31 May 2019 Putting Daimoku First
Lim Lee San
Young Women Division Leader
Nichiren Daishonin writes: “Employ the strategy of the Lotus Sutra before any other.” (WND-1, 1001) I used to strategise first before anything else, chanting is definitely not my priority. But now, no matter what happens, chanting always come first, so that I can manifest wisdom, courage and compassion in whatever I do. I am also very grateful to learn that every change starts from myself.
I started chanting in 2011 when my father fell ill. He suffered a heart attack and had many complications. Just one month before this happened, a friend shared with me how he recovered from a very severe illness by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. It was as if I was listening to an incredible story that night. Hence, when my father fell ill, I thought of this friend.
Initially I sent him email, thinking that I could wait for a reply. However, when my father’s condition turned critical and the doctor told us to prepare for the worst, I called him immediately and asked him how to chant. That was how I started chanting. Subsequently, we had the good fortune to encounter a wise and compassionate doctor and my father’s condition improved.
My father stayed in the hospital for five months during which I visited him every evening after work. Through chanting, I was able to manifest strength and courage to overcome all mental and physical fatigue. I warmly encouraged my father that he would definitely recover. His recovery was so amazing he did not undergo any major operation, even though the doctor told us initially that an operation would be necessary.
After my father got discharged, I brought my parents to the monthly discussion meetings and my mother, who was suffering from serious depression then, also took up faith. Within a year, we enshrined the Gohonzon.
I performed well at work and believed this was the result of the good fortune accumulated from my Buddhist practice. Nevertheless, I started to take things for granted and got too caught up in work that my chanting became habitual and irregular.
My mother, on the other hand, chanted at least two hours a day and studied diligently on Nichiren Buddhism. She recovered so well from her depression that she did not have to continue her medication. The doctors even encouraged her to carry on whatever she had been doing, because it was obviously doing her good. She looks so happy today, nobody would have thought that she used to suffer from serious depression.
Two years ago, in 2016, my father had a very serious infection. Later, he passed on peacefully, in his own words, “without regrets”. In hindsight, my father had prolonged his life for five years.
That was an extremely difficult time for me. I was overwhelmed with grief due to the loss of my father and became very bad-tempered. I quarrelled with a close friend and we ended up not talking to each other. It was really double loss for me.
It was after some time that I took a hard look at myself and reflected. I also came across five keys to human revolution in one of the SGI publications:
- Rather than blaming others, be determined to stand alone.
- Rather than avoiding challenges, have a spirit to challenge ourselves.
- Rather than grumbling or complaining, have conviction and encourage others.
- Rather than harbouring jealousy or resentment, create harmonious unity.
- Rather than being fearful, summon courage.
I was very determined to do my human revolution. I decided to base everything on faith again and set a target of chanting a million daimoku.
I prayed for my friend’s absolute happiness. After about 10 months of chanting, I was overjoyed to receive a reply from her after sending her a handwritten letter and a birthday card. That was a breakthrough as previously no matter what I did, she would ignore me. I absolutely believe, that the breakthrough came because of my prayers and my human revolution. Now, our friendship has grown stronger than before. Through overcoming these challenges, I realised that both the problem and the solution lie within me and putting faith first is the key.
SGI President Ikeda once said, “Hardships make us strong. Problems give birth to wisdom. Sorrow cultivates compassion for others. Those who suffer the most will become the happiest.”
Hardships make us strong. Problems give birth to wisdom. Sorrow cultivates compassion for others. Those who suffer the most will become the happiest.
- SGI President Daisaku Ikeda
I began to participate in Soka activities more regularly and came to know more about Byakuren, a Young Women Division function group in SSA, when I was helping to do welcoming during the “Youth Friendship For Peace” festival in 2014. At the end of the festival, I felt a deep sense of fulfilment and joy, and decided to join the group the following year. I really enjoy welcoming the members to the centres and I also got to learn more about Nichiren Buddhism through the Byakuren’s Buddhist study sessions. These platforms enabled me to strengthen my faith and commitment towards kosen-rufu.
Looking back, I had started chanting because of my father. Hence, I wish to contribute towards kosen-rufu on my father’s behalf to repay my gratitude to him, the Gohonzon and my mentor. Last year (2017), I accelerated my efforts for kosen-rufu and introduced Nichiren Buddhism to 15 new friends, hoping that they can benefit from the Buddhist practice.
Some started chanting while some have attended discussion meetings. No words can describe my gratitude for having encountered Nichiren Buddhism and my mentor SGI President Ikeda. I am determined to share Nichiren Buddhism with as many people as possible so that they too can become happy. I vow to walk the path of mentor and disciple as a proud disciple of President Ikeda, committed to the mission of kosen-rufu.
(Adapted from SSA Times issue 581)