Jianwen Chien fr. S'pore

Hey!! Here's another experience.. It's by Jianwen Chien fr. Singapore. Enjoy!! I am a YMD in Singapore. Before coming to Australia to commence my further studies, I met 3 really inspirational people who encouraged me to start taking my faith seriously. One of them, E.T, in particular, was always there to encourage and support me through the time when I was contemplating whether to go to a local university or an overseas one. Their words never leave me, even though I do not see them often because they spoke to me with their hearts.Today, I want to share with you a personal experience which happened to me for me to change my life and my negative karma. I hope that this experienceis able to touch the hearts of those who are undergoing similar challenges,and spur them to action.I met M at a university event. I was drawn to her great sense of humour and cheerful personality. Soon after, we became really good friends and gradually, she began to share with me her personal experiences. In one of the dialogues, something that she revealed to me really startled me at first; that she had been sexually assaulted when she was younger. Due to the fear of social stigma, she never revealed it to anyone, not even her parents.She almost committed suicide because of the mental and physical scars that were left by the incident. I felt that she had not gotten over it even up till today. She has her own way of dealing with it. I think it was after therape incident that her outlook of life changed totally.Her story really made me want to help her by introducing Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism to her. At the same time, it made me even more resolute to propagate true Buddhism to the people who are suffering in silence and pain in similar circumstances.However, the more I wanted to share with her, the more she resisted by arguing with me that there are no certain right or wrong and she thinks that everything is OK. Usually, I would end up getting very angry trying toc onvince her and the conversation would simply end up as an argument.Everything is OK.This sentence boggled my mind for days and I even began to question the right or wrong that I believe in. Then I thought that by thinking that everything is OK, she might be trying to make the unpleasant incident sound as if there's nothing wrong about it. It is only because society sees rape as being wrong, that's why it is a social stigma. That's probably why she says that Everything is OK.At that time, I wasn't aware that I was gradually beginning to fall in love with her. Before I knew it, my life became centred on caring for her and nothing else mattered. My life condition contracted and I lost my enthusiasm for study or socialising. There were times I felt so miserable for losing the direction and drive I used to have. I even stopped chanting for quite sometime. The worse thing is, M was going out with other guys which made me feel like a fool clinging on to a false hope of being loved in return.At the verge of anguish, I called E.T and asked him for advice. I did not tell him that I was in love with M but I asked him what the best way to help M is. He mildly admonished me, telling me that if we are not strong in the first place, then how could we introduce this Buddhism to others? He also encouraged me to chant lots of daimoku about it. He reminded me that all theknowledge in the world about Buddhism cannot compare to a single daimoku for the happiness of another person. Throughout the conversation, he told me notto rely on him for constant support and encouragement but instead develop a stand alone spirit. He reminded me about a poem I had written to him; about the phrase, Mai Ji Sa Ze Nen. it has been my constant thought, how to lead common mortals to enlightenment.That really struck me hard. The Buddha's compassion is so great! No matter how long it takes to introduce Buddhism to another person, we should not give up or despair. We just have to chant steadfastly to connect with the other person's Buddha hood, praying single-mindedly day by day, for his orher happiness. Ultimately, our greatest desire is to see the other person become happy, it doesn't matter whether he or she takes up faith or how long it takes to do so. What matters most is the other person's happiness. Time therefore becomes immaterial, that is, it doesnt matter how long it takes to convince another person to take up faith. It is through our sincere prayers and actions for the happiness of this person that he or she will eventually be moved by our sincerity. Maybe it takes a year, two years, tenor twenty, it doesnt matter, the important point is not to give up on aperson, seeing them as a hopeless cause or stubborn case.With that determination and also with an inspiration from an experienceshared by Alvin about how he managed to shakubuku 100 people in 3 month.I decided to do at least 3 hours of daimoku per day for M and also for the sake of Kosen Rufu. When we set impossible goals for ourselves, our lives will definitely change because we draw from our life, even greater potential and ability we never dreamt of ever possessing.I chanted for three hours every day since and after quite sometime, I could begin to feel truly for M's happiness. She had enabled me to draw forth the compassion I never experienced before. The feeling of pure joy and gratitudeno words could describe. Tears welled in my eyes as I continued to pray for M's happiness.After that, we got a chance to exchange our frank opinions about relationships and about life; I was surprised that I managed to maintain my cool and composure, unlike during the previous dialogues. From this dialogue, we gained a better understanding of each other's views, not onlythat, we respected each other's views without incurring any ill-feelings.The relationship between M and I did not work out as a romantic one but through this experience with M, I have realise that I have a very emotionaland