“Not advancing is regressing and we must keep advancing in faith”

As long as we continue our practice with strong faith in the Gohonzon, and participate in Gakkai activities, we will eventually triumph over the challenges we face, no matter how long it may take. Sahil Mehra’s testimonial showed that patience and unyielding faith is the key to victory.

My name Sahil Mehra and I was introduced to this practice in 2005 in India. I moved to Singapore in Jan 2011 to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration from Singapore Management University. This was a big victory for me, which I received after 2 years of chanting and undergoing serious human revolution.

In Singapore, I joined the Singapore Soka Association activities and also got connected with the student division. My leaders and comrades in faith there took immense care of me and this strengthened my practice further. So strong was the ichinen of my leaders that I received the Gohonzon on 14 Aug 2011.

I graduated from the MBA program in Dec 2011, and like my classmates had been on the Job hunt. I had faith and was confident that I would be successful soon. I thought, “Since I am doing so much kosen-rufu and chanting so much daimoku, life will be easier and good fortune will flow.” I was slightly mistaken here. I got very few job interviews and even those resulted in rejects.

By March 2012, most of my MBA class was employed and only I was without a job. I chanted more vigorously and asked the Gohonzon, “When I am the only one practicing in my class, then why am I the only one without a job”, my question was wrong and so was my attitude.

I met several leaders, took guidance and even met members who had undergone a similar situation and won. I started chanting 3 hours daimoku each day. It was mid-April and by now I had no money. I had been living frugally. My shoes had worn out and I did not have money to purchase new ones. I dint feel like asking my parents for more money as they had already done so much for me. Often doubts arose in my mind “Why me? Is it working?”, but at these times I quickly sat to chant and read testimonials and seek guidance to eliminate doubts.

This is very important as our fundamental darknesses are bound to attack our minds, but we must take action to muster our faith in this Gohonzon.

Towards the end of April, I had 2 job offers and I accepted one of them. However it was a 6 months contract offer with low pay, and my situation was still uncertain after those 6 months. I chose to look at the glass half full and was encouraged by my victory.

The start of the job it was a roller coaster. My boss was initially a major taskmaster and I often felt that he wouldn’t renew my contract after 6 months. However, at the end of the 1st 6 months he did renew it for another 6 months. I was now starting to see that he was actually trying to mentor me, by showing some tough love. He would often scold but would always take great pains to train me and make sure my concepts are clear.

Despite the below average salary and no permanent job, I was starting to realize that his coaching was more valuable. It’s similar to conspicuous and inconspicuous benefits in Buddhism. I was developing a certain set of skills which would be great for my career.

In May 2013 my contract was about to end. I was hopeful that I would be offered a permanent role, as I had completed a year with the company and performed well in the last 6 months. Sadly my boss confessed that although he had been pushing HR to make my role permanent, there was a headcount freeze and he was unsuccessful. However, he did extend my contract by another 6 months and managed to give me a significant salary increment. I was happy with this and his confidence in me. In fact, in many ways he reminds me of Toda Sensei – strict and extremely compassionate.

Simultaneously along with this victory, I was appointed District Leader, and a month later in June, I was appointed an institution in-charge of the Student Division. Normally, I would get stressed with these two leadership appointments, especially me being an Indian national, looking after Singaporean Chinese members.

There would be so many cultural differences. How would I understand their problems? But I put these negative thoughts to rest, taking on the two new roles as a challenge. My YMDs grew in numbers and in faith. As Sensei would say, not advancing is regressing and we must keep advancing in faith.

While struggling for my district and my institution, I was also challenging with attending practice sessions for the National Day Parade, for which I enrolled in March 2013. Singapore Soka Association was presenting a Human LED show with almost 800 youth division participants. It was a life transforming experience to see so many Gakkai youth contribute with such discipline and determination. It was a real challenge – work, practice, district meetings and institution meetings. But we all did it with enthusiasm, as if we were battling our personal problems and heading towards victory.

Practice sessions were held on Wednesdays and Saturdays – Saturdays when the world was busy partying, we the Soka youth were fighting for kosen-rufu. There were several days when I would feel completely exhausted after a tough day at work and then had to attend these practice sessions. My body and head would ache. I would want to give up. But then I looked at some of the other members who were facing far greater challenges than I was, and yet it did not show in their behavior.

This must be the strength of their faith.

I was extremely inspired and recharged. I also made many wonderful friends, with whom I’m still in touch. Each interaction was learning.

The National Day Parade performance was on 9 Aug and was highly praised. It even appeared in the Seikyo Shimbun.

After the Parade – my situation was still that my contract would end on 20 Nov and if the company didn’t offer me a permanent job, I would have to move back to India, without a job. Many of my friends and colleagues were being fired in Singapore. At this time I strongly abided by the Daishonin’s guidance – to apply only the strategy of the Lotus Sutra and none other. Also I had now developed a high life condition where being jobless would not affect me or my faith anymore. I targeted to have complete victory by 18 Nov 2013.

