Tag Archive: Poetry

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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From Google Treasure Chest to Sun Tan Scam in Nevis on the BBC?

From Google Treasure Chest to Ubertan Sun Tan Scam in Nevis on the BBC?

A.  yes it’s true!

Ubertan On BBC

Ubertan On BBC

An article on the BBC website today highlighted the dangers of a tanning products called Ubertan.  On reading it, and following up with a simple Google search, the way it is portrayed in forums immediately set off warning bells because of its similarity to other scams I’ve seen.

Ubertan

Ubertan Search

Ubertan Search

A simple Google search showed that warnings about Ubertan have been going on for some time.  This website warned way back in April 2011 and here we have a Mens’s Health forum being shilled by Ubertanners with a post starting in Jan 2011…  The first even shows that the Ubertan website changed it’s copy when folks started complaining.

The Ubertan website is currently ‘live’ however, it is showing no content!  At all!  The Google cache is interesting though (more on that later)…

WHOIS Ubertan

Ubertan WHOIS

Ubertan WHOIS

Who is Ubertan indeed?  !!

WarningBell

Warning Bell

What we see is that “Manufacturers Direct” owns several domains and one Vernon Veira is the contact on the dual island nation of Kitts-Nevis.

10 Solomons Arcade
Charlestown,  00000
KN
+1.3057484919

This is when the warning bells started ringing….

Doing The Charlestown in Nevis

It’s two years ago that I started looking at the now seriously-discredited Google Treasure Chest scam (see http://strangelyperfect.tv/3099/google-treasure-chest-its-a-scam-and-a-half/).  the amount of information I had, meant I had to post over several different postings, and it was during these later investigations that a Post Office address (P.O. Box) came up on Nevis.  In Charlestown.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember exactly what address it was.  But it’s easily found here a comment from @NotKevin.  I think it’s the first time we saw the address, although it has since popped up many times when checking out folks that would be preferred to be known as “online marketeers” but we like to call scammers.  This is on the posting,

This is the address.

New Online Systems Ltd.
P.O. Box 642, Main Street
Charlestown, Nevis, West Indies

Google Cache

Ubertan Google Cache

Ubertan Google Cache

Ubertan may be silent, but the Google Cache is active and shows this address down at the bottom of the first cached page:

Ubertan.com +44 161 408 5816
Subertan Ltd 642 Main Street, Charlestown, Nevis

 

Uber morphs into Suber, and because the Post Office on Charlestown is one of the few buildings on Main  Street, Charlestown; a whole host of P.O. Boxes exist inside.

P.O. Box 642 means 642 Main Street!

Who are these people using 642?  I don’t know.

What I do know is that the domains listed by @NotKevin, although not exactly the same,  bear a shocking similarity to those domains used by people like Jesse Willms (say) before he decided to turn into a saint-like activist and Pacific WebWorks (say) before they got their pants sued off them.  This is what @NotKevin said:

That West Indies address is also linked with porn:
http://www.highdefriches.com/contact.php
http://www.eshspt.com/
(another Co Durham address on that one too!)
“health products”:
http://hiltonhg.com/
Colon cleansing:
http://www.colocleansemax.com/contact-us.php
Acai:
http://acaidetoxmaxx.com/
and Govt Grants:
http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/government-grants-avaliable-cd-c116063.html

Now compare and contrast those domains and businesses with the very large list to be found here on WebCops – the plethora of time-limited similarly-named domains means tracking them is an onerous task, well beyond my spare time.

However, yet again, we have seen the same address appear when dealing with dodgy ego-massaging products.

Phoenix-Like TryUbertan

Ubertan may be dead, but it doesn’t take long to find son-of-Ubertan when looking at the decidedly un-Caribbean telephone number for Ubertan.

+44 161 408 5816 is actually a Manchester, UK number!!

TryUbertan Contact Page

TryUbertan Contact Page

A quick search pulls out…..

Beginnings

Now I know they’re trying to hide!!!

