"The earth is beautiful. If you start living its beauty, enjoying its joy with no guilt in your heart, you are in paradise. If you condemn everything, every small joy, then the same earth turns into a hell. It is the question of your own inner transformation. It is not a change of place; it is change of inner space.
Live joyously, guiltlessly, live totally live intensely. And then heaven is no more metaphysical concept, it is your own experience"
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
BASIC CONCEPTS AND PRINCIPLES OF NICHIREN BUDDHISM
The prime concern of Buddhism is our life-condition, the joy or suffering we experience at each moment. This is always seen as an interaction between external conditions and inner tendencies; the same conditions (the same workplace, for example) that might be experienced by one person as unremitting misery may be a source of exhilarating challenge and satisfaction for another. Strengthening our inner state so that we are able to resist and even transform the most difficult and negative conditions is the purpose of Buddhist practice.
Based on his reading of the Lotus Sutra, the sixth-century Chinese Budhhist T’ien T’ai developed a system that classifies human experience into ten states or “worlds”. The concept was adopted and elaborated by Nichiren Daishonin, who stressed the inner, subjective nature of these worlds.
Each of us proposes the potential for all ten worlds and we shift from one world to other according to our life state and our interaction with the environment.
The ten Worlds, in order from the least to the most desirable, are :
Saturday, October 25, 2014
“We can all learn how to tap the highest potential of our lives, to create value each day, each moment. As we can’t avoid sufferings, our only choice is to overcome them and live joyfully and vigorously while we do so. No matter how unpleasant the circumstances we find ourselves in, we can transform them into hope and good fortune.
The secret to leading a fulfilling life is living based on the life philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism. Resolute faith is the best means for drawing out one’s inner potential and ensuring that we win each day.”
Happiness is not a life without problems, but rather the strength to overcome the problems that come our way. There is no such thing as a problem-free life; difficulties are unavoidable. The manner in which we experience and react to our problems depends on us. Buddhism teaches that we are each responsible for our own happiness or unhappiness. Our vitality – the amount of energy or “life-force” we have – is in fact the single most important factor in determining whether or not we are happy. We can never find happiness if we don’t challenge our weaknesses and change from within.
The practice of nichiren Buddhism empowers us to increase our life force overcome our weaknesses, face our problems, transform our karma, enrich the quality of our lives and become happier people.
“If you want to understand the causes that existed in the past, look at the results as they are manifested in the present. And if you want to understand what results will be manifested in the future, look at the causes that exist in the present.”
Basics of Buddhism
The idea that every human being is born with the ability to become happy is not new. Gautama Buddha taught this principle more than 2500 years ago. He realized that all human beings possess the potential for enlightenment – or Buddhahood – in the depths of their lives. He preached various sutras to help people actualize that potential. After Gautama Buddha’s death, different schools of Buddhism based on based on different sutras arose, with Hinayana and Mahayana emerging as the two key streams.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Our life is frittered away by detail …… simplify, simplify!
Somewhere in the woods along the shores of Walden Pond an owl screeched, and far off another answered. The moon was bright, the water still as glass. Henry Thoreau sat in the moon filled doorway of his shack, looking out across the stillness and brightness of the lake. “this is the spot I love above all other on earth” he thought.
Here, in the quiet and peace of Walden Woods, a man could live simply and deliberately – shearing off all the unessentials and getting down to the basic truths of life. Here, in the solitude, living close to nature, a man could examine his ideas, think things through, and perhaps come to some reasonable conclusion about the meaning and purpose of life.
He turned back to the open notebook on his knees and read the last few words he had written : “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation …. “
A squirrel came stealthily from the woods and sat watching him, wide-eyed and friendly. All above him were the soft, gentle sounds of nature, stirring, whispering, ushering in the night.
“I am convinced from experience that to maintain oneself on this earth is not a hardship but a pastime, if we will live simply and wisely . . . Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. . . "
WITH MALICE TOWARDS NONE, WITH CHARITY FOR ALL….
The fourth of March, 1865, stated out to be dull and rainy. But later in the day it cleared; and it turned out to be pleasant after all for the President Abraham Lincoln’s second inauguration.
The streets were filled with milling crowds of people, with cavalry patrols and police. The inauguration platform had been built on the east front of the Capitol; and here there was a vast sea of humanity, stretching as far as the eye could see, filling the great plaza and flooding out into the grounds beyond. As the President appeared and took his place on the platform, a tremendous roar swept the crowd, rolling back like thunder to outer edges, loud and prolonged.
Abraham Lincoln had not expected such an ovation. He has not, in fact, expected to be re-elected at all. No man in American history had been so hated and reviled, so bitterly denounced, as he had been these past four years. They had been difficult years- years of great struggle and suffering, of agony and bloodshed. He had taken over the leadership of the country at a time of grave crisis, and had given his best efforts to maintaining and preserving the Union – the only thing that really mattered.
