Jul 30, 2010

Perseverance


                                  (source: tumblr)

If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.

Our Buddhist practice takes place in the midst of our busy daily lives. It is all too easy for us to grow lazy and neglect it. Therefore, there is perhaps no more difficult practice when it comes to continuing. If we challenge ourselves to keep practicing even a little each day, before we realize it we have built a path to happiness in the depths of our lives; we have established a solid embankment that will prevent our ever being swept away toward unhappiness.
(Faith Into Action- Daisaku Ikeda)

Jul 27, 2010

On Woman's Beauty

                                          By ~darkfitoplancta

By Daisaku Ikeda
(A Piece of Mirror)

"Women tend to find themselves caught in the trap that makes them eager to fit themselves in the mold of 'the beautiful woman' - a standard set by the social trends of time."

I find a woman's face weathered from numerous storms in life to be beautiful. No matter what her age, just like the beauty grains on wood that deepens with passage of time, beauty that has endured hardships shines with a distinctive splendour.

When one sees a woman for what she really is, free of decoration or cosmetics, I believe her life in all its naturalness, and her true, indestructible beauty emerges. But what is this elusive quality called beauty?


In ancient Chinese literature the so-called beautiful woman looks thin and fragile. Her feet are tiny, because they have been bound, and she looks frail, almost sickly. That seems to have been the preference at a certain time. But later, in the T'ang dynasty, am ideal woman was someone voluptuous and healthy looking. Even today, many cultures consider plump women to be beautiful and young woman are strongly encouraged to eat well. This may sound incredible to women who live in societies where tall and thin models set the trend for what is considered beautiful.

In my country, Japan, too, the definition of beauty seems to vary according to the times. Beautiful women who were portrayed in woodblock prints during the Edo period had long faces, thin eyes and large, protruding chins. But, after World War II, women who were quite buxom were suddenly considered attractive. This makes me question how there can be such different standards in society concerning women's beauty.



Women tend to find themselves caught in a trap that makes them eager to fit themselves in the mold of 'the beautiful woman' - a standard set by the social trends of the time. The purpose of this endless pursuit and to whom it is for, are often forgotten. Perhaps, in the end, the pursuit of beauty is actually for yourself, so that you can feel good when you look at yourself in the mirror. If the purpose of beauty is to be attractive to others, then, I would honestly recommend that this time and energy be spent on polishing and cultivating your inner self: your character, as I think that would be much more effective in serving your purpose.

Whether it be your boyfriend, husband, or friends...why are they attracted to you? I am sure it is not only because of your looks but because of who you are, what they find in you, the beauty of your mind and your personality. No matter how pretty a woman is, if her attraction is only in her physical looks, I do not think the appeal will last, but rather fade away with time. True, lasting attraction to another human being comes from an inner beauty and confidence that shine from within. 

I once heard a story from a woman who had gone to her 20th high school reunion. She made an astonishing discovery. Most of the women who had been beauties in their youth looked rather dull, while many of these who had been plain now shone with an inner beauty. As she talked to these friends from many years back, she realized that some of those who had been beautiful had not had to make such an effort to attract attention, and this rather self-satisfied attitude had stayed with them through the years, whole the more plain-looking women had clearly been working to develop themselves and had become truly attractive as human beings. 

For me a woman's true beauty lies not in her appearance, but deep within her heart. A woman who makes all-out efforts and who exerts herself wholeheartedly in her field is beautiful; she really shines. She looks sharp and focused and full of confidence. This kind of radiance will always outshine for me any external beauty related to what a woman is wearing. In fact those who are aware of their inner beauty do not need to seek borrowed beauty from outside. And, sadly, those who care only for their physical appearance are often spiritually impoverished and trying to conceal that lack with exterior trappings.

We all long for things of beauty- beauty of nature, of appearance, of life, a beautiful family and so on. But these cannot be gained if we are withdrawn and isolated, just looking at ourselves. We must create better relationships with other people and interact with our community and society with an open heart. We must be kind to nature. It is only through this process that we truly grow and cultivate our own beauty.  



A woman who can praise, appreciate and wholeheartedly respect those around her is more beautiful than another who is constantly criticizing others. In the same way, someone who can find joy and excitement of her own in her daily life, or even in nature and the changes of the seasons, has the warmth and brightness that give a sense of peace and comfort to others. Being an expert in discovering beauty makes one beautiful.

The famous sculptor, Rodin, once said that beauty is not found in one woman but in every woman. And he identified the source that lights up this beauty as the 'flame in one's inner life'. The flame of a pure heart, the flame of compassion, the flame of hope, and the flame of courage. These flames are the source of light that enable women to shine with beauty.


                                  by coolkidsgotorehab


It is said: "A woman's beauty shines with age." I find so much wisdom in these words. People normally connect beauty and youth, and cannot link the word 'beautiful woman' with 'older woman'. A young woman in her teens is indeed beautiful, but there is a different kind of beauty that is found in women in their 30s, 50s, even 70s. When we seek beauty inside a person, we will realize that a truly beautiful woman is a person whose inner beauty continues to deepen and be cultivated with time.

Buddhism teaches that your physical appearance is a reflection of your inner self. Hence, a truly beautiful woman knows who she is and what her strengths are and is happy and confident to be true to herself. 