TryUbertan.net on the T&C page now shows the address of Ubertan to be:

Ubertan Sunless Tanning System
c/o Toocoo Media Inc.
39555 Orchard Hill Place
Suite 600
Novi, Michigan
48375

Although it’s supposed to be available from ” high end salons in the U.K, France, Germany, Spain and North America” from their FAQ page, these stores will be doing so ILLEGALLY!  The UK government has officially banned it (as per the UK news item) and is EXPLICITLY ISSUING DANGER WARNINGS about its usage!

Still, TryUbertan (WHOIS is Pennsylvania USA) don’t care.  They’ll just grab the cash and morph into something else.

TooCoo Media CEO

TooCoo Media CEO

The decidedly minimalist website of Toocoo Media Inc, http://www.toocoomedia.com, throws up some interesting conundrums, if that really is their mailing address.  There are two LinkedIn links:

  • http://www.linkedin.com/company/toocoo-media-inc.
  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/jumanok

The latter is for the CEO, a Peter B. Lee whose 3 website links at the bottom of his profile point to the totally and bizarrely un-related websites of:

  • http://www.viafoura.com/
  • https://www.netiq.com/products/migrate/ which then redirects to novell.com as Novell has bought them out
  • http://www.oracle.com/index.html

Mr Lee, who claims to be Canadian from the LinkedIn profile, also has a poetry blog on blogger assuming the same quite distinct user name is being re-used, which is for invited guests only!!!  See The Poetry of Peter B. Lee with the url of http://jumanok.blogspot.com/  I’ve highlighted his key username as it matches the LinkedIn profile.  I don’t think that this Peter Lee (interestingly, a place name in County Durham of all places!) is the same who’s name is used in some recent versions of the classic 419 scam.  Try these examples for a start:

To add to the surreal mix that I’m uncovering, there are also two videos on YouTube uploaded by a “jumanok”!!  One of half a minute looks very much like Mr Lee, doing  some testing thing in Nov 2008 here:

This is a screenshot in case it’s pulled:

Jumanok YouTube

Jumanok YouTube

This is Jumanok from LinkedIn:

Jumanok LinkedIn LargePic

Jumanok LinkedIn LargePic

And here is “Crystal” telling us how her life state has improved after seeing something on OPRAH (down below she says) – except there’s nothing below!!  It appears to be a video plug for something intended to include Oprah in the spiel, except it never happened as there’s nowt to see.  This was uploaded in May, 2009.  The termination of Oprah-related plans may or may not have had something to do with the legal action, taken in May 2009, by Oprah, and reported here on her website;

http://www.oprah.com/health/The-Truth-About-Oprah-Dr-Oz-Acai-Resveratrol-and-Colon-Cleanse

Of course, Oprah sued and won damages against a host of scammers, one of which was Jesse Willms.

Conclusion

  • Time and again we come across scams that are based on a business with a very flakey base (here it’s a banned tanning product with government issued health warnings).  Usually, they are about improving one’s body or finances via unproven “new” medicines or foodstuffs, or get-rich-quick schemes.
  • Time and again we find a myriad of international contact phone numbers & addresses, for businesses that are very minor and specialist yet feel the need to spread themselves to the far corners of the globe.  Q. Why?  A.  Avoidance of easy scrutiny.
  • Time and again, we trace these businesses via LinkedIn (a bit like Jonathon Eborn, say) and other social networks high and wide.  They all start off appearing very legitimate.   As an aside, the Eborn results show a consulting website of http://www.jonathanebornconsulting.com/ and another of http://www.jonathandeborn.com/ which have both been hacked and defaced!  Made my day that!
  • Many businesses have a very public website, of minimalist design and content.  It’s very hard to discern exactly what they’re doing.  Compare these “online marketeers” to the website of Ford or Esso, say?  Now can you tell the difference?

Finally, (and very importantly for your health).  Don’t shove dodgy untested stuff of unknown provender up your nose.  Simple eh?

