A Ship to cross the Sea of Suffering

"Real happiness is found in the struggles we undergo to realise our goals, in our efforts to move forward." Daisaku Ikeda

Keep on going…

Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.

This year has been both excruciating and liberating. Faced with some of the biggest emotional and karmic transformations I’ve ever had to tackle, I was asked to share an experience with my local district. I wanted to share it with you too.

There are times this year, where I’ve seriously doubted my ability to transform and to survive the currents of emotion assailing me. But what is certain, is that it has been through the support and encouragement from friends who continue to remind me of the potential and courage I possess, through which I’ve been able to deepen my faith, and face these obstacles -heart-on-

 

Kia Ora Whanau,

Friendship is a special thing to encounter in our lives, and it is certainly something to truly cherish in one’s heart. When V: asked me to provide a short experience, I could think only of the immense struggles I have had this year since my separation from my Kosen-rufu and intimate partner of six years. I have started a new life and a new chapter in my personal human revolution and even though the relationship changes have been painful, I realised that sometimes friendship requires you to sacrifice the things you love, in order for new doors to open, and new seeds to grow.

It has taken me over nine months to be at peace with this realisation, although some days I have to try extra hard to remind myself. Through the depths of these past months, I have found myself in some very dark places. I’ve always struggled with depression, as my childhood built me, in a way that at times impedes the way I function as an adult. But I am learning that, this is not a flaw; it is something I know I can embrace and grow from. Unhinging the conditioning of ‘victim’ into ‘proud survivor’, I have been given many choices this year. Most importantly, deciding whether I would win or lose this battle, and wondering how I could move forward in this new chapter. Moving forward into areas I’ve never known, is challenging to say the least. Everything that is new to us, and that which demands from us, strength we never knew existed can be a frightful process.

There have been many days where I could not bring myself to sit in front of the Gohonzon, and many days where NMRK was only whispered under my breath. I still have those days, and maybe you do too? I guess that’s why they call it a practice, and also why we must support each other as much as possible!

I look over the last nine months of my life and wonder how I have survived the devils and obstacles who often take my mind hostage, and there is only one thing that I can safely say that continuously keeps me here today, writing this experience for you, and that is friendship. Good friends in faith.

Our wonderful Young Women’s Division sisters, have been visiting me and encouraging me to lead chanting, even embracing the reality that is, chanting through tears. Our combined efforts have helped me to strengthen my faith in the law. This is such a crucial moment in my life, where I have acknowledged that over my five years of practice, I have never faced obstacles as big as the ones I am facing now.  I remember vividly the passage which says “It is easy to start, but difficult to continue” Chanting when we are feeling good, and living lives where we are not challenged by our fundamental darkness is easy, but mustering up the strength to face our fears and to really acknowledge the aspects of our personalities and minds which we need to transform ,in order to win is incredibly difficult.

The consistency of home visits, and the sincere hearts of each and every one of our young women’s division, has enabled me to make significant breakthroughs. I challenged myself to sit the level one study exam, even though my struggles with university workload is enormous, I decided the night before the exam that I was definitely going to turn up. I have been registered for months, but I have not had the focus or determination to study as deeply as I had of hoped and I had almost certainly decided that I wasn’t going to sit the exam. But I chose to win over my doubts and fear, by attending the exam and giving it my best shot, regardless of whether I felt ready or not. I realised that it was not the end result that mattered most, it was the effort put into attending and giving it my all despite the challenges I’ve been facing.  It was an amazing experience and a lot easier than I had anticipated. It was wonderful to travel this journey together, with my sisters and friends in faith! We shared that victory together and I am confident in our results.

I have noticed, that having gaps in my chanting really strengthened my resolve to chant even more, because the lack of life force I have felt, by trying to deal with my problems in other ways never works the way chanting does.  Continuing to place daimoku at the centre of my life no matter what, reminds me that I have great potential and strength beyond my imagination, and I must not trust my thoughts, but trust only my faith in the mystic law to overcome any obstacle.  Although I don’t encourage anyone to stop chanting for periods of time, it has only been through the lack of daimoku in my life that I came to realise that it is one of the most essential elements of self-care, that keeps me strong inside. It enables me to continue, transforming everything I feel into something of Value. Daimoku gives me the will to live and the strength to continue fighting for the mission I have in this lifetime! It’s a big one and sometimes that scares me! But my life purpose is beyond just ME and what I want. Our missions as Bodhisattvas of the Earth are continuously forged in our contributions to this world, and as shining examples of light.  Utilising the Mystic law to reach our full potential, and help others realise that it is truly possible to win in such confusing times! We cannot afford to ever lose hope.

“The entity of a mind clouded by the illusions of the innate darkness of life, can come to shine as a sparkling jewel of the “essential nature of phenomena, the true aspect of reality” (cf. WND-1, 4) we can transform ignorance into enlightenment, thereby changing poison into medicine. That is why the Law is described as mystic or wondrous. “Strategy of the Lotus Sutra excerpt

The core of this experience, alongside the honesty and vulnerability of sharing my struggles and victories of late with you, is to thank you, as my friends, for being such a wonderful district and such good friends in faith. I also wish to remind each and every one of you of the value in continuing to forge friendships. Through dialogue, being honest with yourself and others, and maintaining consistent and sincere hearts with one another, including every single person that you meet in your daily lives, the bonds of kosen rufu friendship can truly shine.

 

“A true friend

Is like another self.

Life without friendship

Is the like world without its sun/

At times a close friend

Is more important than ten thousand relatives.

Only human beings

Can cultivate true friendship.”

 

 

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