Sunday, July 20, 2014: Is Buddhism a religion? If, by religion, you mean belief in God, then no definitely not. It is no more a religion than yoga is a religion. And Nichiren, SGI Buddhism is way more radically different from traditional Buddhism than Christianity is from Judaism. So it is not even “Buddhist” the way people in the West understand “Buddhist”. If it were, then Christianity is no more than a branch of Judaism, not a separate religion.
Because this is such an important issue that Americans are being deceived about day after day, I felt it was important to share with you this scene from DNC Chairman, A Scripted Novel, that is not going to be in the movie, Gerri. These fictional events, based on reality, take place in 2008 just before the crash:
* * *
●Gerri: New Jersey? [show New Jersey in white with writing of “15 electoral votes” and “Harrison 39%, Blik 35%”.] Aren’t they a dyed-in-the-wool Democratic state?
George: The voters there are upset over big property tax hikes. They don’t like any talk of taxes of any kind even if it’s taxes of a different kind. They just hear the word taxes and they want to run. There’s a lot of financial insecurity but to them government spells either financial—added financial burden in the form of taxes or tax relief.
Patty: Maybe you should tone down your rhetoric about taxes.
Gerri: What? How would Mike feel hearing you compromise like this?
Patty: Mike’s not here. Are you sure you want to risk getting all idealistic about helping one another out when it could cost us the largest block of undecided—and easiest to win—electoral votes?
Gerri: You see, that’s the kind of calculating thinking that got me in trouble before. Let me just state my case honestly and succinctly. We’ve gained through the way I’ve been talking more than before.
Patty: Yeah, but a lot of it’s the sympathy vote based on Mike getting into this accident. They feel sorry for you. Especially after the thing with John. It’s like a steamroller of events that make people feel sympathetic. It’s not necessarily the way you’re talking.
Gerri: Good. I like that. I like that you’re taking the initiative and thinking things through. I still want to be very careful about giving up on talking honestly about what I think really matters most to all Americans. You see, I understand what makes people go nuts in these places like New Jersey and Colorado about taxes. Even though the other things are hurting them a lot more in most cases, they think they’re free because they’re making the choice to purchase these items. They don’t think they’re making the choice about taxes and they don’t think it benefits them. They think it goes to someone else. That’s the middle class lament. The reality is, however, that taxes, when spent properly, the way I intend to spend them, they benefit everybody because more money on education means less crime which means less taxes to build prisons and feed the prisoners. Instead, these people can be self-sufficient, being part of the economy. I understand them feeling that the voting booth is the only time they have the choice over this money, and that’s true—once the votes are cast, they have no choice until there’s a new Congress or a new President. But are they really free about the money they’re spending on energy, in the form of gas at the pump, the cost of heating a home? Are they really free about the amount of money they have to spend each month to either keep up a home or pay to stay in an apartment? Even their communications bill, their phone and internet service, has become such a vital part of how we live today. How can you say you really have a choice? In a truly competitive market—which America has not been since competition was deregulated during the 1980s—there is enough flexibility to give the buyer as much freedom as possible. But even in that situation, he or she still has to face the fact that they’re going to have a set amount of expenses each month that they have no control over. In today’s America, they have absolutely no control of the money the private sector takes from them while the private sector has all the control. If they realized that, then they wouldn’t get all jittery about the word taxes. They’d realize that the real taxes and burdens they’re being strapped with are from the Republican private sector.
George: Well, anyway, most voters don’t think like that and that’s why you’re in trouble in places like New Jersey, Colorado, Wisconsin…
George: That’s the beer capital of America. That prattling on you did about taxing alcohol and placing stiff penalties on drinking and driving didn’t go over well with the folks at Anheuser-Busch.
Youth are pure Older people are manipulating
Youth are passionate Older people are calculating
Youth are trusting Older people are suspecting
Youth are rule-breaking Older people are slaves to senseless rules and customs
Youth are independent thinking Older people think in pithy sayings and loyally obey cliché
Youth are wild Older people are boring
Youth go by what feels right Older people go by what sounds right
Youth create Older people dissect (Look, I’m doing it now)
Youth live Older people coast
Youth take seriously what we say Older people take seriously what we don’t say
– – – – –
“Authoritarian leaders exploit the youth,
“Look down on them as inferior; they oppress their juniors.
