Saturday, 8 December 2012

My first meme: The Buddhist meme

I love memes. My old and now practically defunct blog was at one point only dedicated to doing memes. I like how they bring people together and especially like the memes consisting of lists of questions, because of the randomness of it, the summarising skills necessary and the somewhat surprising insights they give on people. 

Sure, you can't say you "know know" someone after reading their meme, but it never fails to show some little detail of them that you previously ignored, or at the very least it will confirm what you thought.

Unfortunately, quite a lot of said lists are not exactly appropriate for this blog.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Buddhist quotes

I am hideously busy. Tomorrow I need to wake up at 4 to go to the school trip to Barcelona I've been organising for the past year.

Biiiiig massive deal.

There is a ton of deep karma that has been moved by this situation, and one massive experience that is sort of coming together.

At the moment, however, I don't have the time to put my thoughts into words and write a proper entry for this blog.

I still need to pack my bag!!!

Because of that, I think this is the right time to start a new series: Buddhist quotes. 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The Dragon King's daughter and other ramblings.

I've been meaning to speak about this topic, which generally deals with the role of women in Nichiren Buddhism, for quite a while.

Being a woman myself, it is obviously something close to my own heart, but I do believe that any person with a genuine humanistic spirit, be they a man or a woman, should be interested in the topic of equality.

Discrimination is discrimination, whether it's done on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, pizza topping preference, IQ, it is still discrimination, and as such it is not conducive of a happy society based on humanism and fundamental respect. In many ways, discrimination is the polar opposite of respect.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Ur doin it wrong

Rant alert!

I don't know about you, but me, I have a thing with bad spelling. And bad grammar. It might have something to do with me being a teacher, and a languages one at that. That said, some TEACHERS I know are guilty of some of my biggest pet peeves. 
The other day, an English teacher in my school corrected me when I said "I wouldn't do it if I were you", saying that "were" is for plural, and the snotty deputy head of English, who at least knew that "if I were you" is correct, had the nerve to give both of us a condescending smile and say that there was no rule for that.

No, darling. There is a sodding rule. You are just ignorant. And arrogant. Pretending you know stuff when you don't, and ASSuming that because I'm a foreigner you automatically know better than me. Look up the word "subjunctive" and then we'll talk.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

SGI's Daily practice

And yet more awesome stuff from SGI-USA.

This is a short video that explains very clearly our daily practice of Nichiren Buddhism.

Have fun and Happy chanting!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

District Leaders handbook

I went to a YW inspiration meeting tonight and one of my fellow District leaders mentioned having read a rather inspiring publication: SGI-USA District Leaders Handbook.

The handbook is written from the perspective of the SGI-USA. As such, some things will be different (like the concept of Groups, which we don't have in the UK), but the general spirit and the guidelines are actually relevant for any leader in my opinion.

I thought the sheer idea was so awesome that I immediately looked for it to post a quick one on my blog.

You can download the manual from here.

And with that, nighty night!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

A Buddhist Half term

I know readers of this blog are just dying to know how I spent my half term holiday.
I know, I know, but fear not, the end to your anguished questioning in the small hours of the night has come to an end, I am going to present you with the highly profound and dramatically interesting account of how a Nichiren Buddhist teacher spends her half term.

Now, allow me to give you a bit of much needed (and clearly yearned after) background.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Grade 1 Study Exam - 2012. Answers and wrap-up

So, to conclude the series of posts on the preparation of the Grade 1 Exam I wanted to write a wrap up post.

Grade 1 Study Exam - 2012. Section D

This is my favourite section. If I don't ace this section, I'm going to go hide in a corner and cover my head with ash. Or whatever.

So, section D contains three sections: D1, D2 and D3. Each section contains a variable number of questions. In the exam, a different number of questions from each section will be asked. The length of the answer will vary, but the maximum allowed for each section is 400 words.

Here are the questions:

Grade 1 Study Exam - 2012. Section B. Improved version.

I decided to redo the post on Section B because I finally realised the way the questions have to be answered. I'm sure most people got it the first time, but being a bit soft I only now understood that we are supposed to write 200 words IN TOTAL for the three questions (out of four) that will be asked in the actual exam. 