unstable nature, that's why I fell in love with her so easily, in just a few weeks time. I didnt even know her well enough to decide whether if she is the right person for me at all. However, she made me gaze deep into my life to see my emotional nature and unstable life condition that I need to change.Our environment is a reflection of our life; certain people draw certain positive or negative qualities from our life. M drew both qualities from my life, compassion to help her and negative emotions like anger and an unhealthy degree of hunger for affection. It is the negative aspect that reflects the negativity in my life that I must strive to turn into apositive aspect.In the midst of this renewed determination, I joined the 1st OceaniaTraining Course held in Sydney. I am truly inspired by the spirit of the members from all over Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. This is the first time I've seen so many members of the SGI family, coming together from all over the Oceania region. The most valuable lesson I've learned is that Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism is so compassionate. No matter who we are, what kind of person we are now, or what kind of life we lead,the Daishonin's Buddhism embraces us for who we are. It does not seek to impose views on other people nor force them to conform to a predefined way of life. It seeks to make a person become the best person he or she can be just as they are. All their negative habits or patterns will eventuall ybecome an impetus for them to do their human revolution. Using a metaphorical example of fruits, this Buddhism does not force an apple to look like an orange but instead it recognises the unique individuality of being an apple and helps it to be the sweetest apple it can be.Drawing from the inspiration I've gotten during the training course, I made realisations again that I was being intolerant for expecting people to accept my view, not just M but many other people that I've wanted to help. I sincerely chanted about it and discarded my old intolerant attitude. It is by doing so, that I have managed to convince 2 people to give Nam Myoho Renge Kyo a try within 2 weeks. This change in mindset based on sincere prayer, is simply incredible!It is also after the training course and the experience with M that I plunged myself wholeheartedly into the Kosen Rufu movement here, organising activities with the other members and getting the Kosen Rufu engine up and running. Exciting new developments are coming up as we're going to establish university group that is big enough to hold cultural events and exchanges.There are only 5 people in this group so I am hard at work building friendship and trust among my friends and also sharing with them the Daishonin's Buddhism. Together with the members here, we are hoping to see the group expand eventually to 50 people by next year. Taking into accountthe relaxing pace of life here, the aim of achieving a membership of 50 people seems to be an impossible one. That's precisely why I wanted to aimso impossibly high; to draw forth the abilities I never knew I had! In these struggles, I also discovered why E.T kept telling me not to rely onhim for constant support and encouragement and to develop a stand alone spirit. This Buddhism is so empowering because it does not ask us to seek solutions from outside our life, but from within. By constantly relying on E.T for advice, I'm actually developing a tendency to seek solutions from outside my life. Of course that does not mean that we should stop seeking help from our seniors, but what I meant is that we should not rely too much on others to give us advice. Finally I understood what is meant by standing alone, it is the process of renewing my determination each day, studying about Buddhism, chanting as much as possible with a clear goal in mind,showing concrete actual proof, shakubuku and devoting my life to Kosen Rufu.I always picture myself in a situation where there is no one to encourage mebut there are people for me to encourage. Bearing this picture in mind, this became my driving force to develop a strong self-motivated faith.From today onwards, I will learn and grow and advance steadily. I will chant 3 hours daimoku per day to shift my fundamental life condition from my emotional self to a higher life state.Following the suggestion from a member of making one new friend a day to increase the chances of me meeting someone seeking a guiding philosophy, I will talk to new people everyday.Everything that happens to practitioners of the Daishonin's Buddhism canonly serve to make us stronger. The world is waiting for this great philosophy to illuminate the dark nights of the people suffering in despair.People like M, victims of rape, victims of abuse, and victims of all kinds of imaginable and unimaginable circumstances will see a light. I will devote my life to carry this torch of hope into the lives of these people. Those who have been through the greatest suffering deserve to be the happiest people.I saw a recent picture of Sensei; my mentor is greying, yet he is still fighting. I cannot describe the tremendous sense of urgency mixed with immense gratitude I felt towards him. There is a strong urge in me to fight till his final moment with him and beyond. The time is from now onwards. The dark destiny of mankind must be changed. This is the greatest wish of my mentor, and as his disciple, and as a youth, I will exert my utmost towards the realization of this lofty goal, standing firm, standing alone.Postscript:I'm still praying everyday for M's happiness but now I also keep a list of the people I know and pray for their happiness too. The list keeps getting longer because I get to know new friends everyday. I believe it reflects how much my life has expanded since the encounter with M when my life was only concentrated on her. I will continue to expand my life, freely giving and receiving from the universe, every single day.

