Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Sunday, March 25, 2007
A few quotes from one of my favorite Gosho, the Letter to Kyo’o
‘The lion, king of beasts, is said to advance three steps, then gather himself to spring, unleashing the same power whether he traps a tiny ant or attacks a fierce animal. In inscribing this Gohonzon for her protection, Nichiren is equal to the lion king. This is what the sutra means by "the power of an attacking lion." Believe in this mandala with all your heart. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is like the roar of a lion. What sickness can therefore be an obstacle?’
‘A sword will be useless in the hands of a coward. The mighty sword of the Lotus Sutra must be wielded by one courageous in faith. Then he will be as strong as a demon armed with an iron staff. I, Nichiren, have inscribed my life in sumi, so believe in the Gohonzon with your whole heart.’
Saturday, March 17, 2007
The YMD LEAP propagation campaign kicked off on 16 March.
Sent my determination for this year to Sensei today. The battle begins now. I must score a victory in my life this year no matter what. It will be really busy for the next few months. But I will muster tremendous energy to meet all challenges.
There is no problem bigger than the power of the Gohonzon!
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Cheesecake & Ice-cream
Memorable night indeed.
Sleep needed... but dreaming well.
Friday, March 02, 2007
To believe in the Lotus Sutra is to develop an utmost respect for the dignity of humanity. Today, I would be appointed as a Chapter Leader. I most revitalize myself once again to meet this new challenge. Bodhisattva Never Disparaging will be my starting point. I do not know what I will do or what I can accomplished. But I am here as a representative of my mentor’s disciple.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Bodhisattva Never Disparaging
What I found was a short condolence written by Nichiren Daishonin to Nanjo Tokimitsu to console him on the death of his father. A touching espisode.
Studied The World of Nichiren Daishonin’s Writings Volume Three on the chapter of “The Practice of Respecting Others – Shakubuku is a Struggle to Defeat the Devilish Nature Inherent in Our Lives and Those of Others”
Gained a new perspective on Bodhisattva Never Disparaging.
“I would never dare disparage you, for you are all certain to attain Buddhahood!” (The Lotus Sutra, trans. Burton Watson, p. 267).
Imagine the scene: You have made a sincere determination to dedicate yourself to helping others become happy. You recognize your mission to behave as a bodhisattva and you set out to take action toward that end. You approach others and let them know that you respect them and that they are valuable. However, the people don’t respond to you the way that you might imagine. They beat and throw stone at you. They call you names and say you are irresponsible for predicting that they will attain Buddhahood.
What would you do?
In light of being physically and verbally abused, we might think that being a bodhisattva requires too much patience and forbearance. Many of us might give up trying to help others or acknowledge their potential for Buddhahood. But this wasn’t the spirit of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging. Despite the ill treatment he received from the four kinds of believers--monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen--he showed reverence for every person he met and resolved to help them discover their Buddha nature.
“The heart of the Buddha’s lifetime of teachings is the Lotus Sutra, and the heart of the practice e of the Lotus Sutra is found in the ‘Never Disparaging’ chapter. What does Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s profound respect for people signify? The purpose of the appearance in this world of Shakyamuni Buddha, the lord of teachings, lies in his behavior as a human being”
If someone is not treating us right, it is all too easy to give up trying to encourage him and help him create a valuable life. But every human being has the potential for Buddhahood, however dormant it may seem to our won limited vision. When we recognize this in others--even in people we don’t like--a phenomenal thing begins to happen. Others will change and so will we. Although we are working for the happiness of others, a wonderful side effect is that we become even happier ourselves.
The entire teaching of the Lotus Sutra, which expounds the universality of Buddhahood, is crystallized in never Disparaging’s words. He put the teaching into practice.
Showing Respect to Even Those Who Are Hostile
Despite his best efforts to respect everyone with whom he came in contract, Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s contemporaries saw his behavior as strange. He didn’t take time to read and recite the scriptures as other monks were doing; he spent his time bowing to people. These four kinds of believers felt contemptuous of what they perceived to be his arrogance and ignorance and treated him cruelly, ridiculing and berating him.
Interestingly, Bodhisattva Never Disparaging was never discouraged by his circumstances. When the malignity began, he would run a safe distance away--no to avoid being injured, but to prevent his attackers from creating more negative causes--and continue calling out his words of homage: “You are certain to attain Buddhahood.”
