Parents Grieve the Loss of a Baby  

By Josho-Ming Hui 

My wife and I live in Malaysia and have been practicing Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism for many years now. We are always most inspired by experiences and encouragement we have heard from our friends in Kansai, Japan, and from the writings of SGI President Ikeda. One thing that we both have been chanting for has been to have a child. This is the natural desire of young couples, is it not? 

Then, last year, it happened! My wife became pregnant. We were filled with joy and began making plans immediately. We chanted, knowing that the baby could hear us. Often, we talked to our baby, and soon my wife could feel his movements. Yes, we had learned from the doctor that our baby was a boy. 

In our culture, finding the right name is very significant and we really searched to find something that would be right for our child. The name had to be very meaningful and should have three Chinese characters. The pronunciation must be smooth, without compromising the meaning, regardless of the dialect spoken. The name we chose was “Lai Ming Hui” and the meaning was this: “Lai” is our family name; “Ming” means the people all over the world; “Hui” means a light illuminating the surroundings. The combination signifies the light illuminating all people in the entire world, giving hope to all. What a glorious picture we had for our son! 

One morning toward the end of the pregnancy, my wife awoke and she did not feel the baby moving inside her. She thought “He must be asleep,” but the whole morning passed without any movement from him. By noon, she contacted me and we decided to go straight to the doctor’s office. The doctor immediately examined my wife and could not detect any heartbeat coming from the child. He instructed us to go to the hospital immediately. 

We chanted strong daimoku on the way to the hospital, but the news we received was very bad: there was no hope; our baby was dead. It was a crushing blow, a terrible shock. Tears ran down our faces and we did not know what to do. This is a situation that occurs to many couples every year, but we never considered that it might happen to us. 

The next step was that my wife would have to deliver the baby.  She was placed in a private room, waiting for labor to begin. I could not bear to leave my wife’s side – and all around us in the maternity ward were the happy sounds of babies and mothers. We decided there was nothing we could do but chant strong daimoku. We performed a midnight gongyo as well — we prayed for our baby as well as the wisdom to realize the reason behind what had happened. 

Neither of us could sleep and, by morning, labor pains had started for my wife. By evening, she was in the labor ward, pushing to deliver the baby. Finally, the child appeared and there was no deform on his body physically though the long umbilical cord was around his neck. Still he looked almost like a sleeping infant. The doctor could not identify the actual cause, the reason for his death still remained a mystery until today. We asked the doctor to clean the baby and allow us to conduct prayer for him in a private room. I held the baby and went into the private room together with my mother. We conducted gongyo and chanted daimoku for the baby. Next, I took the baby to my wife and let her look and hold the baby. We promised each other not to be sad and to accept this reality. We had done our very best for our baby without a single regret. 

Nichiren Daishonin stated, “When great evil arises, great good will follow…” We have had to face a reality that is the worst nightmare for a parent. Yet, somehow, through our practice, we feel that a victory was won. We did the best we could and we were very happy to have seen and held our baby, Lai Ming Hui.  

"Everything is significant to FAITH” – this is a famous statement of utmost wisdom claimed by the Soka Gakkai Vice President Mr. Satoru Izumi in his little book called “Guidelines of Faith.” Mr. Izumi continued, “When something bad happens to you, no matter how trifling it may be, if you think of it as significant to your faith, you can make it a cause for happiness. Otherwise, it will become a cause for unhappiness … that’s how you should change poison into medicine”. This is a very strict yet penetrating guidance to both my wife and myself. 

There was a sense of completeness and closure about the whole event – it all seemed to unfold in a compassionate way. And many things happened that were good: 

  1. My wife’s recovery was very quick. Physically and emotionally, she is doing well.
  2. I really feel that our baby has already changed his karma for the better and moved on to the next lifetime. He did not suffer for a long time.
  3. The small funeral we had for Lai Ming Hui was very compassionate and tranquil. His ashes were thrown into the sea. 
  4. My wife and I are able to regard this experience without any regret.
Our objective in sharing this experience is to encourage countless people all over the world to summon the courage to overcome the most traumatic incident in life. Just like the name of our baby “Lai Ming Hui” signifies, we want to illuminate the entire world with the light of hope. Through this wonderful practice, ANYTHING is possible. 

Special Tribute and Dedication 

We wish to dedicate the above experience to our godmother Madam Tai Mooi Lan in Kobe, Japan, and Soka Gakkai leader Miyakaki-san in Kansai, Japan; to all Kansai Soka Gakkai members who have encouraged us; to our relatives and friends in Malaysia and to our fellow members of Soka Gakkai in Malaysia. Thank you so much for all the encouragement and support.