Tag Archive: Buddhism

Life is fleeting so first of all learn about death

Nichiren – The Importance of the Moment of Death

Lotus Blossom in McClelland Art Gallery - contrasts to the large sculptures...

Lotus Blossom in McClelland Art Gallery – contrasts to the large sculptures…

With it’s dramatically sombre title, “The Importance of the Moment of Death“, Nichiren tells us exactly what’s on his mind. The text of the letter shows that it was sent to an unknown person to read to the lay nun Myōhō.  Presumably she was unable to read… Whatever, Nichiren knew several lay nuns called Myoho and this one’s a widow.

We know he despised the “Pure Land” and other teachings and espoused the Lotus Sutra as being the final version of a lifetime’s work and thought by Shakyamuni, who most know as the Buddha.  His outspokenness brought him many enemies in feudal Japan.

He was drawing to the end of his life, being 56, with 4 years to go.  In this piece he states exactly what he thought – and did! The sheer poetry when he talks about the transient nature of life, is like majestic magic.

Looking back, I have been studying the Buddha’s teachings since I was a boy. And I found myself thinking, “The life of a human being is fleeting. The exhaled breath never waits for the inhaled one. Even dew before the wind is hardly a sufficient metaphor. It is the way of the world that whether one is wise or foolish, old or young, one never knows what will happen to one from one moment to the next. Therefore I should first of all learn about death, and then about other things.”

So I gathered and considered the sacred teachings of Shakyamuni’s entire lifetime, as well as the writings and commentaries of scholars and teachers.

Which is what Nichiren really did.  From a young boy he sought the true nature of existence.  And using the metaphors that without white there can be no black, and without life there can be no death, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo was the fruit of his lifetime’s studies.

Nichiren explicitly says (above) that it was from looking at dead people at such an early age that he commenced his life’s work and started studying Buddhism!  What a fantastic thing from such a gloomy beginning!

Encouragement

  • Nichiren encourages the lay nun Myoho that her recently deceased husband is okay.
  • He also says that she will be (and is currently), okay.

The persistent care and trouble that Nichiren takes over ordinary people is noteworthy; he continually encourages, when things are just pottering on as well as when people are at their darkest hour and are troubled.

How does he say these things?  Here?

The key passage for me is here:

Carina Nebula

Carina Nebula

One who upholds the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra transforms the black lacquer of the evil deeds of a lifetime, and of countless kalpas of lifetimes in the past, into the great merit of good deeds. All the more so is this true of one’s good roots from the beginningless past, which all take on a golden hue.

And when your deceased husband chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo at the end on his deathbed, the evil deeds of a lifetime, and from the beginningless past, changed into the seeds of Buddhahood. This is what is meant by the teachings called “earthly desires are enlightenment,” “the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana,” and “attaining Buddhahood in one’s present form.”

And because you are the beloved wife of such a man, the teaching of women attaining Buddhahood without doubt also applies to you.

The image is that of a huge dying star, the Carina Nebula which is likely to cataclysmically pop.  From its remains, new stars will be made, which is the whole point of it all.   Nichiren then goes on to finish saying,

…if this were to be a lie, Shakyamuni, Many Treasures, and all the Buddhas of the ten directions, who are Shakyamuni’s emanations, would be liars, great liars, evildoers, and those who deceive all living beings and cause them to fall into hell (…)  It would not be Nichiren’s lie; rather it would be the lie of all the Buddhas in the ten directions and three existences.

But consider: How could such a thing ever be?

I will explain this matter in detail when we meet.

I would love to had been at that meeting!

And in Another Letter to the Lay Nun Myoho…

ShunnedThree years later in another letter to the nun, Nichiren again encourages the nun.  Her loneliness has increased as she is shunned by her family – all for chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.

In fact in this letter, we get a clue to Nichiren’s realisation that Buddhahood applies to everyone.  He paraphrases Shakyamuni’s disillusionment with the women of his time and at the same time praises the lay nun Myoho, when he says,

I have received your gift of a light summer robe.   You have been left behind by your deceased husband in a woman’s situation, and are separated from your relatives, too. You hear nothing from your one or two daughters, who are not to be relied on. Moreover, you are a woman who is hated by others because of this teaching. You are just like Bodhisattva Never Disparaging.

I had therefore thought that, though women would tarnish their names and throw away their lives on meaningless paths, they were weak at following the path to Buddhahood. But now you, born a woman in the evil world of the latter age, while being reviled, struck, and persecuted by the barbaric inhabitants of this island country who are unaware of these things, have endured and are propagating the Lotus Sutra.

She must have been a tough one.  She chanted the daimoku, probably just like in this YouTube video.

Conclusion

Operating Table

Operating Table

Nichiren does not explicitly say, to my eyes, what “The Importance of the Moment of Death” is.  But his meaning is clear.

The importance of the moment of death is to be chanting The Daimoku of The Lotus Sutra, even if it’s only in your head.