Finally on 3 Nov 2013, I was offered a permanent job in the company, with another salary increment, which would make my salary comparable to my peers. It took almost two long years. I am now determined to win in my district, the Student Division and foster capable Soka leaders. To be the sun of happiness and show all those around me the immense power of this practice.

Never give up

Never give up on faith – this is the mindset we must have when faced with continuous challenges in our life. This is what Estée, a YWD from Malaysia adopts and with strong determination, she manages to overcome many difficulties she faced.

My name is Estée Ling. And I have a story to tell. 

My parents have been practicing Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism ever since I was a toddler. But of course as a child and teenager, I have never taken this religion seriously.

I came from a happy and fulfilled family but as a teenager, I was not happy with life.

What I’m about to share is not known to my parents.

When I was 16, I was introduced to a lifestyle called clubbing. I partied really hard and was in a gang. I had all the fame I wanted as a teen and was in some sort of ways protected by my gangster friends. I was so hooked to alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.

Life was fun but still meaningless. I moved out of home at the age of 16 staying with my then boyfriend.

I was also physically and mentally abused by my boyfriend who was also a drug addict. We didn’t have to pay for drugs as I can easily get these needs from my gangster boss. When the kick went off, I was back into the dark hole feeling miserable again and again and again.

I would wake up, drink, smoke, do drugs everyday of my life. I didn’t want to work as well. I wasn’t really in good terms with my family because of my own temper and the need to escape from my mum who used to nag at me all the time, so I tried to avoid them as much as I can.

I would beat up anyone whom I do not like simply because I was powerful then, or as I thought I was. I spent 4 years living this life. In what I called hell.

My poor parents tried all means to get me to come home but I just wouldn’t. Apart from this scene, I was also admitted to the hospital several times because of drunk driving, which led to accidents that were supposed to claim my life.

This happened a few times and I escaped death. Not to mention, I tried committing suicide many many times whenever I was suffering. However, the funny thing was every time I faced death or difficulties, I would automatically chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo in my heart.

Finally, I woke one day late in December 2006, when I was 20.

I suddenly felt the urge to change. And I wanted to stop what I was doing and start anew.

Of course I was scolded and so called attacked by my then friends and gang members. But that didn’t stop me from changing. I rang my mum and told her that I wanted to go to Singapore to work and start anew. My mother was so happy. But her happiness was short lived when I told her my condition. That was, to bring my then abusive boyfriend with me.

My relationship has never really been a good decent one as it was filled with a lot of parties, alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. My then boyfriend was very abusive and I had to undergo so much physical and mental pain but I just wouldn’t leave him. I was too weak and afraid of leaving him. So I endured the pain for years.

Even when I was in Singapore , my then boyfriend would take money from me although I was only earning SGD800 then. I would have to feed him and myself. I was enduring a lot of physical abuse as well.

One day, in March 2007, my then boyfriend decided to leave and return to Malaysia , where we came from.

I was devastated and wasn’t sure how to go on living. Not knowing who to turn to,amazingly, I called my mum and cried about it. She encouraged me to chant and go on living strong. I did. I stayed on in Singapore and kept working hard.

I worked as a hairstylist in Singapore for 4 years before changing my job to a secretary in a broking company. Life was getting better and better. Bosses dotted on me and things were smooth.

I began chanting. Although my faith was easily shaken, I kept chanting. With the help of SSA members and YWD leaders, I managed to pull through. I enshrined my Omamuri Gohonzon in April 2009.

I chanted every day and I chanted hard. I realised that I was a changed person.

My family meant everything to me when they were the ones I never cared about when I was a teen. My mother became my best friend and I started to remove toxic people out of my life. I stopped going to clubs. I stopped drinking. I overcame drug addiction and I became happier.

I met someone new who loved me so well and was genuinely in love with me. We both shared the same passion and were going on strong. I was a very confident and happy person.

However, after 5 years of relationship, we broke up due to some reasons.

After 6 years plus in Singapore, I decided to return to Malaysia as there was a so called good offer to run a restaurant in Malaysia . I missed home so I made my decision to return.

In the beginning, it was all good. But a few months later, I got too stressed and was only beginning to recover from my break up. It took a while for me to really go through the phase as I was occupied with the restaurant.

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a sort of depression in June 2012.

With the stress from the restaurant, the business not going well, the break up from my 5 years’ relationship, the change of environment, I fell.

At this point of time, I have stopped chanting.

I was going through hell. My bipolar works like this: I get really happy for no reasons and then I get really really sad and depressed. I couldn’t sleep and I only slept for 1-2 hours a day for weeks. My mind was playing tricks on me… I started hallucinating, cried a lot and tried all sorts of ways to hurt myself. I tried to commit suicide many times because I wanted to end the pain.

I was so desperate and I was indeed in real suffering. I couldn’t even work. I looked okay to everyone but no one knew how much I was battling with my self.

So I started seeing a psychiatrist and was on medication since then. But It didn’t get any better. I was constantly attacked by anxiety and was very dependent on people around me. I’ve become very negative in life and seeing the bad in everything. I was afraid of everything. I was indeed in hell. The suffering was unexplainable and the worst thing was to fight with your own mind.

