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Chanting Growers Group

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PassTheDoobie

Bodhisattva of the Earth
ICMag Supporter
From memory lane...(we're always thinking about you always)

It was cold, rainy and foggy ALL fucking day, the drive took 2 hours extra because of traffic, THEN we took a wrong turn on the highway and the closest exit was 25 miles one way. and to top it all off we got one hell of a fender bender at Friendly's .... atleast 500$ damage. but for some reason, showing up late and rain soaked made it that much better.
This marks my 14th meeting and out of all of them ive never felt so much warmth in all my life. everyone there automatically knew who i was and that i was recieving gohonzon today. we started it off with a 45minute gonyo, and imediately went onto my gohonzon recieval, which they really sprung on me. i had no idea what to do when they told me to give my experiance in front of 50 strangers. how do you tell 4 dozen people that youve never known before that you learned about buddhism on a pothead website?!? so i started off telling them all about my teen life, being in and out of clinics, hospitals and juvinial detention for drug abuse, and how i discovered this wonderful website (you shoulda seen the faces) i told them about PTD and SoCal (no naming of course) and how you guys got ahold of my discrict leader, socal.... all my love and respect to you man, along with ptd, babba, easy, hitman, and everyone else out there who ever helped me or gave me any encouragment. Then i proceeded telling how chanting really did change my life in a COMPLETE 180. they say the higher the mountain the better the view, WELL ITS TRUE!!!!! i wouldnt trade this feeling for all the dope in the world, i ended with that and was greeted by everyone in the room standing up and clapping for about a solid minute. :yoinks: what a long damned minute that was.
That was followed by other peoples experiences, shakubuku's, regular meeting stuff. and then the leader stood up, looked right at me and said.. "time to lead gongyo always"
fuck!! i was stumbling on chairs making my way up to the front, i could barely even get past the second page, but for some reason i looked at the gohonzon and read it slowly and steadily and didint do bad at all. i think i mispronounced like 5 words total. even know i cant beleive i did that.

and now for my first possible shakubuku.....
this morning, my ex girlfriend who i havnt spoken to in over 3 months messaged me on myspace saying how she needed to talk to me relaly bad, (this was before i went to get gohonzon) i messaged back "im doing fine, i know of 3 methadone clinics in this area, ill get you the numbers if you want"
you have to understand this girl broke my heart, in a really evil way.. but i did feel bad for saying that to her afterwards. it was bugging me all day. after i got back from the meeting, there was another message from her saying bassicaly the same thing..... but this time she included the word buddhism. wierd shit eh? i guess im gona meet her tomorow and try to clean her up. if anyone has any advise.. please im very in need, shes stubborn as hell, and has an extremely addictive personality.
anyway thats it.
if buddhism works for me... the biggest synical, pesimistic atheist on earth it WILL work for you. just give it a try.
HERES TO KOSEN RUFU!
nammyohorengekyo
-always
 

PassTheDoobie

Bodhisattva of the Earth
ICMag Supporter
The Daishonin states, "(In this age as well,) it is not one's allies but one's powerful enemies who assist one's progress."* There is absolutely nothing that we, the mentor and disciple who strive together for justice and truth, need be afraid of. Let's muster up our courage and continue to advance, overcoming all obstacles and challenges that might confront us!

Daisaku Ikeda

*"The Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra" - WND-I, page 770
 

PassTheDoobie

Bodhisattva of the Earth
ICMag Supporter
"There is a treasured maxim in Malaysia that expresses an inspiring wisdom: “Hendak seribu daya, tak hendak seribu dalih. (When one truly seeks to achieve something, thousandfold power will arise; when one fails to do so, a thousand excuses will be found.)”

"In life, those who continue to seek and learn throughout their lives will always emerge victorious. It is a sad thing to give in to defeat."


SGI Newsletter No. 7732, On Feb. 24th, 2009, Open University Malaysia (OUM) bestowed an honorary degree of Doctor of Arts (Humanities) on SGI President Ikeda - Acceptance Speech, Unlocking a Future of Hope for Global Society, from the Feb 25th, 2009, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, translated March 11th, 2009
 

PassTheDoobie

Bodhisattva of the Earth
ICMag Supporter
Where the hell is Hitman?

En-light? SoCal? Bonzo? Wilson?

We send our prayers and good wishes to all! Trusting growth and compassionate protection are getting you where you need to go. Be safe and know you are loved and have friends that look forward to hearing from you again soon!!!

LET'S ALL CHANT MORE DAIMOKU!

Deep respect,

Thomas
 

PassTheDoobie

Bodhisattva of the Earth
ICMag Supporter
Wisdom

Wisdom

A Buddha is characterized as a person of profound wisdom. The idea of wisdom is core to Buddhism. But wisdom can be a vague and elusive concept, hard to define and harder to find. How does one become wise? Is wisdom something that we can actively develop, or must we merely wait to grow wiser as we grow older? Perhaps it is because wisdom is such an indistinct concept that it has lost value as a relevant ideal in modern society, which has instead come to place great store in information and the attainment of knowledge.

Josei Toda, second president of the Soka Gakkai, characterized the confusion between knowledge and wisdom as one of the major failings of modern society.

His critique is starkly demonstrated in the astonishing progress of technology in the last century. While scientific and technological development has shown only a mixed record of alleviating human suffering, it has triumphed remarkably in its ability and efficiency in unleashing death and destruction.

Toda likened the relationship between knowledge and wisdom to that between a pump and water. A pump that does not bring forth water (knowledge without wisdom) is of little use.

This is not to deny the importance of knowledge. But knowledge can be utilized to generate both extreme destructiveness and profound good.

Wisdom is that which directs knowledge toward good--toward the creation of value.

Buddhist teachings, such as the concept of the five kinds of wisdom, describe and analyze in detail the dynamics of wisdom and how it manifests at different levels of our consciousness.

When wisdom is functioning in our life, it has the effect of enabling us to overcome the ingrained perspectives of our habitual thinking and arrive at a fresh and holistic view of a given situation. We are able to make a broad assessment of facts, perceive the essence of an issue and steer a sure course toward happiness.

