Kyo's misfortune will change into fortune. Muster your faith, and pray to this Gohonzon. Then what is there that cannot be achieved?
(Passage from “Reply to Kyo'o”, The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p412)
This letter was written by Nichiren Daishonin at Ichinosawa in Sado Island. It was written in response to news that Kyo'o had become seriously ill which was conveyed to the Daishonin by a messenger sent by Shijo Kingo and his wife.
From the content of the letter, it is believed that Kyo'o is a baby girl. The Daishonin encouraged Shijo Kingo and his wife wholeheartedly by saying, "Since I heard from you about Kyo'o, I have been praying to the gods of the sun and moon for her every moment of the day."
The Daishonin then revealed that he had embodied in his entire being in the Gohonzon he had inscribed for Kingo and assured him that as long as he maintained indomitable faith, he will surely receive protection from the Buddhist gods (protective functions of the universe).
In this passage that we are studying this month, the Daishonin inscribed the power of the Gohonzon, stating that it can transform misfortune into fortune. In other words, the Daishonin assured us that as long as we remain undefeated and continue challenging the problems based on faith in the Gohonzon, the path will surely open before us. in fact,we will be able to gain more than what we were seeking for at the outset - we will not only overcome all problems and challenges, we will also be able to attain a great life condition imbued in happiness.
For this reason, the Daishonin said, "Muster your faith..." - to set one's mind and summon forth the passion of faith - and pray earnestly to the Gohonzon. "Then what is there that cannot be achieved?" Here, the Daishonin expressed his absolute conviction.
SGI President Ikeda said, "The power of the sincere daimoku offered by our Women Division members is invincible. In light of the great teachings of Buddhism, there is absolutely no doubt that the lives of these members of the Women Division will be illuminated by the 'Buddhism of the Sun' and lead magnificent lives of good health and great victories lifetime after lifetime."
As President Ikeda teaches, when we chant daimoku in great earnestness, the "sun of hope" will rise within our herts and from that moment, a great revolution towards victory commences within our lives.
Tokaido Region WD Study Chief Kumiko Inatomi related her experience:
I myself have been encouraged by this Gosho passage countless times, especially during my struggle against an illness that attacked me out of the blue. The name of the illness was "Hodgkin's disease" (malignant lymphoma). That was the time when I was in the midst of fulfilling my responsibilities as the Women Division Chief of Yokohama Prefecture.
"Why? Why must it be cancer?" "Why? Why must it be me!?" Questions like these coupled with the fear of death kept attacking me mercilessly. I was in complete agony. "Only daimoku can save me now!" I resolved but my prayers were filled with pessimism. I simply could not bring myself to be positive. In the midst of this inner struggle, I received a card from President Ikeda with words of encouragement written on it. It read:
"Boldly live out your life,
Laughing away your illness,
Winning over your illness,
As th queen of longevity."
"Laugh away your illness!" - What powerful words! How wonderful it is to have such a mentor in life! I Felt as if an electric current just flowed through my entire body, charging me up with courage and gratitude.
From that day onwards, I immersed myself in daimoku, chanting five to six hours a day, as I took on the challenge to confront my illness.
The challenges were immense, especially the torturing side effects of chemotherapy including the horrifying hair loss. But still, I persevere on. "Even though I'm so ill, I've got a mentor who is cheering me on; who believes in me. What's more, I still have this opportunity to chant daimoku like this." When this realisation dawned upon me, I was overwhelmed by profound emotions that surged forth from the depths of my life.
Previously, I was fighting my illness on an equal footing. However, after this realisation, I could look upon my illness from an elevated life condition.
As I continued chanting daimoku, I found myself released from the fear of death. Instead, I could even perceive death positively as something that will knock on everybody's door one day. This was a precious experience for me as I confronted "death" head on without battling an eye and changed my perspective of life and attitude in offering prayers on a fundamental level.
Nichiren Daishonin stated, "Nam-myoho-rengekyo is like the roar of a lion. What sickness can therefore be of an obstacle?" (WND, p412) The Daishonin is encouraging me to roar like a lion by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo! Also, in The Record of the Orally Transmitted Teachings, he said, "The word shi of the word shishi, or 'lion' [which means "teacher"], is the Wonderful Law that is passed on by the teacher. The second shi [which means "child"] is the Wonderful Law as it is received by the disciples. The "roar" is the sound of the teacher and the disciples chanting in unison." (OTT, p111)
Our prayers based n the spirit of the oneness of mentor and disciple will ensure the validity of the words "what is there that cannot be achieved?" I came to this realisation through my struggle against my sickness.
It has been 11 years since I overcame cancer and I am indeed filled with gratitude that I have the opportunity to share my experience with fellow members who are challenging illnesses, to encourage them.
President Ikeda said, "The Soka Gakkai has always triumphed in every arena through the oneness of mentor and disciple. All progress starts with this spirit of unity. It is in this spirit that the key to victory and glory in all endeavours is found."
A life dedicated to the path of mentor and disciple is one of unsurpassed joy. Cherishing this sense of gratitude to be able to wage a united struggle with our mentor, let us continue to strive cheerfully for the realisation of kosen-rufu.
Translated and adapted from the November 2005 and 2006 issues of The Daibyakurenge, the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal.