As long as we continue our practice with strong faith in the Gohonzon, and participate in Gakkai activities, we will eventually triumph over the challenges we face, no matter how long it may take. Sahil Mehra’s testimonial showed that patience and unyielding faith is the key to victory.
My name Sahil Mehra and I was introduced to this practice in 2005 in India. I moved to Singapore in Jan 2011 to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration from Singapore Management University. This was a big victory for me, which I received after 2 years of chanting and undergoing serious human revolution.
In Singapore, I joined the Singapore Soka Association activities and also got connected with the student division. My leaders and comrades in faith there took immense care of me and this strengthened my practice further. So strong was the ichinen of my leaders that I received the Gohonzon on 14 Aug 2011.
I graduated from the MBA program in Dec 2011, and like my classmates had been on the Job hunt. I had faith and was confident that I would be successful soon. I thought, “Since I am doing so much kosen-rufu and chanting so much daimoku, life will be easier and good fortune will flow.” I was slightly mistaken here. I got very few job interviews and even those resulted in rejects.
By March 2012, most of my MBA class was employed and only I was without a job. I chanted more vigorously and asked the Gohonzon, “When I am the only one practicing in my class, then why am I the only one without a job”, my question was wrong and so was my attitude.
I met several leaders, took guidance and even met members who had undergone a similar situation and won. I started chanting 3 hours daimoku each day. It was mid-April and by now I had no money. I had been living frugally. My shoes had worn out and I did not have money to purchase new ones. I dint feel like asking my parents for more money as they had already done so much for me. Often doubts arose in my mind “Why me? Is it working?”, but at these times I quickly sat to chant and read testimonials and seek guidance to eliminate doubts.
This is very important as our fundamental darknesses are bound to attack our minds, but we must take action to muster our faith in this Gohonzon.
Towards the end of April, I had 2 job offers and I accepted one of them. However it was a 6 months contract offer with low pay, and my situation was still uncertain after those 6 months. I chose to look at the glass half full and was encouraged by my victory.
The start of the job it was a roller coaster. My boss was initially a major taskmaster and I often felt that he wouldn’t renew my contract after 6 months. However, at the end of the 1st 6 months he did renew it for another 6 months. I was now starting to see that he was actually trying to mentor me, by showing some tough love. He would often scold but would always take great pains to train me and make sure my concepts are clear.
Despite the below average salary and no permanent job, I was starting to realize that his coaching was more valuable. It’s similar to conspicuous and inconspicuous benefits in Buddhism. I was developing a certain set of skills which would be great for my career.
In May 2013 my contract was about to end. I was hopeful that I would be offered a permanent role, as I had completed a year with the company and performed well in the last 6 months. Sadly my boss confessed that although he had been pushing HR to make my role permanent, there was a headcount freeze and he was unsuccessful. However, he did extend my contract by another 6 months and managed to give me a significant salary increment. I was happy with this and his confidence in me. In fact, in many ways he reminds me of Toda Sensei – strict and extremely compassionate.
Simultaneously along with this victory, I was appointed District Leader, and a month later in June, I was appointed an institution in-charge of the Student Division. Normally, I would get stressed with these two leadership appointments, especially me being an Indian national, looking after Singaporean Chinese members.
There would be so many cultural differences. How would I understand their problems? But I put these negative thoughts to rest, taking on the two new roles as a challenge. My YMDs grew in numbers and in faith. As Sensei would say, not advancing is regressing and we must keep advancing in faith.
While struggling for my district and my institution, I was also challenging with attending practice sessions for the National Day Parade, for which I enrolled in March 2013. Singapore Soka Association was presenting a Human LED show with almost 800 youth division participants. It was a life transforming experience to see so many Gakkai youth contribute with such discipline and determination. It was a real challenge – work, practice, district meetings and institution meetings. But we all did it with enthusiasm, as if we were battling our personal problems and heading towards victory.
Practice sessions were held on Wednesdays and Saturdays – Saturdays when the world was busy partying, we the Soka youth were fighting for kosen-rufu. There were several days when I would feel completely exhausted after a tough day at work and then had to attend these practice sessions. My body and head would ache. I would want to give up. But then I looked at some of the other members who were facing far greater challenges than I was, and yet it did not show in their behavior.
This must be the strength of their faith.
I was extremely inspired and recharged. I also made many wonderful friends, with whom I’m still in touch. Each interaction was learning.
The National Day Parade performance was on 9 Aug and was highly praised. It even appeared in the Seikyo Shimbun.
After the Parade – my situation was still that my contract would end on 20 Nov and if the company didn’t offer me a permanent job, I would have to move back to India, without a job. Many of my friends and colleagues were being fired in Singapore. At this time I strongly abided by the Daishonin’s guidance – to apply only the strategy of the Lotus Sutra and none other. Also I had now developed a high life condition where being jobless would not affect me or my faith anymore. I targeted to have complete victory by 18 Nov 2013.
Finally on 3 Nov 2013, I was offered a permanent job in the company, with another salary increment, which would make my salary comparable to my peers. It took almost two long years. I am now determined to win in my district, the Student Division and foster capable Soka leaders. To be the sun of happiness and show all those around me the immense power of this practice.