Are You Writing Nice Letters?

Creating Our Own DestinyThe law of cause and effect, action and reaction, applies to everything in life and forms the basis of our Karma.

The results of all the causes we have made in this, and previous lives, is precisely why we are where we are today.

The more good causes we create, generally speaking, the more good effects we see, and the happier we are with our lives.

Dora, in the book The Buddha, Geoff and Me, explains that Karma is a bit like letters we write to ourselves. Many of those letters were written so long ago, that we have forgotten all about them.

The nice letters are lovely surprises when they arrive. Nasty ones come as a bit of a shock, they may annoy us and we might even write another nasty one in response. Of course, in time, those responses get delivered too, so the cycle may repeat itself, time after time.

That is, of course, until you understand the way the process works. Once you realise that you create the causes, you can create causes for nice, or good effects, rather than going round and round forever.

I cannot imagine a more important lesson to learn, to know that your Karma, and hence your future, is determined by you? It is the most empowering feeling, to take control of your life and to have your destiny in your own hands.

Nice Contrasts

Reading - A Nice ContrastI’ve been out cycling this morning, and having enjoyed the cooler conditions that Autumn is starting to bring, I spent the afternoon with my nose in a book. It’s a contrast I enjoy, swapping muscle for mind.

Daisaku Ikeda, in his Buddhism Day By Day, says this about the act of reading:

‘Reading is dialogue with oneself; it is self-reflection, which cultivates profound humanity. Reading is therefore essential to our development.

It expands and enriches the personality like a seed that germinates after a long time and sends forth many blossom-laden branches.

People who can say of a book ‘this changed my life’ truly understand the meaning of happiness. Reading that sparks inner revolution is desperately needed to escape drowning in the rapidly advancing information society.

Reading is more than intellectual ornamentation; it is a battle for the establishment of the self, a ceaseless challenge that keeps us young and vigorous.’

We all know which book ‘changed my life’, and I can confirm that I understand the meaning of the happiness that this encompasses. Books transformed civilisation in the broadest sense when they became widely available via the printing presses of William Caxton and all those who have followed.

The advent of the world wide web and the internet has simply taken that process to the Nth level. The dissemination of information, and the written word has never been so widespread. Although there are associated dangers and we must be circumspect about the source of the information we consume, there has never been an easier time to read.

New Beginnings

LilyThe funeral of a loved one marks the final chapter in The Wheel of Life.

Whilst being a very sad and solemn ceremony, it is the human ritual where we say goodbye to the earthly body of the person we knew and loved, and as every religion has its own way of saying goodbye, so does Buddhism.

There is a moving chapter in The Buddha, Geoff and Me, which covers the ritual of a Buddhist funeral and that is how I would like my final chapter in this life to end.

At my Father’s funeral I read the following poem by Henry Scott Holland …

Death is Nothing At All
Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It it the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well.

It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, and it brings tears to my eyes reading it now. I feel however, that it embraces the Buddhist idea that death is not the end, it is merely a new beginning.

Perfect Kindling For Faith

Click here for detailsI know, I’m always going on about this brilliant book, but The Buddha, Geoff and Me will be available in Kindle format from May 3rd and not before time.

An amazing, invigorating and enlightening story about a young man’s friendship with a Nichiren Buddhist, who teaches him the principles of the religion and a lot more about the lessons of life.

For anyone interested in Buddhism (particularly Nichiren Buddhism) its teachings and practices, in the most readable style, the book is a must read.

This book will transform your thinking, help you to control your mood (life states) and lead you toward a more meaningful life. Buy it here in book form or in Kindle format here.

I don’t think it is overstating the case, when I say that this book changed the course of my life forever. It lead me to Nichiren Buddhism, and that in turn has transformed the way I think, speak and act, each and every day of my life.

It relates Nichiren Buddhism to everyday life so well, and in such an understandable form, it should be required reading for all students, it would change the world.

Essential Reading

Essential ReadingDaisaku Ikeda, in his Buddhism Day By Day, says this about the act of reading:

‘Reading is dialogue with oneself; it is self-reflection, which cultivates profound humanity. Reading is therefore essential to our development.

It expands and enriches the personality like a seed that germinates after a long time and sends forth many blossom-laden branches.

People who can say of a book ‘this changed my life’ truly understand the meaning of happiness. Reading that sparks inner revolution is desperately needed to escape drowning in the rapidly advancing information society.

Reading is more than intellectual ornamentation; it is a battle for the establishment of the self, a ceaseless challenge that keeps us young and vigorous.’

We all know which book ‘changed my life’, and I can confirm that I understand the meaning of the happiness that this encompasses. Books transformed civilisation in the broadest sense when they became widely available via the printing presses of William Caxton and all those who have followed.

The advent of the world wide web and the internet has simply taken that process to the Nth level. The dissemination of information, and the written word has never been so widespread. Although there are associated dangers and we must be circumspect about the source of the information we consume, there has never been an easier time to read.

