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Dreams are Coming True in Hong Kong
By Sin Wai-ki (aka Wai-wai)
My childhood was full of fear and anxiety. My father was a Triad (Chinese crime syndicate) member. We used to live in a wooden hut at Junk Bay. When I was six years old, my father was sentenced to death. At that time, my younger sister was four years old and my younger brother was only two. The sentence was not carried out immediately because of an appeal. The case dragged on until her Royal Highness commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment.
After my father was imprisoned, my mother bore all the hardships of bringing up the three children. One summer day when I was eight years old, there were about eight children playing in the house. Our uncles were playing cards and mah-jong while my grandmother, mother, and aunts were chatting.
Suddenly, men with knives forced their way into the house. Grandma, my mother, and aunts held us, using their bodies to protect us. I could see clearly that all our uncles were seriously injured. There was blood everywhere. One uncle, because he had used his hands to protect his face, had three of his fingers cut off. Another uncle had 11 wounds on his body, the smallest of which was half an inch deep. That was the kind of environment in which my sister, brother, and I were brought up.
When I was 10 years old, our home was burned down. We did not feel sorry at all, just that we had not managed to save our old photos. After the fire, we were allocated a public housing unit. All 10 members of our family squeezed into the small flat. My uncle was a coarse man and used to beat and scold my sister and I. I knew he was under a lot of stress. I felt very insecure. My mother was also under great pressure. She had the greatest influence on me.
My mother worked at least 12 hours a day. After work, she helped us do our homework. People looked down on her. All we could do was silently bear the situation. My mother was very strong. She never cried in front of us. One day she said to us: "You have grown up in a complicated family situation and your father cannot live with us. I must be strong to protect you. I won't let you feel inferior and I won't let you get hurt."
My mother was so thoughtful and strong. She bore all the stress herself. To cope with the pressure, my mother had to take sleeping pills and tranquilizers every day.
When I was 14 years old, I did one thing that I regret even today ¡ª I ran away from home. It really broke my mother's heart. I was young and naïve. I stubbornly believed that I could take care of myself. I got a part-time job in a fast food shop to earn a living, but my grades in school fell drastically. Finally, I quit school. During that period, I was leading a meaningless life of no value. I was like a walking corpse. No one cared about me, but no one dared bully me either, because I told people who my father was.
During that year, I missed my mother so much, yet I did not go back to see her. I tried not to think about her, but it was really hard. I truly did not want to go back home. I felt so helpless. I kept asking myself: "What is the purpose of life? Do I have to continue living like this? Who can help me?" I was 16 at the time, but I saw no hope in my life.
One day, my younger sister and brother found me. My brother said: "Come back home. We really miss you."
My sister also said: "Don't you know how hurt mother feels? She never cries in front of us, but since you left, she often cries silently after we go to bed. I am very worried about her. You love me so much! Why won't you come back?" That persuaded me to return home.
My mother had become an SGI member when I was 11. At that time, I did not know much about this religion. I only remember that even after her 12-hour day, she would still take us to meetings. During the period that I had left home, I did not attend any meetings. But after I returned home, I found that my mother no longer depended on the medicines which she had taken for ten years. My sister and brother told me that my mother had not given up practising Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism when I had left home. Instead, she earnestly prayed to the Gohonzon that one day I would return. I still remembered what my mother said to me then: "Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism is very profound. If we live according to President Ikeda's guidance, we can see our lives clearly and have the courage to face our lives in a positive way. The SGI gives me support."
When I heard her words, I prayed before the Gohonzon, crying, and saying, "Thank you so much for changing my mother's health karma. I'll participate actively in Gakkai activities to repay my debt of gratitude." With this sense of appreciation, I joined in Gakkai activities again. My thoughts and actions gradually changed. I could feel my life was full of hope.
My sister and brother also changed after they took part in Gakkai activities.
My mother had never given up on my father. She kept sending Gakkai newspapers and monthly magazines to him and he began to chant Nam Myoho-renge-kyo nine years ago.
Since I started this practice, I have not complained about what has happened in my life. The biggest difference before and after taking faith in the Gohonzon is that I feel the accumulation of Treasures of the Heart. I treasure my family, my friends, and all SGI members, who work so hard for kosen-rufu. Many people have wondered: "Are people born good or evil?" I think we have both good and evil natures in our life. Buddhism is very strict. If you lead a winning life, it means that the good in your life overcomes the devilish functions. I had more devilish functions in my life than good, but this religion has enabled me to expand the good within my life. I think that a religion that has a correct philosophy is very important. I deeply appreciate my mother. Because of her stand alone spirit, she was able to turn our unhappy family into a happy one. Never underestimate the power of one person.
At the beginning of my experience, I said that my father had been sentenced to life imprisonment. He kept on improving himself while he was in prison and in 1998, we were informed that he could be released! This was the good news that we had waited 20 years for! Last September, our whole family was reunited again. I was only six when he went to prison. Over the 20 years, once every 3 months for half an hour, I could see at him through a glass panel and talk to him through a telephone handset.
This true, great Buddhism was able to make the impossible happen. Before I took faith in the Gohonzon, I often burst into tears of pain and hopelessness. But now, every time I cry, I cry out of gratitude and joy.
I am grateful to Nichiren Daishoinn, President Ikeda and all the members around me. A few years ago, at the Tai Po Training Centre, Sensei attended a conferral ceremony. As one of the members of the Fung Wah group, I stood on the stage behind Sensei who was giving a speech. At that moment, I pledged to Sensei and the Gohonzon that one day I would bring my father to this training centre and for our family to attend a training course together there.
I still have to work on this, although my father often goes to the kaikan to chant. The happiest thing is that we get along harmoniously with our father. Every time my sister and I go out with him, we hold his hands, as if we were still very young. My parents are like young lovers, deeply in love with each other. Meanwhile, my brother was fortunate enough to get a place at Soka University in Japan three years ago. He will probably be back for the Lunar New Year holidays. When he comes back, we will take a real family photo together.
My dreams are
coming true, how about yours?
Copyright 2002 Gakkai Experiences Online