04/9/14

Distinguishing Between Good and Evil

Founding Soka Gakkai president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi left the following important words of guidance:

“Unless you have the courage to be an enemy of those who are evil, you cannot be a friend to the good.”  - Living Buddhism, April 2014 p. 46

Current SGI president Daisaku Ikeda goes on to state: “It is very important to perceive and understand negative influences for what they are and stand firm against them. Good cannot prevail unless we combat evil. Defeating negative forces is also a form of compassion.”

Compassion does not always necessarily mean to pity a person or to commiserate with them regarding all of their troubles. In certain instances, a person might need to be corrected and taught the proper way to resolve their problems. In other cases, the negative or evil behavior needs to be immediately curtailed. Compassion does not mean allowing other people to deceive us or to take advantage of our good nature.

An extreme case in point would be Hitler. Obviously, he was the epitome of evil and he had to be defeated. There was no question about it. In other cases and with different people, the distinction is not always so crystal clear. Yet we still need the ability to distinguish right from wrong, truth from lies, and good from evil. As Edmund Burke’s saying goes: “All that is needed for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.”

04/2/14

Reflection, Change and a Positive Attitude

Today is a day of reflection, change and moving forward. As always, I make a constant effort to stay positive and think positive. My attitude means everything, especially my own thoughts. Often, my inner attitude is negative and angry, even if on the outside I appear pleasant – inside I may be thinking something entirely different. I believe that my attitude is critical to my own happiness. After all, no one has a perfect life, and if I try hard enough, I can always find something to be angry about. My challenge is to have a great attitude and keep focused on the positive things in my life.

Earlier, I uploaded a few pictures of San Francisco I took a few weeks ago with my husband. We spent an afternoon on a Bay cruise and had dinner afterward on Pier 39. It was a sunny, windy afternoon and we watched a gorgeous sunset over dinner at Neptune’s Palace. The night we became engaged over six years ago, we had dinner at Neptune’s Palace and drove up to Twin Peaks afterward. That night it was foggy and windy, but I’ll always remember it as the most romantic night of my life. After all, it was the night we became engaged!

attitude, positive attitude, happiness, writing

I still have a little bit to finish up for the last chapter of my memoir, but as the saying goes: “It’s not over ’till the fat lady sings!” I keep chanting daimoku for justice, and for the success of my memoir. This month I’ve volunteered to share my experience at my monthly Buddhist discussion meeting. I only have a brief time to share my experience, but I will type up a description of what I’m writing about in my memoir so that I can share this with the other members and guests. I’m really looking forward to sharing with others, and I hope other people will be encouraged by my own experience. Never give up!

03/26/14

It All Comes Down To You

After feeling angry and somewhat despondent over the past few weeks, I’m making an effort to get back on track. I’ll start posting to my blog again once a week on Wednesdays, but I’ve decided to cancel my monthly newsletter. It takes too much time and it’s just as easy to write up the same information in a blog post. In order to start refreshed and on a positive note, I found a quote from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda from March 3rd in Buddhism Day by Day.

It all comes down to you. I hope you won’t rely on others or wait for them to do something. Try to develop such a strong sense of responsibility that you can stand up to the fiercest storms, confidently proclaiming, “I’ll do it. Just watch me!” Please confront reality, look it squarely in the face, and with guts, wisdom and strength, challenge everything that lies ahead of you.

This is a great quote, but it isn’t easy to do. It takes courage to take responsibility for our own happiness and our own problems. It takes courage not to blame other people. I am determined to do everything in my power to succeed at resolving my problems and become a successful writer. I have rarely left anything up to others, except when I had no choice. If it was up to me, I would take care of everything myself.

justice, injustice, courage, happiness

It is important to stay positive, and my Buddhist practice is crucial in this regard. Even so, I still get angry when I believe there is injustice. Injustice in society does not resolve itself, we must fight for justice. I chant and pray every day for my own happiness and for justice. I keep fighting.

 

03/13/14

“Changeling” – The Subject of Female Disempowerment

Changeling – The Movie

The Subject of Female Disempowerment

I watched the movie “Changeling” starring Angelina Jolie a few years ago, and the movie’s theme of female disempowerment is strikingly similar to my own experience. “Changeling” is a 2008 drama film based partly on real-life events that took place in California during the late 1920s. The events I find most similar to my own experience are those experienced by Christine Collins (portrayed in the movie by Angelina Jolie). In Los Angeles 1928, single mother Christine Collins returns home to find her nine-year-old son, Walter, missing. In an attempt to counter the negative publicity surrounding the Los Angeles Police Department at the time, Captain J.J. Jones, the head of LAPD’s Juvenile Division, brings Christine a different boy whom he insists is her own son, Walter.

Christine challenges Captain Jones with the physical differences between her son and the impostor, and obtains signed statements from her son’s teacher and dentist, both of which state the new child is not her son. In response, Jones has a medical doctor visit Christine to explain away the physical discrepancies with lies. A newspaper prints a story that implies Christine is an unfit mother. Christine then tells her story to the press; as a result, Jones sends her to Los Angeles County Hospital’s “psychopathic ward.” While hospitalized, Christine is deemed delusional by her doctor and forcibly medicated with mood-regulating pills. Christine also meets another female patient who tells her she is one of several women sent to the Los Angeles County psychiatric ward for challenging police authority, including domestic violence. After Christine was released from the hospital, she sued the LAPD twice, winning the second lawsuit. The California State Legislature later made it illegal for the police to commit someone to a psychiatric facility without a warrant, although currently California law states three (3) specific criteria, at least one of which has to be met for involuntary hospitalization.

In my experience, the evidence for my false diagnosis isn’t as tangible as the physical differences between one child and another. However, the methods are the same. Every attempt I have made at challenging the schizophrenia diagnosis has been met with lies. In exactly the same way Christine Collins was deemed delusional, I was also deemed delusional. Over the past twelve years, I have been hospitalized in psychiatric wards three different times for an illness I never had. I have been treated by a variety of psychiatrists and therapists for an illness I didn’t have, and for the past twelve years, I have taken a vast array of anti-psychotic medications for an illness I never had.

I even experienced the same treatment by the police, only I was illegally hospitalized by the Sunnyvale Police Department, rather than the Los Angeles Police Department. What striking similarities! The Wikipedia article states the following about Christine Collins’ experience in the late 1920′s:

“As women ceased to be second-class citizens and began to assert their independence, the male establishment used mental institutions in an effort to disempower them; in common with other “unmanageable” women, Collins is subjected to medical treatment designed to break her spirit and compel obedience.”

Even today, over eighty-five years later, strong, independent women are seen as a threat to the patriarchy.