Dec 21, 2009

I Wish I had a River

I feel a lot more secure about the directions I take, than I might have, had I not practiced Buddhism.
- Herbie Hancock 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU ALL~ Love & Peace for the New Year!
Lotus Flower



Herbie Hancock and Corinne Bailey Rae - River live on Abbey Road featuring Wayne Shorter (Nichiren Buddhist) and (Sax), Tal Wilkenfeld (Bass), and Vinnie Colaiuta (drums)   





Dec 18, 2009

Palms Together

Why Do We Chant with Our Palms Together?

(Living Buddhism- Jan| Feb 10. pg. 103)

Most of the world's major religions use hand positions in prayer. One of the most common positions used by Buddhists, Hindus and Christians is the pressing of one's palms together at chest or head level. When combined with a bow, it is known as namaskar or namaste, an ancient reverential greeting that is common throughout central and southeastern Asia to this day. Nam, or devotion, in Nam Myoho renge kyo derives from the same root as namas in namaste.  The Lotus Sutra makes numerous reference to bowing with palms together as a sign of deep respect for the Buddha and Bodhisattvas. For example, "Teacher of the Law," the 10th chapter, reads: "Wherever {practitioners of the Lotus Sutra} may go, one should greet them with bows, with palms pressed single-mindedly together, with reverence and alms, with respect and praise" (The Lotus Sutra and Its Opening and Closing Sutras, p.201).

                                         (Source: Elliot de Picciotto and Bob Swingle)

Pressing palms together while chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is a Nichiren Buddhist tradition, imparting a sense of respect, seriousness and determination. It should be noted, however, that Nichiren placed the greatest emphasis on faith and dedication rather than on peripheral details.  SGI President Ikeda states in The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra: "Regarding the oneness of Buddhahood and the nine worlds, putting our palms together when we pray symbolizes this. It also represents the Mystic Law.
  


In The Record of the  Orally Transmitted Teachings, the Daishonin says: '[In the term pressing palms together,]  'pressing' means myo, or wonderful, while 'palms' refers to ho or the Law....Or again, 'pressing' is the world of Buddhahood, and 'palms' are the nine worlds' (p.45).

                                             (My Palms and Myoho Beads)


"In other worlds, Buddhahood lies in chanting [Nam myoho renge kyo] based on faith no matter what happens. Whatever sufferings of the nine worlds  we may be undergoing, through strong faith we can lead lives in which the nine worlds manifest the world of Buddhahood, and the world of Buddhahood manifests the nine worlds") vol. 4, pp. 194-95).















Dec 17, 2009

How does Buddhism View Sickness?

By Ted Morino SGI-USA Study Dept Leader
What does Buddhism have to say when Buddhist practitioners become ill?




First, Buddhism views sickness as something inherent in life and therefore unavoidable. Its is a part of the cycle of birth, old age, sickness and death. Yet Buddhism urges us to awaken to the fact that illness is not something permanent in life- it is a temporary phenomenon- and that is can be a meaningful event in one's eternal life. When we fall ill, we tend to see the current sickness as the only thing that matters and therefore we can become its slave perceiving it as an immovable wall or foreboding obstacle separating us from happiness. Some people who are ill may even lose the will to live out their existence joyfully.




However, when  we realize that becoming ill is only a natural phase of our lives -and that it can be an opportunity to build an even more solid foundation of happiness in ourselves-then, we can tap the courageous spirit to face the illness and battle it, as Nichiren Daishonin states, "From illness arises the mind that seeks the way" (The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 5. 280). Therefore, the important thing when it comes to this problem is to have strong will to triumph over the "devil of sickness." This is the faith with which you can say to yourself: "I will defeat my sickness! I will change poison into medicine!" In order words, often times, sickness itself is not the real problem. If we are defeated in our life-condition by sickness, that is the problem.

SGI Pres. Ikeda says: "In life, you may, by rights, become sick from time to time. However, as you practice to the Gohonzon, you will come to realize that you are now sick because being sick now is the most natural thing  for your life at this moment. In other words, you can consider your sickness to be the sickness of hon'nu [a natural illness that accords with the rhythm of the Law]. Put another way, if your life condition remains healthy through the practice of faith, you will never be swayed by your sickness. You will never fall into painful agony due to your illness. Rather, as you go through your current sickness, you will find your true self or absolute happiness solidifying."

Pres. Toda gave the following encouragement to a person struggling with a serious illness, "A human being had a body that has the potential of developing all kinds of disease, including to cure sickness in the body. Curing our own illness is just like the person who has climbed a slope and will surely climb down it. I can say this with conviction based upon the philosophy of Buddhism. Faith is not something we practice out of formality. Chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo with all your heart- with a burning desire in you your heart to overcome your sickness. No sickness will remain uncured if you chant with the type of determination to offer your entire life from now on for the cause of the Gohonzon, that is, for kosen-rufu, for the peace and happiness of all humanity."