This pattern continued for years. At the time of his death, he had expiated his bad karma through continuous practice and had “the power to preach pleasingly and eloquently, the power of great goodness and tranquility” (LS 20, 268). When the four kinds of believers saw this change in him, they reconsidered their views and gladly became his followers. Because of their poor treatment of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging, they were able to form a “reverse relationship”--a relationship that allows one to have a connection with the Lotus Sutra even though that person may have slandered the Law--that allowed them to encounter him again later.
This shows Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s dauntless spirit and how his efforts of many years came to fruition. He continued to respect all because he had confidence that everyone has the potential for enlightenment. Because he believed in the teachings of the Lotus Sutra and practiced according to his convictions, he attained Buddhahood. It is just as the Daishonin states: “There is a fundamental oneness of self and others. Therefore when Bodhisattva Never Disparaging made his bow of obeisance to the four groups of people, the Buddha nature inherent in the lives of the four groups of arrogant people bowed toward Bodhisattva Never Disparaging. This is the same as how when one bows facing a mirror, the reflected image bows back”.
Translating What We Believe Into Action
Although the four kinds of arrogant people abused Bodhisattva Never Disparaging, the Buddha nature that existed deep in their lives was respectful of his efforts. His sincere behavior transformed their inner lives without them being aware of it. He was able to translate his beliefs into concrete behavior. His example teaches us that unless we incorporate bodhisattva practices in our lives, we won’t create much value. However, this does not mean that we should allow people to abuse us.
How do we apply this knowledge tot real-life situations?
It is important to understand that Bodhisattva Never Disparaging’s behavior is an ideal. We are all persevering and working hard to be our best selves. As we continue practicing, studying and believing in our potential, our Buddha nature will expand. We shouldn’t have a poor self-image because we do not see ourselves as Bodhisattva Never Disparaging. Over the long course of our practice, we will achiever our goals. The fact that we exert ourselves in our faith and SGI activities, in spite of our shortcomings, is evidence that we are following the same path of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging.
But conclusion of the show is spot-on: The poisoning of the soul is deadlier than the poisoning of the physical body.
The poisoning of the soul happens because of "ignorance", which in terms of Buddhism, is the third of the Three Poisons of "greed", "anger" and "foolishness". Only the ceaseless battle of words by courageous votaries of the Lotus Sutra can counter this growing poisons in society.
I cannot stop!
Sunday, February 04, 2007
23rd SD Anniversary
Will share more soon. Need to get my energy level up...
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
A recent movie called “Deathnote” based on a popular manga was shown in Singapore earlier this year. In this movie, the antagonist was given the power to kill anyone by penning the name of the person in a mysterious notebook. Thinking that he could create a utopia by killing off all convicts and criminals, he instead created a society of people living in constant fear. This is exactly what nuclear weapons are doing to mankind.
Sensei also blasted the concept of deterrence as just a cowardly excuse to justify nuclear weapons. True friendship is impossible as long as we shake hands with one hand while holding weapon in the other.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Peace, Imagination and Action
- The Twenty-first Can Be a Nuclear Weapons-Free Century
- Choosing Hope
- Nelson Mandela’s Struggle
- Scientists for the Abolition of Nuclear Arms
- The Passion of Linus Pauling
- The Power of the People
- Loyalty to All Humanity
From a Century of War to a Century of Peace
- Victory Over Violence
- Socrates, A Dangerous Gadfly?
