Power of Daimoku 
by Richard Scott Weber

I want to tell you a little about myself and why I began to practice Nichiren's Buddhism. I came from a small town in Indiana. My family was and still is a white, conservative, Christian family. My family had many problems. My father suffered from an exploded disc in his back and a bad heart. He was and still is a workaholic. We would do well, and then a problem would come along, and we would have to start over again. 

I am the oldest of four children. We often moved and it became hard for me to make friends. My only friends were the books I read. I read many books on many subjects. It was my reading that began to make me question my beliefs and even in my own existence at a very young age. 

In 1982 I graduated from a two year college with an A.S. Degree in Broadcast Technology. At this time it was very difficult to find work in the broadcasting industry, at least work that paid enough. I worked for a while as a radio announcer and TV producer. The job didn't pay well and it wasn't secure so I began doing any job I could find. I worked in supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants, etc. I traveled to California and worked in an exotic animal ranch as a volunteer for two years. 

I returned to Indiana to help my sister, who had cancer, take care of her kids. I finally found work in a children's home and I began training as a counselor. I worked for two years in a Christian children's home and I had to deal with children who had a multitude of emotional problems. The children's home took the kids to church twice a week. I was always surprised and disappointed in the reactions of the people in the church. They always treated the children very badly. The children often couldn't play with other children and were made to sit separately. I found that the so-called Christians didn't act very Christian. 

In 1990, I returned to college to continue my studies. I majored in sociology. I decided to go to a small Christian liberal arts college. In college I was a non-traditional student with a non-traditional attitude and I was always questioning my teachers. My college was supposed so be a liberal college that promoted freedom in thinking and beliefs but I found this was not true. A group of students had started an alternative religions discussion group and had opened up the group for members of any religion. But the leaders of the group were harassed by so-called Christians and even were threatened with violence if they continued their group. The college gave them no support at all. 

I was very disgusted with Christianity and began to again doubt the validity of its philosophy. I began to study the philosophies of many religions. 

In 1993, I graduated and I had an opportunity to travel to Japan and teach. I started working at a small conversation school and at the local international school. The conversation school was very small and I was the only full-time teacher. The school sponsored my visa. I had arrived in Japan just as the economy was becoming bad, and the school I worked for was struggling to make ends meet. After my first year, my visa was about to expire. I was stressed out because I didn't speak much Japanese and I was having a hard time understanding the culture. I wanted to stay in Japan longer but my boss didn't think his company could sponsor me again. They wanted me to stay but the financial state of the company was very shaky. 

I had several Japanese friends that I often went to karaoke with and did many things together. They had often fed me when I didn't have any money and had taken me to see many places in Hokkaido. I had often confided in them about my problems. One day we watch a video. The video was about Tina Turner. My friend said "That is my religion too" and I said "Oh, you mean you say Nam Myoho Renge Kyo?" She was very surprised that I knew about her religion. I had been given a book by one of my studentsí mothers that had been written by President Ikeda and I had found much of the philosophy discussed in the book to be very close to my own. 

I asked my friend if I could go to a meeting with her some time and she said sure. At the meeting I attended, people were very friendly and welcomed me very warmly. At this time I was to get my new visa, but my boss didn't think the immigration bureau would OK it. My friends asked me if I would do diamoku with them the day before I was to go to immigration. I did. The day I went to immigration, I was surprised to get a phone call from my friend. In the background I could hear many people chanting Daimoku. My friend said that fifteen people had gathered to do Diamoku and support me. I was very deeply touched. 

When I went in to try and get my visa, my boss went with me to give immigration the forms that the company had to supply. We gave them our forms and a young man working there began to check them over. 

He began shaking his head and said that there was a problem with the forms that the company had supplied. At this time, an older man came and began to check the forms. Suddenly, he said that it was OK and stamped our forms. The young man and my boss were very surprised and I was too. My visa had been approved! 

At that moment, I realized the power of Daimoku, and I had seen the kind, giving spirit that the members of Soka Gakkai had shown to me. I was determined to get my own Gohonzon. I received my visa on November 19th. I received my Gohonzon on December 18th. 

My story isn't the exciting story that many members have, but for me it is a story that changed my life forever. I still have much to learn about this religion and it is still a struggle for me. I also believe I have much to share with other members and I am willing to learn and teach.