Aug 27, 2010

Everybody's all connected

"Everybody's all connected so when we're connected, it means we all believe in each other. And I believe that you can do whatever want."- Sadie

Aug 25, 2010

Wayne Shorter

Happy Birthday Wayne Shorter
Fellow Nichiren Buddhist


4th track from Wayne Shorter's "Adam's Apple" album, FEBRUARY 24, 1966.
Blue Note Records. The track it's one of the greatest Wayne Shorter's compositions and appears on Miles Davis Quintet's "Miles Smiles" Album.

"One thing I could never do is play something over and over again. If I have it, I know it's there to be played over and over, but to actually confirm this "something" the value of playing it over and over and over again is like a web that's spun but you can't get out of it. When you become neutral the music is more alive than you. That goes for anything, even eating too much ice cream. The ice cream is very much alive, but you're dead. The same with liquor, cocaine, and drugs, dwelling on something so that you have to end up in an institution. Three attachments usually need to suffer." - Wayne Shorter 

The Saxophone Journal 1992

Aug 24, 2010

Aug 22, 2010


Aug 20, 2010

Aug 19, 2010

Family and Buddhism Q & A

From Art of Living, December 2001
by Akemi Baynes 

Can my family and close friends benefit from my Buddhist practice?

First and foremost, Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism exists for the sake of both ourselves and others. It provides a means whereby we can change our own destiny for the better, and up to a certain point, influence the life condition and surroundings of others. Because the Buddhist priciple of oneness of the person and their environment is a reality, when we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, quite naturally, people in our personal orbit will be positively affected by it, as well as ourselves.

What is the best attitude to have towards our families?

If your husband isn't practising, you might think: "If only he'd practise, my life would be easier and I'd get more benefits." But it's precisely because he doesn't practise that you're in a position to strengthen your faith and become more conscious of how you use your life. Whatever positive change you then make in yourself will definitely affect everything around you. So even if you're finding life difficult, if you keep on smiling and figthing, people will be very much encouraged by you. You will benefit them by lifting their life state.

On the other hand, should you be fortunate enough to have an understanding husband, please don't take him for granted. Don't get into the habit of saying, "I'm going out. Cook your own dinner!" He might, on occasion, object strongly to your going to a Buddhist meeting, in which case it's probably better not to go. But this is not the same thing as using him as an excuse for not going. If you think, "I really don't want to go tonight, and anyway, I'm sure my husband won't let me", then prbably he won't. We should never let family members become obstacles to our practice.

Nichiren Daishonin is very clear as to the attitude he expects of us as Bodhisattvas of the Earth: "None of you who declare yourselves to be my disciples should ever give way to cowardice. Neither should you allow concern for your parents, wife or children to hold you back, or be worried about your property. Since countless kalpas in the past you have thrown away your life more times than the number of dust particles of the land for the sake of your parents, your children or your lands. But not once have you given up your life for the Lotus Sutra." (WND, p. 764; MW1 p. 176)

Once we've commited ourselves to kosen rufu, we need at some point to communicate to our families what this involves. Regardless of how they respond we should feel grateful towards them. After all, they are the reason we can chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. In general, if children have been taught from an early age about Buddhism, they won't mind you going out to meetings. If they do, it's an opportunity for you to grow, and to pray that one day they will joyfully support your practice.

Some of my family and friends oppose Buddhism. What can I do?

Knowing the benefits of chanting, it can be quite frustrating to observe the suffering of someone who rejects the practice. We might think, "If only they chanted they'd become happy." But we should never be afraid of our friends' or relatives' suffering which can perhaps best be viewed as a process to be gone through in order to meet the Gohonzon. Please have absolute faith in what Nichiren Daishonin says:
"anyone who has a connecton with the Gohonzon will, at some point, start practising and change their karma. This is a fact." The more we believe this the less frustrated, worried or impatient we will be. In the meantime, we can hasten the time when somenone starts to practise, through chanting for their happiness.

What is the best way of teaching someone about Buddhism?

To reach someone in the right way, you need to have an abundance of wisdom. This means knowing instantly how to respond, being spontaneous based on a very solid and strong practice. If your chanting is totally directed towards someone's happiness, when you see them suffering you'll know straightaway what to do: do they need to be rescued, given a little push, or left alone? The Lotus Sutra says that we can see with the Buddha's eye through to the truth of a person's life. President Ikeda is an expert in this! He says that, whenever he meets someone, he has the attitude that this could be the last time he meets them. He puts his whole life and effort into understanding each person to the core. That is the kind of life state we should be aiming for.

Isn't it selfish of us to spend time on activities when we could be with our families?

It might be argued that time spent on Buddhist activities could be better spent with your family. But what sort of time are we talking about? The quality of time spent with one's family is definitely more important that the quantity. There are many households where the mother spends most of her time scolding her children and ordering them about, the father slumps in front of the television and drinks beer all evening and that's it! Such families spend a lot of time together but there is almost no value in it.

