You Make Your Dreams Come True

Wisdom, Courage and CompassionThere are some things in life that are worth the suffering involved in attaining them. Your dreams are included, if not top of that list.

It has been said that the things that come easily are never worth as much as those that take time and effort. Think back to your own achievements, I’m sure you will see that the things that bring the most pride and enjoyment are the ones that took the most work to come to fruition.

So let’s examine just what qualities we will need in order to succeed.

In the first place it may well take a great deal of Courage. The Courage to persist under difficult conditions, to make difficult decisions. Often we have to make sacrifices to achieve the greater goal and that also takes Courage. Sometimes we might be tempted to give in, when the pain seems to be too great. The Courage to go on, to reach that goal, will repay us many times over when we succeed.

To ensure that you are making the right decisions along the way will take Wisdom. Maybe we make mistakes and Wisdom is exhibited in the way we learn from those mistakes. At other times the Wisdom is apparent in the way we take the hardest option for the right reason.

Finally we need to have Compassion. There will be times when we have to live through short term pain for long term gain, and Compassion for ourselves and for the others involved will make the process so much easier for everyone to bear.

I don’t need to cite any examples, we have all got life experiences that illuminate the process very clearly. I wish you all the Wisdom, Courage and Compassion to aim for, and attain your own dreams. Remember it can all be made easier by following the Buddhist principle of Kyo Chi Gyo I, it is the recipe for success.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.

On Being Fearless

In The Fullness Of TimeSometimes, we may have to  summon the courage to speak out against injustice.

Nichiren Daishonin illustrated why we should do just that, most eloquently …

“To speak out without fearing others and without flinching before society—this is what the sutra means when it says, “We care nothing for our bodies or lives but are anxious only for the unsurpassed way.”

It is not that one does not recall the calumny, the staves and stones that were suffered by Bodhisattva Never Disparaging. It is not that one is unafraid of the world. It is just that the censure of the Lotus Sutra is even more severe.”

In other words, to speak out may cause one pain, but to not speak out will be even more painful in the fullness of time.

On My Responsibility …

Ripples In A PondAt some point during the last 24 hours, the number of visits to my blog passed the 100,000 mark, which I find amazing, but which also illustrates the burden of responsibility I have for the topics I post about.

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 effects 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.

An All Round Better Way

Stop That Finger PointingWhen you become submerged in difficult situations, when the way forward looks bleak and less than inviting, it can be tempting to start pointing a finger at others to lay the blame at their door.

But there is an old Buddhist saying about pointing. When you point, one finger points out, away from you, towards the one you are blaming.

But look at your hand, three fingers are pointing back, at you, towards the person who is also to blame. Meaning that for each inference you point at others, three will be pointed back at you. But there is another way.

If you are honest with yourself, really, truly honest, and you examine the situation from all angles, you will almost certainly find that you are indeed responsible for making some of the causes that, in conjunction with another or others, has contributed to the outcome in which you find yourself.

Rather than trying to apportion blame, take responsibility for your own mistakes, you will find it a very cathartic experience, I know, I’ve been there. The unsurprising side effect is that it will also change the way in which others perceive you. They will recognise the Wisdom, Courage and Compassion in your new found attitude, and will respect you for all it represents.

Failure To Transmit?

Errr Hello !!!Sometimes it feels as though nobody is listening to us. No matter how important our message may be, it is falling on deaf ears, or so it seems. So maybe we speak a little louder, make our words a little more pronounced, like we are speaking to a child, nothing happens.

Actually, we may be right, maybe our message really isn’t getting across, but speaking louder, even shouting, still won’t make people listen. So what is really going on here? Well, the problem is that we are transmitting on the wrong frequency, or using the wrong type of media, or language.

Of course I am being metaphorical, we all speak within a frequency range between about 60 and 7000Hz, varying slightly person to person. But unless someone is ready to hear something in particular, they may not respond to you at all.

We have all had the experience of being in a noisy room, at a party or on a busy street where all conversation is a jumble, until someone calls out our name. We hear it, we can pick it out from all the background chatter and clatter, we are programmed to do exactly that, almost from birth.

So if you want to get a message across, say the name of the person with whom you wish to converse. Then, when they have stopped saying whatever they were saying, or doing whatever they were doing, they will be ready, and most likely willing, to listen to what you have to say.

