Tag Archive: Lotus

What is Nam Myoho Renge Kyo?

What is Nam Myoho Renge Kyo?

Lotus Flower

Lotus Flower

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  • Just gaze at the Gohonzon.
  • Merge yourself with it, without seeking anything, without thinking anything.
  • Thoughts flow but you don’t seek them, you don’t follow them.
  • If they come that’s fine, if they don’t that’s equally fine.
  • If you become attuned to this way of practising, thoughts will no longer disturb you and you will become completely concentrated.
  • If many thoughts come to you as you practice don’t get annoyed with them, simply the idea that you want to be free from them will start a battle.
  • Instead it is a natural process. Just as the leaves unfurl on the trees, thoughts unfurl from your mind, there’s nothing bad about this.
  • Just remain an impartial observer and they won’t disturb your concentration any longer.
  • The less your thoughts irritate you, the more you will become one with the Gohonzon and you will find yourself in the state of Buddhahood.

And what will you gain by attaining Buddhahood, nothing?

  • On the contrary, a lot of other things are lost; anxiety, ambition, hatred, violence, possessiveness.
  • Each of the ten worlds are illuminated.
  • Greed, anger and stupidity vanish and all that remains is that which was always there, the Buddha inherent in ourselves.

 

Daisaku Ikeda. Tokyo. 20th April 1974

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

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

My Thoughts

I bullet-pointed out President Ikeda’s words to make them clearer for me, to make them stand out, individually, as thoughts.  If you do it right, as Daisaku said,

All that remains is that which was always there, the Buddha inherent in ourselves.

It’s the universal truth. Just as heaven and hell are within each of us, so is the Buddha nature.



 

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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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Strange Sights in Australia

Introduction

Funnel Web Spider in Mail Box

Funnel Web Spider in Mail Box

These are a few of the odd things that set Australia apart from the mother country (i.e. the UK!)  Similar, yet different, eh?

The Spider Mailbox

The Spider Mailbox

Most suburban houses follow the USA mailbox style, with some sort of box on the edge of the property.  But watch out for spiders when fetching the post!

Yet funnel web spiders, some of which can kill you in hours, aren’t the only strange, odd, things.


Merry Christmas in Rye, Victoria

Merry Christmas in Rye, Victoria

Because just across the road, Santa awaits…  inflated to gigantic proportions in an expensive house, built on sand dunes, made in the style of a 19th century colonial house, filled with all the gadgetry and labour-saving devices of the modern world.


A walk in the country can provide a host of oddities, from the deadly to the silly.

 

More Pictures

These are a few I came across.  Places include Melbourne, Port Douglas in tropical Queensland and various sites across the Mornington Peninsular.  I’m fascinated by the signs that are put up for public information.  A real clue into everything, I think.

Japanese Bomb Sculpture - note the guy mowing the grass in the background. That was a noisy machine I can tell you!

Japanese Bomb Sculpture – note the guy mowing the grass in the background. That was a noisy machine I can tell you!

Japanese Bomb Sign

Japanese Bomb Sign – little girl was the only casualty of WW2 on the East Australian mainland. (This contrasts sharply with the tens of thousands killed NOT on the mainland)

Crocodiles and Stinger Signs Next to Each Other!

Crocodiles and Stinger Signs Next to Each Other!
Just off the Captain Cook Highway.

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

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

Tourism is Big - this is the Puffing Billy train in the Dandenongs

Tourism is Big – this is the Puffing Billy train in the Dandenongs

Big, forward control lorries are common in Australia even in urban areas. They hammer along everywhere, apparently in all lanes.

Big, forward control lorries are common in Australia even in urban areas. They hammer along everywhere, apparently in all lanes.

Graffiti All Over Melbourne

Graffiti All Over Melbourne – despite the sun and wealth, many of man’s creations are amended with random ink. Cops go on trains in fives.

Even Cats Get Banned from a Vineyard

Even Cats Get Banned from a Vineyard

Man-made Floating Island - this is on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. The breaking surf is The Coral Sea

Man-made Floating Island – this is on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. The breaking surf is The Coral Sea

View from a Yacht

View from a Yacht – Queensland and it’s hills round Port Douglas. You just point and click, there are views everywhere.

More Views - from near Cpt Cook Hwy. Banana and Cane fields just out of sight.

More Views – from near Cpt Cook Hwy. Banana fields just out of sight.

Fascination with Olden Days

Fascination with Olden Days – signs all over, this is Daintree

Daintree River Crocodile Sign - no paddling and keep your eyes open - they've had crocs in excess of 5m long here.

Daintree River Crocodile Sign – no paddling and keep your eyes open – they’ve had crocs in excess of 5m long here.

Humourous Daintree Crocodile Signs on the WC Publics

Humourous Daintree Crocodile Signs on the WC Publics

My own image of Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas

My own image of Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas

Cape Tribulation - here the tropical jungle hits the Great Barrier Reef via the mangrove swamps and beach.

Cape Tribulation – here the tropical jungle hits the Great Barrier Reef via the mangrove swamps and beach.
It’s where Cook’s ship “Endeavour” was dragged ashore to be fixed after crashing into a coral reef (now named after the ship).