This means that to prepare we need to write about 70 words for each question.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Grade 1 Study Exam - 2012. Section C. AKA Negativity

Sorry for the two week gap in posting, but I was assaulted by quite a big bout of negativity in my preparation for the Study exam.

As I mentioned before, the decision to take part in the study exam in the first place had been hindered in various ways for years, and obviously the obstacles didn't end with me posting the dreaded application form. Let's see...

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Really really nice things kids say

I just wanted to make a gloating list, AKA a list of all the really nice things that happened to me since I started waking up at ungodly o'clock to chant in the morning.

One of my main goals for my morning chanting is to really feel my students' Buddhahood and profoundly respect their lives. I try to keep this quote at the centre of my thoughts:
You should rise and greet [them] from afar, showing [them] the same respect you would a Buddha. (Lotus Sutra, chap. 28)

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Grade 1 Study Exam - 2012. Section B. AKA Shijo Kingo

This is the third installment of a series dedicated to the study exams. 
As for anything in Buddhism, preparing the exam is turning into a great faith - and life - experience.

So, after Section A1 and Section A2, here is section B.

Section B of the exam is based on a Gosho called The Hero of the World. It is Gosho n.102 in The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Volume I, (pp 835-841). It was written in 1277 and is one of many Gosho addressed to Shijo Kingo. 

Before moving onto the exam paper, allow me to say a thing or two about Shijo Kingo. 

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Grade 1 Study Exam - 2012. Section A2.

Following section A1, the second installment of my series of posts dedicated to the Study exams.
Unfortunately I haven't been able to go to study meetings for a couple of weeks now, what with Dedicated Lilac activities and, today, my being a bit under the weather and needing an actual complete day off.

So since I'm in bed doing nothing, I might as well do some blogging.

Section A2 reads: In 50-100 words, and based on the material in section A2, explain the following subjects as if you were talking to a friend who is interested in Buddhism. Include at least three different points for each subject in your answer. In the exam, only one of the three subjects will be set.

a) Nam-Myoho-renge-kyo

b) The Lotus Sutra

c) The Gohonzon.

Top... reasons to practise this Buddhism

I was making my cup of coffee the other morning, getting ready to chant, and obviously found a way around it. I'd like to present you with a few (mostly tongue in-cheek) reasons why to practise Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism. Ready?


Sunday, 30 September 2012

More on buddhist daily practice. AKA the power of transformative daimoku

I went to do my first homevisit the other day. I had a very interesting chat with the young woman I went to support, which made me think of writing another post about our daily practice.

This time, I wanted to focus on the more practical side of it, i.e. the amount of time one spends on Buddhist activities and what exactly correct practice consists of.

I will use an anecdote as a starting point.
The other day at Discussion meeting, my Men's leader said that years ago a senior leader gave him the following advice:
You should try every day to chant for twenty minutes, study for twenty minutes and make three people happy.
This already gives us the three major tenets of correct practice: chanting, study and shakubuku.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Grade 1 Study Exam - 2012. Section A1.

I'm taking the Grade 1 exam. I've always wanted to take the exams, all the exams up to Grade 3, and I'm finally starting.

My decision to take the exams has been faced with sanshoshima for years.
Up to 2006 I wasn't a member and I couldn't.
in 2006 I hadn't been a member for long enough and they didn't let me.
in 2007 I moved from Brescia to Bergamo around the time the deadline is and I forgot to apply.
in 2008 I moved to London around the time the deadline is and I forgot to apply.
in 2009 I moved to Romania where there are about 50 members in the whole country.
in 2010 I moved back to London around the time the deadline is and I forgot to apply.
in 2011 I really really wanted to apply. And I forgot.

So, finally, 2012, here I come!
I went to my first study meeting on Saturday and I really enjoyed it. I think it's also a great way to foster friendships in the Chapter and I'm already seeing some great Human Revolution potential in the experience.

I thought to share some notes and tips as I go through the study process.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

SGI UK Youth Division song

UPDATE: the website mentioned here has now been discontinued. All the songs and materials can now be found on the SGI members website. Every area has a unique login and password, so if you want to access this free content, you need to ask your local leaders for the login details.