As SGI members, it's important to try to make the most of every moment. This means not just being with our families physically, but talking to each other, sharing our feelings and developing understanding - even if it's only two or three times a week.

Aug 18, 2010

True Freedom


Aug 15, 2010

KC & the Sunshine Band sings.....


Passion makes a person stop eating, sleeping, working, feeling at peace. A lot of people are frightened because, when it appears, it demolishes all the old things it finds in its path.
No one wants their life thrown into chaos. That is why a lot of people keep that threat under control, and are somehow capable of sustaining a house or a structure that is already rotten. They are the engineers of the superseded.

Other people think exactly the opposite: they surrender themselves without a second thought, hoping to find in passion the solutions to all their problems. They make the other person responsible for their happiness and blame them for their possible unhappiness. They are either euphoric because something marvelous has happened or depressed because something unexpected has just ruined everything.

Keeping passion at bay or surrendering blindly to it - which of these two attitudes is the least destructive?

I don’t know.
— Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho

Aug 13, 2010

Aug 10, 2010

Keep Movin' On

Keep movin' on, keep movin' on
life is this way
Keep movin' on, keep movin' on

When I go to sleep at night
I add up my day
trying to recall the things I done
and debts I have to pay
for there is one thing that I know
what you reap is what you sow

Keep movin' on, keep movin' on
life is this way
Keep movin' on, keep movin' on

Brother mind what you do
and how your treat your fellow man
if you're like me you'd try to live
the very best you can
for if you spread good all around
you'd be able to sleep when the sun goes down

Keep movin' on, keep movin' on
life is this way
Keep movin' on, keep movin' on

Aug 8, 2010

A Rosie Outlook

Thanks for contributing this story Sally!

                                  by grafitomane

I was crabby yesterday.  Basically I’m an optimistic person, but yesterday I was a grouch.  I had a slight setback regarding our upcoming book, and I was annoyed.  I probably should have taken a walk, but I didn’t.  I ate a donut instead.  

I didn’t specifically go out in search of a donut.  A client asked me to meet him at the Dunkin Donuts shop near my office and I complied.  Normally I wouldn’t have opted for the sugary pastry, but I was in a bad mood and I went against my better instincts.  

Fortunately for me the donut and hot chocolate were very unsatisfying.  Indulgent pleasures generally are.  I get that little sugar high and then a big let down, both physically and emotionally.  After all, it’s January and losing weight and exercising are always top contenders of my New Year’s resolutions.  Donut eating is not on the list. 

However, I did take some positive actions.  I mailed a proposal, stopped at the library and checked out an inspirational book, self help book, and wrote several query letters to literary agents.  I make it a point that when I suffer a setback I take immediate steps to counteract it.  Unfortunately, I ate the donut before I took my positive actions. 

That evening I went to a Buddhist meeting.  I saw an unfamiliar face and introduced myself.  Once we started talking I realized I had met her before, but since she had not been to meetings in a while I didn’t recognize her.  She told everyone she had become busy at work and her once-strong efforts to strive for personal growth and work for world peace (basic Buddhist tenets) had fallen by the wayside.  Unfortunately, her dedicated efforts at work (60-hour work weeks and plenty of stress) took a toll on her health.  She became sick and subsequently lost her job due to her illness. 

However, rather than fall into a funk over her job loss and declining health, she saw the events as an opportunity to revive her Buddhist practice.  It was inspiring to listen to her as she made a determination to start anew. She spoke eloquently and her eyes shone with conviction.   

My mood was instantly lifted.  She voiced what a lot of folks face in their life – going through the motions of living and not really engaging one’s heart. I thought about the difference of merely writing my goals and making a real determination to create a significant change in my life.  I realized that simply writing goals was an intellectual exercise at best and a mere habit at worst.   

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating a brain bypass.  But knowledge by itself is not the answer.  Heart-felt conviction is crucial for embracing change and obtaining our goals.  It’s no wonder I keep writing the same resolutions year after year.  My head was engaged in the process, but certainly not my heart.  After listening to Rosie, I knew I couldn’t just go through the motions.  I needed to make a strong determination, followed by concrete actions to break through my donut-eating complacency. I may like donuts, but I love my life a lot more and I want to preserve my health. 

Like Rosie, we will have times when we backslide in our efforts.  It could be a donut, a grumpy mood, a harsh word, or even a financial setback such as losing one’s job.  But setbacks are only permanent if we allow them to be.  For me, I’d rather adopt the “Rosie” outlook and make a heart-felt determination to start anew. 

Love and peace,

For more works by Sally, pick up 

Aug 2, 2010

Learn to fly

Songwriters: John Lennon and Paul Mccartney
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise