Thursday, February 3, 2011


We all love epiphanies. True believers always interpret them as irrefutable evidence of the truth of their religion or philosophy. More flexible minds notice that epiphanies experienced by Buddhists will provide the internal experience that a Buddhist will expect and recognize. The same flexible minds notice that Chistians will experience epiphanies appropriate to their faith. An atheist may have the highly valued experience of the 'oneness of all'. However the atheist sees it as evidence of the inevitable oneness of nature and not as 'oness with God', or enlightenment itself.

The human nervous system obligingly provides the spiritual experiences one seeks. The materialist will interpret that as proof that spiritual experiences are no more than neural impulses. The faithful will simply interpret the neural correlates as no more than a byproduct of a genuine spiritual experience.

We will all have our own view and this is part of being human. We are all seekers and we will all interpret experiences to suit our beliefs and expectations. Our nervous systems will generously provide the imagery and interpretations appropriate to our beliefs.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Nichiren makes it clear that the true Gohonzon is within oneself and chanting Daimoku is the key to releasing its power. The driver of the positive changes that occur is faith. We all treat the concept of faith differently. A childlike faith is very powerful indeed. It is total belief with no contradiction. At the other end of the scale is the person for whom faith is not possible without convincing scientific evidence that is highly supportive. Amongst these people are those for whom faith is impossible - or so they think. The most absolute sceptic, whose mind is closed to anything that implies some effectiveness to belief, or faith, will still exhibit the placebo effect when given medication. Placebo is faith in action. And the scientific evidence is irrefutable.

For people who like some scientific evidence for the effectiveness of faith I recommend Herbert Benson's book, "Timeless Healing".

In the meantime keep on using the spiritual tools of Daimoku and Gohonzon. You cannot go wrong.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Unfortunately someone calling herself Pastor Raynor has linked herself to my blog name without having the courtesy to ask permission. Not nice behaviour for anyone let alone a Pastor.

Please go away Pastor.

For other readers, please avoid the link where her name appears and use another.

LATER NOTE: The Pastor has gone. Thank you.


Sutras abound in Buddhism. Hundreds of thousands of words have been written claiming to be the words of the Buddha as they were passed down verbally, often for centuries before being put into manuscript form. The faithful are expected to believe that they are a true record of his teachings. The Lotus Sutra is the most famous and considered the most authoritative in Mahayana Buddhism.

Burton Watson, a modern translator of the Lotus Sutra, states that it was probably initially formulated in a local dialect of India or some Central Asian language. The first Chinese translation appeared some time about 255 CE. It was followed by several other Chinese versions. But it was not until the beginning of the 5th century that the version that has become the most widely known was completed by the monk and scholar Kumarajiva. This is the version that was most highly regarded by Nichiren and, consequently, his followers then and today.

Translators like everyone else vary in their literary and language skills, not to mention intelligence and the absence or presence of their own preferences or plain biases. So some translations will be closer to the original than others. The true believer in Buddhism will usually uncritically accept whatever version has been used by the sect or branch of Buddhism he/she belongs to.

Literary and translation skills aside, there is a greater influence on the accuracy of those recorded teachings and that is human memory. Some of the faithful in the earlier centuries of Buddhism would have practiced memorizing the words of the Great One in order to avoid error as they were passed on. However before they were exposed to the teachings they memorized so conscientiously there were generations of anonymous followers of the Buddha who had passed on what they had heard from others, who in turn had heard it from someone else.

The strengths and weaknesses of human memory are well understood by psychologists. In a later posting I will discuss some of them. For now it is just as well to keep the anonymous early sources and way stations through which the words of the Buddha has passed in mind when claiming that the version of his teachings that we accept are the true ones.

An important lesson here is that Buddhism is more flexible than most of its believers. Another important lesson is that the experiences and internal changes that occur because of diligent practice of meditation or chanting or just simple faith are more important than the masses of volumes of the written word. Walking the walk takes precedence over talking the talk.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Deogenicus Today

After a long delay I am writing again. There has been a technical glitch but I think I have worked my way around it. This is a test to see if I have been successful. Let us see if it appears on screen.

Friday, August 15, 2008

In Memory of Warwick

The lack of postings over recent months has been a result of the critical illness and eventual death of my son Warwick.

He was a scientist with a passion for the merging of spiritual and scientific pursuits. He was a living example of the harmony of creativity and compassion.

He is missed by all who knew him.

My postings will now continue and will be in his memory.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


"The true Gohonzon is within oneself." - that is a saying familiar to anyone with an interest in Nichiren Buddhism. Even Nichiren said that it is faith that is the source of the benefits that arise from chanting before the Gohonzon.

If one takes those messages to heart then one realises that the true power comes from faith-in-faith and that resides within oneself. There is no magical or spiritual potency within the object of the Gohonzon but within the faith that builds within oneself as one practices. It is the "halo" of the Gohonzon and the Daimoku that develops with practice.

To claim that some sort of magical potency exists within the object or the words is missing the point. However, anyone who practises while believing in that hypothetical magical potency will, of course, still experience the benefits as they arise from within their own self because of the faith that resides there.

So if one accepts that faith-in-faith is the key then that faith can make any practice or spiritual tool potent. Consequently it is not self delusion that prompts me to say that a Gohonzon-type object specifically designed to suit Westerners who have no interest in Nichiren's Buddhism itself can still work for them in the way Nichiren intended because of the way the "halo" of potency develops through practice and as faith naturally emerges from within oneself.

A mantra designed for similar purposes will also work for the same reasons.

I am working on the design of both and have tested prototypes and find that they do work thanks to the principle of faith-in-faith.