BUDDHISM IN WESTMINSTER     

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The practice of Nichiren Buddhism is a life changing phenomena - here you can share and read about the experiences of SGI members

Experiences - the wonder of the mystic law!
Bullets are Nothing Before the Power of Faith

By Jharna Narang, Mumbai 

 
Yesterday was 26/11. Exactly 3 years ago, I was supposed to come to Delhi for the Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG) General Meeting. But I never made it because of the terrorist attack in Mumbai on 26/11/2008. I had gone to the Taj Mahal hotel with my family to celebrate my only brother’s birthday. My father, mother and brother were all shot and killed that night. I too was hit by four bullets, in my stomach, arms and pelvis, and left to die.


Nichiren Buddhism says, “Buddhism teaches that , when the Buddha nature manifest itself from within, it will receive protection from without” (‘The three kinds of Treasure’). I was chanting continuously while hiding in one of the rooms. Even when I was shot, after the second and third bullet hit me, I remember thinking, “I cannot die. My work is not finished yet!”


This fierce inner determination resulted in a whole universe conspiring to save my life. I was among the first few to be rescued and taken to the hospital. Although I had no identification and doctors could barely feel my pulse, they didn’t give up on me and operate immediately.


For the next two months, I fought to stay alive in the ICU. Every day there was a fresh crisis, a new emergency. Nineteen doctors from different disciplines worked in constant consultation with each other, trying to pull me through. My kidneys had failed. Both my legs are immobilized because of the damage to my spinal cord. I had internal bleeding which the doctors just could not stop and the constant threat of septicemias. Amazingly, though, the bullets had missed all my vital organs and my face remained unscratched.


My struggle to live went hand in hand with my struggle to practice faith. After a major surgery, when I regained consciousness, the first thing I remember saying was, “Let’s do gongyo!” Because of the tubes in my throat, I could barely speak, but I would struggle to whisper the liturgy. At times, all I was able to do was listen to members as they chanted or read President Ikeda’s guidance aloud for me. I yearned to join my hands in prayer but my palms would not come together because of the multiple injuries to my arms.


As my right hip was crushed, the doctors feared I could never walk again. Someone even donated a motorized wheelchair meant for completely disabled patients, but I refused to accept that I would have to use it, though I could barely stand at that time. I tried to study Ikeda Sensei’s guidance and Gosho, though it was difficult to even hold up a book.


However, every time I was disheartened, leaders and members were right there, on hand, to encourage me again and again. I received my Omamori Gohonzon during that time. Ikeda Sensai kept sending gifts and messages that made me feel cherished and gave me courage to carry on , no matter how bleak the future seemed.


I believe all the causes I have created over the eight years of my Buddhist practice manifested as good fortune at this crucial moment in my life. All my medical expenses, running into lakhs of rupees, were borne by Tata Trust Fund; the first bill itself came to 40 lakh.


With physiotherapy, both my arms gradually became functional and I was able to take a few steps. And so, after eight excruciating months in hospital, I finally went home – to an empty house, filled with painful memories.


A new battle began. I was alone, totally dependent on nurses and staff. Seeing me as a helpless, bedridden patient, they try to dominate me. But one day I said: “Enough! I am practicing this philosophy and refuse to feel crippled:” Again and again I reminded myself to rely on the law, and not upon persons. I took charge, hired a new nurse and maid and started taking active interest in managing everything at home, from ordering my medicine supplies to taking care of my diet. Knowing that I had voluntarily chosen to live, made me summon up the fighting spirit and determination to get life back to normal.


I received prayer beads from Ikeda Sensei. With fresh resolve, I challenged myself to do regular morning and evening gongyo, study the Gosho and read Ikeda Sensei’s guidance. I requested that Gakkai meetings to be held at my house and I managed to sit through them, even if for a short while.


One last crucial surgery which I needed kept getting postponed. It seemed I might have to live with the problem with the rest of my life. But I determined to get over this obstacle also and focused my daimoku on healing my body. Sure enough, after nine months, the surgery was performed successfully. But there were post surgery complications that once again plunged me into darkness and despair. There seemed no end to my suffering.