Today, we live in an age where commercialism determines what is 'beautiful', but please remember that you cannot find true beauty in these fashionable trends. Beauty cannot be bought with money either. Many insecure women tend to become confused by such messages sent out by the mass producers of today's society, but I feel that appreciating and realizing your own beauty means establishing a secure and robust inner self that will not be swayed by outer circumstances.

Every woman can be beautiful. It all begins by believing in your own beauty.  




Jul 25, 2010

Hope- the Fuel for Faith


...Hopes set on tomorrow,
Aspiring to the rainbow,
Looking beyond our present woes!
    - Pres. Ikeda, "The Joy of Living"

Hope is the light inside that is gentle and bright by turns. It can spur us forward, buoyant. It can keep our vision for the future dancing out ahead or dwelling softly inside. It is the manna of the soul.

Without hope, every obstacle to our happiness would be perceived as insurmountable.
Hope is the fuel for faith- we hope that embracing faith with all of ourselves, again and again, will lead us to become happy, capable people. Without that spark of hope, faith has little chance to flourish.

And developing a hopeful outlook, in the face of life's hardships, struggles and disappointments, is no small task to set ourselves to each day. We are surrounded by people and events that belie our hopeful intentions. Just snapping on the radio in the morning can immediately drain our hope. Catastrophes abound. One side of the country is burning, the other flooded. Someone trusted their child to a "professional's" care, and now the child is dead. Our political factions bicker and snipe at one another, while revolution erupts in a country where American's political influence proves futile. Sometimes simply waiting at a stoplight and glancing into another person's face will quickly tell you how desperate we are for the clear light if hope.

It is important in the face of all these things to recognize that hope is not the same as wishful thinking. Nor can it cover deep-seated negativity with a thin veneer of positive thinking.  "aspiring to the rainbow," in President Ikeda's words, is not meant to imply that we should be wishing things were somehow different from what they are- or using positive affirmations as a substitute for shouldering the responsibility for our happiness.

Alexander Pope's phrase "Hope springs eternal" suggests this differentiation, by the active verb springs. This word qualified by eternal speaks of inner workings on a profound level. Learning to imbue our lives with hope, then, is engaging in an act of expansion-springing, as it were.




This, by definition, entails pushing the envelope of our very being. It entails moving the known borders out, up and beyond what we can at present conceive of. When we despair of ever changing any one problem or concern, or we become discouraged by what we perceive as a stalemate in our lives, rekindling hope is fundamental to our ability to take further action.

Hope can seem whimsical, intangible, or widly unscientific realm to inhabit. But it is actually a springboard for compelling life-discovery and the hare's breath between surrender to our inner darkness and will to struggle on. Learning to hold fast to hope's expansive vision is the work of faith.

The experiences we accumulate in the process deepen our faith and teach us that remaining hopeful, no matter what the circumstances, is within our power if we "look beyond our present woes," as President Ikeda poem urges, striving to make hope tangible not only for ourselves but for others.

When hope is ignitied from within, we immediately feel ourselves relieved form the weight of worry or sorrow is pressing us. These defining moments need to be recorded, etched in our spirit. Remembering that it is from our hearts, not our minds, that hope springs eternal, we can train our lives a little at a time to retain hope.

The moment hope swells within is a catalyst  for prayer- for action. It is an impetus to study or seek out guidance or encourage someone else. We are sustained by the feeling that despite what we have failed to accomplish todaym we can renew our determination to try again tomorrow. Without hope, tomorrow is a bleak prospect. In fact, without it tomorrow doesn't exist.

Hope is necessary to the human spirit as oxygen and water are essential to our bodies.

World Tribune, 11-28-97 n. 3167 p. 2
Photos by tumblr












Fortune Baby

Check out the tattoo on the small of its back!



(Source: Dietrich Wegner )


Jul 23, 2010

Jul 22, 2010

Que Houxo

Que Houxo is a Japanese artist who does live paintings. His style is quite colorful, he uses fluorescent paints with black lights.

I especially love this piece. Hmmm wonder why??? lol
For more information about him, check out this video and website!





Jul 20, 2010

The Physics of Chanting

By Emily Maroutian

Thank you for your wonderful contribution Emily!


"When I first heard about the SGI practice of chanting, “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo,” I was skeptical and doubtful that it would actually “cause” anything to happen. After all, what could repeating a few words do anyway? However, I was open-minded enough to try it. 

                                  

                            ~reallyreallyreally



I sat on my bed, closed my eyes and began to chant. I chanted for about five minutes and I immediately began to feel my body vibrate from the sound my vocal cords were making. I experienced a tingling sensation in the palm of my hands and the rhythm of the chant made my body rock back and forth. My body’s physical reaction to the chanting frightened me and so I stopped. Does this really work? I thought. But how can it? Then it suddenly hit me! Physics!

Physics’ current theory of everything, String Theory, dictates that the entire universe is made up of tiny vibrating strings. The underlining fundamental make-up of all things, including you and I, are minuscule invisible strings. Much like the strings on a guitar, they vibrate and play notes. Moreover, since sound is a vibration, not only is the entire universe vibrating but it is also playing a symphony.

So how does chanting work? When an opera singer hits a high note, she can break glass from across the room without ever touching anything. In physics, this is called resonance. Her vocal note and the glass’s vibrational note resonate and that causes the shattering effect.


