The Christian and The Buddhist

Buddha and Jesus
Source credit: beliefnet.com

The Christian and the Buddhist

sat down one day to talk

to understand the different paths

they chose to take their walk

Which path was right?

Was someone wrong?

Were the things they believed

wrong all along?

 

Their talk intent was not to try

to say you’re wrong, I’m right

Love of faith is just as strong

as any heartfelt love in life

No amount of reason

can convince us to believe

in something else so opposite

of all we learned, indeed.

 

It’s easier to find the strength

of things which are the same

than nit pick why the world has hate

and say your faith’s to blame

No matter what the faith we have

it’s happiness we crave

Learn right from wrong, make mistakes

then learn how to behave.

 

The Christian and the Buddhist

could debate all night and day

Where is all your proof that lies

beyond the stories that you say?

Blind faith you said is all you need

then wait to see what comes

Sometimes He helps and sometimes not

is this where faith comes from?

 

The Buddhist asks,”You believe

something apart from you

has planned your life, so you’ve read

it’s because His love is true?

What part in life do you play

as you sit and wait

humbling begging life to change

until the day gets late?” 

 

The Christian asks, “What do you do

with no Father there to guide

and protect you, watch and love you

while walking by your side?

I’m not alone because I have

his loving arms around me

He plans my life and happiness

affecting me directly

 

The Buddhist says, “That God-like nature

resides inside our heart

It isn’t something separate

It’s not an entity apart

We learn our lessons from our deeds

from wisdom we now know

Like birds that sing, the universe hears

‘nam myoho renge kyo’

 

Cause and effect, you reap what you sow

it means the very same thing

Life gives back what you give

Benefit can’t come from nothing

If God doesn’t answer the prayer you made

could it be you made no cause?

Your prayer got no reaction

the cause you made had flaws?

 

Something needs to change in us

to reflect a change outside

or life just slaps us left and right

and wisdom slips right by

Prayer is answered and wisdom gained

from climbing every mountain

Believing, having faith we change

using wisdom, never doubting

 

The Christian and the Buddhist

sat there thinking oh so quietly

The core of faith, to have no doubt

that’s hard to do in spite of me

A coward can not have his prayers

answered on a whim

A focused thought to change your life

must come from deep within

 

A prayer that begs, made in haste

with a promise to do better

Do you pray every day

to see if God decides to answer?

Make a prayer, hold out your hands

and look to see if it’s granted

If not, it would be God’s will

and wasn’t what he wanted?

 

The Christian and the Buddhist

both learned a lot that day

finding things that are alike

not listening to what people say

They talked about the things they learned

with an open mind

They promised they would talk again

to see what else they might find

 

They parted ways, shaking hands

feeling they had learned

a little something. Understanding

when each can take a turn

The underlying reason why

one wants to understand 

Is making sense of our lives

and the purpose – of man

 

Sonni Quick copyright 2017

 

 

 

Alonza Thomas -Fear of Heights

Over the past year I’ve written about Alonza.  I’ve had the pleasure of skyping with him many times – a deep and thoughtful man trying to figure out how to begin his life again in a world that caused him pain. We have read frequently the past year what effects are of solitary confinement. Because of what happened to Kalief Browder and his suicide caused by abuse and solitary confinement the law was changed and kids could no longer be held like that. Alonza had just turned 16 and California had just changed the law to try 16 year old kids as adults and he was the first one. He became their poster child/adult as the. “stick-up kid”.

He made it through 13 years but came out in a million tiny pieces he has been struggling to put back together. I’d like to say that today everything is great. I know he wishes it were. But the reality is the same as someone who has come back from war. On the outside everything seems to be okay, but the glue holding the pieces together never really dries and it is fragile and easily broken. He is safer inside his lonely room than facing the world outside.

Google him and watch the TV shows on him and understand his story.

 

Below the video is a link to other poetry.

Do You Know Why Your Thoughts Are So Important?

Depositphotos_18546511_s-2015

Author: Margaret Blaine
We’re taught that our thoughts don‘t really matter unless we act on them. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

We are one with the creative life force in the core of our lives, so our minds have the same creative capacity as the life force itself. This means our minds are unlimited and can create the circumstances we desire.