Leaders encouraged me to respond to Ikeda Sensei’s prayers for me and not give up. Lying in my hospital bed looking out of the window at someone’s kitchen, I though to myself what a joy it would be to be able to stand in the kitchen and cook. At that time, it seemed impossibility. However, 3 weeks later, I stood in my cousin’s kitchen and made Chinese soup for her family. The power of the Mystic law is absolutely unfathomable.


True to my initial prayer, I am now standing on my own feet, both literally and figuratively. I begun to lead a normal life, going for films and lunches with friends. At present, I live with my uncle. He has taken my father’s place and it has been very healing for both of us. I have once more taken up more responsibilities as an Area leader.


Soon after I re-enshrined my Gohonzon, my life opened up in unimaginable ways. Before 26/11, I was prone to inertia and procrastination and often felt overwhelmed by circumstances. I remember chanting on the evening on 26/11 itself to transform this negative tendency that has held me back all my life. I am happy to report that now I tackle problems head-on.


All this while, I had left all my financial, property, succession and legal matters to the rest of my family. I felt I was mentally and physically not up to handling such complex and daunting matters. But one day I decided to stop hiding in the background. I took charge of my life, my future. I had to learn everything from scratch. The last six months have been like a crash course in banking, finance, law and many aspects of daily life.


Ikeda Sensei says, “By taking on difficulties, no matter how severe, you can discover your ‘hidden mines’ of wisdom. I am grateful that every day I get to learn in the classroom of life.  I am grateful for this second chance. I am grateful to my mentor for training me to become a capable human being.


I also want to express my deepest gratitude to all those who prayed so hard for me during these dark days, including complete strangers from all over the world who heard about me on Facebook. And I especially want to thank those members who kept vigil outside my hospital room 24x7, supporting my grieving family and friends. Through these dialogues of hope, the seeds of Buddhism were sown in their lives, causing some of them to take up faith. My entire family holds the Gakkai in high regard due to the immense support they got.


Despite what I have been through, I do not feel hatred for the terrorists, only compassion. I believe they are victims of their own circumstances and distorted beliefs that make them resort to such violence. Of course, the loss of my family is very painful. I regret not being able to say goodbye. I regret that I did not do everything I wanted to do for them while they were alive. But I have daimoku and prayer for their eternal happiness.


Over the months, I have come to feel an inner certainty that my parents and brother are happy wherever they are. Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism teaches us that the benefits of our effort for kosen-rufu extend to seven generations of our family. I believe that the benefits of all causes I create in faith will reach my parents and brother; that’s very reassuring. I also believe what the Gosho promises that I will reunite with my family at Eagle Peak. In the meantime, my must do my life’s work.


So, to start with, I took a flight to Delhi on my own, without any family or maid, the first flight I’ve taken since November 2008, when I was supposed to attend the Bharat Soka Gakkai General Meeting. I have completed that journey at last and stand there to report that I, a disciple of Daisaku Ikeda, have changed poison into medicine and won.


I determine to recover completely and lead a happy and fulfilled life. I determine to get back to the work that I love, get married to my kosen-rufu partner and move to a part of the world where my mission lies. I determine to go to Japan and personally report my absolute victory to Ikeda Sensei. It will be my life’s purpose to actualized his vision by fostering youth and the future division, fighting for a world free of terror.


With thanks to Vrinda Taneja for bringing this amazing experience to our attention.

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JAVA

by Emile Svitzer

While doing gongyo and chanting daimoku this morning, I found myself praying for the people of the South Asian countries affected by the recent devastation.  Though concerned for all the lives there, I could not help but think about one person in particular: a Men's Division member in India named Java.

I met Java at the Florida Nature and Culture Center (FNCC) Men's Division Conference in August of 2003.  Encountering Java and what he had to share has profoundly affected my life, as well as the lives of those with whom I have shared my experience of meeting him.

On the first day of the conference, I noticed that some men, perhaps less outgoing than others, were sitting alone at meal times.  I made a determination that at each meal I would find one such man to sit with and hear his story.  

At the next meal, I noticed an older East Indian gentleman, who appeared to be in his late sixties, sitting alone at a table, so I introduced myself.  I'll never forget how his face lit up with excitement as I introduced myself and asked to join him. After telling me his actual, full name, which I tried to pronounce, he mercifully told me that everyone just calls him "Java" and that he lived in India.  

