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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