Tag Archive: roots

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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Skaill 2012

Skaill by Crawling Chaos (reworked)

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Bay of Skaill

Bay of Skaill

I’ve been playing with a digital extraction of Skaill on Reaper.  Have a listen.  Guess what’s been done….

A video is to follow (slow encoding to get the quality I need) which is highly appropriate given my partly Orcadian roots and the track title.  Skaill is the final track from “C” – “The Big C”, by Crawling Chaos.  It is Jeff Crowe and myself jamming with some post recording tape twiddling.  Skara Brae which we both fascinated by is nearby and is why we chose the track title after getting the Ordnance Survey map out!  Thanks to Jeff Lynne on TV the other night for some inspiration to get this project started.

This is the video on the Crawling Chaos website, though the sound hasn’t encoded as well as I’d liked.  The link above has better sound with the forthcoming CD even better (natch).

Rees

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Tories Reveal Authoritarian Roots While Liberals Check Their Shoelaces

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Yet again I’m forced to side with the grinning David Davis.  This doesn’t happen often and is embarrassing to admit!.

ConDem Coalition Pledges Broken!

ConDem Coalition Pledges Broken!

It’s all about the government plans to allow full-scale unauthorised real-time monitoring of every person in the UK’s internet activity!  It’s so 1984.

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” – (George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four
.

Orwell must be turning in his grave in despair that what he predicted as a warning about what not to do, now looks like coming to fruition.

Remarkably, since wangling themselves into government, the conservative-libdem coalition government is now actually dropping a key part of their manifesto which they laboriously agreed two years ago.  This can still be found on the government website, page 11 to be exact (pdf) .  Here’s what they said:

  • The Government believes that the British state has become too authoritarian…. We need to restore the rights of individuals in the face of encroaching state power – FAIL
  • …reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties and roll back state intrusion – FAIL
  • … introduce safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation – FAIL
  • …end the storage of internet and email records without good reason – FAIL
  • …a British Bill of Rights that … protects and extends British liberties – FAIL

(Actually, the whole Con-Dem pledge list makes good reading to see just how far removed from it our evil diktat of quangos has become.)

So what to do – use TOR.

ID Cards

Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Johann Wolfgang Goethe (Photo credit: andreasmarx)

Not so long ago I was haranguing the former Labour government about their plans for ID Cards, their laws over CCTV and photographing in public places, the reduction  in privacy for individuals and the removal of our civil rights over detention without trial, due cause and 3rd party notification for first 90 days and them 42 days.

I left the Labour Party because of it and have not rejoined.

Huge Vocal Resentment Against UK Government Secret Citizen Monitoring Plans.

try the Tor browser bundle

The new news (I thought it was an April Fool joke initially!) is that Email and web use is ‘to be monitored’ under new laws proposed by this nasty, nasty government.  Happily, there is now a huge and vociferous resentment against this from the general public who can see this evil act for what it is.  Top among them is David Davis!  See this link and the thousands of comments for instance; Backlash over email and web monitoring plan.

Clueless

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 14

Now, the tories and their liberal stooges have been shown to be both serially evil in their pronouncements and plans, and also serially incompetent of managing almost anything.

Their pathetic management of a minor industrial dispute (the fuel shortage) which did nothing except invoke almost universal resentment of the coalition and reawaken a general awareness of their ineffectiveness comes on top of stripping the very foundations away from one of UK society’s greatest inventions of the Industrial Age, our National Health Service (NHS).

United Kingdom

Top this behavioural abomination with that of the revolving door policy between banking and politics which they continue to promote with zero penalties for failure while the population-at-large have to prop up the whole system with their taxes means only two things to me.

  1. The government must do something desperate to have any hope of re-election in 3 years – this means either war (patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel) or economic boom-and-bust gambling.
  2. They will do something desperate to have any hope of re-election in 3 years – this means either war (patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel) or economic boom-and-bust gambling.

Astute folk will see this as my prediction for government actions over the next 3 years.

Tories: Keep Friends Happy

Meanwhile, hundreds of extra Tory donors will soon be available to bankroll the “all is good” story.  They will arrive as beneficiaries of the windfall provided as the “former NHS” contracts are handed out to friends, much like Michael Ashcroft benefited from the first round of NHS privatisation during the Thatcher era.  This article on Powerbase and this one (sourced from a now defunct article in The Scotsman) show quite clearly that 1/3 of cleaning contracts went to Ashcroft’s businesses during this time, saying;

MICHAEL Ashcroft, (…) bankrolled an “independent” publicity campaign that allowed his multi-million-pound contract cleaning empire to prosper and led to a change in the law. The campaign was run from the London office of the former Conservative Scottish secretary, Michael Forsyth. A spokesman for Mr Ashcroft confirmed last night that he had contributed to the Public and Local Service Efficiency Campaign (PULSE), which was set up in 1985 to persuade the public sector to contract out services such as cleaning and catering. The campaign had been disbanded by the end of the 1980s after the Conservative government passed the 1988 Local Government Act .  Mr Ashcroft’s Hawley Services Group, a contract cleaning firm later known as ADT, flourished under the new regime, with ADT, winning a third of NHS contracts between 1983 and 1988.

For further information into the depths that the Tories will go to enable all public money to be fed straight to their business friends, see this article which pulls apart the dealings of Ashcroft, discredited Dame Shirley Porter, NIMBY Nicholas Ridley, Chris Chope (the dog turd of Christchurch) and current (dodgy expenses, remember) minister Eric Pickles.

