The Lotus Sutra's Sword

By Cecilia

Hi everybody!

I'm not a member of the Soka Gakkai yet. I'm determined to receive the Gohonzon in December!

Now I think it's better to introduce myself a little bit: I'm 32 years old and live in Rome. I have a degree in foreign literature and work for an international company.

In November 1997, I met the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin and I started chanting about love problems. To tell the truth, my practice was not very firm; I had a lot of doubts. Inside of me, there was a sort of "struggle" between my Catholic background and this Buddhism, and for that reason, I refused to accept it as a religion. For me, it was only a philosophy, a sort of "guide" to live by I felt comfortable with it, but at the same time, I felt like a traitor to all the (Catholic) teachings I had absorbed during my life!

Besides, I'm a very rationalist person, so it was difficult for me to recognize what happened when I chanted. I refused to accept that the changes in my life were due to the practice. For that reason, I stopped chanting every time I felt happy. After a while, I always fell down, problems overwhelmed me, and I started to suffer again but then my daimoku started again (it was quite a mathematical operation: suffering = start chanting; happiness = stop chanting).

I don't know why, but there was a strong link between my life and Nam Myoho-Renge-Kyo, even if I did not want it or accept it.

Even when I totally refused to practice, I couldn't stop reading and studying. I justified it to myself, saying: "OK, I don't believe in NMRK but I feel comfortable with Nichiren Daishonin's philosophical teachings. That's enough for me!"

Now and then, I went to meetings (Zadankai, Youth Division, etc.). I loved the atmosphere and the sense of friendship (I never forgot the smiling eyes of the people who welcomed me at my first zadankai they warmed my heart!).

I know what you are thinking ... What happened? Is something changed now?

Yes, exactly. Last December, I lost my father after a long illness. During my father's last night, my mother, brother, sister-in-law, and myself were close to him trying to give him all our love. All night long, I never stopped chanting for him I did not know why, but I felt that the only thing I could do was chanting. I chanted with the aim that all his suffering MUST stop, even if it meant his death.

Early in the morning, I had to go with my sister-in-law to take some clothes to my brother's house. I fell asleep in the car on the way back to my house (I was not driving), and in my dreams, I saw my father with colored clothes, looking healthy, and smiling at me. Then I arrived at home and heard that my father was dead. So after a few days, I stopped chanting again. I was angry with the world and refused the help of all the people who love me. I only wanted to die, but I was too cowardly to stop living.

The person who introduced me to Buddhism was with me every day and, with a lot of patience, she convinced me to chant. Each day I started to feel a little better, and I discovered deep inside my real weakness. Every day now, I understand new things about myself, and now I'm ready to fight my weaknesses. I'm fighting with the Lotus Sutra's Sword and I'm completely aware of what I'm doing. It's not easy and I'm also aware of the possibility that I will fall down again ... but with a big difference this time: Now I know that falls are only obstacles and I have the capability to jump over them and go ahead!

OK, this is my story, my experience. Sorry for my English I hope you have understood me.

I'm aware that, in telling my story, I'm running the risk of giving a superficial idea of my approach to Buddhism, but it's really difficult to explain my feelings and emotions in another language. To tell the truth it's difficult for me even in Italian, but I wrote this experience with an open heart and I'm sure you'll able to read between the lines.