                                     ~farboart


You and I are constantly vibrating through our being. We attract (law of attraction) into our lives whatever it is that harmonizes with our note (law of harmonic vibrations). This is why you can meet someone and feel as though you have known them forever; both of you are harmonizing. They resonate with you and you resonate with them.

We can also repel opposing vibrations (law of repulsion) and keep away situations and people that are vibrating on opposite levels. This is why people who have been in our lives for a long time can suddenly decide they want to move on. Our shift has repelled them because our vibrations don’t harmonize.

If this is the case, then let them go and have faith that it’s all for the best. If you are shifting positively and people are dropping out of your life, let them go. You can’t hold back growth and transformation by holding onto someone who “needs” to leave. Holding on might require that you have to shift into a level that is unhealthy or negative. It may take time, but they will return once they can harmonize with you once again.

When we chant something as powerful and beneficial as “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo,” we shift something within our being, which then alters what we attract into our lives. We alter the level in which we are vibrating on and that attracts a different level of people, things and situations.

In the same way, when we are depressed and carrying around self-pity, we vibrate on a level that attracts things that keep us feeling depressed. It also attracts more reasons, situations and issues that make us continue to pity ourselves. It is the Karma that we create and recreate over and over again.

If we were to chant, “I hate my life.” repeatedly, we would attract and harmonize with people and situations that reinforce that statement. We also reinforce it with our thoughts, emotions and our whole being.

Our environment will support our being regardless of how positive or negative we are. So we must not only chant “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo,” but we must become it as well. Our being must vibrate on the level of “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.” Our lives must align with it in order for its true power to be unleashed in our lives and our environment.

Who we are is the biggest cause in our lives. Anyone at anytime can change their note. It begins with “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.” When we shift, our environment shifts. Every member of SGI knows this through experience, now there is a physical explanation of how it works.

Resonance, String Theory and the laws of attraction and harmony are what come into play when we devote ourselves to the mystical law of cause and effect through sound and vibration. Nichiren understood this hundreds of years before science discovered it. Now I understand it as well. Through this understanding, we can have faith that when we chant we are aligning ourselves with the highest good in the universe.

My experience with chanting was very positive and life changing. Even though I chanted for only about five minutes, it only took a matter of four hours for my environment to respond to my request. After that experience, I began chanting everyday and continued to receive the same level of response from my environment. 

                                 

                                         ~muhoho-seijin



We chant because it begins with our words and moves through our thoughts, feelings, actions and being. Then it resonates in our environment and then the world. But it begins within us. The more we gather and the more we chant, the more energy we feed into our goal of a peaceful loving world. So never forget fellow Buddhas that the universe is playing a beautiful symphony in which you and I are notes. And when we all gather, we make beautiful music together."

The Shakabuku Rock

By Sally Marks

Thanks Sally for contributing this story!

I read an uplifting story about how a sickly Korean woman overcame illness by helping others. Her story gave me the inspiration to use a similar tactic in my own life. 
 
The woman began practicing Buddhism and was encouraged to tell other about the philosophy, and to chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. She gathered several pebbles and placed them in her pockets. Every time she told someone about Buddhism, she removed one stone. In three months time all her stones were gone, and so was her debilitating illness. 


The word for introducing others to this particular sect of Buddhism is shakabuku. 

Proselytizing can be an uncomfortable practice – even when an individual has experienced absolute proof that chanting works. With that in mind, I decided to experiment with a whimsical icebreaker at my next Buddhist meeting. 

                                   By Nahualli

I purchased a number of colorful glass stones and placed them in a large, glass vase. I passed the vase around and told the members to take a few stones. They could take one, two, or a handful, but they would be using the stones at a later date. Everyone participated. Some folks carefully selected a single stone. Others took a handful. After everyone had their rocks I told them about the story of the Korean woman. I asked each person to carry their rocks around to remind them of the importance of telling others about their Buddhist practice. 
  
A week later, I was at a different meeting, and since I still had plenty of stones, I did the same icebreaker. One of the men, a fellow named Rich, had been at my previous meeting. He told the group that when he came home from the first meeting, he told his wife, Kathy, that he had a shakabuku rock. He was going to carry the stone with him to remind him to share Buddhism with others. Unfortunately, Rich had discovered that he never had the opportunity to have a casual conversation with anyone at work. He also knew religious discussions at work were a taboo subject.  
  
However, the following day, a coworker discovered Rich lived close to his house and asked if they could carpool to work. Rich gave the young man a ride and they wound up discussing philosophy. This unlikely event made it possible for Rich to tell the fellow about Buddhism. Rich told the folks at the meeting that the stone was a good reminder to take the time to share Buddhism with others - especially those who are suffering. 
  
While I believe in the importance of spreading Buddhism, I thought that the stones don’t need to be limited to only religious introductions – or shakabuku. I thought to myself that I could carry stones to remind myself to practice other good deeds as well. I try to be a thoughtful person, but it never hurts to have a little physical reminder. Since I have a habit of sticking my hands in my pockets anyway, I can use this simple act as an opportunity to nudge me in a kinder, gentler direction. The act can be as simple as a smile to a stranger, opening the door for someone, or simply a kind word. 
  