But he had been misunderstood, condemned, humiliated in public and in private, assailed alike by friend and foe. One newspaper had called him “the obscene ape of Illinois.” Horace Greeley had written an editorial demanding his withdrawal in favour of another candidate, declaring : Mr. Lincoln is already beaten. He can never be elected.” His life had been threatened over and over again. Even today, though every precautions had been taken, he knew there were many who feared for his safety.
No, he had not expected to be re-elected… not even with the high tide of the confederacy broken and victory at last in sight. With Grant’s vise closing on Lee, and Sherman moving up from the south, it was clear the war was almost over. But he felt no elation, either at the recent victories in the war or his unexpected victory at the polls. He saw the hand of God in both these events and was humbly grateful for the chance now given him to complete his great task. He harbored no resentments, had no slightest wish for retaliation against those who had cruelly slandered and abused him. He had one interest only : to conciliate the rebellious states and to rebuild the Union he had sworn to preserve.
The great crowd fell silent as he stepped forward to make his address. The sun, which had been obscured all day, suddenly burst through the clouds and flooded the scene with brightness. He spoke slowly and clearly, his voice vibrant with emotion, aware of the great importance of this moment and the potential influence of his words on the nation.
“On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war …. All knew that slavery was, somehow the cause of the war. …Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it had already attained … Each looked for an easier triumph … Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other… .. it may seem strange that any man should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not, that we be not judged… The Almighty has His own purposes…… “
Thursday, October 16, 2014
To err is human; to forgive is divine.
… Allexander Pope
You must forgive those who transgress against you before you can look to forgiveness from above.
Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.
… The Lord’s Prayer
Life is short and we have not too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark way with us. Oh, be swift to love! Make haste to be kind!
… Henri F. Amiel
Life is too short to be little.
… Benjamin Disraeli
There are many fine things which you mean to do some day, under what you think will be more favourable circumstances. But the only time that is surely yours is the present, hence this is the time to speak the word of appreciation and sympathy, to do the generous deed, to forgive the fault of a thoughtless friend, to sacrifice self a little more for others. Today is the day in which to express your noblest qualities of mind and heart, to do at least one worthy thing which you have long postponed, and to use your God-given abilities for the enrichment of some less fortunate fellow traveler. Today you can make your life . . . . significant and worth while. The present is yours to do with it as you will.
In this life, if you have anything to pardon, pardon quickly. Slow forgiveness is little better than no forgiveness.
… Sir Arthur W. Pinero
Around the corner I have a friend,
In this great city that has no end;
Yet days go by, and weeks rush on,And before I know it a year is gone,
And I never see my old friend’s face,
For life is a swift and terrible race.
He knows I like him just as well
As in the days when I rang his bell
And he rang mine. We were younger then,
And now we are busy, tired men:
Tired with playing a foolish game,
Tired with trying to make a name.
“Tomorrow” I say, ‘I will call him Jim,
Just to show that I am thinking of him.”
But tomorrow comes – and tomorrow goes,
And the distance between us grows and grows.
Around the corner – yet miles away . . .
“Here’s a telegram, Sir . . .
“ Jim died today.”
And that’s what we get, and deserve in the end :
Around the corner, a vanished friend.
….. Charles Hanson Towne
As usual, the great church was filled. Phillips Brooks faced the enormous, hushed congregation as he had so many times before, Sunday after Sunday—the expectant, well-dressed congregation waiting for his weekly message.
He looked into the faces of men and women he long had known, men and women who had come to him with their problems, who had asked for his help and guidance. How well he knew what seethed behind the pleasant, smiling masks of their Sunday-best respectability! How well he knew the petty spites that embittered their hearts, the animosities that set neighbor against neighbor, the silly quarrels that were kept alive, he jealousies and misunderstanding, the stubborn pride.
Today his message was for those bitter, unbending ones who refused to forgive and forget. He must make them realize that life is too short to nurse grievances, to harbor grudges and resentments. He would plead for tolerance and understanding, for sympathy and kindness. He would plead for brotherly love.
“Oh, my dear friends!” he said… and it was as though he spoke to each separately and alone :
“You who are letting miserable misunderstanding run on from year to year, meaning to clear them up some day ;
You who are keeping wretched quarrels alive because you cannot quite make up your mind that now is the day to sacrifice your pride and kill them;
You who are passing men sullenly upon the street, not speaking to them out of some silly spite, and yet knowing that it would fill you with shame and remorse if you heard that one of those men were dead tomorrow morning;
You who are letting your neighbor starve, till you hear that he is dying of starvation;
Or letting your friend’s heart ache for a word of appreciation or sympathy, which you mean to give him someday; if you only could know and see and feel, all of a sudden, that “the time is short,” how it would break the spell! How you would go instantly and do the thing which you might never have another chance to do.”
Monday, October 13, 2014
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labour and to wait.
It was early morning. The bright sun streamed through the windows of the Craigie house on Cambridge where George Washington has once had his headquarters, and where a young Harvard Professor now lived. He lived, in fact, in the very room that Washington had occupied. And as the stood gazing out of the window at the sloping lawn and the elms, he wondered if Washington might not have stood here once feeling perhaps as he did- unutterably lonely and dejected.