In the Buddhist dictionary, we are told that the mind possesses the potential of 3000 realms in a moment of life and encompasses the simultaneity of cause and effect.


This means that every thought, we have, sets a seed in our lives that will manifest in the future when the time is right. Our outer life today is the “visible” manifestation of the “invisible” workings of our mind of yesterday. So, the thoughts, we dwell upon the most, create our life in the future. Until we learn about this we just let any old thoughts, and beliefs run through our minds, unaware we are in fact creating our future life circumstances. The beauty? We possess the ability to consciously change what we are doing to get better results.

As President Ikeda writes in My Dear Friends in America, ‘belief and thought alter reality’. This capacity of our minds is truly miraculous. Most of the time we are either unaware of what we have, take it for granted or doubt we really have it. We not only project our thoughts out to the universe while chanting, but we unconsciously do it all day long. Since the universe reflects our thoughts back to us, it is important that we become aware of what we are projecting.

I have heard people say that chanting doesn’t work. But chanting always works. The response reflects what you are thinking about the most. If you are chanting while thinking this is a waste of time, then the universe will reflect that back to you. But if you chant with the faith that you will get what you want, that result will be reflected back to you too. Awareness, of what you are thinking, will allow you to create the future life you want on purpose, through deliberate intent, rather than by accident. Awareness will allow you to achieve your goals more quickly, because you are no longer getting in your own way.

Become Aware: What Are You  Thinking About?

You give yourself a major advantage once you become aware of what you are thinking. It can be a challenge to notice the almost subliminal thoughts that flit by so quickly. But once you develop the habit of noticing, you will catch yourself when you are thinking about negative results, or worrying about problems. Then you can deliberately change those negative thoughts to reflect what you want to have happen and radiate that to the universe. The results will be quite different.   

This is what is meant when Nichiren said, “Learn to master your mind. Don’t let your mind master you.”

Pay attention and notice how you are thinking while addressing a concern. Are you addressing it with doubts or disbelief that you can change the situation? Are you focusing on your fears? Are you giving your attention to the problems and obstacles rather than the solution you want?

How to Resolve Disbelief and Doubts

• Notice how you are thinking.
• Resolve doubts through study or asking questions.
• If you discover you don’t believe you can achieve the goal you have set, then reduce it to the first step, something you can believe.
• If you find yourself focusing on your fears, redirect your attention to what you want.

You Can do It.

Changing habits of thinking and beliefs may feel slow. But it can be done. Just be patient and persistent. Shortly, you will find that you are developing a positive frame of mind. And, as you chant, focusing on the what you want ( your end goal) rather than the problem, you will see your life shift into a positive direction. You can do it..

Are You Really Going to Eat That Stuff?

Ah! What do I do next today? Read? Write a letter to Jamie or Armando of other inmates I care about? Work on my book, answer msgs that came in concerning other posts? Put on my shoes and go walk as I try to build up my strength? Make phone calls personal or business? Life is full. I’m busy. I’M ALIVE!

When I woke this morning and struggled to an upright position feeling every pain in my body telling trying to convince me to give up, ( I have that thought every morning) I  swallowed 5 mgs of methadone, my blood pressure med, an extra strength Tylenol and anti-rejection pills for my liver transplant and went to the kitchen and poured a cup of coffee with a little organic vanilla creamer. There is nothing better than that first swallow of hot coffee in the morning. (my morning begins at noon and bedtime is around 4-5 am) My husband always makes sure it is ready and waiting. I try as much as possible to limit putting chemicals into my body because I’ve researched it enough over the years and found the saying “you are what you eat” is very true. If you have the ability to choose what you eat and don’t care, then accept the fact your food is going to lead you to a different death through cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke or memory loss. Your choice.  It could happen anyway but your chances are a hell-of-a-lot greater.

