanting.

I look forward to the feeling I get during and after Gongyo. I often find that I am quite warm when I finish chanting and in a really good mood, despite any problems I am facing.

I never cease to be amazed by the effectiveness of chanting either. To start with, the word coincidence came into my mind when I saw results, but not any more. But I do get surprised by the way the Universe solves the problems with which I have asked it to help. Not always the way I expected, and often in better, more subtle ways than I could have imagined.

So my Practice is a pleasure, not a chore. It’s something I enjoy and never something I feel I have to do.

As Nichiren Daishonin said, ‘If you practice something, you must test it’s validity with the results you see’. In other words, if it doesn’t work, stop doing it.

For me, it’s working wonders and I think the World would be a better place if more people were to discover those wonders.

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 Tranquillity

On TranquillitySometimes the World of Tranquillity can be a true blessing, a lull after a period of intense effort.

At other times it can be like the dying notes of a moving piece of music, the echoes of the most magnificent firework display.

Maybe the biggest difference between the two is whether you wished for Tranquillity or not.

If you do wish for it, Tranquillity can be the most restful of time, if not it can be as quiet as the grave, peaceful but not something which you might actively desire.

If you find yourself becalmed in a world of Tranquillity, chanting will raise your life-state and get the energies flowing again.

Enjoy that brief spell of sunshine …

Enjoy that brief spell of sunshine on an otherwise rainy dayEvery day we have highs and lows, wins and losses, good things happen, bad things happen, every single day.

Problems are an everyday reality, they are part of life and ignoring them will never make them go away.

So focus on what’s good, what’s going right, enjoy that brief spell of sunshine on an otherwise rainy day.

Smile, laugh when you can, and always focus on the positives.

Make the most of every minute, you will never have the opportunity to use that minute again, so don’t waste it.

Make causes today, to make tomorrow better and never give in to the inevitable resistance that you feel when you are nearing your goal.

Don’t be afraid to speak your mind, never fear the truth, use the Wisdom, Courage and Compassion, we all possess, to help others to be positive, it will increase your own life-energy as you encourage them to increase theirs.

Positive, Always Positive

Positive, Always PositiveWe must never underestimate the power the mind has over our bodies.

If we can remain positive, with high life-energy and in one of the higher worlds, not only will our bodies respond positively, but also those around us will feel more positive too.

If we allow negativity to creep in the battle will be all the harder, and we will find that we do not inspire those who need our support to try that little bit harder to support themselves.

The Nichiren phrase for this connection between our body and mind is Shikishin-Funi. Two, but not two, not two, but two, meaning that they are separate, but cannot function alone.

[色心不二] (Jpn shikishin-funi )

Also, non-duality of body and mind. The principle that the two seemingly distinct phenomena of body, or the physical aspect of life, and mind, or its spiritual aspect, are essentially non-dual, being two integral phases of a single reality. One of the ten onenesses formulated by Miao-lo (711-782) in his Annotations on “The Profound Meaning of the Lotus Sutra.” In the Japanese term shikishin-funi, shiki means that which has form and colour, or physical existence, while shin means that which has neither form nor colour, or spiritual existence, such as the mind, heart, and soul. Funi is an abbreviation of nini-funi, which indicates “two (in phenomena) but not two (in essence).” This means that the material and the spiritual are two separate classes of phenomena, but non-dual and indivisible in essence, because they are both aspects of the same reality. In the above annotations, Miao-lo states that, from the viewpoints of the whole and its components, life at a single moment is the whole, while body and mind are its components. Neither body nor mind is a separate entity; there is not one without the other. They are inseparable components of life. In the Lotus Sutra, the principle of the ten factors of life represents the oneness of body and mind. The ten factors are listed in the “Expedient Means” (second) chapter of the sutra, where it states that the true aspect of all phenomena consists of “appearance, nature, entity, power, influence, internal cause, relation, latent effect, manifest effect, and their consistency from beginning to end.” On “The Profound Meaning” states: “Appearance exists only in what is material; nature exists only in what is spiritual. Entity, power, influence, and relation in principle combine both the material and the spiritual. Internal cause and latent effect are purely spiritual; manifest effect exists only in what is material.” The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings reads, “[Concerning the term dedication of one’s life ] ‘dedication’ refers to the element of physical form as it pertains to us, while ‘life’ refers to the element of mind as it pertains to us. But the ultimate teaching tells us that form and mind are not two.” – Taken from the SGI Dictionary of Buddhism

Not exactly easy to understand, but essential for us to prosper in these difficult times. By being positive, we give out positive energy to those around us. Whether we are in a difficult situation in our life, looking for a job, trying to make ends meet financially or just trying to grin and bear it in the face of seemingly unending bad news, being positive is the only way to win through.

Connectivity Is Infinite

Connectivity Is InfiniteIn the true reality of life as viewed from the enlightened state of a Buddha, one who has broken free of all delusion, all things are equal, transcending distinctions and differences between subject and object, self and others, mind and body, the spiritual and the material.

In its true aspect, life is infinitely expansive and eternal, without beginning or end. Life is dynamic; it is wisdom and compassion; it embodies the principle of the indivisibility of life and death; it is a universal law.

The cosmos is not so big that life cannot embrace it, nor the smallest particle of matter so small that life cannot be contained within it.

P Is For Practice

P For PracticeFor me, my Buddhist Practice is a way of life. A routine that I go through every day, Gongyo, Daimoku, even writing this blog. But routine is also another word for boring, mundane or even hum-drum, so it’s important to keep in mind why we Practice.

We Practice for several reasons …

  • To raise our life-energy levels …
  • To chant for certain outcomes …
  • To move us along the road to Buddhahood …
  • To give a stable anchor in our lives …

and there are many others, often different for every individual.

As a novice, I find that I can learn a little more each day Let’s face it, Buddhism has been around for well over two thousand years, so there’s plenty to learn about.. I can improve or seek to perfect my Practice and to maintain a more focused attention to the subject of my chanting.

I look forward to the feeling I get during and after Gongyo. I often find that I am quite warm when I finish chanting and in a really good mood, despite any problems I am facing.

I never cease to be amazed by the effectiveness of chanting either. To start with, the word coincidence came into my mind when I saw results, but not any more. But I do get surprised by the way the Universe solves the problems with which I have asked it to help. Not always the way I expected, and often in better, more subtle ways than I could have imagined.

So my Practice is a pleasure, not a chore. It’s something I enjoy and never something I feel I have to do.

As Nichiren Daishonin said, ‘If you practice something, you must test it’s validity with the results you see’. In other words, if it doesn’t work, stop doing it.

For me, it’s working wonders and I think the World would be a better place if more people were to discover those wonders.

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.

Le Weekend Est Ici !!!

The Mad Cucumber - The Triangle, BournemouthLadies and gentlemen, I am delighted to be able to announce that the much anticipated weekend is upon us, so make the most of the opportunity.

In terms of recent weekends, this one promises to be rather quiet. No pirates or fun fairs, but there is a BVV meal tomorrow at the Mad Cucumber in the  Triangle in Bournemouth and a strong possibility of a trip to the cinema too.

The weatherman is promising a temporary end to summer, with the jet stream bringing some cold air from the arctic on Sunday, but after the recent heat wave, I know a few people who are looking forward to cooler days and more comfortable nights.

Whatever you get up to in the next couple of days, make the most of the time, for surely you will never get the chance to live it again.

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