I did this when I had an operation a few years ago, just as I was going under the anaesthetic.  Of course I woke up later (like dah…), but my faith was paramount in my thoughts as I drifted off, though weirdly, I almost forgot…..  Here’s how.

I was completely empty of thoughts, or a bit shocked, as they prepared my hand for the drugs, maybe my face showed trepidation or something to the anaesthetist, but she said “most people try to think happy thoughts or faces at this time” – it was then that I remembered I’d previously promised myself many times to chant as I went under…. so I did… and just in time.

  • I continue.
  • Clifford Worley Quote

    Clifford to Clarence Worley – Click image for Quote

    I have a set drill in my head now that should I feel I’m a goner, to chant, even if it’s just inside my mind.

  • Is this mad?  Not for me.
  • Will I forget again?
  • Who can tell?  But though I quoted this at the top from Nichiren, I’ll repeat it again here…

It is the way of the world that whether one is wise or foolish, old or young, one never knows what will happen to one from one moment to the next.

“So quit fuckin’ around!”

– from True Romance (1993)


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Jeff Crowe: Not In This Funny Old World

It’s a funny old world.

Jeff and myself hardly spoke for over 20 years yet I find I miss his presence on the planet more than I’d have thought possible.

I think that at the root of it all is the unrequited wish by myself that somehow things would be alright between us, that in the end, maybe we’d collaborate again, but of course, there’s no chance of that, certainly in this lifetime.

All that I can say, on this day (is it really two years), is that I hope that wherever your spirit is, it fares well.

In Buddhism, there’s a saying that Buddhas meet time and again, lifetime after lifetime, which I hope (although I believe ) that this is so.

Jeff’s interests, when I knew him and when we lived in each other’s boots, were wide, and included pure physics, astrophysics, metaphysics, much research into the paranormal, out of body experiences and the like.  On top of this were ancient civilisations, their habits, myths and religious activities, plus literature & music (e.g. The Crawling Chaos) of which he had broad eclectic tastes, not always, but more often than not,  keyed to my own.



So what’s to be said, what’s to do?  How I wish you were here.

I know!  Play some music where Jeff and myself had some connection.


 

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666 and Spookhouse

There are no co-incidences in Buddhism…

Dust Mites

Dust Mites

I’ve just been adding a few scheduled postings into the Crawling Chaos website.  For those of a mysterious bent, I initially forgot to give a title to the post.  Now because of the way I’ve got permalinks set up on that site and because of the way that WordPress works with its defaults and because the post was the 666th made, the post got called:

http://crawlingchaos.co.uk/666/666/

Crawling Chaos: Homunculus Equinox

Crawling Chaos: Homunculus Equinox

I’ve left the page-slug at that but slightly renamed the actual posting to 666 – Spookhouse.  This seems strangely appropriate given the early marketing we used around the time of the original Homunculus Equinox release, don’t you think?

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Long Live Wikileaks!

Long Live Wikileaks!

Wikileaks at 213.251.145.96 Wikileaks at 213.251.145.96

These images will take you to the current IP addresses of Wikileaks. It follows on from my earlier help to the organisation here when a bunch of Swiss bankers mysteriously managed to influence “independent” judicial decisions in America.

The fact that I even have to do this is an abomination on the face of our so-called freedoms.

Governments: Unfit for purpose.

The Wikileaks “Cablegate” revelations have ensured that the vested interests of non-elected mad Arabs (UAE, Saudis) insisting that the US should bomb an elected group of mad Arabs (Iran) are plain for all to see.

They’ve also have ensured that a whole raft of dirty tricks are now afoot. Coincidentally (not), as soon as Wikileaks released all the”Cablegate” stuff into a full download, the US Gov could then see what was coming and the dirty tricks have become even deadlier, nastier, and even less freedom-loving. It obviously proves that worse revelations are to come.

The Obamas/Clinton democrats are now joined in unison with the US republicans bellowing for instant executions without trial, Israelis, Arabs, Chinese and a host of other countries in an amazingly eclectic unholy alliance that proves that the whole diplomatic world is a very unhealthy cabal of back-scratching plebian egoists with the safety and reputation of their own peoples far below that of the maintenance of their own expanding clique of free-loading arse-lickers.

The fact that they can get the tiny oligarchy of the DNS servers to pull the website index globally on whistle-blowers says it all about internet freedom and even the Internet’s resilience to nuclear attack (yes – its first purpose was to ensure that all nukes got released and that there would be some vestige of command and control, when invented by DARPA).

The fact that normal journalism is now so economically cow-towed that they are for the most part meekishly submissive to the authoritarian demands of various states and multi-national corporations, also says it all.

The fact that sexual allegations against Wikileaks founder coincided with the start of the leak about helicopter gunships mowing down unarmed civilians in broad daylight and have since been expanded to continue with the recent shut-down of the site following an unprecedented DDoS website attack says it all.

The fact that Wikileaks has upset all sides of all governments says it all and reveals them all to be unfit for purpose.

It makes me wonder if my father should’ve bothered turning up at D-Day or Okinawa. What was he fighting for, or against?

