Tag Archive: common people

The Hell of Incessant Suffering and the Land of Tranquil Light

The Hell of Incessant Suffering and the Land of Tranquil Light

Note: This was originally published here on Sunday, September 24th, 2006 at 4:28 pm and filed under Buddhism..  The link has been dead for quite some time, looks unlikely to re-appear,  so I’m showing the words here as they are so wonderful because they deserve to be preserved.  The material is straight from Google’s cache as it isn’t in the Wayback Machine.  Use the contact page if you think this is unreasonable.

Through enlightenment we escape the confines of the physical and realise the unlimited potential of the human spirit. Just as the sun that dries the newly hatched butterfly’s wings, the compassion of the Lotus Sutra allows us all to soar from our pitiful cocoons and look out over the landscape of infinite possibility.

The potential for enlightenment exists within all human beings, just as an ungainly chick has the potential to become a great eagle, the single roe egg to become a great salmon, or the young cheetah to become faster even than antelope. Why then, do human beings endowed with the capacity for intelligence and great understanding constantly fail to fulfil their potential?

Physical confinement refers not only to tangible barriers, like walls, or borders, but also by those barriers caused by our lesser consciousnesses. Our lesser consciousnesses often serve to withhold our true potential, making us feel trapped within the lower life states of hell, hunger, animality and anger. We constantly fall into the three evil paths of greed anger and foolishness, and we commit the ten evil acts – all serving only to deepen our suffering and further delude us from our most true and pure nature.

Lotus Flower

Lotus Flower

This one moment of insight transformed Mr Toda’s life, and catalysed the growth of the SGI in post war Japan, and subsequently revitalised the cause for Kosen Rufu throughout the world.

It surprises me not in the least that given such a supreme teaching, and aware of his inability to directly influence the affairs of the world outside his cell, that the causes inherent in Mr Toda’s experiencing the Lotus Sutra ultimately led to such profound effects upon so many people today.

Trapped in a prison cell one is all too aware of his physical confinement. Given such an environment, and removed from every day affairs, even the ignorant would have much time to ponder. Many great people of compassion have suffered this kind of confinement – not just such great names as Mandela and Terry Waite, but the countless common people who have found their lives curtailed by cruel regimes bent on every kind of domination.

A prison cell is a relative confinement. The insects that must have occupied Josei Toda’s prison cell were most likely unaware of the rest of the prison, far less so the existence of the country of Japan, it’s people’s anguish, or the needless suffering being delivered upon countless millions of people due to the war. Those insects surely went about their daily business, oblivious to these facts. Spiders would spin their webs, and flies, being such, would daily find themselves trapped therein.

Josei Toda although knowing his mentor and friend Tsunesaburo Makiguchi was also in prison, must have felt a terrible sense of isolation from the world outside, and finally upon learning of Makiguchi’s death a year after his last brief meeting with him, he wept in his devastation all night. For a time he must have felt as isolated as a single ant in the middle of a great desert.

The hell of incessant suffering is indeed realised in this life due to our ignorance of our true nature and the way of the Lotus Sutra. Josei Toda’s prison cell provided him with the opportunity of transcending his own difficulties, realising within himself the Buddha nature which in turn blessed him with the vision that this world and all life within has the potential for buddhahood – that the potential existed for the land of tranquil light to be experienced in this life.

The relative confinement of the prison cell is no different from our confinement upon this planet. To live on a world the size of a grain of sand, human beings would be too small to see even under a powerful microscope. Imagine now that this grain of sand upon which billions of human beings depend may be more than 16000 miles from the nearest grain of sand which may also be inhabited by sentient life. It is impossible for common people to comprehend our isolation.

Surely then, humanity is more physically alone within the vast reaches of the universe than Josei Toda was within his prison cell. Yet, like the flies in Mr Toda’s cell, we are ignorant of our physical isolation and the darkness in our hearts. Why does humanity, more isolated in the universe as was Josei is his cell, not see it’s salvation in the compassion and supreme law of the Lotus Sutra? It is not unheard of for a person to exhibit great wisdom. People [pluraly] on the other hand, have never been recorded with the possession of a collective wisdom to match.