When I expressed how impressed I was that he had made such a long journey to the Men's Division conference, Java confessed that he had actually been in Washington State when he heard about the conference and decided to come.  

He had gone there to visit a member who was facing an obstacle and needed encouragement.  

Somehow, I was even more amazed by this than the idea that he had traveled all the way from India for the FNCC conference--and I told him so.  That's when he laughed at me (in a very nice way) and told me about his first experience meeting SGI President Ikeda. At the beginning of his practice, about thirty years ago, 

Java traveled to Japan, where he had the great fortune to receive personal guidance from President Ikeda.  

At that time, Java was very poor and had spent the last of his money to make the trip.  Thus, he immediately complained to President Ikeda that this terrible poverty karma was his big problem in life and the one thing he most wanted to overcome.

Sitting down with him, President Ikeda said, "So, you want a lot of money, then?"

"Yes", Java said. "And if you get it, what will you do with all this money?"

Of course, Java had a whole list of things he intended to do with the money, but sensing that President Ikeda's question was deeper than this, he did not immediately answer.  Sensei went on: 

"Java, you may ask me for a knife, and I might give it to you.  But what will you do with it?  

Will you use it to hurt someone... to hurt yourself?  

Or will you use it to carve an ordinary piece of wood into the image of the Buddha?

"From a Buddhist perspective, everything in life has two purposes:  its basic purpose and its true purpose.

"The basic purpose of this building we are sitting in now, for instance, is to protect me from the sun and the rain while I sit here. But the true purpose of the building is to protect me from the sun and the rain while I sit here.. and encourage one person.

"The basic purpose of a car is to enable you to travel a long distance.  

But the true purpose of a car is to enable you to travel a long distance... and encourage one person.

"The purpose of having money is to buy gasoline to put in the car, so that you can travel a long distance.  

But the true purpose of having money is to buy gasoline to put in the car, 

so that you can travel a long distance... and encourage one person.

"Why do we pray each morning, during gongyo, for the protection of the Buddhist gods?  

We pray for the protection of the Buddhist gods so that we will be safe as we drive in our car, and travel a long distance... and encourage one person.

"If you possess a thing, like a car, but do not realize its true purpose, then you may as well throw it away.  

But if you pray for your desires with a sincere determination to realize its true purpose, then you will always have what you need."

Java told me that he went home from Japan with his "mind totally blown" -- and with a new determination.  

From that moment on, he began to chant from this new Buddhist perspective, just as President Ikeda prescribed.  

Shortly thereafter, Java's son became extremely successful and wealthy in his business and retired Java from work.  

Java has never had to worry about money since.  

His son provides him all the money he ever needs so that he can go anywhere in the world, at any time, and encourage one person.  That's what Java was doing in Washington State.

During our meal, Java went on to share other guidance he had received from Sensei, but now my own mind was too blown to absorb it all.  

Unfortunately, that was the only time I got to have a private dialogue with Java at FNCC, as I was determined to stick to my plan of sitting with someone new at each meal.  

So I went around telling all the other men's division if you get a chance to speak with this fellow, Java seek him out ... he'll blow your mind."  

From then on, at meal times, there was always a huge crowd of men around 

Java's table and all we could do was wave to each other across the room.

Since that FNCC conference, I've shared Java's story with dozens of individuals and at various meetings, hopefully encouraging at least one person.  I have determined that I will make Java's determination my own, by applying President Ikeda's profound guidance to work in my prayers and in my actions.

President Ikeda's daily guidance (For Today and Tomorrow, December 29)  reads: 

"Who is truly great?  I hope you can develop the ability to discern true human greatness.  

A great person is someone who forges unity among human beings through sincere dialogue, armed with a solid philosophy, feet firmly planted on the ground.  

A great person is one who lives among the people and earns their unshakable trust."


Emile can be reached at: [email protected]

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When I met SGI President, Daisaku Ikeda
by David Bloomfield
 

Since commencing my Buddhist practice in 1983, I had quickly come to realise the benefit of contributing to kosen-rufu through SGI (then NSUK – Nichiren Shosh United Kingdom) activities. I was a group leader, I was in the Transport division and the guardian group (formely known as HRG's – Human Revolution Group) and supported the organisation in any way I could.