I’m using my shakabuku rocks to create a shift in my thinking. Rather than making a mountain out of mole hill when things do not go my way, my determination is to take a mole hill of kindness and turn it into a mountain – one beautiful, glass stone at a time. 

For more by Sally Marks, pick up
Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within

Jul 19, 2010

Chanting to become a Woman of Unlimited Self-esteem

Danny Nagashima

                                  comicallyvintage.tumblr.com

Chanting to become a woman of unlimited self-esteem - is the best medicine. When Amy chanted that way, everything in her life changed.

You can analyze your situation all you want . . . you have to get to the root of why you don't believe in the greatness of our own life. You have to grab the 'doubt of your greatness' by the root, and yank it out of your life. You must chant to awaken to your greatness. Chant to appreciate and value your own life. The answer is probably simple. But, since we over-analyze our situation, it gets complicated and the solution seems farther away. When Amy followed Danny's guidance, it was unbelievable what she felt inside. Your mission as a Buddhist is to be happy – not master suffering. We have the negative part of us, and the positive part of us. There's a part of us that believes we can do it, and then the negative part says, 'Who are you kidding?'

You have to fight to not give into your negativity. This is not just about your being a writer, a doctor, a secretary, or whatever your profession maybe. It is about you becoming the woman you always wanted to become - a woman who really values your life. This is an amazing opportunity. THE OBSTACLES YOU FACE ARE THE ANSWER TO YOUR PRAYERS. Those feelings of self-doubt, chase those feelings away -- 'I'm just a scam artist, doctor, lawyer, etc., a failure. – Those feelings you have to face and then chase them away. How you feel about yourself -- that feeling of self-loathing, of not being good enough, of not answering the phone, because it may be someone you are accountable to professionally - those are feelings you have to face and then chase them away.

                                   tumblr

Your talent is not the question. It's how you feel about yourself. This is karma. You need to value your own life, appreciate your own life . This has nothing to do with someone validating you. Amy said she followed her heart. She followed her Buddhahood and the effect from that, the benefit from that was MASSIVE. You have to follow your heart and truly treasure your life. When you sit in front of the Gohonzon, chant to have the most reverence for your life. The Gohonzon is the embodiment of your enlightened life. Your life deserves that kind of reverence. When Nichiren Daishonin inscribed the Dai-Gohonzon, he was chanting Daimoku already (out of the greatness of his own wisdom he inscribed the Dai-Gohonzon for all humanity) so everyone could relieve their own suffering.

IF YOU CAN CHANT FOR 2-WEEKS TO REALLY BE A WOMAN OF UNLIMITED SELF-ESTEEM, AND TO REALLY TRULY APPRECIATE YOUR LIFE, YOUR FLAWS, YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS, YOUR DEFEATS, YOUR LOSSES, YOUR VICTORIES, WHAT YOU HAVE CREATED, APPRECIATE YOUR TALENT - FOR 2 WEEKS—THEN EVERYTHING WILL CHANGE.

FORGET about all the past suffering in your life. That will just make you feel more impotent. Put it away. From now on, really chant about being a woman of unlimited self-esteem. Really appreciate everything from your life. – All the things about you, that make you incredibly unique and wonderful. And, remember that all the negative feelings – the heartaches—you will be able to use to inspire and help others. This is the suffering you need to share your experience and help others change. Focus on really, awakening your greatness. This is the opportunity you needed to go through, so that you can become outrageously successful. So you can fulfill your dreams. If you focus on this – really valuing your life now, then everything will fall into place. And, in a much bigger way—self worth and self-respect will emerge . And it is something no one can give you. The universe is showing you what you need to tackle.

When you first chant this way, a lot of negativity may come out of your life. Awful feelings may surface. Let it pass through you, like the flu. Transform the darkness. See the enlightened side of your fear. We always bring into our lives what matches our life condition, so don't fear it. Chant to feel incredible joy about your worth. When you get yourself to a place where you can absolutely see the miracle of your own life, the greatness of your own life, everything in your life will completely transform. We have to believe in our own Buddha nature. When we face the Gohonzon, we should say, 'I am going to praise my own wonderful life.'

It is important to awaken to our own greatness. Now is the time for you to start over. Your life is the Gohonzon! When you pray to a deity, your prayers are passive. Our lives are the Mystic Law. You must appreciate and value your own life. The Gohonzon is not outside of you. When you receive a benefit, it was you who created it. This is active prayer. You must awaken to your greatness. Believe in the greatness, in the magnificence of your own life. The Gohonzon is the manifestation of Nichiren Daishonin's enlightenment. Just as a beautiful piece of art elicits a response, or a great book touches your life in a certain way, we must elicit the Buddha nature from our own lives. It is right there. The Gohonzon is the perfect vehicle to bring out our greatest potential.

So, when you display your Buddhahood, bring out that strength, joy, that vibrant life condition, then you take that to the world and change the environment. We're not necessarily chanting for the house, the car, and the relationship . . . but we are chanting to elevate our life condition to attract that happiness . The results we see in our own lives are a reflection of our life condition. Every day, chant to manifest your Buddha nature consistently. Chant to rise above your basic tendency (I think mine is anger).

