Amazing Singapore James Cook University at Sims Drive

Amazing Kallang MRT beside the Kallang River


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. 

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