A couple of weeks ago I decided it might be lovely to write a post about the constant battle we face with our Fundamental Darkness (FD) – the illusions and self-slander that stop us seeing our own and others’ Buddhahood (wisdom, courage, compassion and joy) and stop us achieving our goals. As a result my own negativity went into overdrive and the last thing I wanted to do was write this blog.
I then came across some super-strict (and compassionate…) guidance from Daisaku Ikeda (you may have seen it on my Facebook page…). So, are you ready for some advice that removes all your excuses for unhappiness and helps you take responsibility for your whole life? Yes? Good, here goes then:
“Fearing hardships and bemoaning and resenting our environment is to live with the belief that the Law is outside our own life. So is losing confidence in our ability to overcome our circumstances and so is turning to others in the hope that they will save us. So is blaming others for our problems, or giving in to hopelessness and resignation. Irrespective of the obstacles we may encounter in the course of our practice, we must not retreat a single step. We must not be alarmed or startled by them. The power of the Mystic Law can triumph over anything. It’s important to be deeply confident in this.”
In a nutshell: “Don’t moan. Don’t lose confidence. Never blame other people. Don’t give up. Never retreat.” The thing is, when I’m gripped by my FD, this is exactly what I do. All of it. Every bit of it. To the letter. With great skill and commitment, I might add. So our FD is, it seems to me, an enemy worth knowing. For if we can recognise its ways and weapons, perhaps we can fight back more easily with our Buddhahood and create oodles of lovely stuff for ourselves and other people from all that negativity.
Your FD is powerful and versatile
How then does your FD attempt to defeat you? In a myriad of ways, including:
- pretending you’re useless but everyone else is amazing
- pretending you’re amazing but everyone else is useless
- activating your innate laziness
- sapping your courage
- playing bleak soundtracks in your head
- draining your energy
- turning you into a victim (or worse, an angry vicitm)
And then, just when you think you’ve got its number, your FD can suddenly change tack:
- showering you with buckets of relative happiness or
- wrapping you in arms of consolation
And change again:
- getting you to bitch, moan and whine
- getting you to try and control other people
- hiding the wise stuff in your head
- hiding your gratitude
- hiding your sense of responsibility
- making you think you will never win over your weaknesses
Illusions seem like the whole unchanging truth
And each of these feelings will seem to you – at the time – like the whole and unchanging truth. Like the only conceivable reality when it is happening. Amazingly versatile is your FD, a highly resourceful enemy. A master illusionist. An astute swordsman. Sly, seductive, almost impossible to spot sometimes, let alone defeat. Like a shadow, only more changeable and closer to home. Adept at fighting rearguard actions. Oh yes, and a very smooth talker too. Its sole purpose being to destroy your faith in your greater self, in your Buddhahood.
And now for the good news
Because you are a Buddha, you can beat your FD. And you can win. So, I will finish with some thoughts I have had over the last 28 years while chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo to defeat my FD. I sincerely hope you may find them encouraging:
- Life is a constant struggle between light and darkness. This is a fact. So the only decision you have to make is whether you make this struggle a joyful combat or a painful ordeal, whether you accept and enjoy it or refuse and endure it.
- When faced with obstacles, learn to rejoice instead of retreating. Say YES when your life is asking to grow.
- Face whatever it takes to fulfil your personal mission in life and to become the person you were born to become.
- A mighty heart is forged only in the heat of battle with your own Fundamental Darkness. How, after all, can you fight for another’s happiness if you are not battling with your own demons?
- As Nichiren Daishonin wrote, you must develop deep determination, “as if you are trying to strike fire from damp sticks or extract water from hard ground.”
- There are times when I feel that all I have left is my determination. And in the end, that is always enough.
- My Buddhahood is, ultimately, more powerful than my Fundamental Darkness.