Good morning Friends. My name is Anuradha and I stand here today as a proud disciple of Ikeda Sensei sharing actual proof with you all that “No prayer of the votary of the Lotus Sutra goes unanswered.”
When I started practicing as an YWD, I had little support from my parents for the practice. They strongly disapproved of my life partner choice and did not attend my marriage.
When I got married and came to my in-laws house, I was pleasantly surprised at their openness in allowing me to practice freely. I enshrined my Gohonzon within three months and had a series of victories to report. Through this phase, I continued to chant for the happiness of my parents and for them to see that I had indeed found a kosen-rufu family.
After about over a year of consistent prayer, we got to know the happy news of my pregnancy in March 2009. I was overjoyed and poured my heart out with gratitude to the Gohonzon. However, this happiness was short-lived.
The doctors detected a rare defect in the fetus during the first trimester screening – a neural tube defect – one that leads to death of the fetus within the womb or the birth of a severely retarded child. I was recommended to terminate the pregnancy immediately.
I came back home that night and cried my heart out to the Gohonzon. My mind was blank and I didn’t know what to pray for. I wondered why this was happening to me – where I had gone wrong, Why me! I had prayed with a pure heart and always kept the Gohonzon as the centre of my being.
I reached out to Sensei’s guidance and chanced upon the essay – Stormy 24 April 1979. I looked up and it so happened that the day was 24 April 2009 – 30 years ago on this day Sensei had to step down as SGI president – a position he had held for 19 years.
I read the passage over and over again and realized the true worth of hardships. I realized how Sensei had worked on each obstacle and transformed it into strength and courage to brave the next. I understood my true bond with my mentor and made a fresh vow never to be defeated and to strive undauntedly until I report absolute victory to my mentor.
With that resolve and courage, I chanted earnest daimoku without a shadow of doubt in my mind. I took guidance from a senior leader who appreciated my composure and encouraged me to keep lifelong faith in the Gohonzon.
Though the entire process of termination was physically and mentally traumatizing, I sensed a huge strength well forth from within and my spirit soared as I chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo on the hospital bed. And there I realized the true reason for this incident in my life.
I realized that this baby had come with her karma of a serious birth defect. However my baby chose me – a votary of the Lotus Sutra – so that she could expiate this karma within her life time of three months. Thus, she had become a votary of the Lotus Sutra herself and had been freed to be reborn with a healthy body and mind.
I realized that the baby was truly a kosen-rufu baby – she brought together my parents and in-laws to live in harmony under the same roof – something that I could never imagine in this life time! It made my parents see the goodness in my in-laws and their over whelming love and care for me.
I realized that my baby had a profound mission – to connect her mother deeper to the Gohonzon and awaken her once again to her mission of kosen-rufu.
My heart was filled with gratitude for having the Gohonzon, Sensei, this wonderful organization and a loving family to live through this hardship.
Post my recovery, I plunged my heart out to encourage members and chant earnestly for the happiness of all. During this phase, my prayer changed – to have a healthy kosen-rufu family and there was no anxiety in my prayer.
I introduced my sister-in-law in Bangalore to this practice and I am extremely glad to report that she has bloomed into a promising BSG member who is actively participating in Gakkai activities. She has further introduced her parents and colleagues to this wonderful philosophy!
Friends, I would like to quote from the Gosho – The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon – “A woman who makes offerings to such a Gohonzon invites happiness in this life; and in the next, The Gohonzon will be with her and protect her always. Like a lantern in the dark, like a strong guide and porter on a treacherous mountain path, the Gohonzon will guard and protect you, Nichinyo where you go. Never seek this Gohonzon outside yourself. The Gohonzon exists only within the mortal flesh of us ordinary people who embrace the Lotus Sutra and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.”
In August 2009, my test reports showed that I was expecting again! And from here on – I saw the Mystic Law unfold. I saw the incomprehensible power of the Gohonzon – I changed my gynecologist and later found that it was her mother who delivered me and also gave me my name.
I entered the nursing home on a warm and hearty note – Welcome Home Anu, written on my Record file! Towards the end of the third trimester, the doctor told me that I would need to undergo a C-Sec and fixed 16 May as the D-Day.
In the last week of my pregnancy, an unexpected turn of events occurred. My uncle (father’s youngest brother) who had a severe neurological disorder and was living in a rehab home for many years took ill. My prayer for my uncle had strengthened over the years that he is able to expiate his health karma and be re-born with a healthy, happy body and mind in a Soka family.
On a Sunday, 9 May, my uncle was admitted in the hospital and my father, and his other siblings arrived to help. The doctors diagnosed him to have very low HB count and suggested blood transfusion.
I took it upon myself to arrange for the blood transfusion and I saw the protection of Buddhist Gods emerge – 10 completely unknown volunteers lined up on Tuesday morning. The doctors were ready to start the process on Wednesday since they wanted my uncle’s condition to stabilize a bit more.
I used this time in between to increase my daimoku and chanted loudly and vibrantly, praying whole heartedly that my uncle should not suffer anymore. It suddenly struck me that the Gohonzon’s powers were indeed beyond our comprehension. And it manifested in the following manner…
On Wednesday early morning (12 May), my dad’s second brother reported that my uncle had passed away, peacefully in his sleep. Though my father was shaken up emotionally, I could sense his gratitude that his brother’s lifelong suffering had ended. His last rites were performed on Wednesday and all our relatives left for their homes on Thursday- 13 May.
On the morning of 14 May, I developed contractions and was rushed to the hospital. After examination the doctor decided to go ahead with the C-Sec immediately. In a matter of minutes, I was wheeled in to the theatre. And within the next 15 minutes my son was born. Through all this, I chanted daimoku and saw the “easy delivery of my fortune child”.
My parents and in-laws were delighted at my son’s arrival and more so at the perfect timing of things. My uncle’s expiation of his health karma in this lifetime, the birth of my son on a date that was ahead of his pre-determined arrival date…. And what’s more my son and my uncle share the same Tamil Nakshatra.
I know for a fact now that my son has a profound mission and he is indeed a Soka baby. He has brought the kind of joy and happiness in our family like I have never seen before.
I would like to quote the following lines from Sensei’s collection of guidance which I have deeply engraved in my heart – “May 3 is our initial starting point, and simultaneously, the day we make our final declaration of complete victory. It is the grand anniversary which celebrates our efforts to realize a golden age of supreme spiritual triumph and glory.”
I determine today that I will strengthen my faith each day and work alongside my mentor till the very end of my lifetime and raise a wonderful Soka family.