Many members of my Buddhism practice share their experiences frequently. I have not had this chance too often. And I have often wondered if this was my karma or my lack of recognition of experiences/victories, or worse still, maybe it indicated my lack of commitment to the faith.
On April 28, 2012, I enshrined the Gohonzon in my house. It was one of the most special days of my life. Right from the time I got up on that day, my moments of discoveries began.
I got up earlier than usual, and got to cleaning my house. To others’ eyes, it was clean enough. But to my utter satisfaction, I had found a long-forgotten, hardly-ever-noticed window in the kitchen that was so terribly dirty. It just had to be cleaned – right then! So, I started.
First, I just cleaned the net on the inner window panes. Then, I realized that the glasses on the outer panes were much more filthy, and the task would just not be complete unless I had them clean. So, I took a deep breath, and renewed my efforts.
As I soaped, washed, and scrubbed, I realized that while the inside of the pane was easy to clean, it was really tough to do the outside. But if the outside wasn’t done, it just, yeah, you’re right, it just wouldn’t be complete! So, even though it was really difficult to reach, and even more difficult to scrub, I continued, cleaning the outside even more vigorously than the inside.
And, I thought to myself that cleaning the window was pretty akin to cleansing oneself, or rather one’s soul. If I wasn’t clean from within, if I didn’t rid myself of all the negativity and the impurity, no matter how hard it was to do that cleansing, I would never ever be really clean, I’d never ever be truly happy.
Two hours later, I was pretty satisfied with the result. The kitchen suddenly had so much light!! I was really happy.
Finally, I went to bathe and check that sms I had heard sometime ago during my cleaning.
The sms read:
Good Morning and congratulations for your Gohonzon enshrinement today. How lucky you are to enshrine on such an auspicious day when Nichiren Daishonin chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for the first time. Please do not forget that actually Gohonzon exists within and this Gohonzon which is being enshrined in your house today is going to be an external stimuli to bring out your Buddhahood when chanted with strong faith. NMRK
I had such a BIIGGG smile on my face!
This sms had just reinforced the thoughts that I had been having while cleaning the window. And now my belief was unshakeable – it was going to be the day when everything was going to go right!
Then, I went to wake up my daughter to see if she’d come along with me to shop for all the stuff I needed for the enshrinement, and if she’d be willing to attend it.
Initially, she refused for both the things, but then her love for me took over, and she accompanied me to help out with everything. she helped me buy everything, running around to get everything done on time, and between us we had everything in order, just before members started walking in. She was extremely enthusiastic the whole time, advising me wherever she felt necessary, never cribbing about the heavy loads she had to carry. Last night, she had even spent an hour with me to get the furniture clean.
But, she left the house right before the actual ceremony began. Still, I have faith that one day she will join this practice again, and be able to reap the benefits, just like I have.
The entire ceremony was beautiful. Very calm, all-encompassing, and extremely uplifting! My brother and mother attended. And the Gohonzon was enshrined by the same leaders that I had wished for.
Members told me that I would see the difference in my life after this day.
And I do.
Little things have changed. And I know some big changes are just around the corner – building up from the little things that really do matter.
Today, I am happy to report that I have an experience to share!
Yesterday, after many days of smouldering tension, the volcano between my daughter and I just erupted. The issue was extremely mundane. We had discussed in the recent past that because of my lack of energy and time, I was unable to cook meals for the two of us, and because she was home almost all day, she could take on this responsibility. This would help us eat at home – and not spend huge loads of money on rich, not-so-healthy meals outside.
However, she wasn’t really taking on the responsibility completely. And on one point, she was really adamant – she wouldn’t purchase the veggies or groceries. We seemed to have reached a stalemate. Yesterday morning, I raised the issue in a not-so-understanding manner, and of course, my daughter just lost her cool and started shouting rudely.
Extremely upset, I left for work, but was troubled throughout the day. I kept trying to talk to her on the phone, but was unable to keep the conversation on an even keel. The lowest point came when, totally exasperated, I told her that I didn’t want to live with her anymore because of her rude behavior, and taking-others-for-granted attitude.
In my emotional turmoil, I was unable to work. I called up my brother, and related the entire incident to him. He listened with empathy, and advised me to chant. Coincidentally, one of the members called me and asked if she could come over and chant with me in the evening. I accepted.
In the evening, I tried to set aside my problem, and concentrate on chanting with my friend. But my mind continued to be restless.
Suddenly, while chanting, a thought struck me that even though the situation appeared really bad, and it seemed as if all actions needed to be taken by my daughter, was there really nothing that I could do? Wasn’t there something that I could try to perhaps improve the situation? At that moment, I realized that my friend and I were chanting really powerfully and in perfect rhythm and coordination. We seemed to have built up the perfect crescendo! Acknowledging the joyful note in our Daimoku, I realized that the Gohonzon was inspiring me to not feel hopeless, and sparking a confidence in me to take action. I wondered if making a dish – paneer or chicken – relatively easy to procure, and quick to make, could help me kind-of sweeten the situation for my daughter, and convey to her more demonstratively that I loved her, and wanted the situation between us to improve.
After our Daimoku, my friend and I chatted for a brief time over a cup of coffee. Then, I ordered some raw chicken and salami to be delivered to our home. After that I hunted for the paneer all over the fridge. Of course, I was unable to find it. But, just before leaving the house to buy the paneer, I thought, let me call up my daughter, and ask her. I was unsure of how she would speak to me, if she at all chose to pick up my call.
She did pick up the phone, just as I was about to hang up after many rings. And she spoke so sweetly! My heart was overjoyed at just hearing her nice tone. She told me where the paneer was, and promised to return soon, and make the parathas.
I made the paneer, and switched on my laptop to attend my call. She returned while my call was still going on.
After I ended my call, she came over to talk to me. She apologized for her behavior, and promised to purchase the groceries from then on. She also told me that she wasn’t apologizing to just end the matter, but she genuinely felt sorry, and wanted the situation between us to improve. Thereafter, the evening progressed just perfectly, and for a short time, we returned to being the happy, laughing mother-daughter duo.
In gratitude, I chanted three Daimoku to the Gohonzon.
Honestly speaking, I felt like a cherished, protected baby that the Gohonzon was tending to – making sure that I did not falter in faith, instilling more belief in me for the practice by granting me victories immediately, not making me struggle so much, not making me question, but nurturing me to be stronger in faith – helping me carry out my promise:
“Demonstrating the power of this practice through my victories to the rest of the world, and developing my own Buddhahood from within by growing in faith.”
Thank you Nichiren Daishonin, thank you my leaders, thank you my friend who shaku-bukoed me, and thank you Gohonzon! Thank you all!
Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo!