Jan 27, 2010

35 Years of Soka Gakkai International

       

On January 26, 1975 the Soka Gakkai International was established and Daisaku Ikeda was inaugurated as SGI president. 

The SGI was formed when the First World War Peace Conference was held on the island of Guam. Today the Mystic Law has spread to 192 countries and territories, where the SGI has become a vehicle for peace, culture and education. The quintessence of Nichiren Buddhism lies in "establishing the correct teaching for the peace of land."  Our noble mission as Buddhists lies in striving for the happiness and peace of all humanity, based on the Buddhist philosophy of the dignity of life. 

As I stated at the First World Peace Conference: "Rather than seeking after your own praise or glory, I hope that you will dedicate your noble lives ti sowing the seeds of peace throughout the entire world. I shall do the same." I have maintained this devotion to constructing peace in the world.

I ask each of you to practice this great philosophy of humanism and continue to sow the "seeds of peace" by sharing it with as many as possible. Your lives will surely shine brightly as you create victorious lives, with all of your prayers fully answered.
(World Tribune- 1/10)


To My Friends
The transformation of a single individual can change the world. The history of the SGI is born of the victorious drama of every member's human revolution. Youth, inherit and succeed this legacy!
  Daisaku Ikeda 

 

Jan 26, 2010

Value Creation



Buddhism teaches us to regard everything in a positive light, as an opportunity for growth, as a raw material for developing absolute happiness. Chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is wellspring of this optimism and growth- this is called "Value Creation". This wellspring enables practitioners to turn everything in their lives, joys and sufferings alike into causes for absolute happiness. As a result, individuals develop confidence in their power to transform even intense suffering into raw material of happiness. With this power, everything is a benefit, an opportunity.

(Source: The Buddha in your Mirror)

Jan 25, 2010

Don't Leave Home without this

Who can forget this wonderful song from the 1982 musical film "Annie"




Jan 23, 2010

Bluer than Indigo




One who practices still more earnestly whenever he hears the teachings
of the Lotus Sutra is a true seeker of the Way. When T'ien-t'ai
stated, "From the indigo, an even deeper blue," he meant that
something dyed with indigo becomes even bluer than the indigo plant
itself. For us the Lotus Sutra is the indigo plant, and the growing
intensity of our practice is "an even deeper blue."

(Daily Wisdom from the Writings from Nichiren Daishonin)

Jan 20, 2010

A Strong Spirit (An Interview with Mariane Pearl)

Mariane Pearl's husband Danny was a Wall Street Journal reporter kidnapped and killed by extremists in Karachi, Pakistan, early in 2002 when she was pregnant with their first child. She describes her life and her struggles to promote peace and dialogue since that time. Mariane, also a journalist, is a member of the SGI. Her book A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life and Death of My Husband Danny Pearl is published by Scribner.




[Kiyotaka Shishido]SGI Quarterly: Can you share with us how you have dealt with your anger, sadness, and shock?

Mariane Pearl: It's an ongoing battle. It really is the knowledge that if I was going to be bitter, if I was going to be overwhelmed with anger, then there is some claim that those who killed Danny would have on me. And that is something I could not let them have. For me, living as a bitter person because of that, living as an angry person, is for me like living half-dead. So the challenge that I made the moment I learned of Danny's death was if I was going to live, I had to be alive, I had to trust, to love, to give and live as a whole person.

One incentive for doing that is Danny. I strongly believe that because he did the same thing, I was able to do it, too. He didn't give his captors anything. Whatever the physical aspect, the violence, you cannot get hold of a strong spirit. Danny, until the very end, was completely whole. He didn't give them anything. I had no doubt about it, and because I knew that I could not do less. He opposed them in the face of death, and I oppose them in the face of life. I knew that was going to be the most difficult thing to do, but I had to do that most difficult thing. So really it is not forgiveness. It is a defiance through my winning. I have no desire or incentive to forgive those people. I am his resolve, and our son Adam is his resolve. Symbolically, I was the first target after Danny. That's why I had to stand up.

The minute I found out about Danny's death, that moment, I had this deep understanding inside, and that is a benefit of my Buddhist practice. I knew exactly what my response should be. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that that is what Danny did. It was so clear. It was also the hardest moment of my life, because at that moment, to say "If I live, I want to be happy again," was almost unnatural, very daring. But I knew that was the answer.