Chant with the expectation 'I WILL MANIFEST MY BUDDHAHOOD!' And that's what will arise. I create my own fortune. I am a Buddha, and I will manifest it everyday. I have to believe I deserve boundless happiness. The Buddha is who I really am. Every day I must manifest my Buddhahood and rise above the belief that I am a mere common mortal who does not deserve fortune in her life. Don't negate your life when you are in front of the Gohonzon. Don't beg, scream and don't berate the Gohonzon or your own life. The Gohonzon is the tool we need to bring out our Buddhahood. My life is the Gohonzon . Don't slander your life. I will fulfill every one of my dreams, for ME. We already possess something incredible – our Buddha nature, the Gohonzon. But sometimes we don't believe it.

But, we have everything we need to get us out of poverty, to transform our lives. But if I don't believe that the billion dollars (figure of speech for GREAT benefit) is mine, I won't be able to enjoy it. It is time to CASH THE CHEQUE. TRUST THAT THE GOHONZON IS THE ABSOLUTE MEANS FOR YOU TO TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE. TRUST IS THE KEY WORD. CHANT WITH THE EXPECTATION THAT EVERY ONE OF YOUR WILDEST DREAMS WILL BE FULFILLED BEYOND YOUR WILDEST IMAGINATION. CHANT TO BELIEVE IN YOUR BUDDHAHOOD. TRUST IN THE GREATNESS OF YOUR LIFE.

In 'On Attaining Buddhahood' Nichiren Daishonin makes the primary point – to free ourselves from the sufferings of birth and death we have endured in lifetime after lifetime and to attain absolute happiness we must awaken to the mystic truth that has always been within our lives – that truth is Nam-Myoho-Renge- Kyo. That truth is that I am a BUDDHA.

Amy got guidance to chant for the right man to come into her life for her happiness. It seemed too easy, she said. She questioned the guidance ''what if he is a midget? What if he is poor?'' But that day she met her husband. Trust the power of your Daimoku. Your life will be HUGE! Put your life first. Trust that ''billion-dollar check''(you are afraid to cash) does exist. Trust that you have EVERYTHING you need for your happiness – it is in the Gohonzon – it is in your life!

When you look at the Gohonzon know that you have exactly what you need to fulfill every prayer and become wildly, extraordinary happy!




Positive Discussion Points on Becoming Women of Unlimited Self Esteem

Ø Believe we can do it
Ø Fight to not give into negativity
Ø Become the woman you want to be
Ø Value your life
Ø Appreciate your life including your flaws
Ø Treasure your life
Ø Have reverence for your life
Ø Forget about the past sufferings in your life
Ø Believe that you are incredibly unique and wonderful
Ø Become outrageously successful at fulfilling your dreams
Ø Praise your own wonderful life
Ø Create your own benefit in your life
Ø Bring out our strength, joy and vibrant-life condition
Ø Believe in your own Buddha nature
Ø Realize that your life is the Gohonzon
Ø Manifest your extraordinary side
Ø Fulfill all of your dreams
Ø You have everything you need to transform your life

Negative discussion points on becoming Women of Unlimited self-esteem

Ø Not believing in our greatness
Ø Who are we kidding - we can't do it
Ø Feelings of self doubt
Ø Believing we are not good enough
Ø Self loathing
Ø Needing the validation of others
Ø I am a mere mortal who does not deserve fortune in my life
Ø Begging to, screaming to, or berating the Gohonzon/our own life
Ø I can't do it
Ø Holding on to past sufferings in our lives

Prayers to Enhance Becoming Women of Unlimited Self Esteem
Ø Chant to awaken to my greatness, my magnificence
Ø Chant to appreciate the value of my life
Ø Chant to be happy
Ø Chant to appreciate my talent
Ø Chant to feel incredible joy about my worth
Ø Chant to manifest my Buddha nature consistently
Ø Chant to rise about my basic negative tendency
Ø Chant to forget about the past garbage in my life
Ø Believe in my own Buddha nature
Ø Realize that my life is the Gohonzon
Ø Trust that the Gohonzon is the means to transform my life


Chant to become a woman of unlimited self-esteem

Every time you decide to put Love first it affects the energy of everyone and everything in your stratosphere. Hold a vision of Love with one-pointed concentration, and all that you've feared and resisted will change before you.

Daimoku—A “Lion’s Roar” of Happiness and Victory

(President Ikeda's Editorial 
 Translated from the November 2007 issue of the Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai monthly study journal)



Singing
a joyous song of life
together,
let us vibrantly chant
invigorating daimoku.

The daimoku of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo serves as the hope-filled driving force for all people to realize their deepest wish of making the most of each and every day and leading a worthwhile and victorious life while brimming with the joy of being alive.
The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings states: “Great joy [is what] one experiences when one understands for the first time that one’s mind from the very beginning has been the Buddha. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the greatest of all joys” (OTT, 211–12).

The resonant chanting of daimoku is a supreme paean to human dignity and life, proclaiming that we ourselves are entities of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. It is an invincible roar that fills our being with the immeasurable and unlimited power of the Buddha and the Law.

My mentor Josei Toda, who awakened to the essence of the Mystic Law during his imprisonment at the hands of the Japanese militarist authorities, gave the following guidance: “You must have this conviction: ‘I chanted with all my heart this morning. I’m going to do so again tonight. And I can chant right now. Therefore, whatever happens, I know everything will be all right.’ Chanting wholeheartedly through to the very end is the quintessential way to achieve the best possible outcome in all things.”

