No matter how difficult the situation we are in, and at times we may slacken in our faith because of negative thoughts, we must never give up. We should go back to the Gohonzon and chant with he resolve that we will win in the end. When we strengthen our faith, benefits will come to us in various forms. This is a testimonial from Heeru, a member from India.
“The impermanence of life is an inescapable fact. Yet while it is one thing to know, in theory, that each moment of your life may be the last, it’s much harder to actually live and act, on a practical level, based on that belief. Most of us tend to imagine that there will always be another chance to meet and talk with our friends or relatives again, so it doesn’t matter if a few things go unsaid,” Ikeda Sensei.
Hello everyone, I am Heeru and I have been practicing since past 2 years. The experience I will be sharing today is not particularly about a victorious moment or a conspicuous benefit, but is more about the power, the inner strength and the inconspicuous benefit.
You would have heard about Nichiren Daishonin’s thoughts about the manifestation of conspicuous, inconspicuous benefits particularly, when the difficult times hit you.
Well, last year in October, my wedding was formalized to be held in April 2012. My family was overjoyed; each day was full to thrill, excitement, enthusiasm of a cross-cultural wedding. Including everyone, I was also was excited to step into the new life.
At that time, each of my family members wanted to contribute with their utmost participation. Since I was a firm practitioner, I started to pray towards my wedding to be a kosen-rufu wedding.
I prayed to have a wedding full of joy and happiness; each and everyone attending my wedding to forget all negativities of life or towards my family and be awakened to their true Buddha nature.
I was well aware of the financial constraints such a wedding would bring on my family.
Hence, I started praying for an ancestral property to be sold at a best price, so that my parents do not face any financial obstacle due to my wedding.
I used to chant against all odds. My struggle became complex with each passing day. No victories as per the target dates, continuous efforts of participating in all the meetings, balancing a stressful work environment while trying to do maximum number of home visits and accumulating good karmas.
Sometimes, I used to chant for 5-6 hours continuously without feeling tired.
While each passing target date brought no victory, with each passing target date, my determination kept strengthening.
The wedding day was coming closer. Meanwhile, I was quite worried about my work after marriage, as there were not many job opportunities in Pune for me.
A transfer option in my office had bleak chances given I have no team working out of Pune.
Fortunately, my transfer request was approved from the department to be able to work independently out of Pune.
With a happy feeling, I bid goodbye to Mumbai. I went to Jaipur and continued to attend meetings for whatever time I was there.
Everything was going as per plan, except for the house sale. Though, somehow the finances were being taken care of, something in my heart kept pushing me to keep chanting for my victory.
During one of the times, I was very upset about my victory not getting achieved even after dedicated efforts, I spoke to a friend of mine who is practicing in US.
She told me that I should simply forget about every problem and chant only for a joyous kosen-rufu wedding.
So I started…
Ikeda Sensei said: “Reality is harsh. It can be cruel and ugly. Yet no matter how much we grieve over our environment and circumstances nothing will change. What is important is not to be defeated, to forge ahead bravely. If we do this, a path will open before us.”
Well exactly 12 days before my wedding, my sister’s husband my brother-in-law had a heart attack and we lost him. That devastated me. Nothing on this earth can explain or would be able to convince me about that.
It was devastating for my family. My sister, her children, my parents and yes, for me…
It shook me so deep, that doubting my faith was evident. I would not refrain from saying that the moments led to question the practice to an extent of hating myself and my practice, I almost took it on myself especially when I recalled words like “devil’s attack”.
I almost quit the practice and stop believing in the concept of victory. I started to dread my practice eventually thinking that I was the cause of this.
While my wedding date was decided to proceed as planned, without much of a noise from our side, my parents and my sister, along with the kids could not attend the wedding.
The wedding happened as scheduled with whoever could attend. My wedding was joyous, beautiful and a lovely day marking the threshold of a new life albeit sans my entire family.
I would like to share a guidance by Ikeda Sensei: “The experience of losing a loved one impels us toward a deeper understanding of life. Everyone fears and is saddened by death. That is natural. But by struggling to overcome the pain and sadness that accompanies death, we become sharply aware of the dignity and preciousness of life and develop the compassion to share the sufferings of others as our own.”