It is because people are amused by meaningless trinkets, misled by the poisonous machinations of our rulers, deluded by jealous and vengeful doctrines, and hungry for power that humanity has successfully delivered itself into a time where the great mystic forces have delivered the hell of incessant suffering before our very eyes.

Nichiren stated “those who stay long in privies forget how foul the smell is”, and so it is with humanity and the three evil paths. Our task as votaries of the Lotus Sutra and disciples of Nichiren is to make the great Law as irresistible to humanity, as the copy of the Lotus Sutra in Mr Toda’s cell was to him.

The movement for Kosen Rufu must make the Law accessible to all and to propagate it at every opportunity. True votaries of the Lotus Sutra see our worldly attachments for the illusions of smoke and dust that they are.

It is not enough simply to become comfortable exchanging our views with fellow believers at regular meetings. This time calls for shakubuku to be practiced with great wisdom, courage and compassion. To provide demonstrable proof to all those around you – your employers, employees, family and friends – is paramount if this world is ever to be transformed into the land of tranquil light. This world may not be transformed in my lifetime, but if we are to take true faith in kosen rufu then we will surely be reborn in the land of tranquil light.

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Some Words are Just ‘Right’!

I woke up this morning

Lotus Flower……and read two small passages, both written by Buddhists, one of which quotes one of “The Buddha’s” last works, the Lotus Sutra.

What struck me, was that sometimes, this Buddhism that I do can get a bit confusing, and then suddenly – suddenly someone says something that brings everything right back sharply into focus.

And it all becomes clear, again.   It’s just so simple, really.

Daisaku Ikeda Says:

Many religions have demanded blind faith, taking away people’s independence. President Makiguchi opposed such enslavement. What he called for instead was solidarity of awakened common people. To achieve this, he proposed a self-reliant way of life in which we advance on the path of our choice with a firm, independent character. He also stressed a contributive way of life in which we set our fundamental goal in life toward the realization of happiness for ourselves and others, casting aside arrogance and self-satisfaction to respect and benefit others. – For Today and Tomorrow.

Nichiren Daishonin Says:

Becoming a Buddha is nothing extraordinary. If you chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with your whole heart, you will naturally become endowed with the Buddha’s thirty-two features and eighty characteristics. As the sutra says, “hoping to make all persons equal to me, without any distinction between us,” you can readily become as noble a Buddha as Shakyamuni – Letter to Niike

Both these men are quoting or expressing a fundamental principle of my Buddhism, first expounded by the Buddha, Shakyamuni, many centuries before the Christian era, which is that all people are equal and that all can be as equally enlightened as himself…

Shakyamuni Buddha Says:

(speaking to Shariputra, one of his disciples and trusted friends)  ….you should know that at the start I took a vow hoping to make all persons equal to me, without any distinction between us, and what I long ago hoped for has now been fulfilled…  see THE BUDDHA NATURE IS INHERENT IN ALL PEOPLE for a fuller explanation.

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Cocker and the Common People

Strangely post on May 9th, 2009
Posted in Art Tags: , , , , , , ,

One and a Half Days Left!

You’ve one day left to get to Paris and see Jarvis Cocker jamming with the common people. It’s quite a good idea, actually; six days of 6+ hours sessions jamming in an art gallery as other people join in! Last day tomorrow.

It’s at Galerie Chappe, 4, Rue Andre Barsacq, 75018 Paris, France (+33 1 42 62 42 12 www.galeriechappe.fr)

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DNA and Capital Punishment

Yet Another Reason Why We Don’t Kill Murderers in Britain

Sean Hodgson could be the latest person to benefit from the pure goodness of science and knowledge.  His DNA, apparently, isn’t the same as that of the person that killed Teresa De Simone way back in 1979!