I stumbled back to my bed with my hand on the wall for balance. I can’t take the chance of falling again. The last time nearly derailed me. I have to wait for the pain meds to go to work. All because of the effects of the causes I made earlier in my life. But I’m still here and kicking, not wasting a single precious moment of life, because I sure do love living! Do you? Or do you exist just to die; a question we need to ask ourselves especially when we get older. Now that I am far enough over 60, optimistically having a third of my life left to live, how do I want to live that life? That is a choice we make, because much of it takes place in our minds which dictates what actions we take.

cart of processed food

We all die. But our actions help bring about how that happens. I have tried more times than I can count to help people close to me understand the consequences of the food they eat and what certain ingredients do to their health, but damn, they just don’t care – enough – to stop eating things that only TASTE GOOD! Who cares what your body is supposed to do with the chemicals in their food even though it’s killing them. I realized I cared more about them than they cared about themselves. I had to understand they had the right to destroy their life any way they wanted. I was naive when I thought if they knew they would want to stop destroying themselves. I was wrong about that. The attitude most people have is – you gotta die somehow. So who cares? Or they think they really are doing the best they can and fool themselves.

I can look at people in society, and often see their health. In grocery stores I have to fight with myself to not go up to people’s grocery carts with a perplexed look on my face and ask them, “Are you really going to EAT that stuff?” If I started doing that I’d never get out of the store. Why don’t they care? Their life has it’s own complex reasons and nothing I say will change that, so I don’t try.

Case in point – my mother has diabetes and she had a stroke a year ago. For at least ten years, since it was diagnosed, I tried to teach her what she needed to know about the food she was eating that caused her diabetes. I might as well have talked to a wall. She was going to eat what she wanted to eat regardless of the possible consequences.

We all have our own addictions. I surely understand that. Now my mother is in a wheel chair with a brace on her leg if she wants to walk with her walker. her body is weak now from little use. The phrase, “A body in motion stays in motion” is also a truism. Her mind and memory now is like Swiss cheese.

It’s been hard watching her decline and wondering, could this have been prevented, if her life and the quality of it had mattered more? It’s too late now. The damage is done. All of us have to live with the consequences of our actions. In Buddhism it’s called the law of cause and effect. In Christianity it is taught, you reap what you sow. In everyday secular life, what goes around comes around. It’s all real. It’s absolute, but most people ignore things they don’t think applies to them.

My younger sister now shoots insulin, and my daughter takes pills, and both also have diabetes. They “try” to eat better. Major cop out. That really means, “I try to eat better sometimes but if I see something I want to eat, I’m going to eat it”. If I had that attitude with the problems caused myself I’d be dead. No one cares to learn from my mistakes or learn the knowledge I know, even if it would help them. They don’t have to listen to me, but where is that gut level desire to live and learn what it takes to implementing good food instead of good tasting tasting food in their diet on their own? I don’t understand that. At all.

If my sister eats her way into a stroke it’s not my problem to deal with. At 61 she better shit or get off the pot because the effects of diabetes are nipping at her heels. But I promise to give her all the love and caring she showed me as I fought to live, which means I’ll ignore her. My daughter at age 36 I will fight tooth and nail for, to help encourage her to exchange her diabetes for better health. I will do for her what my immediate family never did for me – if she ever needs me.

Learning lessons from the mountains we climb and gaining wisdom from it is what propels us through life. It teaches us compassion. That can be paid forward to people you can help and encourage. My family taught me how cruel family can be. My “family” are people I’m not blood related to, at least the ones I was born with. That family is gone.

It is only fair I put in a disclaimer. My older sister was there for me through my illness. She was the only one. Literally the only one who cared enough to come see me when I spent two years in bed. Isn’t that sad? Through the insecurities of someone else I lost the only family I thought I had an honest relationship with, and that hurt. It still does. Sometimes people need to believe things that aren’t true to validate what they do.

So on that note I’m going to eat breakfast, put on my shoes and go outside on this beautiful day. I’m going to take a deep breath of flower scented air, smile and exclaim what a great day it is to be alive, and go climb a few mountains. Hills really, carrying a container of coconut water, the best hydrating liquid there is with all the electrolytes I’m going to sweat out. Gatorade is crap.

Do You Have an Attorney in Your Contact List? Why Not?

cop in mirror

This is important, especially in the world today and this new administrations double down on arresting even more people AND eroding away our civil rights. What we think is right is not what they are changing the laws to be. We need to protect ourselves.