Source: World Tribune.11/27/98.n.3219.p.2.WT981127p02

Dec 14, 2009

Dec 7, 2009

Tina Turner rocking Daimoku

 In Tina Turner's autobiography, I, Tina (basis of the film What's Love got to do with it?), she describes  her inability to summon the inner strength to escape the long-term abuse and brutality of her husband.  This is a well known story and analogous to situations in our own lives in which we feel totally trapped. Nothing seems to work; there is no apparent way out of the suffering and circumstances. But after an acquaintance teaches Tina to chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, she immediately begins to battle back. Conquering her own timidity, Tina strike out to gain her freedom. Eventually, of course, she launches a fabulously successful independent career. In this instance, chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo galvanized her into action, giving her the impetus to change her destiny for the better. Her overriding need was not for inner peace  but for outward determination.

Source: the Buddha in your Mirror.pg 42

Disclaimer: I have recently come across members who are against me posting this video here and over at sgibuddhism.org- I just want to make sure that everyone knows that we do not chant in front of statues. I believe we can own statues or own anything we like. Its all about the power you give to them. If your chanting is sincere and your determination strong, then all is well. But I do not slander those who own statues. Its judgmental to do so and to believe that they are not practicing correctly because they have one is wrong.  I personally own statues but I don' t chant to them.  But just because there is one in my room does not mean I haven't received benefits and actual proof. Because I have. I will defend Tina and won't stand for slander or assumptions. She has been a huge force in our practice and we do not know the circumstances surrounding the production of this video. I really believe we have the responsibility to set the record straight on this but not to do it in a way that's going to alienate new members and slander existing ones. Give the people more credit than that. Thank you and Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!

 Tina chants Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and parts of the Lotus Sutra (Gongyo)




Dec 5, 2009

Gift Ideas from the Treasure Tower

I came across a wonderful gift site called The Treasure Tower.  Its own by a fellow SGI Buddhist. Here you will find inspirational Buddhist gifts from this beautiful   Under Her Charm Nam Myoho Renge Kyo & Lotus Silver & Gold Disc Necklace 








There are also gifts for your home, small accessories and more. So if you're ready to gift to a friend, family or treat yourself. Stop on by.  

Use the code SELEUS and they will give you 15% off! until Feb 14, 2010!

10% of the profits from this site are donated to the Buddhist World Peace organization Soka Gakkai International 

Happy Gifting!




Dec 1, 2009

Time of the Season

Buddhism has been called the "first world religion". This was not only because it was a religion (in fact, it owes its continued existence to its dissemination outside India). It is also a world religion because it tolerates and embraces other faiths, often absorbing some of their best points, then moving on to a new synthesis.

There is neither creation nor a Creator. The Universe always existed and always will. Your life is eternal and one with the eternal universe. Most of us who live in the U.S. were raised to believe in God. Polls consistently show more than 90% of Americans believe in God or a supreme being, usually as articulated in some form of Christianity or Judaism. This does not mean that Americans can never practice Buddhism wholeheartedly or that we must give up our faith in order to learn more about Buddhism. Actually, most Buddhists practicing today in American are former Christians or Jews. You can begin your study and practice while you continue to attend church or synagogue.

So now how does this pertain to that time of the season- Christmas?

Buddhism highly values each country's traditions and culture. There is a Buddhist concept of  "Zuiho bini" which says that so long as no seriously offensive act is involved, then even if one were to depart to some slight degree from the teachings of Buddhism, it would be better to avoid going against the manners and customs of the country. Although Buddhists do not believe in a God, as stated here, and I will later post about Jesus and Buddha- many Nichiren Buddhists I know, celebrate the Christmas Holiday. Its a joyous time to be with the ones you love or appreciate for the past year and all that you have accomplished. Christmas or New Year's can also be wonderful opportunity for Human Revolution.

I was originally brought up Catholic, but that doesn't stop me from putting a tree up, gift giving, singing Christmas carols, etc. The bigger message here is,

Peace is the noblest goal of Human beings. Our practice is always about the peace movement, everywhere it exists. The collective goal of Nichiren Buddhists is World Peace, or kosen-rufu in Japanese. Kosen-rufu means to widely teach Buddhism, thereby allowing peaceful principles to transform the lives of the people from within. In other words, world peace through individual enlightenment.

Its all begins with you, peace within yourself. How can be teach Peace on Earth when we don't practice peace within ourselves or in our environment? If people cannot see the dignity, creativity and potential of their own lives, they wont value it in others.

For this holiday season, I chant that we each learn to treasure the value of our own lives, our family, friends and the world. Celebrate with one another and most importantly with yourself. Trim a tree, laugh, sing, give a gift of gratitude, go sleigh riding, smile and be merry!




Sources- (sgi-usa
            The Buddha in your Rearview Mirror 
            Loflo 
            deviantart)


Obstacles

Animation by Seleus