Saturday, 31 May 2014

My graduation experience

I wrote this experience for my Graduation Day.

As things stand now, I don't know if I will share it on that day, I but I am scheduling the post so that it will go live on the 31st anyway. People who know me already know parts of it. If you read my blog I speak about different parts of it in other posts, so some things will look familiar. I will put some links at the bottom for people who are interested in reading more about my journey.

Here is the experience: 

My name is Ewa, I am 28 and I come from Italy. I am the vice team leader for team S and I will graduate today.

In this experience, I will try to talk about how much lilacing has changed my life.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Grade 2 Study Exam - 2014. Section A. Q2

This is part of a series of posts to share my preparation for the Grade 2 Study Exam that I will sit this coming November. 

Section A

From ‘An increasingly tense situation in Atsuhara’:

A2 - Why did Nichiren Daishonin refer to the two persecutions at Tatsunokuchi and Komatsubara, and what impact must this have had on Tokimitsu?

First of all, let's point out some details about the three persecutions mentioned:

Komatsubara Persecution: 11 November, 1264 - an attempt by Tojo Kagenobu (a Nembutsu believer) to kill the Daishonin at Komatsubara in Awa Province.

Tatsunokuchi Persecution: 12 September, 1271, the authorities arrested Nichiren Daishonin and took him to the execution grounds of Tatsunokuchi on the outskirts of Kamakura. After the execution attempt failed, he was eventually exiled to Sado Island, which was tantamount to a death sentence.

Atsuhara Persecution: A series of threats and acts of violence (which included the execution of three men) against followers of Nichiren Daishonin in Atsuhara Village in Fuji District, starting in around 1275 and continuing until around 1283.

This letter was written in 1279, right when the Atsuhara Persecution began to intensify in earnest.

It is probably because the Daishonin had received news of the increasingly tense situation in Atsuhara that, from the outset of this letter, he discusses the various persecutions he has undergone, and especially two in which direct attempts were made on his life.

Both of these were violent attacks with swords, and must have made a strong impression on Tokimitsu, in whose area a similar incident had taken place. Although he had personal experience of overcoming pressure and criticism for his faith in the Daishonin’s teachings, this time there was a chance that his very life was in danger.

The Daishonin explains the significance of the persecutions he has undergone and showing his invincible fighting spirit urges Tokimitsu to be prepared to overcome such obstacles in the same way he has. The example of someone who has fought and won against similar threats must have been of great encouragement to him.

Word count: 230

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Buddhist Quotes - May

This month's quote comes from the Gosho "The fourteen slanders". It was written near the end of 1276, in reply to the lay priest Matsuno RokurĊ Saemon.

I am currently at home with the mother of all colds. I seriously just sneezed hard enough to make my whole bed tremble. I feel so fortunate that I have a job that allows me sick days and still pays me even if I am sneezing in bed. That might have something to do with the fact that teachers have to work even when they are ill. I have to set cover work and I still check my emails and do work related stuff in bed, but since I have a rule never to bring any work at home, I can't do any planning or marking, and it's ok.

I feel a bit guilty for not being there to teach my students, but then again the kids deserve the best teacher they can have, and at the moment I am not at my best by a long shot.

So, in my neverending boredness I was browsing Facebook and one of my Buddhist friends put this question up on a Buddhist page, about what slander actually is. I immediately thought about the 14 slanders, so I looked it up, and before linking it to her I re-read it, mostly out loud (my throat is in pretty bad shape, I can barely do gongyo).

There is something to be said about reading Gosho out loud. It's something one of my leaders encouraged me to do a few years back, so I tried. I would say it always gives me new insight into the Gosho, it makes me feel like I am reading it with my life, and also makes me feel closer to Nichiren. He was a pretty awesome guy, if you think about it. A far cry from the uber-calm buddhist monk of Hollywood, he was strong, feisty and could even come across as arrogant. He looked at the demons head on and never faltered, but also made sure to always show respect and gratitude to his disciples.

That Gosho is awesome, it's really difficult to choose a quote from it, so there:

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Grade 2 Study Exam - 2014. Section A. Q1

This is part of a series of posts to share my preparation for the Grade 2 Study Exam that I will sit this coming November.

Section A

From the ‘Introduction’:
A1- How did Mr Toda express his unwavering commitment to kosen‐rufu, and what impact did this have on the young Daisaku Ikeda? What does this teach us about how to practise Nichiren Buddhism?

Mr Toda said, ‘No matter how great the hardships I might face, [...] I wish to continue advancing toward kosen‐rufu with all of you [...], even should I be reduced to surviving on water and wild roots or be forced to lay down my life for the sake of that cause.’

Toda's unwavering commitment to Kosen Rufu and his readiness to face any hardship that might lie ahead, filled young Daisaku Ikeda with fresh courage and a determination to support and strive alongside Mr Toda just as he had supported and striven alongside his own mentor in his youth.

The essence of what it means to practise Nichiren Buddhism is the shared struggle of mentor and disciple. This means to strive and overcome adversity together with our mentor, as we advance along the great path of kosen‐rufu. In order to do so, we must first of all understand our mentor’s struggles. It is important that we try to engrave our mentor’s fighting spirit, conduct, and wisdom in our life through our own efforts for kosen‐rufu and achieve actual victory.

Word Count: 180

Monday, 12 May 2014

Grade 2 Study Exam - 2014. The journey commences.

Finally, after two years, I can start preparing the Grade 2 exams!

I am so very excited to be starting this journey and to share it on the blog.

Since I passed Grade 1 in 2012, last year I had to take a gap as per SGI-UK regulations. In that occasion, I was the lilac chief for my local exams and I trained next year's lilac chief, who will be supporting me this time around. During the activity I also met an Italian Young Woman who has since then moved into my district and become an absolute lighthouse of joy for the district and especially the other young women.

Here is part of the message Sensei wrote last year to members who decided to take the exam last year.

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