Cassowary v Range Rover

Cassowary v Range Rover; not so fair.

Dangerous Pedestrians!

Dangerous Pedestrians! They can injure and kill people when provoked.

Views! Along Captain Cook Highway. Australia is full of views. Loads. All over the place.

Views! Along Captain Cook Highway. Australia is full of views. Loads. All over the place.

Tropical Rain Forest, Hot. This is Mossman Gorge, Queensland.

Tropical Rain Forest, Hot. This is Mossman Gorge, Queensland.

Garbage Recycling, Queensland Style

Garbage Recycling, Queensland Style.
In Packers Creek, upstream from Port Douglas, they just dump their boats and leave them to the crocodiles when they’re finished with them.

Sign Overload, some graphically scary

Sign Overload, some graphically scary – Stingers are not nice

View at Port Douglas

View at Port Douglas, Queensland

Memorial to a war on the opposite side of the world

Melbourne Memorial to a war on the opposite side of the world – beautiful quotes from Wilfred Own in there.

Another sign

Another sign

Random Public Art - McClelland Gallery, Frankston.

Random Public Art – McClelland Gallery, Frankston.

Odd Signs with Humour

Odd Signs with Humour

Serious Melbourne Tram System

Serious Melbourne Tram System

Odd Signs

Odd Signs

Ancient "cold" Tropical Rainforest in the South

Ancient “cold” Tropical Rainforest in the South (Dandenongs)

Odd signs

Odd signs

Odd Signs and characteristic Oz Humour

Odd Signs and characteristic Oz Humour

Blue-ringed octopus in a pool at Cape Schanck

Blue-ringed octopus in a pool at Cape Schanck – there is no known anti-venom!!! It is there in a crack.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue-ringed_octopus

Odd Signs

Sudden Waves don’t reach the odd sign.

Red-bellied black snake - when walking down to Cape Schanck

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-bellied_black_snake
Red-bellied black snake taken walking down to Cape Schanck

 


Conclusion

Australia is a strange, deadly place, filled with amazing natural resources.

The quirky humour of the people is to be treasured.

They try to be uppity with their restaurants, vineyards, big boys toys and gadgets, yet underneath, the wild west existence is evident all around.

It’s all in the nature of the place.

We are a mixture of the land we live in and the land we came from.


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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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Don’t Hurt a Buddha

What Does That Title Mean!

A. Those who practice Buddhism do so without any expectation of grace or favour.  They do it for two reasons:

  1. To Improve their own life and continuing existence
  2. To improve other’s lives and future existences

You don’t have to believe that they do this – after all, it could all be a big deception, couldn’t it?

But a true Buddha, revealing their Buddha nature and pointing out the iniquities and devilish qualities of the world, does believe this.  Wholeheartedly.

This is why, in all the Buddhist schools, there is a phrase passed down from eons back.

Those who vex and trouble [the practitioners of the Law] will have their heads split into seven pieces.

Now What Does That mean!

It’s an allegory, that quite often is remarkably accurate….   I’ve seen it happen;  where people have vexed and insinuated against someone that’s revealing their Buddha nature – and then come a cropper!  You name it:

  • Bad illnesses
  • Bad finances
  • Bad relationships
  • Brain cancer
  • Business or company breakups
  • Family break up or polarisations

3000 Realms in a Single Moment

If Buddhism were just capable of punishing without change, then it’d be no good.  It’d be just like Judgement Day, which it’s not.  The principle of 3000 realms in a single moment [of life] means that everyone can be bad and good at the same time.

Really.  That’s what it means.  It’s the complete essence of Buddhism.

Therefore, even very bad people, who have “harmed or vexed” a Buddha, can reveal their good side and instantly become a Buddha – just like that!

Conversely, anyone can go over to the dark side of animality.  At any time.

Belief

You don’t have to believe any of this, of course.

But I do.

  • From someone with the very worst excesses of delusions and animality being transformed instantly to a person of great note – I believe it.
  • For someone that harms a Buddha having their head [metaphorically or literally] smashed into seven pieces – I believe it.

Like I said, you don’t have to believe it – but I do, and so do millions of Buddhists. We know what will happen because we’ve seen it.

Sub Text

Why am I talking like this?

A. Because, as a practitioner of Buddhism, I’m being attacked for trying to protect people and to turn the attacker into something better;

And it’s my warning.

I don’t have to do anything – the universe will make it so, (as Captain Jean-Luc would say).

References

These are the instances when the famous Buddhist monk Nichiren talks about a “head being split into seven pieces” from his writings.  As I say, you don’t have to believe it.  All that matters is that I do.

For a clue to what this about, this is a neat definition of the term “scammer”, taken from The Urban Dictionary:

One who does everything in his/her power to steal from another, usually by means of trickery, deceit, and force. With the accesibility and anonymousity that the internet provides, scammers have become increasingly prevalent in modern times. Usually driven by personal greed or even outright amusement, they are unhindered by sympathy or morals and are the very face of human corruption.

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