I was all by myself in the same way that Danny was by himself--we were really close at that moment, we were living exactly the same thing. When he died, I knew we could not make our victory real if both of us were dead.

I was the only one who could stand up the next day and say, "That's what we're going to do." Not because I wanted to go on, but because I understood exactly what I had to do.

SGIQ: I am struck by the title of your book, A Mighty Heart. . . .

MP: Danny was a very warm, smart, very loving person. At the same time, he was a very ordinary person. I don't want Adam to think his father was a hero. He was able to stand up against those people when he understood he was going to die because the ground on which he walked was so solid. His ground was his ethics, his journalism, who he was as a person. At the moment of facing death, he didn't abandon any of that. When I knew about his death, I didn't refute any of it, either. That will be transmitted to Adam. I still believe in a world where people should work together, I still believe in altruism, in tolerance, in justice, all those elements that were the basis of our lives. All of those were so strong, so solid in us. I think that's why, at the moment of dying, he could say, I'm proud of who I am, as a journalist, as an American, a Jew, a man.

I know that at no point Danny begged, and I know that through, for instance, the photographs of him. In one there is a gun pointed at him and he has a smile on his face--how much stronger can you be than that? In another one he had shackles, but he's doing V for victory, and in the other he gives the finger. Every way possible he communicates his spirit. I think that's what I call a mighty heart, someone who holds onto their belief until the end.


[Kiyotaka Shishido]The people around us then became like that, too. There were Jewish people, there were Buddhist people, there were Muslims, there were Hindus, and there were Christians. Everybody at some point said, wow, we are the world--while the people who hold Danny have the opposite vision like the fascists had. It was like two visions of the world were confronting each other. My friend Captain, for example, he was a practicing Muslim--but we had the same goal. That was what mattered. We were all together to save an innocent man. It was like two opposite visions of the future that were fighting so hard. It is definitely a spiritual and mental battle, there is no question about that. Like if you retaliate physically--it would be so easy to kill any of those guys who hurt Danny--it wouldn't take me one minute.

But it is more difficult to do what I am doing. If I kill that guy, I'm not winning, I'm just keeping the vicious cycle going, because his son is going to hate me and maybe kill me, and my son, and it is going to go on like this. You can't fight them on their ground because it doesn't make any sense. It is a mental and spiritual battle.

That's how they recruit them, that's how in terrorist camps they are trained to lose their empathy--you can kill someone because you have convinced yourself that this guy is the enemy. You lose completely your empathy. That's what happens. So the only way to retaliate is to have more empathy and decide to save more people. That's the real battle. If you fight with weapons, they are always going to be more ruthless than you.

SGIQ: So how can we fight terrorism?

MP: Hope and compassion are the only real tools against terrorism. The more people have hope, the more people have empathy, the more people have determination. . . .

There is the law enforcement part and the political part, and I really hope that the UN will play its role. But ultimately we as ordinary people have to confront the terrorists and deny them their goals. I have seen the thousands of young men whose frustration makes them easy targets for recruiters. You know they go to mosques and recruit people, and they tell them that the Americans are the enemy, you should not hesitate to kill a Jew, and how it is holy to kill an American. It's all psychological. So you can only oppose with mental resistance. If it's revenge, they already won. If your mental resistance is based on revenge, that's it--they have claimed some human part of you. In that case we'd be like animals ourselves.

Being human is having this kind of spirit that you can't get hold of. Only because Danny was human was he able to show humanity to those people. It's only by cultivating our humanity that we can do that. There's all the reasons in the world to be fearful, to be depressed, but I have to tell people something they don't want to hear--it is about individual responsibility. Journalists are going to have to be more compassionate, you're going to have to reach out to Muslims, go where you are told not to go. They want to stop people traveling because that's how you build bridges between people. No, you have to go and travel. You should be careful, but if you stop reaching out to others, you are doing what the terrorists are seeking, they want a clash of civilizations. They want to stop dialogue. It's an act of resistance.

SGIQ: At first you said you thought SGI President Ikeda was naive and idealistic in promoting dialogue . . .

MP: Now I've had to have the courage to admit myself that it is the only powerful weapon we have. When you say that to people, they think it's such a lame thing--what can dialogue do against violence? But it's real and it's true. That's why I found sometimes my message is so difficult to get through. People want to fight, bomb and retaliate because it feels better. To go and fight, they think that's fine. You tell them no, when they want a clash; go instead, reach out--it works. How can I hate Pakistanis--one of my best friends, Captain, is a Muslim and a Pakistani. This man has been giving his life to try to save Danny, and then to bring justice to Adam and me. So it's a difficult message to convey because it does start with yourself, and sometimes I say to people, yes, you, in your kids' school, in your community--start a dialogue with the Muslims there--there's always something you can do.