One day, a friend told me, “why don’t we try to chant”.

She was not practicing daimoku then but she told me to chant. She said she would chant with me and she did. This was in October 2012.

In a way, my depression had shakubuku her to chant. I chanted with her everyday and eventually, I got better. I started to be able to sleep. I stopped hallucinating and was able to pretend to live normally. Nobody knew what I went through except for my friend who was constantly there for me through it all.

I portrayed a very strong outlook but deep inside I was really shaking. But still, I kept chanting.

We decided to go to Singapore again to try out. But when I went back to Singapore, I wasn’t happy again. After having depression, I wasn’t a happy person like I used to be.

I struggled through the battle deep within myself. And the most suffering part is that I couldn’t control my emotions and thoughts so we both returned to Malaysia again. I was ok in the beginning because I wasn’t working.

I then struggled to find jobs and was being really broke. I developed a fear of working and going near people too.

I kept chanting and chanting. Although I have become very fearful and lack of confidence ,which was so far from who I used to be, I know that someday I will be who I want to be again.

I finally got a job although it was just a casual job with low salary, but we’ve got to start somewhere don’t we?

But that didn’t end. I struggled through that job which I encountered a really nasty boss. It triggered my depression again. I stopped working after a short while and was back into the same dark hole of misery again. This time I was truly broke.

However, deep down inside there is this strength that keep telling me to hold on, keep searching and never give up.

After chanting harder and harder, I finally landed a job in a better company which is a hotel. With my very limited qualifications, I could get a job in a hotel which is something magnificent.

It’s amazing what daimoku can do! Bosses are nice to me too. I became happier.

My confidence grew bit by bit and I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am now also confident to work. My relationship with my family has become very strong too. During all these years, I have overcome drug addiction and my depression.

Although I am still under medication and therapy, I’ve become better. I can get hold of myself and control my emotions.

I became more positive in life.

And that’s what this Buddhism is all about.

Constantly fighting and never giving up. I finally understand that it is my karma and that I have to challenge it and face it head on.

I will never stop practicing this Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism, which has opened up my eyes to accept what has come upon me. I accepted this challenge which made it easier to live by life.

There will definitely be hard times in life too but no matter what happens, I will keep on fighting and chanting. With the support and love from my family and best friend, I strongly believe that someday I will not need to depend on medication and therapy anymore.

Someday I will be able to break free from my fears and become a person with unlimited self esteem.

I have no doubt in the Gohonzon and I truly believe that if one chants wholeheartedly and with a very focused and determined daimoku, one can face anything that life throws at us.

We may not be able to escape our karma, but we will definitely be able to pull through no matter what happens.

Let us fight the ugly demon in our lives and continue to strive for victory.

I would like to thank my dear friend and my family for all the constant support and love they have given me through this hard times.

With that I would like to conclude this testimony with one of my favorite words of wisdom by Ikeda Sensei.

“When your determination changes, everything will begin to move in the direction you desire. The moment you resolve to be victorious, every nerve and fibre in your being will immediately orient itself toward your success. On the other hand, if you think ” this is never going to work out”, then at that instant, every cell in your being will be deflated and give up the fight. Then everything will move In the direction of failure.”

Turn poison into medicine

President Ikeda said, “There are innumerable types of suffering. What we should realise is that the times when we suffer severely are also when we challenge and change our karma, and unlock the door to great good fortune. True happiness means to establish a condition in which we can gladly face even the greatest suffering and overcome it.” Read how Ayati Tandan, a WD from India, overcome her problems to lead a better life.

Good evening everyone my name is Ayati Tandan and have been practising Nichiren Buddhism for over a year.

I had been in a depression for over 20 years ever since i was a 12-year old as I thought my parents were against me because I was a difficult child and did not listen to them.

It started when I became friends with a girl a year younger than me in my neighbourhood. My mom, who is a good judge of character warned me to stay away from her as she would ruin me some day.

One day, this girl criticised and called me an ugly looking female who is laughed at by boys and should be ashamed off myself, save myself by committing suicide and had no right to live.

Since I was a shy and self conscious 12-year old, I developed a negative self image which led to many suicidal attempts. Since my depression was getting bad day by day, I was prescribed heavy doses of anti depressants and sedatives and was diagnosed to be suffering from body dysmorphic disorder, which is an ugliness syndrome.

With love and guidance from my parents, I completed school and college in a sedated state. To escape from my depressed situation, I started looking for a groom online who would marry me.

After a few months of courtship, we decided to marry, despite my parents’ reluctance. Initially, things were going smoothly but suddenly his widowed mother started demanding dowry, which was not acceptable. Hence the wedding was cancelled.

After this incident, my parents were mad at me and sent me to my aunt’s house in Delhi. Since I was unhappy, I tried contacting my parents to take me back but it was in vain.

As i was desperate to escape, I got the man I was initially supposed to marry to rescue me. After I ran away from my aunt’s home, my parents came to Delhi to look me up  and asked me to come back with them.

