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.

“What is important is not to be defeated, to forge ahead bravely”

Whenever we encounter any problems, we need to chant sincerely to the Gohonzon and seek our leaders’ guidance, and must not practice by yourself in isolation, to overcome the deadlocks. Pritee Chauhan from India realised that and achieve victories over her karma.

I am Pritee Chauhan and have been practicing this wonderful life changing philosophy for more than 3 years. I am here to share my change in perspective in viewing life issues and winning over them on a daily basis.

For better understanding of my story, I will take you in the past, when I was pursuing my B.tech from a reputed college and was seeking for placement in 2007. Being the top 5 student in the class, I was confident about my placement in a good company.

I really studied hard to pass aptitude tests and interviews but failed every time. So, I become an engineer with no job in hand.

To continue my job struggle, I joined a course in Noida and was preparing for interviews as well; however things had not moved an inch. Side by side I thought of going for competitive exams for higher studies and in 2008 I got selected in a refined college, which had high fee structure.

Ignoring its high fees, I accepted the admission, took education loan and went to Chandigarh for higher studies. As far as the academics were concern, I was among the toppers again and in ever semester I earned scholarship from the college, which has reduced my loan amount.

Everything was going very smooth and happy. While pursuing my higher studies, one of my friends was facing a great struggle in her life. Despite of all, she was clam and dealing her life issues very firmly.

I was very impressed by her and insisted her to introduce me to this wonderful philosophy.

I chanted for her, for my members, friends, family, and for myself and reported so many small and big victories to Ikeda Sensei.

I started attending Gakkai meetings and taking part in Gakkai activities wholeheartedly. I myself felt the power of daimoku, which had brought positive changes in my life.

By the end of my higher studies in Jan 2010, it was again time for placement, I chanted for the right job and right package.

At the initial days of practice my study of Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism was weak and I was not able to understand my deep rooted financial and job karma.

I went back to my hometown on 15 Feb 2010, with no job. Then within 15 days I went for an interview and got selected and started my job on 13 March 2010.

However, I was not very convinced about this job, as the kind of work was not of my choice and the salary they were giving was very less, which only cover my loan repayment installment.

Following Sensei guidance – “be the best in whatever you do and you will soon be able to create a new path”, I continued to chant for the desired job and was working earnestly, with no regrets, as a lecturer fulfilling my duties with whole heart.

I continue to strive in my Gakkai activities and in December 2010, I got an opportunity to work in the corporate sector. I joined the firm on 24 Jan 2011, and continue to learn about my new professional world.

During this time, I was not able to concentrate on my Gakkai activities though I chanted regularly but was practicing in isolation.

Because of my passive practice, I was not able to handle the cumulative negative effects of relationship karma, living alone, handling new projects and politics at workplace. I was chanting but there was no improvement.

Then I seek guidance from a senior in faith, and I came to know I was chanting in the wrong direction. This made me realize the importance of discussing and sharing issues with leaders and seeking their guidance in practice.

I chanted earnestly and one day I decided to leave my first corporate job on 27 May 2011. However, I was not disheartened.

I was back to my home town. My parents and my brother supported me and ensured me not to worry about the loan. Leaders come to visit me and guided me, I read the Gosho, Sensei’s guidance and chanted earnestly for myself and for my members.

At the time of my struggle I was touched by Ikeda Sensei’s words - “Reality is harsh. It can be cruel and ugly. Yet no matter how much we grieve over our environment and circumstances nothing will change. What is important is not to be defeated, to forge ahead bravely. If we do this, a path will open before us.”

On 13 August 2011, I made the breakthrough and got a job, though the salary was not good but it was kind of job I was chanting for. The office environment was very good and over a period of time, my work was highly appreciated.

But this was not the end.

In January 2012, my financial and job karma appeared again as I got the news that the company was winding-up.

I started looking for a job and through the guidance of my leaders, I chanted for my prayer to materialise no matter what. I got an immense protection from Gohonzon and within a week, I got a similar job but with higher pay.