Tragically, he’s been locked up all that time for Teresa’s killing …

I certainly can’t guess at his mental state now or what he thinks of a world that could do that to him.  The little I do know is that at the time of his arrest, he seemed to belong to that weird bunch of folk that admit to anything, trusting to the ‘rightness’ of authority, or, he was similar to some common people of long ago who’d admit to a murder because their lives were so impoverished that 15 minutes of fame on the scaffold seemed a good trade to get out of it.

The increasing frequency with which these miscarriages of justice are coming to light with the benefit of new technology is staggering.  The only justification we have left for having the sort of legal system that’s made so many mistakes, so often, is that at last, justice is being done – and being seen to be done!

It’s not enough that in the old days someone ended up dangling on a rope and everyone else went home happy.

We can only thank those enlightened people of the post-war era who, against much opposition, demonstrated their disgust at capital punishment.  I think sometimes,  especially since the Thatcher era, these aims would be hard to maintain under pressure of the hang-em and flog-em brigade, rabble-roused by the popular press following some particularly appalling crime.  It’s at such times a clear focus is needed to maintain the clarity between right and wrong.

The recent murders in Northern Ireland are such a time, here in the UK.  Elsewhere, we’ve had gun massacres in Germany and Alabama, and bombs in Baghdad.  Because all human life is precious, the only difference between the events is what happens to the perpetrators, if caught.  In Germany and Northern Ireland, a convicted killer is imprisoned.  Not so in Alabama or Baghdad. (I’m omitting the fact that the killers apparently topped themselves for this argument.)

There have been enough miscarriages of justice attached to the Irish troubles to make films and books.  Thankfully, although many people’s lives were destroyed and changed forever, the truth came out – eventually.  If people like the Birmingham Six had been executed, no further investigations would have happened and the same patterns of police and judicial behaviour would have continued until the present.

We want justice to be done and seen to be done.  But we also need the right justice.  The USA and other dogmatic places with rigid beliefs need to catch up.  These recent events are a reminder of this, and our violent, vindictive nature, that must be controlled at all times.

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Jean de Florette and Gaza

Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources

Two Films in a Great Story you Must See Before you Die.

Claude BerriToday, Claude Berri died.  A common Frenchman who directed a duo of extraordinary films about common people, their loves, jealousies, humour, insecurities and real needs in a harsh land.

The beautifully told plot unfolds to it’s dramatic realisation of a climax when all along, the real problem has been a lack of communication, initially in a pointless war and laterly because of circumstance and proprietry.  At the root of the human conflict, was the possession of water and water rights in a harsh land with none to spare.

This is my parallel to the current Gaza/Palestinian/Israelite problem.  Fundemantally, there is not enough water and what there is, is unequally shared.

Apparently, Gaza is situated where once the land was called Philistine.  We know, from the history recorded in the biblical texts that the Philistines were looked down upon by the Israelites.

Watch the two films, then realise it’s time to move on.

Today the world lost a great storyteller.  He left these two great films that are not well known.  Typically French, they build up.  Everyone that I know and has been prompted by me to watch them is staggered by the poignant humanity and how much we all depend on small changes in events.  If they didn’t cry, they didn’t watch, that’s all I say.

This bit is the killer moment when Papet (Yves Montand) realises the whole shebang; how he lost his love, how his petty jealousies compounded the mistakes, how the hunchback (Gérard Depardieu) he despised and ultimately killed was his son and thus how the wild and weird Manon (Emmanuelle Béart) is his grand-daughter.  He also realises with a small shift in his will and the winds of fate, it could have all been so very different.  It’s just such a superb scene.

Next, a notionally humorous point when the plot to steal the water is hatched.

And finally, Manon’s finger points in accusation.  “Il y’en a deux”  she says.

The killer acting for the whole thing for me is Daniel Auteuil.  With little makeup, he is Ugolin Soubeyran, make no mistake.  That’s one believable bit of acting.

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