[Kiyotaka Shishido]That's a difficult thing to admit. Not only are they attacking me, but I have to reach out to them. That's what being human is about--it's about resistance and a higher spirituality--there are two forces, one wants to bring you to your lowest common denominator which is this jungle thing, you hate me, I hate you, and the other wants to bring you to the more elevated answer.

It's such a fight for peace. It's a battle, it's nothing soft. It's a very demanding struggle because you're always going to come to a point where you're confronted with loneliness. It's about two possible futures for humanity fighting each other.

Once you understand that notion, maybe you start being able to empower yourself. Once you start that going, even if it's dialogue, power will come to you as you do it. It has to start from you first. But it's unbelievable the number of people who don't want to see me strong. They want to see a weeping widow, because it doesn't destroy their understanding of how things should be.

SGIQ: You want each person to stand up.

MP: It's a difficult message. You tell them that you can't make real changes if you don't start from yourself. The only thing I can do to provide hope is to say look, I did it, and I did it in the worst circumstances and that's the only way. I tell them, if I was counting on any government to get me out of this situation, what would I do, where would I be now? Where would I find any hope? If I was counting on politics, or economics even, any other set of values, I could not be here.

SGIQ: So what is needed?

MP: There is a need for more in-depth journalism, more lateral journalism. To help people understand the situation in depth. You're dealing with people who psychologically know us much better than we know them. This can't be left in the hands of law enforcement or politicians. Only human beings can bridge these divides--only real human contact can do that.

They want to destroy hope, therefore I shall preserve it by any possible means.
They want to kill trust. Thus I will reach out to others, Africans, Asians, Arabs, Americans and Jews alike.
They want to imprison people in labels and stereotypes. I will strive to maintain a dialogue, always focusing on the individuals rather than the symbol.
They want to kill joy in me, thus I will laugh again.
They want to paralyze me, therefore I will take action. They want to silence me--therefore I will speak out.

From a speech given by Mariane Pearl in Sydney, Australia in March 2004.

Medium & Super Fast Gongyo

Medium



And this one is what I call Super Gongyo! Its lightening fast!

Jan 18, 2010

MC Hammer says......


Breaking Through Our Limitations

Culled from General Lecture by Linda Johnson,
SGI-USA 21.3.98


Nothing is impossible with Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. That is the spirit with which we have to learn to live everyday in order to live our lives to the fullest.
Too often we limit ourselves, we settle too frequently for less than what we want. We all started practicing because we wanted to achieve something beyond what we currently had. We have to reawaken to that fact and re-inspire and remind each other of the power of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

In the gosho "On Attaining Buddhahood", Nichiren Daishonin says: If you wish to free yourself, from the sufferings of birth and death you have endured through eternity and attain supreme enlightenment in this lifetime, you must awaken to the mystic truth which has always been within your life. This truth is Myohorenge-kyo (MW,Vol. 1, pg.3)

Nichiren Daishonin says the only difference between Buddha and common mortal is that a common mortal is still deluded. Too often we spend our days denying our potential. We only see our weakness and allow them to frustrate us. We are always looking for answer outside ourselves. But if we're looking outside ourselves, we're looking in the wrong place. We already have the answer. We already possess everything that we need. The solution to our problems is in the wisdom that is already inside of ourselves. We tap it every time we chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the knowledge and the expectations that "I have the answer. I just need to chant to pull out."

It is very important that we start practicing aggressively. Whatever you need each moment of your life, you already have it with Nam-myoho-renge-kyo you can connect to it. You are no longer at the mercy of your environment unless you choose to be.

In the gosho, Reply to Kyo-O, Nichiren Daishonin says: Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is like the roar of a lion. What sickness can therefore be an obstacle? (MW, Vol.l, pg.119) In this gosho, Nichiren Daishonin is not just referring to physical illness. He is talking about any problem, any obstacle. It is no mistake that he chose to refer to the lion, which is known as the king of the jungle. A lion uses the same energy to attack any prey, no matter what its size. Nichiren Daishonin goes on in that same gosho to say: "A sword will be useless in the hands of a coward." (MW,Vol.pg.120)

The Lion King

We limit our happiness every single day. We have conditioned ourselves to limits and we limit ourselves. As soon as things get difficult we decide and we convince ourselves that "reality" is telling us that we cannot have it and we retreat. We change our goals and give in to our limitations.

