Just Want to Be Happy
By Meredith, Melbourne, Australia 2006
I have been practicing Nichiren Daishonin�s Buddhism for almost 6 years.
Before I met the practice I was always searching for the answer to the big questions of �life, the universe, and everything,� but no religion or philosophy that I encountered could stand up to the scrutiny that I subjected it to and therefore none could convince me that they were correct.
I often thought that I was as capable as anybody of working out the answers, assuming that they could be worked out, and so I disliked any religions that had priesthoods or authoritarian leaders. I didn�t like the idea of people putting themselves above others; it didn�t make sense to me. All other philosophies seemed to be asking me to be other than who I was.
They seemed to be saying that I was bad and until I changed I was not welcome. They all asked me to put faith in them without providing any proof.
Seven years ago I moved away from the city after my marriage ended, and although I had many friends who came to visit, I was lonely and unhappy. Some nights I would cry myself to sleep saying �I just want to be happy.� That was my mantra, but I had no idea how to become happy, and at that time I really hated myself and my life.
One night I went to a local pub to hear some music and met a guy called John. I can still remember his words. He said, �If you want to be happy, chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.�
Something struck me at the time and I remembered that this was what I was always asking for with my mantra �I just want to be happy.� At first I didn�t want to go to a group meeting, as it all seemed a little bit uncool, but I happily chanted my first daimoku with John and a friend of his at my home � which made me burst out laughing.
To my surprise, I did not get a stern response for being irreverent � I didn�t even get a frown. Instead, they both burst out laughing too.
Soon after, I did go to my first meeting at Cliff and Michelle�s house, and I was overwhelmed by the warmth and kindness of the members who welcomed me. Michelle greeted me as if I were a long-lost friend. I distinctly remember feeling like I had been abducted by aliens when sitting in the middle of a room full of people chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
When I thanked them, they said to me �Thank yourself. It was you who made the causes to be here.� These people quickly became my friends and I practiced very strongly right from the start. Immediately I noticed a change in myself. I was no longer anxious and negative. I immediately began to appreciate my life instead of hating it. I felt profoundly sorry for all the negative causes I�d made but greatly relieved that now I knew that I was responsible and could consciously make good causes from here on in. Every question I asked produced answers that made logical sense to me and actually fitted in with the beliefs I had already begun to develop through my own searching.
Then came the actual proof: I wish I had kept a list because I received so many small but significant benefits, but mostly I was just chanting to be happy (which was what I was becoming). I could go on about chanting for a car and being given one, or chanting for my ex husband to want a divorce (I had not spoken to him for 4 years � I chanted once for him to want a divorce and to pay for it, since I was broke � two months later he rang and that was exactly what happened). Or the great job I got literally within minutes after chanting for one hour to change my work karma (before I had always had controlling, unfriendly bosses, now I have a fantastic job in a university where everyone is always friendly and I am treated with respect). All of these material things I got and more, but what I really want to talk about is chanting to change my relationship karma.
One day I sat in front of my Gohonzon and demanded to know where my true husband was. This led me to chant about whether I was a bad person. The overwhelming response from the Gohonzon was, not only was I not a bad person, but actually I was quite a good person. In fact, I was a Bodhisattva of the Earth. By this time I was crying, but feeling much better about myself � I was a good person.
Four weeks later, a good friend of one of the people who introduced me to this practice was standing in my lounge room saying �I want to marry you.� As he was only visiting from the U.K., it was quite a shock, and all my fears immediately came to the surface. But after chanting about it, I realized that this was what I had asked for, because I knew that I needed to be in a relationship with someone who also practiced Nichiren Daishonin�s Buddhism, since it was so central to my life.
This man had come to visit our friend because he had cancer, and he thought he may not see his friend again, so this was no easy decision for me � but 3 years later, we are happily married, practicing everyday, and he is free of the cancer that brought him to Australia in the first place.
I cannot express my gratitude enough to this Buddhism or the people who introduced me. It has truly changed my life. I have had a lot of actual proof in material ways, but by far and away the benefits I treasure most are inconspicuous. The way I feel about myself, the way I feel about my life, my work, my family, my partner, and the world have so completely changed because I now understand the Mystic Law of Cause and Effect and put it into practice in my life every day.
I am happy now because I know that I can change my life and change the world by changing myself.
Thank you Nam-myoho-renge-kyo
To read this experience in Spanish, go here.