America, for all its promise and virtues, has been and remains a violent country. One has only to read its history and watch nightly news. Challenging that violence is an ongoing battle waged by people of goodwill from various religious faiths or strongly held humanistic convictions. Find some unique perspectives on peace and forgiveness here.
Something a little different this month, an interview with an anonymous subject. This person has been practicing Nichiren Buddhism for many years. As with other similar people profiled here, the person has accomplished much. But this time we’re going to focus less on achievements and more on exploring what it means to be a Buddha. Simply put, it means you’re in charge of your own life.
Most people, I suspect, celebrate anniversaries as special occasions. These are different. They’re reference points in the tapestry of life. Signposts of events that have significantly affected the trajectory of my existence or describe it. Arriving in Vietnam 50 years ago. Writing a book about what transpired and how it changed me for the better.
Franco-American writer and professor Michele de Gastyne offers her views and agreement on SGI leader Ikeda’s proposal to put youth in the forefront of dealing with the problems of nuclear proliferation, refugees, xenophobia and more. It’s a long and densely worded article, reflecting both the thoughts of Daisaku Ikeda and de Gastyne’s consideration of them.
Buddhist leader, philosopher and educator Daisaku Ikeda offers encouraging words on many issues. Here are a few quotations on transcending differences, finding compassion and empathy for others and exerting yourself to make not only your own life happier but the lives of others as well. “If you light a lantern for another, it will brighten your own way.”
The wonderful thing about a custom built home is that you can have everything exactly as you want. The terrible thing about a custom built home is that you can have everything exactly as you want. Huh? Yes, they’re both true. You actually have to decide what you want. Well, isn’t that the whole point? Yes, but the decisions never stop until all the furnishings are in their final place. For some, it all may be simple enough. For others, it may be so daunting they wouldn’t even consider it. Of course, for many it’s not an option due to the expense or the time it takes to completion.
The SGI-USA website has a continuing feature on what it means to be a Buddhist in America. Jimmy Anicet is just one of many people whose experiences have been chronicled in a video on their site. From a guy who grew up with a stutter and a language learning delay he has become a standup comedian.
“A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of humankind.” So says Daisaku Ikeda, President of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) the largest Buddhist organization in the world. To make this more understandable—and add a little humor to lighten the conceptual load, let’s make this a dialogue.
Whether one is willing to accept the tenets of the Buddhist faith that he embraces or practice it diligently in pursuit of happiness and enlightenment, one can appreciate the wisdom of his encouragement. For that reason, we are including four of many quotes from him found on a website dedicated to that purpose. Along with the quotes is the experience of editor, publisher and author John Maberry in relation to these passages.
This is my strange story of the unlikely encounter of a lonely sickly boy and the greatest philosopher of our time, in the world’s most beautiful city. My practice of Buddhism began at the age of thirteen in Los Angeles. My oldest brother introduced me. Those were the pioneering days of our movement in North America. Most of the members were young but none as young as me.