The company is well established though the struggle will continue because they work on hire and fire policy.

I am happy to report that on 14 February 2013, I will have completed one year of service with this organization.

Recently, I got a job offer with almost 50 per cent more pay. I chanted whether I should join the company and decided not to because of their odd shift hours.

After my decision, the very next day the CEO of the company came and told me that he likes my work and dedication and is seeking a senior position in organization for me.

I am also happy to report that, in February 2013, I will be giving last installment of my education loan.

With my experience, I want to convey this message to all that whenever you have a deadlock, chant in front of Gohonzon for the right guidance from leaders and always share your problems with leaders, read Ikeda Sensei’s struggles and guidance, attend meetings, participate in Gakkai activities and never hesitate to share your problem.

No prayers of the votary of the Buddha will go unanswered

In his guidance, President Ikeda said that no prayer to the Gohonzon goes unanswered. The Mystic Law is a great teaching that enables us to change poison into medicine. Through faith we can transform all sufferings into something positive and beneficial, and develop a higher state of life. Through her unwavering faith in the Gohonzon, not only did Rekha have her prayer answered, she also achieved her human revolution to become a better person. 

I am Mridula from India.  I’ve been practicing this life changing Buddhism for the past 5 years now.

Today I am sharing the experience of Rekha, whom I shakubuku.

Rekha was my neighbor and going through a hard time financially. I introduced her to Nichiren Buddhism and began her practice.

Things really started to change for Rekha and her family. She was living in a dilapidated house with no proper windows. All of a sudden, her husband who was jobless got a job in the Gulf with a nominal salary.

But as stated on the Gosho“When the Buddha nature manifest from within, you get protection from without”.

Rekha started building a new house with the minimum of money she had and we were all worried how she would go ahead with it, as well as paying the architect.

The power of the Gohonzon is unfathomable. Everything fell into place in no time when her house was being built as she put her faith before everything. During this time, she managed to rent a place to stay just next to the new house .

As Ikeda sensei said, “Faith has the power to move the universe.”

After the house was built, Rekha and her family encountered a financial problem and I encouraged her to chant for a solution.

She was offered a job in Israel even though she had no prior experience as well as qualification.

But, for every step in her life, she only relied on the Gohonzon with unquestionable faith while she was working for the first time in a land where she did not even know how to speak the language.

Today, Rekha is proud to report she has become computer savvy and has been well appreciated where she worked.

I am very proud that she never loses faith in the Gohonzon.

We were chanting that she must get a salary above 50,000 but today she is drawing much more than that. She also got an award from the Government for her services.

Used to be a shy and timid person, Rekha is now a confident lady who not only can speak English well; she is also fluent in Hebrew, the language spoken in Israel.

On behalf of her, with immense gratitude I share her feelings of appreciation and her promise to Ikeda Sensei and to dedicate her life to kosen-rufu and to achieve the impossible.

“The greater the hardships befalling him, the greater the delight he feels because of his strong faith”

We will encounter obstacles in our faith. As long as we practised correctly and have strong and sincere faith in the Gohonzon, do our part in kosen-rufu, no barriers can impede our lives. Read Rupali Gupta’s testimonial to find out why.

I wish a very good evening to all. I am Rupali Gupta and have been practicing Nichiren Daishonin’s philosophy for around 4 years now.

Life has been more joyful and amazing, with all its novel struggles, after getting introduced to the practice of the world’s foremost philosophy. This practice and the present experience have taught me and my family to stand as pillars of great strength in times of distress.

Nichiren Daishonin told us “not to expect good times, but take the bad times for granted” (On Persecutions Befalling the Sage, WND-1, p998). Moreover he said, “As practice progresses and understanding grows, the three obstacles and four devils emerge in confusing form, vying with one another to interfere” (The actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra’ WND-1,p770).

The present experience is one in which my family and I could see the obstacle of ‘illness’ turning into an opportunity of Human Revolution. After the struggle, we have come out brighter, sunnier and more courageous than ever.

