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.

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.

Practice Makes Perfect Sense

Practice Makes PerfectFor 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 relative 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  ever 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 is working wonders and I think the World would be a better place if more people were to discover those wonders.

Rays Of Hope

There Is Always HopeWhilst feeling a little adrift given my current situation and enraged by the lack of fairness in the way modern institutions and those in power treat us mere morals, I found this piece by Sensei rather encouraging …

What can the individual accomplish in the face of the huge institutions that run our world? This feeling of powerlessness fuels a vicious cycle that only worsens the situation and increases people’s sense of futility.

At the opposite extreme of this sense of powerlessness lie the Lotus Sutra’s philosophy of three thousand realms in a single moment of life and the application of this teaching to our daily lives.

This principle teaches us that the inner determination of an individual can transform everything; it gives ultimate expression to the infinite potential and dignity inherent in each human life.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

Is Tonight Your Lucky Night?

Intrinsic ValueThey are estimating that tonight’s UK National Lottery draw will have a rollover jackpot of £5.9M. What would you do with that kind of money? Buy a fancy car, a posh house, a nice yacht maybe even a helicopter or plane ?

It’s a pipedream for so many people, which is where all the money comes from, from the tickets that people buy. For many, it is, in effect, their only realistic route to such riches. Or is it?

Buying their lottery tickets once, twice, or even three times a week, is their little bit of fantasy, their chance to win big. There is nothing wrong with such dreams, somebody has to win, sometime. But I wonder whether it masks, to some degree, their responsibility for their own lives, futures and fortunes?

Of course, the idea behind the lotteries, scratch cards and the rest of the paraphernalia is to raise money for projects, worthy causes and charity work that is so needed in these austere times. All well and good, it’s a bit of harmless fun, a couple of quid a week to buy the chance to live the high life.

I’ll never win it, I know that for a fact. The very first UK National Lottery was drawn on my 40th birthday, not as a celebration of that auspicious event, it just happened that way. For the first few weeks I went along with the wave of enthusiasm, the same as everyone else. When it became clear that there was more chance of being struck by lightning than picking six correct numbers, I stopped.

Now I’m not preaching against the evils of gambling, for that is what it is. I don’t want to stop people having a little slice of fun, if that is how they want to achieve that. But we are all responsible, all in charge and in control of our own fortunes, not those fat cats at Lottery HQ. So have your fun, get excited as the balls rattle around inside Arthur or Lancelot, but never forget, your life is your responsibility, take charge of it with both hands, summon up boundless determination and make it happen.

You Lookin’ At Me ???

You Lookin' At Me?Before we go any further, this post is not aimed at anyone in particular, though if the cap fits, as they say …

Having the energy to argue is a sign of good health. When two people in a relationship share similar conditions, it is only natural that they will lock horns from time to time.

If on the other hand, one begins to outgrow the other, then they will probably not have serious confrontations, because their life-states are so different.

It would be great if we could live cheerfully, enjoying life to the extent where we regard our partners nagging as a sign of their good health and proof that they are still alive and kicking. If we can develop a broad state of life together, then even our partner’s ranting and raving will sound like sweet birdsong.

Death Rocks

Wilko JohnsonThe sad news that Wilko Johnson, rock legend and member of iconic bands such as Dr Feelgood and Ian Drury and the Blockheads, has terminal pancreatic cancer, was tempered slightly by the news that the star describes himself as suddenly feeling ‘vividly alive’ when he was told the news by cancer specialists.

In a refreshingly open interview on Radio 4’s Front Row, he explains that following the diagnosis, he visited a specialist who told him he had nine or ten months to live, maybe a year if he underwent a course of chemotherapy.

Declining the chemo, Wilko immediately embarked on what might be the ultimate farewell tour. As he says, he won’t be singing ‘My Way’ for the next five years. He also explained that although the news was a shock, he has not cried about it, as he had often done over the loss of his wife through cancer, eight years ago.

I would like to think that I too would have the resilience and courage, given my belief in reincarnation and karma, to make the very best of each and every remaining minute. I guess the proof of that particular pudding will be something I get to test at some point, though I’m in no hurry.

It seems that the trend for people to need a sharp shock before they make those life-changing decisions is understandable, Wilko’s comment that we all need something like this to ‘knock a bit of sense into our heads’ seems to confirm that.

One comment really did hit home, particularly after my recent reticence to take my own ailments, minor though they appear to be to the doctor. Wilko said of his condition, “I noticed the symptoms a few months ago – there was this lump in my stomach. I treated it by ignoring it and hoping it would go away.”

Now there is a lesson for us all in that.

Clearing Drains

Are You A Radiator Or A Drain?You might be thinking this is going to be a section taken from a Dyno-Rod manual, looking at the title, but it’s far more useful than that.

There are two types of people in this world, and no, not those who say ‘There are two types of people’ and those who don’t. Life is full of people who are Radiators and those who are Drains.

A Radiator is the kind of person who leaves you feeling more energetic and enthused, after you meet or speak to them, than before. They radiate positive energy and are happy to share their life-energies with others. They appear to have a permanent smile on their faces, as though they know something others do not. In fact they do, they know that the secret path to a happy life is to pass on their happiness to others.

Drains are the complete opposite. They have the unfortunate knack of being able to take energy and enthusiasm from other people, leaving them feeling unhappy and flat. When you meet one, and there are plenty around, the conversation is hard work, they are negative about things when you ask about how they are. In fact, you probably walk away wishing you hadn’t met them in the first place.

Our life-state can dictate whether we are a Radiator or a Drain if we let it, but concentrating on the positive side of life can change all that. When we are in Heaven we tend to Radiate energy to other people, when we are in Hell we Drain energy from others.

So think of all the good things in your life, walk around with a smile and a cheerful disposition, be a Radiator and see how people react positively towards you.

We all know a Drain when we meet one, and if you don’t, then it’s you.

P 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 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.

Tick, Tick, Tick

The Bickley Mill StreamIt’s half term holidays and the journey to work this morning was easier than usual, so I found myself at the office earlier than I expected. Behind our premises in Ringwood, runs the Bickley Mill stream, a small tributary of the river Avon and, having a little time to spare, I stood on the bank watching the water moving slowly past.

I have always found water fascinating. The conjunction of reflected and refracted images mean that there is a merging of environments. It is not possible to see the bottom of the stream clearly and yet you are offered glimpses of clarify as the water ripples form the right angle to see through the surface. An instant later that view is gone.

I began to see a similarity between this phenomena and our lives. You may have experienced times when you have a sudden flash of clarity, regarding a problem or opportunity, then moments later it is gone, cloaked by the smokescreen of everyday life. I know that I have woken from a particularly vivid dream, where the memories are so clear that it has taken a second or two to realise that it was a dream. Almost as soon as that realisation kicks in, the memories start fading, so quickly that while minutes it would be quite difficult to relate the dream to someone else in all its detail.

Another thought popped into my head. The flow of the river, the flow of time and the passage of our lives are all one and the same. Specialist subject ‘stating the obvious’ you might be saying, but it was one of those clarity moments which almost takes ones breath away. I think we should all take a second to remember, that moment by moment, our lives are moving like the river, from future, to present, to past, in an unstoppable flow. Wishing for the weekend to be here, waiting for that special event, all miss the immediate imperative, that every second is precious and should be used to the full.

Nobody knows when their time will be up, when they have no more future in this lifetime, only past. That, in my opinion is a good thing, imagine the sense of panic that would be induced by seeing that ‘life clock’ ticking down to 00:00:00. What is important is to remember that you can never get that time back, so use it wisely and never, ever, waste a single second.

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