“But true leaders love and nurture the youth;
“They constantly strive to help their juniors grow and develop
“Into people more able, more accomplished than themselves.”1
Age is not a number.
Youth are pure. Therefore the pure are young.
How old are you?
By thinking in all those ways in the right hand column,
By believing life is limited,
By feeling helpless,
By feeling superior,
By being miserable,
That’s—in all those ways—
How you are old.
How young are you?
“The Eternal Triumph of Mentor and Disciple”, SGI Pres .Daisaku Ikeda
I know the idea of making love to a stranger may sound more than a bit creepy, but love is like peace, justice and human harmony and happiness. If we wait until it feels right and perfect, the right time may never happen. Have you ever stood by a pool of cold water hoping for the right time to take that dive? Even if you try to go in at the shallow end, toes first, slowly, my experience is you still have to encounter that burst of cold water. But then, after that, you have so much fun. Or, to continue the metaphor about peace, justice and a better, when we take a bold move of any kind, we strike out against nature, refusing to allow her or anyone, whether through a force fabricated, to be our goddess, to bind us to her services (or theirs), striving to realize not just the easy part of our DNA but all that we are endowed with therein, we will fall, we will stumble, we will be severely hurt, we will suffer the agony of defeat and the pain of embarrassed humiliation. But it is still better to live that way, not just because of that tiny rose, that prize that awaits us at the end of an interminable stem of thorns but because, with every defeat, the rose we so ardently and desperately desire becomes us—we become better people for it, better lovers, even if the reciprocation is post-mortem or by a different set of deities who do not enjoy the luxury of being worshipped. (7/2 ADD: Amazing how faithfully unsought deprivation turns us into philosophers and spiritual mentors while depravation (you said you liked word play) and meanness are the products of having everything we want fall into our laps). I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, as much as I don’t know what your decision will be, that I can definitely count on Shakespeare and Verdi being in full agreement with me.
Ah, the idea of going to see a Broadway show, sitting at the New York City Ballet with someone who appreciates it as I do, who loves the finer and deeper things of life and has the full passion and the affection that makes life rich in all its facets. Though, like Henry V, I have spent a lifetime in grittier social climes, the blood of centuries of cultivation since the shakedown at Sinai still flows within this, albeit somewhat egalitarian bosom that longs to cling to yours.
You clearly will never understand how alone in the world every writer stands until it is incumbent upon you to fill that blank page and create that drama all on your own, to travel to unknown climes, up massive and intimidating climbs, at least not until you assign yourself that life’s mission. No, you are the person in front of the camera, the prima donna, the shining light. My job is to make you shine and yours is to shine. Your job is to turn your light on and mine’s to embrace it with a color that makes you so brilliant—doubly amazing. We could have that amazing partnership through life.
Love is vulnerability. It means meandering through scores of less than perfect circumstances to savor the limited time you might have with someone equally scared of what it means so that something more beautiful than anything else in the world can be experienced by you together with that person fully, physically, emotionally, mentally (although that’s usually where the rub is because our minds abstract and make things out of things which are not things to begin with) and spiritually. It means, as John Legend might say using different words, being with someone full of imperfection but loving her (him) even more because you, though the imperfections may be vastly different, are the same human being, a creature by nature full of imperfection yet, perhaps unlike all other creatures, yearning desperately to come together to form a more perfect union each day than the day before, finding yourself, like magic, suddenly loving the very things you hated, then growing to hate them again, then learning with patience and work, to love them again, a feature I don’t believe any relationship that runs its course to the deepest and happiest love is without. After all, if it were not for these imperfections, there would be no makeup sex, the best kind, the pinnacle of all sexual experiences (perhaps I idealize a bit here since my own reality has not always guaranteed that—not the quality of the sex part, but the makeup part).
I’ve really put a lot of care and thought into this. It has lived with me as any other of my writing pieces I have deeply treasured before sending them out into the world, as I’m prepared as any child leaving home for the cruel onslaughts of indifference, apathy, ignorance and simply a world being so wound up in its busyness that the cure for this fearsome time bomb we’ve turned our planet into yet do everything in our power to defeat our universal and wise premonition within us—that they are blind to the very cure right before their eyes—the healing power of poetry turned out by the pure human spirit that beats, unheard and unfelt, to a much saner and paced beat.