So I had already been a keibi team leader on a couple of occasions shortly after we acquired Taplow Court. Many of you will recall the joys of doing keibi in a caravan in the grounds of our ill fated Blackheath Centre prior to our acquisition of Taplow.

I had the great good fortune to be chosen as number 1 keibi from 20th-27th May 1989 at Taplow court. This was the week that President Ikeda's planned visit to the UK was to commence. It would be his first visit since the 70's when he had met with the famous historian, Arnold Toynbee. The enormous excitement surrounding Sensei's visit was even more acute as he was to officially open 'New Century Hall', the newly buit Butsuma at Taplow, which of course was only acquired a few short years previously.

With 6 years of solid Buddhist practice under my belt, having avidly studied 'The Human Revolution' I felt a huge sense of responsibility and mission, like nothing I had ever previously experienced.

A few nights before that week I had dreamed of being one of the members who joined Sensei for Gongyo, although I wasn't sure where it had taken place.

For those of you that aren't aware, keibi at Taplow Court until a few years ago, was a week long residential undertaking. When the whole system was changed a few years ago there were 8 members per week, Saturday – Saturday, each of whom had a particular responsibility. It was a truly life altering experience. Many members can fondly recall how they changed their karma through volunteering for keibi.

Back in the 80's, there were only 4 members in the keibi team, and it was intensely challenging and of course extremely rewarding to share your lives in the service of kosen-rufu in this way. Of course the prospect of President Ikeda making a visit increased the level of interest at Taplow to almost fever pitch. Inevitably more help was needed at the nerve centre, which was to be in and around the keibi team during his visit, so some additional members were drafted in. Professional switchboard operators and translators, and others, all members of course, joined the team during this time.

The Saturday handover had gone smoothly enough. We all knew this was a crucial time. A lot of work on the actual building structures had been quickly completed including the newly converted accomodation block above the old stables, which would serve as the keibi sleeping quarters. With the anticipation of the imminent arrival of Sensei the following day, Sunday 21st May, and the need to be up for around 5.45am I made sure I had an early night. As number 1 keibi, I had been assigned a room of my own in order to ensure a restful, undisturbed sleep.

I awoke refreshed and full joy – and a degree of trepidation at the tasks that lay ahead of me and prepared to take a shower. Wearing my dressing gown and clutching my towel, soap, toothbrush etc. I jolted when I realised the bedroom door had slammed shut behind me The key was inside. I chanted in my head and determined to keep calm. There must be a spare I thought. So I went ahead and showered. When I left the shower, my fellow keibi, Roger appeared from his room and greeted me. I told him what had just happened and he encouraged me to remain calm saying something about inevitable Sansho Shima.

We both agreed that the security guards would have a spare key to my room, so I set off across the gravel towards the gatehouse to ask them.

“No we don't have a spare key” the security guard told me, “the builders have only just finished converting those rooms and haven't provided us with any keys as yet” he said.

By now it was around 6.15am. Surely Andy, the Estate Manager would have a spare key, but he wasn't likely to be around for a while this early on a Sunday morning.

I looked up at the sky, imagining Sensei's plane winging it's way through the blue sky and light fluffy clouds on it's way to Heathrow, a few short miles away and tried to appreciate the significance of my predicament. Whatever would Sensei think? If he knew that the number 1 keibi, responsible for the small team that was to ensure the protection and safety of his cherished UK organisational HQ during his visit had LOCKED HIMSELF OUT OF HIS ROOM on the very day he was due to arrive! What would Mr Causton say? I felt I had let everyone down, including of course myself.

While chanting in my head, I began to see however, that in a perverse kind of way, this was actually a benefit.

Somehow, a key would be found and this stupid little experience would ensure that I would from this moment on, pay the greatest attention to every minute detail. That I would check and double check, that I would leave nothing to chance and that I would take total responsibility for every area of my life. Such a benefit that I should learn this lesson BEFORE Sensei arrived and not during his visit!

The week ensued in a flurry of heightened activity and excitement. Sensei had arrived and the team were on full alert, executing our duties with almost grave dtermination yet at the same time with deep joy and an acute awareness that this was a very significant time in the history of kosen-rufu. Sensei was very relaxed, exuding joy and pulling happiness out of the lives of everyone he encountered. From performing magic tricks to leading stretching excercises he showed us what a joy it is to be alive.

