Amazing Singapore James Cook University at Sims Drive

Amazing Kallang MRT beside the Kallang River


Monday, September 2, 2013

The Power of Daimoku

Power of Daimoku
"If you underestimate the power of daimoku and use other strategies you will lose in the end. You can accumulate good fortune only when you fight for the kosen-rufu without begrudging your life. Unless your prayers are united, your fight for kosen-rufu cannot gain momentum. No matter what anybody says, or does, nothing can defeat the power of daimoku. But without action, you cannot call it faith. The Gohonzon can penetrate through everything.

The world of faith is very mystic and once you become serious, you can gain 1000 or 10000 times more benefits. When you chant abundant daimoku, you have the power to open even the heaviest iron-door that stands in your way i.e, you can overcome the most massive obstacles in your life. You can definitely change your negative karma. The world of faith is the place where many of us, all of us chant powerful daimoku in unity, thus creating power like the force of a huge wind. There is nothing but Daimoku. Daimoku determines everything. Daimoku has more power than 1 million guidance or a million books of philosophy.

Chant abundant Daimoku and pray to the Gohonzon. Ask the Gohonzon whatever you need. Everything will come true as your wish and the path of kosen-rufu will open up in front of you. Everything depends upon how much Daimoku you chant. When you chant a lot of Daimoku, you will naturally feel that you need to study more. When you chant Daimoku, your work will become more fulfilling.

There may be times that you will experience great sufferings and deep sorrow. There maybe nights when tears will not stop flowing. There may also be times when you are terribly hurt. At such times my heart will be open to you. I am always here to listen you. I, too, will share tears with you. You don't need to tell me anything if you are happy. I can tell just by looking at your face. Just tell me about the problems and pains that you have. I will carry half of your heavy burden and walk together with you."


Friday, July 26, 2013

From penniless to having own plane for Kosen Rufu

Living the most contributive life -
Luis Nieves   forwarded by Vrinda Taneja
I was so poor when I received the gohonzon in aug 1968 that it seems almost unimaginable today today. I regularly hitch-hiked 50 miles to youth activities, sometimes taking all night to get home.i couldn’t seem to hold a job for more than a week or two- either I would get fired or was too depressed to shop up.
One day my landlord kicked me out of the apartment for failing to pay rent and took away everything except the alter, in lieu of rent. I spent many nights sleeping on the floor, as I tried to work to payback the rent while struggling to attend some days of school. Late night my friend Randy, who had also begun chanting nam myoho renge kyo, would stand guard at the laundrymat, while I huddled behind the machines waiting for my one set of clothing to dry.
I continued to do SGI activities because they gave my life meaning. I remember hitch hiking 35 miles north of Napa California to deliver a gohonzon to a new member. After walking for 10 miles with my thumb out, no one stopped. My clothing was thin, threadbare and then it began to snow.i arrived at the member’s house late next morning , helped enshrine the gohonzon, then hitched a ride back in time for a discussion meeting.
During these years my friend Linda and I did many youth activities together, along with her sister Becky, and my friend Randy. Linda had received the Gohonzon the same day as my mother.
Even though many people in small our town derided us when we shared Buddhism with them, our hearts were filled with joy. We would huddle together in the cold, sometimes very late into the night, reading SGI President Ikeda’s guidance, proud students of Ikeda University. Prez Ikeda’s guidance was so real, so tangible, it gave us inspiration and hope.
Linda eventually got a steady job and bought a very old car which we used mercilessly for youth activities at home and in san Francisco.
Linda and I came to understand that our problems were not revelations of our misery or failure, as people in the town were swift to point out to us. We chose this life to demonstrate the greatness of Nicheren’s Buddhism, the truth of prez Ikeda’s Guidance and the potential innate in ordinary people to become true victors in life.
With the spirit to transform poison to medicine through our Buddhist Practice, our determinations were these-
Because we are so desperately poor, we must become wealthy.
Because we have to walk , hitch hike and drive such battered cars, we must become people who can drive any car we wish
Because school is impossible for us to attend, we must become educational advocates for many young people like us. In other words, we viewed our Karma as our mission for Kosen Rufu/ world peace.
This gets to the heart of why we never ever missed any  opportunity to contribute to the SGI, including  making Financial Contributions. Don’t ask me how we did it- we were so desperately poor. We chanted a whole lot not to miss any opportunity to contribute and do more than we thought we could. When we had no money, which was the norm, we ‘d find working extra jobs, collect old bottles- anything to make a cause for our happiness.
Linda and I were always of the same mind. We made every financial cause selflessly and without expectations, because doing so made us happy. After about 10 years of friendship, and as comrades in faith, we married, realizing how deeply in love we were.
As we continued to live a Cause-oriented practice, our environment reflected the changes that occurred within ourselves. Over time, we got better jobs, better timings and better bosses.
We had beautiful children, and, in 1990, I started an automobile insurance company from our spare bedroom. With quick and sincere service- traits we had learnt and developed through doing SGI activities in my youth- our business grew. Recently, my company completed construction on a new headquarters in Napa, California.
This year Linda and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniv. We now live in a large beautiful jewel of a home we have built in our own vineyards, complete with an observatory. Our home is always open for SGI members and for faith related activities. We now have 4 holiday homes, including one overlooking the bay and across the ocean in Miami.
Linda’s old car has now changed to a custom-made powerful Italian sculpture on wheels.
Our commitment to kosen- rufu remains the same. In order to get home in time for meetings and activities we now fly on our family jet plane. We are privileged now to do everything we can behind the scene to financially support and further president Ikeda’s vision for Soka University of America, a school fostering the next generation of world leaders and peacemakers
Linda and I are more deeply in love and have more fun together than we could have ever imagined. Most importantly, we feel like we have only begun to fulfill our mission for contributing to the growth of the SGI Peace Movement together with prez Ikeda. The best is ahead, and we determine never to give up, no matter what. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