In the midst of this, my aunt told my father I should marry the man as I had stayed at his house. Soon I married him in a temple in Delhi against his mother’s wishes. I didn’t know whether what I was doing was right or wrong but I was happy that a man was ready to marry me in spite of my BDD (ugliness syndrome) and might never get such a chance again in my life.

After some time, I requested him that I want a child of my own. And when I was pregnant, my parents were unhappy as they knew my mental state was not strong enough to have a baby and asked I could go for an abortion.

However, I proceeded to give birth but later realised that I was not immature enough to care for my son. A few months later, my husband and I started fighting over issues and blamed me for ruining his and his mother’s lives. This worsened my mental condition and I lost my will to live and stopped eating.

I was on the verge of death.

Soon, my parents brought my son and I back to their home.

After a few months, my parents got fed up of the constant tension between me and the troublesome maids in my house who used to instigate my parents to fight with me as they considered me evil. The maids tried very hard to get my parents to throw me out of their house.

I was eventually sent back to my husband’s home but my mother-in-law was not happy to see my son and I. She also abused my son.

I was extremely unhappy there as I had no place to go to get solace or anyone to share my pain with. My parents came to visit me a few months later as I was extremely miserable and not feeling well, like as if I was on my deathbed.

When I came back to my parents house for good in 2008, a close friend of my parents introduced me to Nichiren Buddhism and sowed the seeds of Buddhism in my mind then.

Then in 2012 when I was the verge of a nervous breakdown, I started practicing Nichiren Buddhism and was given guidance by my seniors in faith to chant for the happiness of the family to ‘”turn poison into medicine’’.

I received many benefits, such as the servants who were trying to create problems were replaced. Also, our old servant who had been serving my fathers family for 60 years was asked to leave the servant quarters in our house along with his family as they had forged the pension papers of my late grandfather after his death in Oct 2012.  He was after my family’s wealth and property.

Thanks to the Mystic Law, the whole environment became pure and peaceful and also house of a troublesome neighbour got auctioned.

Now, we have no trouble makers in our lives and we are happy.

This year, my doctor weaned me of anti depressants and was happy that I was practising Buddhism, ensuring path to success.

My relationship with my parents has improved as I have stated valuing them as treasures and  my anger has subsided. I am now more confident, active, calmer, rational, sensible, positive and also confident to work.  I have also realised that one must associate with positive people who help one grow as an individual and get the best out of you.

You must love yourself for each of us is unique and special and we are all children of the Mystic Law. My relationship with my husband is good as we have become good friends and he also supports my practice along with my family.

Now, I can confidently meet people.

I am determined to introduce many people to this Buddhist practice and also pay my debt of gratitude to my parents, help my son develop good values and become a positive person and a Soka child.

I would dedicate my whole life to Nichiren Buddhism.

“No prayer of the votary of the Lotus Sutra goes unanswered”

Strong faith in the Gohonzon, together with sincere practice and study of the Gosho, will ensure that we will triumph over all challenges and win in the end. This is how Jyotsana, a WD from India, does to overcome her karma.

Good morning Friends. My name is Jyotsana 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.”

I have been practicing Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism since the last 3 years and joined the practice during the most distressed period of my life.

My husband and I had been married since last 5 years and were eagerly waiting for a baby. My job at that time was quite demanding and stressful which was taking a toll on my health leading to low life state.

It was at this time that I joined the practice in Feb 2010 and hence began the mystic journey towards my ultimate goal of having a kosen-rufu baby.

With the turn of events, both I and my husband, Abhishek got kosen-rufu jobs, so that we can balance work and personal lives. Our financial condition improved and we started taking time out for each other which was quite rare in our previous jobs.

I could take out time for my meetings and started very frequent home visits to struggling members. I increased my study and would read the Goshos daily and other Sensei books.

My prayers were always focused to have a kosen-rufu baby and good health of our grandmothers (mine and Abhishek‘s naniji) to bless our little one as this baby would start a new generation in our families.

After over a year of consistent prayer, we got to know the happy news of my pregnancy in June 2011. I was overjoyed and poured my heart out with gratitude to the Gohonzon.

My faith in the practice deepened and I increased my study and participation in activities. In 7 weeks of my pregnancy, I had to undertake a domestic flight and even though everyone discouraged me to go, I insisted with the belief that Gohonzon will protect my baby.

“On Offering Prayers to the Mandala of the Mystic Law – A woman who takes this efficacious medicine will be surrounded and protected by these four great bodhisattvas at all times.”

I was certain that I will be protected by the power of the mystic law. A couple of days after undertaking this journey; I had a severe pain in my abdomen which was nothing but a missed abortion. The foetus was no longer alive and it had to be immediately aborted.

As Sensei says – “Always be wise and chant to get more clarity when in doubt.”

I was shocked and taken aback with this incident. How could this happen to me!! Where did I miss the practice and why me!! The complete turn of events seemed to be as a mockery of the law and I couldn’t attend meetings for a long time.

With the support and encouragement of my members and leaders, I started attending some meetings and increased my participation. I took up this incident as a negative karma, which I had to break with much more stringent practice.