President Ikeda says: When your determination changes, everything else begins to move in the direction you desire. The moment you resolve to be victorious, every nerve and fiber in your being immediately orient themselves toward your success. On the other hand, if you think, "this is never going to work out," at that instant, every cell in your being will be deflated, giving up the fight. Everything then will move in the direction of failure. I want you to understand the subtle workings of the mind. How you orient your mind, the kind of attitude you have, greatly influence both yourself and your environment.

The Buddhist principle of a single life-moment possessing 3,000 realms completely elucidates the true aspect of life's inner workings. Through the power of strong inner resolve, we can transform ourselves, those around us and the land where we live. Each of us has this tool, this "secret weapon." There is no greater treasure. (World Tribune. July 11, 1997 pg.14)

Many times we've been chanting and give up when things don't move. But with what attitude have we been chanting? We must go for our dreams 100%! Never do anything half-hearted. If in your heart you don't believe it will happen, it will not happen. It matters what you do in front of and away from the Gohonzon. Your attitude always matters.

The solution is always daimoku and if you don’t believe that, then chant to believe it. Chant to have the courage to take action. Chant to pullout of your life what you need and when you need it. The moment you feel weak,fight back. President Ikeda says even if you get knocked down five times, get up six. Always have the spirit to get up. We can change anything in the moment. We can change this moment and tomorrow. We must be courageous; we must challenge those things that we do not believe we can achieve. If we never challenge the impossible, we can never, ever know the full power of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Marilyn Monroe


The only person who can achieve our dreams is ourselves. We have to rely on ourselves to achieve it, to do it. Nothing in life brings greater joy than achieving a goal through your own effort. If you are not a coward who quits, you can achieve anything. President Ikeda has been writing a lot to the youth lately, but I tell you he's talking to all of us. He says youth isn't just age. It is spiritual strength. Youth means not to be resistant to
change, to never settle for mediocrity and to continually seek growth.

Making constant effort over our lifetime is the key to our happiness. Always be on guard: look at yourself and ask: Am I limiting myself? It is human nature to want to take the path of least resistance. But the path of least resistance is the path of little change, little growth and a lifetime of unhappiness and frustration.

Chanting abundant daimoku is the key to everything. It puts our lives in rhythm so that we can accomplish everything we need to do. It is important to enjoy morning and evening gongyo and daimoku. It is a very mystical experience when you put your practice first, which in effect is putting your life first. You'd be amazed how much you will get done and enjoy doing it. Chanting lots of daimoku is the gift we give ourselves; it is the key to enjoy life.

Aren't we worth it?
We have to encourage each other to stop settling for less and really test this practice. It means a lot of hard work. When we challenge ourselves, a lot of inner resistance comes out. It's about what we do to ourselves to sabotage ourselves. In reality, there are those who demonstrate exception to every rule. Why can't you be the exception all the time? You have the power within you to do that. Faith is to believe in yourself. Stop denying
that you are a Buddha. All you have to do is manifest it from within. Chant to believe you can manifest it. With the right attitude, you can go forward wholeheartedly. Our reality changes from moment to moment. Do not give in to one perception and let it totally take control over your life.

We have the ability to be completely happy, totally victorious, regardless of what another person says or does: irrespective of what's going on in our environment. But if we don't take charge, we won't achieve it. Every time you find yourself putting limitations on yourself, use it as an opportunity to prove that what you can achieve with Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Our mission is to show the greatness of the law. Nothing is a problem unless we allow it to be. You must use your Buddha nature. Inspire each other to remember from today onward to go for big dreams and big goals. It's time to go for the impossible so that you can really express yourself. It will be the best possible gift you could ever give yourself.

Jan 17, 2010

Diamonds


Live with a Dancing Spirit

Live with a dancing spirit. 


The stars in the heavens are dancing through space, the Earth never ceases to spin. 


All life is dancing: the trees with the wind, the waves on the sea, the birds, the fish, all are performing their own dance of life. 


 

 Every living thing is dancing, and you must keep dancing too, for the rest of your life!