My father had been diagnosed with a hernia some 5 years back. However, since it did not cause any trouble to his health, we were told that he did not require any treatment for all this time.

However, last Sunday after attending the NHR meeting, he started having sudden pain and some uneasiness in his abdomen. Next morning, his health started deteriorating suddenly and we started consulting our family doctors for advice.

Since the condition did not show any signs of improvement, we had to get him admitted in the emergency for diagnosis and immediate treatment. The doctors in the hospital advised immediate surgery for the removal of the hernia.

However, since Dad is around 70, has hypertension and diabetes, it was not an easy call. The doctors in our family and the surgeon were in a state of uncertainty about all the aspects of the surgery.

Meanwhile, my brother and I, who were with Dad all this time and were having conversations with all the people, kept on chanting with lot of confidence for everyone’s Buddhahood and the best decision to be taken.

It seemed that our regular Gongyo and Daimoku, home visits to members and leaders and the fact that we attended all the meetings had brought our life condition to such a high, that we were absolutely unperturbed by the situation.

We were very sure that this emergency has come up for a great protection, which was actually true, because a little delay would have cause development of gangrene in his body, which could have resulted in a disaster.

Finally, the consensus came for the operation.

However, it was suggested that laparoscopy would be a better option than normal surgery because it did not require many cuts and the healing could be fast. But the surgeon in the hospital told us that the laparoscopic equipment was not free at the moment.

Still, my brother and I were convinced that whatever would happen, it will be for best. The surgeon’s sincerity in handling my dad’s case and the support of the doctors in the family made us feel we are surrounded by shoten zenjins.

We kept on chanting abundant daimoku the whole night through the surgery. Not for a single moment did we feel any reason to worry. After the surgery, the doctor came out to inform us that it was all done very nicely, without any complications and “he added later he did it through laparoscopy!!!

My brother and I were just looking at each other’s bright faces with a huge smile!!!

The coming days in the hospital seemed to be an opportunity to chant a lot, read through Value Creations and even do shakabuku over the phone.

Daishonin said, “A sword is useless in the hands of a coward. The mighty sword of the Lotus Sutra must be wielded by one courageous in faith. Then one will be as strong as demon armed with an iron staff.” (WND-1, p412).

This helped us realize that we had developed a lot of courage through the ordeal. Most of the times in the hospital, Dad, Bhaiya and I were chanting Daimoku. At home, Mom kept the struggle on. Leaders and members kept us encouraged and charged too.

Dad recovered at a lightening speed. The doctors said the recovery could not have been any faster as it was just 3.5 days in all!

Let me add here, that we had chanted for choosing the right hospital before getting Dad there. The prayer was answered in every sense. Dad got the best possible treatment. Moreover, since the hospital is located near my brother’s office, he did not miss his office for a single day. He managed his work as well as taking care of Dad amazingly.

Next, we chanted for the expenses of the treatment to be covered in the amount of the insurance. We got most of it recovered despite the fact that the hospital had inflated the bills almost three times.

Moreover, we were told that the discharge process will take a long time in the hospital. However, we could make it to home in much lesser time.

As Daishonin said in his Gosho, “A ship to cross the sea of suffering” on votary of Lotus Sutra that “the greater the hardships befalling him, the greater the delight he feels because of his strong faith”.

When we were driving back home, it seemed we are back from a short pleasure trip. Dad was healthy and we were very cheerful.

On this great day, I take the opportunity to thank Sensei for guiding us always. I thank the leaders and all the fellow members for nurturing us and providing great support in faith.

I sincerely am determined to protect my faith for the rest of my life. As a true disciple of Sensei, I will live up to his expectations and strive to spread the law far and wide.

“Strengthen your faith day by day and month after month”

No matter how difficult the situation we are in, and at times we may slacken in our faith because of negative thoughts, we must never give up. We should go back to the Gohonzon and chant with he resolve that we will win in the end. When we strengthen our faith, benefits will come to us in various forms. This is a testimonial from Heeru, a member from India.