experience from India

hey peeps!! This is a very good experience fr. India.. thanx Rukmini!! ;) cheers!! Hello friends, I m practicing this wonderful philosophy of Nichiren Daishonin from over a decade now. Looking back nothing looks same as it was specially 3 years ago. Though to anyone externally I would have seemed to be a happy person, with nothing more to ask for in life & strangely even I, myself, was not sure of what do I want in life. But today apart from all kinds of benefits I have received while struggling on basis of faith the greatest thing I have got is a purpose & dignity in my life. The struggles of the last 3 years have made me a more confident person. And with each passing day I feel my happiness growing independent irrespective of my circumstances. It all started with the process of searching a correct career path. After my class XII I was in a complete dilemma, standing on cross roads to opt for a correct career path. Coming from a Science background, I appeared for various Engineering colleges & Hotel Management entrance exams. Even though I cleared some exams but somehow, I didn’t feel inclined for any of the usual courses. Then all of sudden, I got interested in Merchant Navy. Being totally alien to this career, I faced severe restrictions for this job. On a frank self-assessment, I discovered that on scale of 10, I was not even 1. I was grossly over wt. - weighing around 95kgs. my eyesight was 6/18 as compared to 6/6 which is required for the job, I had no passport & no one in my family or friends had any knowledge to guide me about such a career. Surprisingly inspite of all these odds, I still took the risk. With strong daimoku as my constant strength and Sensei’s guidance as my roadmap, I started my journey. I increased my activities & did shakubuku. Soon I was able to overcome my first hurdle. My eyesight was corrected to 6/6 from 6/18 by a successful lasik operation. For this I deeply thank the Gohonzon. My next challenge was to reduce my wt. though I reduced a couple of Kgs with strong will power but that was infact not enough. The Shipping Co.s came & went, but I was not even eligible to apply. As a matter of fact, I had to drop a very crucial year, but, I kept my spirits high, I was given a chance to be the MC for YMD annual general meeting & For May 3rd General Meeting. I took this opportunity by chanting for both 10 hours in a day. This was the turning point in my life. By now I had become eligible to apply and the shipping companies again came for recruiting. But to my utter shock, I could not clear a single exam. It was a major setback. At that juncture our family was going through severe financial crisis and I was staying in Hotels at Bombay to appear in exams which proved harsh & soon realizing this & undergoing my human revolution. Soon I shifted from luxurious hotel to a dormitory, learning to live, fulfilling my daily needs, I stopped traveling by cabs & shifted to local trains and sometimes even walked several Kms to save money. All this was my training as a youth. I kept my life condition high by chanting abundant daimoku. As the Gosho says “Unseen virtue brings visible rewards”, soon I was rewarded of my struggles. I was selected in not one but two of the leading shipping companies of the world. Very soon I realised that being a mamma’s boy, now would I have to undergo for a prior ship joining training for 4 months. I took the challenge keeping my faith in the Gohonzon. My tenacity was tested as I had to study 23 totally alien subjects while undergoing rigorous physical work, with getting up early morning and for a non-swimmer to pass the swimming test all looked like a nightmare but once again I discovered the inherent power within my life by doubt free faith & continuing daily practices rhythmically. The result was as wonderful, I was ranked 6th out of 80 cadets of my batch – making me standing 4th in my company, which was a big achievement. Mystically around this time all my shakubuku also reported major breakthroughs in their lives. Most of them are emerging as very strong pillars of Gakkai. I am overjoyed as we are in rhythm with Sensei. It is not one person going 100 steps forward but 100 persons going one step forward.My struggle was not over yet. As Before joining the ship it was mandatory from my company to get a US visa. The situation was not easy as after 9/11attack the seamen were being rejected the US Visa. I had no doubt in my mind that I would get the Visa and my confidence emerged out of my faith, and to prove the benefit of practicing sincerely I alone got Visa for 5 years And within 48 hours I got my other required visas , necessary documents & was on board my ship all within 48 hours. This was a truly big experience. Now, things were as I wanted, where I wanted, how I wanted, were exactly there but soon I realized that I would be all alone for the next 9 months, Away from family, BSG friends and my leaders to guide me. I gave a talk to myself that Yatin, now the test of 5 letter word faith has begun. Instead of feeling alone I decided to rely upon my Omamori Gohonzon & my Gosho book. Gradually, On the ship, soon the glamour of the Navy vanished, by encountering the daily tough & hard routine, hardly getting sufficient time to catch up sleep with somtimes even working for days without any sleep. Living away from land, during long voyages for months the Sea crew members develop a sense of frustration. I being the junior most faced absurd verbal abuse from senior crew without any reason or provocation.At such a testing time I reminded myself of the following Sensei’s Guidance“Wherever you go, Be a pillar of strength who brings peace of mind to all, Be a person of magnanimous character who inspires hope” I decided to face this situation on basis of daimoku and treat this period as my training period on the ship. From packed daily routine, I never compromised on my daily practice. On some of the days I did not have the energy to pick my blanket & sleep, but I never missed my (M) & (E) gongyo. Since I could not seek guidance, I extracted my encouragement from the Gosho, constantly reminding myself the words of a senior leader that I should try and make my environment a happy place through my practice. As I practiced these guidances in my daily life, I tried to develop a self that is not defeated by the environment. I began appreciating my crew members as they brought out a self reliance in me. I m happy to report that instead of 9 months, I completed 11 months of successful training on the ship, gaining good reputation & excellent remarks from my seniors. On reflecting back today my journey from a mamma’s boy to a lean hardcore Captain’s cadet has become a reality only because of my realization of my identity as disciple of Ikeda Sensei. Nichiren Daishonin states, “A Bird’s egg contains nothing but liquid, yet by itself this develops into a beak, two eyes and all the other parts and the bird soars into the sky. We too are the eggs of ignorance, which are pitiful things, but when nurtured by chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo & we develop the beak of thirty two features and the feathers of the eighty characteristics and are free to soar into the sky”. To end, on the great occasion of may 3rd, I with the spirit of mentor-disciple determine, to become a strong pillar financially of BSG. Thru my trade, travel across the globe as the ambassador of my mentor –Daisaku Ikeda, spreading the message of peace, culture & education throughout. To struggle along with my co-members & leaders to make this Vikas Chapter the Kansai of India, hence welcoming Sensei with absolute victory.

