Jun 29, 2010

Seize the Day

Song written and performed by Maria Centeno
(From my District- Fordham Hill Group Leader)

This was performed at my last Chapter meeting accompanied by a Malik Brown on violin and Ray Rivera on percussion 

                          (Source: Tumblr)


Seize the Day 

Seize the Day, A New Beginning
To Light Our Way
Seize the Day, We see our Victory
Bright as a Flame
--- We Seize the Day

There are mountains we must climb,
Rivers we will cross, (and)
With the rising of the sun,
We look beyond the sky,
Say this day is mine; this day is yours---

Seize the Day
Brave hearts are beating
Aflame with Flame
Seize the Day,
We march on fearlessly
Along with Sensei/ (Our Friends)
--- We Seize the Day

With a youthful spirit we rise
Inner strength moves our lives
Courageous will is high!
We look beyond the sky
Say, this day is mine; This Day is yours.



Jun 28, 2010

An Experience by Charles Johnson

By Charles Johnson

In the year of 1963, I was nine years old. My mother got me a membership to Uncle Ray’s Scrapbook club. Each week in the Worcester Massachusetts Telegram, the local Newspaper, Uncle Ray would write articles about History, Science and the World around us. The very first article I that I pasted into my scrapbook was an article and a picture of Shakyamuni Buddha. My Mother told me about the Buddha’s compassion for everything of this world. I told my mother at that time, this is how I would live my life.

It was many years later that a friend helped me to re-awaken what had been buried in my heart for so many years and led me to receive Gohonzon in Boston, Massachusetts in September of 2006...

In 2007, I worked as a Television Production Instructor for the United States Army’s, 3rd Psychological Operations Battalion at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The work involved spending 2 weeks on Base and then 3 weeks off. The pay was phenomenal.

Then 2008 arrived and all the work dried up as all of my students were being deployed around the world. I had enough money for food and to pay my mortgage for 5 months and that was it. When you work as a contractor to the Military there is no unemployment. So, I started sending out resumes and looking for work online.

On top of being out of work with no income, in March of 2008, my best friend, my 17 year old cat, became gravely ill. I was faced with the hardest obstacle of my life as it was necessary for me and a veterinarian to ease his suffering and help him go home.
The road I was traveling had gotten very dark, but I managed to keep the light of hope and strength burning brightly by doing Gongyo twice a day and chanting continuously.

As the end of May rolled around, I had enough money for my June mortgage payment, leaving me with $35. dollars in my savings account.
I chanted with ever growing Faith and Determination, to find a job where my skill set would be highly sought after by a company whose product I could truly say I believed in. I wanted to be part of a team that made a positive difference in this world by bringing truth and not fantasy to people.

                                             ~FireFlyGal

By mid-June, I cut back to one meal a day. As I made a bowl of rice one evening, I placed a teaspoonful of uncooked rice in a small cup and set it in front of my Gohonzon as I started my evening prayers. I still have the same cup of rice on my altar today.


The very next day, I received a phone call from Discovery Communications. They said they had read my resume on line and asked if I could come to Silver Spring at their expense for an interview. During the third week of June I flew from Massachusetts to Silver Spring and met with 4 executives that showed me the Engineering facility and grilled me for several hours with technical questions.

I flew home the same day and felt that the interview went very well. The next day I received a call from Discovery with a job offer that exceeded my wildest dreams. The offer of course I accepted.

They immediately put me in touch with their relocation company which helped me put my house up for sale and they provided me with a $5000. check toward my initial moving expenses. A portion of this money enabled me to pay my July mortgage. Then to top it all, they said that they would pay for all of my moving costs. So, I drove on June 29 to my sister’s house in Centreville, Virginia. Bringing with me, my clothes, laptop, Gohonzon and Butsudan, and my books.

I started work on July 1, 2008 and stayed at my sister’s house for a little over a year. Each day I would take the Metro from Vienna to Silver Spring and back again in the evening. My commute of three hours a day could have been tedious, but during this time I was able to read both volumes of the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, The Lotus Sutra and the entire series of The Wisdom of The Lotus Sutra.

One day last June, I had gotten out of work around 4 PM, which I was thrilled at after working several 50 hour work weeks. I boarded the Metro at Silver Spring Station and headed for home.

