Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Praying In The Abyss Of Darkness

This entire period, from the month of October till the arrival of 2007 Christmas, has been a very testing one.

In the midst of arranging and settling my mind down for preparation of my assignments, toward the goal of my Masters academic level, I experienced my first ever love break-up. From the age of 27, I had met her and, walking side by side, hand-in-hand, we both travelled for four years, through the thick forests and thin trails of human emotions and sentimental memories. At the age of 32, seemingly unbelievable but genuine, my first heart-wrenching break-up occurred.

Ahh...what more could one ask for, where in this tumultuous and turbulent era, one life is dedicated to caring for another.

Retrospectively, I could perhaps now really come to understand why people would end their lives due to love, or the loss of it. It is one element that absorbs wholly the entire living force and consciousness of that person. It is one single huge force that one has to resist and fight it with his or her entire being in order not to be drowned and lost forever in the abyss of hopelessness and miseries.

While preparing my mind for the continuance of my long suspended and semi-completed assignment, I retreated into my aimless internet search for matters that would trigger a slight sense of excitement in me. By my fortune, I came across one article, which I deemed a special dedication to my current weak self.


Byline: FROM HEART TO HEART By Chieko Robinson For The Register-Guard

My first big dream was to climb Mount Everest. After three years of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo (or daimoku, the core practice of Nichiren Buddhism), my dream came true.

My boyfriend organized an expedition to climb Mount Everest. Just before leaving for Nepal, he confessed that he had another girlfriend, and later I found out he was actually engaged to her. I became desperate and felt deadlocked. All I could do was chant.

The next day, I saw a beautiful sunset. I felt I was absorbed into the vast universe. Then I felt a strong, pure life force arise in me. I felt that the power of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo was limitless. The thought that I was in a deadlock was delusion.

I determined to challenge all obstacles to my life and dream again. I went on the climb, and the night I reached base camp at 17,500 feet, I wrote my boyfriend a letter to say "thank you." Because of him, I was able to realize my dream. I started to chant for his happiness. Appreciation completely purified my life.

On the way back, I got high altitude sickness and almost died. The sherpa, sherpani and kitchen boys took care of me. My ex-boyfriend realized his dream to reach the summit of Mount Everest, but he never came back. He died on the mountain. I chanted that he would attain Buddhahood, and through my agony over his death, I determined to change my karma.

However, after a physical medical examination, I was told I had a diseased ovary and that if I did not have surgery, it could get worse and I might die. I did three 10-hour chanting sessions.

During that time, a longtime friend asked me to go to Japan with him in order to see family. While there, I had another exam, and no illness was found. There would be no surgery! Now I am happily married to that friend and have finished my second dream to get a master's degree from the University of Oregon.

In Nichiren Buddhism, we seek the solution to our problems or sufferings inside ourselves. When we tap our inner wisdom, compassion and courage through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we open our unlimited potential and are able to see the truth. Using our innate wisdom, we can correct our negative ways of life to a positive and better direction. We are in harmony with the rhythm of the universe.

After surviving Mount Everest, I shared my Buddhist practice with friends in Nepal. When I saw them become happy through this Buddhist practice, I felt great joy. In Nichiren's writings, he says, "Joy means that oneself and others together experience joy."

Now my dream is world peace. My mentor, Dr. Daisaku Ikeda (the third president of Soka Gakkai), through his tireless dedication and efforts for world peace and happiness for all humanity, opened my eyes. I have great confidence that all my future dreams will be fulfilled and we human beings will achieve world peace.

(Chieko Robinson is a member of Soka Gakkai International, a Buddhist lay organization. She chants with other members at the local SGI Buddhist community center).


When all is said and done, and at the end of the day, it will just be me and my inner conscience in facing the question of 'how would you move on from here'. The appreciation for life's upheavals and downfalls could not be stronger in saying a 'thank you' to those who have hurt us the most. In that respect, the act of chanting for that single person whole-heartedly would mark the exact compassionate spirit that is so needed for the hurt soul and broken heart to heal and beat again.

It is one act that befits the entire entity of Buddhahood residing in the depth of our existing beings.


Anonymous said...

I have been recommending a book called "My Stroke of Insight - a Brain Scientist's Personal Journey" by Jill Bolte Taylor and also a TEDTalk Dr. Taylor gave on the TED dot com site. And you don't have to take my word for it - Dr. Taylor was named Time Magazine 100 Most Influential People, the New York Times wrote about her and her book is a NYTimes Bestseller), and Oprah did not 4 interviews with her.

Anonymous said...

What a great resource!

Anonymous said...

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- David