Dogs, Kids and FWP


Last year we had to put down our dog, Jill. Soon after we started looking for a new dog. It took many trips to the shelter and many dog/family introductions, but we finally adopted a not too small blond puppy we named Maggie. She was about 6 months old and was a stray. She is a good dog, but she was hard to house break and never seemed to be comfortable. After about 6 months, we decided that she needed a dog companion. After many more trips to the shelter and several dog/family/Maggie introductions, we found a small black puppy and fell in love. We were told he was 4 months old. Great, he won’t be that big. But when we went to pick him up a few days later, we were told he was actually only 2 months old. That was early July and he has continued to grow. His name is Oly – named for the roller derby league The Oly Rollers. Oly was much different that Maggie, he was immediately house broken. They get along well and are difficult to separate.

One problem is that they sometimes get into viscous fights.  When one of them gets stressed, they will gravitate to each other and a big dog fight breaks out. The humans now can feel a fight coming and stop it just before it happens. We are working on the underlying problems. Yesterday I was in the back yard with the gardener (that sounds so snooty, but it’s just the guy how cuts the grass). I asked him to cut some bamboo for me. When he started, Maggie started barking and Oly started running around. After separating them, I returned and figured out the the pieces were too big and we need to cut some of them again. The dogs were out again and a very bad fight broke out. In my attempts to pull the bigger one off the smaller one, I got bit. Blood started soaking through my pant leg. I got them inside and separated and the bite is not bad. I should have separated them when the cutting started again.

This used to happen with my kids. They would be playing, it would get rougher and Greg or I would tell them to calm down. But then someone would go too far and there would be a fight and some yelling and maybe some crying. Then we would have to listen to each side as they screamed that we were on the other kid’s side and we weren’t listening and it always happens, and on and on and on. But in the end, they are sisters and they let it go and we move on. Through years of learning how to argue, Greg and I taught them how to communicate and then to not hold a grudge – let it go.

When I was bandaging my leg this morning, I realized I have dog/kid fights happening here on FWP and maybe for the same reason. We have people who gravitate to each other and they try to change each others views. This goes on for a while and then something stresses one or two of the “dogs” or someone goes too far and a viscous fight breaks out.  Now, in my attempts so separate the fighters, I get bit. I have asked for better behavior on FWP. I have asked for dialogue and temperance. But, no. Everyone involved thinks I’m on their combatant’s side. My call for calm has been labeled BS and I think I was called a heretic, but I’m not positive about that. It’s easy to break up the actual dogs when they fight. They do not hold grudges and do not take anything personally. When it’s done, it’s done. But not here. Here we need to re-post past comments, taken out of context of course, call each other names, post incredibly long rambling posts about, well, I don’t know what they are about because I don’t read them and hijack every thread so we can keep this going.

My life is full of dog fights. My New Year goal is to clean up and calm down FWP.  Let’s all remember this (and this is going to start another thread hijacking, out of context re-posting crap storm)  WWND — What Would Nichiren Do? We tend to gravitate to the writings that support our view. It reminds me of a news report Greg and I watched many years ago. A church bus crashed. In interviews with the church members and pastor we found out it was God’s will and the work of the devil. So which one is it? Nichiren did call out his enemies by name and he did verbally eviscerate a few priests. But he also calmly explained the teachings and pointed out what he saw as errors in the government. And he never discouraged a follower even if he was strict. I do not believe Nichiren would approve of the way some of us have conducted ourselves. Let’s do something different on FWP next year. Let’s talk about our lives, our practice of Nichiren’s Buddhism, the Lotus Sutra, how this all effects us and the world. Let us be the group that promotes Nichiren’s true and correct teachings to the world. We can do it!


I’m the Last One


At one time on FWP, we had at least 5 SGI members writing. Now I’m the only one. Greg and Byrd passed. Joe and Chuck got the boot. All my “leaders” know about FWP, but not the “members.” If we practiced in one of the hot beds of SGI (LA, NYC, Chicago), I suspect Greg and I would have been gone long ago, but I live in a small community with very few members.

As I have said, I signed the leadership form because I feel the members in my sphere needed me. They need a slightly different point of view. I am vocal at meetings, but not combative. I promote Nichiren and the Lotus Surta, though I am not an expert. I am honest about my weariness of what I call “Ikeda worship.” I an honest about my concern for the organization when Mr. Ikeda passes away or steps down. I am honest about my dismay at the renewed promotion of Soka Spirit.

Let’s talk about Soka Spirit. I tried to find a quote on the SGI site to explain Soka Spirit, but there is not clear statement of mission. The purpose of Soka Spirit is to continue to refute Nichiren Shoshu. I believe the reason for the renewed interest in Soka Spirit is that they are gaining in numbers and we are not. I equate this with business. I can concentrate on growing my business or I can obsess about what my competitor is doing. I can follow my competitor around town and try to take his customers. I can complain about him to my current customers. I can spend my time worrying and rationalizing about my competitor. But all that will not make my business a success. The way to do that is to concentrate on my own business. So in my mind, if NST is growing and gaining members, then why isn’t SGI? Why spend time coming up with lectures and handouts and speeches. Why not spend that time figuring out why NST is growing?(step off soap box)

Where was I? I am not expecting to get the boot from SGI. The only guy I know of who got the boot around here was the creepy married guy who kept making passes at the young women. I’m not creepy, so I pass that one. But I’ll let you know.

When walking the dog, I notice the houses that go up for sale or rent, the new foreclosures and the ones that are out right abandoned. I have been in my current home for almost 12 years. When walking this morning, my mind wandered to selling my house and buying one of these foreclosed or abandoned. It would mean work to get the new place cleaned up and repaired, but I would be way ahead financially, so no problem. Then I thought that we might have to stay in an apartment or residence hotel for a few weeks. Then it hit me. No house payment, no home ownership costs, no excess stuff. Hummm, that is an interesting thought. Maybe less is more? All the “stuff” in life is like baggage we carry around. We think we need it. We rent storage units when we run out of room. We cling to it, just in case we need it again. I tried to clean out the garage last month. My kids went crazy. Getting rid of unwanted stuff is emotional for them. They get that from their father! The keeping of the stuff is emotional for me. On those morning walks, I sometimes see into garages with absolutely nothing in them. How is that possible? Then others are very organized, with cabinets and the floor so clean you can eat spaghetti off it. (I had a friend when I was in high school who said that about his friend’s garage floor) How do they do that?

As usual, I have wandered away from the topic — somewhat. The topic is can we be happy with less? I think I would be much happier with less. I read Robin’s latest entry on this subject and it brought my morning musings to mind. He talks of being happy as you are. How many of us are happy with our life? How many of us complain our life? That “I am not worthy” internal “tape” plays often in my head. “Why can’t I just do what I know I need to do?” Is this where Buddhism come into play? Can I just chant to be happy? There is a concept.

Here is the link to Robin’s entry:

On this topic, last month was contribution month in SGI. A CD was distributed to encourage the members about contribution. We watched it at a district meeting. A few leaders talked and then the experience… It took a few minutes for me to realize, I had heard this experience before. The man talked of his college days when he was very poor. And then his early adulthood when he was also poor. Then he talked about how he and his wife always contributed, no matter what. By the end, he was bragging about how much money his family has — a mansion in California wine country, a ski vacation home, a summer beach home, and my favorite –  chartered planes for family vacations. I had heard this many years ago at a big meeting is SF. I was disgusted about halfway though. But everyone else was envious. When you have that much on the line, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. I’d be so worried about losing it or keeping it or keeping track of it.

I’m going to go home and work on shedding some stuff and being happy as I am.