On the Tuesday, 24th May the atmosphere at Taplow became almost frenzied. Something was going to happen. Members were seen rushing in the direction of New Century Hall. Somehow, I'm not sure exactly how, I found myself among the members in New Century Hall with Sensei who led a ceremonial Gongyo. His voice was bright and sonorous and I was struck by his great humanity. Totally down to earth, regular, ordinary yet completely enlightened man – Buddha, and I could truly sense, that actually we all are, when we choose to be.

Saturday came around quickly. In fact the whole week had been a massively energised kind of blur. We were all exhausted. Pleasantly exhausted.

It was customary to spend lunch as part of the handover procedure with our new opposite numbers. After lunch in the canteen my successor and I were walking through the grounds and I was explaining the relevant details of each particular area. We were in what at that time was the orchard.

We were suddenly approached by a senior leader who advised us that President Ikeda and a few of his entourage were also in the orchard and he would like to greet us.

No sooner had the information registered than before me was indeed Sensei. I explained to the senior leader that as part or our keibi handover procedure I was showing the new number 1 around. He relayed this in Japanese to Sensei. Sensei smiled at us then, taking my hand in a firm handshake spoke to me. What he said, all the time smiling and gazing directly into my eyes translated as, “thank you for your great efforts. Please ensure you get plenty of rest”. I must have looked completely exhausted. I assured him I would take his advice. I don't remember what he said to the new keibi, or to anyone else I'm afraid. I was just elated that having been perfectly prepared to have completed my week without meeting Sensei, that I had after all.

David Bloomfield

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Experience of Devi Ghosh shared at "The Greater South Asia Conference"

My name is Devi Ghosh. I started practicing Nichiren Buddhism in India in Dec 2005. When I joined I was obsessed with my glamorous but stressful job as Brand Manager of Bulgari and Ferragamo perfumes India . For this reason my husband and I had to live separately in different countries for 2 years pursuing our careers.
 
One day my business associate gave me some Buddhist books to read. I dumped those into the garbage. One Saturday morning, 8 months later, I woke up in a depression. I called, drove an hour to her home to learn how to chant, and in a few days my home had a constant stream of people I had never seen or met coming to chant with me. I was never alone again.
 
In August 2006 August, I decided that my family is equally if not more important than my career and I moved to the US with my husband. I received the Gohonzon in September and set about getting a job and kick start my career in US. With my global company experience I knew it would be a cake walk. My confidence was to the extent of being faulty. I expected an equivalent position to the one I left in India . I thought they will come knocking and roll out the red carpet. I was in for a rude awakening…….
 
I made a list of goals, started chanting an hour everyday and sent out about 5-10 resumes a day. The recruiting companies showed excitement in my resume. In 9 months, I interviewed with 6 companies. With each, I went through 3-4 rounds. With one, I had 7 rounds, including one with a psychoanalyst to see if was a "right fit!" Each time I felt, this is it. But no offer. Not one. I received e-mails noting my global experience, my energy, my vibrant personality, and then thanking me for my time. The reasons – I was overqualified and I had no American experience. How could both be listed as problems!!!
 
At one point it was humiliating to take an English writing test to prove that I could read, write and speak or to hear that I did not fit the profile of the low energy candidate they were seeking!!!!!!! My pride, my self-esteem took a beating. Our marriage began feeling the strain. Despite his unending support, my husband felt guilty that because of him I ruined my career.
 
Why was my chanting not working? I listened to all encouragement with a closed mind. Ya, ya, ya. I know all, I would think to myself. Last year when I got a call to attend GSA, I offered many reasons why I could not come. Many conversations and calls later, I was pulled into the excitement. I came with the expectation that this would be my biggest cause to generate the fortune I needed to crack my job karma and I loved every moment of it. On my return, I came down from my high horse and started sending out 10-15 resumes a day. I modified scaled back- on-experience resumes and started applying for entry-level positions. Outcome- not even a single interview only rejects.
 