I settled into a seat reading the last volume of Wisdom of The Lotus Sutra, and was deep in thought. Suddenly time seemed to slow down as I heard the horrible sound of metal smashing into metal. Our train had crashed head on into the rear of another train. There was a dead silence as we came to a stop. During the crash I felt a cushion around me and when we had stopped moving, I stood up, completely unharmed. I checked with the other passengers in the car and no one was injured. Myself and several other men made our way from the fourth and third cars and proceeded to the second and first car.

When we arrived at the front of the second car several men tried pulling down the ceiling that was blocking the door, Only to reveal a cross beam across the top of the door making it impossible to open . It seemed that we were purposely prevented access to the front car and prevented from witnessing the horror of 9 dead passengers. Again I felt the protective forces were guarding me and the others.

As the side doors opened, I helped men and women exit from the train and we all stood on the side of the tracks until the fire department cut throught the chain link fencing and we were able to move to a parking lot.

The injured were separated to one side and 11 of us that were not injured were told we could leave. So, we started walking toward the Fort Totten station, no one spoke. I called my brother-in-law to come and pick me up and finally arrived at the house around 9:00PM.
The next day I went back to work and received an email from the President of Discovery saying that he was happy that I was ok and if I needed anything at all, not to hesitate in contacting him.

The fact that I came through the crash totally unscathed can only be attributed to the protective forces of shoten zenjin.

In the The True Aspect of All Phenomena Nichiren Daishonin wrote:
“Be sure to strengthen your faith, and receive the protection of Shakyamuni Many Treasures, and the Buddhas of the ten directions.”
[No.40, Page 386, col 2, paragraph 17,


During my lifes difficult times, a quote from President Ikeda encouraged and strengthened me:

“You must be strong. There is no hope of winning in this chaotic world if you are weak. No matter what others do or say, it is important to develop your ability and then put that ability to use. Strong Faith, of course, is the best means for drawing out ones inner strength. You each have a very important mission, and I hope you will awaken to and be proud of that mission.”

President Toda once said: “If you have a problem, just pray for the solution. Buddhism is an earnest struggle to win. I’ll stake my life on the fact that if you practice wholeheartedly, all of your prayers will be realized.”


This is what I have learned thus far in my life?
I have learned that there are always obstacles and difficulties in this life, but, how we deal with obstacles and difficulties can open the door to a world of opportunity. I have learned that when an obstacle presents itself to me, I will ask myself,
What cause did I make to create this obstacle?
What must I learn from this obstacle?
What is the best way to overcome this obstacle?
Once I have answered these questions, the possible emotional severity created by the obstacle diminishes and I can overcome the obstacle with Courage, Confidence, Compassion, Wisdom and Determination . All these qualities taught to us in our Practice of Nichiren’s Buddhism.
Thank you for letting me share my experience with you.
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Jun 24, 2010

Chanting With Our Entire Being

By TED MORINO 
   
What is the correct approach to chanting?  


    
   
Fundamentally, I think it can be said that if after chanting daimoku you feel refreshed and revitalized, then you chanted great daimoku.  
   
In many of his writings, Nichiren Daishonin states that chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the core of his teachings. It seems the Daishonin felt the need to establish first and foremost the act of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo itself in order to guide the people of his time away from misguided practices and beliefs that opposed the original intent of Buddhism. While emphasizing the importance of having faith in the power of the Mystic Law, he appears to forgo addressing any other specific details of exactly how to chant.  

What the Daishonin does stress, however, is our attitude—the realization or conviction that we should have when chanting. He writes: “Shakyamuni Buddha who attained enlightenment countless kalpas ago, the Lotus Sutra that leads all people to Buddhahood, and we ordinary human beings are in no way different or separate from one another. To chant Myoho-renge-kyo with this realization is to inherit the ultimate Law of life and death” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p. 216). He also explains: “You, yourself, are a Thus Come One who is originally enlightened and endowed with the three bodies. You should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with this conviction” (WND, 299–300).  
   
We can discuss the purpose behind the act of chanting from two different levels. On one level, we chant to open our innate Buddhahood, the universal existence and cultivation of which is the ultimate message of the Lotus Sutra and the basis of human happiness. On another level, we can say that we chant to have our specific prayers answered—an intriguing element in the practice of Buddhist faith.  
   