Here is a link where you can find the Youth Division Song. We sang it today at my Chapter's study kick-off. I really really like it, especially the rhythm of the chorus, it's really catchy.

You can download both the lyrics and an mp3 file.

Once again, the instructions on the page to download the mp3 don't work on my Mac. And sadly the "Copy link location" trick I did last time didn't work this time around, but I'm having problems downloading anything today, so I'll try again and maybe edit. 

My Chapter's leader happens to be one of the writers of the song, and he told us the story of how it came to be. He was in Trets - a Buddhist cultural centre in the south of France where a lot of international training courses are held (note to self: MUST go to Trets, soon), when a National leader approached him and a few other musicians and asked them to write a song for the YD. They sat under a tree and did it.

It might sound cheesy that a group of young people, sitting under a tree in the sun would come up with a lovely song in just a few minutes, but it makes perfect sense to me. A training course is just a monumental source of inspiration, and it maximises your natural talent... you actually get to discover talents you didn't know you had, to be honest (and I speak from personal experience here).

Sunday, 16 September 2012

When my life opened wide. AKA The Gohonzon

Hello people, I'm back from the land of the dead, i.e. my holidays, survived my first two weeks in school and went to an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G Summer course.

The Summer course has been an important turning point in my practice, and really in my life. I will need a while to come to terms with all the things that happened there. I will, eventually, write everything up, but not now.

However, I need to get back into the good habit of writing this blog (even if noone answered my plea for help, me not happy >.<)

During the course, we had our first ever Gohonzon receiving (at a course). Two beautiful young women made the commitment to practise this Buddhism, and they inspired me to write this post.

Ages ago, I had decided to write about my Gohonzon receiving day and the Gohonzon in general, but never got round to it, until now.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Some blog that I used to know

Just in case you were wondering, I have not fallen off the face of the Earth.

I'm on holiday.

I spent two weeks in sunny Salamanca, improving my Spanish and having adventures (like spending the night in the car park of Madrid airport with 20+ hippies), and am now about to relocate to Sicily for another couple of weeks, before going back to my beloved job of trying not to murder children on a daily basis teaching.

That, however, is not the reason why I haven't kept up with my weekly update on my blog.

I hit a dry spell. I haven't got the faintest clue what to write next. Hopefully my mother will have some ideas when I get home later on today, but as of now, I can just stare at the blank page.

So, if any of the lovely people who are reading this blog has any idea or question, please do ask. I'm not a Buddhist scholar, but I have access to vast literature and expert consultants (dad? DAD!?!?!?!) and I'll be glad to sink my teeth into any topic you would like me to write on.


I beg you.


Saturday, 21 July 2012

More songs

Today I went to an inspiration day. It wasn't in my chapter, but I happened to lilac with the vice action chief on Thursday and she invited me to go anyway.

It was a lovely meeting, featuring a lecture by the Men's Area leader on "making the impossible possible", two great experiences and (and here we go to the point of this post) a short entertainment provided by a Young Man. First he sang a song he composed and then his favourite SGI song "March towards the 21st century".

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Sokas and Lilacs part the second (aka The Revenge)

If you have read a couple of posts here you know, but if you just happened to stumble on this blog today, I'll just tell you that I'm a bit obsessed about the whole topic of being a Lilac.

As a matter of fact the whole concept of this blog started with the post "It's not lilac-like" taking shape in my brain, and myself realising that my then blog was not the right place to post it.

So it seems fitting that the first request for a post would be on the topic of lilac-ing.

As I mentioned in that post, I had to do some research into the matter to write the requested article, because I pretty much didn't have a clue.

The anonymous commenter was happy with the result, which is all that matters really, but there was one little thing that kept nagging me. I managed to get a very clear picture of the different roles of Sokas and Lilacs (thanks to the Sokas I stalked, mostly), but I was still in the dark as to WHY things were this way.