Daimoku
is an acclamation
of victory,
so chant confidently,
with the roar of a lion.

According to Indian philosopher Dr. Lokesh Chandra, with whom I have conducted a dialogue, Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948) included Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in the prayers of his ashram. Gandhi, he said, recognized daimoku as the ultimate expression of the cosmic power that resides within each of us and a manifestation of life resonating with the ultimate rhythm of the universe.

In a letter to Gandhi, the French author Romain Rolland (1866–1944) wrote: “True prayer is [that] which, like yours, is offered in the midst of action.” Prayer leads to action. Prayer is the engine.

When Mr. Toda’s businesses were facing their direst crisis, I chanted resolutely to support my mentor and to build a new Soka Gakkai. I chanted and took action; took action and chanted. I prayed and exerted myself with all my being to transform the situation. There is no weapon more powerful than daimoku.

As Mr. Toda’s disciple, I strove all out in the spirit that the Daishonin describes as “diligent practice, exhausting the pains and trials of millions of kalpas in a single moment of life” (cf. OTT, 214). Through all these efforts, I was finally able to present my mentor with the accomplishment of total victory.

The prayers
of our great Soka women
are utterly fearless—
may they thoroughly
enjoy each day.



“Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is like the roar of a lion. What sickness can therefore be an obstacle?” (WND-1, 412), writes the Daishonin. Whenever you face an obstacle or challenge in life, vigorously set to chanting daimoku until it has been surmounted. Daimoku is a lion’s roar. It is the fundamental means for vanquishing all devilish functions and eradicating all evil.



Speaking of the tremendous power of the Mystic Law to transform poison into medicine, Mr. Toda declared: “We are the Bodhisattvas of the Earth and the followers of the Daishonin. We were born into this world as people who undergo various sufferings in order to demonstrate just how happy we can become through the power of the Mystic Law. Faith means leading a wonderful and meaningful life.”

In the history of the Soka Gakkai, in particular, we must never forget how the power of the earnest daimoku of our women’s and young women’s division members has enabled us to overcome innumerable trials and tribulations.

Nichiren Daishonin writes: “But no matter how others may chant Nam-myoho- renge-kyo, if they are persons who show enmity toward Nichiren, then without fail they will fall into the hell of incessant suffering. And then, after countless kalpas have passed, they will become Nichiren’s disciples and will succeed in attaining Buddhahood” (WND-2, 457). This applies equally to those who seek to harm the Soka Gakkai, which practices in the true lineage of the Daishonin.

Speaking to a pioneering member practicing alone in the early days of the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai (lit. Value-creating Education Society; forerunner of the Soka Gakkai), founding president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi said: “When the Daishonin first chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, he was completely alone. The fact that you are the only one in your community to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo right now means that—in accord with the principle of bodhisattvas emerging from the earth—a second, and a third, and then a hundred others and more, all sharing the mission for kosen-rufu, will eventually appear.” Here we find the eternal formula for increasing our ranks of capable people in the realm of faith.

In Moscow 33 years ago (in 1974), at the height of the Cold War, I said to those accompanying me: “Let’s imbue the rich earth of Mother Russia with our daimoku. Someday, a steady stream of bodhisattvas will emerge from the earth here, too.” And that is exactly what has happened, and will continue to happen into the future.

Dr. Lou Marinoff, founding president of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association (APPA), with whom I have engaged in dialogue, said he was struck by the powerful sound of SGI members chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, a practice that, he noted, was open to all people and served as a means for attuning one’s life with the dynamic rhythm of the universe.

Those who base their lives on chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo are philosophers possessing complete inner freedom, shining with a wisdom and vitality that are one with the universe and creating value in the promotion of peace and justice.
Mahatma Gandhi declared: “Prayer from the heart can achieve what nothing else can in the world.”

With optimistic confidence,
chant powerful daimoku
and win again today.


Jul 16, 2010

Josho State of Mind- (Empire State of Mind remix by SGI-New York)

SGI-New York - "Josho State of Mind" (Empire State of Mind remix) 

Josho is a Japanese term meaning "Ever Victorious"


 

 

Jul 13, 2010

Gold




Animation by LotusFlower

Jul 10, 2010

East Territory's Rock the Era

Somewhere Over The Rainbow





Rock the Era - Hip Hop

Rock the Era 2010

In commemoration of 80 years since the founding of the SGI (Soka Gakkai International) and 50 years since SGI President Ikeda first arrived to America, the youth of America will be hosting a monumental celebration filled with performances and everlasting memories. These videos series document the efforts of SGI members and various supporting groups working towards this celebration that will take place in 2010. Everyone is welcome to participate in this event. Practices are held twice a month at various locations. Please contact SGI-USA. Visit www.sgi-usa.org for phone numbers and locations. 




Jul 9, 2010

Danny Rose's Philosophy on Life

Danny Rose: You know what my philosophy of life is? 

That it's important to have some laughs, but you gotta suffer a little too, because otherwise you miss the whole point to life.