“The impermanence of life is an inescapable fact. Yet while it is one thing to know, in theory, that each moment of your life may be the last, it’s much harder to actually live and act, on a practical level, based on that belief. Most of us tend to imagine that there will always be another chance to meet and talk with our friends or relatives again, so it doesn’t matter if a few things go unsaid,” Ikeda Sensei.

Hello everyone, I am Heeru and I have been practicing since past 2 years. The experience I will be sharing today is not particularly about a victorious moment or a conspicuous benefit, but is more about the power, the inner strength and the inconspicuous benefit.

You would have heard about Nichiren Daishonin’s thoughts about the manifestation of conspicuous, inconspicuous benefits particularly, when the difficult times hit you.

Well, last year in October, my wedding was formalized to be held in April 2012. My family was overjoyed; each day was full to thrill, excitement, enthusiasm of a cross-cultural wedding. Including everyone, I was also was excited to step into the new life.

At that time, each of my family members wanted to contribute with their utmost participation. Since I was a firm practitioner, I started to pray towards my wedding to be a kosen-rufu wedding.

I prayed to have a wedding full of joy and happiness; each and everyone attending my wedding to forget all negativities of life or towards my family and be awakened to their true Buddha nature.

I was well aware of the financial constraints such a wedding would bring on my family.

Hence, I started praying for an ancestral property to be sold at a best price, so that my parents do not face any financial obstacle due to my wedding.

I used to chant against all odds. My struggle became complex with each passing day. No victories as per the target dates, continuous efforts of participating in all the meetings, balancing a stressful work environment while trying to do maximum number of home visits and accumulating good karmas.

Sometimes, I used to chant for 5-6 hours continuously without feeling tired.

While each passing target date brought no victory, with each passing target date, my determination kept strengthening.

The wedding day was coming closer. Meanwhile, I was quite worried about my work after marriage, as there were not many job opportunities in Pune for me.

A transfer option in my office had bleak chances given I have no team working out of Pune.

Fortunately, my transfer request was approved from the department to be able to work independently out of Pune.

With a happy feeling, I bid goodbye to Mumbai. I went to Jaipur and continued to attend meetings for whatever time I was there.

Everything was going as per plan, except for the house sale. Though, somehow the finances were being taken care of, something in my heart kept pushing me to keep chanting for my victory.

During one of the times, I was very upset about my victory not getting achieved even after dedicated efforts, I spoke to a friend of mine who is practicing in US.

She told me that I should simply forget about every problem and chant only for a joyous kosen-rufu wedding.

So I started…

Ikeda Sensei said: “Reality is harsh. It can be cruel and ugly. Yet no matter how much we grieve over our environment and circumstances nothing will change. What is important is not to be defeated, to forge ahead bravely. If we do this, a path will open before us.”

Well exactly 12 days before my wedding, my sister’s husband my brother-in-law had a heart attack and we lost him. That devastated me. Nothing on this earth can explain or would be able to convince me about that.

It was devastating for my family. My sister, her children, my parents and yes, for me…

It shook me so deep, that doubting my faith was evident. I would not refrain from saying that the moments led to question the practice to an extent of hating myself and my practice, I almost took it on myself especially when I recalled words like “devil’s attack”.

I almost quit the practice and stop believing in the concept of victory. I started to dread my practice eventually thinking that I was the cause of this.

While my wedding date was decided to proceed as planned, without much of a noise from our side, my parents and my sister, along with the kids could not attend the wedding.

The wedding happened as scheduled with whoever could attend.  My wedding was joyous, beautiful and a lovely day marking the threshold of a new life albeit sans my entire family.

I would like to share a guidance by Ikeda Sensei: “The experience of losing a loved one impels us toward a deeper understanding of life. Everyone fears and is saddened by death. That is natural. But by struggling to overcome the pain and sadness that accompanies death, we become sharply aware of the dignity and preciousness of life and develop the compassion to share the sufferings of others as our own.”

At that time, I was in touch with only one member. It was quite a shock for my district members since I was connected to them at a very personal level.

