Oct 31, 2014

Boy George: 'I'm Catholic In My Complications And Buddhist In My Aspirations'

 Watch Interview here

Boy George offered an eloquent explanation of his evolving spirituality during a conversation with HuffPost Live on Wednesday.
The music icon, who is set to reunite with his band Culture Club for a tour this year, is a mix of many ideas. He had a "strong Catholic upbringing," he eventually became a vegetarian thanks to preaching from Hare Krishna devotees, and he's practiced Nichiren Buddhism for the last four years.
"I always say I'm Catholic in my complications and Buddhist in my aspirations," Boy George told HuffPost Live's Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani.

Embracing Buddhism, which includes "morning gongyo," has made a significant impact on him.
"It's a practice that improves my life on a daily basis," Boy George said. "It changes the way I behave. It changes the way I behave towards myself, towards other people, and I would highly recommend it."

TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc

Oct 13, 2014

Sep 18, 2014

Making a Change in One's Heart

"The Lotus Sutra has the drama of fighting for justice against evil. It has a warmth that comforts the weary. It has a vibrant, pulsing courage that drives away fear. It has a chorus of joy at attaining absolute freedom throughout past, present and future......
It offers unsurpassed lessons on psychology , the workings of the human heart; lessons on life; lessons on happiness; and lessons on peace. It maps out the basic rules for good health. It awakens us to the universal truth that a change on one's heart can transform everything"

(The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 1, p. 14).

Daisaku Ikeda
Living Buddhism -Nov/Dec 2006

Aug 28, 2014

The Heart is Most Important

The human heart is sensitive, multifaceted and rich; it has the capacity for magnificent achievement. For that very reason, the heart often undergoes great suffering and torment, and can become trapped in an endless, downward spiral. Will we transmigrate forever along the paths of evil, or can we succeed in directing our lives into an orbit of good? As evidenced in many of his writings, Nichiren repeatedly stresses the crucial importance of life, the potential resides for dramatic shifts from evil to good or good to evil. That is why Nichiren's teaching of enlightenment can be viewed as a process that begins with inner change. In other words, through the power of faith, we can defeat the negative functions inside of us that are governed by the fundamental darkness in all human hearts and manifest the positive functions of life that are one with Dharma nature- our Buddhahood.

Living Buddhism- Sept- Oct 2006

Aug 18, 2014

Aug 4, 2014

Viewing Illness as an Opportunity

"Buddhism views illness as an opportunity to attain a higher, nobler state of life. It teaches that, instead of agonizing over a serious disease or despairing  of ever overcoming it, we should use illness as a means to build a strong, compassionate self, which in turn will make it possible for us to be truly victorious. This is what Nichiren meant when he stated, 'Illness gives rise to the resolve to attain the way'"

(Unlocking the Mysteries of Birth and Death, p. 53).

Jul 27, 2014

What is Compassion?

There is a part of us that thinks first of ourselves, and only then of others. It's innate and not necessarily bad. But when self-interest becomes a dominant force, we become insensitive to others and even cause them harm. While people sometimes may have to act out self -interest to protect themselves. Most human problems require cooperation and care from or for others to solve. Buddhism identifies compassion as key to solving most human suffering.

The Chinese Buddhist term for compassion, pronounced jihi in Japanese, comprises two characters. The first ji, comes from the Sanskrit word maitri, meaning "to give happiness," and the second, hi, from Sanskrit karuna, meaning "to remove suffering," Together they mean to relieve people of suffering and give them happiness.

This Buddhist compassion is an expression of the Buddha or Bodhisattva nature innate in all people. Nichiren Daishonin writes: "Even a heartless villain loves his wife and children. He too has the portion of the Bodhisattva world within him. " (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 358). Everyone has the potential of a Bodhisattva-to act with compassion toward another. Naturally, kindness that does not empower people may have little lasting value. But in the Buddhist view, compassion means to lead people to root out the cause of misery in their lives and to create happiness for themselves.

A natural example of compassion is seen in the actions of a mother toward her child. A mother will do anything toward her child. A mother will do anyyhting she can to protect her child, even if it means braving flames or flood.

Nichiren wrote, "I, Nichiren, am sovereign, teacher and father and mother to all people of Japan" (WND-I, 287). He made this statement to convey his state of life as the original Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law, capable of embracing all people with the compassion of a parent.

Yet, how do those of us who sometimes lose patience even with our own children develop such compassion? The first step is to expose our lives to the state of compassion manifested by the Buddha. When we chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo with faith in the Gohonzon, which embodies the compassionate life-state of Buddhahood, we can stimulate and bring forth the source of boundless compassion within us. 

Also, any successful parent or teacher knows the importance of seeing things from the child's perspective. Such people transcend divisions of self and other to view the sufferings and joys of their own children or students as their own. Constant is their concern for the children. The Nobel Prize winning French author Andre Gide puts it clearly: "True kindness presupposes the faculty of imaging as one's own suffering and joys of others."

Compassion therefore includes the willingness to know the sufferings and concerns of others. Also, while we try to recognize their strengths, we can come to appreciate and feel closer to them, and our concern for their well-being naturally increases.

Buddhism involves practice for self and for others. Our thoughts for others' well-being expressed in our daily prayer allows us transcend self centered impulses, and illuminate the fundamental darkness that is the source of suffering with the light of our innate Buddhahood.

-April 2000/Living Buddhism