So, when the other day I found myself at a Q&A session with the National Lilac leader, I couldn't resist, and asked.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Buddhahood-tinted spectacles

Not all my experiences have to be about deep, life changing stuff.
Nichiren Buddhism is real life, and real life is about little things as well as big and profound things.
Sure, with this Buddhism a chinwag with some girlfriends ends up being about transmigration and how to escape the endless cycle of birth and death, but it's not all philosophy.

So, let's talk about this little thing that happened to me today.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Sokas and Lilacs

I have recently gone through quite a dry spell in my blogging. In Italian we call it "blocco dello scrittore", or writer's block. 

Then the other day an anonymous made the following comment:
I'm interested in how the Lilac role that the women plays differs from the Soka role that the men play. I'd love to hear more about this if you'd consider writing something.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Dedicated Lilac Song

UPDATE: the website mentioned here has now been discontinued. All the songs and materials can now be found on the SGI members website. Every area has a unique login and password, so if you want to access this free content, you need to ask your local leaders for the login details.

Here is a link where you can find the Dedicated Lilac Song. It is an amazing song, really uplifting!

You can download both the lyrics and an mp3 file.

I found the instructions on the page to download the mp3 not to be working on my Mac. The option "Download linked file" doesn't appear when control clicking (or doing the double finger clicking which corresponds to right-click).

"Copy link location" works fine, oddly enough. The file is now safely stored in my iTunes library :)

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A new start to my Human Revolution: Dedicated Lilac

On the 2nd of June I attended the Dedicated Lilac Graduation ceremony.

Becoming a Dedicated Lilac has been a goal of mine since 2009.

But let's start from the beginning :)

In 1998 I started practising Nichiren Buddhism regularly. I was twelve at the time, and this meant my practice had several limitations. One, I had to wait my 18th birthday to receive Gohonzon (or in my case, become a member). Another one was that I could not take up any responsibility, again until my 18th birthday. But the biggest one, for me, was that I could not do lilac.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Courses and songs

This post should have been another of my descriptive, "everyday Buddhism" posts to talk about Buddhist courses, and it has shifted into one of my biggest experiences so far.

Because my HQ course has been the first time I had to sneak out a lilac shift to cry. And also the second time.

But let’s start from the beginning. Or, well, from the point where my memories started creeping back and creeping me out.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

The ten factors

An absolutely awesome explanation of the ten factors (which are different from the ten worlds) can be found here.

I will just steal and repost the awesome graph used to represent it. If the owner is unhappy about that, let me know and I'll delete it immediately.

Monday, 21 May 2012

An old experience, for now

I have been really slacking on my blogging. Amazingly enough, there are a few people who are reading this, and I am really sorry I have let you down.

I have an experience simmering, springing from my recent HQ course, but I haven't got the head to write it up yet, and maybe, who knows, it's not complete after all.

So for now, I will share the first experience I have written in my whole (and admittedly quite long) Buddhist life.

It was originally told at a magical meeting on a boathouse, in honour of the European guests coming to London for the 50th anniversary of SGI in Europe.

It was my first time writing down an experience, and I decided to amend it slightly and share it on my blog.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Leaders and meetings

I wanted to spend a little time talking about the structure of the SGI.

Let’s say you have a friend who shakubu-ed you and you went to a couple of meetings. At some point someone will ask you for your email address and you will start receiving a “schedule” of the “district”, full of different types of meetings.

Being a fukushi, I’ve never really had that experience. I grew up in a house where meetings happened every other day and I sort of learnt all the lingo by osmosis.

I have to admit that when I moved to the UK at the beginning I was confused by the differences.

So I’m going to talk about the structure and organisation of divisions, meetings and leaders, but please bear in mind that everything that follows is only valid for the UK. Having witnessed a vastly different situation in Italy, I can just assume there will be differences in other countries as well.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Etiquette at Buddhist meetings

I will now discuss a topic that’s very close to my heart: etiquette at Buddhist meetings.
As you know if you’ve read my profile or any post of my blog, I grew up in a Buddhist household. Both my parents are buddhist and at least until I was 16, my house was regularly offered for Buddhist meetings. Since the age of 12, I also actively took part in meetings myself. 
I was a very vivacious child and I still remember with some embarrassment episodes in which people (not necessarily my parents) told me off for disrupting a meeting. Sure, it wasn’t pleasant, but growing up I started to appreciate the importance of good manners in general, not just at meetings.
I haven’t got the faintest clue how many meetings I’ve been to in my life, I just know it’s a massive number, in different cities and different countries. I gathered a collection of memories and dos and don’ts that I think might prove useful for people who attend meetings and, possibly, also for people who are thinking about offering their house. 