Buddhism also likens wisdom to a clear mirror that perfectly reflects reality as it is. What is reflected in this mirror of wisdom is the interrelatedness and interdependence of our life with all other life. This wisdom dispels our delusions of separateness and awakens in us a sense of empathetic equality with all living things.

The term "Buddha" describes a person who freely manifests this inherent wisdom. And what causes this wisdom to well forth in our lives is compassion.

Buddhism sees the universe, and life itself, as an embodiment of compassion--the interweaving of the "threads" of interdependent phenomena, giving rise to and nurturing life in all its wonderful and varied manifestations.

It teaches that the purpose of human life is to be an active participant in the compassionate workings of the universe, enriching and enhancing life's creative dynamism.

Therefore, it is when we act with compassion that our life is brought into accord with the universal life force and we manifest our inherent wisdom. The action of encouraging and sharing hope with others awakens us to a larger, freer identity beyond the narrow confines of our ego. Wisdom and compassion are thus inseparable.

Central to Buddhist practice is self-mastery, the effort to "become the master of one's mind." This idea implies that the more profoundly we strive to develop an altruistic spirit, the more the wisdom of the Buddha is aroused within us and the more powerfully we can, in turn, direct all things--our knowledge, our talents and the unique particularities of our character--to the end of creating happiness for ourselves and others.

Speaking at Tribhuvan University in Nepal in 1995, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda commented, "To be master of one's mind means to cultivate the wisdom that resides in the inner recesses of our lives, and which wells forth in inexhaustible profusion only when we are moved by a compassionate determination to serve humankind, to serve people."

If human history is to change and be redirected from division and conflict toward peace and an underlying ethic of respect for the sanctity of all life, it is human beings themselves who must change. The Buddhist understanding of compassionate wisdom can serve as a powerful basis for such a transformation.

[Courtesy January 2003 SGI Quarterly]
 

PassTheDoobie

Bodhisattva of the Earth
ICMag Supporter
On Prolonging One's Life Span / WND pg.954

On Prolonging One's Life Span / WND pg.954

There are two types of illness: minor and serious. Early treatment by a skilled physician can cure even serious illnesses, not to mention minor ones. Karma also may be divided into two categories: fixed and unfixed. Sincere repentance will eradicate even fixed karma, to say nothing of karma that is unfixed. The seventh volume of the Lotus Sutra states, "This sutra provides good medicine for the (1) ills of the people of Jambudvipa." These words can be found in no other sutra. All the sacred teachings of Shakyamuni's lifetime are the golden words of the Thus Come One; for countless kalpas, they have never contained the slightest falsehood. The Lotus Sutra is the truth of all truths taught by the Buddha, for it includes his declaration of "honestly discarding expedient (2) means." Many Treasures Buddha confirmed the truth of the Lotus Sutra, and all the other Buddhas lent their tongues in testimony. How, then, could it be false? Moreover, this sutra contains the greatest of all secrets. It tells of a woman who suffers from illness in the last five-hundred-year period of the twenty-five hundred years following the Buddha's passing.

King Ajatashatru broke out in virulent sores all over his body on the fifteenth day of the second month of his fiftieth year. Not even the skills of the great physician Jivaka were enough to cure him. It was fated that he would die on the seventh day of the third month and fall into the great citadel of the hell of incessant suffering. All the pleasures of his fifty years suddenly vanished, and the sufferings of an entire lifetime were gathered into twenty-one days. His death was predetermined by his fixed karma. But then the Buddha reiterated the teaching of the Lotus Sutra, entitling it the Nirvana Sutra and conferring it on the king. The king immediately recovered from his illness, and the grave offenses that had burdened his heart vanished like dew-drops.

More than fifteen hundred years after the Buddha passed away, there lived (3) a man [in China] called Ch'en Chen. It was prophesied that he would die at the age of fifty, but by following the Great Teacher T'ien-t'ai, he was able to prolong his life by fifteen years and lived to be sixty-five. Bodhisattva Never Disparaging also transformed his fixed karma and prolonged his life through his practice of the Lotus Sutra. The sutra says, "His life span was (4) increased." The persons mentioned above were men, not women, but they prolonged their lives by practicing the Lotus Sutra. Ch'en Chen lived before the last five-hundred-year period, so his change of karma was as extraordinary as rice ripening in winter or chrysanthemums blossoming in summer. In this age, it is as natural for a woman to change her fixed karma by practicing the Lotus Sutra as it is for rice to ripen in fall or chrysanthemums to bloom in winter.

When I prayed for my mother, not only was her illness cured, but her life was prolonged by four years. Now you too have fallen ill, and as a woman, it is all the more timely for you to establish steadfast faith in the Lotus Sutra and to see what it will do for you. In addition, you can go to Nakatsukasa Saburo Saemon-no-jo [Shijo Kingo], who is not only an excellent physician but a votary of the Lotus Sutra.

Life is the most precious of all treasures. Even one extra day of life is worth more than ten million ryo of gold. The Lotus Sutra surpasses all the other sacred teachings of the Buddha's lifetime because of the "Life Span" chapter. The greatest prince in the land of Jambudvipa would be of less consequence than a blade of grass if he died in childhood. If he died young, even a person whose wisdom shone as brilliantly as the sun would be less than a living dog. So you must hasten to accumulate the treasure of faith and quickly conquer your illness.

I could ask Shijo Kingo on your behalf, but, while some people would prefer to be approached by an intermediary, others may feel it reflects a lack of earnestness on the part of the individual concerned. It is extremely difficult to fathom another person's mind. I have experienced such difficulties on several occasions. Shijo Kingo is one who would feel offended if the request came from anyone but the person directly concerned, so in his case, it would not be advisable for me to intercede. Just ask his assistance yourself, frankly and sincerely, without an intermediary. When he came to see me in the tenth month of last year, he told me how grieved he was about your illness. He said that you were probably not overly concerned then because your illness was not yet serious, but that it would surely become critical by the first or second month of this year. His words deeply saddened me. He also said that Toki depends on you as a staff to lean on and a pillar for support. He was very concerned about you. He is a man who never gives in to defeat and who greatly values his friends.

