Forging a Diamond-Like Self 

I am Shruti Mital and I have been practicing Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism for the last year.  

I was a very shy and introverted person with no goals in life. I was an average student. It was hard to do well on exams because of my tendency to fall ill during my exams. I got nervous and overanxious, and was unable to do my best. To my great surprise and delight, I scored a distinction in my 12th boards and got an admission in Psychology (Honors) in the university. It was like a dream come true!  

But my joys were short lived. I again became a victim of my tendency to fall ill, and to my utter horror, I learned that I had flunked my first year final exams! The college authorities told me that I could not continue Honors Psychology after this; I could be promoted to the second year B.A., with psychology as my main subject. This was a challenge for of me. I had to repeat four exams from the first year, and had to pass the new papers in my second year. I felt helpless and cried for hours on my mother's lap.  She helped me to hold on to my courage.  

Finally, when the time came to retake all those exams, I developed malaria. The doctor diagnosed that I had mild liver and splenetic enlargement, and I was advised bed rest. Once again I couldn¡¯t take my exams and lost the opportunity to clear my second year! 

My heart was broken. I blamed my weak health and eventually decided to drop out of college. I agonized about what people were thinking. 

To escape my problems, I decided to get married. This became an issue at home and every time my mother would say, ¡°This is not the way to solve problems. You should fight and win.¡±  

I approached my college authorities, and fortunately I was given a chance to clear my 1st and 2nd years. This time I was also nervous and worried, but I managed to clear all my papers with passing marks.  

Shortly after this, my cousin introduced me to this wonderful practice. I started chanting daimoku and results began to show. After considering my determination to finish my education, the college authorities made me a regular student and permitted me to sit for my final year. This beginner¡¯s benefit encouraged me to use this opportunity to show people that I am not a ¡°loser in life.¡± I can WIN.  

During that year, my faith doubled and I kept working at it. Chanting daimoku brought abundant confidence in my studies and helped me break through my escapist attitude. I chanted earnestly to the Gohonzon for my success. I did morning and evening gongyo regularly. This gave me the wisdom to manage my time and was able to attend SGI activities. My final year exams approached and the real test of faith was at the door. I decided to give 100% of whatever I had learned from SGI meetings. One of Sensei¡¯s guidances became my guiding light:  

¡°The purpose of SGI activities is for each of us to be able to build a strong, invincible, diamond-like self that can overcome every difficulty and blaze a way forward wherever we go. Obstacles are a golden opportunity to quickly forge an inner self that is as indestructible as a diamond, able to endure for eternity.¡±
The blessings of chanting to the Gohonzon were clearly visible with each passing day. I took all my exams without any sign of illness, low self-esteem, or fear. I had no fever, no stomach upset, no cough or cold, no malaria, no jaundice, nothing! I was really happy to be able to do my exams to my best of ability. Immediately after my last paper, I plunged into the July SGI discussion meeting preparations and cultural activities, working toward the first Area Level Young Woman¡¯s Division (YWD) General Meeting on the 24th of July. I didn¡¯t miss any of the rehearsals and my through my joyful participation I didn¡¯t worry about my test results at all. After performing my best in the YWD meeting, I rushed to see my final exam results and, to my surprise, I had passed all my exams. As if this was not enough, I was informed that I had won top honors in my college for Psychology, my major subject. I shed tears of joy ¡ª I had won! 

With this feather in my hat, I see myself setting and achieving many goals for myself as a capable member of the YWD. 

This victory also helped me introduce my two best friends to the practice. I owe my success to my faith in the Gohonzon, which is really faith in myself. I owe a debt of gratitude to Sensei for helping me do my human revolution through his book The New Human Revolution. I would like to thank my family and friends who stood by me through thick and thin. Last but not the least, I would like to thank my cousin who introduced me to this practice and my leaders who kept guiding me in faith.  

I have many miles to go, many mountains to climb, and many dreams to fulfill. This is just the beginning, and in this year of Youth and Development, I am going to use every SGI discussion meeting, every study meeting, along with abundant daimoku, to awaken to my mission as the disciple of Ikeda Sensei. I determine to strengthen my Buddhist study and make the top of the SGI entrance level exams on the 13th of November.  

Thank You!!  

Shruti Mital 
Delhi (India)