I was born as a fortune baby, but since my parents were separated when I was still small, I grew up without my mother. When I was young, I was never active in gakkai activities; I didn’t grow up facing the Gohonzon doing morning and evening gongyo regularly. The only reason I chanted and attended meetings was that I was afraid of my aunt. But I remember always hearing in the meetings that when we chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, we can make our dreams come true.
I was able to graduate from a college / university, but I didn’t have a job. By that time I started participating in SGI activities, but it was my aunt who supported me financially. One day, I heard from a WD leader mention that to overcome financial difficulties, one must chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, participate in zaimu activities, subscribe to the publications and attend SGI activities. But at that time I had no work, so the only thing I could do was to chant to get a stable job in order to earn my own allowances for the activities, to support my father, as well as to improve the condition of our house.
I applied in a job fair and was able to proceed to the final interview. But during the final interview, the company representatives just asked my name and previous work experiences, and told me that they would call me if I was hired. They didn’t call me after that. I was so disappointed and traumatized with the job interview, thinking I would not get a job. But I remembered a guidance of Ikeda Sensei who says that “Even if things are not solved in the way you had initially hoped or imagined, when you look back later, you'll understand on a much more profound level that it was the best possible result.” (President Ikeda’s essay “On Practice” http://www.sgi.org/about-us/president-ikedas-writings/on-practice.html) and continued chanting with refreshed determination and one condition that I would want to get a job without undergoing an interview with company representatives. One day, my brother told me to visit a certain company. My first question was, “do I have to be interviewed?” but he only told me to just visit that company. On that day, I did morning gongyo and express my appreciation to the Gohonzon that I had a job offer, and that I would get hired. Of course I prayed to the Gohonzon that I wanted a no- interview job.
When I arrived at the company, one secretary approached and handed me a folder, saying: “These are the things that you should do. You should start now, the Boss said.” I couldn’t believe her words. Then I asked her, “No more interview?” But she said: “The boss will just talk to you about your resume but you may start now.” It was the moment that my wish came true, getting a job without an interview with the company representatives! I was amazed with the power of daimoku.
[Experience Part 2]
Aside from the financial challenge of our family, I was also concerned about my father who had suffered from depression ever since my parents separated. In 1985, he developed an unknown mental condition which recurs every 3-4 years. In 3-5 months he would get well even without medications and participated in Gakkai activities. When it recurred in 2013, it hit him the hardest. He became very violent. I couldn’t afford to endure his condition for even a month so I chanted hard to the Gohonzon, with the conviction that he would get well in 7 days! I determined to chant every 2am for an hour and then at night for an hour again. On the 7th day of my target, at 10pm, my father ran amok. I immediately faced the Gohonzon and prayed that no one should be hurt. I ended my chanting by 2am and we were told that my father was caught by the police and was detained. I was very thankful because not a single person involved was hurt. I was able to bail him out of prison and was released temporarily. I was able to accompany him to seek medical advice, and finally after 28 years, we were confirmed of his condition: he was diagnosed as Paranoid Schizophrenia and received medications. I finally had an answer to my father’s condition!
At around that time, there were rifts in our family - between my elder brother and my mother; between me and my mother, me and my brother. My brother didn’t agree with me taking care of my father. He thought that all my father gave us was inconvenience. He also bore a grudge against my mother who left for Hongkong. He told me that my mother gave more importance to other people more than her own children. I told him that a time would come when we had a harmonious family relationship. He said it’s good to hear, but it would never happen. But with determination, I told him that it would happen. I chanted for my brother to show him the actual proof of my Buddhist faith. In the past, I hesitated to share the teachings since he always argued with me. This time, I cheerfully shared with him how our father overcame his sickness through chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. He didn’t argue this time. He even provided the financial support for my father’s medication. I was very happy that time, since his hatred transformed into compassion for my father!
Then next is our mother. Everytime I chant to the Gohonzon, I use to visualize that one day, my brother and I will go to Hongkong to surprise her and we will settle everything there. One day, she called up and told me that even on her deathbed, she would never forgive my brother. And not to let him go to her wake if she dies. I immediately told my brother about her message since I was worried that she was talking about her death already. And in my heart I was chanting that my wish for a harmonious family relationship should come true in my present life. The following day, my brother told me to ask permission from my boss since he planned to go Hongkong to my mother with me for the weekend. My mother was so surprised, and my brother had a chance to ask for forgiveness which she readily accepted. What I had visualized and determined in front of the Gohonzon materialized!
In the middle of all of these struggles, I was determined to share this faith with those around me in order to change the destiny of my family. As a result, two of my friends, one WD and one YWD received their own Gohonzon in 2009!
In all of my difficulties, the Gohonzon has been always my companion, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo – my weapon, and the mentor and disciple spirit – my guide. That’s why I am very grateful, that because of those challenges, I have proven the validity of Nichiren Buddhism and I was able to show a lot of actual proof to my environment and had the opportunity to change my karma into mission.
Now, my father returned as a member of the MD Molave Chorus Group after five years and last January 26 SGI Day Commemorative Gongyo Meeting he was able to perform again! In addition, last January 29, his pending case, where he is just conditionally released from detention, was dismissed! The following day, immediately at 4am, I heard my father voice chanting in front of the Gohonzon on his own accord.
[Conclusion / Determination]
As a representative of this Youth Training Course, I will strive harder to achieve my own human revolution, applying what I have learned from studying the gosho and Sensei’s guidances, as well as all lessons and experiences that we have learned from this training course. When I go back to the Philippines, I will exert wholehearted efforts in our headquarters by continuously engaging in a heart to heart dialogue with my non-Buddhist friends, colleagues, and my family members, sharing with them the wondrous benefits of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and inviting them in our discussion meetings.