The Gosho “Hell is the Land of Tranquil Light” states that (I quote) “Neither the pure land nor hell exists outside oneself; both lie within one’s own heart. Awakened to this, one is called the Buddha; deluded about it, one is called an ordinary person. The Lotus Sutra reveals this truth, and one who embraces the Lotus Sutra will realize that the hell is itself the Land of Tranquil Light,” (I unquote).

Hello my dear members of my extended family! I am Dhruva Das Munshi, practising this wonderful philosophy for last 12 years. I owe an eternal debt of gratitude to my friend Susmita Bose for having the courage and compassion to introduce me to Nichiren Buddhism and to Ikeda Sensei and all the members of SGI worldwide who helped me learn how to practice correctly and develop a life happier than I could ever imagine.

When I started my practice my life was in total turmoil. I was in a dark tunnel in search of light. Totally unemployed with no source of income, having tried and failed miserably in business, I had no option but to commit suicide. When I actually began practising Buddhism many months later, my life erupted with benefits. I got a lucrative job in an industry of which I neither had any idea nor experience and I have not looked behind after that. One guidance of Sensei kept me going. (I quote) “As long as we are deeply committed to fulfilling the Buddha’s decree of Kosen Rufu that is the heart of the shared struggle of mentor and disciple, we can endure anything and can win over every obstacle.” (I unquote).

In the Gosho Letter to Brothers Nichiren Daishonin writes that  ““As practice progresses and understanding grows, the three obstacles and four devils emerge in confusing form, vying with one another to interfere . . . One should be neither influenced nor frightened by them. If one falls under their influence, one will be led into the paths of evil. If one is frightened by them, one will be prevented from practising the correct teaching.” Life is a roller coaster ride friends. When everything was sailing smoothly in my life, I was given a double blow in the first half of June 2010. In February 2010 I lost vision of my left eye, and June 2010, I was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. It was a complete disaster for me and my family.

It was an ordeal of four years. In December 2012, the doctors sounded my death knell informing me that my longevity was 9 to 12 months. The finances were in the doldrums. Money was flowing like water on my treatment. At this moment I received a Guidance from a leader from the USA. He said Dhruv, CHALLENGE THE CHALLENGE. It was a wakeup call for me. I devoted all my strength to Daimoku, Gosho, Sensei’s guidance and Shakubuku. Friends, this was an opportunity for me to change my karma. And in July 2014 I was declared free of the dreaded disease and I proved the validity of the Law.

With a victory over my health karma, I started my normal life again and soon I got a job as CEO and everything was again sailing smoothly. But this joy was short lived and I again fell ill in November 2015, This time it was my throat and nose. Slowly but steadily I was getting affected at different places, besides my problem of the oesophagus. My struggle of visiting the hospital on a weekly basis became a routine. While all preparations were going on for my surgery of the oesophagus, I received the following guidance from a senior leader in the USA.

He said there are 3 reasons to fall sick. 1) is to reach enlightenment. 2) is to lessen karmic retribution, 3) is to change karma into Mission. These three have stuck with me throughout past 3 years.

While getting ready for the treatment of my stomach was going on, some unnatural growth was noticed on my left breast and it needed immediate surgery. Friends, my left breast was operated upon and removed on 15th April 2017. The surgery was successful.

Again from June 2017, we were preparing for the surgery of my stomach and had to visit hospital twice, sometimes thrice a week and every time surgery was being postponed for one reason or other. The finances were in a critical stage. We were getting frustrated and then it was detected that my lungs are irreparably damaged. Going to the hospital was a struggle. But, with the power daimoku and my FAITH, we pulled ourselves up and kept hoping for the best. At last 10th November, 2017 was finalized for my surgery of the stomach which was termed as a high-risk operation. I was admitted in one of the reputed hospitals on 8th November and as per procedure went for my floor pre anaesthetic check up on 9th. There while doing my check up the surgeon turned out to be my shoten zenjin who suggested to me that going for the surgery was not a wise decision as my chances of revival after the surgery was remote and that I may even collapse on the operation table itself. She advised us not to take the risk as long as it is possible. At that time it dawned on me that Gohonzon was teaching me the virtue of patience and we decided not to go for the surgery and returned home. It turned out to be a great protection from the Gohonzon though my problem is persisting and may undergo the surgery sooner than later.

Life throws challenges at every turn. There had been some black patches on my back and when we consulted a skin specialist in the first week of January 2018, it turned out to be the dreaded disease again and I had to immediately go for radiation therapy which started on 29th January and already have had four cycles. The good news is that I may not need any more radiation and it will be reviewed in May next. Here, I would like to mention that even during such tumultuous times I DID NOT become negative even for a minute and carried out my practice more diligently. I learned to have victory over my mind in the moment.

I am really thankful to members throughout the world, including Africa and my family, for their support and encouragement. My gratitude to Sensei for hand holding me all the time.

Today I determine to become someone who doesn’t doubt the Gohonzon, no matter what happens. As a Bodhisattva of the earth, I have the mission to experience this and I have a mission to create a mission. I determine to share the power of Buddhism with others even as I gravel through this experience. I won’t let my spirits down ever. I won’t make a place in life for negativity to settle.

Friends, I will like to wrap up with a quote from Sensei. I quote. “Illness is not something to feel ashamed of. It is not a sign of misfortune or defeat. Suffering is the fuel of wisdom, and it opens the way to happiness. Through illness, human beings can gain insight into the meaning of life, understand its value and dignity, and strive to lead more fulfilling life. (I unquote). Thank you for listening to me so patiently

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Rajesh Ahuja

I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).