Saturday, 30 November 2013


Some time ago, Seleus republished on her blog Lotus Flower an article titled Mistaking Arrogance for confidence. I found it extremely interesting on a variety of levels and it made me think a lot.
Arrogance is something that has been ascribed to my character for my entire life. It caused me endless suffering, especially because the pattern is usually as follows. 
I am accused of being arrogant. I believe it, and start policing my thoughts and actions in a paranoid way. This is all for nought: people keep coming at me with accusations of being arrogant. All the while, these same people are surrounded by others, who get praised to no end and to me appear  completely full of it. So I get harshly criticised for being arrogant, my efforts completely ignored, and other people, displaying what to me looks as genuine arrogance, get praised instead of me. 
It used to drive me insane.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Actual Proof campaign

I can't believe how it didn't occur to me to write anything about our Actual Proof campaign.


This campaign started last year, and will finish on the 18th of November.

Quoting from the SGI website:

Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (front row, center) with Soka Kyoiku Gakkai members in Fukuoka, Kyushu, 1941
November 18 is the anniversary of the establishment of the Soka Gakkai.
Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, first president of the Soka Gakkai, and his disciple Josei Toda (second president) published the first in a series of writings outlining the system of soka, or value-creating pedagogy, on November 18, 1930, and this date marks the founding of the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai--the Society for Value-Creating Education. The word "soka," which was coined by Toda and Makiguchi, is a combination of Chinese characters meaning "create" and "value."
The group's aim was to reform the Japanese education system in order to foster the unique creative potential of every child, and this endeavor was further strengthened by the philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism which also stresses the vast untapped potential of every individual.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

10,000 page views!

Just a quick post to say a massive THANK YOU to all the people who read my little blog.

Today I reached 10,000 page views!

I will be writing more Buddhist stuff soon.

Of course it would be AWESOME if people wrote to me to suggest a topic. I love me some suggestions!

Good night!

Monday, 23 September 2013

A birthday surprise

Ranty emo-fest alert. If you are not in the mood for that, skip to the Determined Cat picture. That's where the good stuff starts.

I hate birthdays.

Or rather, I hate my birthday. At least I used to, until this year.

My birthday falls in the middle of the Summer. 
This normally meant that:

1. I was never able to just bring a cake to school.
2. Everyone always forgot about my birthday, because everyone was on holiday on that day.
3. Everyone, that is, except me.

My parents being artists, usually they worked more during the school holidays than during the school year. Yep, that means during my birthday too.
Also, in Sicily it is stupidly hot in August, so someone invented the rule that I couldn't have a birthday cake, because it was too hot to eat it.

Sunday, 22 September 2013


'ello everyone!

I have been away (both physically and metaphorically) for a long time.

My last post and subsequent absence made me realise how many more people than I thought are actually reading this little blog.

In the past few weeks since I've been back to the UK and started to do Buddhist activities again, I have had a lot of people expressing concern about my happiness after having read that post. Some people wondered if I had stopped practising, some others thought I had abandoned the blog.

I came back to the blog today and found THREE beautiful comments awaiting my approval.

I feel loved.

I don't want to discuss what happened to me (I will refer to it from now on as That Thing That Happened, or TTTH), people close to me know it well enough and I don't want to dwell on it. Things that happen to us, I believe, are not important in themselves, but only for the relevance and connection they have to our own lives. In other words, it's not what happens that we have to analyse, it's our reaction to it.

Monday, 15 July 2013

No fighting, just trying to find joy...

Right now, the only thing that's keeping me from quitting any and all forms of Buddhist activity (besides chanting alone in front of my Gohonzon) is this piece of guidance:

​It is only natural to feel that our efforts have been worthwhile and be motivated to work harder when we are recognized and praised by those around us. Part of a leader’s responsibility is to acknowledge, commend, and encourage those who are making dedicated, earnest efforts.
​However, even if we are not praised or properly appreciated, it is important that we don’t end up resenting leaders and other members, or lose our enthusiasm. That only erases our benefit and good fortune and causes us to stop growing.
​Buddhist practice is a struggle with the devilish functions within one’s own life. Those devilish functions will use every possible means to sap the enthusiasm and destroy the faith of a person striving sincerely in their Buddhist practice. There may even be times when a person wonders why they keep running into such hardships. But nothing goes unseen by the Gohonzon. In light of the law of cause and effect, the more effort one makes for the Mystic Law, the more good fortune one will accumulate in one’s life. (From the Banner of the Law by Daisaku Ikeda)

I'm trying to chant just to find joy when all I want to do is to cry.

Recently, I achieved amazing victories in different areas of my life.
I should have expected the demons to attack me in the context of my Buddhist practice, but truth is, it never crossed my mind. I've always felt my Buddhist family as one that was judgement-free, drama-free, and where I could actually be myself without fear of being misunderstood.

