One aspect of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism and practicing with the SGI that I’ve always loved is the teaching that “the heart is most important.” I often think of this in terms of sincerity, especially in our relationships with other people. People can usually sense our sincerity (or insincerity) when we speak with them. Are we deceitful or sarcastic when approaching colleagues, friends and family? Or do we make an effort to convey our concern and appreciation? SGI President Ikeda says that sincere dialogue is the best way to reach other people’s hearts.
Daisaku Ikeda writes:
In Chinese and Japanese, the same characters can be translated into English as either “heart” or “mind.” That is because they contain elements of both intellect and emotion. For example, being “of the same mind as Nichiren” does not mean having undergone the same education or possessing the same degree of intelligence. Rather, mind here indicates determination and faith. Similarly, “it is the heart that is important” should not be read as referring to emotion alone, exclusive of thought or wisdom. Heart, in this case, indicates intent, similar to a sincere desire or vow.
Learning from the Writings: The Hope-Filled Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin. SGI President Ikeda’s Lecture Series p. 137
All too often, people’s hearts become closed off or hardened towards others. Whatever challenges they may have faced in life became too difficult to withstand and their hearts succumbed to disappointment, anger, frustration or loneliness. Other people’s hearts are filled with nothing but the desire for wealth, fame or material possessions. Many more fall prey to addiction.
If we are able to strengthen our hearts or minds with courage and confidence, we will be that much more capable of encouraging others along the way.
The water along the far canal looked the same avocado-green color it always did. I saw the same small tufts of mud and weeds along the shoreline. It was a windy day, but the water shimmered only slightly in the late afternoon sunlight. The long cattail reeds swayed softly before us.
Nothing about the view from our favorite bench had changed during the past 24 hours, during the past week, or even during the past 15 years. Yet somehow, this late afternoon passing into evening seemed different.
This nightmare still isn’t over yet. I keeping hoping the end will come soon, but I still hear the screaming and yelling around me. I had a nice walk with Savannah this morning, but I was so upset from last night, that I think I exhausted myself. My husband and I are still not able to really talk to each other about this, and some days it bothers me more than others.
Sometimes I think that no one has any idea what I go through on a daily basis. Probably because I’ve never actually spoken to anyone about what it is like – at least not at any length. I get angry because it doesn’t seem like anyone cares enough to talk to me about it. Every day I make an effort and try not to listen or pay attention to the voices of S and the others that I hear (both inside and outside my head). I make a conscious effort to tune them out, but often their constant babbling and screaming is infuriating.
Hearing their voices in my head, combined with the harassment and the fact that they follow me where ever I go (along with large numbers of other people) makes for a bizarre, surreal reality. The fact that no one will talk to me about this situation makes it all that much worse. I constantly wonder how this person is allowed to remain on the streets and continue behaving in this horrific manner. The situation is very disturbing – it is certainly beyond belief.
In a letter written to one of his followers, Nichiren Daishonin writes:
It is rare to be born a human being. The number of those endowed with human life is as small as the amount of earth one can place on a fingernail. Life as a human being is hard to sustain – as hard as it is for the dew to remain on the grass. But it is better to live a single day with honor than to live to 120 and die in disgrace.
“The Three Kinds of Treasure,” WND-1, 851
SGI President Ikeda states: “A long life is not necessarily a good life. What matters is what we leave behind, what kind of value we create and how many people we help become happy.”
Living Buddhism, July 2015 p. 61
I’ve been somewhat at a loss for “words” lately and haven’t been motivated to post to this blog. I stated that I would announce on this blog the day S & the few remaining monstrous crazy people leave. As of this writing, they are all still here.
I’ve developed a fairly consistent daily routine that involves chanting and walking my dog Savannah in the mornings, along with housecleaning, yard work, writing and SundanceKid Press work in the afternoons. My husband comes home from work and we exercise, eat dinner, watch a little tv and get ready for the next day. Not too exciting, and other than the fact that a bunch of crazy people follow me around where ever I go, my life would be fairly quiet.
Last night at our Buddhist discussion meeting we talked about the state of Buddhahood or enlightenment. Buddha is a Sanskrit word meaning “enlightened one. People (myself included) often perceive the attainment of Buddhahood or enlightenment as an end point or something outside oneself. Instead, enlightenment is a state of life we bring forth from within our own lives. It already exists in our life, and in Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, we chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo to bring forth this enlightened state of life. SGI President Ikeda states:
A Buddha is not a superhuman being. One who has attained this state continues to experience problems, suffering and pain, and is still subject to illness and to temptation by devilish forces. For that reason, a Buddha is a person of courage, tenacity and continuous action who struggles ceaselessly against devilish functions.