My Name is Jamie. My Life in Prison

ls

This post is for people who live in the US.

I have read most people who are locked up eventually get out. A smaller percentage are lwop – life without parole or death row. About 700,000 people are released each year and coincidentally the amount of people who are newly incarcerated keep the numbers at a steady 2.3 to 2.4 million people at any given time. This has nothing to do with the millions of people on paper on probation or parole, or the immigration prisons. The US has the most people incarcerated in any country in the entire world. Think about that. Either Americans are awful people hell bent on committing crimes or there is another factor at work here. We know what that is and why it is. Money. Profit for the rich made off the backs of minorities and low income people who can’t afford an education.

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Happiness is . . .

 

daisaku Ikeda guidance

I met a man today as I was picking up my belongings to leave physical therapy. He was on one of the bike type machines. Stationary bikes are boring. I had just finished fifteen minutes myself, determined to get my strength back, healing from an injury.

It looked like the effort of the exercise was causing him discomfort so I told him, “Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine I’m climbing a mountain.” I didn’t quite hear his answer but it didn’t look as though climbing a mountain seemed very appealing to him so I said next, “How about running down a beach and listening to the waves?”

His eyes welled up with tears and he looked about to cry. “No, I never want to go to another beach.” He then poured out his pain of what happened to him and the memories he had of the beach, and how through that his life fell apart. He had moved some time ago within a half hour of a beach with his wife and children. His wife had never been to a beach and she became obsessed with it. Every day she had to go to the beach, even on Christmas.  He really wanted to have Christmas at home.  She was never home. She was always at the beach.  Eventually she left him – for a woman.

Later he met another woman. He fell in love with her and asked her to marry him. She did. They were happy for awhile. He didn’t know she had an old boyfriend in prison. When he got out she left him to to go back to this man. He said, “I’m done. I can’t do this anymore. I have nothing to live for.”

I asked him,”Have you ever heard the words nam myoho renge kyo?” He had been looking down. When I said those words his eyes snapped up to mine in immediate attention. Startled. It was an unusually strong emotion for someone who had never heard the words before. But even though we don’t understand the song of birds, the birds do. Something inside him recognized what I said, even if he wasn’t conscious of it. “No, What is it?” he managed to say.

I repeated the phrase three times and he tried to say it with me without my asking him, which is unusual, especially when someone doesn’t know what it is. Why would they try to say it?

“This is the law of cause and effect,” I gave him the translation. “It doesn’t have to be like this. You are misunderstanding what happiness is. It isn’t something that completes you, that can be taken away by . Goes away. Happiness caused by things outside yourself is fleeting. That is relative happiness. What you wasn’t is absolute happiness, indestructible happiness.” With this he looked at me as though a small part of himself had found relief.

“Do you want to know more?” I gently asked him, not wanting to press too hard and scare him off. It was painful watching someone so desperately unhappy and not understanding how to change it. It takes more than wanting it or it would have been changed already. It only took the smallest kindness and a little time to show him he wasn’t invisible. I believe he felt very alone. I told him we could talk again if he wanted. He looked me in the eye and said, “I’d like that.”

Talking To My Younger Self

K’lee    Sonni Quick © 2017  Piano Improvisation

Very recently, I had a rather profound conversation with a man I don’t physically know. He is another mind in the blogosphere. Some people are so easy to connect to and you instinctively know your lives were meant to cross. There is so much we can learn from others if we stop trying to only get our point across and learn to listen.  I’m not sure without looking what country he lives in, but our ability to talk about this reality called life, is rare. Be honest when taking responsibility for your life instead of blaming the bad things on external reasons, or saying, “God must have wanted this to happen. It’s his plan for me.”

This man told me what he was doing with his own life. It was something I had never thought to do. Not like this. He said, “Go back and talk to your younger self and forgive her for the mistakes she made. Tell her you love her and you understand.” So the other day, while chanting, which anyone else could do using any way their faith dictates or even with no faith at all, using any means that helps give them with clarity. I sat down in the chair in front of the scroll of my Gohonzon to chant, already understanding the outcome will be difficult to deal with. 