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Best SF Ending?

Strangely post on November 18th, 2009
Posted in Art Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From The Dream Quest of the Unknown Kadath by H.P. Lovecraft

Randolph Carter leaped shoutingly awake within his Boston room. Birds sang in hidden gardens and the perfume of trellised vines came wistful from arbours his grandfather had reared. Beauty and light glowed from classic mantel and carven cornice and walls grotesquely figured, while a sleek black cat rose yawning from hearthside sleep that his master’s start and shriek had disturbed.

And vast infinities away, past the Gate of Deeper Slumber and the enchanted wood and the garden lands and the Cerenarian Sea and the twilight reaches of Inquanok, the crawling chaos Nyarlathotep strode brooding into the onyx castle atop unknown Kadath in the cold waste, and taunted insolently the mild gods of earth whom he had snatched abruptly from their scented revels in the marvellous sunset city.

This was sourced from this webpage so I’m grateful for the blogger pointing it out.
I haven’t read the story for some time, but it’s pure poetry, don’t you think, and goes some way to explaining the fascination with The Crawling Chaos, not just the name.

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The 26 Admonitions explained by Richard Causton

Strangely post on September 13th, 2008
Posted in Buddhism Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Introduction

Lotus Flower - photo by Strangely PerfectI’ve nabbed the content of this from Ted Penfold.  My wife, has told me that she heard this lecture of Dick’s and found it and him some of the most inspiring things in her life.  I came across this wonderful piece by chance, looking for some background information on Nikko, the second guy after (Nichiren) in our prayers, and repeat it here so that more people might be similarly inspired.

I’ve corrected some spellings from the original transcript here which I assume were due to OCR transcription errors, mainly.  I’ve also added a few links, where appropriate, to external sources (SP)

Quick Links: Background Discussion Preface and Conclusion The 26 Admonitions Conclusions

n.b. Admonitions = Precepts = Warnings.  The three terms appear in different places, but essentially mean the same thing (SP)


LECTURE ON THE TWENTY-SIX ADMONITIONS OF NIKKO SHONIN by the late SGI UK General Director, Richard Causton

LecturnThe following lecture by SGI UK General Director, Richard Causton, based on various lectures given by him around the U.K. and overseas during late 1992 and 1993, was inspired by SGI President Ikeda’s guidance on this subject on 24th October 1992. This lecture first appeared as a series of articles in SGI-UK’s monthly magazine, the U.K. Express. (now called Art of Living – SP)

Dick Causton’s and Nikko Shonin’s words follow…

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Is Knife Crime London-o-centric, or the reporting of it?

Last week I arrived in Croydon to a week’s worth of knife deaths, convictions and escapes.  It seemed that the whole place was a blood-bath.  In examining them closely, some deaths were national news – and deservedly so, but mostly, there is no world outside of London for all the meeja types.

For instance, in the same week three people were knifed in the North-East that didn’t make the six o’clock news and the alarm levels are just as bad, so maybe my initial suspicions are right!  Like this example…..

A quote on last week’s “Question Time” made me jump.  Apparently the worst place in Britain for knifing is Glasgow, not some London Borough.  It’s twice as bad!

I was making this point to nice old lady from St Ives on the way home on the train – specifically relating to the high incidence of tornadoes and waterspouts (you had to be there) running up the Bristol Channel into Bridgwater and Somerset.  Having seen several myself, they are quite common, but never reported on the national news despite recent severe damage in Bridgwater and Burnham.  Jillian Greenwood’s poetry book “Western Tornadoes” is so titled for precisely these reasons.  This compares to the one in London last year.

Anyway, today, just to prove me wrong, the BBC and others are reporting “funnel clouds” in Lancashire.  There then followed a discussion about if they were tornadoes or not.  In my book, if they can suck Granny Clooties washing line into space then they’re tornadoes.  You see, if there is bad news, then London’s is worse!  They only want London to have the bad news.

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