Buddhism, Ikeda, Mandela and Education

Today (coincidentally!), Daisaku Ikeda in his Daily Encouragement address to the world, said;

Monday, December 6th, 2010

—- DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT —-

“It has been more than 20 years since I first had the privilege of meeting with Nelson Mandela, the lionlike champion of human rights. Recently, former President Mandela, who had just turned 92, sent me an inscribed copy of his latest book. …I wish to share these words…as an expression of my deepest respect: ‘To the youth of today I also have a wish to make: ‘Be the script writers of your destiny and feature yourselves as the stars that show the way towards a brighter future–for our country, our continent and the world.’ ‘Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.‘”

What we see with the attacks upon Wikileaks, is an attack on freedom as it attacks the open knowledge base with which people need to be informed and thus educated. Without knowledge we are nothing.

We are like the women of Afghanistan, shackled by their surroundings of a male hierarchy and ignorant of everything except that which they’re told – except in our case, it’s our elected representatives who choose to hide the truth from us. And in the USA, with over 850,000 people now holding “top secret” status, (which is 1.5 times the population of Washington), we see that the weight of state machinery now devoted to hiding the truth, is immense.

What must be remembered, is that in nearly every single prominent Wikileak, the government has been found out to be doing bad things in our name. It’s nothing to do with national security as they claim, and everything to do with protecting those with comfy state jobs and a falsely clean reputation, no matter what they do.

Further Reading:

This is a copy of the main page entry.

Related Posts:

Wikileaks

Long Live Wikileaks!

 

Wikileaks

Wikileaks

The image will take you to the current IP address of Wikileaks.  It follows on from my earlier help to the organisation here when a bunch of Swiss bankers mysteriously managed to influence “independent”  judicial decisions in America.

The fact that I even have to do this is an abomination on the face of our so-called freedoms.

Governments: Unfit for purpose.

The Wikileaks “Cablegate” revelations have ensured that the vested interests of non-elected mad Arabs (UAE, Saudis) insisting that the US should bomb an elected group of mad Arabs (Iran) are plain for all to see.

They’ve also have ensured that a whole raft of dirty tricks are now afoot.  Coincidentally (not), as soon as Wikileaks released all the”Cablegate” stuff into a full download, the US Gov could then see what was coming and the dirty tricks have become even deadlier, nastier, and even less freedom-loving.  It obviously proves that worse revelations are to come.

The Obamas/Clinton democrats are now joined in unison with the US republicans bellowing for instant executions without trial, Israelis, Arabs, Chinese and a host of other countries in an amazingly eclectic unholy alliance  that proves that the whole diplomatic world is a very unhealthy cabal of back-scratching plebeian egoists with the safety and reputation of their own peoples far below that of the maintenance of their own expanding clique of free-loading arse-lickers.

The fact that they can get the tiny oligarchy of the DNS servers to pull the website index globally on whistle-blowers says it all about internet freedom and even the Internet’s resilience to nuclear attack (yes – its first purpose was to ensure that all nukes got released and that there would be some vestige of command and control, when invented by DARPA).

The fact that normal journalism is now so economically cow-towed that they are for the most part meekishly submissive to the authoritarian demands of various states and multi-national corporations, also says it all.

The fact that sexual allegations against Wikileaks founder coincided with the start of the leak about helicopter gunships mowing down unarmed civilians in broad daylight and have since been expanded to continue with the recent shut-down of the site following an unprecedented DDoS website attack says it all.

The fact that Wikileaks has upset all sides of all governments says it all and reveals them all to be unfit for purpose.

It makes me wonder if my father should’ve bothered turning up at D-Day or Okinawa.  What was he fighting for, or against?

Buddhism, Ikeda, Mandela and Education

Today (coincidentally!), Daisaku Ikeda in his Daily Encouragement address to the world, said;

Monday, December 6th, 2010

—- DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT —-

“It has been more than 20 years since I first had the privilege of meeting with Nelson Mandela, the lion-like champion of human rights. Recently, former President Mandela, who had just turned 92, sent me an inscribed copy of his latest book. …I wish to share these words…as an expression of my deepest respect: ‘To the youth of today I also have a wish to make: ‘Be the script writers of your destiny and feature yourselves as the stars that show the way towards a brighter future–for our country, our continent and the world.’ ‘Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.‘”

What we see with the attacks upon Wikileaks, is an attack on freedom as it attacks the open knowledge base with which people need to be informed and thus educated.  Without knowledge we are nothing.

We are like the women of Afghanistan, shackled by their surroundings of a male hierarchy and ignorant of everything except that which they’re told – except in our case, it’s our elected representatives who choose to hide the truth from us.  And in the USA, with over 850,000 people now holding “top secret” status, (which is 1.5 times the population of Washington), we see that the weight of state machinery now devoted to hiding the truth, is immense.

What must be remembered, is that in nearly every single prominent Wikileak, the government has been found out to be doing bad things in our name.  It’s nothing to do with national security as they claim, and everything to do with protecting those with comfy state jobs and a falsely clean reputation, no matter what they do.

Further Reading:

Related Posts:

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