When face with difficulties, the best way to overcome them is to apply the strategy of the Lotus Sutra. Lay Geok, WD from Singapore, did just that. Through her pure faith, strong and abundant daimoku, as well as her participation in kosen-rufu, Lay Geok overcame numerous obstacles, including cysts in her womb, adjusting to life in another country, her son’s health problem and the death of her father.
I started chanting in 1983. My second brother brought back a copy of the Buddhism magazine.
He told me that he met a man in a hospital and had asked him to try to chant. I started reading the magazine and found the article, “Ten Worlds”, very practical and decided to chant for a job.
I just graduated and shortly after I found a job in a bank. That was my first benefit.
I took up faith very quickly and soon participated in all Gakkai activities. Besides meetings, I also participated in the youth festival at the then new indoor stadium and the National Day Parade.
Life was smooth sailing and when I looked back it was pure faith and kosen-rufu activities that enable me to accumulate lots of good fortune.
We must have correct practice
5 years later, in 1988, I got married. My husband does not chant but he supports my practice.
As I did not have a Gohonzon in my own place and for fear of discord, I confined my chanting to my bedroom facing the east.
Soon after my two sons came along. My practice was limited to only gongyo and daimoku and my Gakkai activities stopped completely.
It was a wake up call when I discovered, through my routine medical checkup, that I had cysts in my womb.
The pre-surgery checkup showed my blood test was not within the normal range and the gynecologist was afraid that it could be cancerous.
My initial thoughts when I heard about my medical condition was to apply the strategy of the Lotus Sutra – daimoku first! Fortunately, it was a false alarm and my surgery was also successful.
I soon reflected on my practice and realized that I had faith but was barely practising for oneself and not for others.
My practice was not based on faith, practice and study. That was my first turning point of my practice. I started attending meetings again.
Do not seek the Gohonzon outside of you
My second turning point for my practice was in year 2004 when my husband got his job posting in Jakarta.
The posting was for 3 years, so the decision was the whole family to move to Jakarta with him.
I resigned from my job and our 2 sons then was 14 and 16 years. They joined the international school there.
From a full-time career woman to a full time housewife, I was lost.
It was worsened by not being able to speak Bahasa Indonesia. I chanted very hard to get a job and to adapt to my new environment.
Daily daimoku was at least 3 hours. However, I felt so down with each passing day. I felt so depressed and even begged to Gohonzon for help.
It went on for 3 months till one day while I was chanting, it came to my realization that I could carry on feeling depressed for the rest of the 3 years, or I make the best of my 3 years.
I also reflected on my practice and realized that I had put Gohonzon outside me and just hoped that things would just happened.
Despite lots of daimoku, I failed to take actions for the prayers that I had set.
Buddhism is reason. Our prayers cannot be answered if we fail to make efforts appropriate to our situation.
Soon after, I changed my prayer focus to doing kosen-rufu in Indonesia.
I decided to contact the Soka Indonesia member to check up on meetings.
I was so happy to have taken my first step to making appropriate changes in accordance to my prayer.
As the meetings were conducted in Bahasa Indonesia, I chanted to meet somebody who could translate for me and to participate meaningfully in the meeting.
To my surprise, I found out there were many members who spoke Mandarin and were very eager to help.
There were also Japanese members who could understand Bahasa Indonesia.
Soon after, I took up Bahasa Indonesia class to understand the meetings better. I also took up the courage to join the WD musical group to play Angklung even though classes were also conducted in Bahasa Indonesia.
Every Wednesday, I would join the WD for daimokukai followed by the Angklung practice. It was my good fortune to be able to participate in their performances.
I also joined the Soka International group in Jakarta, which is for members from different countries staying in the city.
It was through the international meetings that I also shakubuku my elder son in Jakarta.
I brought him to the international meeting and fortunately, he related very well with 2 Italian members and started chanting.
He is leaving for the US and had just received his Omamori Gohonzon this morning.
Continuous chanting of daimoku gave me the wisdom to reflect on my practice and have good influence in my environment and overcame the fundamental darkness in me. Since then, the following Sensei guidance remains in my yearly dairy:
“If you are stuck, pray to release the chains of doubt and fear clouding your mind of faith. Pray for the unbounded confidence and courage to win over your past and step joyfully into your bright future,” President Ikeda (12 April 2002, World Tribune).
Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is within my life. I have the absolute power to change things, even the most difficult situations.
A great obstacle is a wonderful opportunity to grow.
When I looked back, the stay in Jakarta gave me the opportunity to chant lots of daimoku. I achieved the 5 millionth daimoku just before I came back to Singapore.
I was able to do my kosen-rufu and accumulated lots of good fortune and many of the personal prayers were also answered.
We returned to Singapore in 2007 and soon after, I was asked o return to the job that I resigned because the colleague who took over from me left.
Strong faith makes anything possible
My younger son is dyslexic. I got him tested when he was primary 2 when I observed that he had great difficulties with numbers and spelling.
I was very concerned about his progress in school. I was even more despaired especially when he was trying very hard to cope.
Then I decided to base on daimoku once again to seek for direction to help my child. It was definitely not a straightforward or easy task.
However through many ups and down, he found his path to pursue an education in Art. He completed his Diploma and Fine Art in LaSalle College of Art last year.
He was also awarded a scholarship and has put up a website on all his artwork and is having a group exhibition now at a gallery in Tanjong Pagar.
The most important thing is that he is happy and enjoys what he is doing. I am chanting for his artwork to be a strong platform for kosen-rufu. I am sure he will!
Everything starts with prayers
There is no limit to how many things we pray about. It just means that the more desires we have, the more sincere and abundant our prayers will be.
Who answer our prayers?
We do through faith and effort. No one does it for us.
My brother’s sudden death 2 years ago (he was 51) due to heart attack was a terrible setback for all in the family.
We chanted lots of daimoku to have the high life condition and high life force to get through the difficult phase.
It was so sudden and tough for us to accept. It was worse for my parents.
The only means was daimoku, abundant daimoku. My brother’s death made me realized it is NOT death that one fears; rather it is how one lives that is more important. His death also taught me to treasure every moment I have.
A year later, my father contacted advanced lung cancer. He passed away last Nov.
Our immediate reaction was no difference from most people, “Why him? Can’t be true and we hope that it was a wrong diagnosis.”
When the test was positive, our thought became, “No! No! He deserved a better death.”
Though we continued to chant for his recovery, we broke down so often and found it so difficult to accept his situation.
However, through lots of chanting and sobbing, my brother and me composed ourselves and decided to set very focused prayers for our father and the family.
My father told us that his fear was not death but pain as he had seen many of his friends and his brothers who had cancer and died in pain.
We also gathered from the lung specialist my father’s cancer was only 1 mm away from his rib and if the cancer spread to the bones, even morphine would not help, he would be in great pain because the cancer had already spread to his stomach.
We were determined to show actual proof and set the following prayers for him:
1.To have the highest life force to lessen his karmic retribution
2.To show actual proof through ultimate victory and attain Buddhahood
No pain, highest comfort
Dad told me he could not chant, as he was breathless. However, 3 days before he passed away, I showed him Sensei’s article written in Chinese titled, “People who chant are different”.
He read it and I could still remember when he finished the article, he placed it aside and gave a soft nod.
Mystically, my 3rd brother saw him chanting the next morning on the sofa. 2 days later, he passed away peacefully without any pain.
His wish was answered. My brother created a blog in fond memory of our father to celebrate his 80 years of life.