by Shikha Singh
When I encountered Buddhism, I was a 26 year-old young mother with two children. My main concern was my husband's job. He was grossly underpaid despite his good professional education, and I had to struggle to make his salary last the entire month.
I was introduced to this faith by one of my friends who was always smiling with a cheerful face, and she explained the life philosophy of SGI very convincingly. Her spirit to encourage me and my husband was very inspiring, and in 1994 we joined the SGI.
One of the first changes that I noticed was a sense of fulfillment in daily life. The determination to win in our daily battles also emerged. After witnessing my change into a more vibrant person, my husband and children also joined the SGI.
Initially I had no idea of what it meant to have a mentor in my life. With a great desire to understand the deep significance of the mentor and disciple relationship, I studied SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's guidance and read Nichiren's writings seriously.
In April 2009, I attended an SGI training course in Japan where I finally got to meet Mr. Ikeda. It was a most memorable moment. After returning to India, I poured my heart and soul into SGI activities by keeping Mr. Ikeda as a role model.
I began feeling a deep sense of gratitude towards my family members. I started looking at my children with a lot of respect as individuals of infinite potential. I also began viewing things from a larger perspective--from the eternity of life.
Meanwhile, my husband continued his struggle on the job front. Despite his best efforts and sincerity, he lost his job. Initially he was dejected and angry at the injustice done to him. At these times we studied Nichiren's writings together. Through reading Nichiren's letters to his follower Shijo Kingo, my husband realized that he was very much like Shijo Kingo in some ways--tremendously passionate, very responsible, short tempered and lacking in wisdom to deal with human politics at the work place. He was inspired to change his circumstances through deepening his understanding of Buddhism and faith.
He was able to find a new job, and struggled to win trust in the workplace by applying Mr. Ikeda's guidance of doing the work of three at your place of work.
I also read Nichiren's writing titled "The Bow and Arrow" in which it states, "It is the power of the bow that determines the flight of the arrow . . . and the strength of the wife that guides the actions of her husband." I considered my husband's problems as my karma or shared responsibility and challenged to do my best in faith and practice. At the time, my husband and I visited many SGI members together in an effort to encourage them, despite our own struggles.
Eventually, my husband was recognized for his passion and hard work and was made the managing director in India of a large software company in 2001. Since then he has been in leading roles as managing director of several companies. This month, my husband has been appointed as the managing director in India of a US-based global enterprise operating in 120 countries with annual turnover of US$600million. Within Bharat (India) Soka Gakkai (BSG), he has also been working hard to care for fellow members and contribute to our movement for peace.
In 2001 when we moved to Mumbai, the number of members here was 800.This year, we have a membership of more than 9,000, quite dramatic growth. I have also introduced over 30 friends to this practice. All these achievements are due entirely to the efforts of our fellow BSG members.
As a disciple of Mr. Ikeda, I have great conviction to "Never be defeated!" I pledge to dedicate my life for the sake of happiness of others and for kosen-rufu--world peace through individual happiness--together with my family and fellow members.