Together, We Strive Toward Victory
With “home visits” and “personal encouragement” as the bywords for the SGI-USA in 2019, this new World Tribune series features SGI-USA leaders who discuss their personal experiences of being home visited, visiting others and the lessons they’ve learned.
by Maya Gunaseharan
SGI-USA Young Women’s Leader
During a recent home visit in Chicago, a young woman opened up about her difficulties finding employment and the pain of being 8,000 miles from her father, who is battling illness. Hearing her struggles made me realize again that our past experiences have deep meaning. I shared about a similar challenge I had faced, and we were able to speak about the power of our prayer to reach even those far away.
Together, we vowed to win to encourage others with similar difficulties.
But I know sustaining such a resolve by ourselves is not easy, so I was appreciative of the local young women’s leaders who visited her again a few days later. With their continued support, I feel confident that she is renewing her determination daily to break through.
Q: What’s most important in doing home visits?
SGI President Ikeda has said: “If I could, I would like to visit each of your homes, do gongyo with you and converse with you. I’d especially like to visit those with various problems, put my arm around their shoulders and encourage them with all my heart. All members are precious followers of the Buddha” (The New Human Revolution, vol. 25, p. 29).
With that in mind, I visit the young women with the spirit that I’m doing so on behalf of Sensei. I ask myself, How would President Ikeda encourage this person? Each individual is different, so I earnestly chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to respond to their unique experiences. This prayer, then, helps me listen more carefully and give my utmost attention to learning about their lives and what they’re currently working toward.
From there, my determination is to do what Sensei does—to help awaken in the person the confidence that they can fulfill their unique mission and become happy without fail through practicing this Buddhism.
SGI President Ikeda has said: “If I could, I would like to visit each of your homes, do gongyo with you and converse with you. I’d especially like to visit those with various problems, put my arm around their shoulders and encourage them with all my heart. All members are precious followers of the Buddha.”
Q: Is there anything you do after the home visit?
I really believe that following up is as important as the visit itself. After a visit, I take notes about the individual’s struggles and dreams. This way, I can refer back to those notes and chant for them with very specific prayers.
Then, when I reach back out to them by phone or in person, I can build on our friendship and ask them how things are progressing.
It’s also important that I bring along at least one other young women’s leader to the visit. I recognize that I may not be able to always meet the same member again. Not only is it a great opportunity for the other young women’s leader, but also it ensures that the member develops a bond with many others. This is the beauty of our SGI family; we can all work together to support one another.
Q: What is the goal of home visits? What makes them victorious?
A home visit is victorious if the young woman can muster up the determination to continue fighting, and if she feels she is not alone in her struggles, but has comrades in faith who will run alongside her toward victory.
Ultimately, getting to know other young women, sharing honestly about our lives and determining to win together empowers me to continue fighting until I break through. I see that I walk the path of my own mission when I sincerely care about other young women awakening to theirs. WT