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.


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