At Home...

Came back to P.D today. Tomorrow not working, so, I came back to see my mum, dad and sister. Anyway, I'll be back again to Kajang tomorrow morning at 8 or 9am. Crazy? ..... Perhaps... Have to go back to Tadika Seri Soka to prepare Tuesday's Thematic activity. Since we are learning about fruits, we have decided to make fruits banner and hang it all the way at the corridor. Also, later after snack, we'll have a race of fruits among the children. I'll prepare fruit drawing on a piece of paper and have the children to color it and after that the picture will be clipped on the a paper hat. The children will put on the paper hat and race among their friends in a 30 meter run... Hehehhe... Cool? Anyway, I'm still coughing. It is getting better, I think... I hope... But, for my friends, they still think that I'm coughing quite badly. I'm drinking a lot of water and hopefully, the cough will subside gradually. I hate coughing, bacause normally, I'll cough for quite a long time (with or without taking medicine)... I don't know why... My juniors will come to P.D in the month of July after Citrawarna. So, I'm going to help them survey the place and also try to fix them a budget. I might not join them... working mah... cannot take off day just like that. It will cause lot of trouble to the teachers. My sister will be helping them. Hope they will have a great time here in P.D. I had a small short talk with Teacher Liaw. She is a double bass player in GCO. We happened to have breakfast together at Kaikan canteen. Soon, we found ourself talking about TSS... and also about GCO. I have a lot of questions in mind about TSS... But, we managed to talk very briefly about it. I feel much better after the talk and I have a better mind to tackle my problems in TSS. At this time, I have to learn alot of new things... I mean A LOT! It will be 2 months since I have started my work in TSS... Hopefully I'll be able to continue to srtive here at TSS. I just founf out that I have missed the Women Peace Conference meeting today... I didn't check my mail and thus I missed it! I felt bad about not attending the meeting. Have to meet up Yin Kwan to get the details tomorrow... There are many things to be done this week... TSS, WPC, GCO, YWD Discussion Meet, Youth Rendezvous NIght... It will be indeed a busy week ahead... Hopefully I'll still be breathing after next week... Take care!


今早凌晨三点才入眠。为什么?嗯,就心血来潮,写了封信给一个朋友。内容都说出了自己的感受。很久没有写信了,那,就趁写信感觉的到来,把它紧紧握在手里,将一切心声填满空白的纸张。真得很久没有写华文了!所以,要把握时机!嘿嘿!我的咳嗽还没好。对,最近又生病了,但也没有去看医生或拿休假。感觉到御本尊的强大守护。工作了一个月半,生病两次,但还可以像一般的人去上班。挑战每一天。这些力量,精神,都是我不曾想像过自己也存在的力量。完全是御本尊的守护。 工作的环境果然不一样。觉得自己在创价幼儿园得到莫大的守护。真的是很大的守护。工作环境也不会向外面那么的黑暗。继续加油吧!

Sensei Guidance

Yesterday I was quite down. Don't know why and don't know how to make the feeling go away. I went to my car for a quiet moment and I managed to get hold of FLOW magazine from SGM. FLOW 304. Then I automatically turned to page 27 which happens to be the centre page. Instantly I was having a session with My mentor - Ikeda Sensei. The whole guidance is for Youth Division. I was thrilled and really feel that Sensei is here just beside me. The guidance is in Chinese. Anyway if you guys happen to get hold of this copy of FLOW, do read it and share with all of us. I'll do it later today or tomorrow. See you!


