08 Jan 2021 Fulfilling My Mission as a Lionhearted Disciple
Ng Yee Teng Faith
Young Women Division
The Covid-19 pandemic brought varying degrees of challenges to many families and mine was certainly not spared. Our hairdressing business slowed down tremendously and I found myself with a lot of free time to study the Gosho and other books by SGI President Ikeda (whom I regard as my mentor in life and address as Ikeda Sensei). This tough period enabled me to relate to Nichiren Daishonin and Ikeda Sensei’s courageous endeavour to spread the Law. The reading strengthened my sense of mission in wanting to respond to Sensei’s call and do whatever I can as an SSA youth.
When the Circuit Breaker was announced, I had to spend prolonged time with my father but, instead of quarrelling like we used to in the past, we talked to each other comfortably. He sent me Sensei’s guidance from time to time too. Viewing this crisis as an opportunity to transform our karma together, the Courageous 1-2-3 actions is a daily reminder of my mission, and the driving force for me to persevere through each day.
Every day I chant for the health and safety of everyone to have the highest life condition to win over Covid-19. I reached out to my friends, Byakuren Group comrades and Young Women Division (YWD) members to see if they are well, listening to their challenges and sharing mine, too. Encouraging each other in this difficult time, I found myself wanting to show great actual proof. It is a shared struggle of mentor and disciple, and now is the crucial moment.
I Was An Introvert
My father received the Gohonzon in March 1990 and my mother joined him in the practice of Nichiren Buddhism. When I was born my grandmother cared for me, but I remember sitting with my parents while they did gongyo. I have a younger brother and growing up, I felt that my father treated us differently. That was when we started to grow apart.
Furthermore, my introvert nature caused my relationship with my father to sour even more. I felt that he did not understand me, so I stopped trying to express myself and bottled things up. When I graduated from polytechnic, I did not have a firm direction towards the future, so I started to work at my family’s hair salon without experience in hairdressing skills. Moreover, differences in character and outlook caused me to feel resentment towards my father and this indirectly caused much stress and unhappiness to my mother for many years. We also faced financial challenges that gradually worsened over the years due to unwise investments and slowing business from new competitors. Even though we worked together physically every day, our hearts were far apart.
In one of President Ikeda’s books he wrote, “Not advancing is retreating – this is true not only of faith but also of study, work and all areas of our lives. Living is moving forward, making progress on all fronts. If you stop trying to move forward, it means you are retreating from life itself.” This prompted me to take action and practise my human revolution in order to change my environment.
Time to Take Action
At the end of 2016, when Sensei called for us to work hard together with him, I gathered my courage to step out of my comfort zone. Sensei said, “Please promise with me to work hard over the next two years with our fellow members around the world to expand our network of Bodhisattvas of the Earth, and forge ahead with energy, wisdom and good cheer to make the triumph of mentor and disciple resound into the eternal future of the Latter Day of the Law.” This gave me the final push to really challenge my circumstances with faith, while actively engaged in SSA activities.
I joined the Byakuren Renaissance programme and SSA’s National Day Parade performance in 2017. A YWD leader said, “For all of us to be able to work together with Sensei for kosen-rufu in the same life time is something we should really cherish.” I engraved this in my life and found the courage to break through my lesser self. When asked to take on the role of district leader, I agreed without hesitation. However, I was still struggling with expressing myself, doing home-visits, encouraging others and sharing at meetings, but I did so with gratitude. After reading Sensei’s words: “Always protect the Soka Gakkai. Oneness of mentor and disciple exists when one practises exactly as the mentor teaches”, I continued to chant earnestly to the Gohonzon with the prayer that even if I feel incapable, I must become capable to advance kosen-rufu together with Sensei.
In my district there were originally four active YWD members. Feeling inadequate myself, I had difficulties approaching them and maintaining eye contact during conversations. I did not know how to approach anyone for help. I always felt that it was my fault and sank deeper into negativity when things did not progress well. Then, I would read Sensei’s guidance to feel encouraged and put into action what he taught. Every day I fought my fundamental darkness to achieve victory.
Not advancing is retreating – this is true not only of faith but also of study, work and all areas of our lives. Living is moving forward, making progress on all fronts. If you stop trying to move forward, it means you are retreating from life itself.
The district started to grow when I learnt to ask my adult district leaders for help to connect to inactive YWD members through their parents. In 2019 I managed to foster an inactive YWD member whom I had been trying to contact and connect with since 2017 and now our district has ten active YWD members!
The period when I was struggling very hard to balance my work and SSA activities was also the most fulfilling. Though often exhausted, I chanted the most I have ever chanted and felt the happiest I have been in a long time. Through this, I also started to feel really connected to Sensei’s heart! At work, I developed good rapport with my customers and was able to communicate well with them, including sharing Nichiren Buddhism. At home I gained my parents’ trust. I realised that it does not matter what has happened and whose fault it was as long as we overcome it together. In fact, I was the one who reacted negatively and it was my response that triggered my father’s reaction. I started to speak in a calm manner, explaining how I truly felt. Constantly aware that I had to continue changing, we cleared up misunderstandings that had accumulated. I now do my morning gongyo with him every day and can feel our hearts are closer.
In The New Human Revolution volume 30 “Vow” chapter, Sensei wrote: “The future belongs to youth. Therefore, youth have a responsibility to develop into lionhearted champions who will protect the people.” I am determined to actualise Sensei’s wish for lionhearted disciples, advancing together with my comrades in faith to “develop into wise and courageous leaders of kosen-rufu, each possessing the strength of a thousand”. I will continue to do my human revolution, transforming my family into the happiest kosen-rufu family and fulfil my mission as Sensei’s disciple.
(Adapted from SSA Times issue 625)