If you are unwilling to make efforts to heal yourself, it will be very difficult to cure your illness. One day of life is more valuable than all the treasures of the major world system, so first you must muster sincere faith. This is the meaning of the passage in the seventh volume of the Lotus Sutra that states that burning a finger as an offering to the Buddha and the Lotus Sutra is better than donating all the treasures of (5) the major world system. A single life is worth more than the major world system. You still have many years ahead of you, and moreover you have encountered the Lotus Sutra. If you live even one day longer, you can accumulate that much more benefit. How truly precious your life is!

Write down your name and age yourself and send your messenger with it to me so that I can pray to the gods (6) of the sun and moon. Your son Iyo-bo is also extremely worried about you, so he will offer the recitation of the verse section of the "Life Span" chapter to those gods.

Respectfully,

Nichiren

Reply to the lay nun

Background

Nichiren Daishonin sent this letter in 1279 to the lay nun Toki, the wife of Toki Jonin, whom she had married after her first husband died. When Toki Jonin became a lay priest, she became a lay nun, calling herself Myojo (Wonderful Eternity).

This letter explains the principle of changing karma or destiny. Buddhism characterizes karma as either fixed or unfixed, depending on whether the time when one is to receive the reward or retribution from that karma is fixed. Both types may be either good or bad. Unfixed karma has a weaker influence and can be overridden through simple effort. Fixed karma is more deeply rooted and harder to change. It is the determining force of the basic tendency of one's life. Fixed karma may also be interpreted as karma whose effects are destined to appear at a fixed time (Ajatashatru, for example, was destined to die on the seventh day of the third month).

While Buddhist scriptures describe a variety of causes of karma, the Daishonin's Buddhism teaches that the deepest causes are one's support or slander of the Mystic Law. These causes lie deep within one's life, beyond the ability to sense or conceive. Nevertheless, On Prolonging One's Life Span asserts positively that strong faith and sincere repentance can change even fixed karma.

Notes

1. Lotus Sutra, chap. 23.
2. Ibid., chap. 2.
3. Ch'en Chen (n.d.) was an elder brother of T'ien-t'ai and a general of the Ch'en
dynasty.
4. Lotus Sutra, chap. 20.
5. This statement is based on a passage in chapter 23 of the Lotus Sutra.
6. Iyo-bo is another name for Nitcho (1252¬-1317), one of the Daishonin's six senior priest-disciples. He was either Toki Jonin's adopted son or his wife's son by her first husband.
 

Desiderata

Bodhisattva of the Earth
Sleepy, thank you too!

You have been a positive force in my life and that is very important to my overall health.

Hey, I chant that you & Family are doing good bro.
 

PassTheDoobie

Bodhisattva of the Earth
ICMag Supporter
For those fellow members who are struggling to overcome
problems right now, let's give them all the encouragement we can, sharing with them just how great this Buddhism of the sun is. Let's also hold the type of discussion meeting where everyone feels inspired to take the initiative in the advancement of kosen-rufu, brimming with the spirit of March 16th, Kosen-rufu Day!


Daisaku Ikeda
 

PassTheDoobie

Bodhisattva of the Earth
ICMag Supporter
"And could not this illness of your husband's be the Buddha's design, because the Vimalakirti and Nirvana sutras both teach that sick people will surely attain Buddhahood? Illness gives rise to the resolve to attain the way."

(The Good Medicine for All Ills - The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol.1, page 937) Selection source: "Kyo no Hosshin", Seikyo Shimbun, March 12th, 2009
 

PassTheDoobie

Bodhisattva of the Earth
ICMag Supporter
Peace Proposal 2009

Peace Proposal 2009

Toward Humanitarian Competition: A New Current in History

Summary

The impact of the financial crisis that started with defaults in the subprime mortgage market in the United States, leading to the bankruptcy of the U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers, has now spread to encompass the whole world.

The present crisis inevitably provokes associations with the nightmare of the 1930s, when a severe economic depression created the conditions for the global conflagration of World War II. The situation remains fluid and unpredictable, and there are growing signs that the financial crisis is undermining the real economy, bringing about a global recession and driving up unemployment.

The main cause of the crisis can be traced to the rampant dominance of speculative financial assets, whose scale is said to be four times the cumulative value of actual goods and services. The origin of the crisis is found in the fact that the financial markets, whose true function should be to support and lubricate other economic activities, have thrust themselves to center stage, with market players becoming the "stars" single-mindedly pursuing earnings and profit, often with no thought for the impact on others.

As I have pointed out in these proposals on a number of occasions, the deepest underlying root of the crisis is the love of money itself, of currency, the global Mammonism that constitutes an essential pathology of our contemporary civilization. The currency that controls and dominates market economies has, of course, virtually no use value, it has only exchange value. And exchange value stands only on the foundation of understanding and agreement between people; in its essence it is both abstract and anonymous. It is not directed at such concrete (and therefore finite) objects as real goods and services; thus, as the object of human desire, it has no real or inherent limits.

Soon after the end of World War II, the French existentialist philosopher Gabriel Marcel offered a penetrating perspective, examining the "spirit of abstraction" as a key causal factor in war. While the ability to develop and manipulate abstract concepts is indispensable to human intellectual activity, to Marcel the spirit of abstraction is destructive, a process in which abstractions are alienated from concrete realities, taking on a life of their own.

For example, it is only possible to participate in war if we first deny the individual character and humanity of the opponent--reducing him or her to an abstract concept such as fascist, communist, Zionist, Islamic fundamentalist, etc. Without this kind of reductionism, it would be impossible to justify or find meaning in one’s participation in war.

When looking at the present financial crisis, we have to ask if we as a society have not been caught up in this spirit of abstraction. Have we not fallen prey to the Medusa-like spell of the abstract and anonymous world of currency, losing our essential human capacity to see through to the underlying fact that--however necessary it may be to the functioning of human society--currency is nothing other than an agreement, a kind of virtual reality?

