It’s All A Question Of Eggs

It's All A Question Of EggsThere is the temptation, whilst continuing to practice, to wonder whether we will ever become a Buddha or doubt whether Buddhahood even resides within us. With his usual wisdom, Nichiren showed us the truth of the matter in his simple words.

“A bird’s egg contains nothing but liquid, yet by itself this develops into a beak, two eyes, and all the other parts, and the bird soars into the sky.

We, too, are the eggs of ignorance, which are pitiful things, but when nurtured by the chanting of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, which is like the warmth of the mother bird, we develop the beak of the thirty-two features and the feathers of the eighty characteristics and are free to soar into the skies of the true aspect of all phenomena and the reality of all things.”

~ Nichiren Daishonin

Being The Voice That Is Heard

Being The Voice That Is HeardSometimes, 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 not to speak out will be even more painful in the fullness of time.

Finally, We’re On The Way Back

The Shortest DayLast Saturday was the shortest day of the year here in the UK and strangely, some may say, it’s my favourite day of the year. Why, I can hear you asking, isn’t the longest day of the year more favoured, all those lovely hours of daylight, and often sunshine too? Well it’s because today marks the nadir of the year in terms of daylight. From now on we get an extra minute or so more light each day, and that’s something to look forward to.

Daisaku Ikeda has some very wise words for these long dark days, and offers a welcome ray of hope …

“Even if today may seem to be a time of total darkness, it will not last forever. The dawn will surely come if you advance, ever forward, without being defeated.

The day will definitely come when you can look back fondly and declare, “I am savouring this happiness because I struggled back then.” It is those who know the bitterness of winter that can savour the true joy of spring.”

~ Daisaku Ikeda

NMRK – The Power To Soar

Everything From NothingThere is the temptation, whilst continuing to practice, to wonder whether we will ever become a Buddha or doubt whether Buddhahood even resides within us. With his usual wisdom, Nichiren showed us the truth of the matter in his simple words.

“A bird’s egg contains nothing but liquid, yet by itself this develops into a beak, two eyes, and all the other parts, and the bird soars into the sky.

We, too, are the eggs of ignorance, which are pitiful things, but when nurtured by the chanting of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, which is like the warmth of the mother bird, we develop the beak of the thirty-two features and the feathers of the eighty characteristics and are free to soar into the skies of the true aspect of all phenomena and the reality of all things.”

~ Nichiren Daishonin

Inner Dialogue

BooksApart from my usual daily cycling workout, I’ve spent most of the day with my nose in a book, again. I’m not going to go into details, as I did yesterday, but the more I read, the more convinced I am that everyone should do likewise, so they can make up their own minds about the issues. You can get a taste of the topics covered by following this link.

Reading is a dialogue with ourselves, it is self-reflection, which cultivates profound humanity. Reading is essential to our self development. It expands and enriches the personality like a seed that germinates after a long time and sends forth a multitude of blossom-laden branches.

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

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

Look And Learn

Look And LearnI love the way this poem beautifully encapsulates the stages of learning, and the long, long road to enlightenment …

  1. I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk I fall in. I am lost… I am hopeless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out. ~~~~

  2. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I’m in the same place. But it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out. ~~~~

  3. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in…it’s a habit My eyes are open; I know where I am; It is my fault. I get out immediately. ~~~~

  4. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it. ~~~~

  5. I walk down another street.
~ Portia Nelson

Life is a series of lessons. As our wisdom increases, we learn more and more from each lesson. Be heartened by your progress, do not be down-hearted by the mistakes you make, they are a sure sign that you are living life to the full.

Getting A Wiggle On

The Wiggle MTB EventToday has been fantastic, the sun shone, the sky was blue and although it wasn’t exactly tropical, the conditions for going over to Swanage for the Wiggle MTB event were pretty much perfect. The ground had dried up considerably from the mud-fest of last week, so I even managed to do my favourite circuit whilst staying a bit cleaner.

Getting to the event, held at the Herston camp site in Washpond Lane, Swanage it was great to see that most of the attendees had also turned up on their bikes. I met a few of them on the trip over from Old Harry and from the look of their trick bikes, they were also keen off-roaders.

Some of the best known bike manufacturers had turned up with their 2014 range. Aluminium and carbon frames, traditional 26” and the emerging 29” wheels and amazing suspension set-ups were in evidence, all very enticing. Of course, they were there to encourage sales, but at £2000 to £3500 for the top of the range, I wasn’t buying.

I got my bike in an end of year sale, half price and around a tenth of the cost of these all singing, all dancing models. It’s not made by one of the top manufacturers, it’s certainly not the lightest of bikes and it won’t get the admiring glances of the top models, but it performs well, or at least well enough for my level of riding.