My mother and my district leader both said to chant to find joy. I'll just do that I guess. And read that guidance.

I'll come back soon with some stuff I've been thinking of writing for a while.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

How to chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo?

Hello wonderful people who read my blog!

I am so sorry I have not be able to write recently. I have been really busy and happily engaged in one thing and the other. It is incredible how rich my life has become and I am so grateful.

I don't want the blog to wither and die just because I have no inspiration to write at the moment, so I thought I would share this lovely video I have found on the YouTube. It explains the basic daily practice of Daimoku and Gongyo and gives some basic information on the theory of Buddhism as well.


Oh, please, do comment here or anywhere else if you have questions or requests for posts. I am always thrilled when I receive requests as it pushes me into action!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Dancing experience part the third: Videos!!!

Finally, my bellydance video is ready!

The background for this wonderful experience can be found in these two posts:

Dancing experience in-the-making
Dancing experience part two. AKA the One Evil

Now, onto the technical aspects.
The day I stood up and made my rather crazy determination, I actually had no idea how to put it into practice. I mean, of course I had to keep on dancing and learn the choreography, I knew I needed a costume, but I also needed someone to shoot it and a place.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

One evil

I don't normally do this, but I really wanted to share this wonderful piece of guidance.
It's from "Humanistic Education", a section of The New Human Revolution v24.

I am studying this section both with the Education Division and as part of my Leader's training.
A friend of mine read it at a Youth Division meeting and around the time I posted my last entry I started messaging my friends to know where it came from. Every friend told me to ask another, until I almost gave up.

Then, since I have encountered an obstacle at work that I have decided to face head on (with great results I have to say), and I have finished the Dedicated study programme for the first year (oddly enough, I don't feel like reading other Buddhist stuff if I know I have my DL study programme to go through), I decided to dedicate the time running up to graduation reading this booklet I got when I joined the Education Division.

And here it was, the guidance I was looking for!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Dancing experience part two. AKA the one evil.

I wanted to speak a bit more of the experience I am doing with bellydancing. 

In my last post, I mentioned my current battle against my one evil. In my case, my one evil is my lack of self esteem, which makes me dependent from other people’s approval.

My journey to finding and transforming my one evil has been long and complicated. I went through several experiences in my life.

Transforming my financial karma was one step in my journey. It was my second absolute victory and the first time I felt I had really accomplished the impossible. 

Sometimes, I make myself go back at my recent past, a time when having a coffee with friends meant completely reworking my weekly budget, and buying clothes in anything but a charity shop was out of the question. I don’t want to forget that time, I MUST not forget that time, I have to cling to every struggle, to every time when I felt impotent and hopeless. Not to delve in past misery, nor to gloat. I need to remember the pain in order to be able to really empathise with the people in my district and chapter who are going through similar problems at the moment, so that I can feel true compassion and find the right words to encourage them.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

On the transformation of karma.

I am a fukushi. I am really proud of having been brought up within this Buddhism and to have all these years of experience in faith.

Often the years of experience mean very little. I am now 27. This means that I have chanted my first daimoku more than 26 years ago and I have been doing gongyo regularly for 15 years.

And yet, only a few weeks ago did I really understand (and experience) the principle of transforming your karma through your buddhist practice.

In buddhism, we believe that at some point in the distant past, we have been sitting at a ceremony, called the Ceremony in the Air, with Shakyamuni Buddha and countless other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. In that occasion, we have made the great vow of becoming absolutely happy and teaching others to do the same.

In order to fulfil this vow, we have all chosen, allow me to repeat, we have CHOSEN a certain karma, laden with specific challenges. We have made this choice in order to be able to transform this particular karma and, by doing so, to provide example to others and lead them to the path of happiness.

Sunday, 21 April 2013


This morning I was bored and mooching about on the internet. The plans for the morning are to do a long, sweaty bellydance session (my exercise routine has been disrupted by the holidays), a shower using the new citrus fruit stuff I treated myself to yesterday and calling some guy to buy a new mattress. None of this can happen for another hour (just had breakfast, you try and do undulations if you just had breakfast!). 

So, mooching about it is (well, also made a batch of gluten-free chocolate muffins with berry compote and put some chicken in a homemade garlic marinade, but that was before breakfast).

Sometimes the internet surprises me. Today I found the Sloganmaker.
It's an app that transforms any word you input into a catchy slogan. You can keep hitting the button until it produces something you like.

Let's see the results when inputting some Buddhist lingo.

And here is a picture of a cat. Just 'cause. Oh, my comments are in italics.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Sometimes you just need to blow your own trumpet...

As part of my journey of becoming a person of unlimited self-esteem, I decided to write a list (or two), of things that I can do well and that I am proud of. 
I am generally my harshest critic, so putting it together was a pain, but I think it's important if I want to learn to truly appreciate myself. 