Monday, 9 April 2012

Prayer beads

I finally found an article that explains the meaning of our prayer beads, or juzu. Yippee!!

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Gohonzon map

Receiving your Gohonzon is one of the most important moments in the life of a Buddhist person. I will dedicate an entire post to it.

Meanwhile, here is a useful document that shows the meaning of the characters on the scroll.

As I was looking for it I found countless pictures of Gohonzon scrolls, and I wanted to use this post to point out something. A Gohonzon is an object of devotion. When we are not chanting, it should be protected by the Butsudan and it should not, for any reason, be reproduced on picture or film. It's just not respectful. 

This map refers to the Nichikan Shonin Gohonzon, the one that was generously donated to the Soka Gakkai.

Disclaimer. I did not create this wonderful handout. If you happen to know who is the Bodhisattva of the Earth who made it, please give them my thanks and let me know, so I can credit them.

Below is the embedded PDF file and a link to download it.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

... there's an app for that.

So, I am an Apple freak. I have a MacBook, two iPods (although I gave one to my mum) and an iPhone. Haven't gone as far as an iPad yet because I can't in all honesty justify buying it. I will probably find a way around it sooner or later.

Wonder of wonders, there is actually a daimoku app available on the UK App Store.

I did a lot of troubleshooting and experiments with it, so that I could write a detailed review of it. This meant that I actually ended up doing a lot more daimoku than my daily target. What can I say? It's a hard job but someone's gotta do it.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

A chat with the Gohonzon

This is something I was sent years ago by email. I found it really interesting and I decided to translate it into Italian and send it around to my Buddhist friends. Here is the source.



Gohonzon: Hello. Did you call me? 

Me: Called you? No. Who is this? 

Gohonzon: This is Gohonzon. I heard your prayers. So I thought I will chat.

Me: I do pray. Just makes me feel good. I am actually busy now. I am in the midst of something. 

Gohonzon: What are you busy at? Ants are busy too.

Me: Don't know. But I can't find free time. Life has become hectic. It's rush hour all the time. 

Gohonzon: Sure. Activity gets you busy. But productivity gets you results. Activity consumes time. Productivity frees it.

Me: I understand. But I still can't figure out. By the way, I was not expecting you to buzz me on instant messaging chat. 

Gohonzon: Well I wanted to resolve your fight for time, by giving you some clarity. In this net era, I wanted to reach you through the medium you are comfortable with.

Me: Tell me, why has life become complicated now? 

Gohonzon: Stop analyzing life. Just live it. Analysis is what makes it complicated.

Me: Why are we then constantly unhappy? 

Gohonzon: Your today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday. You are worrying because you are analyzing. Worrying has become your habit. That's why you are not happy.

Me: But how can we not worry when there is so much uncertainty? 

Gohonzon: Uncertainty is inevitable, but worrying is optional.

Me: But then, there is so much pain due to uncertainty. 

Gohonzon: Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.

Me: If suffering is optional, why do good people always suffer? 

Gohonzon: Diamond cannot be polished without friction. Gold cannot be purified without fire. Good people go through trials, but don't suffer. With that experience their life become better not bitter.

Me: You mean to say such experience is useful? 

Gohonzon: Yes. In every terms. Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lessons afterwards.

Me: But still, why should we go through such tests? Why can't we be free from problems? 

Gohonzon: PROBLEMS are Purposeful Roadblocks Offering Beneficial Lessons (to) Enhance Mental Strength. Inner strength comes from struggle and endurance, not when you are free from problems.

Me: Frankly in the midst of so many problems, we don't know where we are heading. 

Gohonzon: If you look outside you will not know where you are heading. Look inside. Looking outside, you dream. Looking inside, you awaken. Eyes provide sight. Heart provides insight.