Living Buddhism, July 2015 p. 55
Last night we talked about Buddhahood. What is Buddhahood? What does Buddhahood look like? For me, Buddhahood is many things – hope, courage, a great attitude, the never-give-up spirit, living an undefeated life, wisdom, compassion, strength, empowerment, joy, perseverance and so much more. Buddhahood isn’t a destination we arrive at someday, it’s a state of life that we work hard to achieve by making a continued effort.
My life certainly isn’t devoid of pain and suffering, problems and obstacles, and neither is anyone else’s. Even on the day this nightmare ends and everyone is gone, I will still continue to fight for my own happiness and for the happiness of those around me.
The entire universe is the stage of a colossal struggle-a struggle between constructive and destructive forces, between the energy toward order and harmony, and the turbulent currents leading to disorder and chaos, between the power of compassion that unites, and the power of hate that sunders, between life and death, light and darkness, happiness and misery, advance and retreat, rise and fall, freedom and constraint, hope and despair, the energy to nuture life and the impulse to kill.
Living Buddhism, July 2015 p. 53
As they say (and I don’t know where this statement originated from), I’m here “fighting the good fight.” Or as they say in the Dominican Republic, “aquí estamos, en la lucha.”
Over the past few years, especially since my husband and I moved back to Sunnyvale from Gilroy, there have been many, many hundreds (if not thousands) of people who have not only been adversely affected by this situation, but who have also contributed their time or made an effort to help bring an end to this horrible nightmare. Obviously I cannot name or list these people, but, generally speaking, I am referring to the people who either work at or frequent the same places that I do.
Many of the employees at the Sunnyvale Water Pollution Control Plant on Borregas Avenue became involved (through no choice of their own) due to the fact that I walk my dog along the plant’s surrounding trails almost every day of the week. The retail stores in the Santa Clara County that I visit regularly have had to develop a system for managing the drug addicts and drug dealers that follow me everywhere, as well as the screaming and yelling from S out in the parking lot. Their group presents a public threat as well as a public nuisance to anyone and everyone who happens to be in the vicinity. Nevermind the constant drug abuse and drug dealing they are always a part of. The largest burden has fallen on the stores I frequent the most often: Safeway, 24 Hour Fitness, Target, and PetSmart, but also includes all the coffee shops, veterinary clinics, bookstores, and every other store or shop I have ever been to over the past 7-8 years. Kaiser Permanente (particularly in Santa Clara) has also been forced to deal with this disaster, as this is where I go for doctor’s visits and medications. The effects of this U.S. government-led nightmare are truly incomprehensible. I believe the American public deserves an explanation – the truth.
Nevermind the insidious effects this situation has had on my own life over the past 13+ years. How I’ve managed to deal with their constant harassment, their threats, their insane behavior and having to constantly hear their sickening voices in my head, I’m sure I’ll never know. Must be my Buddhist chanting. Over the years, my husband, my therapists and I worked on developing a variety of methods to distract myself from their voices. For some reason, one or two of them are always babbling. Especially S. He babbles on and on, or screams and yells at no one in particular. No one is listening or paying attention. Yet they all babble on mindlessly. I hear their voices virtually all the time, unless I’m asleep. Even when I wake up in the middle of the night, they wake up too and start babbling away. Truly insane. I will be so happy when they are all gone. What a relief it will be.
I never did discover what it was that allowed me to hear their voices (and only their voices) in my head. I always knew the voices I could hear in my head were the voices of real people. People somewhere nearby. I was just never able to convince anyone else. Eventually I realized that other people could also hear them, but only when they were yelling or speaking loud enough and were close enough to be heard by the human ear. I think my brain must be picking up their voices on a different wavelength. A wavelength that no one else can hear – kind of like dogs. Dogs can hear the high-pitched dog whistles that humans can’t hear because they can’t hear on that frequency. Maybe it is similar.
Why this happened, why I only hear their voices in my head and no one else’s I am not entirely sure. I know there must be a reason. Something like this wouldn’t have happened without a reason. I’ve left it up to my faith.