“Although I and my disciples may encounter various difficulties, if we do not harbour doubts in our hearts, we will as a matter of course attain Buddhahood. Do not have doubts simply because heaven does not lend you protection. Do not be discouraged because you do not enjoy an easy and secure existence in this life.” This is a gosho from Nichiren Daishonin that inspired and encouraged Harumi, the WD from Singapore who is sharing her testimonial. There will be times when the results do not go the way we want. At such times, as what Nichiren Daishonin said, we should not have any doubts in the Gohonzon. We should continue to strive on with absolute faith, so as to have the Buddha wisdom and fortune to achieve victory.
My name is Harumi and I am a WD from Singapore. I like to share my testimonial on study in the hope that it may encourage other students or parents to share with their kids.
The first obstacle to test my faith came when I was 19 years old. It was March the following year of my high school examination and I had just received the notification letter from my University of choice.
I had failed to get in… I was utterly shocked. I did not fail any subjects; it was just that my grades were not good enough.
There was also intense competition from foreigners who wanted a place to study. I mean, how can I fail to get a place?
I am a very hardworking student, in fact, I dare say I am one of the most diligent ones in my class. I did not skip a single day of school, I paid attention during lessons, and I did all my schoolwork and handed them in on time.
So how could I possibly not get a place? Some of the lazy students in my class actually succeeded. Can you believe it?
Yes, the lazy ones – those who sleep during lessons, those who consistently did not do their schoolwork, those who laughed and joked in class, those who skipped school – yes, they got a place to study.
I refused to give up and decided to appeal to the University. I wrote an impassioned plea explaining why I should be given a place.
This was my last resort.
This time, I will definitely succeed! I have the Gohonzon. With the Gohonzon, nothing is impossible. They must have made a mistake last time, I thought.
I personally made a trip down to the University to submit my letter of appeal. I chanted very hard and waited with trepidation.
The notification letter came 3 months later at end of June.
I was shocked once again to see that I had failed in my appeal. I was confounded and immediately sank into the deepest state of hell, failing to comprehend why this had to happen to me.
Why? Why? Why? Shouldn’t it be a case of “You reap what you sow”? Buddhism is reason isn’t it?
If you do not put in effort, you do not deserve a chance to study at a university. Whereas, if you are as hardworking as I am, then yes, you definitely deserve a place.
What common sense it had been to me was now completely lost. I just could not understand it. I was filled with a lot of hatred and grudge towards those who succeeded in my class and I am ashamed to say, I began to doubt the Gohonzon.
I had no money to pursue an overseas education at a university, say in Australia, as my family was very poor.
I did not want to borrow money from a bank due to the interest rate and I did not want my parents to mortage our house in order to pay for my tuition fee.
What if I could not find a job after graduation? We may end up homeless!
I did not want to give up my life long dream of attaining a degree.
I thought very hard about it and made a difficult decision to retake my high school examination as a private candidate, i.e. study at home.
I could not go back to my high school to study as they only take in students who failed one or more subjects.
It was a very panicky time for me as the examination was in November the same year, which means I only had 4 months to squeeze in 2 years’ worth of high school lecture and tutorial notes!
Furthermore, one of the subjects, Chinese was to be held the very next month in July!
This means I only had one month to squeeze in 2 years worth of Chinese notes! I panicked like hell and thought to myself that I will never be able to finish revising on time. It was just plain impossible.
Besides, I had Japanese class every Sunday afternoon for 2 hours at a language school. Moreover, I was also participating in Singapore’s grand birthday event in August under Singapore Soka Association (SSA).
This means I had to participate in 2 training sessions during weekday evenings and one full day rehearsal on Saturday. All this just means I have even less time to study!
To try to get more time to study, I half-wondered if I should quit my Japanese studies.
But I did not want to give up as I liked the subject very much and was doing very well there. In fact, I was one of the top few students in my class.
So I persevered. Then I half-wondered if I should quit participating in Singapore birthday event. But I did not want to give up after coming so far.
The first training started in March and I only had 2 more months to go before the actual birthday performance in August. If I quit now, wouldn’t I be a loser???
I decided to press on. I was also determined to make an effort to go down to the cultural centre in the south-west of Singapore to join in their daily daimokukai once a week.
This was a an hour and 20 minutes journey one way, which means a precious total of 2 hours 40 minutes spent on travelling!
I wasted no time; I already had very little time to begin with. I spent my time studying my notes while waiting for the buses and while travelling on the buses.
Help unexpectedly came in the form of shoten zenjin.
I told my classmate I could not make it to university and had to retake my examination, but I had no confidence that I will do any better than the first time round.
She suggested that I could ask our Geography teacher for tuition and I could give her a token sum of money.
She passed me the e-mail address of the teacher and I contacted her, hoping fervently that first of all, she has time to teach me despite her busy schedule as a teacher, and that she will not mind the fact I can only pay her very little money as my family was very poor.
My Geography teacher replied me quickly, saying that she was willing to provide Geography tuition for me for FREE.
What? For free? I was shocked. This time, I was in a happy state of shock.
I could not believe it.
And so she started mentoring me in Geography once a week for 2 hours without any complaint. She checked all my answers thoroughly each time and told me which point to elaborate to make the examiners happy.
I was very, very grateful to her. But I guess she may have an ulterior motive as she asked me to join her in her church activities. Of course, I politely declined as I am a very staunch Buddhist.
Fortunately, she did not stopped tutoring me just because I rejected her. She continued giving me free tuition all the way to my high school examination.
July soon came and it was time for my Chinese examination. Halfway, I had a mental block.
I did not know why. I just had no idea how to continue writing my essay and I froze in my seat.
Minutes ticked by, still my mind was in a blank. I forced myself to hastily write a conclusion. At least, a conclusion in the essay is better than none.
July went by and soon, it was November, time for the rest of the subjects.
Frankly speaking, I seriously doubt I would outperform my first-time results due to my serious lack of time and the fact that I did study very hard the first round.
With my Buddha wisdom, I chose the correct essay questions to answer, knew which points to include in my essays and how to elaborate on them, so as to make my essays sound convincing.
I had done my very best. I had no regrets.
If I still not could not make it to University this time, well, I guess I will choose another path.
But at least, I had fought bravely like a warrior.
March of the following year came.
My notification letter from the university came. I opened it with trembling fingers.
Will I succeed this time? Will I? Or will I not?
I saw the result.
“Congratulations! You have been accepted by National University Of Singapore – Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences”.
I was thoroughly elated. At long, long last! I had finally fulfilled my childhood dream of studying at a university!
Moreover, my grade for my Geography improved from a pathetic E to an impressive B! I called my Geography teacher and she was overjoyed.
I also improved tremendously in my General Paper, or English Language, as you might call it. My grade jumped from a C6 to an A2!
I would like to share here three of my all-time favourite gosho quotes; quotes that inspire me, quotes that give me much hope and quotes that lift my spirits up whenever I need them the most –
“Those who believe in the Lotus Sutra are as if in winter, but winter always turns to spring. Never, from ancient times on, has anyone heard or seen of winter turning back to autumn.”
“Though one might point at the earth and miss it, though one might bind up the sky, though the tides might cease to ebb and flow and the sun rises in the west, it could never come about that the prayers of the practitioner of the Lotus Sutra would go unanswered.”
“Although I and my disciples may encounter various difficulties, if we do not harbour doubts in our hearts, we will as a matter of course attain Buddhahood. Do not have doubts simply because heaven does not lend you protection. Do not be discouraged because you do not enjoy an easy and secure existence in this life.”
Thank you everyone for reading my testimonial and please share it with people whom you know may need this.