 ~ Wisdom for Modern Life by Daisaku Ikeda

 (Photo Sources: Flickr, deviantart)

Jan 16, 2010

Chanting Queen




(Source: Loflo)

Jan 14, 2010

Jan 12, 2010

Daimoku Cream


Model Miranda Kerr (Source: Getty)



"Miranda and boyfriend Orlando Bloom practice a Japanese form of Buddhism, which she began studying at a very young age. She explains, “I practice Nichiren Buddhism, chant regularly, meditate and do yoga regularly. Inner peace and inner beauty is very important to me. I don't like to talk too much about it, but what I will say is that it is very grounding and really centering.”

I also call it Daimoku Cream! LOL

How to Create Happiness




 

Psychological research has identified various external circumstances ( living in a wealthy democracy, being married or in a romantic relationship, having a rich social network, being religious or spiritual, avoiding negative events and emotions) and internal cognitive, motivational and personality processes that contribute to establishing happiness. Several happiness researchers' have found that the following external circumstances support the condition of happiness:

  • Having a rich social network of close, supportive relationships (including intimate friendships, a satisfying marriage or romantic relationship)
  • Being part of a faith community that provides connection, purpose and hope.
  • Experiencing flow-through work or leisure activities that produce an optimal state of absorption in which one's skills are engaged to the point where consciousness of self and time greatly recede
  • Having a mentor


 The SGI organization has been found to provide three of the four external circumstances associated with happiness. This rich supportive community of believers-with the SGI being noted as the most ethnically and racially diverse sangha of all American Buddhist schools- represents a unique strength of the SGI.  Another distinctive feature lies in its commitment to achieving world peace. Lastly, having a mentor forms the essence of Buddhist practice. 

(ed note- The only thing that I take a different stance on is using the term mentor-disciple. For me personally, President Ikeda is an example of what is possible, but he is not better than any of us. We are all Bodhisattvas. We may follow the teachings but I believe Ikeda also learns from us.

The same studies that determined the four external circumstances that support happiness point to the following internal traits that support the building of a happy self and life:

  • Positive view of the past (gratitude for all events)
  • Optimism about the future (includes hope, faith, trust)
  • Self-esteem (or esteem from others in collectivist cultures)
  • Sense of control over one's circumstances
  • Commitment to good character (traits such as wisdom, courage, humaity, justice, temperance, kindness)
  • Contributions to a higher purpose (transcending self-centeredness)
While embracing the internal positive traits identified by psychologists, Nichiren Buddhism goes beyond the mere structural components to articulate a more encompassing view of the processes involved; it defines what happiness is and how to create it.

  • the indestructible life-condition of Buddhahood. As stated in the Lotus Sutra, Buddhahood is a potential within all people, a state of life " where living beings enjoy themselves at ease" (The Lotus Sutra, p.230). In his letter "Happiness in this World" (WND-1,681), Nichiren speaks of the "boundless joy of the law," which springs from the innermost place in life, a state of happiness nothing can disturb.
  •  a state of complete by freedom and fulfillment and the ability to truly enjoy living, free of control by craving and delusion.
  •  knowing that we possess the power to manifest our innate Buddhahood through chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, studying the Buddhist teachings so that we can make them manifest in daily life, and courageously and compassionately sharing them with others.
  • the profound joy that comes from never being defeated by problems, instead using the challenges we face as a catalyst to strengthen our faith in ourselves and our wisdom to overcome our circumstances (also known as changing poison into medicine.
  • not having a problem-existence. Avoiding difficulties is not possible. The important thing is how we face our problems.

  • not a quick fix attained overnight; rather it results from sustained committed, daily efforts to manifest life's highest potentials-wisdom, compassion, courage and vitality.
  • the ability to live life with a deeper and stronger sense of confidence, appreciation and hope
  • knowing that we have the power to take charge of our own destiny and become a source for positive change in our family, community and society.
How do we create this kind of happiness?

It already exists within our lives; it is our inherent potential for Buddhahood, achieved by chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, studying to apply the teachings in oir daily lives and teaching others to the best of our ability. To achieve such happiness, we have to focus more on the internal factors that contribute to it rather than the external ones.

(Source: Living Buddhism- What is Happiness, May-June 2008, pg 21-24;tumblr,Loflo)






Jan 9, 2010

The 3 Realms of Existence

Living Buddhism January 2000 p.9

The Three Realms of Existence are: 1) The realm of the five components, 2) the realm of living beings, and 3) the realm of the environment (or land). Of these, the third, the "realm of the environment" is perhaps the easiest to explain and understand. It refers to the place where living beings exist and carry out their activities. The natural environment, for example, is a "realm of the environment" as is a city in which many people live. This concept is extremely important as it expands the Buddhist view of life from the individual to the dynamic relationship between the individual, society and the environment. 

