This letter is address to;
- NBA members
- SGM leaders who were recently terminated
- Anyone who is profoundly disturbed by the recent incident in SGM
I would like to share my personal impression with you.
It is an undeniable fact that there are much injustice and wrongs in SGM today. As a central leader who was recently removed, I would not be able to bow my head and to offer my deep apology on behalf of SGM. But in my heart, in my prayer every day, my prayers are constantly with you. With the identity of Bodhisattva Fukyo, I want to connect my life with all of you. I also firmly believe that I can connect with you through my daimoku.
Here, I want to share my own experience. Although I have went through a difficult period after the removal, but the road ahead still has a very long way to go, and I am only at the beginning. In this period, a war between my Buddhahood and the devil was being fiercely waged in my heart.
The sudden transition from the position of a ‘leader’ to a ‘member’, and being labelled were difficult. My family members also became targets of rumour, which affected my family’s faith and trust in SGM. There are many other forms of criticisms being hurled at me. Thinking back, after 20 years of dedicated contribution, all my core beliefs in this peace philosophy disintegrate in an instant before my eyes.
The world of anger and hell overwhelmed my life. The sudden transition from a ‘leader’ to a ‘member’, my ego, my self-esteem, grudges, concerns of how others look at me, all affected me negatively. In my mind, the faces of those who once fought together with me emerge one by one. A voice inside me said – ‘I didn’t do anything wrong. Why do I fall into such a situation now?’ It is difficult to let go of my ‘face’ and dignity. I also cannot forget and forgive those top leaders who have evidently committed serious wrongs and evil acts. My heart constantly shouts – Where is justice? Is our mentor aware of this?
In the past 20 years of my life, I have dedicated wholeheartedly to Gakkai activities. Everyday, besides going to class, to work and to toilet, I gave a hundred per cent to Gakkai. All my weekends were spent on home visits, attending meetings, working in gourmet, gardening, cleaning etc. I never leave even a minute for my own.
With the sudden change of position, all of these disappear immediately. Even attending a simple discussion meeting required me to put up with bad mouthing and the judging eyes of some leaders. Some even coldly and sarcastically remarked that ‘let them proof their faith with time.’
This process is long and painful. I also refrain from meeting people, and only send my daimoku to them. I am worried that if I have dialogue with my juniors now, I won’t be able to encourage them. The reason is that in my life, I feel, I have lost the true joy from practicing this Buddhism. I am afraid that I may even adversely affect them, making them worse off than before meeting me. Thus, I avoided meeting others during this period.
I can empathise with what you are going through now. The chief reason that we feel hurt and deeply affected is because we genuinely care for the organisation. We experience and developed strong convictions in the greatness of this Buddhism, received profound and inspiring encouragement and guidance from Mr Ikeda, and grew tremendously through our training in Gakkai. I was able to overcome and transcend all my challenges and problems in the past. Out of my sense of immense gratitude, I wanted to protect Gakkai. But under these circumstances, I can only chant.
When I face the gohonzon, I fought to hold my tears back. The more I chant, the more my tears flow. Then, it slowly dawn on me that when I started to pray for each and every member and comrade that I may not have the opportunity to meet in the future, when I started to pray for their happiness and growth, a sense of calm and serenity envelops my heart. My tears subsided.
Through my chanting, I began to reflect. What is the goal of faith? Happiness. My promise to my mentor is that I will become happy, no matter what. Am I happy now? Mr Ikeda taught us the correct attitude of a leader. Leaders must not crave for status, benefit and power, but strive to serve our members. Are we practicing this?
What is the spirit of mentor and disciple? If Mr Ikeda is here, what would he do? Is this how he would have treated his comrades?
My emotional state continues to go on a roller coaster. Buddhism taught us faith equals daily life. To gain victory in our daily life, our work and family, to become the lighthouse of the community, and to bring joy and hope – this guidance is firmly engraved in my life. I am confident that through my sincerity and earnest effort in the past, I have developed many true friendship and strong bond of comradeship. All of these ties are not fragile.
Buddhism teaches that life is impermanent. Why do we need to place importance on position? Some have the thinking that we need a position of leadership. If we are not a leader, can we not accumulate good fortune? Can we not grow in faith and can we not protect Gakkai?
We are all Bodhisattva of the Earth. These Bodhisattva need no position. To be a Bodhisattva of the Earth, we need a vow. The vow is that we must strive to enable the person directly in front of us, around us and ourselves too, to be happy.
We should also bear in mind that we still have a group of comrades that trust us. They also trust our character. They are awaiting and hoping that we will recover from this hurt as soon as possible. All of these beautiful relationships render ‘position as a leader’ insignificant amd secondary. And it is a true testimony of all our years of sincere practice. We cannot be defeated.
Revolution needs time. We must be strong. We must be healthy and live long life. I am confident that true justice will prevail as the ultimate victory. I hope that together, we can all create more personal victory. With our upstanding character and actual proof, we use it to testify the greatness of the Bodhisattva of the Earth, the greatness of Sensei’s disciple. No one can cut off the bond between us and our mentor. We are directly connected. If Mr Ikeda knew that we are in so much pain and grief that we cannot stand up, I believe he would be a hundred times more hurt than we are.
Don’t give up. We will continue sending daimoku to you, continue fighting. With the coming Lunar New Year, let us spring clean our home and our lives too. Start afresh, and begin anew!