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My Mentor and Me - A Life Changer

May 4, '11 9:11 AM

by Robert (in [Multiply] - Soka Gakkai SGI)

My Mentor and Me - A Life Changer

I was going through a box of old Gakkai keepsakes and came across my diary notes from the 10th General Meeting, held at Taisekiji, Japan in 1973. It was exciting for me to read through them again. Please let me share....

The theme of the 10th General Meeting was “The Impossible Dream.” It's also amazing to me how life has changed over these many years. Which prompts me to say, " I wouldn't have wanted to live my life without Nam-myoho-renge-kyo being part of it.” For those young in Faith, I'm sure you'll be saying the same thing in the years to come. The key being to stick with it. To never give up on yourself or your practice of the Daishonin's Buddhism....

I'm going to type this out exactly as it was written. In the old days the mentor disciple relationship was known as the master disciple relationship. See, we all grow and mature as individuals and as an organization. Daimoku works! Here goes....

October 11, 1973

Today I saw President Ikeda for the first time. Prior to the start of the convention he came down the row I was in and shook hands with me and others. It was amazing to me because when I looked into his eyes I saw deep, infinite compassion. Unreal clarity. I'll never forget it. The events of the day were so enjoyable. President Ikeda said this convention will mark as the most important event in the 3000 year history of Buddhism.

October 12, 1973

Today I saw Dai Gohonzon again for the second time. I prayed to Dai Gohonzon to clear up my mind. I prayed to see better, to improve my sight. Things became very fuzzy and blurry --- then what I saw clearly was my own problems and how to confront them. Prior to this I made my report to Dai Gohonzon. I said that nothing had improved since I saw him last. I prayed so hard to have a happy family and the love of my wife. During daimoku and gongyo I forgot to wish Dai Gohonzon a happy birthday so during the speeches I sang happy birthday to Dai Gohonzon.

I signed my gongyo book then added “daimoku together, friends forever” and gave it to a Japanese inside Shohondo. I can only hope that this may inspire that individual.

Afterward, about 4:45pm, Ken Boise and I saw much activity to the west side of Shohondo. We saw Sensei's driver and car waiting for him. We were waiting there about 5mins when his kind driver motioned for us to come down. We waited there about two minutes and Sensei started to approach the exit area. When I first saw him in the distance I chanted sansho. As he was very near, 10-15 feet, I took his picture. As he passed I sincerely asked him, “Sensei, ikaga desu ka?” He quickly stopped and turned shook my hand and said, “Always be happy.” How great a guidance for me....

A Japanese man, age 65, was there with Ken Boise and me. After Sensei left we talked and made good friends. He was a flower arranger and had a display in the show area. He wanted us to come look at it. When we arrived there some people told him that Sensei had came by and commented that his display was so good and meaningful. His display was called “Perennial Youth.”

We then left to go see the new shrine by the museum.

As we were nearing there Ken and I saw some cars that looked like Sensei's and his party. Sure enough it was. We decided to wait there to get another glimpse at our master.

As we were waiting, out of nowhere a kind construction worker presented me with a very beautiful shaped bunch of grapes. I thanked him. I ate one myself and Ken Boise and Bob O'Brien also had one.

The thought then struck me to give these wonderful grapes to Sensei. But I stopped myself. How could I ever do this! But then I thought this was a noble gesture and his car was so close. If I didn't try Sensei would never enjoy these grapes. I approached his car and asked a man, “Dozo O Negai Masu, present'o for Sensei. Dozo put in car.” And I pointed to the car.

This man took me to Sensei's driver. Upon seeing him I thanked him for inviting us to be near Sensei at the Shohondo. I then told him the above again and motioned to the car. My greatest desire was to have the grapes put in the car and if Sensei wanted some they would be there.

To my amazement the driver told me to come. But I was so surprised as he was going toward the museum and not the car. I was aware then what was going to happen but could not believe it.