If, having got their attention, you can deliver the message in a positive and friendly manner, there is even more chance that they will take in the content of the message. If you can actually make those contents helpful to the recipient, you really have got it cracked.

Stepping Through That Door

"Do you like Guinness? No, I've never had one”Sometimes we have an opportunity to do something different, something that takes us out of our comfort zone and challenges our courage. At that point we have a choice to make. Do we grasp the opportunity with both hands, jump in with both feet, or do we tell ourselves that it’s more prudent to back away and take the safe route?

Years ago, when my Dad retired, we went to the pub together, just the two of us, and one of only a handful of times we ever drank together. Now my Dad was a really good man, he stood up for his principles and he cared for his family as all good men do. He was always risk averse, never went out on a limb, always taking the prudent path.

I remember asking him that night in the pub, “Do you like Guinness Dad?” to which he replied “No, I’ve never had one”. It was funny, it was very much my Dad. He would not leave his comfort zone, even for a different beer. Now my aunt has often said that I am “Just like my father” and in some ways I am, and proud of it. But with this opportunity, I’m going to be different, I’m going to leave my comfort zone and grasp it with both hands. I’m going to use all the wisdom, courage and compassion at my disposal and make the most of the opportunity.

Use All Your Courage

Use All Your CourageWe all have choices to make in life. Everything from whether to take tea or coffee to the major life-changing decisions regarding money, relationships, children and careers.

Whatever the choice you have to make, make it with wisdom, courage and compassion.

If you summon your courage to challenge something, you will never regret it. It would be so sad to spend your life wishing, “If only I had a little more courage.”

Whatever the outcome, the important thing is to take a step forward on the path that you believe is right.

Do not worry too much about what others may think. It is your life. Be true to yourself.

Careful Setting Those Expectations

Careful Setting Those ExpectationsWe all set expectations, of ourselves, of others and of the outcome of situations in our lives.

So it is very easy to be disappointed when those expectations are not met.

What you must remember, is that your happiness is in your own hands, so being unhappy when your hopes and expectations are dashed is your own decision.

In my case, I find that taking some quiet time to examine why I am disappointed solves a lot of these problems. Sometimes my own expectations are set too high, unrealistic even, sometimes the simple acceptance that those expectations are not those of others explains the outcome.

Allowing your expectations of others to be, even in part, the basis of your happiness shows a lack of Wisdom, so learn from the pain, don’t repeat the mistake, and move on.

This is, of course, far easier to say than to do. But to help maintain your happiness, set realistic expectations for yourself and accept that failing to meet those expectations does not mean failing completely.

It’s All About Your Viewpoint

The Blind Men and The ElephantWe all see things in very different ways, mainly because we tend to be restricted by our own viewpoint.

The Buddha used to tell an amusing parable about six blind men and an elephant to explain how the differing views are come by.

Each man has a different idea of what the elephant is, each being able to touch a different part of the animal.

This poem, by John Godfrey Saxe, sums up the scene and explains the moral behind the tale …

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
The First approach’d the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -“Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”
The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he,
“‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!


So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

John Godfrey Saxe ( 1816-1887)

The 84th Problem

Buddhist WisdomA man once came to see the Buddha to get help with his problems.

After the man had told the Buddha one of his problems and asked for help, the Buddha replied: “I cannot help you get rid of that problem.”

The man was surprised that the Buddha could not help him in this regard, but he told the Buddha about another problem; he thought to himself that the Buddha should at least be able to help him with that problem. But the Buddha told him “I cannot help you with that problem either.”

The man started to get impatient. He said: “How can it be that you are the perfectly Enlightened Buddha, when you can’t even help people get rid of their problems?” The Buddha answered: “You will always have 83 problems in your life. Sometimes a problem will go, but then another problem will come. I cannot help you with that.”

The baffled man asked the Buddha: “But, what can you help me with, then?” The Buddha replied: “I can help you get rid of your 84th problem.” The man asked: “But what is my 84th problem?” The Buddha replied: “That you want to get rid of your 83 problems.”

We all have problems of one nature or another. Buddhism will not remove those problems, but it will help you come to terms with, and solve them by giving you wisdom and allowing you to see those problems in a different light.

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