If, for example, a company loses sight of its public aspect of contributing to the larger society, and serves only the private interests of its stockholders--their insistence on short-term profit--it will relegate to secondary or even tertiary importance its concrete connections with the real world of real people--whether these be management, employees, customers or consumers.

We must find ways of applying the brakes to the runaway aspects of financial capital. We also need to take swift and bold measures, such as fiscal and financial support and strengthening social safety nets, in order to respond to the dramatic slump in corporate performance and the accompanying rise in unemployment.

In this sense, it is especially vital that we keep in mind the global dimensions of the issue of poverty, which threatens the opportunity for meaningful work that is a core human activity, and on which hinges the sense of purpose and hope that are vital to human dignity and the survival of society. We must put all our energies into engaging with this critical issue.

At this crucial juncture, it is especially essential that political leaders exercise their talents for the greater good and from a broad and impartial view, as the state and the political system have a large role to play in taming the runaway stallions of capitalism. At the same time, we must absolutely heed the lesson of the 1930s, in which an excess of state control was intertwined with the rise of fascism.

The time has now come for a new way of thinking, for a paradigm shift that will reach to the very foundation of human civilization. During the Great Depression 80 years ago, socialism offered an alternative paradigm to capitalism, something that is lacking today. While socialism, and in particular Soviet-style communism, cannot today be considered a viable antithesis to capitalism, if we accept the premise that we are facing a crisis of modernity itself--modernity as a system which has capitalism and democracy at its heart--then the imperative to discover a new perspective and principles becomes all the more pressing.

While immediate measures must of course be taken to help avert a further deepening of the financial and economic crisis, we cannot settle for merely remedial measures. We must also work to find a principled worldview that can function as a "lever" to change the direction of history itself. For better or for worse, the processes of globalization have reached the point where this kind of fundamental response is required.

In this connection, I would like to explore certain ideas set out by the founding president of the Soka Gakkai, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, in his 1903 work The Geography of Human Life, which I feel can serve as a fresh paradigm to guide us out of the present deadlocked position. Specifically, I would like to explore the possibilities to be found in his idea of "humanitarian competition."

In this work, Makiguchi surveys the grand flow of human history and identifies the forms of competition that have prevailed in different periods: military, political and economic. He concludes with a call for us to set our sights on the goal of establishing "humanitarian competition" as the prevailing ethos of the era--competition to contribute the most to society. While his vision was not immediately realized, I would like to express my strong conviction that the time has now arrived, 100 years after it was originally proposed, for us to turn our attention to humanitarian competition as a paradigm for the new era.

This is because the values encapsulated within socialism in order to remove the ills of capitalism--justice and equality, for example--whether applied in the domestic or international arena, are indeed rooted in an underlying humanism. These ideals cannot be allowed to perish along with the systemic failure of communism.

The question remains then as to why, if socialism is informed with correct principles, it has generally failed as a system. It is valuable to reference Makiguchi’s insight: "Whether in natural or human affairs, when free competition is hampered, this results in stagnation, stasis and regression." The failure of socialism can be attributed to the failure to take the value of competition as a source of energy and vitality in human society adequately into account.

Herein lies the value of humanitarian competition. As a concept, it allows us first to directly confront the reality of competition while ensuring that it is conducted firmly on the basis of humane values, thus bringing forth a synergistic reaction between the values of humanitarian concerns and competitive energies. It is this that qualifies it to be a key paradigm for the twenty-first century.

In our quest for new paradigms, it is crucial that we heed Gabriel Marcel’s warning always to keep concrete realities firmly in view. The impatience and arrogance of people who think they know all the answers and are ready to offer a grand design toward which human history should advance, demonstrates that they have fallen victim to the negative aspects of the spirit of abstraction.

In past proposals over the decades I have urged that our approach to universal perspectives and principles cannot be external and transcendent, but must be immanent and internalized. Here also, Makiguchi’s superlative farsightedness in The Geography of Human Life merits our careful attention: "The actualities of vast stretches of the earth are generally observable in a tiny patch of land. In that sense, the outlines of the vast and complex phenomena seen in the geography of the entire world can be explained using the examples of a single town or village in an isolated region." When Makiguchi speaks of "the geography of human life," this is obviously not limited to geography in the narrow sense, but includes the concrete aspects of the full scope of human activities, including politics, economics, society, religion, etc.

In other words, rather than making the great leap to the "vast and complex phenomena" of life, we should start from the concrete realities of the "tiny patch of land" where we are now. It is only by paying close and continuous attention to those realities that we can gain a meaningful appreciation of larger phenomena. For someone with this kind of imaginative power directed toward the reality of daily life, not only intimate friends but even the inhabitants of distant lands can be experienced as "neighbors."

This is our most certain guarantee against the kinds of inversion in which ends are sacrificed to means, the tangible present to a utopian future, human beings to ideology. I am confident that there we will see the realization of a society which is focused on the realities of life and humanity, and not the anonymous abstractions of currency.

Sharing the future

I would now like to offer some creative ideas for a better future for all as a means of stimulating and contributing to the development of "humanitarian competition."

In addition to spreading financial instability, the world is now facing the intertwined crises of climate change, environmental degradation, energy and food shortages and poverty issues. In that sense, what we need is a bold vision and the courage to take on new challenges.

The newly inaugurated U.S. President Barack Obama made "change" the central theme of his presidential campaign. He stated in his inaugural speech, "… the world has changed, and we must change with it. … What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility." The challenge to bring about change confronts not only the United States, but the entire global community.

Here I would like to suggest three pillars to serve as the mainstays for transforming the current global crisis into a catalyst for opening a new future for humanity through stimulating the kind of humanitarian competition that will create a global community of peace and coexistence.

The first of these pillars is the sharing of action through tackling environmental problems. The second is the sharing of responsibility through international cooperation on global public goods. The third is the sharing of efforts for peace toward the abolition of nuclear arms.