I took guidance and with a focused prayer started afresh chanting for a kosen-rufu baby.

In Dec 2011, I went to Amritsar – the spiritual land in north India to pray for a baby.

The next day, I received a call from a distant member that her sister who was in her 7th month of pregnancy wasn’t well and wanted me to chant with her for her smooth delivery.

I could feel the spiritual forces all working together to help me overcome my negative karma. I would regularly chant with her sister who couldn’t even walk at that stage for her easy delivery.

It was a real struggle for me to visit her in peak winters in the evenings after coming back from work. But, I knew this is how I will overcome my karma and become victorious. In early Feb 2012, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

During the same time, after returning from a domestic tour, I had pain in my right leg, which was a severe slip disc. I was advised rest in bed for at least 3 weeks and not to travel for the next 3 months.

Though I felt bad about this, I continued my prayers and would support meetings and members through daimuku and alliance. A week later, Abhishek‘s naniji got critically ill and had to be rushed to the hospital.

She had to undergo angioplasty at an age of 84. Both these incidents were going against my prayers.

“Reply to Kyo – Kyo’s misfortune will change into fortune. Muster your faith and pray to the Gohonzon. Then, what is there that cannot be achieved.”

I would lie down and chant for hours as sitting upright for long time was not possible for me in that condition.

As said, “the night is darkest before dawn” – Naniji‘s operation went smooth and she was under recovery though a bit slow.

However, I had conceived with a healthy foetus. I couldn’t be more thankful to Gohonzon and would pray for my smooth delivery post slip disc and recovery of naniji. Mystically, my role in the office too changed and I was now responsible for a Delhi based customer which meant no frequent domestic travels.

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.”

With my slip disc and advisory 3 months rest, I could ensure that I worked from home most of the time avoiding unnecessary travel on the roads. Friends, I had a very safe and comfortable time all throughout my 9 months of pregnancy.

On completion of 9 months, monitoring the baby position the doctor advised me to get admitted and ruled out a normal delivery. She said, “Yours is a precious pregnancy and I would not take any risk in your case”.

Since, no pains had started everyone was against this decision of doctor and wanted me to wait for some more time. That night, myself and my husband chanted for clarity and good health of our baby. We decided to go with the doctor and I delivered a baby boy through C-section operation on 18 Oct 2012.

We realized how correct we were to support doctor’s decision. Our baby had a right club foot which led made natural birth difficult. It was really a decision powered by the Mystic Law.

I am immensely thankful to all the members and leaders who have been supporting me throughout this period. We have named our baby Nittant, which means precious as he indeed is precious to all of us.

I am also glad to report that Abhishek‘s naniji is quite better now and she along, with Nittant, had celebrated her 85th birthday.

“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.”

My real struggle has started now with getting Nittant treated for his club foot, Abhishek‘s job is in distress and we don’t have any maid.

However, I am determined to overcome these problems too and emerge out as a much stronger person through the power of this law.

Thank You.

The Darkest Time of My Life – The Tragic Death of My Mother

It is important to study the Gosho during our practice and to learn from good leaders of SGI. This will allow us to build a strong foundation and give us the strength and wisdom to overcome the challenges we face in life. David Tan, a Men’s Division District Leader from Singapore, achieved this under the guidance of a wise Singapore Soka Association (SSA) leader, which also helped him to overcome the darkest time of his lief – the death of his mother, and moved on to become a leader in faith.

My mother was married as the second wife when she was 35 years old and my father was a carpenter. His first wife is in China. I had 2 sister and 2 brothers – the eldest sister is 69, second sister is 59, my eldest brother is 57,and second brother is 55 and I’m 53 years old.

When I was a little boy my mother told me her life which I would like to stated here:

When my eldest sister was 10 years old in the year 1947, my mother set out with her to visit my first mother in Swatow, China. My father did not go with her.

My mother said she was ill-treated by my first mother by letting her sleep in a small hut near the pigs, chickens and other animals.

My mother had to kneel on seashells and was poked by my father’s first wife on the body with her hairpin, which was about 6 inches long. My mother told me that she had to hide her passport and my eldest sister’s passport under her underwear, which was the best place.

My poor mother suffer many other ill-treatment for about 3 years.

Life it not the same as before, hell break loose in my family
My loving mother changed after she returned from this China visit. She suffered from depression and had to go to the mental hospital in Singapore.

How could a good loving mother that always sent clothes and things to China for my first mother and even gave rice after my father’s death, had to suffer such injustice fate, as we Chinese called it.

I was a rebellious boy and at 7 years old, I remember once my mother tied my both legs and hanged me upside down and started to hit me with a stick for about 10 minutes.

I grow up easily angered by anything and I had deep hatred for my mother until her tragic death in 1985. I was even sent to jail for 30 days during my army days as I was involved in a fight with another soldier.

My dear mother has fallen to her death from 7th storey in her flat inToa Payoh

My second brother called me about my mother death and I rushed to the Singapore General Hospital to identify her body. When I saw her body, I nodded and they pushed mother back to the freezer at the mortuary.

