Wednesday, May 19, 2021

June 2021


Hey! June! Over here...
     on the sunny side of the street!

Let’s say it’s a beautiful sunny day.
You’re walking along the sidewalk
On the shady side of the Danforth.
You walk and you glance
To the other side of the street… where
You see me.
Quelle surprise!
Bette’s tap dancing
On the sunny side of the street!
You shout, “Hey! Bette!”

And in that instant
You call forth all that you know
About me.
You give focus to all that
I know about me…
And to all that we know
About me together!
The word, “Hey!” gets
My attention
And all that I know about
Being Bette
Now focuses on you.
It’s like a reflection
Of my being onto yours.

That’s nice, of course,
Because we’re friends
And when I see your
Smiling face I’m reminded
Of all I know about you.
In that instant, then,
The complete you and
The complete me
Are in absolute harmony.

You decide to come over
To the sunny side
And we hang out with
A nice cup of coffee
At a sidewalk cafe.
Our nice chat
Is underscored by
That same total harmony
That we can see in each other’s eyes…
That we can feel in each other’s hearts…
That we can hear in each other’s souls.

It’s not intense.
It’s like the sun playing
With the clouds...
But always there.
Firm and resolute.

We know this kind of friendship.
We affirm ourselves with these
Interchanges… these exchanges…
These soul gatherings.
But what if there were a way
To call out our own
Highest potential for each day?
For each moment?
For each breath?
With the same intensity...
With the same force.

The historical Buddha,
Shakyamuni aka Siddartha,
Almost three thousand years ago,
Taught that those moments
Of compassion and happiness
Live always within every cell
Of every person’s life force.
Everybody’s got their own Buddha nature.
He taught about it in his final teaching
Known as the Lotus Sutra.
Everybody’s got a Buddha nature.
It is essential and unequivocal
Compassion and happiness.
Everybody’s got IT.

But it wasn’t until 13th Century Japan
That a monk named Nichiren taught
Us how to tap into IT whenever we want.
Nichiren taught us to say, “Hey! Buddha nature!”
Just by saying the name of the Lotus Sutra…
We call forth all that is contained within it
And all the intentions infused within it
So long ago.
And we call it into our lives
Here and now.

In Nichiren’s Japanese,
That name is Myoho Renge Kyo
Instead of “Hey!”
We announce our vow of intention…
But shortened to “Nam” because
That’s something they do in Japan sometimes.
So, this:
Nam myoho renge kyo.

We chant this daily morning and evening
To polish our own Buddha nature
Like a mirror to reflect
Our best potential self into
Our daily lives
While we’re busy
Living our daily lives.
And reflecting onto the world
Around us.
We change...
So changes the world.

Nichiren also taught us
To recite a small portion
Of the Lotus Sutra each
Morning and evening
To underscore our awareness
And our resolve.
So we chant
Nam myoho renge kyo
And we recite
A little of the Lotus Sutra
Twice each day
In a language we don’t understand
But with an intention we do understand:
To call out...
To activate…
To live
Our highest potential…
Our Buddha nature
In compassion and happiness.
I want to thank the Beaches District
Women's Group
Of Soka Gakkai Canada,
For sharing their heartfelt experiences
With practicing Nichiren's Buddhism
At Sunday's gathering.
We don't call IT a belief...
Although, we do learn to believe
And trust.
It's something we do.
We call it a practice.
And we do it twice a day.
Here's what chanting
Sounds like.
If you want to learn more
About SGI, you can start here.
Download the PDFs on that page.
I actually designed the booklet called
Buddhism: A Philosophy for Living
You can always ask me.
I've been changing for over 37 years
And I'm not out of breath yet.

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course