From Sleeping in the street to donating a kaikan

[Excerpted from the August, 2000, Living Buddhism, pp. 36-38]
Chieko Yamashita was married after WWII. Her husband failed in business and became obsessed with drinking and gambling.
Her family of four had no place to live, but were given shelter in the corner of a friend's kitchen. During the day, they would stay in a small park, with her infant child crawling around on the ground.
With help they were able to find a tiny one-room apartment; but they were still destitute.
To make dinner, she would go out with two ten-yen coins and buy sardines and spinach. She searched the streets of the outdoor market for dropped coins.
At one point, she had to leave her husband and children. The children were put into childcare. Overcome with anguish at the thought of this, she decided to gather her children and return to her husband. What followed were days of living in fear of physical abuse.
Ms. Yamashita joined the Soka Gakkai in 1965. At the time her husband was unemployed and she was supporting him by selling insurance door-to-door. Her husband also joined, but it was in name only. He would go to great lengths to keep his wife from practicing.
Each night he would beat her and demand that she quit the SGI. On one occasion he destroyed her altar with an ax, doused the wood with kerosene and set it on fire.  She ran out of the house barefoot, clutching the Gohonzon to her chest. She spent the night locked outdoors chanting daimoku until dawn.
Eventually her husband found work. But he was reckless with money and they continued to live in poverty.
Throughout this time, Mrs. Yamashita scrimped and saved with the dream of one day having a house. When she had saved four million yen, she showed her savings passbook to her husband. He snatched it away. When she located it two days later, her account had a balance of zero. He had lost it all at the race track.
A senior in faith told her that she must take ultimate responsibility for her happiness. She was told "Unless you change, you will not be able to accumulate good fortune."
When she heard this, she made up her mind not to give up. She said
"The Daishonin says, 'Buddhism is like the body, and society like the shadow. When the body bends, so does the shadow' (Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, p. 1039). I determined to stop swinging between joy and sorrow because of the chaos in my life and to stop complaining about what my husband was or wasn't doing. I decided since this was my karma, I would take responsibility for overcoming it. I realized it was not about anyone else; everything depended on my life condition. I gained a profound conviction in the principle of oneness of life and environment."
Mrs. Yamashita exerted herself wholeheartedly in Gakkai activities. In the process, she was unexpectedly approached about managing some land in front of the train station. In the seventh year of her practice (1972), she was able to open her bicycle parking lot. More than anything else, her attitude began to change. She came to have sympathy for her husband. She came to view her husband as a "good friend' for enabling her to deepen her faith.
She explains, 
"It's amazing. As soon as my resentment toward my husband turned into appreciation, he suddenly lost his infatuation with gambling. And he began to pray to the Gohonzon. For the first time we became a true married couple, able to talk openly and honestly about anything. Through all the negative and positive experiences, my husband taught me about faith. I have grown into a person who can feel incredible appreciation, knowing that I owe everything to the terrible hardship I experienced."  
In addition to transforming her state of life, Mrs. Yamashita has transformed her financial fortune and she was able to realize her longstanding dream of building a private community center.  Daisaku Ikeda gave the center the name "Yamashita Glory Community Center." When she received Mr. Ikeda's calligraphy of these words, she took the characters for community center to mean "Treasure House." 
Although she is the president of a company that operates a bicycle parking lot of approximately 4,000 yards, when asked what she does she says, "I'm just the bicycle lot grandma." 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Protecting the environment