Ultimately, it is important that we chant with our entire being. This is indicated by a phrase the Daishonin quotes from the verse portion of “Life Span” chapter of the Lotus Sutra, which reads, “single-mindedly desiring to see the Buddha, not hesitating even if it costs them their lives” (WND, 389). For us, this translates into an earnest desire to reveal our Buddha nature each time we chant. He states, “As a result of this passage, I have revealed the Buddhahood in my own life” (WND, 389). Explaining the principle of having our prayers answered through the power of faith underlying our act of chanting, Nichiren Daishonin exhorts: “Muster your faith, and pray to this Gohonzon. Then what is there that cannot be achieved?” (WND, 412). And: “Believe in this mandala with all your heart. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is like the roar of a lion. What sickness can therefore be an obstacle?” (WND, 412).  
   
 From another perspective, Nichiren Daishonin cautions, “A coward cannot have any of his prayers answered” (WND, 1001). In this passage, cowardice can be interpreted as the benighted quality of life that is not rooted in our Buddhahood. In other words, cowardice can be defined in Buddhism as the impure elements in life, which, if allowed to take control of the self, separate us from our Buddha nature or the Mystic Law. Conversely, if we are continuously developing our Buddha nature, taking action with the wisdom we tap through chanting and thus courageous in our life-condition, then we are moving toward and becoming the type of person who can have all their prayers answered.  
   
SGI President Ikeda states: “The more specific and detailed the blueprint we have  
in our hearts, the better. The point is to continue vividly painting the target we have and to advance toward that goal single-mindedly. Then, at each instant, the reality of our lives will gradually approach the painting that is our aspiration. “Everything depends on what is in our hearts. Heartfelt prayers will definitely be answered” (Learning from the Gosho, p. 129). In praying to the Gohonzon, we should drop all pretense and just be ourselves, offering sincere prayers for the realization of all our desires. By so doing, we can elevate our life-condition and strengthen our life force to the point where we start sensing what to do about each of our specific goals.  
   
In the final analysis, we should first decide that we are going to win before we chant. This strong determination coupled with our chanting enables us to summon forth the appropriate wisdom to deal with any of the inevitable difficulties we will encounter on the way toward achieving our goals. With this resolution, something positive will start welling up from within our lives through chanting. Worry should not be basis of our prayer, as this can undermine the power of chanting. Rather we should to resolve to win first, so that through each daimoku we chant we are tapping every human quality necessary for our victory.  
   
By chanting such heartfelt daimoku to the Gohonzon, the very core of our lives aligns with the purest life force of the universe, melting away whatever negative effects we may otherwise have to experience due to our karma. “Various sins are just like dewdrops,” wrote the Daishonin. “The ‘sun of wisdom’ (Nam-myoho-renge-kyo) is capable of dissolving them all” (Gosho Zenshu, p. 786).  
   
Chanting from the heart solidifies the condition of Buddhahood as the basis of our existence, which is described by the Daishonin as “the unchanging reality which reigns over all of life’s functions” (WND, 832). When Buddhahood is firmly established as the basis of our lives, we gain self-control without being defeated by the five poisons—greed, anger, foolishness, arrogance and doubt.  
   
After chanting, we can return to the reality of our daily lives, acting with renewed confidence to touch the lives of other people and reach our goals. As the Daishonin states, “The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behavior as a human being” (WND, 852).  
   
Lastly, President Ikeda writes about the meaning of prayer in Buddhism, referring to the concept of a pledge or vow in The New Human Revolution. He says to a pioneer member in Brazil: “Prayer in Nichiren Buddhism means to chant daimoku based on a pledge or vow. At its very core, this vow is to attain kosen-rufu. It means chanting resolutely with the determination: ‘I will attain kosen-rufu in Brazil. Therefore, I will show magnificent actual proof in my work. Please enable me to bring forth my greatest potential.’ This is what our prayer should be like. “It is also important that we establish clear and concrete goals for what we hope to achieve each day and then pray and challenge ourselves to achieve each of them. This earnest determination gives rise to wisdom and resourcefulness, thereby leading to success. In short, to win in life we need determination and prayer, effort and ingenuity. It is misguided to dream of getting rich quick, expecting to encounter a rare stroke of luck or some shrewd moneymaking scheme. This is not faith. It is mere fantasy” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 1, pp. 250–251).  
   



