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While I no longer practice Nichiren Buddhism – at least not within the SGI, the echos and reverberations of Ikeda still bounce around in my head from time to time. I guess that’s inevitable after seeing endless photos of him in various victory poses. Of course, that fact alone might encourage some to claim a small victory for Nichiren Buddhism, but then this isn’t the kind of Victory I am thinking about. So, anyway, I was lying in my bed […]

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Impermanence, depression, and the crows

And so this is Xmas, as somebody famous once wrote. At best I used to feel ambivalent about this time of year, but most often I just felt a deep sense of aversion and loathing as my energy trails away and depression and anxiety take hold. Some might say that this pattern reveals a failure in my Buddhist practice – they might be right, but who knows for sure? For over two decades this was the way. I would watch […]

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Perfect Loaf

Faith is a well baked loaf

A friend of mine has recently been on TV competing in the Great British Bake Off. Well, of course I’ve been watching the show and getting drawn into baking. Maybe it’s my age, but in the past few years I have become more drawn into cookery, and baking is an area where my skills have been admittedly woeful. Like most things in life I have approached baking from the ground up. As much as I would love to get stuck […]

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Otto Lilienthal - Early Hang Glider

Would you do this on faith alone?

Once upon a time there was a wise man. He wanted to escape the suffering of walking upon the sharp rocks that covered the ground. He realised that he could avoid the pain of walking upon the sharp rocks by rising above them. He thought about it a great deal and took himself off into a far land where he would not be disturbed. There he observed birds very closely, and after a great deal of thought and concentration he […]

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The difficulty of middle way thought

The challenge of walking the middle way is that extremists on both sides only see their enemy behind you This thought came to me while taking a shower – not sure why, but probably as a result of being misunderstood and misrepresented by both sides in recent discussions I have had regarding Science vs Faith. Zealots on both sides have been so bound up in their own points of view that in each case, I have been perceived as representing the opposition. […]

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Springstein’s microphone cable cut by the Blade Wheel

In an article about turning poison into medicine I recently wrote about the Blade Wheel (Or Wheel of Sharp Weapons), an ancient buddhist text of apology and renunciation. In it, the reader is effectively chastised, or reminded that all of the sufferings that befall him are the actions of the Blade Wheel (once thrown against others) returning to cut away at the ignorance of wrong thoughts, views, words and actions. The musicians, the “Boss” himself, and predictably, London mayor, Boris Johnson […]

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Engelbert at Eurovision

Engelbert Humperdinck Eurovision Victory

OK, so maybe the UK came second from last. In fact, if you pay any attention to the media then that’s pretty much all you’re going to hear about the UK entry into last night’s Eurovision Song Contest. i.e. Negativity. People like Piers Morgan (who’s interview the Dalai Lama was like watching my dad try to understand a computer manual) who’s negative wit I won’t repeat here predictably do little more than score points off the failure of other’s – behind the faces of […]

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The Emptiness of the Vase

When is a door not a door? When it’s a jar… Get it? a jar… ajar – oh never mind. I think that joke could have been written by Chih-i. Emptiness is one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to get my head around. Even at the most mundane level, trying to grasp its ramifications in our daily life is a struggle to comprehend, let alone explain to anyone. While working the other day I came across a customer’s […]

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Business class olympic flame

Impermanence and clinging in Olympic Proportions

While eating breakfast yesterday I came across a newspaper article highlighting the security frenzy surrounding the London 2012 Olympic Games. My initial reaction was to shake my head at the pictures of the security forces tackling an innocent but enthusiastic photographer into the gutter to avoid a potential threat to the olympic torch. It caused me to question the nature of the torch, or more specifically, the flame – and what it was the security forces are actually trying to […]

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On being realistic

It is sometimes necessary to be realistic when setting goals. However, it is all too easy to cite realism as an excuse for not striving for greatness. When realism is used in this context, it becomes a fear driven philosophy that denies the greatness of the human spirit.  

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