Today is Fruits day here in my class. We had 10 big watermelons and only managed to finish 3 of it. Also we have water apple, mango, green apple, red apple, pineapple, ciku... I'm full of fruits now. Today is quite a weird day for me. Just feel like something is wrong... Anyway, I hope I can survive...

Monday Bright Day...

Monday... A bright day. Normally people will say Monday is definitely a blue day. Well... I would have a different idea about Monday. Sunday was Mother's Day. I went back to P.D at around 5PM. Initially I wanted to go out for dinner at night to treat my mum a nice dinner, but, my mum happened to cook dinner already and she proposed that we will have the dinner later next week or the week after. Anyway, I took her words and was o.k about it. Later having not check my e-mails for the past few weeks, I managed to clear it that night. Also to have called my "to-be" violin teacher - Gerald Ng. Thanks to Shu Tyug for the contact. Shu Tyug has been my shoten zenjin all the while in my quest in hunting for a violin teacher. I did not consider any of the members in GCO to be my violin teacher. I just don't want to have anything to do with them in terms of money and service. Anyway, if there are no problem, I will begin class with Mr. Gerald Ng. I woke up at 5.05am next morning. Took my bath and my mum's best breakfast and off to work at TSS. Whole day in TSS has been great ass the children are looking forward to Tuesday. Why? We are having water play!!! The children in my class are told to wear their swim-suits and also to bring their water gun if they have one. Primarily, all the teachers are their prime target for them to shoot at!! After sending all the children back home, the five of us - Teacher Liaw, Teacher Debbie, Teacher Aoi Aoi, Teacher Ti Ying and me had a meeting for the music class lesson plan. I have to leave the meeting at around 6.25pm bacause I have to sweep and mop the floor at home and off to fetch HSD to chanting meet. I was incharge of the sharing part. It was a pack day for me. I really rush from the begining until the end. I shall continue later.... have to go off for dinner now. TSS

Galaxy Chamber Orchestra Concert 2005

We had a concert two weeks ago at Kaikan Female Dormitory. The total amount of people who turn up was 625. Our initial target was a full house concert. We gave out around 700 tickets and 625 came to the concert. It was a big success. I was the emcee of the event and I had a real test on that particular event. Everything was last minute... Initially I wanted to converse in English, but my senior told me if I can do it in Cantonese it will be the best. I thought about it and just half an hour before the concert, I revamp my whole script into Cantonese. I chanted while waiting for the time to start. It was a great experience for me. My mum called me for dinner already. Guess I have to continue later.