  
Special Thanks to Milind Shirke

Jun 23, 2010

The World of Anger

BY Geoff Rodhe 
Sacramento Region Men's Leader





“Don’t get mad—get even!” This might be typical advice from dysfunctional soap
opera characters, but it’s not Buddhism. Lose the “get even,” and you are making some
progress. Lose the anger, and you are really getting it!
Anger is one of the three poisons, so we try to minimize, not feed it! Consider, for
instance, Nichiren Daishonin’s advice to Shijo Kingo, one of his most dedicated (and
sometimes angriest) disciples: The Daishonin tells him that the gods will not protect a
short-tempered person, that it is vital to master his emotions, that he should be considerate of those who believe in the Lotus Sutra, no matter what they may have done in the past.

As we practice this Buddhism and try to better our organization, we have to remember
to model the behavior we wish to see from others. Getting mad at leaders, fellow members or the SGI itself is counterproductive.

How best to avoid this trap? We can try practicing as the Daishonin did—that is, not
getting mad even at the fools and bozos who seem to want to mess up our lives. We can
try also to cultivate the habit of forbearance. The “Record of the Orally Transmitted
Teachings” says: “Forbearance means the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light. This mind of
forbearance is called Shakyamuni Buddha” (Gosho Zenshu, p. 771).

Lastly, before we proceed to blast someone for errors real or imagined, we can reflect
on these quotes: “If anyone sees a person who accepts and upholds this sutra and tries to
expose the faults or evils of that person, whether what he speaks is true or not, he will in
his present existence be afflicted with…severe and malignant illnesses” (The Lotus Sutra,
p. 324). “Believers in the Lotus Sutra should absolutely be the last to abuse one another.
All those who keep faith in the Lotus Sutra are most certainly Buddhas, and one who
slanders a Buddha commits a grave offense” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p. 756). 
 

(Thanks to Milind Shirke)

Jun 22, 2010

The Rest is still Unwritten

I am unwritten, can't read my mind, I'm undefined
I'm just beginning, the pen's in my hand, ending unplanned




Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Oh, oh, oh

I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines
We've been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can't live that way

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten

True Happiness

Happiness is not something that someone else, like a lover, can give to us. We have to achieve it ourselves. And the only way to do so is by developing our character and capacity as human beings fully maximizing our potential.  If we sacrifice our growth and talent for love,  we absolutely will not find happiness. True happiness is obtained through fully realizing our potential.

(Faith Into Action)

Jun 21, 2010

Star in Your Own Life





I got my name in lights with notcelebrity.co.uk

By Seleus Blelis

You're the star of your own life. The leading man or woman. You choose not to play the wise-cracking best friend or funny sidekick. Maybe you've play that role long enough. But now is the time to shine and show the world what you're made of. We all have that chance to change even the littlest things, into something beautiful and lasting.  This comes from a pure place because you want to evolve and understand past actions that have caused you such unhappiness. But that cannot happen if you are blinded by ignorance and arrogance. 

Once you begin to question the same patterns that keep repeating themselves in your life, then you can begin to replace them with a whole new set of tools. My tools are Faith, Practice and Study. Always remember the one thing that is constant in your environment- YOU. And if YOU put the blame on others for your own misery, you will never see a change. 

Even if you don't believe in this practice. The same rules apply. It all starts with you. The beauty of this practice, is that you can be the star of your own life and be freed from delusion.  You can see clearly why and how you are suffering. What lead to it? And then, what you can do about it. You can win by having a indestructible spirit. By knowing that you at least tried and fought. 

When you clearly envision a victorious outcome, engrave it in your heart and are firmly convinced that you will attain it, your brain makes every effort to realize the mental image you have created. Then, through unceasing efforts, that victory is finally made reality. You are the playwright of your own victory. 

 (3/9/93 Faith In Action)

Jun 20, 2010

Polishing Ourselves to Deserve an Ideal Soul mate Part 2

A Young Women's Division member, capable and beautiful, had to suffer repeatedly from her vicious karma relationship. Her karma had been played out continuously for a few years by several young men of a similar type, as if the were in a relay race. Each time the relationship started, she was so attracted to one of them and would quickly surrender her heart & body, thus becoming a subordinate to the man. She had offered herself as cheap game for those men to capture easily. As a result, they did not cherish her but, one after another, dumped her when the fresh excitement faded.

Obviously, none of them was the man that she was supposed to share her life with and her karma would trap her anyway at the time when she had no wisdom to distinguish good from bad. She could realize the problem of her karma until she strove to quadruple her daimoku and kosen rufu activities for a while.