I have been through decades of illness and surgeries and ongoing pain because my younger self stuck needles in her arm to get high and contracted the virus Hep C. This wasn’t even a word in our vocabulary at that time, but would it have made a difference to me if it was? I didn’t know then why I said yes to drugs. I know the answer now. It was a cause made somewhere in my long existence and the effect came forth at the time it was meant to. I  blindly followed the intended course. My younger self had no power over that karma the same way all karma affects the lives of others.

Some people have been taught, God pulls the puppet strings of their lives, but I never believed that. It made no sense. Not understanding why things happen doesn’t mean it was done by an outside source. It just means I don’t have the wisdom to understand it. Karma is the exact same thing as the lesson taught that reads, “You reap what you sow.” It doesn’t matter if you believe it. It is just as real as gravity. If you jump out of a plane you will fall to the earth whether you want to or not. We create what happens to us – and we repeat it until we learn the lesson it is teaching.

Unless you were born with an illness, ALL illness has a starting point that most people could have changed had they not done something to create it or perhaps allowing harmful things into their bodies that shouldn’t be there.

As I began chanting, relaxing myself with the deep breathing necessary to chant nam myoho renge kyo, I had a talk with my younger self at age 19. My 62 year old self, broken, stapled and screwed back together, gazed at a young girl the age my grandchildren are this day. They don’t know the word consequence any better than I did and think the only time that matters is this very moment.

I can so clearly remember a day, standing on the porch of someone’s house, looking out into a sunny day while watching people and cars move about in the course of their day. I thought to myself, I couldn’t see a time in the knowable future where I wouldn’t be sticking a needle into my bruised arm. These people didn’t know what they were missing. I hadn’t reached the point where the drug was needed to bring me up to normalcy. Forget getting high. I was using up my future life’s energy.

This younger me was so young, so perfect in her youth with her entire life ahead of her, and I cried. I  sat there with my head bowed and tears flowed down my cheeks. I whispered to her, “I am so sorry. I’m sorry what my lack of wisdom did to you.”

“I understand now why you did it, but it took me a long time to learn the answers. Why you needed to become this other person who felt better about herself when shooting speed – I understand.” I continued, “You needed the false confidence it gave you to make friends. I understand being near people made you afraid. I understand how you felt you had no value, so why would anyone else think you had value and want to be near you? Why would anyone want to be your friend? I understand you couldn’t give these feelings a voice. When you are high you feel you have worth. You have not learned yet how to achieve the understanding of how much value you really have – without the drugs.”

As I write these words I look at my left hand. I am grasping my thumb in a tight first. It is what I have always done when I needed to hold and comfort myself; reassure I am really here.

Because of this; because of the mountains you will have to learn to climb that gives you the understanding of how powerful you really are, the me you see before you now has learned things I never would learned without the life you have yet to live.

Without this struggle I would be a different person. I am sorry about the decades of pain you will have to suffer through, that I have already lived. But you will be okay. Through this you will help many people and become a woman who matters – all because of what you learned to teach. I want to thank you for being the soul – the body I inhabited during birth. I wouldn’t trade you for anyone else. You don’t know these things yet and I wish I could help you along the way, but understand I love you and I’ll be waiting until you get here. Just know, you will live through this.

I am proud of you, so proud, because you will learn the value of your life and you live it, in spite of what others think. You will reach and fall and pick yourself up no matter how many times life tries to knock you down. You will dust yourself off and re-determine you are stronger than the rock that knocked you off balance. You won’t hide. You won’t quit because you still breathe. This is the effect of the cause that made you an addict so long ago. This is the lesson it was trying to teach you. You will never repeat it again.

I wrapped my arms around her and held her close. People who I thought loved her – loved me – yet resented who I became, because the truth of who this young girl grew to be, became too hard for them to look at and see the truth. So be it. It’s easier to be hateful than to look at why you hate. It’s easier to pretend she doesn’t matter than to face your own insecurities. I expected too much from people who had no capacity to show and accept responsibility for their actions. How could I expect them to understand mine?

I had no strength to explain to my younger self what was to come, some pain is deeper than the physical. But she will learn that in time. That is a pain I see no end to. It is something to bear in later years.  Everyone has pain they have to lock away to survive.