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.