It is said that after Shakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in India, he was confronted by the devil Mara who attempted to sway him from his determined commitment to spread his teachings of universal enlightenment with the people of India and the entire world. Shakyamuni states:
As he sat under the Bodhi tree, Shakyamuni proceeds to expose the many faces that Mara uses to try to trick and deceive other people:
Sensual desire is your first army, the second is called discontent, the third is hunger and thirst, the fourth craving, the fifth sluggishness and laziness, the sixth fear, the seventh indecision, and the eighth disparagement of others and stubbornness.
Next, Mara attempts to dissuade the Buddha from his original purpose using various temptations, obstacles, and challenges:
Finally, Mara attempts to encourage Shakyamuni not to teach his enlightenment to others and declares they would not understand it. Then, Brahma appears in order to encourage Shakyamuni to share this wisdom with the world while Shakyamuni wonders whether or not other people would understand his message. Mara appears one last time and suggests to Shakyamuni:
By dawn under the Bodhi tree, Shakyamuni has defeated the devil Mara. He decides that in order to lead all people to the supreme perfect enlightenment, he will break down his knowledge and wisdom into more manageable chunks of information, in order to guide them to the truth. Shakyamuni uses what is known in Buddhism as “expedient means” or Buddhist parables in order to elucidate the truth. The Buddha’s teachings were transmitted orally at first, and then transcribed in Sanskrit approximately 100 years after the Buddha’s passing. The Buddhist teachings are known collectively as “sutras.”
An Ocean Promenade
If I could I would tell you everything Jim. The way our conversation started reminded me of a puzzle I bought for my niece with a vivid, colorful & elaborate illustration of a carnival at Venice Beach.
His name is Jim & he was wearing a light-colored Tommy Bahama shirt with palm trees on it sitting to my right. I didn’t notice until the drive back that his colorful cruise-line attire was the same brand as my blue and white striped beach umbrella I had bought on sale three years ago at Orchard Supply Hardware. I realized he had coordinated his shirt with my beach umbrella on purpose.
Jim was sitting next to me off to the right under his own beach umbrella. I sat under my blue and white Tommy Bahama umbrella with Savannah and watched passersby. I kept my eyes on the waves directly in front of me and watched Jim’s back from time to time.
Savannah & I went for a short walk until we reached the “big dogs” farther south along Ocean Beach. I almost went swimming in the ocean trying to rescue my sunglasses after they fell into the waves when I was trying to cool off. Savannah acted is if she knew precisely what she was doing at exactly the right time – just like she always does. Somebody should put her in charge next time.
I watched the waves.
I watched the waves at Manresa but all I saw on the water’s surface were a few seabirds and a pelican. I went swimming in the ocean and watched Jim’s white back from a distance. Savannah and I even stopped by his chair to see if he needed anything but he said he didn’t. I went swimming in the ocean one more time. The waves were rough and the water was choppy, but it was a beautiful afternoon and I got to see Jim.
When I first started writing about Ocean Beach, Jim’s suggestion for the title of this post was “Ocean Promenade.” The definition of the word promenade means: a stroll or walk, especially in a public place, as for pleasure or display.We didn’t do much strolling together, but we did manage to get in a few shared memories from the beautiful beaches in Northern California.
Seacliff Beach & Ice Cream
After Manresa we stopped in Aptos at Marianne’s Ice Cream. I ate my ice cream cone and walked toward the beach entrance at the top of the cliff. I saw a beautiful ocean view, and looked at what’s left of the pier and the cement ship half submerged in the water. People were swimming in the waves, and piles and piles of driftwood lay scattered on the beach with a few tepee-style stacks of wood for bonfires later in the evening. I heard someone playing the congos and headed in that direction.
I saw a trumpet player at the top of the steps on the way down to the beach. He had congo drums, his trumpet, and salsa music playing in the background. We had some time, so I walked all the way down the steps, then back up with Savannah. At the top, I stopped again to listen to the trumpet player and I noticed two benches near him, one for me & one for Jim, where we might have sat and enjoyed the ocean view before sunset.
