Building a Kosen-Rufu Family

I am Ravi Dutta from Old Rajinder Nagar District. My family (consisting of my son Ashish and daughter Natasha) are, in a sense, a creative family, a kosen-rufu family, active on all fronts of Gakkai activities and victorious on all desired emotional, financial and relationship fronts. But if you had asked me two years ago whether I could make such a sweeping statement, the answer would be no with a capital “N.” How did this all happen? Let me take you all through our journey of continuous struggle, perseverance, and the development of our attitudes towards faith, practice and study.

I was first in the family to practice this Buddhism — I started on February 10, 2000. I was facing many hardships: a ruined business, litigation with my bank, deep financial problems, and there was hardly any communication between myself and my children. We were all ensconced in our individual shells and hardly ventured out. I was struggling with my karma and my children were going through their own miseries. We never felt like a family and never discussed our feelings towards each other. This was the backdrop when I joined the practice. 

I started chanting and doing morning and evening gongyo. The initial impact of my practice was somewhat negative: my business came to a standstill, my wife filed a suit against me, and my bank was suing for recovery of Rs. 1.6 crore from my now-defunct company. Also I was diagnosed with a heart condition, which took me straight to the Escort Heart Institute. I was broke, lying in an expensive hospital with a stricken heart, requiring Rs.2.15 lac for open-heart surgery. I had no money and was devoid of my family’s emotional support, not even hope.

I sought guidance and I was asked to follow the Gosho “Difficulty of Sustaining Faith”: “To accept is easy; to continue is difficult. But Buddhahood lies in continuing faith. Those who uphold this sutra should be prepared to meet difficulties. It is certain, however, that they will quickly attain the unsurpassed Buddha way.” To “continue” means to cherish Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. I also heard “One accepts because of one’s power of faith and continues because of one’s power of constant thought.”

Members take up the practice of Nichiren’s Buddhism to improve their life condition. When they are unable to break through, they get disheartened and weaken their resolve to practice, and they start having doubts about faith and practice. So please take notice of my struggle.

My triple bypass surgery was successful, courtesy of a very dear friend who paid the entire cost of the operation — a friend who was not prepared to let me die for want of funds.

After my bypass surgery, I was able to chant for only a few minutes at a time and I also started recitation of short prayer. Senior members started visiting frequently to encourage me. They would chant with me and share concepts from the Gosho. My son and daughter would watch from a distance, seeing all this coming and going of members but were hesitant to find out what this practice was all about.

After few months, my children saw a significant change in my behaviour pattern. They became curious and when I told them that this change is due to my practice of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, they decided to join the practice.

From that day onwards the atmosphere in the house started changing. The practice opening new horizons of human relations. The children’s new-found formula for self-improvement and for developing the virtues of compassion, wisdom, and courage started taking root in their lives. They started empathizing with my struggle and asking questions about the difficulties I was facing in business, financial, and health matters. I also started opening up with them, and learning about the difficulties they were facing on day-to-day basis. In fact, we became quite involved in our mutual problems.

My continued practice started having a profound effect on my day-to-day life. My health improved, I became calm and patient, and I started addressing my serious problems more objectively. In May 2001, I shared my experience with fellow members and I was able to show some degree of success on all major fronts. 

I reached an out of court settlement with the bank, and was allowed to restart my business from a new location, which resulted in fresh orders. But within one month everything went the wrong way. All plans to resolve various situations failed miserably and unexpected obstacles started complicating the financial settlement with the bank and creditors. 

My peace of mind was destroyed. My practice suffered; my mind wavered; even praying to the Gohonzon could not elevate my life condition. I could not understand why I was unable to resolve the situation and felt abandoned by the Gohonzon. I concluded that my slanders were too deep rooted and that I was beyond redemption.

The deadlock continued for over 14 months. I was regular with my practice every day. I would get up at 4:45 am, chant for an hour, and then do my morning Gongyo, and then chant some more. Irrespective of my low life condition, I never missed my chanting and Gongyo.

From February 2003 onwards the situation started improving. As a result of my unremitting practice, bottlenecks started clearing, and hopeless situations started yielding results. I felt deepest gratitude to the Gohonzon. On August 24, 2003, during the first Delhi area no. 1 men’s division meeting, I shared my experience about overcoming the biggest obstacle and came to a full and final settlement with my bank, allowing me to expand my business.

During July 2003, a situation developed in which I had no alternative but to sell the house we were living in. The children would have had to stay in Delhi and I would have had to shift to Faridabd. This would necessitate renting two flats in different locations, thus separating my family. I prayed to Gohonzon that this must not happen, as it would also mean that my children would have to struggle without the Gohonzon, which would move with me. I am happy to report that an alternate arrangement for the funds came my way to pay my bank. We are still in the same house, the whole family and the Gohonzon.

The collective power of the prayers of the family and fellow members has seen us through this difficult time and we have emerged victorious, stronger and more confident. The practice of my children has also grown tremendously My son Ashish is a Sokahan and the YMD chief for the district, and my daughter Natasha (besides being golden shower) is YWD block chief.

My business is continuously improving and slowly I am paying back my creditors and I do hope that, within a period of two years, I will be free of all debts. My order book is full. I have obtained fresh credit limits from the bank, resulting in modernisation of the plant and machinery in the factory.

Through this struggle, I have changed more than one thing about myself. I know problems will keep on arising; they are part of my day to day existence. Faith and practice empowers me to overcome all obstacles.

With great rejoicing, I determine today that whatever difficulties I am confronted with, I will face them resolutely until I can defeat them. I continue to cherish and advance Sensei’s vision of world-wide kosen rufu.

Thank you.

From Delhi, August 22, 2004