Glossary of Buddhist Terms

Cause and effect - Buddhism expounds the law of cause and effect that operates in life, ranging over past, present, and future existences. This causality underlies the doctrine of karma. From this viewpoint, causes formed in the past are manifested as effects in the present. Causes formed in the present will be manifested as effects in the future. Buddhism emphasizes the causes one creates and accumulates in the present, because these will determine one's future. Nichiren taught that ordinary persons could manifest their innate Buddhahood (effect) through faith and practice, and then, based on Buddhahood, go out among the people of the nine worlds (cause) to lead them to Buddhahood. Daisaku Ikeda - The third and current president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), is a Buddhist thinker, author and educator who believes that only through personal interaction and dialogue across cultural and philosophical boundaries can human beings nurture the trust and understanding that is necessary for lasting peace. To date, he has traveled to more than fifty countries in pursuit of this ideal, holding discussions with many distinguished political, cultural and educational figures. Topics include a range of issues crucial to humanity such as the transformative value of religion, the universality of life, social responsibility, and sustainable progress and development. Eternity of Life - Buddhism's view of eternal life posits that one's life or essence has no real beginning or end. We live many lifetimes, repeating the cycle of birth and death. Like going to sleep at night, we refresh our bodies and wake up anew in circumstances that correspond to our karma (see Karma). It is extremely fortunate to be born as a human being with the potential to improve our own life while contributing to the happiness of those around us. Gohonzon - Nichiren Daishonin inscribed the fundamental object of respect, the Gohonzon, on October 12, 1279. This object, in the form of a scroll, depicts, in Chinese characters, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo (the law) and the life of Nichiren (the person), as well as protective influences. Down the center of the Gohonzon are the characters Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and Nichiren's signature. This indicates the oneness of person and law - that the condition of Buddhahood is a potential within and can be manifested by all people. SGI members enshrine a replica of the original Gohonzon in their homes as a focal point for their daily practice. The Gohonzon's power comes from the worshipper's faith - the Gohonzon functions as a spiritual mirror. Sitting in front of the Gohonzon and chanting, a person is able to recognize and reveal his or her own Buddha nature, the creative essence of life. Gongyo (daily practice) - The Japanese word gongyo literally means to exert oneself in practice. The fundamental practice of Nichiren's Buddhism is to recite Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and parts of the Expedient Means (second) chapter and the Life Span (sixteenth) chapter of the Lotus Sutra with faith in the object of devotion called the Gohonzon each morning and evening. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo constitutes the fundamental or primary practice. Recitation of the Expedient Means and Life Span chapters help bring forth the benefit of the primary practice and therefore are called the supporting practice. Gosho (writings of Nichiren) - The individual and collected writings of Nichiren Daishonin are often referred to as the Gosho. Nichiren was persecuted throughout his life by the Japanese government and by religious powers who considered his revolutionary teachings a grave threat to their continued authority. Nevertheless, the letters he wrote to his followers, often under very harsh conditions, illustrate that even in the midst of the greatest challenge, he was able to realize the great beauty of life and feel joy and compassion for others. These letters and treatises, more than four hundred of which remain today, are collected in English as The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, and are the primary study material for SGI members. The Gosho may be divided into four groups: (1) treatises setting forth doctrine, (2) writings remonstrating with government authorities, (3) letters offering advice, encouragement, or consolation to believers. Also, those written in answer to questions or to express appreciation for offerings and support received, and (4) written records of Nichiren's oral teachings, including his lectures on the Lotus Sutra. Human revolution - Human revolution was a term used by Josei Toda, second president of the Soka Gakkai, to describe the process by which individuals gradually expand their lives, conquer their negative and destructive tendencies, and ultimately make the state of Buddhahood their dominant life-condition. SGI President Daisaku Ikeda wrote the following words in the foreword to his novel The Human Revolution, "A great revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a society and further, will enable a change in the destiny of humankind." It is with this spirit that members of the SGI pursue their own individual human revolution through their daily Buddhist practice and activities for world peace. Karma - Karma is the accumulation of effects from the good and bad causes that we bring with us from our former lives, as well as from the good and bad causes we have made in this lifetime, which shapes our future. Karma is a Sanskrit word that means action. Karma is created by actions-our thoughts, words and deeds-and manifests itself in our appearance, behavior, attitudes, good and bad fortune, and where we are born or live. In short-everything about us. It is all the positive and negative influences or causes that make up our complete reality in this world. This law of karmic causality operates in perpetuity, carrying over from one lifetime to the next and remaining with one in the latent state between death and rebirth. Shakyamuni maintained that what makes a person noble or humble is not birth but one's actions. Therefore the Buddhist doctrine of karma is not fatalistic. Rather, karma is viewed not only as a means to explain the present, but also as the potential force through which to influence one's future. Buddhism therefore encourages people to create the best possible karma in the present in order to ensure the best possible outcome in the future. Nichiren Buddhism does not consider one's karma or destiny to be fixed since our minds change from moment to moment, even the habitual and destructive tendencies we all possess to varying degrees can be altered. In other words, Buddhism teaches that individuals have within themselves the potential to change their own karma. Lotus Sutra - This is the twenty-eight-chapter oral teachings, recorded in writing after the death of Shakyamuni, that benefited people during Shakyamuni's lifetime and during the former day of the Law. Whereas Shakyamuni expressed it as the "twenty-eight-chapter Lotus Sutra," Nichiren, to enable all human beings of the Latter Day to attain Buddhahood, revealed the ultimate principle of the Lotus Sutra as Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. The five characters of Myoho-renge-kyo, which constitute the Lotus Sutra's essence-that is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo-are the Lotus Sutra appropriate to this age of the Latter Day of the Law. The SGI's second president, Josei Toda, therefore termed the Daishonin's teaching the Lotus Sutra of the Latter Day. Since the Lotus Sutra was the central scriptural influence on Nichiren, it is worth mentioning one specific element in it that he thought was crucial. Adopting Chih-i's interpretation, he taught that the Lotus Sutra proclaims that there is an inherent Buddha nature in all human beings. From this comes the idea that all people can attain Buddhahood "as they are," as ordinary people in the phenomenal world. This rather revolutionary notion of the essential equality of men and women is central to Nichiren's understanding of the Lotus Sutra and was quite a radical thought at that time in history and in many places in the world even today. Nam myoho renge kyo - This is the ultimate law or truth of the universe, according to Nichiren's teaching. Nichiren taught that the essence, all of the benefits of the wisdom contained, in the Lotus Sutra could be realized by chanting its title: [Nam]-myoho-renge-kyo. Chanting these words and excerpts from the Lotus Sutra is the core of this Buddhist practice, supported by study and the sharing of Buddhist teachings. Namu derives from the Sanskrit word namas and is translated as devotion or as dedicating one's life. Myo stands for the Dharma nature, or enlightenment, while ho represents darkness, or ignorance. Together as myoho, they express the idea that ignorance and the Dharma nature are a single entity, or one in essence. Renge stands for the two elements of cause and effect. Cause and effect are also a single entity. Kyo represents the words and voices of all living beings. Kyo may also be defined as that which is constant and unchanging in the three existences of past, present, and future.