Acceptance, Forgiveness and Love 

From Woody Allen's Film Broadway Danny Rose




Jul 8, 2010

Actual Proof by Herbie Hancock







Herbie Hancock and Nichiren Buddhism
His Story 


Well, back in 1972, my band was playing music that required a very intuitive sense. It was an avant-garde approach to playing jazz. So it was very much in the moment and spontaneous. We had structure, but it was a very loose structure. So we went though a period when we were vegetarians because we would keep trying to find things that would help the flow of the music. I was very open at that time. 
One night on a certain tour in mid-1972 we played a club in Seattle, Washington. It was a Friday night and the club was packed. We were all exhausted because we had only gotten a couple hours of sleep because we had been hanging out all night before. But we could feel the energy in the air—these people were really into this far out kind of music. They were ready for it. I asked the band to play "Toys," a song that I’d never called to play, which starts with a bass solo—acoustic bass, which is the softest instrument in the band by its very nature. Un-amplified bass. 

So the bassist Buster Williams starts playing this introduction. And what came out of him was something I’d never heard before. And not only had I not heard it from him, I’d never heard it from anybody. It was just pure beauty and ideas and—it was magical. Magical. And people were freaking out, it was so incredible what he was playing.


I let him play for a long time, maybe 10, 15 minutes. He just came up with idea after idea, so full of inspiration. And then I could feel myself waking up just before we really came in with the melody for the song. And I could tell that the whole band woke up, and there was some energy that was generating from Buster. We played the set and it was like magic. When we finished, many people ran up to the front of the stage and reached up their hands to shake ours. Some of them were crying they were so moved by the music. The music was very spiritual, too.


I knew that Buster was the catalyst for all of this, so I took him into the musicians’ room, and I said, “Hey, Buster, I heard you were into some new philosophy or something and if it can make you play bass like that, I want to know what it is.”

And then all his eyes lit up and he said, “I’ve been chanting for a way to tell you about this.” And I said, “What? Chanting what? What is this?” And now I know that it was the only way he could have reached me. That would be the only way I would have listened to what he had to say. If he had just come up and told me about it beforehand, I would have probably put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Hey, man, that’s great. You know, whatever works for you keep doing it,” which is a way of putting up a shield. But it came through the music, which was the only way to kind of reach my heart at the time, because that’s what my focus was then.

So, that was when he first told me about Buddhism and about chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo , which is the primary thing we do. It's the sound of the essence of everything. So, that was the beginning.

Then what happened?
I asked him some questions. I’d ask him one question, but his answers answered five or six questions that I already had in my head. Even though I had read some books on Sufism and Eastern thought, many of those things that I had read just brought up more questions than they did answers. This was the first time I was hearing something that was giving me simple answers to questions that answered more than one thing that I had in my mind. It all seemed to kind of tie together and work in such a beautiful way.

I mean, having been brought up in the Christian tradition, I had my own spin on Christianity. And most people that I knew that were Christians had their own spin on it. But what he was telling me sounded like my own personal take on religion and the way to look at things. And I said, "This sounds like what I always believed in anyway. I thought I was the only one." He said, “No, there are, you know, close to 20 million people that believe the same thing.”

I was kind of startled when he talked about Nam-myoho-renge-kyo being the law of the universe. The idea of cause and effect, which is what Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is about, made sense to me. I’m a guy that’s always been attracted to science—and cause and effect is what science is about. But I said, "I can’t just believe that chanting the sound is going to do something, so I don’t see how it could work for me."
He said, “Oh, you don’t have to believe it. It’s a law. So, if you just do it, it’ll--you’ll see the effect in your life. It doesn’t depend on you having to believe it first.” 

READ MORE

Jul 4, 2010

Ichinen

David Bloomfield discusses the meaning of this vital concept
from UKE January 1998 

                                                      by Bonita

We sometimes hear of people accomplishing superhuman feats in the face of extreme adversity: a mother lifting the impossible weight of a truck that threatens to crush her offspring; a crippled dancer who, advised by medical experts that she will never walk again, goes on to prove that she can; a prisoner of war who, against all the odds, survives his torturous ordeals to escape. These people have incredible determination. In Buddhist terms, the actions of these people are a manifestation of their strong ichinen.


The renowned Buddhist scholar and priest T'ien-t'ai (538-97) used this term in his analysis of life, based on the Lotus Sutra. His theory, known as ichinen sanzen, outlines the enormous scope of expression which life is able to manifest from moment to moment. Ichinen (one mind or life-moment) refers to the entity of life, and sanzen (three thousand) to the various aspects that this entity expresses. Together they mean the totality of life in a single moment.

What we do, what we think and the way we behave, are all manifestations of our ichinen. it is the motivating force which permeates every aspect of our existence, even beyond our conscious thoughts. Most importantly, this theory signifies that all people have the potential to reveal Buddhahood.

By inscribing the Gohonzon, Nichiren Daishonin established the means whereby anyone can actually realize Buddhahood in their daily lives. Through the fusion of our lives with the Gohonzon in our daily practice, and our determination to realize our goals, we are able to achieve what we had previously thought unachievable. Like the engines and rudder of a powerful ship on the high seas, our strong ichinen faultlessly guides us to our destination. If our ichinen is weak however, we drift aimlessly, and inevitably succumb to the raging torrents of our own negativity.