Two months later, I took a job as a Sales Associate at clothing store at $10.00 per hour. I sold clothes, cleaned windows, mopped floors, and emptied the garbage cart. In the spirit of taking action to match my prayer, I also took a web developer course hoping that some kind of certification in US would open doors for me. I was the oldest in the class, with no background in graphic design and MAC computer scared me to death! I was going to school after 20 yrs. So I chanted 2 hours a day to overcome my fear and just to understand and grasp what my professor is saying and poured all my passion into learning-working 12 hours a day and asking  lots of questions. I was 3rd in my class of 25.
 
Still no job, and then I just stopped applying. I finally succumbed to the seduction of the Devil of the Sixth Heaven. I gave up. "Destiny cannot be changed, deal with it" I told myself. I need to accept my situation and move on. Still hungry for a challenge, in December last year I walked into the showroom of a small cosmetic company and came out with a very small job. I thought, finally some American experience, however small it is….it's still a job!
 
Going on for 4 months, on the day my first shakubuku received her Gohonzon, next day my company declared bankruptcy and I lost my job. Doubt came gushing back. On the day I made the highest possible cause in faith! The wonderful part of this SGI is that while you can throw a tantrum you are not allowed to give up. Rather, you are encouraged to do more, like I was asked by my seniors in faith to accept group leadership. Are these people crazy? I thought. I did strategies to avoid but I couldn't and finally accepted kicking and screaming. I feel grateful that because of this I was able to look beyond myself as I started doing home visits for members. One day a family friend told me of a job for an entry-level web developer. I interviewed, was offered the position, and then the offer was revoked due to lack of funds. Instead they asked me to design their new website from home as a consultant. Desperate for any experience, I accepted. With 90% of the work done after, they called and said they had dropped the project. I was shocked, stunned. I was not paid a dime.
 
It was as the Gosho says: "Constantly dwelling in hell, strolling in it as though it were a garden." (Letter to Brothers, WND pg. 494). Rejected, dejected, battered, I thought of returning my Gohonzon. I thought my husband who is not yet a member is right; this practice was for spiritual upliftment, not for tangible results. Al Bailey came to our district discussion meeting as leader's guest in July. Raising this point with Al Bailey, I was expecting him to share some quotes from President Ikeda and the Gosho, instead he said: "I have a secret recipe that bakes a fabulous cake. If you miss even one step, don't blame the recipe. Chant 2-3 hours a day, study, apply for jobs in a way you have never done before, and share this Buddhism with one person everyday. Do this for 100 days. If you do not have a job by then, I will return my Gohonzon." And then he left.
 
Struck by what Al Bailey said, I decided to bake my cake. The first 3 steps – chant, study and apply I could do. And I strategized that I am not going to do the last step. How was I supposed to talk with someone everyday when I did not even leave house for more than 2 days a week. My cake would be chocolate instead of vanilla, I justified to myself.
 
I would follow the first 3 steps. Then I got the call for attending GSA 2008. "What GSA?" I said. "I am not even sure if I want to practice." I was quoted the Gosho by my seniors in faith: "It is like the case of a person who falls to the ground, but who then pushes himself up from the ground and rises to his feet again." (Proof of the Lotus Sutra WND Pg 1108) and encouraged to use my setbacks as the support to stand up yet again. Give it one last serious 500% effort.
 
The next day, August 8th, my 2 hours of chanting were about finding a person who was really seeking this Gohonzon. I also decided for an insane job profile for myself after 100 days. I wanted it all….web design, advertising, PR everything.
 
On Day 1, I sent two e-mails to 2 friends telling them about the practice. No response. Day 2, i sent two more email to two different friends in India . One wrote back, she would check us out on the web! Day 3, I chanted to meet someone. I did not get a chance to go out that day but in the evening got invited to a last-minute dinner at a friend's house. There she asked me to explain the practice to her and 3 of her guests. Four in 1 day!!!!!! I became a little more confident and bought the Nam -myoho-renge- kyo card's and kept them in my purse. For the next few days, each day I made an effort to go out and surprisingly each day I met people who would engage me in conversation for no reason and ended up giving each of them a card.
 
I introduced my Indian grocer, the owner of my favorite Chinese restaurant. Suddenly I was surrounded by people wanting to talk with me. Of course, I would end up talking with them about Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and giving them my new "business" card. I was experiencing a never before magic. My daimoku started sounding different.
 
