Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This aint music. It's not even jazz! (Redact two, third draft)

This is what it looked like the day before May 3, 2009. What I read was only slightly different. I was encouraged not to share my determination list the way I have posted it on my blog.

At that time.

My name is subho and I am a practitioner of Nichiren Buddhism. Lotus Sutra, Chapter 7, "Because the Buddha knew that the time had not yet come, though entreated by others, he sat in silence." When the time came he taught the mystic law. There comes a time when each one of us, like Shankyamuni, needs to stand up and be counted.

I was introduced to this life by my mother after 8 years of her being in the practice and my seeing the benefits she received. I am grateful to her and humbled by her ichinen.

i am a medical transcriptionist by profession, have a wonderful 3-year-old son, and a life that i have no regrets for. As a person growing up in a liberal atmosphere, i feel awkward as i stand here to admit that i set out chanting at a particularly low point of my life. Guilty, because i used to look down on people who use religion or forms of spirituality as a crutch. I viewed the gakkai as something like that, and kept my distance.

When I decided to start chanting, i was in an eight year old marriage that was breaking up, in spite of having a son on his way. My job was challenging, and these were the days before the recession, but we knew it was coming, and we struggled to find ways of retaining jobs for my team as we decided to eliminate cost. I started drinking and taking drugs after a span of 12-13 years, and that too with a vengeance.

The evening that I met with the person who explained life as i now understand it to me, I was asked to chant, and to apply the three pillars of buddhism, faith, practice and study. I spent most of my first year trying to apply what i understood in my daily life. my daily life consisted mainly of my job and home. I had always sought to create value at my place of work all through, but now i had a new perspective.

the reason i chose training medical transcription was because here i was able to take 500 people at a time off the streets, in a chair with headsets on, listening and typing, nine or ten hours of their waking hours, no violence, no slander, no corruption. as i grew in my career and was able to take larger decisions, i found that apart from the beauty of what i was doing, i was also creating benefit - people with higher educational qualification than me find it difficult to earn a comfortable living today in each and every part of my country. i found ways of enabling people like me to earn much beyond what they could have dreamt of, even at the lowest end of the BPO food chain.

In my first year of practice, i made an effort to do gongyo and daimoku every day, and if i had twenty minutes done, i was satisfied. i also put myself out to say yes to every opportunity to participate in activities. I was encouraged and energized as i looked at life afresh. From a point where i was bankrupt, destitute, and friendless, i started clawing my way back. i enforced the strictest financial discipline on myself, keeping all my commitments intact as best as i could. i borrowed heavily but cautiously. I invested as and when i could. I worked extra hours but did not give up on home visits and studying with members. when not at work, i wrote, compered, acted, sang at zadankai's with total abandon and enjoyed myself thoroughly. However, i was still drinking myself to sleep almost every night.

At the start of the second year, i found my addictions under control, and my determination to understand the practice much stronger. I resolved to do gongyo with understanding and to polish my daimoku. In discussion with leaders, i realized that if i wanted to be acknowledged as a "true disciple" of sensei ikeda, i needed to elevate my life condition.

My personal challenges persisted, often testing my resolve and sometimes my good cheer. I shared my life openly with all, in the gakkai and outside of it. i strove to discuss the practice in secular terms. I faced life squarely, did not blame, did not resent, and applied the guidance, and in this case, all of it, not just the quotable quotes. Though worldly troubles may arise, never let them disturb you. No one can avoid problems, not even sages or worthies. Drink sake only at home with your wife, and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life, and continue chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, no matter what happens. How could this be anything other than the boundless joy of the Law? Strengthen your power of faith more than ever.

In this third year, I started studying the gosho and increased my involvement in activities, after a wait of two years, i recently set in motion legal proceeding to bring closure to our marriage, i visited my son every week as i could manage, spending quality time with him, and trying to imbibe the qualities of parent, sovereign and teacher.

three years back, i was in a deep financial crisis. a two income household budget was being run by me alone, and i had an establishment of my own to pay for. i studied finances, not just to salvage my situation but also as my job was demanding a greater understanding of economics. I am happy to report that while i am still neck deep in debt, i sleep much more comfortably without having to worry too much. i determine to attract the finances i need to ensure that all stakeholders in my financial condition are happy and taken care of so that they are unable to create negative causes by envying or feeling uncared for.

i am luckier than many in that i still have a job, i am recognized for what i bring to my work, and have the love and respect of my colleagues. in the last three years, we have braced ourselves and are survivors in a segment where today we are actively pursuing buyouts and acquisitions. i am involved in this work as well and i do my work with the focus of creating value.

my wife and i share a civil and friendly relationship today, something that is totally mystic. our son Parth is the apple of our eye. I also look forward to a happy life with my partner who is loving and understanding. ending a marriage is very painful especially when the relationship remains one of love and respect. i determine to make my practice the bedrock on which the happiness of my loved ones will grow.

it is mystic that i am alive. i will skip the horror stories that you can surely imagine 26 years of substance abuse and reckless living leaves behind. i discovered that every time i took on a campaign, i was attacked by severe ill health. i carried on with my responsibilities, work, gakkai, home, parth, no matter what, without begrudging my life since my life was the consequence of my past karma. i still smoke, like my drink but cant hold it, and my diet and exercise are poor. my neighbors check on me if they dont hear me cough for a day. i am quick to notice sensei and mrs. ikeda's advice on health, but poor at applying it. i am determined however to live and enjoy a long and healthy life where i can dedicate myself with greater energy to kosenrufu.

the gohonzon decided to move in early this year as i was preparing for my exam. it changed a lot of things for me. the struggle to enshrine it, to have my parents visit for the enshrinement in spite of not having room to offer them to stay in, the repeated questioning of my self whether i deserved to share space with this amazing inscription of the highest state that one can aim for. also, it changed my pattern of chanting. earlier i would be happy chanting anywhere. i am happy to chant anywhere today too, but when i come home, or when i am leaving home in the morning, and i sit to chant, the sense of connectedness is different.

i saw what the birth of our son did to my parents. they are 70 and 75 but they were enthused and energized beyond belief. this is a common experience, but seeing that, i have determined that they should live to see their grandchildren settle down and find success in their adult lives.

ith time i have been able to understand that it is not chanting and leaving it to the wind, but actually following daimoku up with action. i determine to make AP area the kansai of BSG by working with each member in the district to become all that he or she is capable of, to chant for the emergence of all the resources needed to spread the understanding of the law, to encourage the youth and to share with them the vision of sensei. on a personal level, i determine to show with my life the actual proof of the validity of the law. i determine today, as we celebrate april 28 and may 3, 2009, to become a true disciple of my mentor, sensei ikeda, whatever that means.

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