- Growing Stronger Through Hardships
- A Source of Paramount Happiness
- The Importance of a Mentor in Youth
- Concrete Proposals Spark the Light of Peace
- Dialogue and Action
- Happiness Is Being Engaged With the World
The Challenge to Bring Forth a New Reality
- Idealists and Realists
- Education Makes Us Human
- Revival of the Imagination
- Good and Evil: Two Aspects of the Human Mind
- Human Revolution: The Path to a Hopeful Future
- Sowing Seeds of Peace
- Unflagging Optimism
- The Power of Education
- Peace Leaders
- Peace Must Be Won Each Day
- Building the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
- Nongovernmental Organization Solidarity
Part Two: Personal Motivations for Peace Activism
Children of the Nuclear Age
- Peace is Essential
- The Deterrence Myth
- The Tramp of Military Boots
- The Influence of Josei Toda
- Education in the Value of Life
- Children of the Nuclear Age
- The Vietnam War
Conscientious Objection to War
- Conscientious Objection
- Family Responses
- Dialogue – A Key to Peace
- A Woman of Vision
- Castles in the Sand
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
- Peace Memorial Museums
- The Courage To Remember
- Lessons of the Atomic Bombings
- Hope and the Human Spirit
The Season of Hiroshima
- Breaking the Silence
- The Rightful Interests of Humanity
- The People Must Awaken
- Why Voices From Hiroshima and Nagasaki Are Not Heard
- Apology: Accepting Responsibility for Past Wrongs
- Citizens Can Apologize
Part Three: Transcending the Nuclear Age
The Mission of Science
- Application of Techonology
- From Club to Nuclear Weapons
- Science and Human Intentions
- Science To Benefit Humanity
- Science, Technology and Peace
- Ethical Principles
- Modern Times
- Knowledge and Wisdom
- The Three Cs
- Science and Spirituality
- The Human Revolution
- Brilliance Is Not Enough
- Taking Risks for Humanity
The Challenge of Abolition 2000
- NGOs Hold the Key
- Looking the Threat in the Face
- The World Court Project
- The ICJ Advisory Opinion
- Other Approaches to Abolition
- Struggling Against Despair
- Sounding the Alarm
The Abyss of Total Annihilation
- Religion and Peace
- Responsibility Lies With Each of Us
- An Absolute Evil
- Faith in Youth
Part Four: The Challenge of the Future
Human Security and the Future of the United Nations
- The Role of UN
- The Need To Abolish War
- A Peoples Assembly
- Human Security
- National Security Depends Upon Global Security
- Education for World Citizenship
Literature and Life
- Learning through Reading
- Merits and Demerits of the Image Culture
- Reading Tempers the Imagination
- Studying the Classics
- The Blessing of Life-Changing Books
- Poetry: An Expression of the Soul
- Reviving the Spirit of Poetry
- The Poetry of Peace
- Poetry That Is Alive
- The Social Role of Literature
The Importance of Nongvernmental Organizations
- Orientation of NGOs
- NGOs Represent the Interests of Ordinary People
- The Power of Commitment and Compassion
- The Sovereignty of Conscience
- The Power of an Individual
- The Work of Education
- We must Unite
The Role of Education
- The SGI Peace Movement
- Encouraging the Will To Act
- Hope for Today’s Youth
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Happy Birthday Sensei
Planning for the SD Anniversary started.
New Year Resolutions:
Thursday, December 28, 2006
You are The Sun
Happiness, Content, Joy.
The meanings for the Sun are fairly simple and consistent.
Young, healthy, new, fresh. The brain is working, things that were muddled come clear, everything falls into place, and everything seems to go your way.
The Sun is ruled by the Sun, of course. This is the light that comes after the long dark night, Apollo to the Moon's Diana. A positive card, it promises you your day in the sun. Glory, gain, triumph, pleasure, truth, success. As the moon symbolized inspiration from the unconscious, from dreams, this card symbolizes discoveries made fully consciousness and wide awake. You have an understanding and enjoyment of science and math, beautifully constructed music, carefully reasoned philosophy. It is a card of intellect, clarity of mind, and feelings of youthful energy.
What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
The Daishonin declared that the assembly at the Eagle Peak had not yet dispersed. Remember that we will only have opening ceremony for the Kenshu but never a closing ceremony because the Kenshu will never end if we would only maintain a seeking spirit.
Every article you read, every story you heard, will be as inspirational as it did at the Kenshu as long as you muster the spirit of the kenshukai… lalala…
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Xmas Eve 2006
The wait did not take too long. Honestly. I was entertaining myself sufficiently observing the droplets of rain floating without a care and landing on my windscreen. She had some matters from work to settle and was delayed. It did not matter really. The rain was refreshing. Although the damage to certain areas in the region due to flooding was upsetting, I was sure all will be fine in due time as I offered a short prayer for those affected by chanting daimoku in my heart for a little while.
The floods reminded me of the importance of an effective drainage system. It is not only for torrent rain, but also for human emotions. Having the burden of emotional baggage is as destructive as the flood. Viewed in light of the eternity of life, the ability to refresh ourselves is the only way to advance. Recalling the lessons learnt from Sensei’s NHR on the chapter of “Moving Forward”, even the obstacle of death cannot stop the flow of spiritual and emotional growth. That is the beauty of human revolution. She arrived shortly after I completed my musing.
The evening began with a light snack at the Starbucks. She had her lunch, so I was surprised when she returned from the order counter with a raspberry cake and a cheesecake. The cheesecake was delicious but the raspberry was a little tough. But somehow we finished both cakes. The stomachs were filled. That was a good way to start a day any day.
