I took the study exam in April. As I mentioned, I didn’t study. I did print out the study guide and look at the table of contents, but never got around to reading any of it. The exam was laughably simple. The same points as always. If you have been in SGI for a few years, you should be able to pass the test. The only questions that I had to figure out were the 3 or 4 in the last section – the why we hate the priesthood section. I had to channel Daisaku Ikeda to answer them. But, again, I’ve heard it all for over 20 years. The fun part of the exam was the leaders who kept hinting that we would cheat. I actually couldn’t help but laugh. One kept moving people around so there were different languages at each table. We were cautioned not to talk or help each other. The woman next to me is over 80 years old. She didn’t understand how the test works. I showed her where to fill in her answers. I filled in the little bubbles under her name on the form for her. She was confused by the front and back printing and got lost, so I helped her get to the correct page to continue the test.  I found the entire process very amusing.

The last section of the test is always the same “Why We Hate the Priesthood.” The actual name is different, but this is the point of it. For an organization that talks of world peace so often, how can we still hate the priesthood? When will it be time to let this go? How can we be happy while continuing to hate the priesthood? No one gets any new information from the priesthood, they just rehash the same old points from 20 years ago. And those points are now infamous and not exactly correct. I wonder what new members think of this having no first hand knowledge?

I appreciate the comments left for my last entry. I enjoy the diversity of opinions we get on Fraughtwithperil. I have been doing better lately. I seem to be emerging from a fog. I received a new translation of the Lotus Sutra for Christmas. The plan is to start reading it.

Last fall after the death of our dog, we adopted a stray/rescued puppy. She was about 7 months old then and is a year old now. When she joined the family, I realized she needed activity so I began to walk with her every day. The weather here in central California has been colder and wetter than normal, but last month I noticed it was spring. One day the birds were back. As we walked on the street behind our house, there was chirping, tweeting, cooing and flapping all around. Large flocks of birds would swoop from rooftop to tree, from side to side. The sun was out, the temperature warm. The last few weeks have been overcast, cold and wet, so we have not been out as much. This morning I noticed a pair of doves on a roof ridge. The male was cooing and bowing behind the female. He  would coo, bow and jump toward her. This went on a few times, but when he got too close, she few away into a tree across the street. Yesterday, I sat on my bed and watched a robin hop around under the lemon tree. After a few minutes, I realized I don’t do this much. I was mesmerized by the bird. Not thinking of anything, just peacefully watching. How Buddhist of me!