Courage Results in Joy

When I first started practicing in 1976, the most pervasive problem in my life that I desired to change centered around the violence in my marriage. My husband was beating me up an average of two to three times a week. As a college professor, I was often forced to go to work with black eyes and busted teeth. The humiliation and pain I endured fueled my practice to have this horror end. 

Through the practice I was actually able to lessen the violence down to about two to three times a year. But by 1980, our so-called “casual” drug use morphed into full blown cocaine addiction and the violence flared up again. I was missing gongyo a lot and truly living in a state of hell. 

I received lots of guidance and persevered to chant as much and as often as I could. One of my guidances was that “it was either the Gohonzon or the cocaine.” Faced with a choice such as this, I had wisdom enough to choose the Gohonzon. 

One night, my husband threw me to the floor and kicked me in the side, breaking my rib. This was the first broken bone after 14 years of abuse – it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. The next morning when he left the house, I packed up my Gohonzon, my three daughters (ages 10, 5, and 6 months) and mustered up the courage to walk away, or rather run away from the situation. 

I entered a shelter for battered women, enshrined my Gohonzon there and proceeded to shakubuku many of the women in the shelter, taking some of them to meetings. Once I determined to actually leave, all of my needs have been met ever since. My practice to the Gohonzon has not ever failed me, not even one time. My children are healthy and no man has beaten them and I pray every day that none ever will. 

The day I left my ex-husband was August 1, 1983. I consider this my personal day of physical and spiritual independence and I celebrate it every year of my life. Interestingly enough, exactly 18 years to the day, August 1, 2001, my beautiful granddaughter, Mya, was born. I am confident we have changed our family karma, such that she will never have to experience abuse of any kind. I pray for this on a daily basis. 

Also I am currently remarried for six years to a very kind and gentle man. “The mighty sword of the Lotus Sutra must be wielded by one courageous in faith.” Inner courage to overcome our own most fearful conditions is often the most difficult to muster, but reaps most outstanding rewards.