A Book To Change The World

A Book To Change The WorldI know, I know, I know, I keep banging on about Edward Canfor-Dumas’ The Buddha, Geoff and Me. I must have read it half a dozen times and listened to the podcasts twenty or thirty times at least. But having recently given a copy to a friend, I am thoroughly enjoying hearing the positive feedback about the book.

It’s not just a really good story, written beautifully, in convenient bite sized chapters, it covers pretty much every aspect of Nichiren Buddhism at least once. I love hearing about my good friends, Ed, Geoff, Dora and Piers weaving their way through the story, the ups, the downs and every time I hear or read it, I take in a little bit more.

I truly believe that the book should be a compulsory read for every school kid, and every parent and adult too actually. It’s a modern classic, in my opinion, and could change the whole world given the chance. It changed my life, and it might just change yours.

It’s not for everyone, my mom doesn’t like the ‘modern’ language and I must admit that there’s a bit too much to take it all in with a single read, but I implore you, listen to one chapter and give it a chance. Chapter seven is my favourite, but that’s just me.

Ripples In A Pond

Ed is having a hard time - at work, in his love life and, well, generally. Then he meets an unlikely Buddhist - who drinks and smokes and talks his kind of language. Bit by bit, things begin to change...When you find something that excites and enthuses you, you want to tell people about it and spread the news. When it is a spiritual matter it can be a more delicate situation, wanting to be enthusiastic without being evangelical or overbearing.

My goto book, as we all know, is The Buddha, Geoff and Me, beautifully simple, brilliantly written and, for me at least, a life changer. So to make a present of the book, to someone you care about, might be an idea.

That way, you show you care, you pass on the idea , but you don’t force the issue. If they are interested they may choose to read it. They also have the chance to pass on the news at a later date, if they so decide.

And so the good news spreads, like the ripples in a pond.

Using Time Wisely

The World of LearningSince finding Nichiren Buddhism a couple of years ago, even though I have been a Buddhist for nearly twenty years, I still have a huge thirst for learning.

The Soka Gakkai Dictionary of Buddhism contains over a 1000 pages of definitions, offering days, months and years of fascination.

Every day I try to add a little to my knowledge of the religion, either the tradition, the practice or the background. Every bit makes my life more complete and like a snowball rolling down a hill, the greater the knowledge, the more momentum it gains.

I have also been inspired by Edward Canfor-Dumas’ website, finding that people have been giving away copies of his book, The Buddha, Geoff and Me. As you know, I am a huge fan of the book and my Bodhisattva nature compels me to pass on the good news too.

The more I learn, the more I find Nichiren Buddhism working. I realise it may not be for everyone, and that many have their own beliefs. But if you are looking for a way to make your life happier, more fulfilling and need an anchor to steady the ship, I thoroughly recommend giving it a try.

TGIF

TGIF and TBG&MFinally, after what feels like a month, Friday has finally got here. Having battled with this cough and cold all week, seemingly pretty ineffectively, it’s been a very long week. Monday wasn’t the best, but today has been even more challenging.

There seems to be some undocumented universal law, whereby the more important the task, the less likely it is, that any required hardware or software will act in any helpful manner.

I can’t remember how many times I added the new copy to the CMS before it deigned to allow said copy to appear on the live pages. It was almost as though the software was thumbing its nose to me and saying ‘Not today mate, oh no, not today’.

Of course, the marketing department were crying out for the changes, so they could launch their latest email campaign, and the pressure was on. Fortunately I had my audiobook version of The Buddha, Geoff and Me to hand, and it helped me keep my cool, stay focussed and conquer the challenge.

I love that book, you might have noticed. It’s brilliantly written, wonderfully read, and each and every chapter has a whole new bunch of lessons. It always amazes me, I listen to it rather regularly, but it never gets stale or boring, and it always gets me through tough times.

Maybe you should try it yourself and give praise to Saint Eddy of Canfor-Dumas 🙂

The Read To Enlightenment (pun intended)

The Buddha, Geoff and MeAnyone who follows my blog will be sick and tired of hearing about The Buddha, Geoff and Me, but I make no excuses for mentioning it yet again. I listen to it, in audiobook form, all the time at home, on my smartphone and in the car and suggest people read or listen to it if they show an interest in Nichiren Buddhism.

It’s an amazing, invigorating and enlightening story about a young man’s relationship and growing friendship with a Buddhist, Geoff, who attempts to teach him the basics of the religion and covers many aspects of the philosophy and practice. For anyone, interested in Nichiren Buddhism, its teachings and practices, this book covers the basics in a most readable form.

If you find the story as enthralling and the lessons as invaluable as I did, this book will transform your thinking, help you to control your mood (life states) and lead you towards a more meaningful life. Give it a try, and chant your way towards enlightenment, it’s a wonderful and life changing experience.

Buy the book here or listen to it in podcast form here.

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