President Ikeda's Guidance

Many things happen in life. There are joyous days and times of suffering. Sometimes unpleasant things occur. But that's what makes life so interesting. The dramas we encounter are part and parcel of being human. If we experienced no change or drama in our lives, if nothing unexpected ever happened, we would merely be like automatons, our lives unbearably monotonous and dull. Therefore, please develop a strong self so that you can enact the drama of your life with confidence and poise in the face of whatever vicissitudes you may encounter.

I Am a Buddha – A Woman of Unlimited Self Esteem

By Leah Bryant Before I started practicing Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism in 1990, I lived a very hungry and angry lifestyle. I was working illegally in the U.S. after completing my studies there. The pay was low because I was illegal. I lived from paycheck to paycheck. I didn’t save the money I earned. I was depressed and angry. I went to movies, discos, shopped, drank beers, and smoked many cigarettes to fill the emotional pain. By mid-month, I never had money left to pay the utility bills or buy groceries. My mother had drummed into me that I was stupid and naïve and would never amount to anything. I believed her and had no self-esteem. Whenever I had a problem at work I was too scared to speak to the boss — my tongue would dry up and I would cry because I couldn’t express or articulate my needs. In 1990 I spoke about this to my travel agent in Miami, Heather Adir, and she suggested I chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo three times before I talk to my boss. Suddenly I had power and conviction in myself. I got the raise and the terms I needed. I never looked back. Chanting gave me a new sense of self-worth and self-respect. From then on I have had many wonderful experiences, humongous obstacles, but tremendous growth as a human being. I managed two record companies and worked with many world-renowned artists and actors, mostly because of my training as a Byakuren and other responsibilities I held in SGI-USA. I always had a beautiful place to live, especially since it was usually the district or chapter meeting place. As a foreigner living abroad in the United States, I had continuous protection from the Gohonzon. With the help of U.S. Immigration, I even managed to overturn my illegal status by getting continual business visas. I returned to Kenya as a single mother to raise my young daughter and fulfill the determination I made to Sensei that in the 21st Century that I would be a leader for African kosen-rufu. Living with my mother brought back all my old fears and I began to lose my self-esteem all over again. Daily fighting made me wish I could leave her, but I felt guilty at the same time. My life condition wavered as did my practice. My boss was also shouting at me and I decided I had had enough and quit a well-paying job with no idea how I would live, but I knew that I must become happy. My fellow member Angelika and I decided to set up a mini-kaikan [Buddhist Community Center] so that we could make the cause to have many members in Mombasa. I made a fresh determination on January 1, 2004, that by December 31st, I would have total victory in my career, my home, and my relationships with my family. I also determined that my daughter and I would become happy, and that I would do my utmost for kosen rufu in Kenya. I started chanting consistently again, studying the Gosho and Sensei’s guidance. I threw myself into activities. Out of the blue in April, I was called to Nairobi and informed by SGI Japan and our Africa affairs leader Mr. Minai that I would be appointed as Vice National Women’s leader, Chapter leader, Treasurer, and on the Executive Committee Board for SGI Kenya. I was shocked and scared, but my training reminded me to accept with courage and joy. Now I had to really had to show actual proof of this faith not only to my family and friends but also to my fellow members. How could I do that with no job, very little income from my farming, and living with my mother at my age and with a young daughter who would need to go to school soon? Somehow I knew that I needed to take my self-esteem back and that it would mean digging deep into myself to eradicate all the negative and destructive feelings I held on to from childhood. Mystically I started finding articles about women and self-esteem. The guidance was to chant to have unlimited self-esteem, to awaken your own greatness, to manifest the extraordinary side of you, to be outrageously successful, to display your Buddhahood, to consistently manifest your Buddha nature, and to finally really respect, appreciate, and value yourself because you are a Buddha. It was so difficult and painful in the beginning. I realized I no longer believed in myself and my Buddhahood. I made goals half-heartedly and the results were equally minimal. Slowly but surely, I started seeing concrete tangible benefits. We helped organize a Women and Young Women’s training seminar in Mombasa in September. The topic was “Peace Begins With Me.” The focus of the open, honest, gut-wrenching, emotional, and passionate discussions was “Self-Esteem and Believing You Are a Buddha”. We all grew that weekend. I know that I did. When Mr. Minai, our SGI African Affairs leader came from London