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Treasured Memories

By T. Hardy

I am an SGI-USA member here in Phoenix, Arizona. I've been an SGI member since the age of 12, which was 17 years ago. Most of my family practices Buddhism with the SGI-USA.

As a young teen, I strayed from my practice. I was trying to find myself spiritually. During this time my mother would always encourage me to chant Nam Myoho-renge-kyo and attend meetings, but I didn't even consider it.

About four years ago, I became more serious about my practice. I started doing gongyo and chanting Nam Myoho-renge-kyo every day and even participated in activities and study.

Around two years ago, I joined the Phoenix Cactus Chorus. We had our first major performance at an Interfaith Coalition. I was chosen to be the section leader for the second sopranos along with another woman.

It's such a wonderful and fulfilling responsibility, learning the music and making sure that everyone in my section has everything they need. Along with the awesome benefit of being in the chorus, it's even more special to me because my mom rejoined the chorus after being out of it for seven or eight years.

Now we practice together. She sings alto and I sing second soprano. Although we both have chronic health problems, as well as many karmic attacks, we still pull through together and make each performance and most practices.

It's twice as wonderful to me because it was my mom who introduced me to this Buddhism. She taught me how to chant Nam Myoho-renge-kyo and do Gongyo. She encouraged me to read literature and attend meetings and frequently gave me guidance.

For years, I rebelled and then, after so long, I developed faith in this Buddhism with her help and I now dive in full force.

She's told me many times of how proud she is when she looks at me now with my faith, practice, and study and how active I am compared to years back when she couldn't even convince me to recite three times.

Sometimes we do gongyo and chant Nam Myoho-renge-kyo together. We've also read "The Human Revolution" to one another.

It's a wonderful feeling knowing that we can work through obstacles, practice this Buddhism, and work towards Kosen-rufu together.

I will treasure these memories for life.