It Could Happen to Anyone

I just heard an NPR piece about Michael Morton who after spending 25 years in jail for killing his wife was finally released because of DNA evidence.  He had written his wife a note saying how sad he was that she wouldn’t have sex with him on his birthday and based on that piece of paper stuck to a mirror the prosecution painted an ugly picture of a killer.  The police and prosecution where so convinced of his guilt that they didn’t investigate evidence left behind my the real killer.  The story in it’s entirety is here.  What disturbs me most about this story is that it could happen to anyone.  I can definitely see myself being at the wrong place at the wrong time.  In the same way, accidents can happen.  Dearest Husband and I watched The Descendants last night.  It’s about how a family deals with a tragic accident befalling the wife/mother.  At anytime something could happen whether it be a terrible mistake or a crazy coincidence.  And let’s face it–sooner or later everyone experiences hardships.  A friend of mine was recently pulled over for speeding.  After talking with the officer and receiving a ticket she learned that the officer felt that she shouldn’t be driving and her license was suspended.  She was a little shaken up about being pulled over and my guess is that the officer thought she was too old to be driving.  She’s an incredibly vibrant person and I can’t imagine how anyone would question her abilities but for that officer at that particular moment something was amiss.  I guess my point is that things happen and what really matters is how we deal with it.  One of the reasons I practice this Buddhism is because I want to be in rhythm with the universe at all those critical moments.  I want to have good responses and make good decisions.  I admit that my basic nature is to make stupid split decisions.  I think of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo as putting money in the bank of acting intelligently.  Next time I need to make a withdrawal I will be calm and have my wits about me.



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24 Responses to It Could Happen to Anyone

  1. Trish says:

    I love your blog, Jennie — it’s so thoughtful.

  2. Michelle says:

    Yes, breathe breathe breathe..and trust that all is in divine order. That and putting money in the ‘karma bank’.

  3. Brandi says:

    I am always so fascinated with stories about how it turns out that the evidence was wrong and the “criminal” ends up being set free after numerous years in prison. It is scary to think that those things could happen to anyone really….

  4. Melanie says:

    What does that chant mean?

    • Jennie says:

      Chanting is a verbal meditation. I chant the Nam Myho Renge Kyo over and over every morning and every night as a daily meditation.

      • Melanie says:

        Yes that’s beautiful! I am familiar with what chant is for, in general. I was just wondering about the meaning of this particular chant – as in, the translation.

        • Jennie says:

          Taken from the SGI website:
          The word nam derives from Sanskrit. A close translation of its meaning is “to devote oneself.” Nichiren established the practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as a means to enable all people to put their lives in harmony or rhythm with the law of life, or Dharma. In the original Sanskrit, nam indicates the elements of action and attitude, and refers therefore to the correct action one needs to take and the attitude one needs to develop in order to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime.
          Myoho literally means the Mystic Law, and expresses the relationship between the life inherent in the universe and the many different ways this life expresses itself. Myo refers to the very essence of life, which is “invisible” and beyond intellectual understanding. This essence always expresses itself in a tangible form (ho) that can be apprehended by the senses. Phenomena (ho) are changeable, but pervading all such phenomena is a constant reality known as myo.
          Renge means lotus flower. The lotus blooms and produces seeds at the same time, and thus represents the simultaneity of cause and effect. The circumstances and quality of our individual lives are determined by the causes and effects, both good and bad, that we accumulate (through our thoughts, words and actions) at each moment. This is called our “karma.” The law of cause and effect explains that we each have personal responsibility for our own destiny. We create our destiny and we can change it. The most powerful cause we can make is to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo; the effect of Buddhahood is simultaneously created in the depths of our life and will definitely manifest in time.
          The lotus flower grows and blooms in a muddy pond, and yet remains pristine and free from any defilement, symbolizing the emergence of Buddhahood from within the life of an ordinary person.
          Kyo literally means sutra, the voice or teaching of a Buddha. In this sense, it also means sound, rhythm or vibration. Also, the Chinese character for kyo originally meant the warp in a piece of woven cloth, symbolizing the continuity of life throughout past, present and future. In a broad sense, kyo conveys the concept that all things in the universe are a manifestation of the Mystic Law.

  5. veronica lee says:

    Yes, it could happen to anyone – a very scary thought. Your posts are always so interesting, Jennie.

    Happy Sunday!

  6. LDiggitty says:

    I feel bad for your friend! Can’t she go through driver’s testing before they’d actually revoke her license? It just doesn’t seem fair that the opinion of one person could carry that much weight.

  7. These type of stories are so sad. Such a shame. I always wonder if our justive system makes sense. Not that I know of a better way, just that it seems so unfortunate. Hmmm.

  8. Carrie says:

    As far as making stupid split decisions? I do the same thing. Pretty regularly, too.

    It’s ashame how someone else’s split decision or judgement can affect others so deeply. I had not heard many details about the Michael Morton case, but it’s a crying shame that because a few people felt one way…one innocent soul suffered.

    That kind of stuff happens so often. Maybe not on such a large scale…but goodness knows, it happens.

    Sad, sad.

  9. Vivian says:

    I watched a movie based on a true story a man spent 18 years in jail for the brutal rape of a child. His wife divorced him and he missed his children growing up. I did not see the beginning but a lady lawyer found out about his case and started working on getting him free. The evidence that he did not do it was overwhelming. The DA office was so arrogant about not admitting that they were wrong that even after the DNA evidence clearly showed his innocence he was not released for I think another 4 years. He in turn has become a lawyer and actively works to free wrongly prosecuted people. The part that is so scarey is being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  10. Oh yes! That WRONG PLACE AT THE WRONG TIME business really freaks me out, for lack of a better expression. I think about that a lot.

  11. Ameena says:

    It is scary how one can be in the wrong place at the wrong time and pay the price forever…great post my friend.

    Happy Friday! Hope you have a great weekend.

  12. momto8blog says:

    craziness! It really could happen to anyone…wow!! interesting stuff.

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