(Deviantart)


"Realm" here comes from the Japanese term seken, which, in Buddhism, also means "distinction" or "difference." For our purpose, we can also think of it as "diversity." Thus the term "three realms" can also be taken to mean "three spheres of diversity" or "three kinds of distinction." 

These differences mean differences in how life’s potential conditions, known as the Ten Worlds, express or manifest themselves. In other words, a living being who manifests the world of Hell is quite different or distinct from one who manifests the world of, say, Humanity, or Learning, even if it is the very same being. Our "angry" self is quite different from our "grateful and caring" self, or our "inquisitive" self, for example. 

People who are in depths of suffering are "living beings in the states of Hell." People overwhelmed with joy at some development in their lives are “people in the state of Heaven." And people who dwell in a condition of absolute happiness and satisfaction are "living beings of the world of Buddhahood." These are distinctions in the realm of living beings.
And as I suggested above, the realm of living beings represents such distinctions even within the same individual from one moment to the next.

Distinctions of the Ten Worlds within the Constituent Elements of Life

While the realm of living beings and the realm of the environment are fairly self-explanatory, the "realm of the five components" is a bit more complex. Buddhism traditionally defines living beings as being formed of five constituent elements, or "components." There are form, perception, conception, volition and consciousness. The realm of the five components refers to the way each of the ten worlds expresses itself throughout these five components.

"Form" means the body and its five sensory organs that perceive the world. "Perception" means the reception of sensory information through those sense organs. "Conceptions" is the function of becoming aware of and forming an idea or conclusion about what we have perceived. "Volition" means the will to initiate action is in response to what we have perceived and conceived. And "consciousness" is the integrating factor of life, the discerning function that makes value-judgments, distinguishes right from wrong, etc. It is both the source of and the harmonizing force behind the other components. While "form" describes life’s physical aspect and the other four the "spiritual," none can exist in a living being without the others.

A single human life is viewed as a merging and harmonizing of the physical and spiritual potentials of life. And the differences these components display in response to each of the Ten Worlds describes the "realm of the five components."

Thus the realm of living beings and the realm of the five components indicate distinctions within life itself—different states manifested by life’s constituent elements and within the living being as an integrated whole. The realm of living beings can also be described as including all of human society, since Buddhism teaches that no single living being arises or exists independently of others.

But what do these distinctions have to do the ultimate goal of Buddhism which is the attainment of enlightenment, or absolute happiness?

The Principle of Human Revolution and Reformation of the Environment

From the perspective of life and its environment, the realms of the five components and of living beings represent life in its many diverse forms and modes. The realm of the environment corresponds to the external world—the environment, and the diversity and potential for change it contains. A human life at each moment encompasses both life and its environment. When there is a change in the depths of a person's life, that change is reflected in the whole person—in all of his or her component functions, activities and relationships—and in the surrounding environment. The principle of the three realms of existence explains the potential for transforming an individual human life. This is what human revolution means. It also predicts how that inner revolution can transform the environment.

If the environment had no relationship to the inner condition of people’s lives, then changes in the environment would be independent of and unrelated to the human condition. The doctrine of the three realms of existence thus forms an important basis for our understanding of both human resolution and "environmental revolution," and of how the two are related. It tells us that when there is a distortion in the inner lives of individuals, this will invite a negative change in the environment. When the inner lives of human beings and their interrelationships are harmonious and enriched, their environment will flourish and be at peace.

The three realms of existence gives us hope in that is explains that life possesses tremendous flexibility and potential for change. When we change our inner condition, everything changes. It also explains why no two people are alike. With regard to the five components, for example, no two people possess the same form, nor will they perceive, conceive or act on the same stimulus in the same way. Even if they are both "people of the world of Learning," for example, their five components will function differently, uniquely.

This concept also reminds us, then, that human life is infinitely diverse, yet that everyone, no matter how different from ourselves, has the potential for the most noble state of Buddhahood and is therefore a precious being.