Me: Sometimes not succeeding fast seems to hurt more than moving in the right direction. What should I do? 

Gohonzon: Success is a measure as decided by others. Satisfaction is a measure as decided by you. Knowing the road ahead is more satisfying than knowing you rode ahead. You work with the compass. Let others work with the clock.

Me: In tough times, how do you stay motivated? 

Gohonzon: Always look at how far you have come rather than how far you have to go. Always count your blessing, not what you are missing.

Me: What surprises you about people? 

Gohonzon: When they suffer they ask, "Why me?" When they prosper, they never ask, "Why me." Everyone wishes to have truth on their side, but few want to be on the side of the truth.

Me: Sometimes I ask, "Who am I?" "Why am I here?" I can't get the answer. 

Gohonzon: Seek not to find who you are, but to determine who you want to be. Stop looking for a purpose as to why you are here. Create it. Life is not a process of discovery but a process of creation.

Me: How can I get the best out of life? 

Gohonzon: Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.

Me: One last question. Sometimes I feel my prayers are not answered. 

Gohonzon: There are no unanswered prayers. At times the answer is `No'.

Me: Thank you for this wonderful chat. 

Gohonzon: Well. Keep the faith and drop the fear. Don't believe your doubts and doubt your beliefs.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Guilt and Hon-nin myo

Today I did lilac at the Youth inspiration day at Brixton National Centre.
I had never been to that centre before and I was eager to visit it and lilac there. I was also looking forward to the day. Every year, we hold a big inspirational event on or around the 16th of March. I will write on the importance of the day in my next post.

In my experience, based on how I feel after, there are mainly two types of buddhist meetings. There are those that make you feel full of energy, happy and bouncing around, feeling absolute joy and elation. I feel like that after most meetings, and I feed off that joy and energy for days after the meeting.

Then there's a more complex sort of reaction. Sometimes, after a meeting, I feel weird. I can' exactly pinpoint what's wrong, I just know that something IS wrong. The best ways I can explain it is, I feel fragmented, unsure, swaying between a world and the other without any specific purpose. Until suddenly, something clicks. Something I was mulling over at the back of my head surfaces and I have to deal with it. This more often than not ends in tears, then something else clicks, and I feel better, until eventually, I reach that same feeling of joy and elation, just maybe a bit less euphoric and more serene.

In other words, folks, some meeting make me feel happy, some others trigger my human revolution.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

A short glossary of Japanese terms used in SGI

As I promised, here is a short glossary of Japanese terms used in everyday Buddhism. 
This list is by no means comprehensive (basically I put in here everything that popped into my mind, but there's surely more that slipped through :))

Friday, 24 February 2012

What's with the Japanese lingo?

Ok, someone shakubuku-ed you. You went to your first zadankai, maybe a toso or two, did some daimoku and started learning how to do gongyo. Someone maybe gave you a juzu and encouraged you to "have a strong ichinen". You sort of know what a Butsudan is, you grasped easily the meaning of Butsuma, but when you heard someone, packing a suitcase full of paraphernalia, complaining their Butsugu was incomplete, you had enough.

For goodness sake, what's with the Japanese lingo?

Friday, 17 February 2012


A couple of years ago, I spent six months in Romania for a European project. It was a very interesting experience and I'm glad I did it, but it was also very challenging. During most of the six months the weather was really rubbish, alternating snow and rain, and the temperature ranged between -12º and -25º.

The worst part was not having Buddhist meetings. At the time there were only a handful of members in Romania and I couldn't manage to contact any of them. Furthermore, I was living in this very small town up north and my Romanian was very basic, so there was really nothing to do. At all.

Luckily I had my mom's Omamori Gohonzon with me, (not being able to carry a Butsudan made it impossible to take my Gohonzon with me), and that made it a bit better. I went home for Christmas and forgot my Gongyo book there, so from January till May I had to chant from memory, which to be fair was great. It meant I had to really focus on what I was doing and couldn't let my mind wander on trivial things, otherwise I would lose the thread and had to start again. The first days I found myself starting Gongyo again five times, then I found my focus.