Saturday, 13 April 2013

On sincerity and actual proof.

I have been meaning to talk about the idea of sincerity in Buddhism and the impact sincere prayer has on actual proof, if any.

I have had a few experiences on the topic, some of which I am going to be sharing now.

At various points in my life, I have found that I was at odds with someone. My relationship with a certain person, be it a member of my family, or a member of the SGI, or someone I would work or study with, would be strained or completely broken. I am an incredibly forgiving person, so it was usually the other person who would decide not to have a positive relationship with me, not the other way round. As I will mention in a post on changing karma, that would also often be connected with my “left-out” karma.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Dancing experience in-the-making

Here I am, back from the land of the dead, AKA writer's block.

Lately, I have been doing a lot (and I do mean A LOT) of Buddhist activity and lots of other things, which means that I haven't had the time, or the head, to write anything on here, which made for a very poor start for 2013.

This will change. Has changed.

So, I wanted to talk about something that doesn't happen often enough (at least to me): a New Year's Resolution that is actually being carried through.

I know, shocking.

Only, it was my LAST YEAR'S New Year resolution, which my HoY read out in assembly in front of an entire cohort of Y8 students. Harumph:

"To take my bellydancing seriously"

So, after having to shamefully admit in front of said cohort of Y8 students that, no, I indeed had not taken it seriously, I began thinking about it. And then, amazingly, I started doing something about it.

Why amazingly? Read on.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


One of the most interesting aspects of Buddhist life is the altar. I personally find someone’s altar one of the best ways to get to know aspects of a person, as the Buddhist altar generally reflects the character of its owner.

For a period of time, my parents had an altar each, and I would do my gongyo and daimoku in front of whichever of the two was free. Comparing the altars meant comparing my parents.

My dad’s altar was always dusty, the fruit was changed very rarely and often became really old and sometimes even moldy, his candle-holders were old and broken.
My father is not a particularly tidy person himself, doesn’t care about appearance and is happy to use old, even broken things as long as they serve the purpose.

My mother’s altar was always clean and sparkly, every object was chosen with care and the disposition was changed often. However, only the bell had been bought in a Buddhist shop, everything else was intended for another use but she liked to use it for her altar. Her fruit was always fresh and the incense holder emptied often. It was beautiful, as everything my mother touches.
My mother, obviously, is a very tidy person who likes surrounding herself with beautiful objects, is very creative and gives new life to old things by re-vamping them and using them in unexpected ways.

Another apology

I probably hit THE driest spell in my blogging. Just nooo ideas whatsoever, plus, ironically, I'm so busy with Buddhist activities that on weekends I simply don't have the time to sit down and write stuff.

Then, today this wonderful comment appeared:

:) Please keep sharing your experiences :)
Thank you so much!
Best from Berlin, Bell

Thank you, Bell, you woke me up.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Happy New Year

So this is my first post of 2013.

I want to start with an apology for my lack of new posts in the past few weeks. I have been rather busy and then down with a stinking flu (I'm not really fully recovered yet).

Most importantly, I would like to wish all my readers a wonderfully victorious 2013. This year has been defined "The Year of Victory for a Youthful SGI". We have this thing of naming every year with an inspirational motto. This, for me, means winning absolutely, winning over my limitations and challenge myself to keep up my youthful spirit even more.

I am so incredibly grateful to all the people who read my blog. Every pageview is enormously valued and every comment quite literally makes my day.

I started this blog almost a year ago to share my experiences and struggles and to do my "little slice of Kosen Rufu". If I managed to inspire just one person with the wonderful teachings I base my life on, then I feel accomplished as a writer.

Thank you all, so much.

I have many many determinations for the year to come. I want to see my district grow and to see the young women in my care flourish and win, and I want to be there to applaud their successes and their wonderful spirit as I hope I have so far.

I want to make the best of my Dedicated Lilac training, enjoy every activity and feel the wonderful team I'm part of become even stronger and more cohesive.

My biggest personal determination for the past year has been to find a partner for kosen rufu. I have been alone, after a difficult, abusive relationship for a long time, and I yearn to fall in love again and share my life with someone. I am still single, and I realised something very important. The most crucial part of my journey is to learn to truly love myself for what I am. I know it sounds cheesy and banal, what with all the self-help prattle we have poured upon us from every avenue of this ever changing, scarily connected and small, small world, but it is fundamentally true. I don't love myself that much, I don't even LIKE myself that much, and from now on my efforts are going to be focussed on being exactly the kind of person I can, and want to be, the kind of person I can like, love and respect, rather than obsessing over what other people think of me and quite literally allow my self esteem to depend upon other people's life state.

Please stay tuned for the biggest human revolution you have ever seen!

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...