Faced with her father’s illness, SM, a YWD from India, achieved her human revolution through daimoku and become a stronger woman. Her faith and support from her members give her the courage to move on after her father’s death. In addition, because of her prayer and chanting, SM’s father was able to pass away peacefully.
What I would like to share is an experience I had gone through since I began my practice, which led to very significant changes in my life.
My name is SM and I live in Mumbai. I have been practicing Nichiren Buddhism since December 2007. I am now an YWD.
In August 2007, my father was admitted to a nursing home when he became ill. At the hospital, the doctors conducted the required test and diagnosed him as having a minor cough and cold. He recovered after taking the medication.
A few days later, his worsened was re-admitted to the hospital. He was discovered to be suffering from pneumonia. My father was quite weak by then and had to receive nearly four pints of blood. His hemoglobin level was also quite low.
The doctor told us that my father would be all right. At that time, I did not expect my life was about to undergo a major change.
Days passed by and instead becoming better, my father’s condition became worse and two days before Diwali, he was re-admitted again. At the hospital, the specialist and the doctors were consulted and sent my father for an endoscopy.
As he was not able to swallow, various test were conducted to find out what was the cause. I could see that something was not right. After the endoscopy, he had to breathe through an oxygen mask.
The endoscopy revealed that my father had C A Osephagus (a tumor in the food pipe). I was shattered and shocked to see the reports. The doctors had to conduct a further biopsy test. We had to wait eight days for the report.
The biopsy report revealed that my father was suffering from cancer. It was hard for me to accept the fact that my father was not going to live for long and this disease could take him away from me.
The doctors suggested some alternative options, such as putting a stent into the food pipe or insert a peg in his stomach. I had no knowledge of what was going on.
I consulted various cancer specialists for a second opinion. The only aim in my mind was to save my father’s life. I was in grief.
I would be alone with my father in the hospital for nearly 12 to 14 hours and was very tensed of what would happen. However, I had all the support from my family members, as well as my friends too.
Soon, the decision to put the stent was taken so that he could start eating again. I was also facing financial difficulty but had support from all sides.
At this time, I happened to talk to my friend and my ex-colleague. I knew that she had been practicing Nichiren Buddhism for many years.
I broke down when talking to her over the phone and told her the situation I was in. She suggested to me to starting chanting daimoku. The conversation with her gave me the opportunity to think and provided me with a ray of hope. Another friend I spoke to also encouraged me to chant and that things would improve after that.
I started to chant that evening. Because my father would ask me when he will recover and return home, I chanted for half an hour, believing that things would improve.
Early next morning, I got a call from my brother telling me that my father did not want to stay in the hospital and tried to get out of bed himself. Having water retention in the legs and hands does not allow a person to even move from the bed or even lift his leg. I asked him again if my father stood up on his own feet and he said yes. I could see the drastic changes in just one night. It was then I started believing in the power of daimoku.
I also experienced changes in my life. By then, I had the courage to tell my brother that our father was suffering from cancer. Only my mother was not aware of his condition.
Chanting daily gave me the strength and courage to face the mental and physical stress I was going through.
One fine day back from the hospital, I plucked up my courage and informed my mother that my father could leave us anytime. Being a strong woman herself, my mother accepted the situation.
I brought my father back home. Things were not the same as before.
On my job front, my bosses needed me back as I had been away from work for many days. I felt that I was loosing on all sides. But chanting daimoku kept giving me all the strength to soldier on.
My days would be spent working in the office and looking after my father at night. The body aches caused him to have sleepless nights and I would chant for him to be able to sleep well.
My faith grew stronger and even sent daimoku in every morsel that I would feed him.
My family and I were facing physical and mentally stress. For the first time in my life, I had to spend the Diwali festival and Christmas in the hospital with my father.
On New Year’s Eve, I knew that this might be his last year with me. I might not see him the next year. I was prepared to see him go.
My father’s condition started deteriorating. I could see that he was losing his consciousness. Chanting had made me strong and I had by now gained the strength and ability to accept that he had to leave us.
I now chanted and prayed he could go peacefully. On 7 Jan 2008, my father asked me not to take him to the hospital nor call any doctor to see him.
At that moment, I could feel that he was tired and did not want any more medical attention. By then, through daimoku, I was able to face the situation very gracefully.
The night of 11 Jan 2008 was despairing for me as I prayed that my father should regain consciousness and speak to me before he left this world. He did so and left us on 12 Jan 2008.
I was the only one he spoke to before leaving us. I wanted him to go peacefully and not die in a hospital.
Early that morning at 4am, I lost my father. I used to fear death, but it was not on my mind when my father passed away. I could see his body lying in front of me.
I was one who is very afraid of seeing a dead person. However, the chanting of daimoku has removed this fear and given me the strength and the ability to move on in life.
I boldly fulfilled all the last rites of my father. I had always chanted for him to pass away peacefully and he did so in his sleep.
I have been practicing Nichiren Buddhism and chanting daimoku to the Gohonzon for three and a half years.
This practice has given me the strength to cope daily activities and to mould myself into a better and stronger person.
President Ikeda said, “Faith is to fear nothing — to stand unswayed — the power to win over (surmount) — whatever the obstacle… Belief is nothing extraordinary. It is actually the basis for living. If we believe in something VALUABLE, then even without understanding, our belief enables us to gain something!”
Today, my practice has made me a better human and my perception in life has changed.
I have the strength and ability to prove that I can change my life and help others to change theirs too. I started to see the sequence of my life changing as it has led me out of depression and cope with things in a better way after loosing my father.
The core of practicing for oneself is the recitation of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo (the daimoku of the Lotus Sutra) along with key passages from the sutra. The purpose of this practice has revolutionized my inner life, to develop the qualities of the Buddha: courage, wisdom, compassion and abundant vitality and life-force.
As with gold hidden in a dirty bag, or lotus flowers emerging from a muddy pond, daimoku and the constant support of my members and guidance in faith that helped me makes me determine to always chant more and not give up!
The support of my members shows me the way – this golden path of chanting.
President Ikeda said, “Life isn’t always smooth. If it were, we would never grow and develop as human beings. If we succeed, we are envied; if we fail, we are ridiculed and attacked. Sadly, this is how people are. Unexpected grief and suffering may lie ahead of us. But it is precisely when we encounter such trying times that we must not be defeated. Never give up. Never retreat.”
Faith, practice and study of Buddhism are at the center of my life now and provide a shield to protect me wherever I am. Chanting consistently day and night gives me the wisdom and strength to replace despair with hope.
When you came into this world you cried, whereas everyone else rejoiced. During your lifetime, when it is time for you to leave this world, you will smile at parting while the world cries for you. Hold this thought and you will always remember to consider others above yourself.
I thank all the members who have shown me this beautiful path.