At that time, I was in touch with only one member. It was quite a shock for my district members since I was connected to them at a very personal level.
It was my extended family. That member understood that I am not in a position to speak to too many members. She was always compassionate towards me and always understood me. She never preached or tried to provide guidance that was illogical at that time.
But what she did do is to guide me to the right kind of prayers. She told me to pray for justice, righteousness to prevail in my sister’s life. She told me to pray for my brother-in-law to be reborn in a kosen-rufu family since an early death in his life has possibly expiated him from further bad karma and sufferings.
It gave me a lot of strength to continue though not with the same vigor but at least to continue.
That was probably the least one can do.
I took the sufferings of my sister as my own. She decided to shift to Pune as she found no emotional support amongst her in-laws. We all supported her. It was a big challenge for all of us.
The immediate issue that needed attention was to admit her 3 kids in a school in Pune.
She came to Pune along with my elder sister and kids for 2 days only to focus on admissions. We were confident that the admissions would be granted on compassionate terms but it was not as what we expected.
Some of the renowned schools turned us down by saying condescending statements that further aggravated our grief. My sister was left only with one school’s admission, which is known to demand an exorbitant fee.
My eldest nephew was granted admission in a grade lesser than his, which meant repeating one entire year. Well, we had no choice.
They all went back disappointed. She kept hearing horrible remarks from my brother-in-law’s family about being unsuccessful and making wrong decisions.
They never favored her anyway.
Meanwhile, we made constant attempts to various schools, be it emails, contacts, personal meetings, we didn’t leave any stone unturned, especially for my eldest nephew.
I was trying to put myself back into the practice, test my faith and determined to prove the validity of the law. My practice wasn’t as rigorous but I never missed my gongyo. It was also important that my ichinen is strong.
For some strange reasons, each time I go to a school that offered us admission, it always ended unsuccessfully because of one document or the other.
I was to visit Malaysia for an official trip. It was 7 days to my sister’s shift to Pune and I received a mail from a renowned school while I was abroad as they were unable to contact me.
I took immediate action and told my sister here to get in touch. To our surprise, they offered to admit my eldest nephew if he pass the entrance test at the school on the test date.
But as they were in Gwalior at that time, it was not possible to go to the school on time. So my sister requested if it can be postponed to the following Monday. To which, the response was to wait while they get back with a confirmation.
When I came back from Kuala Lumpur, I called up the lady handling the admission and requested for places for all my 3 nephews.
She told me that they might not have the vacancies since the lower classes are totally full. We were offered admission only for the eldest one since the school only had one vacancy that too, might be filled up by someone else because we were not able to go tot school for the test on the required date.
I was disappointed but determined. The following day, which was a Saturday (usually a non-working day), the school called up my sister only to tell her that all the 3 kids have to appear for entrance test. This was a surprise since the lady mentioned there were not enough places for all 3.
On Monday morning, all 3 appeared for the exam without any preparations while I was confident of their admissions.
We were only afraid that the kids would fail the science test but another surprise was given as this subject was dropped from the test.
After 2 days, we received the call that they can join the school the next day and even though my eldest nephew had low scores, admission was still granted.
My sister has shifted to Pune; it wasn’t exactly a smooth transition but it could have been worst. Her kids are in a renowned convent school. She also chants along with my nephews and she and her kids are settling down well.
While, our struggles still continue, the daimoku I chant is getting manifested in my environment as conspicuous and inconspicuous benefits in my daily life.
I would like to share another quote from Ikeda Sensei, “A person who meets with a great tragedy will quite naturally be at a loss as to what to do with their life. I believe one has to decide whether to keep up one’s spirits and go on living with all one’s might or let oneself be broken by disappointment”
The Gosho stated: “Strengthen your faith day by day and month after month.” I am probably living that line each day in my life.
While I am determined to change poison into medicine, I am also determined to achieve the unfulfilled pending victories and somewhere in my heart, I know that nothing can take away from me the true joy of leading a kosen-rufu life.
As long as we are alive, we cannot be free of difficulties nor spared from problems. The question is how to overcome and resolve them through our faith in the Gohonzon to confront and challenge life’s trials head on.