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

 

 

 

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.

The Roar of a Lion

lion

If we meekly go through life with a begging mentality, asking whatever we think is “up there” to fix whatever problem we have, we never tap into the strength we have to change it with our own focus and determination. If we meekly accept that our problem wasn’t fixed because it was the will of some entity then you have missed the chance to learn, through your own wisdom and determination, to change something that causes you unhappiness. Having faith is not about having a wonderful place to go after you die – it is about having a wonderful life while you are alive! Have appreciation for being alive and having determination to succeed. Faith is about having the tools to change the part of your human nature that causes you to do and say the things that cause you unhappiness, so we can stop making the same causes over and over. Cause and effect – or reap what you sow is the same for everyone.

I read an article on a Christian website the other day where a supposedly religious scholar wrote that it really wasn’t important to pay attention to the phrase, “you real what you sow”, even though it is mentioned numerous times, because Jesus died for your sins.  WHAT??? You don’t have to worry about the negative causes you make???  But these are the very things that  bring unhappiness into your life that lead you to need to pray to have an outside source fix them, after you caused it to happen to your life through your actions. I will end today with this daily encouragement from Daisaku Ikeda:

“The daimoku (nam myoho renge kyo) we chant is not a weak imploring plea for something. It is a lions roar that reverberates with all of our being, and is powered by making a personal vow, setting our minds on realizing it and aligning our lives with the fundamental law of the universe. There is no force stronger or more sublime.”

“Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is like the roar of a lion. Therefore what illness can be an obstacle”

Don’t beg or plead or make promises if only your prayers could be answered. That is the prayer of a coward. Summon inside yourself “no doubt – at all” that your goal will be realized, regardless of the faith you believe to be true.

http://sgi-usa.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tina Turner. . .

Tina Turner today
Tina Turner today

. . .and her Buddhist practice. Through many things posts I’ve put up, and conversations I’ve had with people, many people know that I am a Nichiren Buddhist.  I don’t slam any other religion because I believe that you can find good teachings in all religions and if someone takes those teachings and applies it to their life and it affects the way they live their life then it is not up to me to say that you are wrong and I am right.  I have Christian friends and I post on Christian blogs. We each have to find our path.

Sadly, there are many people who say they are Christian, in the US, and because Christianity is dominant in this country, it makes you feel that it is Christianity is the number one religion in the world.  It isn’t.  There are many people who are Christian in name only, or only call on God’s help when they are in a dire position, and can still be hateful to the people around them at the same time.  What is taught doesn’t change anything about their behavior.  They believe in God because it is what they were taught growing up.  There wasn’t any choice.

If everyone around you tell you it is true, then you are going to think it is true. I realized at a young age people were told to believe something, but I couldn’t get an answer to the question, “why?”  It was always an answer saying because God says so.  God says this or that, or wants this or that, and we were to believe something with the credibility of science fiction – in my opinion.

I recently wrote a post https://watchandwhirl.com/2015/02/23/why-do-you-believe-what-you-believe/  I ask people this question a lot, honestly asking why?  Is it all you know?  Is it what you were taught?  Did you follow a different path and then found Christianity? Have you ever seriously looked at any other path with an open mind?  If you didn’t, was it because God would punish you for blasphemy? Do you honestly practice the teachings of your faith every day or just sometimes? Is there anyone out there who will answer me?

After searching for years for something that made sense, 27 years ago, when I was 34, I found Nichiren Buddhism.  I’m writing about this today because I found 2 minute clip of the Tina Turner movie, “What’s love got to do with it?” If you remember the movie, she turned to Buddhism when her life was at a very low point.  She made it out of a very bad and abusive relationship through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

They aren’t magic words that change things – and you aren’t praying/chanting or asking something – out there – to change things for you, or saying that it must be the will of a higher being who wants me to experience this, you realize that it puts you squarely in the drivers seat.  You know the only person who can make changes, is yourself.  And what your frame of mind is, will directly affect how you respond to things in your life.

I found another clip of Tina Turner, in an interview where she talks about why she is a Buddhist.  I thought some of you might find this interesting.

Here’s another one with her as well, and when you listen to her chant, I can do this right along with her word for word because I’ve spoken it thousands of time.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOsr_ZOi-Jo

Thank you for coming into my part of the world a short while.

Habitual Offender Law Was not Meant For Emails and Voice Messages From People with Asperger Syndrome

If you’ve been to my other blog at http://mynameisjamie.net then you are aware of my stance against mass incarceration and the inhumane treatment of many inmates caught in our injustice system.

I helped to raise a step-son with Aspergers Syndrome. I am aware of the behaviors he describes about his son. Locking him up fir 45 years because of non violent behavior indicative of people with this brain disorder is absurd. It is important to become educated about it. Had the people involved in this situation needed to be aware it is hard for people with Aspergers to have empathy. Even when they were told, why did they not have any empathy?

I remember, when my stepson was fairly young, a neurologist explained to me that he could be taught behaviors and how to act, and what to say when around people but he would not be able to understand why. He couldn’t understand what people meant with body language or gestures. Things what are easy for me to understand, and even misunderstand. When he was young, he had to be instructed over and over, the importance of standing in a line at school for lunch. He didn’t understand why he had to stand there when he wanted to go to the front. It might seem very simple for you and me, but not for him. He acted out very emotionally when he didn’t understand. He’s 28 now. He has learned how to ‘act’ in society. He learned what was expected of him, but how much of that does he understand why.

This man, who got 45 years for sending emails trying to get his girlfriend back, who probably couldn’t deal with his quirks anymore, doesn’t deserve to lose his life to prison. Why our justice system fails to understand this is beyond me. Unless it all about needing to keep our prisons full by any means possible.