Many a flash has hit my mind that I’ve jotted down over many pages of my journal but have been unable to get it down in the memory of my computer (ed. note: I was at work when I wrote this where all phones and computers are strictly forbidden; thank goodness of the pen and paper), which is afforded me so little time to make legible, edit to clarity, wisdom, perfection and romance so as to be able to penetrate the protective wall you have wisely put up high surrounding your heart, hoping neither to pierce a vulnerable, wounded place in the bedrock nor to fail by writing against a part of the wall too rough and thick to have any effect, but to find the opening, hidden to my eyes, the secret gateway of admission to the palace of majesty that is your solemn, sublime, beautiful and exquisite world, hoping that somewhere in what follows will be the key, the password, the combination that is the magic.
Okay, take a pause, take a breath. And let’s go catch a concert in the park. Or maybe Shakespeare.
I know you have perhaps a lot more options and potential partners than I do. But just give me one chance—one date—to offer you a brilliant mind, the depth of an artist (a fellow artist) and a love that’s gold. For you would give me a reason to go find a concert in the park to enjoy the music of the ages and of the heart on a beautiful summer’s eve sitting by your side.
“…whether it was the determination to form, out of 13 newly independent sovereign states, one united sovereign nation
…or the determination to expand the greatness that was this unique democratic people’s nation to cover this entire, vast, pristine continent and build upon it the greatness that humans are capable of if given the chance
…whether it was the boldness to determine to expand the democratic rights enjoyed only by some, to be inclusive by freeing those subjugated to brutal slavery because they knew America could be a much greater nation built in total universal freedom
…whether they had the vision to dare to build new things and revolutionize how people lived, opening up a new frontier for more people than ever before
…whether it was the guts to face the worst time of dire hunger and poverty for millions and believe in a new system that could turn it all around by ensuring that everyone—anyone—got a helping hand when they needed it, thus making the American dream live again for so many who had abandoned all hope
…whether it was the courage to come to the aid of people brutalized by human savagery, and, in doing so, inspire the flame of democracy—human dignity—to come alive in so many places that had not known it
…to determine to take on scientific and humanitarian endeavors not only far beyond our borders but deep into outer space by determining to land a man on the moon by the end of one decade
[HUGE APPLAUSE AND CHEERING]
…or to make an equally bold determination to face the crisis of climate change by determining to be totally dependent only on clean energy by the end of this decade—
and thus to show what we Americans are really capable of—
—that is America I’m talking about!
Hi. Welcome to my blog. Here is an excerpt from my screenplay, Return of the Green, the final scene, President Greenbaum’s final (unbeknownst to him) speech of his life in Dallas on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. Happy 4th of July.
There seems to be a mean-
spiritedness about people who go
into politics, a desire to beat the
pants off the other side, a
competitiveness of such ugly nature
that it doesn’t even even have the
fun-spiritedness of sports. Perhaps
that can’t be totally avoided,
though I think you’ll agree that it
didn’t have to sink this bad that it
disgusts and turns off so many
people. I know I am forceful in my
approach. I am this way because in
such an atmosphere of deadlock,
there is no other way to do what we
really should be here to do: to
govern. To make sure that the basic
needs of all our citizens are met
and that threats to meeting those
needs are deterred. While I would
prefer being able to discuss and
negotiate how to do this, the
needs of the times and the
challenges that have been ignored
by our elected officials in
Washington for too long must be
met with decisive action now.
That is governing—having a sense of
mission of what it means first to
protect the American people, who
are the true sovereigns, and also
what it means to respond to the
founding gamut—to form a more
perfect union every day—every day—
not to lose sight of what it means
to put everything you got on the
line so that one American can be
happier today, so that one American
can be freer today, so that one
American can get a better shot at
improving his financial situation,
than yesterday. To stand on the
backs of the great innovators and
pioneers of the American spirit of
improvement and forever be at the
vanguard of new ideas and
approaches for humanity’s
betterment. That is the only reason
one should enter politics.