December 26, 2008 § Leave a comment
(click on pic for a closer look)
“…it is deplorable to me that more than 2,220 years have passed since the Buddha’s demise. What evil karma prevented me from being born in his lifetime? Why could not I have seen the four ranks of sages in the Former Day of the Law, or T’ien-T’ai & Dengyo in the Middle Day of the law? On the other hand, I rejoice at whatever good fortune enabled me to be born in the last 500 year period & to read these true words of the sutra.” –Nichiren
Nichiren explains that if he were born in the former day of the law (while Shakyamuni was living) his teachings would have had little impact, since as he says the people had not yet heard the Lotus Sutra. It seems that at this incipient time, people were still benefiting from the Buddha’s teachings (& other sutras), & they might’ve been deciding what value was to be found within the Lotus Sutra, & they had no idea that the key to enlightenment could be found within it.
Although Tien-t’ai & Dengyo are known to have propagated the Lotus Sutra, it wasn’t till Nichiren discovered the Mystic Law of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo in the Latter day of the law, causing the Buddha’s prophecy to be realized. People were then able to find enlightenment within their own lives & to help others find it within their own.
Nichiren sees being born in the Latter Day of the Law as a great benefit because it’s a time when the Buddha’s teachings are in decline (or a mere formality), the Mystic Law is what is needed as Shakyamuni predicted.
It follows that the tradition of mentor & disciple is exemplified by the transition of Shayamuni’s words to Dengyo & T’ien-t’ai, & then into Nichiren’s capable hands. It can also be said that the reason we’re examining this today is due to Toda, Makaguchi & Ikeda’s efforts along with whoever personally taught each of us to observe the Mystic Law. Shakyamuni saw & foretold it, Nichiren discovered & explained it & Ikeda is now asking us to awaken to it: Nam-Myho-Renge-Kyo. From the mentor to the disciple & from the disciple who becomes the mentor, this idea of widespread propagation is none other then Kosen-Rufu (or widespread propagation). Shakyamuni states in the Medicine King chapter of the Lotus Sutra that:
“After I have passed into extinction, in the last five hundred year period you must spread it abroad widely throughout Jambudvipa & never allow it to be cut off…
“…if you see someone who accepts & upholds this sutra, you must take blue lotus blossoms, heap them with powdered incense, & scatter them over as an offering. And when you have scattered them, you should think to yourself: before long this person will pick grasses, spread them as a seat in the place of practice, & conquer the armies of the devil. Then he will sound the conch of the Law, beat the drum of the great Law, & free all living beings from the sea of old age, sickness & death.
“For this reason when those who seek the Buddha way see someone who accepts & upholds this sutra, they should approach him with this kind of respect & reverence.”–Shakyamuni
This notion to “spread it abroad widely” is Kosen-Rufu’s fundamental meaning, it is the essence of the Buddha’s prophecy, it is the essence of the Lotus Sutra & it is how the practice will stay alive in our hearts & for generations to come. Spread the word widely, chant Nam-Myho-Renge-Kyo & be enlightened to the Mystic Law of cause & effect.
December 24, 2008 § Leave a comment
(click on pic for closer look)
…just bought this coin on eBay. It’s a duit from 1737. This nickel sized coin will now replace my (Russian Catherine the Great, 1778) kopek as the oldest object I own.
“The United Dutch East India Company-Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) was established in 1602 with the aim of sending ships to Asia to buy pepper and spices. The VOC developed into a multinational entity with branches in a dozen Asian countries. By the mid-18th century the company employed 36,000 people. It built its own ships, some 1,500, which in total made over 5,000 journeys to Asia, where a network of trading posts were founded from the Persian Gulf to the China Sea. The company was granted sovereign powers: it minted currency, occupied territories and maintained an armada of warships and a small army, 10,000 strong, to defend its territories, facilities and ships. It was the first company ever to sell stock shares, and was arguably the most powerful enterprise of its kind in all of history. However, emerging British domination of the sea eventually took its toll. By 1794, the VOC was bankrupt and its assets dissolved.”
December 16, 2008 § Leave a comment
(click on pic to read)
…found the above text in a glossary from the Sculpture Projects Muenster 07 (a publication that accompanies the city-wide exhibit of the same name, which is presented every 10 years).
“The reigning belief today is that closeness between persons is a moral good. The reigning aspiration today is to develop individual personality through experiences of closeness and warmth with others. The reigning myth today is that the evils of society can all be understood as evils of impersonality, alienation, and coldness. The sum of these three is an ideology of intimacy: social relationships of all kinds are real, believable, and authentic the closer they approach the inner psychological concerns of each person. This ideology transmutes political categories into psychological categories. This ideology of intimacy defines the humanitarian spirit of a society without gods: warmth is our god. The history of the rise and fall of public culture at the very least calls this humanitarian spirit into question.” —The Fall of Public Man (1977) Richard Sennett
…& this profile/link on Sennet from the Guardian (Melissa Benn, 2001) gives a good overview of the complicated man, mentioning that Sennett is “an American read by Europeans.” This should explain why the folks in Muenster & the German artist Betke are so keen to use his theories. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2001/feb/03/books.guardianreview4
December 14, 2008 § Leave a comment
the good the bad & the queen
December 3, 2008 § 1 Comment
This drawing is from a small photo of my maternal grandparents (Vera Ortiz & Timothy Martinez), probably taken in the early to mid 1940’s somewhere in southern Colorado. Timothy was about 50 & Vera was in her 20’s. It’s well known that Grandpa was married at this time & even had a daughter that was older than Grandma. He had two other children that had since passed away. A few years after this picture was taken Vera & Tim had 3 daughters & of course this includes my mother. My mom is not forthcoming on what kind of father he was, my impression is that he was somewhat aloof, but still had contact with his 2nd family. Grandma was a strong woman who raised the girls on her own without much of his support. One of my aunts (Stella) went to another family as a child & little is known about her whereabouts now. Before Grandpa’s 1st wife died, Grandma moved in, to eventually become his 2nd wife & she cared for him till he passed-away in the early 80’s while he was in his 90’s. Grandma’s still alive, but not able to take care of herself & she lives with her 3rd husband in a nursing home here in Denver. It’s hard to just write down the facts, given that this was such an unconventional relationship, but it is with great respect that I do. Both Vera & Tim’s families were frontier-people to Colorado. They made-up the rules as they went along, had families & faced hardships together. Their love lasted through the years & they will always be remembered by me, with love.