I was alone and started to walk a few metres away. I suddenly felt very weak and threw out. I could not express the deep sufferings in words.

At that time, I was in the army as an infantry soldier and was top in physical condition.

I could run in full army kits in 45 minutes in a 10km run. I realised that spiritually, I was a very weak person. The police told my family that my other could had fallen as she was laying out the bamboo pole with the wet clothes on as in the past, she never stay in a flat before.

How my Buddhist faith started to gave me hope
I myself suffered from depression for about 18 months as I could not overcome my inner self about my mother’s death.

I seek the Taoist medium and asked them for help. I was told to pray for her and burn her joss papers. As I had not encountered Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism yet, I still could not understand my mother’s tragic death.

A year later, my wife Doris started to practice Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism and I followed her in 1986.

I started to study the Buddhism for 5 years as study materials were very difficult to get at that time.

I was fully convinced of my family deep negative karma as I studied the Eternal Eurora (EA), The Seiko Times from the USA, which a leader in faith gave me 50 copies, and also read the Human Revolution and Ikeda Sensei guidances.

I wanted to practice for others to make them overcome their sufferings through this wonderful Buddhist practice.

I become a District Group leader in 1995 and had no leaders experience.

When I become a leader, I did not know how to do Gongyo but, luckily I met Mr Chin Koy Meng, who was my District leaders in Pasir Ris Chapter.

He had to teach me everything about a good SSA leader from scratch and I only had secondary school education.

Under Mr Chin’s deep compassion, I was able to lead Gongyo and understand the Gosho while I always follow him to home visit members in faith.

This lasted for 3 years.

The last guidance he gave me was to stick to a good leaders when I could find one.

I had found what I wanted – to practice the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin with my whole life and gave hope and encouragement to others still in sufferings to find absolute happiness in their life.

One question I ask Mr Chin was what I have to rely on when I face problems and what can I draw strength from in this Buddhist practice.

He replied that I have to read and study the Gosho.

I asked him when can one manifest absolute faith.

Mr Chin said that when one faces life and death situations, one can manifest the faith that is so absolute that it cannot be destroyed by anything.

Lastly Mr, Chin also shared with me that a Buddha can bear sufferings in even the worst circumstances that one may face in life.

What wonderful guidances I received and I will engrave them my life forever.

The Goshos that I learnt gave me hope and strength to sustain my faith in life.

Concerning my legs swollen and wrists beccoming stiff recently
In early November 2000, I suffered for about 2 months as my both legs become swollen and my both wrist become stiff.

I saw the doctors but they could not find any treatment for me after even they had checked my blood and X-ray. I had high level of sugar in my blood and the doctor gave me diabetic medicine, which I stopped after 3 days because I remembered I took breakfast that morning before I took the blood test. My doctor later say that I did not have to take the medicine as it was a borderline case.

I took 3 week off from work and started to wake up at 6am and drank plenty of water, and do my morning Gongyo and walked for 4 to 6 hours daily. I took very little rice with only fish, vegetables and fruits.

I was discharged after a month and I had pledged to do my almost best for kosen-rufu in front of the Gohonzon.

How can our practice benefit us as leaders and members of SGI?
Here I still remember my former Women’s Division member, the late Doreen who asked me her last question before her death the next day as she was dying for cancer.

The question was “David, will I be dead tomorrow and what should I do?”

With tears in my eyes, I replied with what Nichiren Daishonin said: “Chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo until your last moments in your life.”

These are my last words to this WD member and I still chant daimoku to her 7 years after her death.

Although I had no proper Gakkai training during my leaders duty until now, I am fully convinced that the Gosho that I studied gives me strength to sustain my humble faith until today.

Please study the Gosho in depth if you can, and if your situation does not permit, I suggest that at least take some very important phrases in the Gosho and practice hard.

I can assure you that you will never regret this practice and will able to summon your power of faith and power of practice in your course of your Buddhist practice and gain absolute happiness in this life.

“Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is like the roar of a lion”

The challenges faced with her parents’ health, instead of despairing over her situation, this YWD faced the obstacles head-on with daimoku and whole-heartedly immersed herself in Gakkai activities. Read on to see what happened in the end.

Hi. I am an YWD practicing Nichiren Daishonin’s life changing philosophy since April 2009.

Last year in February, the ugly face of health karma erupted in my family when both my parents became seriously ill.

My mother suffered from a serious viral infection and my father was diagnosed with a severe heart ailment.

They were alone in my hometown and I had no option but to go there to take care of them. This jeopardized my job as it was not possible to get a long leave.

I decided to challenge the situation with strong Daimoku and a firm determination and at the same time to transmit a strong life force to my parents for them to be able to recover.

The pressure of taking care of my parents and of returning back to work kept mounting on me.

At the same time, an untimely death in the family triggered negative reactions and my parent’s health further deteriorated.

My father was hospitalized in a semi conscious state and the doctors informed me that his electrolyte levels had dipped way below normal and the heart-pumping rate had also dropped to dangerous levels.

In short, his life was in danger.