THE PICKLES PAPERS

By Tony Grogan
First published by 1 IN 12 PUBLICATIONS 1989
21 – 23 Albion St. Bradford 1.
Copyright 1 IN 12 Publications 1989
ISBN 0 948994 04 5

Once read, apply the same logic to our dear NHS, and weep again.  The same modus operandi is being used;

  1. discredit the current, imply alternatives are better;
  2. farm out internal monies to external Tory benefactors.

It’s just more sleaze just like under Thatcher before, backed up with warlike rhetoric.  Remember, only 10 days ago we had the news of billionaire Tory donors at Cameron’s dinner table, and Cameron trying to defend the cash-for-access news that made Labour’s cash-for-questions scandal appear like a sweetshop-ish wheeze in comparison.  See 

Tory Party chairman Lord Feldman was one of the key figures in the ‘cash for access’ scandal which erupted after Tory party treasurer Peter Cruddas was caught offering a private dinner with David Cameron to undercover reporters who posed as wealthy party donors.  Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2123692/Tory-cash-access-row-David-Cameron-crony-pal-cash-questions.html

as well.

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ID Cards in Manchester: The Real Reason

Strangely post on May 6th, 2009
Posted in Freedom Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Manchester launch for ID cards

Jacqui Smith insists that people's personal data would be more secureGiven all that happened in UK politics since last …er…week,

Hazel Blears from Machester!….it’s clear the reason why Manchester has been chosen as Wacky Backy Jacqui Smith’s test site for ID Cards…

Harriet Harman from er...…Two wimmin got up Brown’s nose this weekend… – one is always trumpeting her Manchester roots… – the other’s roots are somewhat vague….

Jacqui Smith - BrownerBut when three women are in the show…?

And the country needs a leader…?

Whose constituents will get annoyed?

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Obama’s Been Got

@AmazonHigh Hopes Replaced by Low Expectations

It’s the torture, see?

UK

In the UK, when Blair was first elected Prime Minister, the people in the country had such high hopes.  There were promises of an ‘end to sleaze’ and an ‘ethical foreign policy’.

@AmazonSince those heady few weeks in the UK;

  • We’ve had years of subterfuge and an erosion of freedoms on an unprecedented scale except perhaps following the Norman Conquest or during the purges of the Tudor period.
  • We’ve had the mysterious deaths of civil servants and the accession to kidnap and torture at the behest of our allies.
  • We have had an endless catalogue of tales of personal aggrandisement by our elected representatives gorging at the trough of the public purse.
  • We’ve had financial waste and mis-management on a staggering scale.

So much for an end to sleaze.  So much for an ethical foreign policy.  John Smith and Robin Cook will be turning in their graves.

USA

And now in the USA, Obama has been suckered into the establishment line.  It’s only taken 100 days – wow, 3 and a half years left!  We had two stories about torture in rapid succession and various recent commentaries, notably from the biggest winner of the Iraq war, Dick Cheney.  Talk about personal gain…?

  • Firstly, torture was supposed to have been small scale, but effective.  It got the results, apparently.
  • Secondly, torture on some individuals was used hundreds of times. This also got results, apparently.

Now call me thick, but if someone ‘needs’ to be tortured hundreds of times, it’s not very effective, is it?

This means the victims were tortured for pleasure, because the two statements above are mutually exclusive – they can’t both be right!

Now, I’d like to say ‘bizarrely’,  but given past history from our democratic elected representatives into a society awash with vested interests, it’s got to be ‘not unexpectedly’, Obama isn’t doing anything about the perpetrators or instigators of these crimes against humanity.  It’s all being swept under the nice new carpet.

Obama has been suckered into the corporate establishment….  So;

  • Torture?  OK!
  • Personal and Corporate governance and financial accountability?  No way!
  • Greenhouse gases?  Love ’em!
  • Same old car companies?  Of course!
  • Surely the people won’t have to pay for corporate greed and mismanagement will they?   Of course they will!

It’s downhill all the way now.

@AmazonLets not forget that the whole Vietnam war fiasco was started and expanded under the Democratic administrations of Kennedy and Johnson?  Carpet bombing?  Napalm?   Democrats!

So welcome to the brave new world of flying drones in their thousands bombing civilians far away (death by computer game, anyone?).  Where government psychopaths are allowed to roam unchecked, stuffing their pockets with cash all the while.

I hope all the US voters who each chipped in their 100 dollar bills for Obama’s campaign think that it was all worthwhile.  For me, it looks like same old story, different cover.

Maybe Now is the Time to Move the UN?

Yes!  It’s a golden opportunity for the freedom loving nations of the world to pull up their roots and move the United Nations to somewhere safe – like Cuba or Norway.  Why?

Take a look at Article 5 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, written in 1948 and signed by the USA.  It reads:

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

When it says no-one, it means no-one. It doesn’t say ‘except really really bad people, in our opinion’ in tiny letters afterwards.  It’s simply hypocritical that the UN seat should be in such a country that because of it’s might, can pick and choose which bits to uphold for itself and which bits to sling at others.

Please Note, Mr President;

  • The Declaration is an all-or-nothing thing.
  • It’s not to be picked about and simpered over.
  • It’s not about comparative behaviour with the evil people of the world.
  • It’s an absolute statement made by people in 1948 who had plenty of time to think about evil and plenty of first hand experience to back it up.

See:

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