Jan 7, 2010

Smile

Seleus
Photo by Me


The nobility
of a smile
exuding invincible resolve
is the hallmark of
a brilliant victor

(SGI President Daisaku Ikeda March 2009 Editorial)

A beautiful song, composed by Charlie Chaplin featured in the 1936 film "Modern Times" 
 


Smile Scene 


 




Jan 5, 2010

Everything




                                (Source: Photo by Me. Quote from Wonder Woman- DC Comics)

Jan 4, 2010

Jan 3, 2010

Artist Bob Ross says....


We're All Lotus Flowers!

In Buddhism, the term Renge, literally means "Lotus Flower, " hence the title Lotus Sutra. The lotus is deeply significant in the traditions of Buddhism. In nature, the lotus plant flowers and fruits at the same time, thus symbolizing the simultaneity of cause and effect. We know from the study of the scientific method that cause and effect underlie all phenomena. Everything has its causes and its effects. In Buddhism, this cause and effect has a deeper resonance as applied to human life. We create causes through thoughts, words and actions. With each cause made, an effect is registered simultaneously in the depths of life and those effects manifested when we meet the right environmental circumstances. The Lotus flower is also symbolically prized in Buddhism because it blooms in a muddy swamp, thereby signifying the emergence of our Buddha nature from the "swamp" of everyday desires and problems. In a similar vein, society is also likened to a muddy swamp in which Buddhas appear. This, no matter how difficult our lives, how trying our circumstances, the flower of Buddhahood can always bloom.
(The Buddha in your Mirror, sgi-uk.org ) 

Seleus



A good and talented friend of mines Artman2112- used my likeness as a illustration of this. He said he got the idea from a photo of mines. He said "it looked like my face was emerging from darkness - the swirling purple stuff (my fave color!) is sort of "life's confusion" and the lotus' and you are emerging from it together. I thought about the lotus flower, the practice and how the lotus symbolizes that same thing, rebirth, reawakening, etc. It seemed more and more fitting to me as I learned more about you, your struggles/triumphs last year and from the past. And the picture came to represent "you" more as time went on."


I really appreciate his wonderful talent and the time he took to create this. I wanted to share this illustration with you all and more importantly add that we are ALL BEAUTIFUL LOTUS FLOWERS. Its beauty is nourished through its roots in the mud. This is a metaphor for our lives. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo uses the `mud` in our lives to enable us to reveal our highest life state.  :D

Jan 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Daisaku Ikeda




Born on January 2nd, 1928, Daisaku Ikeda is a Buddhist philosopher, peacebuilder, educator, author and poet. He is the third president of the Soka Gakkai lay Buddhist organization and the founding president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), which is today one of the world's largest and most diverse lay Buddhist organizations, promoting a philosophy of character development and social engagement for peace.



The fifth of eight children, to a family of seaweed farmers. The devastation and senseless horror he witnessed as a teenager during World War II gave birth to a lifelong passion to work for peace, rooting out the fundamental causes of human conflict. For much of his early life Ikeda struggled against ill health, nearly succumbing, in his teens, to the ravages of tuberculosis, one of the leading killer diseases at the time. In 1947, at the age of 19, he met Josei Toda (1900-58), educator and leader of the Soka Gakkai lay Buddhist society whose activities were based on the philosophy of the thirteenth-century Buddhist teacher and reformer Nichiren. Ikeda found in Toda an open and unaffected person, a man of unshakable conviction with a gift for explaining profound Buddhist concepts in logical, accessible terms. He soon found employment at one of Toda's companies and later completed his education under the tutelage of Toda, who became his mentor in life.


In May 1960, two years after Toda's death, Ikeda, then 32, succeeded him as president of the Soka Gakkai. Under his leadership, the movement began an era of innovation and expansion, becoming actively engaged in cultural and educational endeavors worldwide. Ikeda has dedicated himself to fulfilling Toda's dreams by developing initiatives in the areas of peace, culture and education.

The central tenet of Ikeda's thought, and of Buddhism, is the fundamental sanctity of life, a value which Ikeda sees as the key to lasting peace and human happiness. In his view, global peace relies ultimately on a self-directed transformation within the life of the individual, rather than on societal or structural reforms alone. This idea is expressed most succinctly in a passage in his best-known work, The Human Revolution, Ikeda's novelization of the Soka Gakkai's history and ideals: "A great inner revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind."
Ikeda has two sons, Hiromasa and Takahiro, and lives in Tokyo with his wife, Kaneko. ---By A. George, Editor, SGI Quarterly