by Shin Won-suk

Shin Won-sukMr. Shin Won-suk cleaning the polluted river
I have been practicing Nichiren Buddhism since 1973, and by engaging in SGI activities I have learned the importance of living a contributive life--to be concerned not only for myself but for others and for society as a whole. Taking to heart SGI President Ikeda's constant encouragement to become an asset to our local community and society, I began to think deeply about what I could do to contribute.
It occurred to me that there was no need to start with something big, but there must be something I can do using my skills and background as a landscape gardener. There is a river, the Taehwa, that runs through the city of Ulsan, where I live, which is heavily polluted. I decided to somehow help restore this river.
Throughout history, the Taehwa River has been considered a lifeline for the city's residents. However, Ulsan is one of the most industrialized cities of South Korea, and because of heavy pollution from industrial waste, the Taehwa came to be known as "the river of death."
developing bamboo fieldsDeveloping bamboo fields
I realized that in order to nurture a healthy environment, we must be prepared to actively protect it. Thinking of myself as "the protector of the Taehwa River," I began making time to care for the environment around the river, doing things such as developing bamboo fields, removing waste and pruning branches of trees along the river, inviting local residents and fellow SGI-Korea members to join in.
In 2008, I began serving as chair of a local ecological restoration group with over 700 registered volunteers. Once a week, I engage in volunteer work such as picking up trash from the river, cleaning up hiking trails and recycling waste materials. I also take part in educational activities to raise awareness about environmental protection in the local community such as giving lectures at universities.
Seven years have passed since I began to take action and, as a result of our efforts, the beauty of the Taehwa River has been restored. Fish are once again swimming in its waters, and herons now also make the river their home.
I hope to continue encouraging my fellow SGI-Korea members and local residents to become involved in these activities.
picking up trashVolunteer members picking up trash
The challenge of reviving the environment requires a lot of time and effort. We don't always see immediate results, and at times, I do get frustrated and weary. However, what has kept me going in my efforts to help restore the environment are the simple words of appreciation we get from local residents. Moreover, as I chant every night upon returning home from a day of volunteer work, I feel a deep sense of fulfillment, which in turn becomes a source of energy to continue my efforts. As Nichiren Daishonin states in his writings, "If one lights a fire for others, one will brighten one's own way."
In Buddhism, we uphold the principle of "oneness of self and environment," meaning that life and its environment are inseparable. It is deeply rewarding to know that the small step of deciding to do something positive, and my efforts to convey to others the spirit of coexisting with nature, have led to a revival of the environment and the lives of those around me. While it's easy to be overwhelmed by problems in our communities, each of us can do something to make a difference.
[Courtesy January 2013 SGI Quarterly]

Sunday, January 13, 2013

91 years old member still active in contributing for kosen rufu

The Long Road Ahead

by Atsuma Ueda

Mr. UedaMr. Ueda (right) at a meeting with local business owners [©Seikyo Shimbun]
In 1954, when I was 33 years old, I opened a clothing store in Mihara city, Hiroshima Prefecture. Business thrived and I was eventually able to open three stores around Hiroshima.
However, the new stores didn't enjoy the same success, and six months later I was on the verge of bankruptcy. I felt I could no longer go on living. All this time, my wife, Teruko, had been encouraging me to begin practicing Nichiren Buddhism. Convinced that faith had nothing to do with business, I had shown little interest.
I was intrigued, however, by the Buddhist concept of "human revolution," that a change in the inner life of a person will create a change in their circumstances, and began to read up on it. I thought, "Well, it's true that transforming myself is the basis of everything."
I started practicing Buddhism and felt full of life. I realized that my problems weren't as bad as they seemed. Around the same time, my friends began to offer their support in taking care of matters if I went bankrupt. Surprised by my optimistic attitude, they instead began to help me pull my business back together. As a result, I was able to avoid going bankrupt and business began to look up. Later, my company merged with a supermarket chain, and I was appointed company director. I went on to serve as the chief of its West Japan headquarters.
In 1983, the year before I was to retire, I received a poem of encouragement from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda during one of his visits to Hiroshima. This had a profound impact on me. It was as if he was telling me, "Your true stage awaits you!" Approaching retirement, I had been feeling as if I had reached the end of the line. However, I realized, "Yes, I am only 60 years old! There's no reason I can't go on making an active contribution until I'm 100!"
I threw myself into voluntary advisory work which I had begun doing for corporations, helping people start up businesses as well as offering advice on post-retirement life to retirees. I also dedicated myself to listening to and supporting younger colleagues.
I tell retirees, "You're still an active part of society for 30, 40 years to come. All the experiences you've gained in your busy careers are your life's treasures."
Seeing the importance of revitalizing one's community, I helped launch a local revitalization committee in my hometown of Mihara. In 1996, when I was 75 years old, I became the first general director (and currently serve as the president) of a social welfare corporation that helps people with physical and mental disabilities join the workforce.
In January 2005, when I was approaching the age of 84, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. This was a shock, but I told myself, "There is more work to be done. I'm still in the middle of helping revitalize my local community. I mustn't die yet." I underwent treatment, and when I was tested again in October that year, all counts were back to normal.
Often, young employees come to me with their problems, telling me they want to quit. I share with them my analogy of the cup, which represents one's capacity as a human being. I tell them that they have to expand their capacity from that small cup: first to a large bowl, then to a bucket, a barrel, a pond and eventually a lake. My Buddhist practice has taught me that this is the most significant undertaking of life.
I'm 91 years old now, and the older I become, the more my horizons expand. I still have a lot of unfinished "homework" to take care of--this is what keeps my life force strong. I have a long road ahead of me. I have decided that I must win in life, no matter what. This is what keeps me vigorous.
[Courtesy October 2012 SGI Quarterly]