Never Forgetting My Promises

Jihii Jolly develops indestructible confidence through living the writings of Nichiren Daishonin.

by Jihii Jolly

At the beginning of this year, I made the agonizing decision to leave a full-time job with amazing colleagues and benefits in pursuit of my own dream career in journalism, one that I couldn’t quite put into words. I did what I usually did when I had an unclear prayer: listed everything I wanted to pursue on a small piece of paper on my altar. For example, to work with teenagers, to teach at a university, to study religion, to produce meaningful videos, to design unconventional news experiences that really move people.

The first several months were an emotional rollercoaster filled with rejection, doubt and decisions that I wasn’t sure about. And no matter how much I chanted or what causes I made, I never felt sure of myself or joyful.

Then I came across this passage in The Opening of the Eyes: “Although I and my disciples may encounter various difficulties, if we do not harbor doubts in our hearts, we will as a matter of course attain Buddhahood. Do not have doubts simply because heaven does not lend you protection. Do not be discouraged because you do not enjoy an easy and secure existence in this life. This is what I have taught my disciples morning and evening, and yet they begin to harbor doubts and abandon their faith. Foolish men are likely to forget the promises they have made when the crucial moment comes” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 283).

Of this passage, Sensei writes: “If you remember this, you’ll be fine. Please never forget this teaching” (January 2016 Living Buddhism, p. 59).

I was floored. I realized that while I had taken a great leap of faith in my career, at the crucial moment, I was harboring doubts both about the power of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and the validity of my dreams. I began to chant to really live this passage and become a young woman who doesn’t forget her promises to herself, or to Sensei, at the crucial moment, and maintains a seeking spirit rather than harbors doubts.

This unlocked a life condition that I didn’t know I was capable of having. Suddenly, I would wake up in the morning feeling excited for the day ahead. Again and again, I found myself in the right place at the right time, meeting mentors and colleagues in my career field who gave me opportunities to exercise each wish I had listed on my altar.

I’m currently teaching both high school and college journalism, doing freelance work to help companies design meaningful news products, and I recently co-produced a multimedia show about undocumented immigration for a dance festival.

But more than anything, through this experience, I gained an inner confidence in the power of prayer that can never be taken away from me.

(p. 9)