Gossiping over coffee and cakes was fun. As least it was fun enough to miss the first ten minutes of the movie “The Curse of the Golden Flower”. The show was interesting. The first observation was the setting. Everything was so bright and the colors were so strong that there was a fantastical feel to the movie. I believed that was the director’s intention and it worked. There was tension throughout the show as the plot rolled out. The acting by veteran actors Chow Yun Fat and Gong Li was also outstanding. I was entertained.
We tried to get something to eat after that. It was not easy. The crowd had started to arrive and Orchard Road was soon packed. We decided to just randomly move from building to building hoping to chance upon something decent to eat. Navigating through crowds of partygoers was an art. It was like a dance, waltzing through groups after groups of strangers. I could usually follow my nose to the next meal but the smell of human filled the district. We needed food.
She sent me a SMS to wish me a merry Christmas while eating her dinner right in front of me. Interesting, I was rather amused. We ended the night with beancurd at Selegie and shook hands when the clock struck twelve before I took her home.
We talked about her work quite a bit. She was having some difficulties in her work with a bank. Her workload was becoming enormously huge that all she could do was to collapse into bed after work. As a result, she slept whenever she had a chance. So much so, that a headache developed.
Remembering the spirit of Mahayana Buddhism, the way out of her problems both at work and in the Gakkai may very well be to develop her confidence in her faith. The only way is the tried and tested pillars of Faith, Practice and Study. She had promised to start reading a little more. That was very courageous of her to admit that to me. I believed I have a pretty good memory for this kind of promises and might nag her to death about it. *looking smug*
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Takao Okajima was a student division member who was highly resistant to the practice of religion until his poor health escalated and had a near death encounter. Friends from Soka Gakkai continued to encourage him and he finally realized that nothing is more important than living a noble life dedicated to the highest human ideals.
He worked hard to share his enlightenment and wrote courageously to encourage others of their mission just as Sensei did. He finally fulfilled his dream of becoming a teacher after he graduated.
Five months of teaching and touching lives, he passed away in an automobile accident. But his legacy lived on and countless continued to be inspired by his example.
Shizu suffered most of her life, losing two sons and a daughter. Her despair continued after her family incurred huge debts. But after she began practice of Buddhism, her life started to improve. Eventually, she overcame her grief and repaid all her debts.
With a deep sense of gratitude, she continues to seek out her mentor in life and studied diligently on Buddhism. At the advanced age of 72, she passed an examination and Buddhism with flying colors.
“I don’t think we’d be living up to our mission as genuine disciples if our reaction to the news of President Yamamoto’s upcoming visit was joy. We should welcome President Yamamoto with a victory. I’d like to suggest that we start an all-out campaign to increase Seikyo Shimbun readership, since that’s one of the best ways to promote understanding of the Soka Gakkai in our community.”
No challenge is more exhilarating or causes one’s fighting spirit to burn more brightly than a challenge that comes from one’s own initiative.
Those who strive the hardest savor true joy, vitality and fulfillment.
We all have 24 hours a day. How we use that time, though, can make a huge difference in the way the future unfolds. Still water stagnates and a stationary wheel rusts. Constantly moving forward is the key to a bright and hopeful future.
“I’ll fight my hardest, until my frail body collapses, I’ll do my best, until my bones crumble to dust. And I’ll continue, firmly believing that that day will arrive when the golden sun shining in the east will rise high and illuminate the entire sky.”
The Soka Gakkai’s real strength lies in the fact that it is a group of ordinary people joined in spiritual solidarity with Shin’ichi in the lead. The father of Ghanaian independence and the nation’s first president Kwame Nkrumah (1909—72) declared: “There is no force, however formidable, that I a united people cannot overcome.”
Ordinary people, so often consigned to the sidelines of society, had awakened to their role as the emissaries of the Buddha and stood up courageously to carry out their mission of bringing happiness to humanity, uniting firmly in their cause. That is the Soka Gakkai. The Soka Gakkai is not an alliance bound by self-interest; it is a network joined together by noble and joyous life-to-life connections. That’s why it is so strong and invincible.
In the Gakkai, everyone is the president as long as they have firm resolve and are committed to realizing kosen-rufu. That’s what Nichiren Daishonin means when he says that his disciples and lay supporters should transcend all differences among themselves. That spirit itself is the sources of the Gakkai strength.
We who embrace faith in the Mystic Law have nothing to fear. The most important thing is to summon forth the power of faith and practice. Making ‘Daimoku First!’ our byword, let us continue moving forward, living lives of tremendous victory that are centered on vigorous daimoku. In other words, even should we face aneroid in our lives of great misfortune, if we have faith in the Lotus Sutra (the Gohonzon); we have nothing to worry about.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Fighting Sansho Shima
Ivan convinced Chang Long to attend the SD Kenshu.