It was my extended family. That member understood that I am not in a position to speak to too many members. She was always compassionate towards me and always understood me. She never preached or tried to provide guidance that was illogical at that time.

But what she did do is to guide me to the right kind of prayers. She told me to pray for justice, righteousness to prevail in my sister’s life. She told me to pray for my brother-in-law to be reborn in a kosen-rufu family since an early death in his life has possibly expiated him from further bad karma and sufferings.

It gave me a lot of strength to continue though not with the same vigor but at least to continue.

That was probably the least one can do.

I took the sufferings of my sister as my own. She decided to shift to Pune as she found no emotional support amongst her in-laws. We all supported her. It was a big challenge for all of us.

The immediate issue that needed attention was to admit her 3 kids in a school in Pune.

She came to Pune along with my elder sister and kids for 2 days only to focus on admissions. We were confident that the admissions would be granted on compassionate terms but it was not as what we expected.

Some of the renowned schools turned us down by saying condescending statements that further aggravated our grief. My sister was left only with one school’s admission, which is known to demand an exorbitant fee.

My eldest nephew was granted admission in a grade lesser than his, which meant repeating one entire year. Well, we had no choice.

They all went back disappointed. She kept hearing horrible remarks from my brother-in-law’s family about being unsuccessful and making wrong decisions.

They never favored her anyway.

Meanwhile, we made constant attempts to various schools, be it emails, contacts, personal meetings, we didn’t leave any stone unturned, especially for my eldest nephew.

I was trying to put myself back into the practice, test my faith and determined to prove the validity of the law. My practice wasn’t as rigorous but I never missed my gongyo. It was also important that my ichinen is strong.

For some strange reasons, each time I go to a school that offered us admission, it always ended unsuccessfully because of one document or the other.

I was to visit Malaysia for an official trip. It was 7 days to my sister’s shift to Pune and I received a mail from a renowned school while I was abroad as they were unable to contact me.

I took immediate action and told my sister here to get in touch. To our surprise, they offered to admit my eldest nephew if he pass the entrance test at the school on the test date.

But as they were in Gwalior at that time, it was not possible to go to the school on time. So my sister requested if it can be postponed to the following Monday. To which, the response was to wait while they get back with a confirmation.

When I came back from Kuala Lumpur, I called up the lady handling the admission and requested for places for all my 3 nephews.

She told me that they might not have the vacancies since the lower classes are totally full. We were offered admission only for the eldest one since the school only had one vacancy that too, might be filled up by someone else because we were not able to go tot school for the test on the required date.

I was disappointed but determined. The following day, which was a Saturday (usually a non-working day), the school called up my sister only to tell her that all the 3 kids have to appear for entrance test.  This was a surprise since the lady mentioned there were not enough places for all 3.

On Monday morning, all 3 appeared for the exam without any preparations while I was confident of their admissions.

We were only afraid that the kids would fail the science test but another surprise was given as this subject was dropped from the test.

After 2 days, we received the call that they can join the school the next day and even though my eldest nephew had low scores, admission was still granted.

My sister has shifted to Pune; it wasn’t exactly a smooth transition but it could have been worst. Her kids are in a renowned convent school. She also chants along with my nephews and she and her kids are settling down well.

While, our struggles still continue, the daimoku I chant is getting manifested in my environment as conspicuous and inconspicuous benefits in my daily life.

I would like to share another quote from Ikeda Sensei, “A person who meets with a great tragedy will quite naturally be at a loss as to what to do with their life. I believe one has to decide whether to keep up one’s spirits and go on living with all one’s might or let oneself be broken by disappointment”

The Gosho stated: “Strengthen your faith day by day and month after month.” I am probably living that line each day in my life.

While I am determined to change poison into medicine, I am also determined to achieve the unfulfilled pending victories and somewhere in my heart, I know that nothing can take away from me the true joy of leading a kosen-rufu life.

As long as we are alive, we cannot be free of difficulties nor spared from problems. The question is how to overcome and resolve them through our faith in the Gohonzon to confront and challenge life’s trials head on.