As we got inside the museum I stopped. What if I was disturbing Sensei. I had no idea what was going on inside. They motioned me on. We were walking down a hall and I heard a rush of people coming....

Sensei came around the corner with a large procession of people. I gave him the bunch of grapes saying, “Dozo O Negai Masu, Sensei.” We had many pleasant bows. Sensei then ate one grape and said, “Oh good, thank you.” I bowed back and replied, “I pray these grapes give you vitality and perennial youth.” Sensei took my hand and motioned for me to come with the group....

I was then able to tour the museum with Sensei and the NSA Leaders. I told Mr. Williams how I obtained the grapes, perhaps trying to excuse myself, but more so to include the original donor who brought out my ichinin.

I was able to hear Sensei's guidance which was that he was always thinking of our happiness and to always follow Mr. Williams. And that his wish was for NSA to become the same as the Soka Gakkai. Sensei also described the design and history of many of the art objects.

I stayed to the rear and out of the way of the invited guests. What a benefit to be there. Sensei presented Mr. Williams a medal to commemorate this event and we all took part in a toast with Sensei. The toast was in commemoration of the Fuji Art Museum.

One great benefit is that there is now a bond between Ken Boise, Robert O'Brien, myself and our master, Sensei President Ikeda. “We each ate one grape from the bunch.” What infinite meaning this may have is not known. What is known is that the bond exists and that we will follow our master into kosen rufu and eternity.

We then grouped with Phil Lucero and went to the Temple of Everlasting Daimoku and thanked Dai Gohonzon for all our benefits of the day and pledged that they would be causes for the future. We all did Gongyo there together.

I called my wife and told her of the days events and she was so happy. I thank Dai Gohonzon and Sensei from the bottom of my heart.

The impossible dream. The Lights at Jyoraibo have been out for a while now. It's time for rest. To raise again another day. To struggle on for a heavenly cause. Happiness for all mankind. I pledge not to shy away from my responsibilities or to my masters dream or to the truth of Nichiren Daishonin's teachings....

- - - - - - -

OK, back to the present. It's true that no prayer goes unanswered. The reason I prayed to the Dai-Gohonzon to see better, to improve my sight, was because I was legally blind without my glasses. My glasses were so thick that they looked like the bottom of a coke bottle. I always prayed that I could see clearly. I chanted and I studied the Gosho. I chanted and I studied to Gosho again and again. Pretty soon I was able to see clearly, but it was the Gosho that I saw clearly. My eye's were as bad as ever. What a great benefit none the less. Some years later both my eye's had cataracts and the doctors had to go in and replace both lenses and do laser surgery. That was about 1999. I came out of the operation with perfect 20/20 vision and only wear glasses now to read with. So now I can see clearly in more ways than one.

From that day on October 12th, 1973, I have always prayed for Sensei's vitality and perennial youth and will always do so.

I always like to sign my salutations with “Best always and always be happy.” President Ikeda said I should "always be happy." I have found it to be a great way to live my life. I have never let him down in that regard. I should use that phrase more often.

Please remember, It is within the utilization of the Law that its profoundness is realized....

"Although I and my disciples may encounter various difficulties, if we do not harbor doubts in our hearts, we will as a matter of course attain Buddhahood. Do not have doubts simply because heaven does not lend you protection. Do not be discouraged because you do not enjoy an easy and secure existence in this life. This is what I have taught my disciples morning and evening, and yet they begin to harbor doubts and abandon their faith. Foolish men are likely to forget the promises they have made when the crucial moment comes. (The Opening of the Eyes)"

I thank Shreya Singh for spuring me on to write this. There is no greater joy than chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with your Friends-in-Faith.

Best always and always be happy....

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Anterior: Wisdom for Modern Life, May 4th

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Replies to This Discussion

thank you for sharing this beautiful message with us Carmen.

Thank you, Eva, my pleasure!

I'm glad that you've liked it.

Best always!


Thanks for such a profound message, Carmen.

Compassion, Love and peace for all beings.


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