Shared action on environmental problems

I would like to discuss the first of these pillars with specific reference to climate change. Global warming is having immense effects on ecosystems everywhere, can cause meteorological disasters and armed conflicts, and aggravates the problems of poverty and hunger. It epitomizes the twenty-first-century crisis of human civilization, threatening to saddle future generations with immense and dire burdens.

Regrettably, there was no conspicuous progress in negotiations on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions last year. It is hoped that constructive discussions will take place this year. In addition to renewed efforts by the developed countries, it is vital that developing countries are also committed participants in any new framework.

The official signing of the statutes of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) sets in motion an international effort to mitigate global warming that embraces industrialized, developing and emerging countries alike. Seven years ago, in my 2002 peace proposal, I called for a convention for the promotion of renewable energy sources, and therefore welcome the establishment of this new international agency.

There has also been a new initiative in the area of energy efficiency, another key to the achievement of a transition from dependence on fossil fuels to a low-carbon, no-waste society. In December 2008, energy ministers from 15 countries including the G8, China and India issued a joint statement calling for an International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC) to be established during 2009, with its secretariat located within the International Energy Agency (IEA).

These new initiatives need to be functional by the end of 2012, when the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends. Going forward, they can serve as a focus for building international cooperation and play key roles in the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

In addition to these measures, I would further propose that an International Sustainable Energy Agency be created in the future under the aegis of the UN to support and promote the work of these two organizations in order for international cooperation on energy policy to firmly take root throughout the global community.

At the same time, it is important for individuals to actively engage in education and awareness-raising activities in pursuit of a sustainable global community in line with the goals and spirit of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, which reaches its midpoint this year.

Shared responsibility through international cooperation

The second pillar I would like to propose is to promote a sharing of responsibility through international cooperation on global public goods, a key element of which would be the creation of a World Food Bank.

Starting in the fall of 2006, a sharp rise in grain prices led to simultaneous food crises in numerous countries around the world, forcing an additional 40 million people to live in a state of hunger. It is estimated that 963 million people now suffer from malnutrition worldwide.

The tragedy is that this was not a natural but a human disaster resulting from market speculation and increased biofuel production.

To prevent future repetition of this crisis, we need to design a mechanism to keep a certain amount of grain in reserve at all times as global public goods so it can be distributed as emergency relief during a food crisis or supplied to the market to stabilize prices. This is an idea I first raised 35 years ago.

The food crisis was one of the focal points discussed at the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit held in July 2008, which led to the G8 Leaders Statement on Global Food Security. This is an issue demanding urgent attention, as food security is the vital basis for sustaining human life and human dignity.

I would also like to propose the introduction of innovative financing mechanisms such as international solidarity levies for the purpose of achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Among existing mechanisms of this kind are the International Finance Facility for Immunization (IFFIm) to support immunization programs that save millions of lives and the Air Ticket Levy to help provide treatment for such infectious diseases as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

Possibilities for other mechanisms such as a currency transaction tax and a carbon tax are currently being explored. This is an undertaking worthy of the description humanitarian competition, where various states constructively compete with one another in the sphere of soft power by developing better ideas and initiatives.

There is an urgent need to energize discussions toward the Fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries scheduled for 2011 to build momentum toward the fulfillment of the MDGs. And we must construct tightly knit safety net systems throughout global society to safeguard the weak and most disadvantaged beyond 2015, the target date for achievement of the MDGs.

"The bottom billion"--the poorest of the poor in 58 countries, who have long been left behind by global economic growth--became one of the focal issues at the UN last year. The stark disparity in the value of human life and dignity, virtually predetermined by where one is born, is a pathological distortion that must absolutely be eradicated.

It is my earnest hope that Japan will demonstrate active leadership in the effort to establish, as a global common good, the right for all people to live with true human dignity and in peace. In doing so, Japan can draw from its own experience of postwar recovery that was termed "miraculous."

Shared efforts for peace toward nuclear abolition

The third pillar I would like to propose is to build an international framework for reducing and banning nuclear weapons. This falls under the heading of the sharing of efforts for peace toward nuclear abolition.

In any discussion of nuclear weapons, we must bear in mind the fact that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) does not give the five recognized nuclear-weapon-states the right to retain their "special" status indefinitely.

For two consecutive years, former secretary of state Henry Kissinger and other prominent U.S. political figures have issued a proposal for a nuclear-free world. This has sparked increasingly active discussion of nuclear disarmament issues including in the nuclear-weapon-states themselves.

To ensure this opportunity is not lost, I call for the prompt holding of a U.S.-Russia summit, where a basic agreement for bold nuclear arms reduction plans could be reached. This would clearly demonstrate to the world the two nations’ commitment to disarmament ahead of the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

I would urge that, building on such a U.S.-Russia consensus, a five-state summit for nuclear disarmament, including the other nuclear-weapon-states and the UN Secretary-General, be convened regularly and start drawing up a roadmap of truly effective measures to fulfill their disarmament obligation stipulated in Article VI of the NPT.

The conclusion of a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC), which would comprehensively prohibit the use, manufacture, possession, deployment and transfer of nuclear weapons, is another challenge that should be pursued.

A Model Nuclear Weapons Convention was drafted under the initiative of NGOs and submitted to the UN by Costa Rica in 1997, and a revised version has already been circulated as a UN document. Last year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged countries to consider negotiating a NWC.

The policy of deterrence, to which the nuclear-weapons-states continue to cling, has served as a justification for other states to seek nuclear weapons capability; it is vital to establish international norms that comprehensively prohibit nuclear arms with no exception for any state.

The second president of the Soka Gakkai, Josei Toda, condemned anyone who would use nuclear weapons, irrespective of nationality, in his declaration calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons issued in September 1957, the year before his passing. He saw that the national egotism that underlies the urge to possess nuclear weapons presented a dire threat to the future of humankind.

To realize an NWC, it is vital that people of the world raise their voices and strengthen solidarity in the manner seen in the campaigns for the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but on an even greater scale.

