Sound of the Universe 
By Diane Conti-Tuncay

I had returned to New York after living out of town for some time and discovered that everyone that I had known were no longer living in the area.

In an attempt to meet new people, I answered a personal advertisement by a man who described himself as a "gentleman."

Well, I did not feel any chemistry for Atilla, and after a bit of a rocky start we decided to be friends. We were very good at that and he began to tell me about Buddhism. I agreed to attend a discussion meeting one evening.

After a flat tire along the way, we eventually arrived to a rather rough neighborhood in Brooklyn. I was angry that he would take me to such a place and began to feel afraid of going into the apartment where the meeting was being held. There had been recent warnings on the news about cult groups abducting people in the New York City vicinity.

The elevator was broken and so we took the steps up 6 flights to the meeting place. Along the way I was stepping on glass crack vials and the stairwell stunk of urine. Atilla was bounding up the steps, but I was dragging my feet.

Then suddenly I heard a droning sound, like bees in a hive. I asked Atilla what that sound was. He said it was just the members chanting daimoku. I asked again "No! What's that sound?" He was annoyed and replied "I told you it's just the members chanting daimoku; come on we are going to be late!"

He was ahead of me up the steps when I suddenly planted my feet firmly, reached up, grabbed his wrist from behind and pulled him down on one knee. I said "That sound. I know that sound. Dogs bark, cats meow. If man could only make sound this is the sound. This is the primal sound of man." I then closed my eyes to deeply think of the right words to express what I felt. I opened my eyes and said "This is the sound of the universe! Even in deep space there is a rhythm, a sound. This is it! This is that sound."

Atilla began to panic and shout loudly "How do you know that! How do you know that!" I calmly replied "I do. From my life I do." I pulled up my sleeve and showed him the goose bumps on my arm. I said "Look at that! My body is like a giant antenna picking up these waves."

Then Atilla tried to dismiss what had just happened and said "You don't know anything! You're still out on the steps! Come on, we're late!"

And that was eleven years ago. I have been practicing Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism ever since. A baby knows the sound of its mother's voice.

Isn't it true?

After one year of my practice, Atilla decided to return to Turkey permanently. He gave me some things from his apartment before he left. I came one Saturday to pick them up.

The living room was empty with the exception of an armchair and the butsudan. When I arrived he showed me in, quickly sat in the chair and motioned for me to do daimoku sansho by myself. I thought that was strange because you always to do it together. As I was bowing my head on the last daimoku my eyes fell upon a an old pink book marker from what looked like the 1970's on the kyo table. It must have been used for shakubuku. It said "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo = The Sound of the Universe."

It was like ichinen sanzen; it felt like a subway train of everything in my life coming to a crashing halt inside my head. I instantly knew that this Buddhism was true and correct for my life. I hadn't made any mistake by accepting this faith. I felt 100% at one, at peace, and confident that my instincts about myself/life were trustworthy. I could trust in my judgements about what was right for me and my life. This was the "it" I was talking about on those steps a year ago.

Instantly my face just crumbled and the tears began to flow. I turned my head to look over my shoulder at Atilla sitting in his chair. He sat silently, with a small smile on his face, and just nodded his head as if to say "Now you know why I went crazy on those steps."

Until that fateful night, I had no real knowledge of Buddhism. No exposure in any way to SGI or NSA as it was called back then. How could I know that this was "the sound of the universe"? How could I know such a phrase as "I know this from my life"? This was the really mystical part of it all. Now I understand Atilla's shock and disbelief, when he shouted "How do you know that! How do you know that!" I just do.

I still marvel when I tell this account today. It makes me wonder about how much we actually do know from our lives and dismiss because of self doubt. 

For me this is doubt-free faith.

P.S. Atilla returned to the USA. He is now living in New Jersey where he's a district leader, if I'm not mistaken. We've lost contact since his marriage, but we will always be connected.