Second Soka Gakkai President, Josei Toda, explained that ichinen has six meanings.
Firstly, he said, ichinen is revealed in thoughts, appearance and behaviour, thus encompassing the oneness of body and mind (shiki shin funi).

Secondly, ichinen comprises both positive and negative tendencies. Our lives can be directed towards happiness and fulfillment, or suffering and destruction. Take, for example, the continuing conflict over Northern Ireland. A positive approach to its resolution is taken by those prepared to enter into dialogue based on respect, with the objective of securing lasting peace through peaceful means. On the other hand, terrorists, who are prepared to destroy lives, including perhaps even their own, reveal their ichinen in a negative way. However, with a change of heart, even such negative intentions can be instantly transformed and start to create value. Equally, we can devote ourselves to creating value and helping others, only to give in to our negativity at the crucial moment when our positive intentions are undermined.

Thirdly, our ichinen expresses the oneness of self and environment (esho funi). Whatever our life-state, it pervades the entire universe and affects everything:
…"if the minds of the people are impure, their land is also impure, but if their minds are pure, so is their land. There are not two lands, pure or impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds" (MW-1, p. 4).

Fourthly, the simultaneity of cause and effect (inga guji) is contained within our ichinen. In a single moment our ichinen is revealed in each cause we make (through thought, word and deed) the effect being created simultaneously, simply waiting for the right circumstances to appear. The moment our ichinen changes, our situation changes, even though it may not be apparent immediately. The act of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon contains both cause, faith in the Gohonzon, and effect, revealing our Buddhahood.

The above four meanings of ichinen deal with life's reality at each moment from a general point of view. Whether people practise Buddhism or not, their ichinen encompasses every aspect of their existence. The fifth and sixth meanings deal specifically with those who practise to the Gohonzon. In theory everyone possesses Buddhahood but in reality, few can actually reveal it unless they chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with faith in the Gohonzon.
This is the fifth meaning of ichinen, as outlined by Josei Toda. Through faith in the Gohonzon, we can activate our Buddha nature and the power of the Law, and live, moment by moment, in the highest possible life condition.

Finally, ichinen encompasses the Oneness of the Person and the Law, which is inscribed in the centre of the Gohonzon as 'Nam-myoho-renge-kyo Nichiren'. The Gohonzon embodies ichinen sanzen as a concrete reality. We reveal Buddhahood through the fusion of our enlightened life with the Law of the universe.

"Even our eternal journey through time is included in this single moment of life. An individual's daimoku and determination in faith at this moment form causes that will later become manifest, based on the principle of the simultaneity of cause and effect. For this reason, your ichinen at this very moment is the most important issue in the Daishonin's Buddhism". (Daisaku Ikeda, Daily Guidance, Vol. 3, p. 235).

Jul 2, 2010

Human Dignity

How does Buddhism understand human dignity? 
From where does it spring? 
What supports and sustains it?

The starting point for Buddhism is the value and sanctity of life. For example, in one letter to a follower, Nichiren states that the value of a single day of life exceeds all other treasures. Buddhism further views each individual life as a manifestation of a universal life force.

From the Buddhist perspective, given the mind-boggling number of life-forms that fill the universe, human life is rare privilege with special responsibilities. As Nichiren, referring to a passage from the Nirvana Sutra, describes this: "It is rare to be born a human being. The number of those endowed with human life is as small as the amount of earth one can place on a fingernail."

What makes human life unique is the scale of our choice, the degree to which we are free to choose to act for good or evil, to help or to harm.
A recent book on the challenges of aging introduces the story of a young woman, married and with young children, who found herself suddenly in the position of having to care for her mother-in-law, bedridden following a stroke. At first the young woman could not understand why this had happened to her, why her already demanding life should be further burdened in this way. Through her Buddhist practice she was able to realize that she could, depending on how she chose to approach this situation, make of it an opportunity to create value. She was able to transform her initial feelings of resentment toward the older woman into a sense of appreciation.

Ultimately, the Buddhist understanding of human dignity is rooted in the idea that we are able to choose the path of self-perfection. We can, in other words, consistently make those difficult choices for creativity, growth and development. Buddhahood, or enlightenment, is how this state of self-perfection--a condition of fully developed courage, wisdom and compassion--is described. The idea that all people--all life, in fact--have this potential is expressed by the concept, stressed particularly in the Mahayana tradition, that all living beings possess Buddha nature.

In concrete, practical terms, this comes down to the idea that everyone has a mission--a unique role that only she or he can play, a unique perspective to offer, a unique contribution to make. As SGI President Daisaku Ikeda recently wrote in a book for high school students, "Everyone has a mission. The universe does nothing without purpose. The fact that we exist means that we have purpose."

The older woman in the story likewise sought to find a way to use her severely limited capacities to contribute to the well-being of the household. Since she still had use of her hands, she took up knitting--partly as a form of therapy, partly to make useful things for the family. She also enjoyed keeping watch over the home when the others were away.
From the Buddhist perspective, we always have the option of choosing to create value from even the most difficult situation. Through such choices we can fulfill our unique purpose and mission in life, and in this way give fullest expression to the inherent treasure of our human dignity. There is perhaps no more solid foundation for human rights than a general awakening to the human dignity that resides in every one of us.

(July 2000 SGI Quarterly)