The doctors were very negative about the situation and it seemed that they had lost all hope.

I could not imagine life without my father and I determined to bring him back alive and well from the hospital. I decided not to live out of fear but strength.

We chanted abundant Daimoku and I reminded myself of this line from the Gosho – “Believe in this Mandala with all your heart. Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is like the roar of a lion. What sickness can therefore be an obstacle?”

I realized that this was a moment of truth.

This was the moment where I had the opportunity to prove the limitless power of the Gohonzon and that this was a true test of my Faith.

I am determined to report victory for the sake of the Law, for my mentor’s sake and for the sake of my members.

I immersed myself into the practice and deepened my study. I would chant day and night, travel for 12 to 16 hours to attend Byakuren meetings and do Byakuren duties.

I am determined to help all YWD members in my district to grow and in spite of the tense situation in my life; I was always in a high life condition to encourage everyone.

My father’s recovery on the other hand was like a roller coaster. Although he was discharged from hospital once, but within a few weeks he collapsed three times where his heart beat stopped and he had to be given shocks to be bought back to life.

He was diagnosed with ‘arrhythmia with syncope’. Doctors told us that this ailment is non-curable.

The only solution was to implant ICD, a device that corrects heart rhythm. My father had lost a lot of weight and was fragile and doctors were not sure about the success of the surgery.

Heavy funds were required and since our business was at a standstill and I had no job, the inflow was zero.

In spite of the hopeless situation, I based my struggle on Faith and decided to go ahead with the surgery and prayed to the Gohonzon for everything to fall in place.

I held on to the practice like a lifeline.

I remembered that Sensei challenged every situation with earnest Daimoku and I did the same.

I reminded myself that I had the Gosho, the Gohonzon, the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra and I had Sensei.

I never feared and never lost hope but continued to believe that Daimoku when chanted with the conviction that my life is the entity of the mystic Law cannot fail to draw a response from the Gohonzon.

Sincere and committed practice enabled me to arm myself with energy, courage, confidence, wisdom and good fortune to battle all that I was facing.

The practice gave me the conviction that I will emerge a winner.

I struggled alongside my mother to show actual proof and demonstrate the power of the Gohonzon.
My karma had become my mission.

I re-opened my business store and set about arranging for the funds for the surgery.

The date was fixed but in the midst of all this, I myself met with a fatal accident and suffered a minor brain hemorrhage and memory loss….but those who treasure the Gohonzon will in turn be treasured by the Gohonzon, as well as by all Buddhas and Buddhist gods throughout the three existences and the ten directions.

The power of my Faith in the Gohonzon and the power of my practice bought me and my father protection. In a matter of 45 days, he survived 9 arrhythmia attacks.

I continued chanting and praying for the happiness of my members and also had the good fortune of enshrining our own Gohonzon.

I am now happy to report that the funds for my father’s surgery were arranged well before the date and that the surgery was successful and he is stable and happy. I have also shakabukued him and he is now a seeking BSG member.

I would like to thank the Gohonzon, our eternal mentor Nichiren Daishonin, Sensei Ikeda and all my leaders & members who supported us in the trying times, without whom my victory seemed impossible.

I would like to thank my mother who stood like a pillar of strength for the family when everyone was in despair.

I would also like to thank my boss who retained me despite my absence for 9 months.

Today, I determine to live as a proud Ikeda Kayo Kai, strengthen my bond with Sensei and make him proud by creating value in all areas of my life.

Thank you all.

“One who continues to advance will win in the end”

This is an inspiring testimonial from Dave Yeo, a YMD from Singapore. With a never-give-up attitude towards faith and the Gohonzon, he and his family went through a lot of hardships and overcome many challenges.

I am Dave from Singapore and I would like to share this testimonial to share with our fellow members the benefits that my family and I have received over the years.

Growing up years
I have three elder sisters. Life was tough when we were young. My family situation was very poor and my father had to take on multiple jobs and often gambled in order to support my entire family.

As my father was an adopted son and my mother was lowly educated, our family had always been looked down upon by my grandmother and the extended family. 

Due to our poor family situation, my father had been constantly out looking for work to support our family.

I could recall that our growing-up days were plagued with constant quarrels at home.

As a result of all these, my eldest sister grew up with mental problems. Our relatives and friends looked down upon us, and labeled us as a family with no hope.

I could recall festive occasions when our relatives would turn us away from visiting them.

Life was a state of anarchy and our house worshipped different deities at that time.

When my sister developed the mental illness, my parents had thought that she was possessed and tried to alleviate the situation by drinking burnt talisman and offering prayers to the deities.

Things only got worse.

On top of that, my eldest sister was also unable to get along with my two elder sisters and my parents had to take the heart-wrenching move to move them out of the house and let them stay with our grandparents or to rent apartments outside.

Knowing Gohonzon
Fortunately, a friend, who stayed in our neighborhood when we were young, introduced my mother to the Gohonzon.

In face of my sister’s condition, the friend told my mother that chanting Nam-myoho-reng-ge-kyo would definitely make the situation better. My mother decided to give it a try, and started to chant a few hours a day.