The thing is, as with any bicycle, no matter how much it costs, how awesome it may appear, you still have to pedal it. The lighter it is, the easier that might be, but having lost over 20kgs of bodyweight, I think the odd gram here and there would make little extra difference to any of my rides, even my own personal bests.

Free GiftsSo even though it was tempting to accept the generous offers of test rides, I politely declined. I didn’t see the point in risking making myself dissatisfied with my own bike. I was very pleased with the free gifts that the lady from Wiggle gave me. A nice new water bottle and a pair of handlebar grips, that perfectly match the colour of my frame.

Thank you Wiggle, I enjoyed the event, it was nice to see the collection of beautiful bikes, and the gifts will come in very handy. Sorry I didn’t buy anything, but common sense prevailed.

Be The Voice That Is Heard

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.

The Right Choice

Keep calm and make the right choiceWell the weekend has been perfect for any kite flying aficionados living in Dorset, to say it has been windy is a huge understatement. Despite the breeze, I was keen to get out on the bike, having been unable to do so since last weekend.

Yesterday, I took myself off to Hengistbury Head along the promenade. There was a few piles of soft dry sand, blown from the beach, which made progress a little difficult in places, though the extra effort was nothing compared to that required to get back home against a nasty breeze.

So knowing the obstacles, I decided to have a later start to a repeat trip this morning, and spent a couple of hours reading Dr Douglas Graham’s book which discusses his 80-10-10 diet, the basis of his own, and my adopted eating regime. And very thought provoking it is too, arguing strongly and convincingly just how unhealthy the western diet has become of the last few decades.

Just reading the forward to the book makes one sit and think. So I thought I would share it with you, so you decide whether you might want to read the book, to help you make the right choices for your own dietary decisions …

As an Ironman triathlete, ultra marathoner, and holder of nearly 1,000 race first places, I know how important the right diet is. It dismays me to see how much dietary misinformation is being spread with the main goal being to make money. Because so many people are misinformed about the proper diet, obesity is at the highest rates in history, and as more people buy into these money-making schemes, obesity and its associated diseases are going to continue to increase at horrendous rates.

Over and over again, I hear people saying they’ve tried “everything” to lose weight — low fat, high fat, low carb, high carb, low protein, high protein, all kinds of pills, shots, powders, and shakes — you name it and they say they’ve tried it. The main cause of their failure is misinformation.

There are reasons for each of these dietary failures. What they were told was “low fat,” usually 30%, actually is not low fat at all, and they have no idea how to get to an effective low-fat 10% as described in this book. High-fat diets can be dangerous and put you at risk for the diseases that most Westerners die from prematurely. Low-carb diets are also dangerous, and most people have no idea that the ideal diet consists of 80% carbs. But, it must be the right carbs.

High-protein diets lead to osteoporosis, kidney disease, and lack of energy for exercise. Most people think that low-protein diets will never work, having been convinced by the meat and dairy industries that the more protein you eat, the better — and nothing could be further from the truth.

As for pills, shots, powders, and shakes, these gimmicks will never give people the health they really seek. What they don’t realize is that obesity is actually a symptom of eating the wrong diet. The same is true of most of the other diseases we suffer from, for example, heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, colitis, constipation, osteoporosis, acne, erectile dysfunction, dementia, and even vision and hearing problems. These are all symptoms of the diseases of consuming the wrong diet.

You are holding in your hands the book that will give you the dietary information we all need to have. You don’t have to be an Ironman triathlete or even want to be one, but you owe it to yourself to read The 80/10/10 Diet!

Ruth E. Heidrich, PhD
Author, A Race For Life

I’m not trying to sell the book for Dr Graham, I’m not even suggesting that any of you folks change your own diet, but I do think it would be wrong of me to keep this information to myself. If you do want to read it, this is a link to the book on Amazon, if you decide you think the diet is for you.

Creating A Life

Rainbow ColoursThere is no one lonelier or more unhappy than a person who does not know the pure joy of creating a life for himself or herself. To be human is not merely to stand erect and manifest intelligence or knowledge. To be human in the full sense of the word is to lead a creative life.

The struggle to create new life from within is a truly wonderful thing. There is found the brilliant wisdom that guides and directs the workings of reason; the light of insight that penetrates the farthest reaches of the universe; the undaunted will to see justice done that meets and challenges all the assaults of evil; the spirit of unbounded care that embraces all who suffer. When these are fused with that energy of compassion that pours forth from the deepest sources of cosmic life, an ecstatic rhythm arises to colour the lives of all people.

Daisaku Ikeda

From Buddhism Day By Day

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