I am a Nichiren Buddhist who happens to be a screenwriter. Some time ago I decided to get my nose pierced and become a Buddhist – a person who studies their own life interacting with the environment, and finding enlightenment in the whole.
The nose-piercing was just a personal thing. Attractive because it entailed a nurse with a needle and a bottle of scotch, plus the glee of anticipating my mother’s reaction.
Regarding Buddhism, I could use many fancy words right here, explaining spiritual systems of thought that have been in place for thousands of years in the East that are now a part of our Western, contemporary way of thinking, but that’s unnecessary. Once we have decided that “Joy” is our answer, we can then know what that question must be. Nichiren Buddhism; is this my question?
Most important of course is the experiment of “actual proof” which accompanies this question: “Does it work?”
If Joy is the answer, then chanting “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” is our question.
“A fabulous New World lies in everyone’s life! The name we give it is Buddhahood,” says Dr. Daisaku Ikeda in his book, My Dear Friends in America. I love the way he words this.
When I think of America I think of various people leaving their own lands and embarking on a journey to establish new ground and a new life of hope for themselves, their families and their descendants.
So here we all are, in 2011, more divided and at odds with each other politically than ever before. Natural disasters abound. Corporations crush the very fight from the ordinary person.
But this may be precisely the time to experiment with and unite positively creative ideas using this philosophy to create common ground. All humans experience certain things in common, no matter how different our backgrounds or physical appearance. And in my case, an accent no one can pinpoint.
At the very nucleus of my life I find my chanting working on a cellular level, activating within me the profound. Usually something I’ve been intent on ignoring, that’s staring me straight in the face. It’s worth it to me to have faith in this wonderful ceremony I perform daily. I can say I believe in what I do beyond a shadow of a doubt as it manifests itself in actual, day to day, tactile living.
Faith for me becomes a belief in a magnificent outcome no matter what the adventure, or how uncomfortable the ride may feel at the time.
The study of Buddhism, then, is the decision to peel back the lid of that third eye in order to observe one’s mind and find light within it!
I take this enlightened journey hopeful of traveling from a blurred awareness of myself as separate from others, to knowing myself to contain the entire universe, itself, all in a single moment! When is that moment? When I quiet my mind and say, “Nam myoho renge kyo.”
I stand between the earthiness of being and feeling human, and the spiritual dizziness of touching the “Law” at it’s deepest level, revealing in an instant both the transient and the true! As Daisaku Ikeda says, “Truly new discoveries cannot be properly measured against old, established theories. Their value is realized for the first time when they have been validated by clear evidence. This is perhaps the only way that new discoveries can gain acceptance.”
For this reason we should never “prejudge a thing”, and that includes the value of where we find ourselves presently standing.
It’s at once a grand illusion and a moment in history filled with limitless opportunity.
I presently have two goals that may or may not coincide. The screenplay that I am writing in collaboration, a challenge in itself, and the delving into gray areas of joy and painting them vivid. These endeavours are working quite nicely, if at times uncomfortably, yet always transformed by the vertical touch above and grounding beneath my feet.
It is my observation that we have the exact challenges we need at the exact time that we need them.
What say you?