From her friends, she knew that the situation we were facing were due to the bad karma. Determined to change the situation, my father also began chanting.

Our family situation improved slowly and we gradually moved the deities out of our house. My father also sold off our old apartment and we moved to a totally new environment.

However, my sister’s mental situation still persisted, and our house was constantly plagued with screams, terror and the constant fear of my sister taking her own life.

The pressure on my parents was immense, but they took care to ensure that the challenging environment did not affect my sisters and me.

My sister eventually passed on when I was secondary one. The loss of my sister was heart wrenching to my parents, who have constantly hoped that she would recover one day.

But through strong faith in the Gohonzon and the belief that she’ll one day be reborned into a different environment, my parents recovered slowly emotionally from the ordeal.

Amidst the difficulties, my sisters and I grew up with hope and self-respect.

Despite the hardship and having to go to school with used textbooks and torn clothes, we never felt inadequate when we were young.

Our common dreams were to make our parents proud one day and to ensure that they have a good life.

Personal triumphs
As for me, I had the good fortune to do well in my studies from primary to secondary school.

I was eventually offered a Government scholarship to go to France for my university education.

The initial years in France were tough in part due to the language barriers and in part due to the difficulties of the French education system.

The notorious French pre-university course system was one of the toughest cram-school in the world, with 10-hour school days and 3 assessments every week.

Some of my seniors were unable to cope with the stress of the system and eventually had to come back to Singapore and re-enroll as a fresh graduate.

I was initially unable to cope with the pace of school and had harboured the thought of coming back.

But determined not to let my parents down especially after all these years of hardship, I prayed to Gohonzon for the courage to continue and do my very best in the system.

My prayers specifically were that one day, my parents (who have never travelled on a plane then) would be able to see me graduate from one of the top universities of the world.

Test after test and exam after exam, I gradually found my niche in the system.

After 5 years in the French system, I graduated not just the top of my cohort, and had the opportunity to go to a top US university for my master’s degree.

The US University was highly renowned for its research work, and admits only 20 students out of 500 applicants for the faculty I was enrolled in – I was very honored to be part of this cohort.

My dream came through on the 9th of June 2006 when I stepped up to the podium to receive my Master’s degree scroll from the Dean of the University.

I’m so heartened that my dream of letting my parents take the first flight overseas and see me graduate finally came through.

Career challenges
After my overseas education, I came back eventually to Singapore for work.

The initial years of my career hadn’t been easy.

After completing my National Service, I started work in 2008 at a mid-sized investment bank. Unfortunately, the financial crisis struck then and my boss had to let go of me.

I had 2 months of salaries which were due to me which were unpaid.

I prayed for courage to be able to move to a different job in the crisis and was fortunate to move on to find a position a new company.

At the company, I was able to leverage some of my skill sets and eventually progressed to middle management over 4 years.

The path wasn’t easy, but through sincere prayers, I was able to progress through different obstacles and turn poison into medicine.

The unpaid salaries owed to me were eventually repaid to me.

After several years at the company, I decided that it wasn’t something for me in the long-term.

Once again, I was placed at the cross roads of my career embarking on a different career path without any relevant work experience.

At that time, I was also about to get married with my wife, a wonderful lady who was introduced to me by a good friend. The economic climate was bad, and I had to face constant pressure from the in-laws.

My working relationship with my supervisor also turned for the worse and I also had problems with my immediate reports. It was both tiring and stressful.

Once again, I turned to the Gohonzon for prayers to guide me to a new career path, and to lighten my path ahead amidst all the uncertainties.

At the start, I sent out close to 100 job applications, but none of them came back with any interviews.

I persevered and continue to pray to Gohonzon to see actual proof.

I prayed that not only will I see actual proof; I will also find the courage to share this actual proof with fellow Gakkai members.

The same way that whenever I feel demoralised, I would read past testimonials to encourage myself not to give up, I would also want to do the same to encourage others in my situation to persevere and not give up.

Things finally paid off in Jan 2013 when I received a call for an interview.

Even though I had no background in the industry that I applied for, I had the very good fortune to share with the interviewers with my career growth over the years, and my motivations for moving on to a new industry.

I progressed through two rounds of interview and was eventually offered the position. I also received 2 more offers from other MNCs, which I did not accept.

It was a tremendous journey and a great test of my faith, which I had once again managed to overcome with strong faith.

Thank you
Mr Daisaku Ikeda once said: “Even if things don’t unfold the way you expected, don’t be disheartened or give up. One who continues to advance will win in the end.”

Indeed, it is natural for us to feel fearful when in times of challenge and feel that our prayers are unanswered.

With hard work, determination and unwavering faith, we will not only eventually achieve what we want, but also develop into a much better person to the people around us.

I am very happy to share that knowing Gohonzon had transformed my life and that of my family over all these years.

I would like to encourage our fellow Gakkai members to continue persevering with strong faith, even through the most trying of circumstances.

To end off with what Nichiren Daishonin once said: “Winter always turn to spring.”

Thank you.