I was a little overwhelmed thinking something is different, something is not usual. I increased to 3 hours and started waking up at 5.00 am something I have never done my entire life. I realized that I was no longer chanting for a job but simply to meet people who needed this practice. My situation was the same, but something changed inside. I felt light, I felt hope, I felt my heart expanding. I felt my shoulders were light.
 
It was a feeling that's beyond explanation. Then I started doing something I had never done in my job search before. Following-up and taking serious action. Nobody told me to do this, it just came from within. I began to track down names and specific email ID's of HR managers rather than post my resume online or send them to a generic email address. Then I would make phone calls to confirm my resume was received. Each day I spent 3 hours doing this. Strange things began to happen. People started calling me back and asking questions. Online postings, which were earlier a black hole, even from there I was getting calls. This movement was scary and made me nervous. Is this is what they talk about ? I thought. After less than a week, I was called for an interview, then a second round and third led to an offer. During the last interview, the conversation somehow turned to the Dalai Lama, then Richard Gere and Buddhism. I shakubukued the Vice President and her Assistant. Rather than the usual thank you note after an interview, I e-mailed them the audio of chanting. They are now attending regular meetings, are connected to the districts.
 
Just as I was about to accept the offer, my husband did some online search and found that the company was in a lot of legal trouble. I did not flip. No fear. No complaint. No why me? Just what should I do next? Also, I got involved in GSA FNCC promotion, continued wholeheartedly visiting new members home in my group and of course, continued to do shakubuku everyday. At the Loft, where I worked part, I introduced 7 people. One has become the member already and 3 others are attending meetings.
 
A campaign I started with such skepticism was taking on a magnitude of gigantic proportions!!! In search of my insanely hopeful dream job - a combination of web development, interactive marketing, brand management, advertising, and public relations – I came across a junior level position. I called up and left a message for the hiring manager.
 
I called back next day again. When I called the 3rd time she told me she had not received my resume. So I faxed it and called back yet again to check if she had received it. She told me then that she was only interviewing people who were following-up and with my 4 calls, she definitely wanted to meet me. The conversation turned into a telephone interview right then. Towards the end, she explained that since theirs was a search firm, managers worked on very high commission. Without hesitation I said, then maybe this job is not for me. I told her that I could not work at a place where my time is not valued and effort not respected. Commission must come with a base salary, I told her. She invited me for an inperson interview the next day.
 
The interview was 3 hours long. I have never had someone go through my resume line by line and ask details in 12 years of working. She read between the lines, dug out the information that cannot be mentioned in a 3 page resume. I honestly and fearlessly told her of my two jobs. I did not hold back anything. Finally said, "I won't hire you for this job that you have applied for because this is too junior a position for your kind of experience. Instead, I will hire you to run another division of the Company and build it up from scratch. We will give you a separate office, your hire your own team, and you run the business independently." I was dumbstruck. "We launched a career portal in December last year and have interviewed many people in these last 8 months. We didn't find the right person with right experience, right attitude, right energy level. You experience shows that you have the ability to learn something new and make it work. You are kind of person who will figure out a solution to a problem. We would be fortunate to have you on board." By that time my ears turned red, I felt nauseous. Could this be happening to me? Did I really hear her say all this? Someone could finally see that my work was worthy of respect!
 
After two more interviews they told me my job profile – it had everything I had wanted on my dream job list. And of all things on this planet – I will be managing a career portal! Does it get more mystic than this? How many despairing people can I give hope to? How will I use each negative experience in my job search to make this the best job portal ever? I started my job on September 2nd. I am feeling overwhelmed with the trust being placed in me. My husband is now saying that daimoku has the capacity to vibrate atoms and molecules in the universe. It is day 20 and I have done 26 shakubuku. 12 people have attended various meetings. Because of this GSA campaign I was able to crack and shatter the wall of my karma. My cake is baking.
 
From just looking at the batter, I know it will be more moist, more luscious, more sinful, more delectable. I called Al and shared my break-through with him. My 100 day campaign will not end with  100! I have discovered a freedom, a confidence, and a purpose in life that indescribable. Every suffering of the last two years has taken on a golden hue. As Sensei says "Soka Gakkai is an organization of lions". It is my promise to sensei that, I will "castoff my transient and reveal my true identity" as a votary of the Lotus Sutra and disciple of Daisaku Ikeda.
 
Thank you, Sensei!!

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