Global Zero, a campaign launched in December 2008 aiming to eliminate nuclear weapons and build broad-based public support for this cause, is planning to convene a World Summit in January 2010. I have long called for such a summit, and welcome this initiative. I would urge that negotiations for an NWC be commenced, using discussions at the Global Zero World Summit and the NPT Review Conference as a springboard.

Nuclear weapons embody an absolute evil that threatens humankind’s right to live; they are incompatible not only with the interests of national security but with human security. This understanding must form the foundation for a Nuclear Weapons Convention.

With Josei Toda’s declaration as our guiding principle, members of the SGI will continue to encourage people to see the nuclear problem as their own. To this end, we will promote initiatives such as the exhibition "From a Culture of Violence toward a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit" and a documentary of testimonies from atomic bomb survivors. These are concrete actions taken as part of the People’s Decade for Nuclear Abolition.

The SGI is determined to foster stronger international public opinion with particular emphasis on activities initiated by women and young people, working closely with other NGOs such as International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), who launched the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

Lastly, I would like to make proposals for the strengthening of the UN, which must serve as the hub of humanity’s shared struggle to address global problems.

When we consider the future of the UN in the twenty-first century, what we need to do above all is to build a robust partnership with civil society which would be a sustained source of support and energy for the UN for generations to come.

As a step toward building that foundation, I would like to call for the creation of a post of under-secretary-general for civil society relations within the UN. A similar proposal was made in the report issued in 2004 by the Panel of Eminent Persons on United Nations-Civil Society Relations chaired by the former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

This under-secretary-general should be a permanent post specifically dedicated to the advancement of NGOs and could, for example, participate in the deliberations of the four Executive Committees on Peace and Security, Economic and Social Affairs, Humanitarian Affairs and Development Operations to ensure that the opinions of civil society are represented. It would be desirable to make this reform the starting point for building momentum toward giving the UN a human face, providing real meaning to the opening words of the UN Charter, "We, the peoples…."

Another proposal I wish to make is for the creation of an office of global visioning within the UN Secretariat in order to enable the international body to develop a vision for the future and focus its energies toward this. Former UN Under-Secretary-General Anwarul K. Chowdhury, with whom I am currently engaged in a dialogue serialized in a Japanese monthly magazine, has expressed his concern about the lack of such an organization within the UN. He notes that there are offices performing routine duties and functions to coordinate and administer various activities, but no department dedicated to anticipating the challenges that will confront humankind in the future and formulating responses.

I fully share his concern. It is essential for the UN of the twenty-first century to be equipped with an organization with think-tank functions capable of offering future-oriented vision and action strategies based on what the world will look like 50 or 100 years from now. Here, also, ample attention should be paid to reflecting women’s perspectives and the voices of young people who will shape the world of the next generation, and discussions should always take into consideration the empowerment of youth and children.

The Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, which I founded, will continue to offer strong support to the UN in the area of formulating future visions for humanity, an activity that relates to the very raison d’?tre of the international body.

The Boston Research Center for the 21st Century and the Institute of Oriental Philosophy will also continue their efforts to bring together the wisdom of humanity through the promotion of dialogue among religions and civilizations in support of the UN’s efforts to tackle global problems.

This year is the International Year of Reconciliation, and 2010 has been designated the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures. This attests to the fact that the UN places emphasis on tolerance and dialogue as indispensable means to achieving the goals of realizing truth and justice.

Armed conflicts and civil wars continue around the world, as evidenced by the recent bloodshed in Gaza and other complex conflicts such as those in Sudan and the DRC. The only means to put an end to these conflicts is to build international popular consensus demanding dialogue and diplomatic efforts for their resolution. UN leadership, along with cooperation and tenacious diplomatic efforts among states, is indispensable in tackling these seemingly intractable problems.

Believing in the power of dialogue, in 1974-75 when Cold War hostilities were intensifying, I made repeated trips to China, the Soviet Union and the United States, meeting with top-level leaders in an effort to bring about a reduction in tension in my capacity as a private citizen. Since that time, I have devoted my efforts to building bridges of friendship and understanding globally.

I have actively engaged in efforts to create bridges of friendship between different cultures while engaging in dialogue with numerous leaders and thinkers in various fields. The results have been crystallized in the publication of more than 50 volumes of dialogues.

The Soka Gakkai was born in 1930, in the midst of a global crisis. The SGI was launched in 1975, also a time of crisis. Undeterred by adverse circumstances, we have spread currents of humanism and a culture of peace to 192 countries and territories around the world through the grassroots efforts of ordinary people.

Embracing this pride and sense of mission, the members of the SGI are determined to pave the way for a society brimming with peace and coexistence, steadily expanding the global solidarity of people through the power of dialogue toward 2010, the year that will mark the 80th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai and the 35th anniversary of the SGI.



(SGI President Daisaku Ikeda)
 

SoCal Hippy

Well-known member
"Deep Zange" by Richard Causton

"Deep Zange" by Richard Causton

This article was originally published in the UK Express.

"Sincere repentance will eradicate even fixed karma, to say nothing of
karma which is unfixed"
(0n prolonging One's Life Span, WND, p954).

What does zange really mean? Most people would answer, "It means
apologizing to the Gohonzon". "But apologizing to whom and for what?" we
reasonably reply. "After all, Gohonzon isn't God, so why should I have
to apologize, especially if it is for something I did in a past life
which I don't even know about? Sounds like Confession!"

Yet the Gosho persists: "Even with small slanders," the Konichibo Gosho
reads, "If you do not do zange you cannot avoid falling into the evil
paths. But even if you committed heavy slander, if you do zange then you
can expiate your sins"
(Gosho Zenshu, p926). The Gosho, On Curing Karmic
Disease, declares, "The Nirvana Sutra, referring to the Lotus Sutra
states: 'Even the offense of slandering this correct teaching [will
be eradicated] if one repents and professes faith in the correct
teaching....No teaching other than this correct teaching can save or
protect one. For this reason one should take faith in the correct
teaching'"
(WND, p632).