The young man’s wife had died three years ago, but he longed for her still. Time has not softened his grief or eased the torment of his memories. He turned restlessly from the window and wondered how to spend the time before breakfast.
He was a poet too; this young professor; but he had no heart for poetry these days. He had no heart for anything. It seemed, Life had become an empty dream.
But this could not go on, he told himself! He was letting the days slip by, nursing his despondency. Life was not an empty dream! He must be up and doing. Let the dead past bury its dead….
Suddenly Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was writing in a surge of inspiration, the lines coming almost too quickly for his racing pen :
A PSALM OF LIFE
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream! –
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead past bury its dead!
Act, - act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!
Lives of great men all reminds us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate,
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
All who call on God in true faith,
earnestly from the heart will certainly be heard,
and will receive what they have asked and desired.
…… Martin Luther
All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Ask, and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find,
Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
The sovereign cure for worry is prayer.
….. William James.
Prayer is not only worship; it is also an invisible emanation of man’s worshiping spirit- the most powerful form of energy that one can generate. The influence of prayer on the human mind and body is as demonstrable as that of a secreting glands. Its results can be measured in terms of increased physical buoyancy, greater intellectual vigor, moral stamina, and a deeper understanding of the realities underlying human relationships.
If you make a habit of sincere prayer, your life will be very noticeably and profoundly altered. Prayer stamps with its indelible mark on our actions and demeanor. A tranquility of bearing a facial and bodily repose, are observed in those whose inner lives are thus enriched. Within the depths of consciousness a flame kindle. And man sees himself. He discovers his selfishness, his silly pride, his fears, his greeds, his blunders. He develops a sense of moral obligation intellectual humility. Thus begins a journey of soul towards the realm of grace.
Prayer is a force as real as terrestrial gravity. As a physician I have seen men, after all other therapy has failed, lifted out of disease and melancholy by the serene effort of prayer. It is the only power in the world that seems to overcome the so called “Laws of Nature”; the occasions on which prayer has dramatically done this have been termed as “miracle”. But a constant quieter miracle takes place hourly in the hearts of men and women who have discovered that prayer supplies them with a steady flow of sustaining power in their daily lives.
Too many people regard prayer as a formalized routine of works, a refuge for weaklings, or a childish petition for mental things. We sadly undervalue prayer when we conceive it in the terms, just as we should underestimate rain by describing it as something that fills the bird bath in our garden. Properly understood, prayer is a mature activity indispensible to the fullest development of personality – the ultimate integration of man’s highest facilities. Only in prayer do we achieve that complete and harmonious assembly of body mind and spirit which gives the frail human reed its unshakable strength.
By : Alexis Carrel
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
CALMNESS of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self-control. Its presence is an indication of ripened experience, and of a more than ordinary knowledge of the laws and operations of thought.
A man becomes calm in the measure that he understands himself as a thought evolved being, for such knowledge necessitates the understanding of others as the results of thought, and as he develops a right understanding, and sees more and more clearly the internal relations of things by the action of cause and effect he ceases to fuss and fume and worry and grieve, and remains poised, steadfast, serene.
The calm man, having learned how to govern himself, knows how to adapt himself to others; and they, in turn, reverence his spiritual strength, and feel that they can learn of him and relay upon him. The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Even the ordinary trader will find his business prosperity increase as he develops a greater self-control and equanimity, for people will always prefer to deal with a man whose demeanour is strongly equable.
The strong, calm man is always loved and revered. He is like a shade-giving tree in a thirsty land, or a sheltering rock in a storm. “Who does not love a tranquil heart, a sweet-tempered, balanced life? It does not matter whether it rains or shines, or what changes come to those possessing these blessings, for they are always sweet, serene, and calm. That exquisite poise of character, which we call serenity is the last lesson of the culture, the fruitage of the soul. It is precious as wisdom, more to be desired than gold-yea, than even fine gold. How insignificance mere money seeking looks in comparison with a serene life- a life that dwells in the ocean of Truth, beneath the waves, beyond the reach of tempests, in the Eternal Calm!
“How many people we know who sour their lives, who ruin all that sweet and beautiful by explosive tempers, who destroy their poise of character, and make bad blood! It is a question whether the great majority of people do not ruin their lives and mar their happiness by lack of self control. How few people we meet in life who are well balanced, who have that exquisite poise which is characteristic of the finished character!
Yes, humanity surges with uncontrolled passion, is tumultuous with ungoverned grief, is blown about by anxiety and doubt only the wise man, only he whose thoughts are controlled and purified, makes the winds and the storms of the soul obey him.
Tempest-tossed souls, wherever ye may be, under whatsoever conditions ye may live, know this in the ocean of life the isles of Blessedness are smiling, and the sunny shore of your ideal awaits your coming. Keep your hand firmly upon the helm of thought. In the bark of your soul reclines the Commanding Master; Calmness is Power. Say unto your heart, “Peace, be still!”
By : James Allen; He was a philosophical writer of British nationality known for his inspirational books and poetry. This a collection from his best known work, As a Man Thinketh, was mass produced since its publication in 1903 and has provided a key source of ideas to countless best-selling motivational and self-help authors of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.