in October for a leadership training course we organized, I asked him for guidance regarding attaining benefits. He said we must make sure we are practicing correctly, making concrete goals with deadlines, and that we must have pure faith. I read from the Gosho “Reply to the Lay Nun Nichigon”: “Whether or not your prayer is answered will depend on your faith; (if it is not) I will be in no way to blame… When water is clear, the moon is reflected. Our minds are like the water. Faith that is weak is like muddy water, while faith that is brave is like clear water.”I determined to muster up all my faith, and to engage the power of the mystic law to show actual proof of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism. I knew that I had to have a stable job again so that I could be independent, give my daughter the education and opportunities she deserved to have, and move to a wonderful home for kosen rufu. With my WD leader Masumi Odari’s encouragement, I set a goal that I would have my job for kosen rufu by November 18th with a certain salary figure. I also wrote the guidance that my best friend in the U.S., Judie Macalino, had been given by Sensei: chant for a job that would use my talents and skills, be financially rewarding, and still have time for activities. The day before Mr. Minai came down to Mombasa, my ex-boss called my District Leader to enquire about me because he had a project in mind for me. I was shocked. I didn’t want to work for him again in that position of strictly clearing and forwarding. And I had left his job without proper notice! I used to even hide if I saw him at the supermarket. I chanted and realized I am a Buddha, a Lion King! I read in “The Drum at the Gate of Thunder”: “A woman who embraces the Lion King of the Lotus Sutra never fears any of the beasts of hell or of the realms of hungry spirits and animals. All the offenses committed by a woman in her lifetime are like dry grass, and the single character myo of the Lotus Sutra is like a small spark. When a small spark is set to a large expanse of grass, not only the grass but also the big trees and large stones will all be consumed. Such is the power of the fire of wisdom in the single character myo. Not only will all offenses vanish, but they will become sources of benefit. This is what changing poison into amrita means.”I realized this might be the answer to my prayers and I should put my trust in the Gohonzon instead of having fears. The least it would do would be to change poison into medicine. I made the call. By November 15th after a bit of very courageous, firm, and confident negotiation, I was employed as the Business Development Manager for Spedag International, with my first account being clearing and forwarding for Lafarge Kenya and Uganda (cement factories). I got the salary I wrote down — even after taxes! I have my own office and my own staff and am now a senior manager in the company. In February I will receive my company car which will help me get to Chapter activities. Now at work I get to do what I enjoy doing — pushing, organizing, communicating and keeping all the VIP’s happy — all traits learned from my training as Byakuren. The boss that I used to have so many problems with, whose happiness I chanted sincerely for last year, has changed his character and is now my greatest ally in the company. He comes to me for advice about personnel problems because he says that, as a Buddhist, I see through people and get the truth. My job will be flying me to Nairobi a few times a month so that I can continue to perform my duties as a SGI National leader for board meetings, etc. My relationship with my mother has improved and we have been able to have heart to heart discussions. I have learned not to fight back, but to appreciate her for everything she sacrificed for me, as well as being my zenshishiki [good friend]. My daughter is enrolled in a good nursery school and has learned how to chant. Again with Masumi’s encouragement, I made another goal to have my house for kosen rufu, near the beach, at a certain rent by December 31st. I have just signed the lease — the cottage is beautiful, on a compound right next to the beach, and the rent is exactly what I determined! My daughter and I will start moving our belongings in on Christmas Day! I am so excited as this will be the first time I have ever rented my own place in Kenya! I have renewed my faith and am filled with incredible joy that I had the courage, determination, and wisdom to believe in the Gohonzon, which meant I had to believe in myself. I AM a BUDDHA! I AM manifesting the extraordinary side of me. I AM a woman of unlimited self-esteem!!!

5.3 and 5.4, 2005

to all the members in m'sia.. congratulations again for achieving such a great success in the 24k campaign!! rock on, guys!! dun juz stop there, ya!! n carryn lim yan fen.. happy 24th birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! dunno how many times i wish u liao.. but u syiok that it's ur b'day today rite?! even the msn display name oso put "my birthday today".. look at her, peeps!! she's that beh pai seh.. actually, that makes her, the carryn lar.. kan!?! haha!! p/s: that happy birthday song is my present to u.. i'll send u a better 1 some other time.. ;) bare wif me, guys.. i hafta make her syiok for a day.. i'll change the song tomolo.. haha!!