To make a long story short, I wasn't doing any activity and I was missing it terribly. I missed the discussion meetings, I missed chanting with other people, and most of all, of course, I missed doing lilac. On the plus side, I had loads of free time so I could chant more, but I was longing for something to do.

A delightful little essay

Here is a link to a lovely short essay that explains the daily practice of gongyo. It is written by a Fukushi (like me!) who doesn't mention having taken faith themselves.

What I like about this essay is that it explains the practice in an analytical, academic style without for this reason falling into the trap of cold sterility.

Well done!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

It's not lilac-like!

On Tuesday I was doing a lilac shift at LIPC. I was my first time covering the evening weeknight shifts, but not my first time lilac-ing at Sensei’s video’s showing.
One of the girls who was lilac-ing with me, after action gongyo, told the action chief “We can’t hug because I’m lilac-ing, but you know I love you.” and I thought: “Of course, it’s not lilac-like!” (get it? lady-like/lilac-like? Nevermind) and just about controlled my giggles at my wit.

I’m aware that to the non-buddhists, that first paragraph, not to mention the title, probably makes as much sense as a cat wearing braces, which is… well, it’s actually quite cool.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

About buddhist daily practice

(a makeshift Butsugu me and my mother devised when she visited me with her Omamori. That was a stack of books and don’t you just love the orange in the coffee-cup?)

I know it's bit naughty, but I will start by reposting something I wrote ages ago for my old blog.
It was originally intended as a meme's entry (ABC Wednesday), called P is for Practice, as in daily practice.

Daily practice is an important aspect of Buddhism. The core elements of daily practice are Gongyo and Daimoku. 


Hello, and welcome to my blog!

As you can see from my profile, I am a Buddhist, Sicilian girl with a couple of degrees in Russian who teaches Spanish and French in the UK (as you do). 

Now, onto what this blog is all about.

I will start from the title: “Fukushi”. A Fukushi, or “fortune baby”, is a child born and raised in a buddhist family. Nichiren buddhism, to be more specific. 

That’s what I am. 

As the time passes I find that my being Buddhist defines me more as a person than anything else I am. 

So the primary focus of this blog is to talk about Buddhist life, with references to growing up as a Buddhist kid in Sicily. I will talk about daily practice and Buddhist concepts, discuss my favourite study topics, share quotes and useful things (including downloadables). There will be the occasional meme and some stuff that is purely there for fun.

Most importantly, I am going to blabber on quite a lot about my personal journey and experiences, the way I use all of the above to become happier, which in Nichiren Buddhism we call Human Revolution

If you are not a Buddhist, you might find some of the stuff I do downright weird (and btw, when I talk about Lilacs, I don't mean the flower. Or the colour), but there will be explanations and links to follow.

Here is how this thing got started.

A few years back, I was in the Ukraine and I had a hopeless crush that was gnawing at me.

At the time I was writing a diary, and I wrote a lot of letters to this person, some of which I even sent, about all the things that were happening to me in the Ukraine.

After a lot of thought, I decided that all that stuff should not have stayed in my diary, and that it wasn’t really worth it to send the letters off anyway, so I decided to start blogging.

I created an identity, Ewa Munchkin, to sign my blog, and started off. Munchkin was one of the many nicknames that were given to me - I had all sorts: dwarf, evil dwarf, Gollum, hobbit, smurf, smurfette… yep, you guessed right, I’m short. Not an actual dwarf at 5ft1, but still shorter than average. I happened to like Munchkin more than all the other names, so I added a first name with a Slavonic feel (after all, I was in the Ukraine, and I’m a Russian major. Yes, I know Ewa is Polish, but I happen to also speak a little Polish).

Now loads of things happened to me after that, and my blog was more or less abandoned. Not that many people were really reading it, aside from the memes I started doing after a while.
As I decided to start blogging again, I realised I needed a clearer focus, so I decided to start a new blog, and with some luck, maybe people will start reading it.

I will add a disclaimer: there will be a lot, and I mean a lot, of random faffing about literature. No, I'm not trying to show off (ok, maybe a little), it's just second nature to me, and I have very few people I can actually talk to about these things, so I need some place to get it out of my system! ^^
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