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Persecution and extremism

The videos recently posted on YouTube mocking the Islamic prophet appear to have been the catalyst for horrific violence throughout the Arab nations. Christopher Stevens, and three other American diplomats were killed in an attack on the US embassy in Benghazi on Tuesday. Although the amateur film “Innocence of Muslims” portrayal of the Islamic prophet is certainly ill conceived, and will undoubtedly be perceived as an insult from the West against Islam following years of questionable foreign policy by the […]

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Say it ain't so, Aung San

Say it ain’t so – Silence continues on plight of Burmese Muslims

An estimated 90,000 Rohingya Muslims have now been forced from their homes in Rakhine state in western Burma. Many have been trying to make the perilous journey over the Naf river estuary to Bangladesh only to be turned away by the authorities there. The escalating violence between ethnic Buddhists and the minority Rohingya has led to the NGOs recalling their personnel on safety grounds. Homes have been razed to the ground, and many lives on both sides have been lost. […]

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Meditation in Nichiren Buddhism

Having come to Buddhism through the SGI, I had for a long time remained ignorant of other schools’ practices, and had not even read the Lotus Sutra until I began to look at Nichiren Buddhism – or more precisely the SGI’s practice of Nichiren Buddhism – in a more critical light after taking a more serious look at Nagarjuna, and how his Middle Way influenced T’ien-t’ai, Tendai and subsequently, Nichiren Daishonin. On one hand, the lay practice of Gongyo and […]

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The wests attitude to Anger

When anger is hardly noticed – Virgin Broadband adverts

I don’t watch a great deal of TV apart from the news and the occasional documentary, but last night I saw a TV ad that reminded me of why we in the west are still a long way from understanding happiness. An ad for the Virgin Fibre Broadband service was highlighting how frustrating it can be when online media stutters and pauses while buffering. Now, call me Mary Whitehouse, but as I watched David Tennant grab a baseball bat and smash the […]

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Fast Daimoku and Long Daimoku – A Middle Way?

How fast should I chant daimoku and how long? It’s a question that is often asked when people start practicing Nichiren Buddhism. There’s a little booklet in the top left drawer of the table on which my Butsudan sits. It was given to me by a dear friend of mine to help me record the number of daimoku I have chanted. For every thousand daimoku there’s a little circle to fill in, and the idea is that when I have […]

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How does Human Revolution contribute to world peace

Today, the topic of our monthly discussion meeting was “How does our Human Revolution contribute to world peace?” Not something easily packed into an hour or two! Daisaku Ikeda writes A great revolution of character in just a single person will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will cause a change in the destiny of all humankind. Many will have heard of the “butterfly effect” – whereby a small change in the initial conditions […]

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Neo on the road to enlightenment

The Matrix from a Buddhist perspective

I know – the film’s been out a while. More than a few have analysed it from a Buddhist perspective, but many have come unstuck when it comes to the foul language, bullets and guns, BDSM clothing and all the violence. More than a few commentators have speculated that, apart from a being scattered with nuggets Buddhist doctrine, the film devolves into a good old dualistic good and evil battle between the machines and the humans, making it more akin […]

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If Nichiren Daishonin lived next door

I’ve been battling of late to come to terms with a whole bunch of discrepancies in Nichiren’s logic, and writings. I’ve written about a couple, but I’m beginning to feel this could form a negative thread of articles that would serve little benefit in sharing. I guess at the most basic level I have difficulty with “One true Buddhism” exclusivist thinking. I think there is a danger of this kind of thinking leading to divisiveness, and it would seem to […]

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There’s Gratitude, and then there’s Gratitude

Gratitude in Buddhism It is easy to feel gratitude for the things we perceive as beneficial. In our materialistic world, the receiving of objects of value usually evokes the natural ‘thank you’. Advice from a teacher, or mentor is also something we find easy to give thanks for. Or we particularly find it easy to give thanks in return for praise. We perceive such acts, correctly or not, as being of direct benefit to ourselves. However, to limit our understanding […]

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Superstition, doubt, reason and investigation

Here’s a typical quote from Daisaku Ikeda (New Human Revolution Vol 17): Doubt is the source of fundamental delusion in life; it is what Buddhism calls fundamental darkness. It gives rise to anxiety and drags us into the depths of despair. Faith, meanwhile, is the struggle against the doubt that resides within our hearts. The power to win in that struggle comes from chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. A true champion is therefore someone who puts prayer first. Before I go any further […]

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