Chang Long was knocked down by a car in the morning. Admitted into Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Zone Daimokukai was called forth.
A blessing from Gohonzon. He missed hitting a bus by only a metre at most. Would have lost his life if he did so. The lady who was knock down with him passed away.
Had his first operation to control the internal bleeding. Unable to operate on broken bones until the bleeding stops. Curbing pain through morphine.
He roused from his coma in the evening.
His case was reported in the newspapers.
Chang Long had a second operation to control his internal bleeding. Visited him with Ivan. He was resting after the operation. NYPSD called a Daimokukai for him.
Chanted at TBSC. Explained Chang Long situation to the WDs there. Full support for his recovery begins.
Led a team of NYPSD members to visit Chang Long. He was removed from ICU because his internal bleeding had stablised.
Will know the full extend of his bones and spine injury tomorrow.
Shared with him that this accident is a sansho shima towards his participation of the SD Kenshu. Encouraged him to challenge and recover in time for the Kenshu.
Declared this determination of NYPSD and reported to Zone side.
== Will Update again soon. Thank you everyone for sending prayers. ==
Monday, November 27, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
There are many things we can give a friend. But there is nothing that is more precious than to give him hope, to give him a philosophy which can lead him to a happier life.
I recalled my vow at the beginning of the year burning strongly again in my heart.
There is no greater joy than Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. I understood that now.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Beijing Normal University Presents SGI President with His 200th Academic Honor
In a ceremony at Soka University on October 7, Daisaku Ikeda, president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) lay Buddhist organization, was awarded an honorary professorship from Beijing Normal University, bringing to 200 the number of honorary doctorates, professorships and equivalent honors given in recognition of his efforts to promote peace through dialogue, citizen diplomacy and cross-cultural exchange.
Established in 1902, Beijing Normal University is China's oldest teacher training university. In conferring the honorary professorship, the university's highest accolade, Vice President Ge Jianping stated, "Mr. Ikeda has made a profound contribution to the cause of Sino-Japanese friendship. He has traveled tirelessly to spread humanistic education and made great efforts to promote world peace." Professor Ge also mentioned that Mr. Ikeda's pioneering educational ideas are now the focus of scholarly research in China.
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Ikeda called for the strengthening of joint efforts by China and Japan toward protection of the environment as one way of improving relations. He urged the two governments to build on the existing Sino-Japan Friendship Center for Environmental Protection in Beijing and take the first steps in developing a comprehensive environmental partnership that could benefit the whole of Asia over the next 100 years. This would feature the sharing of technology, skills and human resources in order to address issues such as pollution prevention, energy efficiency and environmental education.
The SGI President also commented, "I regard today's honor as a symbol of trust in the members of SGI around the world. I am determined once again to dedicate myself to the construction of world peace and the further promotion of culture and education."
Chinese Minister of Education Zhou Ji sent a congratulatory message stating, "President Ikeda is an old and treasured friend of all the Chinese people who has continuously contributed to Sino-Japanese friendship and educational exchange." Nobel laureates Wangari Maathai and Mikhail Gorbachev and former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi were among others who sent congratulatory messages.
To date, a total of 67 universities in China have awarded honorary doctorates or professorships to Mr. Ikeda. He has repeatedly expressed the view that Japan must work to earn the trust of the countries of Asia which suffered the brutal effects of Japan's militarism during World War II, and was an early proponent of normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan, starting with a proposal made in 1968. He has initiated numerous cultural and educational exchanges as bridges of peace between the two countries.
In 1975, Soka University welcomed the first Chinese exchange students to study in Japan after the normalization of Sino-Japanese relations. Soka University now has exchange programs with 25 universities in China. The Min-On Concert Association, also founded by Mr. Ikeda, has invited 37 cultural groups from China to perform in Japan, and in July this year a 200-strong delegation of youth members of the Soka Gakkai visited China in a regular youth exchange program which began in 1985.
Mr. Ikeda was awarded the first of his 200 academic honors, an honorary doctorate from Moscow State University, in 1975. Since then he has received similar recognitions from universities and academic institutions in 42 countries, including Peking University, the University of Glasgow, the University of Denver, Ankara University, the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, the University of Delhi, the University of Sydney and the University of Ghana.
[Courtesy of an October 10, 2006 SGI Office of Information press release.]