What then, does zange truly mean and how can we actually do it, deep in
our lives? Those who have felt that zange sounds like confession can
certainly be fully excused for their misconceptions, for zange, a word
used in ancient Buddhist scriptures, was adopted much later in history
by Christian missionaries in Japan as meaning "to regret past sins and
confess them to a priest or God". It is not surprising therefore, that
for us born into the Christian tradition in the West, zange can easily
be misinterpreted.

The original Buddhist definition of this word however, is totally
different. It is contained in the Bodhisattva Fugen Sutra and reads as
follows: "If you wish to do zange sit upright and meditate on the true
entity of life"
. This is further defined in Buddhist terms as pondering
the cause of your past slander and sin due to your ignorance and
illusions about life. Thus by realizing the true aspect of your life and
revealing your Buddha wisdom, you can then do zange."

In other words, rather than apology, zange is to recognize with your
whole heart and with deep regret, that your present suffering is due to
an inherent cause in your life, which not only led you to slander the
Gohonzon in your past lives but also continues to cause you to do so in
this life. In this context, to understand the true meaning of zange it
is necessary to appreciate three important points:

A. That Buddhism explains in the Ten Factors of Life that the Law
of Cause and Effect manifests itself in four different ways. They are
"Nyoze-in, Nyoze-en, Nyoze-ka and Nyoze-ho "
the inherent cause, the external cause, the latent effect and the manifest effect. As an example of this, if you stir what looks like a glass of pure water with a spoon and it becomes murky, the cause of its murkiness is not the spoon (which is the external cause) but the fact that there is dirt in the water (inherent cause). Thus what Buddhism is concerned with is not the spoon but the dirt in the water, which is our unhappy karma. From this it
becomes clear, that it doesn't matter in the least what we actually did
in the past, i.e., the external cause, hating someone or stopping
someone from practicing; what matters is the inherent cause which made
us behave like this, because this same inherent cause may still exist
deep in our life and therefore is causing us suffering now.

B.Slandering the Law is not only speaking against Buddhism, hating
someone, preventing someone from practicing or causing disunity among
members; even though these may be some of its most evil forms. Slander
is in fact any action which involves disrespect for life. Thus
pollution, injustice, misusing another person's possessions or money and
of course, murder and other criminal acts, are all slander. Even to
misuse one's body by eating and drinking too much is slander. Because we
all possess the six lower worlds, especially the Three Evil Paths in our
lives, we cannot, in fact, help committing small slanders even when we
are practicing, which is one of the main reasons why "practice like
flowing water" is so important; thereby we continually make great causes
which offset our inadvertent slander.

C.Whereas there can be a myriad different forms of external causes
of slandering the Law and it is usually quite impossible and indeed,
truly unnecessary and undesirable to try to imagine which particular
ones we committed in the past, the inherent cause is in fact,
unbelievably simple and fundamental. It is one of the Three Poisons
which beset our lives and every other human life in this world. In other
words, it is greed, anger or foolishness towards the true meaning and
nature of life itself; that ignorance breeds not only blind stupidity
but fear especially fear of the unknown. Why should we suffer from greed
or anger or fear? There is only one answer isn't there? We are greedy
and try to grab all we can in this life; we manifest anger in the form
of arrogance or contempt because we wish to wield power; we are fearful
and lack confidence in ourselves erecting barriers and screens to hide
our true nature only because we doubt (in other words, slander) the
unlimited power of the Gohonzon and especially that it exists nowhere
else but in ourselves.

If we knew without a shadow of doubt that the Gohonzon, the Buddha
state, the source of all courage, wisdom, compassion and good fortune
shines within us, then greed, anger, foolishness and fear, would
naturally be overcome as well as the sufferings we are undergo because
of them. This is exactly as the Lotus Sutra declared, "If you wish to do
zange, sit upright and meditate on the true entity of life, and all your
offences will vanish like frost and dewdrops in the sunlight of
enlightened wisdom".
The true entity of life is of course the Gohonzon
or Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Perhaps it is now becoming clear to the reader that deep zange is the
process of:

1. "Pondering the true aspect of our lives in our daimoku,
realizing that the only possible cause which can have the effect of
preventing us from seeing our Buddha nature at work must always be past
slander.

2.Realizing that this same inherent cause still exists in our life
today because we were born with it as part of our karma having not
overcome it in our previous lives. Hence we are continuing to slander
deep in our lives, thus perpetuating this suffering.

3.Recognizing that the only way to overcome the effects of this
poison is to struggle to fully trust the Gohonzon and bring ourselves to
realize above all, that the Buddha nature actually exists in us. In
other words to understand what is meant by the words in the Gosho:
"At present the entire body of the Honorable Abutsu is composed of the
five elements of earth, water, fire, wind, and space. These five
elements are also the five characters of the daimoku. Abustu-bo is
therefore the Treasure Tower itself and the Treasure Tower is Abutsu-bo
himself"
(WND, p299).

4.Through this recognition of the true cause of our sufferings, to
regret our arrogance and ignorance with our whole hearts. This very act
of deeply regretting is a quite natural and spontaneous reaction to our
discovery that our sufferings are due to nothing else but slander the
Gohonzon and the teachings of Nichiren.

5.Determining with a deep sense of gratitude for the good fortune
which has led us to the Gohonzon in this life, to work for kosen-rufu
wholeheartedly exactly as the Buddha taught from now on, in order to
feel and realize the full power of the Gohonzon while asking for actual
proof of the Buddha nature working in us. We can ask, "Please Gohonzon,
let me believe in you."

6. Through this actual proof, freeing our Buddha nature from the
awful constriction of our slander and doubts, thereby finding true and
lasting joy in life and in the limitless power of the Gohonzon.
This is the process often described as "reflection, repentance,
appreciation, determination and devoted practice which is called zange".

