Contributing to Kosen-rufu Is My Benefit
How the power of prayer and appreciation transformed my life state, inviting boundless protection and benefits into my life.
by Yuko Little
Five months after our family moved from North Dakota to Michigan in December 2015, my husband filed for divorce. For 14 years, I had been a full-time housewife, supporting his career and raising our two children, Shiora and Ren, now 16 and 10, respectively.
Devastated, I considered going up north to freeze myself to death in the cold weather. But when I thought about my role as a mother and as a disciple of SGI President Ikeda, I knew I couldn’t be defeated.
During this painful battle, I didn’t have the luxury of stepping back. Many days, I would cry and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for four to five hours just to have the courage to continue. My first relief was finding a full-time job.
I was finally getting used to my life as a single mother when, in June 2017, my then 14-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer. She had stage 4 lymphoma, which was spreading to her lungs, cervix, groin and bone marrow. This can’t be true, I thought. Why is this happening? The next month, Shiora started a five-cycle chemotherapy treatment.
There was no one to blame—my only choice was to battle my karma and transform it.
While I was paying for my daughter’s cancer treatments, I never compromised my commitment to kosen-rufu, even though I was struggling inside. As a second-generation Soka Gakkai member, I had learned the importance of living with sincerity and a fighting spirit from my mother. We didn’t have much money growing up as a family, but she always did her best to challenge financial contributions each year. My mother taught me to do so out of sincere appreciation for our Buddhist practice, and that having the ability to make a financial offering in and of itself is my benefit.
Although Shiora went to school while undergoing treatment, in January 2018, her health became even more delicate after catching the flu, and she had to be homeschooled. Fortunately, my boss was understanding and allowed me to work from home, but with this change, my salary dropped to a third of what I was making.
A few months into treatment, Shiora’s cancer was still aggressive, and doctors began chemotherapy again. I faced more bad news when I learned that my mother in Japan had a stroke and was admitted to the intensive care unit.
I fought my own doubts at every moment and thought about giving up many times, but I always recalled these words: “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” (“The Opening of the Eyes,” The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 283).
In front of the Gohonzon, I would tell myself: “Listen to me, karma! If you want to attack me, go ahead! I will never be defeated!” There was no one to blame—my only choice was to battle my karma and transform it.
The 2018 May Commemorative Contribution activity was approaching, and I determined to increase my annual contribution as a great cause to transform our family situation. With determined prayer, I strengthened my life condition and with great appreciation, I contributed 20 percent more than the previous year.
A couple months later, my daughter received a stem cell transplant and was admitted to the hospital for three weeks. In the end, she received the best treatment, which included state funding. I am certain that the causes I was making for kosen-rufu led to the manifestation of protective forces in our environment. That October, Shiora’s scans showed no signs of cancer, and my mother was discharged from the hospital with no ill effects following her stroke. Shiora also returned to school. Our family had won.
This year, as my life was settling down, I started thinking about purchasing a home. My children and I had been living in a small apartment since the divorce. One day, my son asked me, “When can I live in a house like the one before and have my own room again?” My heart ached. It seemed impossible, but I started chanting about it.
Unexpectedly, I received a small raise from work and made an offer on a nearby property, even though it was out of my budget. The next morning my realtor called and said the listing price had gone down to my exact offer.
I couldn’t believe it! My offer was accepted, and we moved into our new home, where we now have SGI meetings.
But the benefits didn’t stop there! Recently, a recruiter contacted me about a job opportunity that perfectly aligned with a position I had had in Japan over 16 years ago. I chanted with full trust in the Gohonzon and a week later, I was hired. Their facility is 10 minutes from my new home and includes a significant salary increase. I’m overjoyed that I will be able to contribute even more from now on! In fact, for the past four years, I have successfully increased my May Contribution by 20 percent each year.
I now feel a tremendous sense of gratitude toward my ex-husband for allowing me to deepen my faith. I’ve learned that every cause we make—no matter how seemingly small, insignificant or disconnected—has profound meaning. And it is through our Buddhist practice that we can connect the dots to build the great framework for our victories.
In deepening my appreciation for the SGI, I signed up for the Sustaining Contribution program in November, the founding month of the Soka Gakkai.
Although the battle against side effects and the possibility of relapse for Shiora continues, we are full of hope and appreciation. I will continue embracing the Gohonzon, no matter what, and, as Sensei’s disciple, I will never be defeated!