She then persistently strengthened her faith, practice and study with the goal of eradicating her karma relationship. She also worked staunchly on her human revolution. In her case, she had to painstakingly force herself not to quickly jump into a new relationship before it was clear that she had transformed her life.

She has now found her ideal soul mate, an entirely different type of person to whom she would have noticed before. Now she can genuinely treat him very sweetly to her hearts content because he gives her in return, even more love & care. However, this only transpired when she had elevated her life state and changed her perspective towards men and could thereby recognize and choose this lucky man who suits her so perfectly.

Three-years diligent practice, amidst tears and heart breaking experiences, was indeed touch to overcome in her quest to eradicate her bad karma relationship but it was well worth all the effort. If she had never made that effort, she would still be stumbling and struggling with the same karma, probably for the rest of her life,

The second answer that our lives can contribute is to choose wisely.

We don’t want to risk our happiness by grabbing someone just because that person is available to us. If we do, we can expect the endless struggle that’s going to befall us. Feeling desperately lonely, fearing that there is no chance of finding a better partner or thinking we don’t deserve a good one are no reasons to perfunctorily settle for less. Its better to leave one’s heart yearning for love than to fill the aching void without discretion.

Again, we would be much better off if we turned the energy of desperation, fear and struggle into the fuel to forge our development first. Once we have cultivated more commendable quality, naturally we qualify to have more options to choose from. Thus, we can hold our heads high and choose wisely.



Let’s look at what a harmonious seamless relationship is like in Nichiren Daishonin’s eyes:-

THE HIYOKI IS A BIRD WITH ONE BODY AND TWO HEADS. BOTH OF ITS MOUTHS NOURISH THE SAME BODY. HIMOKU ARE FISH WITH ONLY ONE EYE EACH, SO THE MALE AND FEMALE REMAIN TOGETHER FOR LIFE. A HUSBAND AND WIFE SHOULD BE LIKE THEM.

Letter to the Brothers, WND p 502

The ideal relationship should be reciprocally nourishing. It is very important that with our partner we inspire and encourage, respect and cherish, motivate and invigorate each other. We share dreams & hopes, embrace each others beliefs and character, shed tears together over adversities, and work as two in body but one in mind on mutual goals. Be sure that both sides are mature, sincere , independent, genuine, positive, caring and willing to improve & grow.

We don’t wish to be involved with someone whose energy is inherently destructive and negative& will hinder our happiness. If our prospective partner tends to dominate or overpower us. Unreasonably and if we are not sure of our ability to joyously accommodate such a strong personality, lets employ our wisdom and judgment and stay away from them. We have to be on our guard instead and not blindly jump into predictably doomed and painful relationship.

The third answer from our lives with which to solve our relationship problem is to renew the image of our soulmate.

Indeed, superficially speaking, it is hard to find someone whose strengths and weaknesses fit us perfectly. But, it is up to us how we think and work to compliment each other and create value from our partner’s seemingly negative traits in our eyes.

When the ideals and desires of the two sides are unbalanced or confrontational before we treat it, as a doomed relationship and helplessly plunge into the commitment or before we rush to abandon the relationship, there’s something we can try. In fact, activating our wisdom awakens us to the untrue portrait we have painted of our partner. We can also employ the teachings of Nichiren Buddhism to gain a truthful, vivid and positive image of the same person.

There are different angles from which we can review our opinion about our partner and find ways to amend and adjust the differences between both sides.

Are the fundamental problems in our relationship definitely unbearable in the long term? Are they fixed without the possibility of improvement or change? Are they solely our partners fault? Or are they the result of our own deceived mind due to the function of the three poisons of greed, anger & foolishness? Most importantly of all, do we have the wisdom to see the reality of the relationship as the manifestation of our own karma, & do we thus want to take total responsibility? What can we do to help our partner and to turn around our relationship?

Ever wonder why the same deserted man or woman can become the sweetheart of another person? One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. That is to say the value of everything changes, depending on its relationship with the environment and depending on how we look at it. Does that mean tht we can reformat the pattern of our relationship without changing partners? Yes!!

Here come the tough questions to ponder and the real task to follow through on: Can we allow our partners the room to live their lives instead of enveloping them in the narrow fashion of our frame of mind? Are we willing to employ the kind of wisdom, compassion and strength, our Buddha Nature, and to resolve to process the poisons into medicines? Will we set out on this new avenue, whatever it takes, with only a positive attitude, and create nothing but good causes for the relationship? Do we want to exert our wisdom and compassion to understand where our partners are coming from and practice this Buddhism on their behalf to help them change their karma and erase trauma?