Thus true Buddhism with its brilliant light, penetrates beyond surface
matters and external causes, to the depths of life, to the very source
of our agony, turning sufferings into enlightenment and poison into
medicine as we determinedly chant daimoku; not with lingering guilt but
with resolve that we will feel and realize that the Buddha state is
active in our lives. As we do so the ignorance on which greed, anger and
fear have fed themselves for so long, disappears as our faith grows
stronger. We become free.

"If the Japanese repent in their present existence, they will be like
King Ajatashatru who became a follower of the Buddha, cured his white
leprosy, and prolonged his life by forty years; though lacking the roots
of faith, he reached the first stage of security, and in his present
life gained realization that phenomena are neither born nor perish"

(WND, 618).

It is of course, valuable to do a form of zange every day during gongyo,
expressing our sincere regret for any slander we have committed,
knowingly or unknowingly, in the past. Needless to say, this should be
heartfelt, not automatic and should always be followed by our fresh
determinations to fulfill the Buddha's will for kosen-rufu. However it
is important we realize that this is not the deep zange as described in
this article. This is a most profound experience in that it is directed
towards a particular aspect of our karma and brings about a radical
change in our lives, through actual proof of our Buddha nature at work
in an area in which we have never seen it in action before. Indeed it is
this actual proof living vividly in our minds that will prevent this
tendency to slander from taking control of our minds again.

We may need to do such a deep zange again to change our karma in some
other area of our lives but it is unlikely to be something we could
achieve every day. For to achieve such a deep and specific zange is
usually a struggle over a period of time to bring the reality of the
fact that one is a slanderer from just a passing thought or theory in
our minds, to a reality which fills our whole lives with deep regret,
gratitude for having the Gohonzon and determination to work for
kosen-rufu as we have never worked before. Once achieved it is as if the
bars of a prison in which we have been incarcerated for as long as we
can remember, have suddenly fallen away.

Mr. Satoro Izumi, vice-president of the Soka Gakkai, who wrote
"Guidelines in Faith" and has practiced for forty-five years,
once said, as an example, that if you stole a watch twenty years ago,
you are bound at some point to feel really sorry for this when you are
in front of the Gohonzon and then you express your sincere regret while
chanting daimoku. However, this is not necessarily a deep and specific
zange aimed at rooting out the inherent cause for stealing. Such deep
zange is a total realization of the way in which you have hurt that
person's life as well as your own, followed by an overwhelming desire to
give that person a thousand gold watches if you could only do so.

Dick Causton
UKE July 1985
 

SoCal Hippy

Well-known member
Been out of it for awhile. allowed the devil of the 6th to enter my heart and drain whatever lifeforce was there.

today I chanted more than i have in a couple months and will muster up a new determination. All of you!, thanks for being there and sending prayers out to all of our Bodhisatva brothers and sisters here at the Chanting Growers thread.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
 

PassTheDoobie

Bodhisattva of the Earth
ICMag Supporter
But don't you see Brother? You are so brave to have asked to lead us through your example! Keep fighting the good fight! Of course we have your back!

If you didn't experience what you are experiencing, would you have sought such an excellent article to share with us all? Thank you so much! Now if only Bonzo returns and we hear from Hitman again soon, my prayers will have once again been answered.

A cautionary note to Easy--Get back in front of the Gohonzon and sit there for awhile, just as quickly as you can. I know you are busy, but if you don't stay the course, you risk straying from the course. It can happen to any of us, at any time.

It is one of the great things about having each other. We have joined forces to battle our own personal devils together as comrades for the sake of the Law. Can there be any doubt that we attended the Ceremony in the Air together as we continue to live it throughout eternity?

I bow in humble obeisance to you all!

T (and again, it is so good to hear from you SoCal!!!)
 

Desiderata

Bodhisattva of the Earth
SoCal, as always you bring us new light! Life is a rollercoaster ride for sure. Great to have you back bro, it's never the same without you.
 

PassTheDoobie

Bodhisattva of the Earth
ICMag Supporter
The bonds of friendship that we share with those around us are the most precious treasures of life. Let's motivate each other to do our very best, and challenge each other in the spirit of healthy competition to achieve our common goals. Let us, both you and I, together, become great champions of victory!

Daisaku Ikeda
 

PassTheDoobie

Bodhisattva of the Earth
ICMag Supporter
"If one lights a fire for others, one will brighten one's own way."

(On the Three Virtues of Food - The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol.2, page 1060)Selection source: Member Experience, Seikyo Shimbun, March 16th, 2009
 

Desiderata

Bodhisattva of the Earth
"T" you've loaded our plates with encouragement. I have ten plates full to draw life force from, and the dessert is which one to choose.
 

PassTheDoobie

Bodhisattva of the Earth
ICMag Supporter
"We can't start a fire from flint if we stop halfway. If we do, all of our efforts up to that point would have been in vain. Similarly, we will be defeated if our faith is half-hearted. So warns the Daishonin.

"'Have profound faith. A coward cannot have any of his prayers answered' (WND-1, 1001)--this famous passage is from a letter the Daishonin wrote to Shijo Kingo. Faith is the highest form of courage and the highest form of good.


SGI Newsletter No. 7734, JOINT CONFERENCE--PART 4 [OF 4], Faith to Surmount Any Obstacle, from the August 18th, 2008, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun translated March 16th, 2009.
 

scegy

Active member
phew friends!
u've been busy as much as i have been, i'm very glad!
i've been reading and reading and my eyes hurt so i'm gonna finish tomorrow, but i need to send my best regards to all of you, specially to SoCal, welcome back brother and thank you for your colorful light again. I sincerely will chant for you tomorrow and make another cause for us to strive on and never give up!

today i chanted near my university with my newest girl schoolmate(i chanted she listened), a lot of people walking by, running, excercising, spring is comming along...it was an awsome 5 min of sharing The Law and myself with Everyone. She loved the sensation and was surprised how much concentration and effort i must put in it to make it sound like it does. She already tried chanting, and she's hanging out with me...bwahaha, she's infected :)

just a quick share it's a wave of NMRK manifestations for me today, i love you all, trully thank you for your tiredless support !
~Nam~Myoho~Renge~Kyo~​
 
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