My First Year of Practice 

By Pratima Mahale 

In August 2002, I started with the practice. One of BSG (Bharat Soka Gakkai) member introduced me to the practice and itís almost been a year now. Looking back as to how the experience has been, the benefits that I gained came to my mind. 

President Ikeda said: 
ďIt is because you so wished it that you were born in your respective countries and are spreading the Mystic Law. While the hardships may be many, it is the hardships that enable us to savor true joy and to grow. Many SGI members have shown actual proof of faith in form of conspicuous and inconspicuous benefit."
After I started chanting Daimoku (Nam-myoho-renge-kyo), the first benefit that I received was a chance to go abroad to Germany. While I was away from India for three months, I just prayed that the trip would be a successful one, and so was it: this became my first actual proof. When I returned home, I started practicing seriously and doing regular Gongyo and study so as to deepen my faith in Nichirenís Buddhism. 

The next benefit came as a little surprise to me as it happened without much of my knowledge. I was always a little hesitant to go for a Housing Loan, as I did not want my parents and their credit to be affected in anyway later because of this. I always avoided this by thinking that once I settle I would look into this matter. But with my steady and determined practice, I myself didnít know how and when I just jumped into a plan of constructing a house and applying for a loan. Now I have no fears about the loan I have taken, have the confidence that with this practice I shall move ahead. This was first impossible thing in life that became possible due to the practice. 

The occasion came to celebrate the commemoration of May 3rd. One day, I got a call from one of the members saying I was selected as MC for this commemorative meeting. My happiness knew no bounds. I chanted daimoku and prayed for the success of the celebration and my role as MC, as I realized I had a great responsibility and had to do my best for it. The event went on very well and I was very happy. That day was the brightest in my life. My role as MC gave me a real boost to my individuality and I became more determined than ever. 

The next event was the GKI exhibition, presenting exhibits on Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Dr. Ikeda. This time I was more charged up and wanted to participate more than last time. I got the opportunity to invite some schools and colleges to the exhibition along with other BSG members. I also had the chance to put up the posters for the exhibition. Little did I know that there would be a real challenge lying in store for me. Taking the poster along when I approached my office building staff, they told me that they wouldnít allow me to put it up, as the event was not going to be held in the premises. I was very disheartened, but they told me that I could put it in the restaurants in the building mall. When I approached the restaurants no one consented to put up a poster. This was a challenge to me and though I chanted all the time. there seemed no door open. Finally I decided to take a last chance and went to a stationery shop and requested their permission to put up the poster. The person in charge told me that I would have to speak to the manager who would not be there until the next day, but to my surprise and with Gohonzonís blessings, the manager turned up behind me all of sudden. This came as a surprise to me. I requested hos permission and he agreed to put it up. I later prayed to the Gohonzon to bless him with good fortune. This was my first real victory against evil, I thought. Inauguration of the exhibition was a success and all the volunteers really worked hard for it.  

Presidentís words above were etched in my heart and now my mission became clearer to me. Day by day, my desire to work for kosen-rufu is increasing and I shall continue to work towards it.