Only 31 minutes later...I was born...and I was not a boy *giggles* and everyone was taken back, because I was a girl in every way, or at least it appeared that way on the outside. When I was cut from my Mothers womb, the nurses took me and washed me off , but my body (from head to toe) was bloody and scabby due to the eczema that covered my poor little soul. It appeared that I was born also allergic to just about everything: the sun, most foods, all animals and more. I am sure my Mother was horrified at first...
An important part of how I became who I am today is the fact that my Mother was introduced to Nichiren Buddhism (sgi-usa.org) when I was only a few months old, so I was raised a little Buddhist Bodhisattva. This meant that instead of being brought up as a regular child, I was considered a "Fortune Baby." This means that I was raised with the thought process of "Cause and Effect" and that my words, thoughts and actions all had an effect on my present and future circumstances. It also meant that instead of playing around as regular children did, I was walking on peace gatherings, dancing in Garden Parties, marching in Cultural Parades and things like that.
I am glad for the way I was brought up, for it means that I cherish every moment of time and space. Don't get me wrong, I am also human and plenty capable of slandering people and making bad decisions and the wrong choices - which I did regularly!
So, my first words were. "Nam Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo." What I love about my Buddhist practice is that by chanting those words on a daily basis, my life condition is mostly at the highest level it can be. Everyone has the same list of life conditions, or wor4lds that exist within us:
1. Hell:- Misery and suffering. Fear, grief and destructive rages or depression. A feeling of being imprisoned by one's circumstances.
+ Having experienced hell helps us maintain a desire to better our circumstances. Empathy, understanding the sufferings of others.
2. Hunger:- Being dominated by desires or cravings, both physical and mental.
+ The driving force to improve a situation. People can hunger, even yearn to see others happy and fight for peace in the world.
3. Animality:- Instinctive behavior, lacking in reason. Fear of those who seem stronger and bullying of those who seem weaker. The 'law of the jungle'.
+ Protective instincts, for example, that we need more sleep. Preservation of self or others.
4. Anger:- Feeling superior to others and wanting to show it. Aggressiveness. Feeling in conflict with others. The world of self-centeredness and ego.
+ Anger at injustice. The passion to fight authoritarian behavior.
5. Humanity, or Tranquility:- Constant inactivity, laziness, passivity.
+ Being at peace, calm and reasonable. An opportunity to restore one's energies.
6. Rapture, or Heaven:- Short term gratification when one's desires have been achieved . Can quickly revert to hell, or hunger.
+ Temporary joy when desires are fulfilled. Exhilaration at being alive.
7. Learning:+ Learning about life and oneself from others and from existing knowledge.
- Can lead to self-centeredness and separation from others. In the Lotus Sutra people of Learning and Realization were taught they could only enter the realm of Buddhahood through faith.
8. Realization:+ The wisdom or insight where we gain an understanding of an aspect of life from our own observations and experiences.
- Can lead to self-centeredness and a tendency to use one's intellect, rather than one's wisdom, to solve problems.
9. Bodhisattva:The word consists of bodhi (enlightenment) and sattva (beings) and means someone who seeks enlightenment, for themselves and others.
+ Devotion to the happiness of others as shown by nurses or a parent's love for a child.
- May turn to arrogance if you feel superior to those you are helping. Pouring life-force out towards the lives of others, without paying attention to one's own needs means that one's life will move towards the lower life states.
10. Buddha:An ordinary person awakened to the true nature of life, and experiencing absolute happiness and freedom within the realities of daily life. Indestructible joy, unlimited wisdom, courage, compassion, creativity and life force.
And so, this is how my life has been lived as a child up into my teens and I have no regrets about it whatsoever. In fact, I feel blessed to have had the good fortune to have been born and raised this way.
This is where I shall end this first portion of this "White Picket Fence" series.
Stay tuned for additional installments!