Our next beach trip together will be to get married on the beach in Bali with Savannah in attendance.
– Love, Jennifer
I think it was Socrates who said that having few desires is the path to happiness. The earlier [Hinayana] Buddhist teachings teach the attainment of happiness or enlightenment through the elimination of desire. Although Hinayana Buddhism teaches that earthly desires must be eliminated to attain enlightenment, Mahayana, and particularly the Lotus Sutra, teach that earthly desires are one with and inseparable from enlightenment. The reason is that both are the workings, or expression, of life itself, and thus are the same in their source. Nichiren Daishonin teaches that, when one bases one’s life on Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, earthly desires work naturally for one’s own and others’ happiness. The great power of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, which is inherently positive and creative, directs the great energy of one’s earthly desires toward happiness and value for all. Thus, when one chants the daimoku, “earthly desires are enlightenment.”
Burn the firewood of earthly desires and behold the fire of enlightened wisdom.
– (Gosho Zenshu, p. 710)
In Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, we are encouraged to set goals for ourselves, make a determination, and to pray for what we want to happen in our lives. Our goals might range from a better job, a happy relationship, a new car, or how to make a positive change in our lives so that we are moving in the right direction. The difference is that when we chant to the Gohonzon for the fulfillment of our desires (whatever they may be), we are able to channel our life-energy of earthly desires towards something constructive and positive for our lives, rather than something destructive. While on the surface it may seem like we are praying for superficial or materialistic things, as we continue to chant, over time we gain a better understanding of what types of things we need for ourselves to be truly happy.
Simply put, earthly desires are enlightenment means that we can “burn” our earthly desires through prayer. In the process of chanting about our everyday desires, we become more wise and can learn many life lessons. The goal is not to eliminate desires; it is what one desires that is important.
This I will state. Let the gods forsake me. Let all persecutions assail me. Still I will give my life for the sake of the Law…
Here I will make a great vow. Though I might be offered the rulership of Japan if I would only abandon the Lotus Sutra, accept the teachings of the Meditation Sutra, and look forward to rebirth in the Pure Land, though I might be told that my father and mother will have their heads cut off if I do not recite the Nembutsu – whatever obstacles I might encounter, so long as persons of wisdom do not prove my teachings to be false. I will never yield! All other troubles are no more to me than dust before the wind.
I will be the pillar of Japan. I will be the eyes of Japan. I will be the great ship of Japan. This is my vow, and I will never forsake it!
Two weeks ago I wrote a blog post about Kathy Griffin, Anderson Cooper and CNN. I started a lawsuit file because of the issues surrounding their use of a video camera in Spc 64 and the physical pain I was feeling associated with their use of the camera. I did not give anyone my permission to use my name or image in association with a video camera, with one single exception: Jim Comey.
I think what happened is Jim tried to take the video camera from Anderson Cooper to film himself. Anderson Cooper always had a gun in his left hand [as a threat] that I felt behind my left shoulder blade as one would feel a knot in the muscle. He never dropped the gun and Jim mentioned something to me about the last night I spent at the house in Oxnard. He said he was there.
Jim mentioned something to me about how after that night Patrice Failor had threatened him with his father-in-law, James Whitey Bulger, an Irish-American former organized crime boss of the Winter Hill Gang in Boston, Massachusetts. Failor threatened Jim because she (and many others) didn’t want Jim to go public with the news story of what had happened the last night I spent at the house in Oxnard. Ultimately, I believe Patrice Failor lied to protect Hillary Clinton.
I checked Anderson Cooper’s Wikipedia page, and I noticed that in 2002, he became CNN’s weekend prime-time anchor. Since 2002, he has hosted CNN’s New Year’s Eve special from Times Square. With this timing, it seemed to me that Hillary Clinton, along with Anderson Cooper, Patrice Failor and CNN decided to use Anderson Cooper as the “media magnet” in order to protect themselves and each other, and to either lie about the truth or bury it. When Hillary Clinton’s time was up at Spc 64 she behaved like the monstrous evil terrorist she really is.