One Hundred Per CentThe 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.

Perfect, Just As You Are

Flowers Of HappinessYour happiness and victory in life hinge on whether you can grasp, while you are still young, the fact that happiness lies within.

That’s why there is no need for you to compare yourselves to others but instead strive powerfully and cheerfully to develop your state of life, aiming to improve yourselves each day.

From that struggle will bloom noble flowers of mission, flowers of happiness that are yours and yours alone. Shine as you are, live true to yourselves, and advance in your own unique way.

~ Daisaku Ikeda

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.

Why Look Elsewhere?

HappinessYesterday evening, we went to the cinema to watch Hector and the Search for Happiness, a funny, but thought provoking film starring Simon Pegg.

Hector is a psychiatrist, working in London, his girlfriend Clara works in the marketing department of a pharmaceutical company, both are successful, but Hector isn’t happy. So he decides to take time out and conduct his own study into what makes people happy.

He travels to China, to Africa and finally to the US in search of an answer to his question, having amusing adventures along the way, only to find that his own happiness was back at home, starring him straight in the face.

As Sensei says about karma and our own happiness …

There is no need to go seeking greener fields. Dig right where you are, for there lies a seam of untold riches. Our Karma fits us like a glove, and no matter what the situation we are trying to change, we are always in exactly the right place to make the causes that will, given time, effect that change.

On Coping With Challenges

The State Of Mindfulness The challenges we meet in life are often seen as the negative side of our existence. We alone can decide how we deal with them, we can accept and tackle them head on, or shy away from them and hope they go away. Anyone who has tried the second path will know that it never works, so accepting challenges has to be the right way to go.

Accepting our challenges is not, initially, the most natural thing to do. It might seem easier to run away, to bury our heads, or just ignore the issues, but no good will ever come of taking that path. Taking responsibility and meeting challenges head on can be really hard. That doesn’t mean it has to be difficult, but it does mean we have to dig deep, stay strong and never ever give in.

So how should we approach the process? For me, it means looking at the challenge from all sides, and that involves keeping a calm mind and thinking clearly about all the aspects involved. Chanting allows me to calm my mind, to focus and to concentrate. This is the state of mindfulness and gives me control over my thoughts, words and deeds. For others it may be beneficial to meditate or to write down a list of all the facets of the challenge.

The whole process can be thrown into turmoil by our fundamental darkness. That little voice in our heads that tells us the challenge is too hard, that we cannot overcome it, and that giving up is the easy path. We must listen to that voice because it is part of us, but we must then rationalise the alternatives and be determined to take the right path, not simply the easiest path.

When you overcome a challenge, the feelings of elation are immense. When we give into a challenge, the feelings of defeat are equally immense, but terribly damaging. Gaining your first win will be the hardest. Once you know the winning feeling, you will never again want to feel defeat again.

So try different coping strategies, be that chanting, meditation, list building or whatever works for you. Be sure that overcoming challenges will make you a stronger and more confident person, and that each win will make the next challenge easier to overcome. In time, you will lose the fear of challenges, and although you may not exactly look forward to the next one, you will be more prepared to meet and overcome it when it arrives.

A Wonderful New Beginning

New BeginningNever forget, that making a decision is only the beginning, and not the end of a process. In many ways starting something is the easiest part, seeing things through to their conclusion takes far more determination, effort and patience as well as wisdom, courage and compassion.

Whilst many opportunities need courage to grasp, rarely is it that courage that sees them through to the end. Sometimes it means relinquishing control into someone else’s hands which can prove to be quite a frightening prospect.

Having determination, and the patience to allow others to realise that your chosen path is the right way to proceed is never an easy thing to accomplish. But the alternative is to reverse the decision, fail in the quest, and be prepared to stomach the bitter taste of defeat. That path can only lead to more pain and heartache, be resolute and see it through.

Nobody ever received kudos for starting something, only to quit half way to their goal. So once you have started something, have the courage and determination to see it through to its satisfactory conclusion, you will feel all the better for it.

Giving It Everything

Cycling HeavenFor all I know, Daisaku Ikeda may well be a keen cyclist, but whatever his interest, these thoughts sum up exactly why we push ourselves till it hurts on an all too frequent basis …

People shouldn’t hesitate to exert their all, in a way true to themselves. How can you possibly ever know how far or fast you can go if you’ve never run all-out? To give up before you’ve even tried is actually arrogance – an affront to the wondrous power of life within you and disrespectful to yourself.

There may be times when others seem enviable. But others are others, and you are you. Rather than comparing your joys and sorrows to those of others, you should aim to surpass your limits in the situation you are in right now. Those who can do this are the true victors in life.

Now who’s up for a 75km ride tonight, that’ll put me on just over 1000km for the month of June.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

It’ll Be All Wight On The Night

IOW Day Trip - Click for detailsFollowing further success and another personal best distance on Saturday, my cycling ambitions are ramping up in line with the increased confidence. So I started to plan a 200km day trip to The Isle of Wight.

Starting off in sunny Poole, the first leg of this odyssey will take me (or us, if I can find another victim) east along the coast to Lymington in order to take the ferry over to Yarmouth.

Although I have lived within spitting distance of the Isle, metaphorically, for well over four years, I have never set foot upon it, so I am looking forward to the experience. Although it is part of the UK, I hear that there is a time difference between the island and the mainland, some say as much as 50 years !!!

The cycling tour of the island is quite well documented, being an annual event around September, October time. Rather than bore you all witless with the itinery, here is a link to the map given out during the official event.

Now although I have been joshing with some of my cycling buddies on Facebook, this really is a personal quest. Whether I finish the challenge alone, or in a peloton of 100s, the satisfaction will be the same. As with all the challenges we face in life, whether self imposed or just part of living, conquering them brings about its own reward.

Now all I need is to recruit a willing volunteer to drive the support vehicle, whose sole task is follow at a respectful distance, picking up the bits of broken ego as the miles take their toll on my poor old body. A full report will follow.

One Step Closer

Stepping StonesLooking forward, not back, is a good way to get to where you are going.

Making progress, seeing that progress, and building upon it will take you from where you are today, to where you want to be tomorrow.

As Sensei says:

“It is not how you compare to others that is important, but rather how you compare to who you were yesterday. If you’ve advanced even one step, then you’ve achieved something great.”

How ever you measure that progress, and whether anyone else notices, or not, you are one step closer to where, or who, you want to be in the future.

Growing Your Determination

DeterminedDetermination grows out of adversity. To accomplish an easy or pleasant task does not require determination, it is the difficult or unpleasant task that most definitely does.

Dreams don’t come true on their own. Determination is required to achieve the things we set out to accomplish and to keep things going in the face of discouragement.

The essential purpose of Buddhism is to make people happy. True happiness is the result of consistent effort and constant growth as a human being.

Remind yourself every day, why you are pursuing your goal. Self doubt and negative thoughts are the making of your fundamental darkness. Confront your inner demons and tell them that you are going to overcome them. Take heart and strength from your Practice, chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo will raise your life-energy and help you focus on the task in hand. Remember, nobody ever felt satisfaction from giving up on their dreams.

And keep this in mind when times get tough …

When your determination increases, everything else begins to move in the direction you desire. The moment you resolve to be victorious, every nerve and fibre in your being immediately orient themselves toward your success.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.

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