The fourth answer to helping ourselves in our relationships is to reflect upon what we want and be well prepared for it. In other words, ask for what we want as well as doing what we have to do to deserve it.

Neetu Vaswani

Photos from tumblr

Jun 19, 2010

Polishing Ourselves to Deserve an Ideal Soul mate Part 1

One of the sharpest growing pains that most human beings have to experience is the process of finding an ideal soul mate. Quite a few have found it so heart-breaking and physically exhausting that they try anything they can think of to overcome such pain. In spite of their repeated attempts, they can do nothing to prevent it lingering throughout their lives.

How can one meet the right person at the right time and mutually fall in love and cherish each other? Not really knowing how to deal with all the complicated factors, criteria, and variables of finding the good match for two unique people, even through endless frustration and torment, and struggling through countless trials & errors, leaves most people still at a loss.





To successfully find an ideal soul mate appears to be a goal that is so arduous and hard to reach it seems that the lucky people are only few out of hundreds of thousands. But however scarce the chance, it is relatively bountiful compared to the probability of encountering and embracing the Lotus Sutra. Let’s listen to what Nichiren Daishonin says about this scarce possibility:

‘Thus, encountering this sutra is as rare as the blossoming of the udumbara flower, which occurs but once in three thousand years, or the one eyed turtle finding a floating piece of sandalwood, which happens only once in innumerable, boundless kalpas.’
__The Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, WND p. 143

Lo and behold! We as practioners of Nicherin Buddhism who chant Nam Myoho Renge kyo, have already hit this ultimate jackpot.!!

Nichiren Daishonin thus continues:

“The eighth volume of the Lotus Sutra of the wonderful Law states that one who accepts and upholds the mere name of the Lotus Sutra will enjoy immeasurable good fortune”

There is no question that being practitioners of the Lotus Sutra, we inherit within our lives the immeasurable , all-encompassing good fortune. As long as we make the proper causes we will be able to manifest all the fortune and enjoy it. Thus, if we apply the strategy of the Lotus Sutra into scrupulously polishing our lives, we are preparing ourselves to claim the fortune that’s due to us. Among all those kinds of fortune of finding our ideal soul mate, despite the slim chances.

In the same letter , Nichiren Daishonin also points out :

‘When the Lotus Sutra was preached and the moon of the theoretical teaching came forth, first the bodhisattvas with their two good eyes gained enlightenment, and then the cross-eyed people of the two vehicles. Next the blind eyes of ordinary people were opened

Thus, with our eyes opened, the door of Buddha wisdom, the wisdom that is inherent in human life was also opened. In this case, what relationship dilemma is there that we cant find a solution for, and what maze-like love affair is there that we cant see the shortest way out of?

Buddhism teaches that all problems and their solutions come from within our own lives.
Therefore. If we have been experiencing difficulties in finding the ideal soul mate , we know that we ourselves are the ultimate sources for the answers on how to succeed in this goal.

The first thing we can do for our lives is to sculpt ourselves.

Our minimum goal is to make ourselves become lovable. The ultimate goal is to polish our lives so that we attract ideal candidates like magnets, for all kinds of premium prospects to entrust us with their hearts.

To reach those goals, before anything else, it is recommended that we launch a daimoku campaign to elevate our life state and let wisdom emerge. According to the principle of oneness of life and its environment, unless we lift ourselves from the level where we are at now, we will always be caught up in the same old troublesome environment and disturbing occurrences, which reflect our life state perfectly.

A snake mates with a snake while a human being marries another human being. A person whose basic life condition is in the World of Tranquility would not normally seek a close relationship with a person whose life state is constantly in the World of Animality or Hunger.

Regarding our ideal soul mate, we all have terms & conditions in mind. If we are humble & conservative, we would at least pursue people with a similar quality level as ourselves. Most of us tend to wish for someone who is or potentially will be loftier than us in character, ability, achievement or finance. As human beings , it is natural that we adore, cherish and admire people with higher qualities.

If we want to pursue someone of better traits as our life long companion, the surest way is to develop ourselves so that we live up to the same or higher criteria than that which we expect from our soul mate. Thus we wont be going after someone, stretching ourselves in vain trying to catch the unreachable. In other words, we had better fix & upgrade our whole being so that we deserve the love of our ideal soulmate. To reach this goal, human revolution is the 1st key.