Whatever reason they have does not deserve ruining his, and his family’s life. Please share this with your social media and do your part in helping to change this. Thank you.

josephmjason

Dear Department of Justice

The United States Supreme Court stated: The purpose of a recidivist statute such as that involved here is not to simplify the task of prosecutors, judges, or juries. Its primary goals are to deter repeat offenders and, at some point in the life of one who repeatedly commits criminal offenses serious enough to be punished as felonies, to segregate that person from the rest of society for an extended period of time. This segregation and its duration are based not merely on that person’s most recent offense but also on the propensities he has demonstrated over a period of time during which he has been convicted of and sentenced for other crimes.

As an advocate involved with various organizations, I state that The Habitual Offender Law was not meant for offenders who send non-threatening emails and voice messages.  It was meant for violent thugs.

It was not meant for those with Asperger Syndrome who have organic brain disorders and who are…

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My Gift to Patty. Farewell Dear Friend.

lotus flower

Today the life of a woman, who has touched many lives, has left to be part of the energy of the universe again, and begin what we call the state of ku, the inbetween.  She had been living there already for a little while, not conscious of what was going on around her, but instead living inside the magical place of her mind where there is always hope and never any pain.  I wish I could have shared that space with her for awhile, seeing what she was seeing, knowing what she now knows.

Patty knew, without doubt, this wasn’t the end of the essence who she was.  She will someday pick up the pieces of her life again and put them back together, but without the pain, and without the effect of the causes that caused her pain in this life.  She never let anyone see that pain.  On her face you only saw happiness.  Always a big smile.  If she had not gone through this life and understood the law of cause and effect, Nam myoho renge kyo, would she have changed her life so she never need repeat the effects of this cause again?
band P dancing
Now she has a better place to go, and it is not what other people think if they think of it as heaven. I imagine she is smiling.  She understood.  She had faith and she had no doubt.  She knew she was leaving, although she really did everything she could to stay.  But her life was determined to go, even if it did give her extra time.  Her life didn’t begin here.  It doesn’t end here.
dancing bl n wh
Patty was more concerned about her husband, Bill.  She was concerned about his loneliness.  She was worried about how he would take her leaving and his own reason for going on.  We promised we would take care of him.  He always has a place among us.  He is part of us.   She had time to prepare herself for leaving, probably wondering what that moment would be like, but I think she didn’t even know she left this life behind.  She just continued to be where she was and kept on going.  I can only hope, when it is my time, that I can have her strength, her courage, and have the smile on my face she always had.
Patty + Bill
She had seventeen extra years of life.  When you come so close to dying and yet still find yourself in this existence, you feel things more. You see things differently.  Many things make sense even when you never even thought of them before.  You understand there are things you need to do, and  you were given another chance to do them.  You understood you weren’t to waste the time.  Although we all know we will die at some point in time, we often think it is going to be some time in the distant future. Always later.  You think you always have time to change the things you want to change and become the person you would like to be.meaning

Patty had appreciation for her life. I think many of us miss doing that until it is too late. We get too wrapped up in the tiny details of our life to stop and think about where we are. Every time we saw her we knew it might be the last time.  Finally, it became the last time. There is no more time for us to be encouraged by her smile. We often spend too much time complaining.  We get discouraged about  the things we don’t have, and forget to remember the things we do have.  She understood, through a life of many ups and downs, it is the things we think, say and do that determine the life we have.  Today, we live through the effects of the causes of yesterday, and tomorrow we will live through the effects of causes we make today.thelaw

Some people judge others by what is on the outside, but there is no more beautiful person then the one whosebeauty is on the inside.  You couldn’t be around Patty and not feel the beauty inside.  Her caring and compassion made you feel special.  Always, to the end of her life, she took the time to encourage you when you needed it.

She was fortunate to have a man in her life who loved and took care of her until the last moment.  You know you have love in your life when someone stays by your side to make sure every possible thing has been done for your comfort.  Bill, the causes you have made in your own life will sprout, like the lotus flower seeds when it blooms. th1W395JUAThe law of cause and effect in your own life will show you this.  You have friends.  You have friends.

Recently Bill wrote, “Patty was my partner in life since Oct 9, 2011 when we committed out lives to each other in a ceremony in Maugansville, Maryland. She was the life partner I needed and she has said the same about me. When the time we spent together makes each of us feel fulfilled with love, care and respect for the other, there is no better way of being one.black hat

The only legacy anyone can really leave behind, is the effect they have on another person’s life. Patty has left a great legacy.

“There are many reasons why people bid farewell to one another. It may be difficult indeed not to look back. Yet you have to advance, even a step. As long as you advance, new hope will be born. The sun will rise. A new life will unfold for you.”Daisaku Ikeda

Patty waving bye!

(Sonni’s note: I am an improvisational piano player. The piano music file is one that I recorded for Jamie from my other website http://mynameisjamie.net. I wanted to record a new one for Patty but I am having momentary technical difficulties.  Patty knew who Jamie was and always asked how he was doing, and in his letters from prison he often asked me,” Tell Miss Patty I said hi,” and “Tell Miss Patty I’m chanting for her.”  i wrote to him and told him about the times Patty and Carol would come to my home to encourage me through my own transplant surgery.  I know this will affect him deeply.  He will never get a chance to meet her in this lifetime.  This music is on a page on his website called “My Name is Jamie”. He would, I know, be honored to have it played for her.  I will never forget Patty.  She will always have a warm spot in my heart.  If more people had the heart the had this world would be a better place to live.  Good-bye, my friend. )