Are we happy and healthy mentally and physically? Are we positive, confident, active and diligent? What is our strength and what have we achieved in life that deserves others respect, admiration and embracement? Are we putting forth enough effort to bring out our potential in order to advance? Are we changing our shortcomings into good virtues with which we can adorn our lives to make them shine even brighter? Are we the kind of delightful and amiable people that even we ourselves would appreciate and long to be with?

In his writing ‘Letter to the Brothers” Nichiren Daishonin gives a very vivid explanation of the close relationship between husband and wife:

“When a husband is happy, his wife will be fulfilled. If a husband is a thief, his wife will become one too. This is not a matter of this life alone. A husband and wife are as close as a form and shadow, flowers and fruit, or roots and leaves, in every existence of life, insects eat the trees they live in, and fish drink the water in which they swim. If grasses wither, orchids grieve, if pine trees flourish, cypresses rejoice.;
WND p.501



In other words, two people stay together, share their lives or experience their combined karma together but they don’t just get together randomly. They are together based on reasons. Those who have good karma can only share their fortune with people who have the same fortune to enjoy it. Those who have deep karma will only be together with someone whose destiny at least part of it, will be equally dark and heavy. A loving and caring man wont qualify to play the role of a husband in the life of a woman whose karma is to marry a very abusive man. Instead, he belongs to a woman who has the good karma of enjoying the sweet love of her man.

Therefore, if we are wise enough, before setting out in search of Mr. Right or Mrs. Right, we will eradicate bad karma, and create good karma first. In this way, we become persons of better fortune. It will save us from struggling through much unwanted and avoidable suffering.


Neetu Vaswani

Jun 16, 2010

Defy Gravity

I'm through accepting limits cause someone says they're so.....
Everyone deserves the chance to fly! 
And if I'm flying solo at least I'm flying free, tell them how I am Defying Gravity

Our lives are our own. It is not for someone else to dictate to us how we should live. All that awaits those who allow themselves to be continually swayed by what other people say or do is unhappiness. We simply need to have the self-belief to be able to say: "This is right. This is the path I will follow. I am content." Happiness is born from such inner fortitude. Moreover, those who earnestly devote themselves in accord with the Mystic Law cannot daily to realize lives of total fulfillment.  

Faith Into Action~Ikeda


The wonderful Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenowith from the cast of "Wicked"

Jun 14, 2010

11 Questions that lead to Gratitude

Whenever you notice that you’re energy is negative, ask yourself:
“What am I grateful for?”

  1. What made you happy?
  2. What energized you?
  3. What barrier did you overcome?
  4. What changed you?
  5. What triggered your creativity?
  6. What deepened your spirituality?
  7. What kindness did you experience?
  8. What did others do for you?
  9. What inspired you?
  10. What made you feel good?
  11. What difficulty taught you an important lesson?


Gratitude is a mind state that leads to happiness and contentment. We can get caught up in negative emotions, like resentment or anger. But such emotions are destructive and painful for you as well as for others.

Gratitude is a hallmark of humanity; it lifts our lives out of ignorance and isolation. But it is difficult to have gratitude for those around us if they act kindly only out of an expectation of reward or a sense of obligation. Also, when people try to manipulate others by granting them favors, the resulting "debt" of gratitude may easily become a burden. Buddhist wisdom, however, enables us to see our essential interconnectedness beyond superficial social obligations. 

Through our Buddhist practice we expand our capacity to express gratitude and can even transform hostility into a cause for personal development. Thus from his exile to the Izu Peninsula, the Daishonin states: "Moreover, in this lifetime, I have taken faith in the Lotus Sutra and encountered a ruler who will enable me to free myself in my present existence from the sufferings of birth and death. Thus, how can I dwell on this insignificant harm that he had done me and overlook my debt to him?" (WND-1, 44).

As we develop a perspective and capacity to see even hardship in a positive light, we can experience a sense of gratitude for something beyond immediate give-and-take and deepen our humanity. Devadatta failed to prevent Shakyamuni from acting kindly, and the shogunate government could not make the Daishonin bitter. From these examples, we can see that negative circumstances do not have to make us feel ungrateful.

Living Buddhism, May 2000, p.6 
and By Mary Jaksch

Jun 13, 2010

Birthday


Jun 10, 2010